Date: Thu, 21 Mar 1996 07:48:05 -0500 From: "Dennis R. Preston" Subject: Re: your mail Since I use 'jeetchet' in my beginning classes as an example of allegro speech processes and specifically relate it to 'did you eat yet,' I am surprised to find it on a list of 'non-words,' particularly since the 'jeet' part requires, at least for me, an 'underlying' 'did.' I will avoid extensive discussion of the more philsophical question about the word status of some of the other items on this list, but I think one would like to distinguish several levels here, at least, for example: 1) Pseudo-imitatives which have clearly have the status 'word' (e.g.,. cock-a-doodle-doo' and 'oink' (which no self-respecting rooseter or pig, respectively, would ever say). 2) A middle category of items which appear to be 'conventionalizing,' derived from 'sounds' but not yet fully lexicalized. Judgments here are difficult since they may be further along in the process for some than for others. For me, for example, 'blech' is such an item (while the similar 'yuck' belongs to category one. 3) 'Semanticized' noises; i.e., noises whose ',meanings' are clear but seem to lack (or resist) lexicalization. (E.g., the 'mmmmmmmm' which means 'tasty,' or, to take an example of the same semantic terriory which surely exists in 2) (or perhaps 1 for some) above, 'yum.' Morphological tests help me a bit with these. For example, I can attach bound morphemes (plural, past tense, etc...) to category one freely (He oinked yeasterday; He let out three loud oinks). I have a lot of trouble doing this to category 2 (*He bleched yesterday, as opposed to 'He went 'blech' yesterday.') The last (*He 'mmmmmmmed' yesterday) is really bad for me. (This is what helps me clear up 'yum.' I don't like 'he yummed' yesterday, but it's not as horrible as 'he mmmmmmmed' yesterday, so I would put 'yum' in 2) and 'mmmmm' in 3). When I say 'I don't like these,' of course, I do not refer at all to the possibility of 'pseudolexicalizing' them (like any stretch of noise) in 'performance' speech. GGGGGmmmmppph. (The noise a real pig makes) Dennis >gleep- my brain is melting >bleh, blech, yuck(and similar derivatives)-that's disgusting >yum- delicious >humph- what nonsense >pshaw- ditto >grunt- grunt >jeet?- You eat yet? > >I'm sure there's many others. Dennis R. Preston Department of Linguistics and Languages Michigan State University East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Office: (517)432-1235 Fax: (517)432-2736