Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 16:33:35 -0800 From: Dan Moonhawk Alford 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?).