Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 12:16:30 -0500 From: Jonathan Gilbert Subject: question on a word -Reply Many thanks for the replies! In particular, I'll pass on the reference suggestions. I should probably be slightly more specific about what we're looking for: a word (again, my friend writing the dissertation believes one exists) that would fit in the sentence: "Word X has/is [XXXX] with the normal usage of word Y." or else: "These people have [XXXX] the meanings of word X and word Y." That is, we're not looking for examples of X and Y, or for a description of the general phenomenon of X changing meaning or having a special (argot or jargon) meaning, but we want to know if there is a term [XXXX] which would accurately indicate that X and Y are being used synonymously when they are not normally synonyms ... The specific X and Y in question here are "marriage" and "home" (yes, I do realize that "marriage" and "home" overlap a lot in their usage anyway; I'm not familiar enough with my friend's topic to know exactly what she's arguing, but I believe it involves a particular couple's development of an individual and idiosyncratic concept of marriage, which at times becomes, um, blended? with their concept of home to the extent that they will use either word to refer to it ... something like that. Regardless, you can tell from my attempt to state the question why a word is needed ... :-) Replies by email please (I'm not a regular reader of these lists). And thanks again. Jonathan Gilbert JonG[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] >>> Peter T. Daniels 07/29/97 06:45pm >>> An example would help, but it sounds like you're talking about jargon, slang, or argot (idiosyncratic language varieties defined according to the user group; see textbooks of sociolinguistics). >>> Deborah D K Ruuskanen 07/30/97 12:00am >>> Words used in separate contexts changing meaning? I should imagine there are quite a lot, particular if you think of American/British differences. [..snip] >>> Carsten Breul 07/30/97 05:06am >>> In David Crystal's _The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language_ (Cambridge: CUP, 1987), there are descriptions of situations resp. phenomena which might be close to what you're friend is looking for. [examples snipped] >>>>>>>[The original question:]>>>>> ... The question is on behalf of another friend who is working on a dissertation (not on a linguistics topic, it's social history of a sort); she wants to describe a situation in which the usage of one word (in a particular context, by a small group of people) has diverged enough from its standard usage that it has become interchangeable with another word, normally either different or unrelated in meaning. My friend believes there is a word for this phenomenon, but nobody we've asked so far has been able to identify it ... does anyone out there know? Jonathan Gilbert JonG[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]