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LINGUIST List 16.3071

Mon Oct 24 2005

Qs: 'Eensy Weensy Spider'; Questions in Art Museum

Editor for this issue: Jessica Boynton <jessicalinguistlist.org>

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. In addition to posting a summary, we'd like to remind people that it is usually a good idea to personally thank those individuals who have taken the trouble to respond to the query. To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
        1.    Lynn Santelmann, Regional Variants on 'Eensy Weensy Spider'
        2.    Chris Boyd, Visitor Questions in an Art Museum

Message 1: Regional Variants on 'Eensy Weensy Spider'
Date: 24-Oct-2005
From: Lynn Santelmann <santelmannlpdx.edu>
Subject: Regional Variants on 'Eensy Weensy Spider'

Does anyone know anything about regional (dialectal?) variations on the
English children's song ''The eensy weensy spider''?

Having lived in various parts of the (northern) U.S., I've heard both
''itsy bitsy spider'' and ''eensy weensy spider'' -- so much so that I'm
now at a perpetual loss whether to sing ''itsy bitsy'' or ''eensy weensy''
to my children!

I'm just curious as to where the boundaries lie, and whether the use of
itsy bitsy vs. eensy weensy reflects a more general choice of one or the
other as diminutives.

I've done a quick lit search on LLBA and not found anything. I will gladly
post a summary of replies.

Lynn Santelmann
Associate Professor Applied Linguistics
Portland State University

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition

Message 2: Visitor Questions in an Art Museum
Date: 17-Oct-2005
From: Chris Boyd <museumvisitoryahoo.com>
Subject: Visitor Questions in an Art Museum


I’m new to the field of linguistics and am in need of advice. I am a museum
security guard at the Metropolitan in New York. I’m doing an Ed.M. in art
education at Teachers College Columbia. My thesis topic is: Do These Stairs
Go Up? Visitor Questions and Museum Education. I’m analyzing visitors’
comments and questions to security staff in a number of ways. Apart from
strait forward stuff like categories and percents (23% of questions on
rainy weekday mornings are about orientation) etc., I’m also hoping to
analyze the words visitors use to ask their questions. For example:

Where is the Picasso?
The Picassos are?
Hello, Picasso?
Am I headed to the Picasso?
How do I get to Picasso?
Am I close to the Picasso?
Do you know the way to the Picassos?
Could you direct me to the Picasso?
Sorry, do you think you could tell me where the Picasso is?
Can you tell me, like, where the Picasso is?
What’s the way to Picasso?
How far do I have to go for Picasso?

I’m looking for Picasso.
I’m making my way to Picasso.
Tell me where Picasso is.
Tell me how to get to Picasso.
I have a feeling I’m not near the Picasso.
I need to see the Picasso

How do I analyze this? Has anyone published a nice neat methodology for
categorizing the variety of speech acts with the same ostensible purpose?
I’d be especially interested to read something with a psychological bias,
because that’s where I think this is going.

Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

Chris Boyd

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

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