LINGUIST List 10.727

Wed May 12 1999

Qs: Sarcastic Imperatives, Vowels, Pragmatics

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.


  1. Kevin R. Gregg, Sarcastic imperatives
  2. Bruce T. Moren, Vowel Lengthening
  3. Natalia Neumann, Pragmatics/CA

Message 1: Sarcastic imperatives

Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 12:00:54 +0900
From: Kevin R. Gregg <>
Subject: Sarcastic imperatives

Japanese has a couple of fixed phrases, non-polite imperatives whose
illocutionary force is the reverse of the literal meaning: *baka ie!*
(lit., 'say something stupid!', i.e. don't talk nonsense), *uso o
tuke!/ie!* (lit., 'tell a lie!', i.e. nonsense! etc.). These seem to
be restricted to the non-polite imperative form (you don't say 'baka
iinasai!') and non-productive (you don't say, e.g. 'Make up an
excuse!') A colleague has asked me if English has similar sorts of
expressions; the best I can come up with is, 'Tell me about it,' and
'Pull the other one (it's got bells on)'. My native-speaker
intuitions have decayed over the years; am I missing any obvious
examples? Yiddish has *frayg mir* ('ask me' i.e., don't ask me; how
should I know?). Are there similar expressions (fixed or productive)
in other languages?

Kevin R. Gregg
Momoyama Gakuin University
(St. Andrew's University)
1-1 Manabino, Izumi
Osaka 594-1198 Japan 0725-54-3131 (ext. 3622)
fax. 0725-54-3202
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Message 2: Vowel Lengthening

Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 11:19:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: Bruce T. Moren <>
Subject: Vowel Lengthening


A quick glance at the literature suggests that lower vowels tend to be
phonetically longer than higher vowels. I am looking for information
regarding languages that make use of this tendency within the
phonological system: i.e. where low and/or mid vowels lengthen in some
environment where high vowels do not. Examples of the lengthening
environments might be open monosyllables (to meet a minimal word
requirement), iambic lengthening, compensatory lengthening, etc.

Ideally, the languages I am looking for should not have a phonemic
vowel length distinction. However, any information regarding
languages that lengthen low and/or mid vowels but not high vowels
would be greatly appreciated.

Bruce Moren

 Bruce Moren
 Linguistics Department
 University of Maryland
 1401 Marie Mount			
 College Park, MD 20742-7515
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Message 3: Pragmatics/CA

Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 14:59:03 +0100 (GMT Daylight Time)
From: Natalia Neumann <>
Subject: Pragmatics/CA

Dear all,

I am looking for references in Pragmatics and Conversation Analysis,
for example (advanced) books on theories/ conversation strategies
etc., studies. Website addresses of linguists in the field with their
references would also be helpful for me.

I will post a summary.

Many thanks.

Natalia Neumann
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