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  1. Newbie
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    • Join Date: Nov 2006
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    #1

    Underduck

    Hi experts!
    I'm curious about "underduck" as it is used for swings. Some people say "underdog," but that makes no sense. Are either of these words correct English to describe running under a swing after pushing the swinger?

    Thanks!


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #2

    Re: Underduck

    Quote Originally Posted by Ears View Post
    Hi experts!
    I'm curious about "underduck" as it is used for swings. Some people say "underdog," but that makes no sense. Are either of these words correct English to describe running under a swing after pushing the swinger?
    Thanks!
    I've only ever heard underduck, Ears, but language creates its own logic and if some call it underdog, then that's what it is for those people. It could be as local as one family, whose dog has a tendency to run under one's legs.

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 4,142
    #3

    Re: Underduck

    I've never heard the term "underduck" before. I found a discussion about it here: Questionable: Underduck vs. Underdog. It's apparently a very regional expression.

  3. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #4

    Re: Underduck

    "Underdog" does have another meaning: it's the participant in a game or sport who, at the start, has the smaller chance of winning, or someone who is a victim of injustice, especially in a social context (e.g. a schoolchild who is often bullied). This meaning makes sense; it's based on observations of the hierarchy in a pack of dogs.

    Given the similarity in sound between "underduck" (which sounds like a relatively new invention) and "underdog" in certain dialects, I think it's possible that "underdog" meaning to duck under a swing may be a result of mishearing "underduck", confusing it with an older, more established word. Words often develop and spread before their exact spelling is established in print, which is why regional variations like this are able to develop.

    Alternatively, of course, it could be that, for some unknown reason, "underdog" was the original term; some speakers then assumed it should be "underduck" as that would be more logical and more descriptive of the action it denotes.

    As for whether either of these terms is "correct English", all we can really say is they don't appear to be listed in any dictionary -- and that, in turn, simply means that they haven't been recorded in any dictionary yet. It might be a neologism -- a new word -- or perhaps non-standard; but it is a word at least in some parts of America.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #5

    Re: Underduck

    rewboss:
    As for whether either of these terms is "correct English", all we can really say is they don't appear to be listed in any dictionary -- and that, in turn, simply means that they haven't been recorded in any dictionary yet. It might be a neologism -- a new word -- or perhaps non-standard; but it is a word at least in some parts of America.

    Let me suggest, politely, Rewboss that you've got things turned around here. People invent words and dictionaries catalogue them. Until the advent of the internet, dictionaries were often ten or more years behind the times. A great deal of new vocabulary comes and goes before dictionaries have a chance to move.

    'underduck' is an old old word 'cause I'm an old old guy and it was what we did as kids.

    People invent language, people devise new language structures, people create vocabulary. Dictionaries and grammarians have very little to do with how language progresses.

    Correct English is nothing more than what people use in their locale for their dialect. That's evident on its face. NzE differs from CdE which differs from AmE and BrE, which both differ from AuE and so it goes, around and around.

    Searching for some "authority" to sanctify new uses is absolutely futile.


  4. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #6

    Re: Underduck

    riverkid, let me suggest politely that you didn't read my post very well.

    I said that I can't find it in a dictionary, but that that simply means it's not in the dictionary -- implying that one cannot therefore draw the conclusion that it is incorrect. This is in answer to the question as to which, if any, of the words is "correct English".

    As reasons for the word not being in any dictionary I cited the possibility that it is a neologism (it can, as you say, take years for a dictionary to record newly-coined words), and the possibility that it is simply non-standard (dictionaries would become unwieldy and impossible to edit if they listed every single word in use). That does not by any means exhaust the list of possibilities; they're just examples.

    Finally, I said that at least in some parts of America, it is a word -- in the sense that it is used and understood by members of certain communities without requiring further explanation.

    Basically, you agreed with virtually everything I said. The only new piece of information you volunteered is that "underduck" may possibly be a little older than I surmised. That's hardly getting "things turned around"; I made a supposition on that point and you supplied anecdotal evidence to suggest my supposition was incorrect.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #7

    Re: Underduck

    My apologies, Rewboss.

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