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Re: Need some help with terms: was "rhotic miscellany"

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Friday, November 5, 2004, 19:30
Sally Caves scripsit:

> It's an old confusion. In early ME, or in the transition from OE to ME, I > believe, "lay" and "set" were established as transitive alternatives to the > intransitives "lie" and "sit."
Which is why we either lay or set the table.
> especially among my dissertationers,
What a great word! Apparently it's a coinage: searching Google shows no hits for "dissertationer" except in Swedish text (pl. of "dissertation", I suppose).
> I insist on it, and I hope that doesn't stir John Cowan's sense of > elitist prescriptivism. :),
Not too much.
> Because it is so prevalent, I believe the distinction will die, and > "lay" will cover the intransitive meaning as well.
Though I hear and see plenty of hypercorrect forms: "I was tired, so I lied down." For some reason, this upsets me much more than the opposite. There is also transitive "lay" = "have sex with" (either party can be the subject) to further muddy the waters.
> "lie" (sustain a prostrate or prone position)
ObPedantic: I think these are synonymous. Do you perchance mean "a prone or supine position"? (If there is a ten-dollar word for lying on your side, I don't know it.) -- John Cowan Female celebrity stalker, on a hot morning in Cairo: "Imagine, Colonel Lawrence, ninety-two already!" El Auruns's reply: "Many happy returns of the day!"


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>