LINGUIST List 2.362

Thursday, 25 July 1991

Sum: Compound nouns, Pronoun borrowing, Flaming

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  1. , message
  2. "ELISE EMERSON MORSE-GAGNE", Thanksum: pronoun borrowing
  3. "ELISE EMERSON MORSE-GAGNE", Thanksum: flaming

Message 1: message

Date: Wed, 24 Jul 91 18:39:44 +0200
From: <>
Subject: message
Dear Colleagues,
some weeks ago I launched a query on the net, asking for bibliographic data
about compound nouns. Reactions came at such speed and in such quantities,
that we were really overwhelmed. My colleague Lieve De Wachter and I want
to thank all that have reacted to our query.
We did not yet realize that the net was such a efficient source of
I will attend the Cognitive Linguistics Conference in Santa Cruz next week,
and the European Summer School (ESSLLI) in Saarbruecken next month.
I hope to see some of you there, to exchange some ideas about how the
problems of compound nouns could be tamed.
Kind regards, and
many thanks again.
Jan Dings
Maria-Theresiastraat, 21
B-3000 Leuven (Belgium)
Tel: +32-16-285084
Fax: +32-16-285025
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Message 2: Thanksum: pronoun borrowing

Date: Thu Jul 25 12:23:07 1991
Subject: Thanksum: pronoun borrowing
I would like to thank all those who responded, either privately
or on this list, to my request for instances of pronoun
borrowing. They were (in chronological order): Guido Vanden
Wyngaerd, Ingo Plag, Ove Lorentz, David Gil, Joe Salmons, Suzanne
Fleischman, Susan Fischer, Bill Poser, Susanna Cumming, Mark
Sebba, Scott Delancey, and Hartmut Haberland. The principal
examples given were from Indonesian Malay and Thai, and there
seemed a consensus that the impetus was the desire to import
forms which were "safer"--more noncommittal as to relative social
status--than the already existing words. As I understand it, in
these instances the new forms coexist and alternate with the old
ones, rather than replacing them. David Gil pointed out that a
word borrowed as a pronoun sometimes was the equivalent pronoun
in the lender language, but sometimes it was a noun--such as
"servant" or "slave". Scott Delancey clarified matters by
distinguishing between two sorts of pronoun systems: Thai (and
presumably at least some of the others cited) has "a large, and
potentially open, class of morphemes used for direct address and
pronominal reference" rather than "a closed paradigmatic system
with its own defining morphosyntax". The implications of
borrowing by the first kind of system are very different from the
implications of a borrowing involving the latter type.
 Again, thanks to everyone and I apologize for being so slow
to send this out!
 Oh yes--about my name. The fact that it appears in its
entirety and all in capitals in the headers is not my choice, and
it's not necessary to refer to me by the whole quadruple-
barrelled appellation, or in uppercase. I am perfectly happy
with many possible variants, including my favorite to date,
"Elise M-G" (I've forgotten who used that). Margaret Fleck, this
would solve the typographic problem of how to possessivize my
name if the accent aigu is indicated already by an apostrophe
after the word. Other possibilities for your consideration:
haplography--collapse the two apostrophes into one; or using my
first name alone, until another linguist named Elise joins the
list. However, perhaps that is against the unspoken address-and-
reference rules of this group. I've noticed we're a formal
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Message 3: Thanksum: flaming

Date: 24 Jul 91 21:21:00 EST
Subject: Thanksum: flaming
Many thanks to all those who slaked my thirst for knowledge
concerning the terms "flame", "flaming" and other forms. Several
people supplemented or expanded my tentative definition, and some
referred me to a hackers' dictionary for the whole story.
"Major" (further name unknown) won the prize for helpfulness by
actually sending me the entries in question. They were (so we
know what we have to work with): flamage, flame, flame bait,
flame on ("The punning reference to Marvel Comics's Human Torch
is no longer widely recognized"), flame war, flamer. Both WPI
and Carleton College are reported to have seen early uses of some
of these terms, and the dictionary file suggests that "The term
may have been independently invented at several different
In the spirit of this (now long-ago) discussion, I will explain
the subject header above. "Thanksum" is a term I coined to mean
a message of thanks for information received, incorporating a
brief summary of the principal points. Note the 8-character
filename format, not mirrored in the 5-3 division of the
morphemes. would be a quite different kind of
message, I feel.
Goodbye to all until the fall.
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