Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1993 23:55:57 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Re: "Rock 'n Roll" Sheila-- I'd suggest you ask your classmate what he means by the expression. One advantage a non-native speaker has is being able to ask about terms and expressions without being thought stupid, because it is recognized by the native that you are not familiar with the culture. In many ways it is harder for a native to ask, especially about something that might seem self-obvious. Try it, and let us know what you find out. Maybe, as Eric Byrd suggests, it is just an emotive expression, and not really easily definable, even by the person who is using it (people often have trouble defining words, because it is not really an everyday requirement for sociolinguistic competence; my favorite demonstration term is , which is essentially undefinable -- the most ordinary words are often the most indefinable). [NB: the usual answer is "an object"; so what is an object? Something tangible. But what is tangible? ... Something you can touch. But what is ? Anything....] You can try it with . Zai jian, --Rudy Troike