ring, rang, rung

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed May 10 00:22:08 UTC 2006

At 4:20 PM -0400 5/9/06, Wilson Gray wrote:

>FWIW, it was Paul Kiparsky in a lecture at the 'Tute back in the '70's who,
>AFAIK, first pointed out the "The batter flied out" vs. *"The batter flew
>out" dichotomy.

I wonder if there really was a time when "The batter flew out" was
impossible.  Since I read Pinker's account of why it is, I've been
noticing it quite regularly.

>He used it in support of the claim that, when "irregular"
>verbs acquire a derived meaning, they become regular.

I thought it was that given the way lexical phonology works, by the
time "fly" (v.) is formed from "fly" (n.), it's too late for it to
get the irregular past tense.  It's not the meaning as much the

>I'm with A in hoping that the use of "ring" cited is an artifact of the use
>of a spellchecker.
>(BTW, does anyone else recall the C-list actor, A[sic] Martinez?)

Not to be confused with the writer A Alvarez, presumably.


>On 5/9/06, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>Subject:      Re: ring, rang, rung
>>At 2:59 PM -0400 5/9/06, sagehen wrote:
>>  >  >From Reynolds Price: /The good Priest's Son/ p. 64 --"Or so he felt,
>>as the
>>>promising waves spread out and rung his head and shoulders like orchid
>>>in a 1950s Hawaiian movie."
>>>It never would occur to me to use "rung" to mean  encircled, but  is
>>>a dialect in which that is permissible? This might, of course just be one
>>>of those absurd spell-checker artifacts.
>>>A. Murie
>>I've actually used this as a class exercise:  why is the past tense
>>of the verb "to ring" meaning 'surround' RINGED rather than RANG?
>>[or, I would assume, RUNG]  The point is analogous to the observation
>>that the past tense of the denominal verb "grandstand" must be
>>"grandstanded" rather than "grandstood", as Pinker discusses.  But
>>now it turns out the "ring" fact may be wrong--like Pinker's point
>>about how we have to say a batter "FLIED out" to left and not "FLEW
>>out", when in fact many speakers, including sports announcers, do
>>indeed say that the batter flew out to left.  So it's not too
>>surprising if some (although I'm not among them) can talk about waves
>>that rung (or rang) someone's head like leis.
>>Do I hear SOTA?
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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