[Marxism] Schoolmarm grammar

dan d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Fri Dec 28 19:17:55 MST 2012

And once more, I am WRONG. Having looked up HANG in an etymological 
dictionary of the English language, I once more realize that I should 
check my facts before shooting off my mouth.


hang (v.) 
<http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=hang&allowed_in_frame=0> Look 
up hang at Dictionary.com <http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=hang>
    a fusion of O.E. hon "suspend" (transitive, class VII strong verb;
    past tense heng, pp. hangen), and O.E. hangian (weak, intransitive,
    past tense hangode) "be suspended;" also probably influenced by O.N.
    hengja "suspend," and hanga "be suspended." All from P.Gmc. *khang-
    (cf. O.Fris. hangia, Du. hangen, Ger. hängen), from PIE *kank- "to
    hang" (cf. Goth. hahan, Hittite gang- "to hang," Skt. sankate
    "wavers," L. cunctari "to delay;" see also second element in
    As a method of execution, in late Old English (but originally
    specifically of crucifixion).

    Hung emerged as pp. 16c. in northern England dialect, and hanged
    endured only in legal language (which tends to be conservative) and
    metaphors extended from it (I'll be hanged). Teen slang sense of
    "spend time" first recorded 1951; hang around "idle, loiter" is from
    1830, and hang out (v.) is from 1811. Hang fire (1781) was
    originally used of guns that were slow in communicating the fire
    through the vent to the charge. To let it all hang out "be relaxed
    and uninhibited" is from 1967."<<

On 12/29/2012 03:00 AM, dan wrote:
> Well, this is not completely true.
> The verb HANG is a good ol' Germanic verb whose preterit was always 
> HUNG (English vb: HANG preterit : HUNG, German : HING HANG, Dutch : 
> As is the case with many other English irregular verbs, the preterit 
> of HANG (i.e. HUNG) is sometimes "regularized" (meaning the ending -ED 
> is added as if it was a normal verb). As with DIVE DOVE (many people 
> say "I DIVED into the lake" and not DOVE), or DREAM DREAMT ("I DREAMED 
> of my mother" instead of "I DREAMT of my mother"), or even SHIT SHAT 
> ("I SHITTED my pants" and not "I SHAT my pants"). The usage of 
> irregular preterits is an American English/British English thing, but 
> also, a dialect (NOT dialectical) thing. Some English dialects follow 
> the old Germanic preterit, some don't. Same with American dialects.
> In the case of HANG/HUNG/(regularized :HANGED) the official usage was 
> established in the 18th century : HANG , HUNG for objects and coats, 
> HANGED for people on the gallows. The reason is obscure, but my theory 
> is that legal terminology always follows the Latin/French and must 
> thus regularize HANG as the parallel of French PENDRE/PENDU which 
> displays the regular -DRE/-DU correspondence.
> Back to the previous post. There is no evidence that there were TWO 
> verbs meaning HANG in Old English (i.e. PRoto-Germanic) and that the 
> two verbs gave different preterits.
> There was and always has been ONE verb : HANG.
> >>"Slooowly I turned. This is what philologists refer to as schoolmarm
> grammar.
> Now in fact from the earliest times there have been two 'hang' words
> in English, represented by Old English (= "Anglo-Saxon") 'hangian' and
> 'hôn' -- the former being a weak verb, past tense 'hangode', and the 
> latter
> a strong verb, past tense 'heng', participle 'hangen'. 'hôn' gives us our
> modern hang, hung, through routine phonetic changes which are thoroughly
> understood. 'hangian' survives only in the shibboleth usage 'hanged'
> when referring to the method of execution. But both words have always
> been used for both. In the Anglo-Saxon translation of Genesis we find
> 'hine man hçng' (they hung him) in reference to Joseph's unfortunate
> cellmate the baker. In fact you could make a pretty good case that 'hung'
> is actually preferable to 'hanged' and the latter hypercorrect, since
> 'hangian' mostly seems to be used in an intransitive sense."<<

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