Monday, March 09, 2009

poor, sad be- prefix



OMG I heard something today I hadn't heard before: ditransitive 'friend'! Someone said about a mutual acquaintance: "I'll friend ya him!" Whew!

(Does this image mean I'm a Google?)

8 comments:

Adam Ussishkin said...

That is utterly cool! "befriend" does tend to have a rather "quaint" connotation especially since the advent of facebook and the verbification of "friend". Ditransitivity was only a matter of time... :-)

Mr. Verb said...

That's what I love about language change: it's only a matter of time. Well, not ONLY, but ...

David said...

So, does that mean that "I" is going to suggest to "ya" that "him" become a friend or suggest to "him" that "ya" become a friend?

Monica said...

Geez, I don't really know. I guess part of it would be determined by the parameters of Facebook. Does Facebook let you suggest to one friend that they friend another friend? I'm enough of a Facebook novice that I don't know. (I still don't get what a poke is (sounds nasty), or why there are so many anti-wrinkle cream ads involved...)

etymologyfreak said...

Monica said... "Does Facebook let you suggest to one friend that they friend another friend?"

Yes, they do. So not only do you have to deal with the guy from second grade asking you to be your "friend," but you also have to deal with your mom suggesting that you "friend" your aunt and the lady down the street. Oy.

Wow, from verb to ditransitive verb in a matter of a few years... crazy. What's next? A verb that takes a clausal complement? Sheesh. I don't think any of these incarnations will enter this guy's lexicon.

And I disagree that befriend is quaint. I think it still rules the non-internet realm. But, if I was on Facebook, I would definitely start a "Save Befriend" group.

The Ridger, FCD said...

"Befriend" implies some actual, you know, friendship. Or at least patron/patronee relationship.

"Friend" means adding you to a list of people someone may not even recognize.

It's not the "befriend" is "quaint", it's that it doesn't mean the same thing.

√v said...

I think the Ridger, FCD has it spot on. The ditransitive form of 'friend' has been around for at least two years given discussions I've had with classmates. DiT 'friend' is of a much shallower not in real life while DiT 'befriend' is in real life with actual positive feelings attached. This is a great observation to make language change bets on. So, in the future, both words with semantic divergence or does FB and 'friend' just end up taking all of the DiT meanings?

etymologyfreak said...

√v said... "So, in the future, both words with semantic divergence or does FB and 'friend' just end up taking all of the DiT meanings?"

I'm not sure I understand the question. I had never heard of DiT friend until yesterday. But, if I understand your question right, I will bet that DiT friend will be solely an internet thing, but I'm sure it will spread beyond FB. DiT friend (or the as yet unseen DiT befriend, for that matter) just doesn't make any sense to me in a "real world" context.

So I guess for my money I'm betting that the DiT usage stays in the internet realm. But I'd like to hear a proposed future non-internet usage. "I friended my brother to Dave?" (meaning my brother became friends with Dave through me somehow) Wow... maybe that actually could happen. Kids and their crazy internets.