Tiny Tiny Court (fencer_x) wrote in linguaphiles,
Tiny Tiny Court
fencer_x
linguaphiles

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Learn vs. Teach and Sat vs. Sitting

Just pondering, since I've seen a few instances of this in the past few weeks: do you (personally, not just "people in general") ever use "learn" to mean "teach" anymore? Are you a native English speaker (and if so, age and location?)? Do you use it out of habit, or only when you're not thinking, or in all situations? Does it depend on anything?

I understand that up until the past couple hundred years, "learn" DID mean "teach", but now in America at least (other countries?) it's strongly strongly associated with slang/being uneducated/backwoods "hick" speech ("My teacher done learned me real good!!") and has a negative connotation now (which while I certainly feel the same way, it kind of intrigues me: typically, don't we associate older styles of speech that have fallen out of style as being more formal/educated? Or has SO much time passed since this was acceptable that now it's just being "purposefully ignorant"?)

On a separate note, I'm really intrigued by the UK English use of "sat" in place of "sitting" for imperfect constructions ("We were sat in the back of the hall" instead of "We were sitting in the back of the hall") -- I'm American, and my education in the history of the English language amounts to a few weeks in a linguistics course I took in college, so I'm wondering where this difference came from; was it originally correct, and "sitting" came about as hypercorrection or something? Or is it just simply a difference in dialect and that's that? Or am I simply understanding the construction incorrectly and it's supposed to be a passive construction ("We were made to sit by someone in X location")? Though in this case, I'm quite sure my UK-English-speaking friends have used it in place of "was/were Xing" in constructions such as, "And would you believe it, I was sat RIGHT in the middle of the row!!"

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