Things I never knew # 1

I’m not even sure I wanted to know this.

Stephen Pinker, the great philosopher of mind, has a new book out, The Stuff of Thought. It’s reviewed here (link from Arts and Letters Daily). One of the topics Professor Pinker addresses is the way we use language to mean something other than the exact words that we speak. Hence:

“Would you like to come up for coffee,” has become an indirect request for sex.

I suppose it’s the word “up” that does the work. I always thought the classic pick-up line was an invitation to come up to see some etchings, but in either case, it’s “up” that makes the difference.

I hope that’s the case. If it isn’t, I will never again be able to have an innocent coffee with a friend.


3 responses to “Things I never knew # 1

  1. It’s like “hooking up”. When I say it F (14) rolls eyes and states…”eeyew when my friends say that, it means to get it on.”
    Have you read The Goddess Vs The Alphabet?
    I found it interesting. Pinker is interesting, Eric Neumann is interesting too,

  2. Doesn’t it depend on the hour, and the company, and the archness of tone?

    I think I would have trouble hiding the giggles if I tried to proposition someone with that line anyway.

  3. Especially if you have teeth braces. Yes it is contextual, and generational. This crop of 14 year olds have an interesting take on the proposition. I found this film interesting,