LINGUIST List 13.267

Thu Jan 31 2002

Qs: Contrastive Corpus, New Uses of 'Gay'

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  1. Agn�s leroux, contrastive corpus
  2. Dorine S. Houston, Query: New used of 'Gay'

Message 1: contrastive corpus

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 12:12:37 -0800
From: Agn�s leroux <>
Subject: contrastive corpus

I am a french linguist and I work in the field of what we call 'contrastive
linguistics'. In short, I compare the different systems of languages. I am
actually in search of corpuses made from translations, i.e. English/French
or French/English corpuses, just like the one you can find on Rali,
Transearch. Do you know if there are others available on the Web ?

Thank you

Agnes Leroux
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Message 2: Query: New used of 'Gay'

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 13:43:57 -0400
From: Dorine S. Houston <>
Subject: Query: New used of 'Gay'

During a recent internet chat with several friends in as many
countries, a woman in Hong Kong mentioned that there, young people
have started using 'gay' to mean 'stupid', as in 'They have scheduled
me 2 A-level exams for the same day. How gay.' A teacher in
Edinburgh, said that among the children in her classroom, it has
become a general- purpose insult. A Canadian woman (in BC) said that
her children treat it as the worst possible insult. BYW, none of
these people are linguists.

I am wondering if any of you are seeing another shift in the meaning of
this word (I remember when my grandmother described my Easter
dress and hat, complimentarily, as being 'so gay'--having a cheerful,
springy appearance). The second and third examples of this (?)
shift may simply be examples of homophobic attitudes, the first,
perhapas less so.

Thank you! I'll summarize answers.

Dorine S. Houston, Director
Institute for Global Communication
1420 Locust St., 17-R, Philadelphia, PA 19102 USA
E-MAIL: 215-732-5178
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