BL: merry, God Rest You Merry
Posted: 03 January 2015 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Sometimes I wonder how certain academics get jobs...

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Posted: 04 January 2015 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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But the professor “researched the history of Christmas carols thoroughly”!  He must be right!

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Posted: 04 January 2015 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Sometimes I wonder how certain academics get jobs…

He probably had more publications than the other candidates, who wasted their time on niggling little details.

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Posted: 04 January 2015 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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And indeed the OED has an entry for the phrase merry England which further undermines the professor’s assertion that “The word ‘merry’ means strong or mighty, as in ‘merry old England”.

Originally: England characterized by its pleasant landscape, etc. Later (freq. humorous or ironic): England characterized by the robust cheerfulness of its people, esp. in an imagined past golden age (often identified with Elizabethan times).The adjective originally had the sense of merry adj. 1d, but was subsequently understood as merry adj. 5a.

a1400 (▸a1325) Cursor Mundi (Gött.) 8 (MED), [Me]n ȝernis iestis for to here..Of..[Brut]..[First conqu]erour of meri ingland.

NB merry adj. 1d is defined as Of a place or country: pleasant, agreeable in character. Obs.

merry adj. 5a is defined as Expressive of merriment, characterized by cheerfulness or exuberant gaiety, festive, joyful, jolly.

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Posted: 05 January 2015 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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In fairness, he isn’t a professor in the field of linguistics.

Hibbert: Son, I’m afraid that leg is hanging by a thread.
Lubchenko: Lubchenko must return to game!
Hibbert: [chuckles] Your playing days are over, my friend. But, you can always fall back on your degree in ... [reads chart] communications!? Oh, dear Lord!
Lubchenko: I know! Is phony major. Lubchenko learn nothing. Nothing! [cries]

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Posted: 05 January 2015 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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In fairness, he isn’t a professor in the field of linguistics.

I was being generous. You don’t need to be a professor of linguistics to know that when writing about words one should consult the OED. (And Wikipedia got it right. Did he do any research at all?)

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Posted: 06 January 2015 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dave Wilton - 05 January 2015 03:08 PM

. Did he do any research at all?

May have read something by Bill Bryson .

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Posted: 06 January 2015 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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There’s an old Rightpondian anecdote about a defendant in an Old Bailey murder trial who effectively put the noose about his own neck by prefacing every answer he gave in the dock with ‘Frankly…’, so that none of the jury believed a word he said. I must say that the gratuitous addition of ‘thoroughly’ to ‘researched’ always has much the same effect on me.  (This is largely the result of my and my husband’s several decades or involvement in historic costumed interpretation and re-enactment; twenty or more years ago we formulated a law stating that any group which claims their outfits are ‘researched down to the last button’ will prove to be embarrassing wannabes.  We have yet to encounter an exception.)

Dave Wilton - 05 January 2015 03:08 PM
. Did he do any research at all?

May have read something by Bill Bryson .

I suspect he may have read this little book (or a magazine article by someone who had).

I’m encouraged to see that this absurdity has not gone unchallenged on the page; the last three commentators have pointed out the alleged sense ‘mighty’ (a) is a fiction and (b) doesn’t even make sense in context.  Even if this had ever been one of the meanings of merry, on what possible grounds suppose that it was the one meant? One more in the rogues’ gallery of far-fetched “explanations” for sayings that not only needed no explanation in the first place, but actually make less sense than the obvious meaning does.  (I still think there ought to be a specific word for the impulse to create these and foist them on the world: ‘Aha! Just because ‘flogging a dead horse’ is a coherent metaphor conjuring up a simple image which exactly represents the futility being referred to, means its origin has to be nothing of the sort, but rather some obscure and irrelevant nautical practice which doesn’t.’)

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