AGAIN, THE LANGUAGE OF THE AMERICANS

As most of you know, I am an astute observer of the language that was inherited by our ancestors, which had its origination first in the Saxon people and then in the English.  Perhaps this essay should be classified as an essayette.  But that is a concern for another day.

There are three entries in the discussion of today.  The first is the wide-spread phrase, “falling in love.”  A question that must be asked is why the “falling” part is involved in “falling in love.”  I have no objection one way or the other.  As a curiosity, I would like to know why the phrase “falling in love” is used so often.  The phrase “falling in love” is also used in conjugations such as “I fell in love with her.”  Again, I have no quarrel whatsoever with “falling in love,” but my curiosity will not be satisfied until I know what “falling in love” might mean with the falling part.

But I do not expect that anyone will come up with a phrase that is better than “falling in love.”

There is another phrase having to do with falling.  As we age, falling becomes a greater concern.  After the fall is completed, it becomes difficult to stand upright again.  But again, my curiosity is aroused by the term, “falling down.”  There is no such thing as falling up.  I know that in American speech and perhaps in British speech as well, “falling down” is a common use of that phrase.  May I assure you that just plain falling is good enough for those of us who write essays and falling in actual fact is a serious matter.

The third item for your consideration has to do with the phrase, “I have a bone to pick with you.”  In the past week I had a conversation with a physician I have known for many years and I used that expression, “I have a bone to pick with you.”  This was a joking situation but why is it that we say, “I have a bone to pick with you?”  If you are looking for answers, there are none.  I merely pose the question with the thought that someone who reads these essays may respond.

There we have three curiosities about “falling in love,” “falling down,” and “a bone to pick with you.”  If anyone who reads these essays has a comment on these questions, your Uncle Ezra would be more than happy to receive them.

 

E. E. CARR

June 7, 2012

Essay 667

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Kevin’s commentary:

I’ve always thought the most interesting part of “falling down” is that the vast majority of the time it applies to living things, and is almost exclusively used for people. Timmy fell down. The bottle did not fall down. It is bizarre to me that adding the direction — the ONLY direction in which things tend to fall, mind you — somehow works to insinuate agency on the part of the faller?

Unfortunately I may offer no explanations for the latter two, except that perhaps “falling” was selected for “falling in love” because it implies a very definite change of state and is a rather active verb. It also takes place suddenly, as love oftentimes does.

Pop’s response:

Hey Kevin,

This has to do with your commentary on falling, which was covered in a recent essay.  There is one other comment that I would like to offer and it has the approval of the United States Congress.  I overlooked this comment by mistake when I wrote this essay.

Earlier this year Barney Frank, the well respected congressman from Massachusetts, announced that he would not run for re-election.  He said that at age 66 or some such number, he had fallen in love and wanted to spend more time with Jim, his companion.  Barney Frank is one of the highlights for many years of the congressional operation.  His intellect is razor sharp.  If he says that he has fallen in love, I wish him the absolute best.  I will be interested to see if any children emerge from this union.

Pop

 

 

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