Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 16:33:35 -0800

From: Dan Moonhawk Alford dalford[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]S1.CSUHAYWARD.EDU

Subject: Re: And The Winners Are...

On Sat, 30 Dec 1995, Bethany Dumas, UTK wrote:

I see a problem this year that I was not aware of last year. When I saw the

list of nominees, I assumed (I realize now) that we were referencing SPOKEN

words --hence my objection to words like "www." I think in the future we

might want to devise some way to recognize both prined words and spoken

words, sometimes in separate categories.

I agree with this completely. We all 'know' that spoken and written

English are two different languages linked by habit. I'm all for

splitting it into TWO different prizes: Spoken WOTY and Written WOTY.

And by the way, it's a real kick to belong to this list and hear its

year-end deliberations solemnly intoned on national news!

I regret that "hello?" did not get some recognition. I heard a great example

of its use this morning in (horse-)jumping lesson. Terry finished her round, and

Deb, the instructor, started giving Sara instructions. It became clear that

Sarah was hlaf asleep and not listening. Deb stopped, then said,

"Sara, it's your round. HELLO???"

I then explained that that was a nominee in the WOTY contest, etc. So we

stopped to define words, then resumed jumping.

Again, if we had a Spoken vs Written WOTY, this might have been better

considered. I'm thinking of Drew Barrymore in "Boys on the Side", for

instance. "hel-lO-o!"

Of course, this only points to an obvious lack in our own linguistic

terminology, of how to talk about this 'fashion of speaking' that

distinguishes it from other fashions of speaking the same word. What we

know about other languages of the world is that some of them have tones,

or pitch, or pitch-accent systems, where we supposedly only have stress

in various degrees. Really?! Then how does the WOTY nominee differ from

normal statements or questions using that word?

What we seem to be lacking is a 'tunology', right between phonology and

morphology (SUPRA-segmentals?), that can adequately encompass everything

from tone to stress with in a system in which 'tunes' are primary, and

manifested in different ways within different languages.

Of course, this leads to an otherwise unthinkable starting point of SONG

as primary to either speech or music. Some linguists are beginning to

notice that it makes sense to say that song minus music is speech (altho

some speech is closer to song than are European languages) and that song

minus speech is music -- more sense than to say that speech and music

developed independently of each other and put together they form music.

(This argument, of course, depends on notions of monocausal determinism

and disallows any co-bootstrapping explanations outside of Newtonian

scientific argument.)

At any rate, I guess this is my own working out of a problem I

encountered in my own fieldwork 25 years ago. I had already had training

at UCLA with tone languages of Africa (Luganda, Igbo), and with that

experience I tackled Cheyenne -- saw no tones but saw stress differences

(as in ancient plural formations). Another linguist comes and finds

something else called pitch-stress, which is closer to tone than I found.

So at that point, for me, the spot between phonology and morphology

became 'thicker'. Furthermore, in English the way these phenomena seem to

function concerns the emotional component from the limbic system rather

than the cortex of the brain. These are ancient emotional tunes we play

through our words. Again, I notice this so exquisitely because I have my

students in Intro to Language capture their own 5-minute slice of spoken

reality and then make successive tries in capturing in further forms of

writing (including phonetic) exactly everything contained therein.

I like this LIST because there seems to be a higher percentage of people

who have an instrumental rather than dogmatically theorical point of view

here. Would it HELP teachers of intro linguistics to have another level

of tunology to help put English in a wider category for comparison? Would

it help for explaining the new 'tune' of 'hellOo!'? Are there other

'fashions of speaking' that would be elucidated by this new level?

I'm enjoying being a (sometimes intrusive) fly on the wall for such a

nationally recognized group (i.e., SOMEbody has some media pull!), and I

wish you all a wonderful new year as it becomes manifested from your own

already-always-manifesting! Perhaps you'll think again, sometime, about

this consciously subterranean tunology (and what wasn't until linguistics

pointed it out to us?).