O.K. (caprinus) wrote in linguaphiles,
O.K.
caprinus
linguaphiles

stop riding my ass, you're driving me up the wall!

If we look 200 years back, most languages with suitable technologies probably had a word for travelling on a horse (or another animal), and another for travelling on a conveyance hitched to a horse (or another animal). When newfangled inventions such as bicycles and cars came into being, people had to decide which of the verbs for travelling would work best for these new conveyances. It's relatively easy for a bicycle, since you straddle it so very much like a horse, but a car is a little trickier to map. It's like a cart hitched to a horse, only the horse is mechanical and hidden inside the cart! No wait, it's actually like you're riding a mechanical horse that's been hollowed out so you sit inside it! No wait... It'd be curious to see how different languages handle this semantic space.

In English, you ride a horse/bicycle, and you drive a cart/car, right? But you need a driver's license to ride a motorcycle, hmmm... How do other languages assign verbs to these? (for the purposes of this post, I'm focussing on the person actively steering a conveyance, so the fact that you "ride on a bus" (not 'in') is tangential).

(based on a comment in a previous post)
Tags: howdoyousay, multiple languages
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