Thursday, 10 September 2015

M's Music.

Here I go again, re-posting a song I like from the Tumblr de Madeline Borg. I was going to write all manner of things about The Borg’s taste in all manner of things, but decided I’d offended enough people for one month.

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And I was in the garden centre today (I only go in there to marvel at the parlous state of western civilisation, I never buy anything) when I had a thought about an oddity of the English language. Why is it that in terms like ‘wax lyrical’ and ‘wax eloquent’ we modify the verb with an adjective rather than qualifying it with an adverb? I assume it has something to do with the nature of the verb ‘to wax.’ Or does it just sound prettier? I don’t know. Maybe The Borg does. She’s into erudition.


Madeline said...

I'd never thought about "wax lyrical" before. I looked it up in the dictionary, and it seems to have something to do with the fact that the word "lyrical" is not functioning as an adverb but as a "complement." So the verb "to wax" in that sense is not complete on its own - you can't just "wax" - without the word lyrical or eloquent or whatever. Since the word "lyrical/eloquent" completes the verb and doesn't qualify it, it's not an adverb - if that makes sense.

And what about my taste? And how would a discussion of it be offensive?

JJ Beazley said...

It makes perfect sense. It seems you've got in one, as I suspected you might (although I didn't actually think you'd bother.) Of course, I was hoping you'd say 'English is your discipline. I'm archaeology.' But no, you outdid me in my own field and I'm grateful for it. It's also interesting to realise that my favourite (and self-coined) malapropism 'waxing elephants' is a whole different kettle of fish.

As for your taste, well, what can I say? If I didn't have substantial respect for your taste in pretty much everything, I wouldn't be visiting your Tumblr four or five times a day to see what new delights there are to savour there. The clue to my concern is in an earlier post. It would be not only hard but also pointless to comment on somebody else's taste without venturing into playful but abrasive humour. I know I can trust you to 'get' my sense of humour more than most, but even so...