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Carpe Linguam

Updated on March 5, 2017
teresapelka profile image

Linguist, specialized in American English and psycholinguistics; inventor of Language Mapping, a generative grammar; author and translator.

As we might care for style, we might care for our American English not to go against word sense.

The CNN report
The CNN report | Source


Inside a safe room of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Ambassador Chris Stevens took cover with two other foreign service officers, says the CNN report on the US embassy assault.

For Smith, the rescue came too late. He had already succumbed to smoke inhalation by the time they arrived, the report continues.

We can expect the dramatic narrative, also with news reports. In simplest of words, the dramatic narrative is in the "nodal Present time". Matters get told as if witnessed, and the grammatical Past, if used, is only to reflect on some time having passed.

This mode to tell things does not waive language semantics. A tree might succumb to drought, a dam could yield to water. However, trees or dams are not animate. We humans do not focus on individual will in hunted animals, either.

The bull succumbed in 40 yards and yielded to the 400 grain Woodleigh bullet ... (Patience, endurance, and plain hard work, by PH Jofie Lamprecht).

A succumbing bull might kneel. A succumbing wild cat could lie down. A human being, succumbing to temptation, might have the guilty pleasure of one hot chocolate extra in the afternoon. With regard to humans, who are animate as well as cognitive, the verb "to succumb" implies volitional surrender.

Privation or loss of postural control or even life are not willful relinquishment, semantically.

American Heritage entry on sacrifice
American Heritage entry on sacrifice | Source


Most had never heard the name Al Qaeda. And yet, it’s because of their sacrifice that we’ve come together and dealt a crippling blow to the organization that brought evil to our shores, said Barack Obama during the wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, 2012.

They will endure in the hearts of our nation, because through their sacrifice, they helped us make the America we are today — an America that has emerged even stronger, he continued.

If we look up "sacrifice" with the Heritage Dictionary, we get An offering for the sake of something else, forfeiture, something sold at a financial loss — nothing we might suppose to have taken place on the part of 9/11 victims, and the baseball reference would not ring funny.

Etan Patz before his disappearance in 1979
Etan Patz before his disappearance in 1979 | Source


We're looking for human remains, clothing or other personal effects of Etan Patz, said New York police Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne in April 2012. The boy disappeared in 1979. He is not expected to be found alive.

The word “effect” remains very close with “effectiveness”. Searching for tracks or traces, we probably really think about biological traces; we people usually make those, dead or alive.

In American English or another language, people like to be effective. Already kids learn skills to be effective. Traces after a person considered dead cannot stand for such effectiveness.

There would be only some "effectness" remaining...

"Body of the public"?

Obviously, it is not only American English one may misconstrue and dictionaries, written by people, may have slogans sneaking within, as the Collins to have set down a "member of the public" was "a member of the general population".

There are believably "bodies politic" and "executive organs". However, the nation, the people, as well as the public ― are not organizations, bodies, or boards. More, the slogan "member of the public" is most often used about people who happen to pass by, also if completely coincidentally.

Here, a member of the public saved Chris the sheep

The Ottawa Sun reported Chris's rescuer as an Australian, champion shearer Ian Elkins.

Alas, Tammy Ven Dange, chief executive of the Canberra RSPCA, said about the sheep: "He's looking really good, he looks like a new man,"...


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    • teresapelka profile image

      Teresa Pelka 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      The 'sacrifice' has a different meaning here; try Hickey,

      ' I have also TALKED TO men who have made sacrifices for this country, and they have expressed themselves as being very definitely opposed to these Bills, and particularly to the one under discussion now.'

      The men were not deceased civilians unaware of what was going to happen. I didn't know about any scheming about the WTC, either.

      I am not an advocate of sacrifice.

      As for Ireland - my answering your comment here would derive from another hub - I think that the 'divide et impera' as by the British to have gone along the lines of religion to govern land, can be overcome in a free united state.

      There is no need to go about all history. On the other hand, what do you choose to have? A Girard scape goat renamed a hero patriot?

      Probably, there could be a referendum in Ireland on the will to unite before the vote in the North. I don't think this would be manipulative. It would be a human gesture for the sake of the thinking powers. :)

    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 5 years ago

      Interesting article. As I recall, Pádraig Pearse in 1916 used the word 'sacrifice' to describe his vision of Irish republican unity.

    • teresapelka profile image

      Teresa Pelka 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      I don't actually care much for the scripts; my point is that if you fall victim to something, telling you that was you wanted (sacrifice in this sense could be only willful) sure couldn't make matters better.

      Thanks for your comment :)

    • profile image

      Chris Granquist 5 years ago

      WELL stated.......although I had to go back and read his speech, I trust you when you say it was said one way and written another. "...their sacrifice..." FEH. No sacrifice was given, lives were taken away.