Date: Fri, 2 Feb 1996 15:47:57 -0500 From: "Dennis R. Preston" Subject: Re: Fork and Knife? Knife and Fork? I don't think this is a mundane question at all. Haj Ross once outlined a principle of 'myopia' which states that in what he called 'freezes' 'heavier' items go to the right. For example, if sex prevailed, why is it men and women but ladies and gentlemen Easy, Haj says, count the syllables. 'Women' is heavier than 'men,' but 'gentlemen' is heavier than 'ladies.' When words have equal numbers of syllables, count phonemes: back and forth (3 and 4) When they have equal numbers of phonemes, go for long and short, voiced versus voiceless, even dip into degree of obstruency thick and thin (voiced final segment, therefore longer) etc... So, how about knife and fork (which sounds right to me). Well, by phoneme count for me it's 3 (knife) to four (fork), but for the British (or those varieties with r-deletion) the 'fork' drops to 3 (with admitted compensatory lengthening, but, the 'knife' already has a diphthong which apparently wins out over the compenstorily lengthened vowel of 'fork' if that is the order which prevails there. Neat huh? Of course, I don't know the distribution. >I have a question which is, admittedly, >a bit mundane for the likes of the >great intellectuals on this list, >but, darn it, there's a bet ridin' on it! > >Has any work been done on a regional distribution >of usages of "fork and knife" vs. "knife and fork"? > >A few colleagues of mine claim that they use >"knife and fork" and the other variety seems strange. >Another colleague uses "fork and knife" and says, >to him, the other usage sounds, in his word, "British." > >Any insights, observations, or anecdotes are welcome, >and you may forward them to me personally, if you like. >I'll post a summary if the information warrants it. > >Thanks in advance! > >;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; >;Kathleen M. O'Neill ... Language Laboratory Technician I ; >;koneil1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ... u55354[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ; >;:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::; >;University of Illinois at Chicago ... Language Laboratory ; >;703 South Morgan Street (M/C 042) ... Grant Hall, Room 311 ; >;Chicago, IL 60607-7025 ; >;312.996.8838 or 8836 ... 312.996.5501 FAX ; >;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;