Geoff Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Wed May 19 14:26:57 UTC 2010

Without wanting to get into a political hoo-haw about this, I should note that Mr. Blumenthal is reputed to have said 'in Vietnam' not once but several times. Once I could understand being a 'misspeaking', although normal people correct errors like that at once, as Jonathan suggests. But normal people don't make that kind of speech error several times on different occasions--real speech errors don't work that way. And I agree with Jonathan also that attempting to spin the phrase makes no sense at all, either. In this context, 'in' means 'in', not 'during'. And, since he's roughly my age, I don't think he's speaking some 'advanced' dialect either.

Plainly, whatever his other merits, he was claiming something he didn't have.

Geoffrey S. Nathan
Faculty Liaison, C&IT
and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
+1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)

----- "Jonathan Lighter" <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> From: "Jonathan Lighter" <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 10:12:02 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
> Subject: Re: Vietnam
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Vietnam
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> FWIW, I am absolutely unaware of the phrase "in Vietnam" ever being
> used to
> mean "during the Vietnam War."  The simplest synonym for that phrase
> would
> be, "during Vietnam."
> I once taught a course on the American pop culture of the subject.
> It is certainly possible that Blumenthal might accidentally have said
> "served in" when he meant "served during," but my opinion is that he
> could
> have and should have caught and corrected himself.  In that split
> second he
> chose not to.

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