Interesting word usage

Kashmir separatist leader Asiya Andrabi arrested from her residence in Soura

English English would have “arrested at” as that’s the place where the arrest took place. Indian English “arrested from” presumably as that’s where she was carried away from, kicking and shouting all the while maybe. Which is right is obviously just a matter of local usage. But at a deeper level, which should be right?

36 thoughts on “Interesting word usage”

  1. I think ‘arrested from’ conflates stop /detention with seizure/conveyed to the nick.

    Arrest is merely the act of the rozzer placing his hand on the felon’s collar and articulating that has doing it in the name of the law.

    What happens thereafter varies, and is something else.

  2. ‘arrested at’ and dragged ‘from’ her house unless they rang her up and she was ‘arrested from’ a distance.

    She might have been running when they tazed her in which case she would have been ‘arrested from’ 10mph.

  3. ‘at’.

    You’re arrested at a place – as in stopped and detained.

    *Then* you’re taken from. Or not.

    The from comes later and separately.

  4. This sounds like something Steven Pinker wrote about in The Language Instinct, but I can’t find any reference online.

    In a similar vein, English has “take from” while French has “take at” (prendre à).

  5. My vote is for ‘arrested at’. Because the arrest implies a legal action of stopping a suspect – you can’t stop someone from somewhere to somewhere else, only stop someone at somewhere.

    There’s probably a nifty linguistics phrase for all that.

    You could have a word similar to ‘arraigned from’, whatever the equivalent might be for taking someone to he police station rather than court. So ‘nicked from’ would actually work perhaps!

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “There is enough flexibility in English to allow the Indians and, even, the Americans, their uses and abuses while retaining more than a modicum of mutual understandability.”

    For now. But only because Standard English has been the de facto international language for a long time. There are dialect speakers in the UK I can understand but would be more comfortable with subtitling. There are even some of them in America, but not as many as the government has been imposing a standard version of the language for a long time. Hence the horror that is the American usage “Herb” without the “H”. Given the social intolerance in the US for even southern accents, they seem to be getting more standard among Whites.

    Indians will eventually move away from the standard unless globalisation means they are exposed to the American standard. Slowly the English seem to be moving towards a standard classless Estuary English. But it will be different from what Americans and Indians speak.

  7. That bastard Bernard Shaw was on to something with his observation about Englishmen despising how other English speakers speak, but despite this slight self-awareness, modern American usage (coastal, I think) drives me mad.

    Pasta becomes ‘pusta’, parmesan is somehow ‘pahmazhan’, you becomes this unspellable (but I’ll try) ‘yiouooo’ as if spoken by a chipmunk with a mouth full of bubblegum, and then there’s the ubiquity of ‘like’ at three-wordly intervals and that business of raising one’s voice at the end of a sentence to make a statement sound like a question, otherwise presumably it would be a micro-aggression.

    Of course we’re importing it as fast as may be.

    But I find it almost impossible to listen to young Americans visiting London. It’s a shame, I can listen to Grace Kelly speak for hours on end just for the music of her voice.

    And yes, I dare say there’s some grumpy old gittishness about all of this.

  8. Arrested, as in ‘the train was arrested at the station by its brakes’ means, like ‘arreter’ in French, to stop.

    You stop something _at_ a position, not _from_ a position.

    A peeler arresting a villain is stopping him from escaping. What happens next (e.g. hauling off to the nick, accepting a bribe and telling the villain to have a “Good night Sir” is a separate event.

  9. “a standard classless Estuary English”: it certainly is classless.

    The Scottish equivalent of the spreading horror is Glasgow English, or so it seems to me. Oddly, Glasgow English seems to contain less Scots than the Scottish English of the other parts of the country. Again, so it seems to me.

    Meantime idiocy is introducing a veneer of Gaelic place names, even in parts of the country where no one ever spoke Gaelic except a tiny ruling class. On all other occasions the idiots concerned hate ruling classes or ex-ruling classes. There’s no accounting for resentful fools.

    Where we live, London tones have replaced the rather pleasant Cambridgeshire English of the countryside.

  10. Meantime idiocy is introducing a veneer of Gaelic place names, even in parts of the country where no one ever spoke Gaelic except a tiny ruling class.

    Where I grew up in South Pembrokeshire, a lot of the town names didn’t have a Welsh version. So in the drive to ensure every sign was in dual language, they just made them up. Haverfordwest is called Hwlffordd in Welsh and means absolutely nothing: the locals call it Ha’ford.

  11. So, Lud comes on, and he’s all like “whaaa”, and I’m like, whatever, kinda like everyone must speak like him and stuff which is how Hitler started.

    And the question mark is Australian, who are like really cool and stuff, and like Californian but that was like later?

  12. >And yes, I dare say there’s some grumpy old gittishness about all of this.

