Date: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 12:09:58 +0900


Subject: Re: whole nuther ballgame

I completely agree with Larry Horn's analysis. I teach Intro to Ling

with (the Japanese translation of) an English general linguistics

textbook and it gives "a whole nother" as an infix example as well. I

thought to myself, "hey, this guy's a famous linguist, but this ain't

right." Glad to know I'm not the only one who thought this was

strange. Explaining it as an infix seems to have become a part of the

"folk linguistics of linguists".

Danny Long

Larry Horn wrote:

We did have at least one round on this a while back. My files are at work,

but I recall arguing that this is NOT a true infix (of the sort we have in

English with fan[fuckin]tastic, abso[bloody]lutely, etc.), but rather a

reanalysis of an + other -- a + nother. This kind of reanalysis is legion,

both in this direction (an ewt -- a newt) and especially in the opposite (an

orange, an umpire, an apron: all from stems with historical initial n-).

Without the reanalysis, we'd expect to get "a whole other', which in fact DOES

occur and which we wouldn't be tempted to analyze as an infix construction.

The one problem for the proposed analysis is that we might expect to get other

adverbs intervening in the 'a [ADV] nother [N]' construction besides 'other'.

Can anyone attest e.g. 'a totally/real/quite nother X'? In any case, the fact

that 'whole' appears nowhere else within a morpheme or word (unlike the

expletives 'fuckin', 'bloody', '(god)damn', etc. noted above) militates

against a true infixation analysis here.



Daniel Long, Associate Professor NEW tel +81-6-723-8297

Japanese Language Research Center NEW fax +81-6-723-8302

Osaka Shoin Women's College dlong[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

4-2-26 Hishiyanishi

Higashi-Osaka-shi, Osaka Japan 577