[LMB] people's use of language is funny (for some values of funny)

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Thu Jul 15 02:14:56 BST 2021


And technically none of those words are being used in a rigorously correct
way.

A method I use to decide whether to support or condemn a change:  does it
increase the expressiveness of the language, or decrease it?

I remember a linguistic discussion of the tendency to use a reflexive
"borrow" rather than "loan" in some dialects, with some people taking the
prohibition against prescriptivism to the point of saying it's okay.  But
"would you borrow me a pencil" has a perfectly good, if uncommonly used,
meaning in the standard language, which the dialects were eliminating.  And
there was an existing way to use 'borrow' to convey the intended meaning,
simply by attributing the action to the speaker rather than the addressee.

If one tried to use that formulation with =me=, they wouldn't get a pencil.

Matt G.


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