Whiz & names (UNCLASSIFIED)

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Wed Sep 26 17:57:57 UTC 2007


I do have "do a dance," but it does not have the same range of
occurrences as "dance" but pretty much that same as "dance a dance."
Pretty much since I have the following judgments:

Hi; you want to dance (OK)
Hi; you want to dance this dance (bad)
Hi; you want to dance this next dance (OK)
Hi you want to do this dance (awful, unless I am inviting someone to perform)
Hi; You want to do this next dance (???, probably no good)


>--------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: Whiz & names (UNCLASSIFIED)
>"Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream
>dreams" (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28). I wonder if the phrasing in the King
>James Bible has canonized (so to speak) the locution "dream + dream."
>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 11:23:53 -0400
>>From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>At 7:10 AM -0400 9/26/07, Dennis Preston wrote:
>>>Notice, for example, how the historical verb "dream" becomes a
>>>noun and then disqualifies itself by redundancy in "dream a dream"
>>>(although "dream a very pleasant dream" or any other interruptive
>>>seems to make cognate verb-object constructions OK).
>>I wouldn't be so hasty with this claim.  "I dreamed a dream" alone
>>has 165,000 ghits; I looked it up because I know at least two songs
>>containing that line.  While many of these hits reference one or
>>another such song lines I would imagine the cognate object
>>construction is not that hard to find in spoken rather than sung
>>English.  (There are also many hits for "he dreamed a dream (last
>>night)" and such.
>>>Once "have" steps into this role, then it can be
>>>used with "nightmare," which has no status as a verb at all.
>>>I'd certainly be interested in seeing a crosslinguistic study of
>>>these cognate verb-noun constructions. Has there been any work on
>>>PS: I know Wilson, you can "walk the walk" and "talk the talk," so
>>>don't give (make) that speech.
>>>PPS: Notice how "sing the song" is OK because of the phonetic dissimilarity.
>>There's also "danced a dance"--faute de mieux, since we don't have
>>"do/make/have a dance".  These redundancies are in general much
>>better than, say,
>>*She is eyed (vs. {blue/brown/green}-eyed)
>>*an eyed man (vs. a one-eyed/brown-eyed man)
>>*He is haired
>>--where the unmodified form is not only predictable but ungrammatical.
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Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
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