Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 622.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 11:44:17 +0000
From: "Francois Crompton-Roberts" <F.Crompton-Roberts@qmw.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: teleprompto, tangentially...
> Back to the problem of error; shall we agree with Bob Hall and
> Leave Our Language Alone? How long shall we have to have people
> like broadcasters, governors, presidents say `between you and I'
> before it becomes acceptable, then de rigeur? If a Supreme Court
> justice uses _fortuitous_ in the meaning of _fortunate_, is that not
> enough to change the meaning of the word? Who are the arbiters of
> usage? The Howard Cosell's of this world? The members of the French
> Academy (accused of failing to make agreement between the past
> participle and the object of words conjugated with avoir)?
This reminds me of a story I have half forgotten about one of the
great luminaries of the English language early last century (the
XXth). He was entertaining his great niece in his room in Oxford,
where she was an undergraduate and she had the temerity (being of his
kin--no one else would have dared) to pick him up, saying he had used
a word incorrectly. When he disputed this, she reached out for
Fowler's but he stopped her by saying mildly "But my dear, that won't
prove anything. Such books merely record how you and I speak".
The trouble is, I can't recall who it was. Does any Humanist know?
Incidentally, _livide_ in French means "pale". Robert quotes
Huysmans: "Jamais il n'avait vu une telle pleur... c'tait le teint
livide, exsangue des prisonniers du moyen-ge". I've never heard it
to mean "angry" only, tropically, "upset". Another _faux ami_.
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