Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 09:26:57 -0500
From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU
Subject: Re: Mouse/Mice=House/Hice
What can we learn from all these mouses?
I regard 'mice' in the computer world as an exception to the following
GENERAL RULE: When an irregular form takes on extended, especially
metaphoric, meaning, regularize it.
Consider the following.
The bird flew out - The batter flied out. *flew out
The oxen pulled the wagon - They're a bunch of dumb oxes *dumb oxen
And on and on (including the relatively bizarre fact that if someone went
around sticking their thumb between a lot of people's legs up by their
butts, they would be said to have given a lot of 'gooses,' certainly not
Note that 'mice' was already waffling in an earlier metaphoric sense ('Be
men, not mice' ['mouses'?]), although, as with all good general rules there
are numerous exceptions (e.g., 'drove' in golf, 'froze' in sports).
Would a feature-based semantic analysis show which of these are most likely
to preserve irregularity or would such preservation more likely be based on
the phonological and/or morphological status of the item in question? Nice
preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pilot.msu.edu