You are what you watch.

TV, Movies, Web, Books, and other extraneous things, and why some are worth your time and money - mostly

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Language Change

I noticed an interesting linguistic change in my history text book, A Pocket History of the United States. I read this sentence:
The patriot forces were at first wretchedly organized.
This confused me. Just a few pages earlier I'd read that we were "undisciplined and half-armed." I underlined the sentence, thinking that this sort of contradiction was something I could base my paper on. Then after a few minutes puzzling it out I realized what was going on. When Commager and Nevins wrote "wretchedly", in 1942, the meant "very badly" organized. But I read it to mean, overly organized. To my 2005 eyes "wretchedly organized" connoted a high level of organization, so overly organized that it was wretched.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home