A language kept alive on life support, literally

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Jan 21 13:26:14 UTC 2008

In my Milton class, when asked to explain what the literary scholars (with decorous Latinity) term Adam's "uxoriousness," I defined it (with decorous clipping) as his being "whipped." The students, nearly all white, understood immediately, perfectly, and guffawingly.

But I agree with Wilson's (and Dennis B's) point about language preservation. It's a form of prescriptivism: "You, little peasant native boy, ought to talk like your great-grandparents!"


---- Original message ----
>Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 20:23:20 +0000
>From: ronbutters at AOL.COM
>Well, "pussy-whipped" is not an exclusively BE expression. It seems to me likely that it did not even originate in BE.
>Wilson writes:
>there are even expressions in BE that can't quite be translated into sE, e.g. "pussy-whipped" is not simply an obscene way of saying "hen-pecked."

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

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