LINGUIST List 2.543

Sat 21 Sep 1991

Misc: Responses

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , recognising 3 languages
  2. Victor Raskin, Lurking out
  3. Stephen P Spackman, kIlometre/kilOmeter and the CBC [was: Re: 2.517 That's]
  4. Nancy L. Dray, clarification of previous...
  5. Dennis Baron, back in the ussr

Message 1: recognising 3 languages

Date: Wed, 18 Sep 91 10:26:56 MDT
From: <jbarndenNMSU.Edu>
Subject: recognising 3 languages
Concerning recent messages about recognising language, I've long
been intrigued by the following menu item I saw in a Bandidos
 Mexican queso fondu(e)
(I don't remember whether there was an "e".)
Must be one of the few trilingual 3-word sentences uttered other than
in jest!
Other such examples, and speculation on human/AI understanding of them,
would be of interest to me.
John Barnden
Computing Research Laboratory
New Mexico State University
P.S. The restaurant in question was *not* in these parts, I hasten to add.
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Message 2: Lurking out

Date: Wed, 18 Sep 91 20:48:39 EST
From: Victor Raskin <>
Subject: Lurking out
A number of people have sent me comments on my usage of 'lurk out' in
a sentence which said something like 'I should have lurked out on that
discussion' in my recent posting on -ite/-ist. The comments have
ranged from precise instructions as to where non-native speakers
should go with their malapropisms to expressions of deep sentiment
towards my quaint usage.
I have decided to share the gist of my response to these colleagues
with the rest of the list. I had not made up that usage. 'Lurking' as
well as 'lurking in,' 'in on,' 'out,' and 'about' are common usage in
Networkese. So are 'flame,' 'flaming,' 'flaming up,' 'down,' 'in,'
'out,' 'about,' etc. The rhetoricians have been studying newsgroup
discourse for a couple of years already, but I suspect that there is
not that much substance out there to attract a linguist. Of course, words
like 'net' and 'list'--and perhaps others--have shifted their meanings
as well. The syntactic shifts, however, are probably all penetrations
of the colloquial register into the postings.
None of that stuff has surfaced up yet on this list. One explanation
for that is that we must be all very firmly rooted in the register of
written linguistic discourse, and we simply go on with it here. This
makes the list non-receptive to somewhat unstable and evidently
low-prestige innovations of the type mentioned above (plus the
numerous smileys) and proliferating in the hack-level (here I go
again!) lists attracting many inexperienced writers.
Victor Raskin
[Standard disclaimer: There may be one or more unmarked jokes in the
message above.]
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Message 3: kIlometre/kilOmeter and the CBC [was: Re: 2.517 That's]

Date: Wed, 18 Sep 91 16:12:44 -0500
From: Stephen P Spackman <>
Subject: kIlometre/kilOmeter and the CBC [was: Re: 2.517 That's]
Ron Smythe <> comments that there's at
least an attempt at media-induced language change in the Canadaian
Broadcasting Corporation's insistence on the {systematic, british}
pronounciation of metric prefixed unit names, and has "always
maintained that since everyone says kilOMetres, the CBC is off base".
I think this is an interesting case because it seems to me that here
we are seeing an attempt at not language POLICING (which might be
objectionable), but language ENGINEERING (which is more on the order
of interesting). The point of the insistence on kIlometre, I think,
is that they are trying to MAKE the paradigm of multiplier+baseUnit
{consciously, synchronically} productive (a move that, if succesful,
would do more to promote metric over Imperial units than anything else
they've tried, since the main failure of the campaign seems to have
been in the area of convincing people that SI is any more consistent
 - but then, of course, everything still comes in "454g" packages!).
As a high school student (in Canada) I made myself quite unpopular by
telling my science teacher that they could say kilOmeter if they
wanted, but that they were then being wilfully stupid if they didn't
say millIliter as well....
Disclaimer: I was brought up in England and learned ONLY metric until
we came to this continent.
stephen p spackman Center for Information and Language Studies University of Chicago
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Message 4: clarification of previous...

Date: Tue, 17 Sep 91 17:36:51 CDT
From: Nancy L. Dray <>
Subject: clarification of previous...
In case my 13 Sept 91 note re Ossetian/Ossetic seemed to
appear out of the blue and make no sense, I should clarify
that it was a response to Alexis Manaster-Ramer's 10 Sept 91
query, which I quoted at the top but seem to have neglected
to attribute. Oops! Sorry...I realize not everyone reads
all the postings, and some cross-referencing is helpful.
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Message 5: back in the ussr

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 91 9:08:01 CDT
From: Dennis Baron <>
Subject: back in the ussr
In response to Rick Russom's query on Soviet language planning,
try E. Glyn Lewis, _Multilingualism in the Soviet Union: Aspects
of Language Policy and Its Implementation_. The Hague: Mouton
1972. Lewis has a later (1980/81) book on bilingualism as well.
A colleague in the Slavic Dept. here, Maurice Friedberg, mentioned
to me recently that Stalin had a committee whose task was to
magnify the differences among the various Soviet languages which
up to that point had been fairly similar so that they would become
unintelligible and I suppose more dependent on Russian. Maurice is
not on email, but drop him a note at 3092 FLB for further
-- ____________ 217-333-2392
 |:~~~~~~~~~~:| fax: 217-333-4321
Dennis Baron |: :|
Dept. of English |: db :|
Univ. of Illinois |: :|
608 S. Wright St. |:==========:|
Urbana IL 61801 \\ """""""" \
 \\ """""""" \
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