Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 10:57:36 -0400 From: "M. Lynne Murphy" <104LYN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MUSE.ARTS.WITS.AC.ZA> Subject: Re: Mouse/Mice=House/Hice > The bird flew out - The batter flied out. *flew out > The oxen pulled the wagon - They're a bunch of dumb oxes *dumb oxen it's not just that they're extended meanings, but that they have been conventionalized to the extent that they have separate lexical entries. let me cheat and point out what stephen pinker points out in _the language instinct_: for "fly" in the baseball sense, it's not an extension of the verb "fly", but a zero-derivation of the noun "fly" (in baseball terminology), so since it is a new verb, it gets regular morphology. the same applies to "goose". "dumb ox" is an idiom which doesn't seem to get analysed at the morphological level as being an irregular. other metaphorical uses that are not lexicalized don't get regularized. "we're an effective team of hard-working oxen (*oxes)." the computer ate (*eated) my disk. there are 3 men (*mans) left on the chessboard. my table has four feet (*foots). (but: *?at the feet of mountains, flowers often grow.) it seems for "mouse" that the computer meaning has for some reason or other been associated with a different lexical entry than the rodent meaning. my assumption is that the ones that get put into separate lexical entries are just too different from the source meaning to share mapping to the conceptual domain(s). computer mice don't do any mousy things. mountains don't stand on their feet. and as long as we're on the subject. i was reading _longman language review_ no. 1 today, which is a pseudo-journal dedicated to promoting longman reference materials. in an article about the british national corpus it said that the corpus (which is the basis of the _longman dictionary of contemporary english_) can answer questions like, "which plural of mouse is more frequently used for the computer sense?" (better phrased than that, though). so, presumably, the answer to the original question can be found in the latest edition of LDOCE, which includes frequency information. does anyone have this who could check it out for us? > 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 > 'geese.'). incidentally, this is not what i use 'goose' to mean. to me, a goose is a many-fingered pinch at the bottom of the buttocks (i.e., at the fold above the thigh). have i been improperly goosed in both senses of the phrase? lynne --------------------------------------------------------------------- M. Lynne Murphy 104lyn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Department of Linguistics phone: 27(11)716-2340 University of the Witwatersrand fax: 27(11)716-4199 Johannesburg 2050 SOUTH AFRICA