LINGUIST List 2.867

Sun 15 Dec 1991

Disc: We Do

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Directory

  1. Ellen Prince, Re: 2.865 We Do
  2. , Re: 2.865 We Do
  3. "Robert S. Kirsner", death CAUSE us to part
  4. Johanna Rubba, death do ..

Message 1: Re: 2.865 We Do

Date: Sun, 15 Dec 91 11:16:33 EST
From: Ellen Prince <ellencentral.cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.865 We Do
in defense of randy travis: since posting my original query, i've learned
from a number of people that *i* have been reanalyzing/misparsing the line all
my life! i thought it was 'do' of do-support and transitive 'part', with 'us'
the object of 'part'. it turns out it's *causative* 'do' and *intransitive*
'part', with 'us' the *subject* of part. go know...
thanks to all those who've replied.
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Message 2: Re: 2.865 We Do

Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1991 14:09:28 PST
From: <paramskasdmCCVAX.CCS.CSUS.EDU>
Subject: Re: 2.865 We Do
Not knowing the full context, I may be way off base. But couldn't the
phrase "till death do we part" be interpreted as "we part until death
[brings us together again]"? In which case there is no problem, I would
think....
Dana Paramskas (danapcsus.edu)
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Message 3: death CAUSE us to part

Date: Sun, 15 Dec 91 14:29 PST
From: "Robert S. Kirsner" <IDT1RSKMVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: death CAUSE us to part
Wasn't the original DO here a CAUSATIVE just as it still is
in Modern Dutch? I speculate that when MAKE expanded into its
territory, relic CAUSATIVE DOs got reinterpreted as AUXILIARY DOs,
whence 'Till Death do WE part.
In Modern Dutch, MAKEN is severly limited as a causative, but
DOEN forms a beautiful semantic opposition with LATEN. Quick,
somebody grab Visser and find out what the DATA are.
 Robert Kirsner
(P.S. On LATEN and DOEN, see Kemmer and Verhagen forthcoming.
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Message 4: death do ..

Date: Sun, 15 Dec 91 14:34:36 PST
From: Johanna Rubba <rubbabend.ucsd.edu>
Subject: death do ..
I agree with the reanalysis accounts. As silent (and bored) witness
to many weddings as a child, I recall not being able to make too much
sense of this weird phrase -- I understood the 'do' as 1pl, was
completely nonplussed by the objective 'us' ( but then a lot of
churchy language was archaic and weird), and bracketed 'death' together
with 'till' as a prepositional phrase, translating to 'we will be
together until one of us dies'. It was only at a later age and with
some effort that I figured out that 'death' was the subject and it'
was going to be separating us, and I don't think I ever got a subjeunctive
reading on 'do' at all -- chalked it up to weird church language
again, I guess.
There's reanalysis recalled. I hadn't thought about this particular
phrase until this discussion came up, so I feel my recollections are
pure. Anyone else share my slow linguistic development??
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