move over, "sleptwalked"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jun 8 19:48:01 UTC 2008

At 2:07 PM -0400 6/8/08, Wilson Gray wrote:
>On Sun, Jun 8, 2008 at 10:01 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> 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:      move over, "sleptwalked"
>>  We've discussed the double preterit "sleptwalked" as a past tense of
>>  "sleepwalk" (2010 google hits, compared to 48,700 for the standard
>>  "sleepwalked").  We don't have too many other candidates for this
>>  doubly-conjugated or doubly-declined status
>_locus classicus: Lat. "res publica"; accusative "rem publicam", genitive
>"rei publicae", etc._
>How is it known that the Romans truly considered "res publica" to be a
>single lexical item?

M. T. Cicero, p.c. (and time travel)

But good point!  I guess that's what I was taught, and never really
wondered how we know (if we do).  Maybe no separate modification of
the "adjective"?


>>  but here's one from *my subscription copy* of today's Times,
>>  first page of the SportsSunday section, reporting on a horse race
>>  yesterday that received some attention:
>>  ==============
>>  So when Kent Desormeaux approached the final turn and asked Big Brown
>>  to engage those booster rockets that had slungshot him to victory in
>>  the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, a hot and sweaty crowd
>>  of 94,476 stood and roared, anticipating that he would swoosh past
>>  the grandstand and into immortality.
>>  ==============
>>  Now if you check the online version of the article, at
>>  you'll find that _slungshot_ has been "corrected", so the passage now
>>  refers to "those booster rockets that had slingshotted him to
>>  victory".  The author of the piece is the celebrated Times racing
>>  reporter and author of the recently well received book _To the Swift:
>>  Classical Triple Crown Horses and Their Race for Glory_ (whose
>>  paperback version will not require an appendix on Big Brown).
>>  I tried googling "slungshot" but the first few pages of hits involve
>>  an alternate form of the noun rather than the past tensed verb.  But
>>  just what is that verb, anyway?  Is it in fact "slingshoot" (a la
>>  "sleepwalk"), which itself would involve a back-formation of
>>  "slingshot"? Hard to tell, and once again most occurrences seem to
>>  involve yet another variant of the *noun*, not the verb.  I'd guess
>>  (and whoever post-edited Drape's piece for the online edition must
>>  have as well) that the standard form of the verb is taken to be
>>  "slingshot", as a zero-formation, rather than "slingshoot"; the OED
>>  concurs.  There's even a cite that employs a racing metaphor,
>>  although involving cars rather than horses:
>>  ==============
>>  1969 Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Va.) 5 July 6/4 'I could stay
>>  with him in a draft (the two cars running one behind the other).'..
>>  Yarborough said he purposely gave Baker two chances to slingshot past
>>  to learn if he was fast enough.
>>  ==============
>>  So while my first take on Drape's "slungshot" was to take it as a
>>  double preterit of "slingshoot", the evidence is murky.
>>  LH
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
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