[Ads-l] Intransitive "publish"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Oct 10 19:49:00 EDT 2018

But doesn’t middle voice tend to involve dispositions/capacities rather than episodic or eventive clauses?  Compare standard middle examples from the literature like
Poetry doesn’t translate easily.
This bread will cut with a sharp knife.
Those cars are selling like hotcakes.
Bean curd digests easily.
The soup that eats like a meal.
‘Mr. Howard amuses easy' (as in the eponymous paper representing earliest treatment of the construction I know of, by Anna Granville Hatcher (Modern Language Notes, 1943—a paper that also uses asterisks for ungrammatical sentences!)

Typically, there’s an adverb relating to *manner* (not time) and a general, non-episodic, interpretation (cf. #Mr. Howard amused last night).  In the case of “This book published last night”, we have an episodic interpretation involving a one-time event.  So I’m not sure I see it as a garden-variety middle.


> https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/middle-voice-sentences
> Neal
>> On Oct 10, 2018, at 3:54 PM, Marc Sacks <msacksg at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> I don't think any of these examples matches the one I cited, though maybe
>> the 1972 entry comes close.
>> I read the " The newspapers do not publish on Good
>> Friday" example more like "The network does not broadcast after midnight."
>> And "This just published" is like "This just in."
>> I don't see "the book published last month" in quite that way. Maybe it's
>> middle voice, like "the book reads well"?
>> --Marc
>>> On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 3:00 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Subject:      Re: Intransitive "publish"
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> Intransitive "publish" is pretty common these days. OED3 breaks it down
>>> into two senses: 3c (of an author, as in "publish or perish") and 3d (of a
>>> work -- as Vox uses it). Examples for the latter sense date back to 1849:
>>> 1849   Times 13 Aug. 10/2 (advt.)    Amusement while travelling--Publishing
>>> monthly, one shilling each, the Railway Library.
>>> 1918   C. S. Lewis Let. 27 Oct. (1966) 45   He [sc. Heinemann] told me that
>>> John Galsworthy (who publishes with them) had seen my MS.
>>> 1928   Public Opinion 6 Apr. 325/1   The newspapers do not publish on Good
>>> Friday.
>>> 1972   Evening Telegram (St. John's, Newfoundland) 24 June 1/1   The
>>> Evening Telegram will publish Monday, June 26 which is being observed as
>>> Discovery Day in Newfoundland.
>>> I'd say the intransitive usage has been further popularized in the age of
>>> online publishing. Among journalists you typically hear things like "this
>>> just published" (i.e., just appeared online via publishing software), or if
>>> you're in a hurry, "this just pubbed."
>>>> On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 2:49 PM Marc Sacks <msacksg at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> I just encountered this in a "Vox" article:
>>>> Enterprising Southern women have been trading on this platonic ideal of a
>>>> lifestyle forever. The latest is Reese Witherspoon, whose book *Whiskey
>>> in
>>>> a Teacup*
>>>> <
>>> https://go.redirectingat.com?id=66960X1516588&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FWhiskey-Teacup-Reese-Witherspoon%2Fdp%2F1471166228
>>>> published last month.
>>>> Shouldn't that be "was published," or is it perhaps self-published? Has
>>> any
>>>> of you encountered the transitive "publish" elsewhere? It's new to me.
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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