    Surely not. However, George Bernard Shaw was certainly a bastard of the first order, a Fabian eugenicist, a fucking Irishman living in Hertfordshire to boot. Hence he was even worse than that other odious little Fabian wanker, his contemporary, Herbert George Wells, who at least had the excuse of a huge chip on his shoulder from the fact that his parents were domestics.

    I liked The War of the Worlds, though; and I wonder, did the Time Traveller ever get his leg over Weena?

  13. Jack C: So, Lud comes on, and he’s all like “whaaa”…


    You will probably have made poor Lud realise that he forget to mention the ubiquity and ghastliness of sentences beginning with “So” for no good reason other than to irritate.

    Incidentally, it was nice to see Boris use “mutton-headed” which is a personal favourite of mine.

  14. So, Lud’ll just turn rand and be like just my opinion, which is just posh for I’m not like racist, but.

  15. Meanwhile, I’m attempting to introduce “shonky” to North America, with encouraging results thus far.

    If I can persuade just one American to avoid “a savings”, and the inappropriate use of “veggies”, I can happily retire. It’ll have been a life less pointless than many others.

  16. Ah, sentences beginning with “So…”.

    Excuse me, I am now going out to find a young person to slaughter.

  17. The other thing I’ve noticed about Americanese is how it can be astute or effective whilst also being wanky. I knew an American banker who referred to banks on Wall Street as “other shops on the street”. As a description it got to the heart of the matter. It just sounded tossy.

  18. Wall Street may have “shops”, but the City has “boutiques”.

    The damage was done when mainstream banking stopped being a profession for the dull but competent. You need properly wanky language to cover the boring fact that you’re selling boring home loans to ordinaries in ordinary places.


  19. “Arrested At” “India” – 575,000
    top link – Hindustan times.

    “Arrested From” “india” – 405,000
    Top link – Hindustan times

    Conclusion (ok ok back of fag packet hypothesis) – both are used in india.

  20. Working as a British expat in India, it’s nice to see prepositions being used at all.
    In an email today I had:

    Requesting your updating timesheet. Hours adding to the same. Kindly do the needful.
    Revert after.

    With so many hundreds of languages here, i’m hardly surprised that English is simplified to the point of ambiguity. Besides, if you’re vague then there is room for both parties to claim that they were misunderstood.

    But given the implied nature of “arrested from” and my experiences with the boys in blue (khaki actually) then yes, its a suitably accurate description of what likely happened.

  21. “Where I grew up in South Pembrokeshire, a lot of the town names didn’t have a Welsh version. So in the drive to ensure every sign was in dual language, they just made them up”

    This sort of thing fucks me right off. They did the same with Blackwood, which never had a Welsh name so they made up “Coed Duon” – a literal, if unnecessary, translation.

    Then you get dual language signs for the sake of being dual language such as Ponthir / Pont-hir for example.

  22. @ dearieme 9.52
    Yip, I was recently doing a few train trips in central Scotland and every train station sign had the English name and the “equivelant” in Gaelic….I mean, Shotts ffs….never seen a hairy Highlander in its life….

    @ Bloke in India
    I had a Nigerian customer who would phone me up every month and ask me to “do the needful” (raise an invoice). Great phrase, now in common usage around these parts…..

  23. “I mean, Shotts ffs….never seen a hairy Highlander in its life….”

    There would have been a time when the local ruling class were hairy highlanders, but they would have given up speaking Gaelic a very long time ago, I’d guess. Whether the ploughmen or shepherds ever spoke Gaelic I don’t know: probably not; either British/Brythonic or Anglo-Saxon are likelier, with the latter finally becoming Scots, and the latter dwindling away (except in Wales and Cornwall).

  24. I think the use of from is accurate here. What is different is the Indian usage of the verb arrest, which seems to have acquired the meaning of “arrested and taken” as well as the normal English meanings – hence Hallowed Be’s distribution of phrases.

    Anyway, prepositions never translate accurately between languages (especially because cases don’t either), so there will always be differences. And the meaning of prepositions has likely changed from the eighteenth century (when US English became effectively independent) and even the early twentieth century (the origins of Hinglish (Indian English)). At has almost certainly become more of a term of precision and less a general statement of the area in which somethings happens for example.

  25. There’s a place in Cambs or Suffolk called something like ‘East Hirst’ or ‘West Hirst’. Between Chatteris and Huntingdon. But the road signs cannot decide whether it’s spelled ‘Easthirst’ or ‘East Hirst’.

    Still, a First World problem. Unlike mushy-headed gits saying ‘like’ every fourth word, and getting right in my nostrils and on my moobs. Gits.

  26. And since we’re talking about prepositions inter alia, would “under my moobs” be better than “on my moobs”?

    (Asking for a (learned) friend)

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