[Ads-l] Quote verification

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 13 23:15:24 UTC 2020

He might also have been trasnsposing "dog-faced liar" (an uncommon, but 
longtime variant of bald-faced liar).

Also, although perhaps unintended, "dog-faced pony soldier" is an 
oxymoron.  "Dog-face" was a WWII era nickname for the infantry (from as 
early as 1935) and "pony soldier" was an older nickname for cavalry, 
borrowed from Native Americans speaking English from as early as 1868.  
The nickname "dog-face" was likely the inspiration for the use of 
"dog-face" as used by the narrator in She Wore  Yellow Ribbon, as 
discussed in the Slate.com article Ben Zimmer shared.  But in that film, 
which took place in the 1870s, it would have been an anachronism.

Coincidentally, one of the early examples of "pony soldier" I found in 
print was a similar oxymoron, "walk-a-heap pony soldier."  "Walk-a-heap" 
was the Indian word for infantrymen.  But in that case, they were 
referring to cavalry soldiers who abandoned their horses and pursued 
them on foot, so it wasn't really an oxymoron.

The closest match to "lying dog-faced pony soldier" I saw was 
"sweat-stained, unwashed "dog-faced" ground soldier," in a story about 
infantry training.


------ Original Message ------
From: "Ben Zimmer" <bgzimmer at gmail.com>
To: ADS-L at listserv.uga.edu
Sent: 2/11/2020 6:43:45 PM
Subject: Re: Quote verification

>---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
>Subject:      Re: Quote verification
>This Slate piece is the best investigation into what the heck Biden might
>have been thinking when he said that. He may have been conflating a line in
>the 1952 Tyrone Power movie "Pony Soldier" ("The pony soldier speaks with a
>tongue of the snake that rattles") with a line in the 1949 John Wayne movie
>"She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" ("So here they are, the dog-faced soldiers...").
>On Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 8:37 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
>>  On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah played a clip of Biden at a campaign stop
>>  being asked by a student in the audience how he was going to win national=
>>  if he had done so poorly in Iowa, and he responded by asking the question=
>>  if she had ever participated in a caucus.  When she said she had, he
>>  responded by calling her =E2=80=9Ca lying dog-faced pony soldier=E2=80=9D=
>, an unusual way
>>  to go after undecided voters. Biden=E2=80=99s team was later asked later =
>to clarify
>>  the remark, which Noah described as =E2=80=9Cstrong words=E2=80=A6that I =
>don=E2=80=99t really
>>  understand at all=E2=80=9D (although he provided some vivid images of pos=
>>  referents; see https://tinyurl.com/t4yg7mv starting at 4:15). Biden's
>>  campaign later claimed it was a quote from a John Wayne movie, but nobody
>>  has been able to identify the movie.  There are others.)
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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