Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 02:00:00 LCL
From: "M. Lynne Murphy" 104LYN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MUSE.ARTS.WITS.AC.ZA
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]ra.msstate.edu)
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
a child of the 70s (obviously),
M. Lynne Murphy e-mail: 104lyn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]muse.arts.wits.ac.za
Lecturer, Dept. of Linguistics phone: 27(11)716-2340
University of the Witwatersrand fax: 27(11)716-8030
Johannesburg 2050 South Africa