Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 13:42:15 EST From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: comedic ----------------------------Original message---------------------------- At 11:00 AM 11/19/97 +0000, you (bergdahl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] wrote: >The term is now over for us and today I have a final in the sophomore >drama class. Repeatedly the term turned up in papers where > would have sufficed. Is this a new piece of jargon on the model >of where would do? There is a 1649 citation [I >believe in a shorter version of the OED] 'pertaining to or relating to >comedy' but in the the most recent MMLA a panel I was on was titled >"D.H. Lawrence, Satirist: Revealing Eros Through Comedic Technique." So >the term has some academic currency. I queried the coordinator of the >panel, a retired colleague, used the word for the humor. I haven't >searched for it on the net yet. Any intuitions? [distinterested parties >only] > Fast guess, with no pretensions to being more than that -- When a word starts to get used in everyday and popular senses, there's a tendency to coin a more high-level way of expressing the putatively higher-level sense(s) of that word, often through a related but morphologically more complex word. Thus, "social" can mean having to do with courtesy or friendliness (paying a social visit; someone is "a very social person"), hence the emergence of "societal" for various kibnds of sociological (or similar) uses. "Comic" is encountered in everyday and pop-cult usage in such senses as a person who does stand-up (a "comic") or a kind of illustrated story or joke in printed media ("comics"), or anything funny ("comic," adj.). Hence "comedic" as an alternative for would-be academic, philosophical, etc. use... Not a sanctioning, just a stab at a possible explanation.... Gregory {Greg} Downing, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ---------------------------------------------------- What he said. (Wonder how long THAT's been around, and whence it came.) It's curious that while 'tragedy'/'comedy' is the natural opposition, 'tragedic' is far rarer. A quick and dirty search on Nexis reveals only 7 occurrences of the latter item, and most of these seem to represent (to me, at least) pompous sub- stitutions for 'tragic': the tragedic incident at Bhopal, the tragedic accident, the tragedic chain of events leading to the death of Elisa (a child abuse victim in N.Y.), etc. 'Comedic', on the other hand, is quite frequent: I kept getting 'more than 1000/too many to list' until I limited the search to post-9/1/97 hits, and then there were still 996. And while I confess I didn't look at all of them, the ones I did glance at all seem to involve the adj counterpart to 'comedy' in a dramatic/theatrical context, in most of which the use of 'comic' would have been inappropriate or misleading. One of the few instances of 'tragedic' was in fact primed by 'comedic' ("untapped comedic and tragedic talent"). So 'comedic' might be a fancier way of saying 'comic' (register difference) or a way of specifying 'of or relating to theatrical comedies' (referential difference). 'Tragedic' is less necessary, given the absence of a nominal use of 'tragic' (*He wants to be a comic, but he's really more of a tragic) and the "seriousness" of its adjectival use, obviating the need for a higher-register alternative. Larry