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06 August 2010 @ 11:11 am
Connotation / denotation / other stuff  
1. Headline: Missouri families grieve 2 slain in school buses wreck.

Comment: To me, "slain" has a connotation of deliberateness, more like murder, rather than accident. What say you all? Or was it simply a matter, since it's a headline, of choosing a word with five letters rather than six ("killed")?

2. Suppose you are in the USA and are on a road with five lanes: two in one direction, two in the opposite direction, and one in the middle available for left turns from either direction. This middle lane is typically double-striped: solid yellow on the outside and dashed yellow on the inside. What do you call that middle lane?

3. Masseuse: when did this become the word for male or female provider? I thought masseur was male, masseuse was female, and massage therapist was gender-neutral. Or is massage therapist only used for medical contexts, not for spas? Also, can you think of any other cases of the female form of a word subsuming the male form (as opposed to, say, actor/actress which is now commonly actor)?

4. "Gifted me with": when did this overtake "gave me"? And why? Am I wrong to think it sounds somewhat pretentious?
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
The watcher over there: snowflakedafydd on August 6th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
I can do "Missouri families grieve two killed in school bus wreck" with only one more character. I think the copy writer was just being lazy. Or undereducated.

"Two die in Missouri school bus wreck. Families grieve." is the same number of characters, counting the period.
We're flat broke, but hey - we do it in style....: Oxford Commakshandra on August 6th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
...and wouldn't "Missouri families mourn two killed in school bus wreck" be more appropriate?

Grieve, mourn imply showing suffering caused by sorrow. Grieve is the stronger word, implying deep mental suffering often endured alone and in silence but revealed by one's aspect: to grieve over the loss (or death) of a friend. Mourn usually refers to manifesting sorrow outwardly, either with or without sincerity: to mourn publicly and wear black. (dictionary.com)
The watcher over theredafydd on August 6th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
Yah, you're right. I was focusing on an alternative for "slain." *shrug*

Annetxanne on August 6th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, because "mourn" takes a direct object and "grieve" doesn't, although in this degenerate age, who can tell?
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 6th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
"Grieve" seems also to have become the verb form of "file a grievance", and in that context, it does tend to take an object.

I can't decide if I object to that usage or not.
Annetxanne on August 6th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
I have never heard that usage, which is good because I'll probably deck the first person who tries it on me.
Charlie Princeccprince on August 6th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
(My background -- managing editor of my college newspaper, responsible for all the typesetting, and for writing my share of headlines)

Lots of factors will go into writing a headline, from the space requirements (which go more into the widths of the letters, rather than the number of letters) to style (I don't remember what the guidelines were on multiple-sentence headlines, but they just look off to me) to timing ("I'm on deadline, that headline fits, and I've got thirty more to write. Good enough.").

As for "killed" vs. "slain," it might just be a matter of a slightly more "dramatic" headline, with exactly those connotations in mind.

(While I'm here, I call it a "left-turn lane," "gifting" should go the way of "taking away learnings." I have no opinion on what you call someone who gives a massage, except that I'd like one, please.)
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: iotterfatfred on August 6th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)

1. Yes. To me, "slain" is far more personal.
2. Double turn lane.
3. Nothing off the top of my head.
4. They are verbing things again. Even the word "verbing" sets my teeth on edge.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 6th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
I have no problem with turning nouns into verbs if there isn't an existing equivalent, but it annoys me if there is already a perfectly good word.
Curious Stuffonelargecat on August 6th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
yes, exactly!
Alter S. Reissdhole on August 6th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
Any other cases of the female form of a word subsuming the male form

Blonde and brunette, I think. You do see blond and brunet, but my impression is that the distinction is not strongly gendered, and the female forms are more common. The male version of a divorcée should be a divorcé, but while that's fallen out of use, I'm not sure you see many men being called divorcées.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 6th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Excellent examples.
Peter Engdornbeast on August 6th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
1. "Slain" is related to "slay." You're right.

2. I call it a turn lane.

3. Not a clue.

4. No idea when or why, but it does sound pretentious, along of the lines of "caused a monument to be created."
Peter Engdornbeast on August 6th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
After a moment's thought, I'd say that the only reasonable usage of "gifted me with" is something like, "God has gifted me with the strength of ten for the purpose of defending this fortress..."
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 6th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Hm. In that context, I'd probably use "granted me the strength of ten".
I'm a mocker: Cheeseburgereusashead on August 6th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
1. I have the same sense you do of the meaning of "slain," but being a copy editor I had to look it up. Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary agrees with us. Just curious: was this a print or an online headline? I mostly read local news at my local newspaper's online site, and their headlines are the worst and deteriorating daily (not to mention that they apparently rely on snarky commenters to correct their atrocious grammar and spelling screwups).

2. "Left turn lane" is the first thing that comes to mind.

3. Did that happen? I heard it used that way once, in 1997, and I just thought the people using it were ignorant. Around here (Portland) it's mostly "massage therapist."

Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 6th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
1. Online -- at www.charter.net

2. I call it a double-left-turn lane, to distinguish from a left turn lane that applies only to one direction.

3. I'm seeing it more and more, even in print.
Buddha Buckblaisepascal on August 6th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
In most places in the US, a "massage therapist" is a licensed profession, whereas a "masseuse/masseur" may be a less regulated term.
Xiphias Gladiusxiphias on August 6th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
As such, "masseuse/masseur" may have an implication of borderline prostitution which "massage therapist" doesn't.

I suspect it's a useful distinction, since I figure that people who want to go to a prostitute will be disappointed in getting an actual massage, while people who need actual muscle work won't be satisfied with a prostitute.
Buddha Buckblaisepascal on August 6th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
It can also lead to some unusual situations...

I've been to a large, clothing optional event where licensed massage therapists who were offering their services for free had to require that they and their clients put on clothing in order to get a massage, even though the massages were happening in an area open to children (so no sex really possible) and no money changed hands.
Lollee: Educator at worklolleeroberts on August 6th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
1. Slain is the past participle of slay - it does imply intent.

2. I call it a turning lane.

3. I've seen it a few times lately online and it's definitely jarring. In Texas we have licensed massage therapists, and I use that term if I'm referring to one of them.

4. It's pretentious. I have heard someone defend it by saying it implies a formal gift-giving occasion as opposed to someone "giving" you the salt shaker or the morning paper, but to me that's two wrongs trying to make a right.
A Wandering Hobbitredbird on August 6th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
If "killed" makes the headline too tight, they could say "2 dead in bus wreck."
Curious Stuffonelargecat on August 6th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
1. I agree with you. Slain sounds intentional to me. Merriam Webster says "to kill violently" so I guess technically they were killed violently, but it still seems like the wrong connotation here.

2. I'd call that the turn lane.

3. I don't know...I use "massage therapist" for all of them (never had a medical massage, but had plenty of them at spas) because I feel like "masseuse" has been used too often to mean something...let's say...unprofessional. haha.

4. I don't know but I hate it and I also think it's pretentious.
Xiphias Gladiusxiphias on August 6th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
I disagree with the term "masseuse" being something unprofessional.

I just think it's a different profession.
Curious Stuffonelargecat on August 6th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
true dat.
seawasp: piccoloseawasp on August 6th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
1) Slain: Formal/dramatic way of saying "killed". More commonly used for "killed by deliberate action" but doesn't actually connote that.

2) Turn lane.

3) I'm not sure that's a universal change.

4) Pretentious, yes.
The Broad Majestic Shannonms_interpret on August 6th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
I'll agree with everyone on 1).
2) Center turn lane or Double turn lane or Two-way turn lane. But I'm Canadian, so YMMV.
3) Massage therapist is a licensed profession in most places, I think. So someone who does massages who isn't a LMT is a masseur or masseuse. But I think that you're right and masseuse is used more often.
4) My feeling on 'gifted' is that it is pretentious to some extent, but that it sort of emphasizes that what was given was a gift, not a cast off. Like, "My mother gave me some clothes" vs. "My mother gifted me with clothes". In the first, it could be hand-me-downs. Not so much in the second. I'm not explaining it as well as I'd like. "Gifted me with..." seems to be emphasizing that it was something special, a good gift. Where as 'gave' could be either, and in some cases could even mean 'lent'. "Dad gave me his car for the weekend". "Dad gifted me with his car for the weekend" doesn't really mean anything to me, except that maybe his car is REALLY expensive and he'd never generally lend it to anyone.
And I would not use the word 'gifted' myself unless it was sarcastic. "My brother gifted me with his chicken pox".
fatcookfatcook on August 6th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
Died has two fewer letters and describes what happened better to me.

2. The suicide lane. (You lived in Phoenix, you know why and it's only gotten worse.)

3. No idea.

4. Yes, it sounds pretentious. I think it has something to do with "re-gifting" things.
zemhitchhiker on August 6th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
1. you're right, "slain" is definitely the wrong word to use there, because, as you say, it implies agency

2. i've heard it called the suicide lane

3. never seen masseuse used for a man. it'd startle me.

4. ugly usage, i agree
madshutterbug: Houdini & Imadshutterbug on August 6th, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
Pretty much 1 - 4 covered by previous posters.

5. I really like that icon. *G*
Kathiebookwyrm_sr on August 7th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
Want another fingernails-on-the-blackboard example?
In this area (MN), "I *borrowed* him my new fitb" is not uncommon. Drives me NUTS!

Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 7th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Johnjohnpalmer on August 8th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
I think "gifted me with" is okay if there's some big reason that the gift is meaningful

I call the middle lane "the turning lane" or, if a humorous name is desired, "the suicide lane". (And, it's quite properly used for both making a left turn, and for letting you make a left turn into it, at least in Washington.)
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on August 10th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
1. I would read "slain" as "killed tragically" in that context. It might not be the phrasing I'd use, but it doesn't jump out at me as wrong.

2. "Turn lane" or "left-turn lane", more or less interchangeably.

3. "Seamstress" seems to have expanded to cover tailors also.

4. No, you're not wrong, and not the only one either. If I use that form at all, it has a very negative, sarcastic connotation: "He came home with the Con Crud and gifted me with it too."