Posted by R. Berg on March 08, 2004
In Reply to: "I've 'got' my period" for menstruation posted by Smokey Stover on March 08, 2004
: : : (No one in this household has menstruated in two decades so we are out of touch)
: : : Why is it not "I'm having..." or "I'm in..." or "It is my ..."?
: : : Why "got"?
: : : How long has it been "got"?
: : I'll have to do some research and get back to you. Maybe it's "got" because sometimes it might be considered a gift.
: Fowler has a lot to say about "got" and "gotten," and so do lots of others. But as usual the language marches on, indifferent to the grammarians. "I've got" is pretty much used as a synonym for "I have," as well "I have obtained." Thus, "I've got you under my skin," or "I've got the flu," or "I've got my period." Of course, no one says "I have my period," they say "I'm having my period." Or not. In this case, I think there's a tiny nuance in the phrase, and that "I've got my period" means "My period has arrived," rather than "l'm having my period." (I said a TINY nuance.) Actually I don't know anyone who says any of those things except "I've got the flu." SS
Here's another aspect of that tiny nuance: I think statements about "getting" periods are more likely when the menstruation was preceded by uncertainty, as around the time of first or last menstruations or when pregnancy might have begun. "She didn't get her period until she was 18." "She thought she'd reached menopause, but then she got another period." "She checked the calendar and wondered whether she'd get her period on time."