Captured Same (UNCLASSIFIED)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon May 17 17:20:43 UTC 2010

At 12:53 PM -0400 5/17/10, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
>None of these, however, reach the level of Napier's "Peccavi"...

--ah, beat me to the punch.  I learned this one from Paul Grice, who
cites it as an example of exploiting ambiguity.

For those not it on the reference, Napier supposedly sent off his
terse report--only one word to reimburse Eastern Union for!--after
conquering Sind (in what is now Pakistan) in the mid-19th century.
Like all good British officers, Napier and the intended recipient of
his message knew their Public School Latin, and would know that
"peccavi" = 'I have sinned'--which Napier indeed had, on both
readings, since in seizing the province he overstepped his mission.
But no doubt he just couldn't resist the pun, if indeed he made it.
(More likely, it was a classic mot d'escalier.)


>On 5/17/2010 12:46 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society<ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC"<Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>
>>Subject:      Re: Captured Same (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
>>Caveats: NONE
>>>A related story...a US submarine captain in the Pacific, supposedly
>>>a successful attack as "Sighted tanker, sank 'er", in admiration of
>>>Ens. (or
>>>AMM1/c) Mason's message.
>>>Bill Palmer
>>And after the Battle of Makin, MG Ralph Smith reported a victory:
>>"Makin Taken".
>>Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
>>Caveats: NONE
>>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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