Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 02:00:00 LCL


Subject: Re: Pigtails

Matching ponytails on both sides of the head are called "dogears" here.

Or at least they used to be. Matching braids hanging down on both sides

of the head are "pigtails."

--Natalie (maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

just talked to an arkansasan (arkansawyer? arkansan?) (white male)

who had the same intuitions as me. i really think it's largely a

matter of how you ask the question--if you ask someone, "what was

mary hartman mary hartman's hairstyle?" they'll say "braids"--if you

ask what was cindy brady's hairstyle, they'll say "pigtails" because

the prototypical styles associated with these names (in a certain

white american cultural outlook) are close to these characters'

hairstyles. but as cindy got older, she wore her hair in two braids--

this would not falsify my claim that she wore pigtails. and if i

asked my friend "what kind of braids did mary hartman mary hartman

wear?" he'd say "pigtails" (in fact, he did just that.)

was invigilating (love that word) an exam today and so i had a good

view of about 75 womens' heads and was trying to decide "would i call

that braids?" it occured to me that the count/mass distinction for

braids and braiding (or braided hair) is relevant. students with

ornate patterns of braiding i could not say "wear braids" because

you can't count them--there's no clear boundaries among braids.

whereas people with braids that have a fixed endpoint (i.e., those

that hang down, no matter how many) are braids. (i fit right into

anna wierzbicka's claims about countability in her oats and wheat

paper here).

a child of the 70s (obviously),



M. Lynne Murphy e-mail: 104lyn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Lecturer, Dept. of Linguistics phone: 27(11)716-2340

University of the Witwatersrand fax: 27(11)716-8030

Johannesburg 2050 South Africa