Re: two nations divided by a common tongue

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sun Jan 23 2000 - 19:09:57 MST

At 09:56 AM 23/01/00 EST, Greg wrote:

>> By `have a problem with' I meant `strenuously object to'; Greg and
>> QueenMuse read it, I think, as `are plagued by a high frequency of'. Just
>> the opposite of what I meant, or at least orthoganal.
>> Damien (not fluent in American)

>Just shows to go you how subtle language is -- what you took as the primary
>and obvious meaning of your phrase would be a secondary and very
>context-driven one in American English (but would have been consistent with
>the British usage, I believe).

Not wishing to beat this horse into the ground... but--

I should have reminded everyone that *my* odd (?) use of the phrase was
just a direct, unaltered recycling of *Sasha's*. He had written:

>(I like reminding people that out of millions of animal
>species, humans are the only one who have any problem seeing
>each other naked

Now I assume that while Sasha is a Russian-American (right?) whose English
usage therefore might be a bit skewed, Americans surely didn't suppose that
he was saying that humans are plagued by a high frequency of nakedness, or
hysterical blindness. He meant, as I meant, that (many/most) humans are
*worried by it*. The difference was that Sasha took this worry to be
neurotic; I was trying to situate it in a social context that made it more
understandable/functional. E.g., we worry about people cheating on term
papers (something few lions or ants get their knickers in a twist abt)
(`knickers' are underpants), not just because we are obsessively anal types
but because there's something at stake.

Anyway, I'm blaming Sasha for all this. :)


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