"My children are in the service"

Natalie Maynor maynor at CS.MSSTATE.EDU
Sun Aug 12 16:48:51 UTC 2001

> I don't defend my shudders.  They *are* involuntary.  Of course I know the
> language belongs to all of us, and many of its developments are a delight
> even  to an old fart like me.  But there are lots of casualties along the
> way, valuable distinctions that get lost, references that are forgotten
> that one must be forgiven for mourning.
> A. Murie

There's such a thing as an involuntary shudder that does not indicate
belief that the change is a casualty.  I try to keep secret my
shuddering when I hear intransitive "lay."  I see nothing at all
wrong with this change.  If anything, a case could be made for
intransitive "lay" as less ambiguous than "lie" -- e.g., "he was
lying in bed."  I've passed the point of wondering who the object
was when hearing "he was laying in bed."  I have no trouble understanding
the sentence and see nothing wrong with the change in usage.  Yet I
shudder involuntarily and have to fight back a "redneck alert" flag
that pops up in my head.  That last part is a very embarrassing

Back to "in the service."  Since I had been on nomail for a couple of
months, I thought when I saw that question that it must have some kind
of significance I didn't understand.  So I didn't reply.  I've heard
"in the service" as long as I can remember and have never associated
it with African Americans in particular.
   --Natalie Maynor (maynor at ra.msstate.edu)

More information about the Ads-l mailing list