[Ads-l] More Facebookery

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 28 21:49:28 UTC 2018

The commercial is something about rearing children to have self=esteem,
etc. So, it's

"Teach them [your children] to love themself."

Those who watch trash-TV shows such as "Jerry" and "Maury," whose "guests"
are self-selectedly drawn 99.44% from among the lower orders of black,
white, and Latino America, you'll hear "we ... ourself," "y'all/you ...
y'allself/yo'self/yourself," "they/them ... themself/theirself/theyself,"
etc. Naturally, these people are all speaking extemporaneously. Black
speakers of the relevant class have been using immutable _-self_ for at
least as long as I've been able to understand English/

But we - or, perhaps, only I - expect a professionally-made commercial
featuring, in the words of Dave Chappelle, "a pretty, young, white girl,"
to have been thought up, written out, scripted, edited, and rehearsed.

Yet, nobody in that chain noticed anything interesting about the line,

"Teach [your children] to love _themself_."

On Sat, Jul 28, 2018 at 2:02 AM Mark Mandel <mark.a.mandel at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 2:40 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> > ...
> >
> > If you live long enough actually to see your language deteriorating - er,
> > _evolving_ - right before your very eyes, it can be disconcerting, if not
> > seriously annoying. E.g., an actress in a commercial has just said,
> "Teach
> > them to love _themself_." And this is hardly a unique example. The
> > replacement of _-selves_ by _-self_ appears to be proceeding apace.
> >
> To be precise, with singular "they", i.e., the use of "they" to avoid
> specifying gender for a singular or possibly singular referent. At least, I
> *hope* we're not having "themself" used with a plural referent! In Wilson's
> example there's no way to tell.
> Mark Mandel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list