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You, a Short History

A discussion of word histories and origins.

You, a Short History

Postby Slava » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:02 am

A rather nice and well written piece on whence "you" came:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2013/01/pronouns
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:49 am

Interesting. I replied on the Economist, but I want to copy here for comments from our members and onlookers experience. You guests do know you can jump in here too, don't you?

I find Spanish speakers in Louisiana almost never use usted, but always the informal tu. I might assume that since the second, informal person disappeared in English, then usted might triumph in Spanish. Most Spanish writing I read today is either news or informal on Twitter, so I don't have a lot to compare. It may be only local.
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby Slava » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:55 am

Perry Lassiter wrote:Interesting. I replied on the Economist, but I want to copy here for comments from our members and onlookers experience. You guests do know you can jump in here too, don't you?

Actually, guests can only read. One must be a registered user to "jump in." At least as far as I understand.
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:31 pm

Well, yes, but there lately have been only about a dozen or so commenters, and I'm happy when a new voice is heard from. I want to encourage those members who mostly lurk to pitch in from time to time.
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby Slava » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Perry Lassiter wrote:Well, yes, but there lately have been only about a dozen or so commenters, and I'm happy when a new voice is heard from. I want to encourage those members who mostly lurk to pitch in from time to time.

Well, more power to you if you can find them and drag them in. I agree, I'd love to see more, but I don't know how to bait the hook. Perhaps the return of a prodigal, gailr, might encourage others. We can only hope.
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby gailr » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:14 am

Who you callin' a prodigal?

A prodigy, perhaps, on my best days, but *never* repentant enough to be a prodigal! :D
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:50 pm

Just noticed the possibility of prodi-galfor the "distaff" group. Said with panache and a grin.
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby Slava » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:24 pm

gailr wrote:Who you callin' a prodigal?

A prodigy, perhaps, on my best days, but *never* repentant enough to be a prodigal! :D

Oops, I admit to always thinking of prodigal as "wandering," or "long lost." 'T'would appear I have long been wrong.

However, linguistically and to the benefit of the Agora, you can still be called prodigal:
www.dictionary.com wrote:2. giving or yielding profusely; lavish (usually followed by of or with): prodigal of smiles; prodigal with money.
3. lavishly abundant; profuse: nature's prodigal resources.


Have I made amends?
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:52 pm

The sin of jealousy trumps the sin of prodigality, as the elder son learned to his consternation. Prodigal means wasteful extravagance.
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby Slava » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:Prodigal means wasteful extravagance.

In certain contexts, not all.
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Re: You, a Short History

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:48 am

In Luke, the prodigal son wasted his substance in riotous living. (He went to New Orleans at Mardi Gras.) Possibly his prodigality connected in folks's minds with wastrel spending. The influence of the well known story itself lends the meaning of a lost soul, runaway, black sheep, etc. It may not be best to define the word and then impose it on the parable that shaped it.
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