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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