A couple of notes on language

Thinking of how “represent” is used without an object in current slang (always a question when a word is used by African-Americans: is it Af-Am slang or is it part of Af-Am Vernacular English and comes into the Language of Wider Communication as slang), as in “We’re representing” always pronounced representin’, I looked the word up in the OED and found meaning # 4 to display in one’s bearing or air to be close to the current usage though marked rare.

McWhorter argues that most of AAVE derives from the English of the people they worked with and for and so this usage may have persisted to the present time. OTOh, it is perfectly natural for “represent something” to become an objectless verb.

Another interesting bleed over into a related area of language is the way Men’s Health people spell the word “fly”, as in “standing flys”, in the plural by simply adding an -s unlike the insect where the -y > -ie. To me, that recalls Pinker’s presentation of the word leaf in the plural as leaves when it is actually a leaf or even a metaphoric one as in the leaves of a book versus the Toronto Maple Leafs where leaf is not a leaf but a team. Has anyone seen anything on this?

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