Re: USAGE: towing the line (was: THEORY: no more URs!)
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, May 26, 2002, 18:55|
Quoting John Cowan <jcowan@...>:
> Thomas R. Wier scripsit:
> > Towing the line of the department is an all too common frailty,
> This is a very interesting expression, and I wonder if it is a
> mere brain fart (a typo seems to be ruled out)
I dunno. As any reader of my posts is surely aware, they are
usually replete with typos. But...
> or a genuine
> reanalysis of an old expression no longer understood. Historically,
> one "toed the line" when engaged in competitive running or archery
> or such; that is, stood with one's toe at, but not over, the starting
> line. Hence the notion of conforming to the rules.
> What do y'all understand by this phrase?
... indeed, I will admit, the cultural background foe this phrase
had become opaque for me.
> We already have the well-known expression "doggy-dog world"
> for "dog-eat-dog world".
This is certainly something that I've never said, though I can
see that it's motivated on clearly phonological grounds: for
the same reason, many people say ['aIs.t_hi:] for "iced tea".
Thomas Wier "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n /
Dept. of Linguistics mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..."
University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought /
1010 E. 59th Street and not complete one road that has no turn"
Chicago, IL 60637 Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers