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New Use of the Verb Surface

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New Use of the Verb Surface

Postby Slava » Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:09 pm

From a NYTimes article on Obama:

But whether out of professorial reserve or budding political caution, Mr. Obama would not say so directly. “He surfaced all the competing points of view on Guinier’s proposals with total neutrality and equanimity,” Mr. Franklin said. “He just let the class debate the merits of them back and forth.”


I gather it means to go over superficially, not delving deep into motives, etc. A quick once-over, shall we say.

Does anyone out there know of any other such uses?

Link to full article, for those interested:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/us/po ... nted=print
Last edited by Slava on Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sluggo » Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:25 am

Isn't the pseudoverb used, however unseemlyly, to mean "to pave over", as a road? At least in repetitive form-
("there are construction delays while they resurface the road")

-although that sense doesn't make any in the LAT example except ineptly. Did they mean cover up or ignore?

Sounds ambisinistrous to me. I say we converge on their office with torches to demand the editor's head.
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Postby Perry » Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:33 am

For me the meaning conveyed by, “He surfaced all the competing points of view on Guinier’s proposals with total neutrality and equanimity,” is that he "brought them all up".
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Postby Stargzer » Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:06 am

Upon reflection I have to agree with Perry. Think of sub commander: "Prepare to surface! ... Surface, surface!"

It's still an awkward turn of phrase. I expect no less from the NYT.

... Stargzer's seen too many old war movies ...
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Postby sluggo » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:17 pm

Stargzer wrote:Upon reflection I have to agree with Perry. Think of sub commander: "Prepare to surface! ... Surface, surface!"

It's still an awkward turn of phrase. I expect no less from the NYT.


oops - I thought he'd said L.A. Times. (Sluggo changes flight)

So "brought up" something that was theretofore buried, i.e. "revealed"? Could be. Could equally be "buried" as in "put a lid on". Could even be "glossed over".

Very murky verbage any way you parse it. I hope they get a flurry of strongly worded letters so that this sort of libertytaking doesn't surface again.
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Postby Slava » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:36 pm

Well, we can't blame the paper, as it's just a quote from someone. That doesn't mean I like it any more than I might, though.

While this verb does have a transitive meaning, it is that mentioned by Sluggo, to put a surface on something.

Coming to the surface is an intransitive use; the submarine surfaced. Not "the commander surfaced the submarine." And even here, it makes more sense than in the idea of broaching ideas.
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Postby bnjtokyo » Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:20 am

I found an example of similar usage from in the minutes of a Fredricksburg VA city council meeting in 2005
She questioned whether the counties could obligate themselves to a long term lease to which staff stated yes they could. Councilor Girvan expressed her concern with turning over to the state City owned land when the stated failed to fund many of the City's needs. She surfaced the idea of requiring a super majority vote or rather multiple super majority votes in order to compromise this land in any way.


An alternate word here would be "broached," one of the nautical definitions of which make it a synonym for "surface."
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Postby Perry » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:06 am

I think that usage of surfaced as a synonym for broached should be buried deep and well.
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Postby sluggo » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:08 am

My mistake in careless reading. Wasn't an editor, only a ...teacher.

Perry wrote:I think that usage of surfaced as a synonym for broached should be buried deep and well.


I on the other hand think it should be tossed down the shaft and paved over.
...topped? capped?

-just what the language needs- a verb that means the opposite of itself :roll:
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Postby Slava » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:20 pm

sluggo wrote:-just what the language needs- a verb that means the opposite of itself


So, you don't wish to cleave to this word?
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Postby Perry » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:38 pm

Sluggo is too much of a gentleman to cleave on the first date.
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Postby Stargzer » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:08 pm

Slava wrote:Well, we can't blame the paper, as it's just a quote from someone. That doesn't mean I like it any more than I might, though.
...


Yeah, I guess we can't blame them for this mangling of the mother tongue. They've taken more than enough rope already.
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