For the first time I heard the verb ‘whistleblow’. I don’t know if this goes under ‘language change’ or ‘from under the bus’.
A very brave nurse working in one of Trump’s concentration camp has blown the whistle on medical malpractice amounting to atrocity. In the process of the interview, she said, “The reason I whistleblew….” If you read Stephen Pinker on how inflected words are affected by their meaning in a compound, you know that as long as a word keeps its basic sense, it inflects as it does when used alone, e.g. a jackknife that is a knife is jackknives when pluralized but a jackknife that is a kind of dive or exercise is jackknifes. (Try it out yourself…. the speaking of the word, not the dive)
So it works as a kind of blowing, i.e. she doesn’t actually have a whistle she blows and so it is not literally blowing a whistle but it ‘carries back [meta + phor]’ to the act of blowing one.. Blowing, if only metaphorically, then inflects as an irregular verb ‘blow > blew’ to “I whistle blew.” Elsewhere I’ve given an example of how a compound word not keeping its basic sense fails to inflect as when my handyman told me when mowing the lawn, “I haven’t weed eated yet.” He used the weed eater (I see both weedeater and weed eater on commercial websites for tools) but did not conceive of it as actually eating weeds.
So I am confused about what a metaphor is because weed eater sounds metaphoric to me and so does a deverbal ‘to weedeat.’
Anyway, this goes to ‘under the bus’ too because Trump’s concentration camp with forced sterilization via hysterectomy harkens back to the eugenics movement and its forced sterilization of those women labeled ‘feebleminded’ and Black women in general. I worked with briefly, as a counselor, a woman who had just been released from a facility for the mentally deficient or retarded where she had been placed at age 9; she was about 40 when I met her and needed resocialization. Her deficiency was not speaking English at the time of her ‘testing’ and her tragedy was to get a psychologist whose thinking was so rigid he put all his faith in his test scores.