Q: animal "produce"?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Nov 24 15:11:17 UTC 2008

At 9:45 AM -0500 11/24/08, Charles Doyle wrote:
>Regional, and perhaps influenced by taboos and taxonomies
>prevalently observed in those regions by Jews and Roman Catholics?

I wouldn't have it was a religious issue historically, but it could
be.  I've always assumed the motive was more pecuniary in that the
supermarkets here that have a separate fish department where you can
request both fresh and "fresh" fish and seafood from the fishmonger
(more usually called the fish guy) consider this to be a more upscale
service than markets with pre-wrapped fish only.  Our big markets
don't have a special meat department; all the meat is pre-wrapped,
although you can sometimes find a butcher behind the meat dept. and
call out your request.  The smaller, more upscale markets do have a
dedicated butcher and well as fishmonger, and the prices (and I
assume quality) usually reflect this.

For me, "meat" does exclude "fish", but this is partly the same
lexical issue that arises with "cats"/"kittens", "shoes"/"slippers",
etc., and in particular with "animals", which may include all
non-plant life but may also be narrowed explicitly in certain
established cases:  "humans and animals", "animals, birds, and fish"
but not "animals, mammals, and fish", given that mammals are
prototype animals.  The inclusive relations of "fish" vs. "seafood",
as mentioned, is especially weird, and one I suspect we've discussed
here over the years.


>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 12:30:32 -0500
>>From: Alice Faber <faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU>
>>This may be regional. I went to a supermarket (non-chain) that I'd
>>never been to before yesterday. The meat/butcher counter was across
>>the store from the fish counter which was right next to the deli
>>counter (and seemed to share personnel with it). This is consistent
>>with the indie market near where my sister lives (also in
>>Connecticut) as well as with the practice in the two chain
>>supermarkets I regularly shop in.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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