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Delivery
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2014/06/28
5:12pm
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Why do we say that a Doctor delivers a baby, when clearly the Mother is delivering and the Doctor is receiving?

2014/06/28
8:46pm
Dick
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In a 10 minute survey of internet pages I see roughly half saying the doctor delivers and half saying the mother delivers.  I can see an argument for either.  In the end the mother does receive the baby.

2014/06/29
7:20am
deaconB
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I believe that originally, the mother was "delivered of child", rather than the child being delivered.  People lead busy lives, and take liberties with the language, resulting in an inelegant language, but not a bad thing overall.

Bob Heinlein wrote So the silly little wench was knocked up, which caused me to slip back into my baby-cotching, country-doctor persona, and I stayed up all night worrying about her and her brother and the baby they were going to have-unless I did something about it in"Time Enough For Love", but I have never found a dictionary with an appropriate definition for cotch or cotching to support that usage. OTOH, it's as obvious as when a guy sees an attractive woman, and says 'Wow!  What a set of NOUNs." No matter what NOUN he chooses, everyone knows he's referring to her mammary glands.

2014/06/29
12:29pm
KiheBard
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deaconB said

… which caused me to slip back into my baby-cotching, country-doctor persona, and I stayed up all night worrying about her and her brother and the baby they were going to have-unless I did something about it in"Time Enough For Love", but I have never found a dictionary with an appropriate definition for cotch or cotching to support that usage.

Alternate expectation / action association:  cotch / cooch _in reference to an infant or small child_ I experienced in my lifetime, with grandparents from Missouri of roughly the Admiral's -- or Lazarus / Woodrow's -- age and upbringing, to refer to the combination of playful tickling as combined with "baby-talk", cooing, cajoling, etc.  Cf. "cootchie-cootchie-coo" and related…

OTOH, it's as obvious as when a guy sees an attractive woman, and says 'Wow!  What a set of NOUNs." No matter what NOUN he chooses, everyone knows he's referring to her mammary glands.

Errrrr, Deacon?  There I will have to differ with you slightly -- I've known men who applied that phrase (or a near approximation) to the rear view of an attractive woman, either standing faced or walking away (as in "What a set of _buns_",  "… _gams_", legs, or -- a definite outlier / special-interest section -- feet / heels / peds / toes).  Have even heard something related ("pair" instead of "set", although often prefixed by "lovely") referring to knees, ears, hands, etc.

Yeah, most commonly, the version you describe.  Just not always. 

2014/06/29
1:23pm
deaconB
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KiheBard said Alternate expectation / action association:  cotch / cooch _in reference to an infant or small child_

Would one need to return to the identity of a medico in order to dandle a child?  And would any responsible adult dandle a neonate?  A toddler, yeah, but in the context pf the story, Woody was worried because his slaves would become parents before he reached a maternity ward, Bob's overall point being that being a slaveowner is onerous for the ethical person.

KiheBard said Errrrr, Deacon?  There I will have to differ with you slightly -- I've known men who applied that phrase (or a near approximation) to the rear view of an attractive woman  

 I readily concede your point.

2014/06/29
10:25pm
Ron Draney
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If you ever get a definitive answer on whether the mother or the obstetrician "delivers" the baby, then you can get to work on figuring out whether it's the mother or the baby that nurses.

2014/06/30
8:21am
Dick
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Ron Draney said
If you ever get a definitive answer on whether the mother or the obstetrician "delivers" the baby, then you can get to work on figuring out whether it's the mother or the baby that nurses.

A similar question is, "Is it the cows or the farmer that feeds?"

2014/06/30
10:39am
Glenn
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There is a daunting list of such transitive / intransitive pairs in English, broadly called by some as ambitransitive, more specifically, ergative.
Ergative – see defn. 1.2

The chef cooks the soup: the soup cooks.
The breeze cools the pie; the pie cools.
Heat evaporate water: water evaporates.
The child broke the cup: the cup broke.
The doctor opened the door: the door opened.
The nurse closes the door: the door closes.
The student played the music: the music played.
The teacher ended the lesson: the lesson ended.
The bride tastes the champagne: the champagne tastes bad.

And many, many, many more.

This ergative pairing is slightly different from the mom and doctor relationship in delivery above. But why can't we say "The baby delivered at 5:05AM, weighing 7 pounds." (for which I found several similar examples via Internet, especially in hospital and legal records). I would call this third use "ergative."

So we really have a three-way struggle for verbal bragging rights between mom, doc, and babe.

2014/06/30
4:56pm
Ron Draney
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Reminds me of my example illustrating the difference between the gerund and the present participle form of a verb (both of which end in -ing):

  • Baking casseroles is a hobby of mine. "Baking" is a gerund.
  • Baking casseroles are a hobby of mine. "Baking" is a present participle.
2014/07/01
3:05am
deaconB
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This reminds me of the joke where the fellow is asked whether he likes bathing beauties.  Dunno, he says; ain't never bathed any.

When my first wife, an RN, applied for a job at a nursing home, she told me she supposed she'd need to take prolactin and oxytocin.

One that's grown popular in recent years is talk of entrepreneurs "growing" their businesses.  That grates on my ears.  You raise corn or sheep, and you build organizations or facilities, but growing is something that can't be imposed upon something.  Your barber cannot grow your hair, nor can you grow tomatoes unless you have very odd physiology.  Except that in the last twenty years, you suddenly can.

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