LINGUIST List 2.427

Fri 23 Aug 1991

Qs: clicks, why wh-

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  1. Stuart Spore, ! (click)
  2. Mark Sanderson, Query

Message 1: ! (click)

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 91 05:26:43 -0400
From: Stuart Spore <spore%acf5.NYU.EDURICEVM1.RICE.EDU>
Subject: ! (click)
A colleague who is not a subscriber to the LINGUIST List posed
the following question. Is there anyone out there who can answer
her?
> In some African languages, the character ! is used to denote
> a click. In such cases, it is being used as an alphabetic
> character rather than as punctuation.
> We are trying to decide how this usage of ! will be normalized for
> searching [an online library catalog]. So far, the only
> instances I have seen in our catalog have the ! as the first
> character of a word (e.g. !Kung, !Osa, !Xu). Does anyone out
> there know if the ! is ever used in the middle of words, or at
> the end?
Stuart Spore | Phone: 212-998-6333
Head of Cataloging & Automated | Fax: 212-998-6587
Systems | sporeacf5.nyu.edu
New York University Law Library |
40 Washington Sq. So. |
New York, N.Y. 10012 |
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Message 2: Query

Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1991 15:09:30 +0000
From: Mark Sanderson <sanderso%dcs.glasgow.ac.ukRICEVM1.RICE.EDU>
Subject: Query
This is a rather frivolous question as it is purly for interest and no
academic pursuits. Does anyone know why in English words questioning words
(I'm afraid I don't know the correct term) like
Who, What, Why, When
all begin with "wh" ?
Is there a good reason ? Do other languages have this quirk ?
If anyone knows, I would be interested to hear.
Thanks,
 Mark S.
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