End of ADS-L Digest - 10 Apr 1997 to 11 Apr 1997 ************************************************ Subject: ADS-L Digest - 12 Apr 1997 to 13 Apr 1997 There are 3 messages totalling 93 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. With friends like this... 2. Name removal 3. Variation in "try"-complements? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sat, 12 Apr 1997 23:36:52 EDT From: Larry Horn Subject: With friends like this... I appreciate William Safire's "On Language" columns every Sunday in the Times. I really do. He often has a knack of providing citations illustrating precisely the construction(s) I've just been discussing in class; in today's column (4/12), for instance, his example "volunteer volunteer" (now evidently used by around the White House for what used to be called a volunteer, i.e. an unpaid aide, now that so many of the volunteers are evidently paid ones) is simultaneously a clone (a.k.a. double) and a retronym (a la "acoustic guitar", "analog watch", "biological mother"), i.e. a compound or phrase with a newly necessary modifier. BUT Safire ALSO has this to say... (quoting Jesse Sheidlower and William Kretzschmar, who I'm sure will be delighted to be mentioned a paragraph away from these remarks) "We all know that when it comes to language change, a mere running together of words, or elision, ain't nuthin' compared with an affricate, in which an explosive consonant (like p, b, and t) is followed by a fricative consonant (like th and f) to transform both into a whole new ball game. Fistfights break out in American Dialect Society meetings over whether affricates like "judge" and "church" should be considered one syllable or two, and whether blends like "gotcha" and "let's" have become grammaticalized, or fused into a unit." I certainly hope that whichever one of us was claiming that all affricates are bisyllabic, presumably the same ADSer who was maintaining that "let's" ISN'T "fused into a unit" (what else WOULD it be?), got the worst of the scuffle. Of course, this (I strongly suspect apocryphal) ADSer would have gone on record as describing the lexical items "judge" and "church" as affricates in the first place--crusin' for a bruisin', fer sure. But then I suspect phonology isn't exactly Mr. Safire's strong suit. Besides the somewhat peculiar consonants he uses to illustrate the explosive + fricative = affricate equation (-bth-? -tf-? --even cross-linguistically, not to mention just Englishly, these are, shall we say, rather marked affricate combos), there was also LAST week's column, in which the pronunciation of "seminal" as 'SEHM-uh-null' in place of the "correct" 'SEE-muh-null' was presented as an instance of "academic bowdlerization". That is, we academics for generations have been covering up the fact that 'seminal' is derived from 'semen', an instance of what we (although not he) would call taboo avoidance. Right--and we pronounce 'vanity', 'sanity', cleanliness', 'brevity', 'criminal' 'chemical', etc. etc. with initial short vowels so we can cover up the relation between these trisyllabic words and their long-voweled counterparts in vain, sane, clean, brief, crime, chemo-. In fact, the whole trisyllabic laxing business is no doubt a conspiracy on the part of insidious bowdlerizing academics to cover up our embarrassment at pronouncing 'seminal' (and 'seminar'--which I'm sure is "correctly" rendered SEE-muh-nar) with the vowel of 'semen'. --Larry