Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 21:22:15 EST
From: Larry Horn LHORN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: Brick reality and language i
Actually when I cover retronyms in my Words and Meaning class, I always do
include a discussion of doubles as well (e.g. a "wood wood" in golf, "cheese
cheese" as opposed to mock, etc.). The term retronym (for such early examples
as "analog watch" and "acoustic guitar", although one of my favorites has
always been "biological mother", not to mention "true freshman", for you
football fans out there) was one that I first came across in Bill Safire's
columns, and he credits Frank Mankiewicz. Doubles are discussed extensively
in work by Nancy Dray, a graduate student who's working on a dissertation
analyzing her collection of them. I recommend the gathering of both retronyms
and doubles as a particularly fruitful exercise for undergraduates. Doubles
here include not only the retronymic varieties like those above, but the full
range--the salad salads, the dog dogs, the beer beer (as in the recent Coors
commercial, and the mind-altering minimal pair [from Dray]
We're just LIVING together living together.
Oh, we're not LIVING together living together.
--which of course refer to exactly the same (purported) state of affairs.