Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 22:14:13 EDT From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: whole nuther ballgame Re ----------------------------Original message---------------------------- I read this as an infix a-whole-nother Cynthia Bernstein Dept. of English Auburn University, AL 36849-5203 On Mon, 20 Oct 1997, Jeutonne P. Brewer wrote: > What is the source/background/history of a phrase like > whole nuther xxx? Someone asked me about his phrase today. > I've heard it all my life. I hear it in the English Department > here. I think that I have read some discussion of this, but > evidently I didn't pay attention. > > Jeutonne > 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. Larry