LINGUIST List 2.570

Fri 27 Sep 1991

Misc: Queries

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Jerry Morgan, 2.555 It needs washed
  2. Allan C. Wechsler, 2.556 Kreplach
  3. "(lan C. Wechsler, Query: this here, that there
  4. "Bruce E. Nevin", multilingual childhood
  5. carole chaski, query re tag questions
  6. Joe Stemberger, Query: language change
  7. Swann Philip, 2.563 Queries

Message 1: 2.555 It needs washed

Date: Wed, 25 Sep 91 11:48:41 BST
From: Jerry Morgan <>
Subject: 2.555 It needs washed
I have a vague memory of being told that Central Pennsylvania and
Central Illinois dialects have a lot in common. (Yes, I'm from Peoria,
but I'm not related to Bob Yates.) How do people in Central PA feel
about things like the following?
intrusive r before sh in words like 'wash', 'Washington', etc.
vowel raising/glide insertion before palatalized z as in
'measure', 'division' (lacking IPA, best I can do is sight dialect:
mayzure, diveezion)
'anymore' without overt negative context: Anymore it seems to rain
all the time. ('Anymore' means roughly 'nowadays' here).
objectless 'with':
He's coming with. I'm gonna bring/take him with. Do you wanna go with?
(implicit object of 'with' determined from context in the usual
poorly understood ways).
stressed [Ir] -> syllabic [r] in some words: the first syllable
in 'cereal' and 'syrup' is the same as the first syllable of 'circus'.
If there is a systematic comparative study of these dialect features
anywhere in the literature, I'd love to know about it so I could use
it in undergraduate classes.
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Message 2: 2.556 Kreplach

Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1991 15:25-0400
From: Allan C. Wechsler <ACWYUKON.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
Subject: 2.556 Kreplach
 Date: Mon, 23 Sep 91 17:15:48 -0500
 From: "Michael Kac" <>
 Subject: Re: 2.552 Responses: macs, needs, being, roles
 Re Mexican queso fondue: Many years ago, a Chinese restaurant I frequented
 in Philadelphia identified won ton as Chinese kreplach.
 Michael Kac
This reminds me of a question I've been meaning to ask in this august
forum. The Yiddish word "kreplach", or more IPA'ly, "kreplax", is
evidently composed of three morphemes: "krep" meaning "pancake with filling"
and almost certainly < F "crepe"; "-l", a diminutive suffix native in
Gmc; and the plural morpheme "-ax".
Now, I don't know German, but I know enough Yiddish to know that a lot
of diminutives in -l form plurals in -ax. (Ex. "medlax" "little
girls".) Is this Gmc? The only place I've ever seen a plural -ax is in
the locative case in Russian. Can somebody supply a convincing
etymology for Yiddish "-ax"?
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Message 3: Query: this here, that there

Date: Thu, 26 Sep 91 11:23:54 BST
From: "(lan C. Wechsler <>
Subject: Query: this here, that there
Can anyone provide info on the dialectal distribution of forms like
*this here book*, *that there book* (and indeed *them thar hills*)?
A colleague not yet on e-mail, Martin Durrell, would like to find out
where such reinforcement of a demonstrative by an r-adverb is to be found.
 Anyone with either local knowledge of a particular dialect or references
to scholarly discussion could e-mail me, d.denison
and I'll pass the info on. Thanks.
 David Denison
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Message 4: multilingual childhood

Date: Thu, 26 Sep 91 07:55:34 EDT
From: "Bruce E. Nevin" <>
Subject: multilingual childhood
Fellow linguists et al. :-,
An acquaintance here at BBN, Damaris M. Ayuso <dayusoBBN.COM>, posted
the following query on BBN's bboard:
>I'm interested in people's experiences in trying to speak to an infant
>a language other than English from the start, assuming the child will
>pick up English anyway with friends and in nursery school, so that the
>child will grow up to be bilingual.
>I have several Spanish-speaking friends who have done this
>successfully, speaking only Spanish at home as they normally do, and
>the children have no problem picking up both languages, the English
>through socializing, toys, etc. I know cases too of one parent being
>more comfortable in one language, and the other parent speaking
>another, and again, the children learn both. I have not heard of any
>negative side to this, other than the child may take a little longer
>to start talking (in one case).
>I'm looking for personal experiences/comments or other tips on the ups
>and downs of this. Any recommendations on books on this topic?
I can forward responses or discussion to her. She is not on this
	Bruce Nevin
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Message 5: query re tag questions

Date: Thu, 26 Sep 91 09:43:42 EDT
From: carole chaski <>
Subject: query re tag questions
I am working on an analysis of double modals in GPSG, part of which involves
the formation of tag questions. Alas, tags are not dealt with in GKPS (1985)
and I have not found any references in LLBA from 91-87. Would anyone know
of treatments of tag questions within GPSG, conference papers, talks? I am
already working on an account which I can then extend to the double modal
facts, but if it's already been done I would at least like to mention the
work. Thanks. I suppose that I'll take silence as "no." --carole chaski
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Message 6: Query: language change

Date: Thu, 26 Sep 91 15:42 CDT
Subject: Query: language change
I have a question about phonological change.
I have often heard people say that vowels are less stable historically
than consonants, at least as regards place of articulation. You find
unconditioned sound changes where almost all instances of a vowel raise,
lower, front, unround, etc., but very few where all velars become dentals,
for example. Changes of place for consonants generally affect only a small
subset of consonants, such as palatalized labials becoming dental, or velars
palatalizing before front vowels, etc.
Voltaire is often credited with saying that vowels are more likely to
change, when he said that etymology is a science in which the consonants
count for little and the vowels count for nothing.
However, I have been unable to track down where this belief comes from.
Can anyone point me to an article/book on historical linguistics where someone
said this outright? (The better known the linguist, the better. And I am
particularly interested in changes of place of articulation, not of manner
or voicing.)
Also, are such statements based on anything more than noticing particular
cases (like in Germanic languages, where it seems to hold true since
Proto-Indo-European), or has someone actually investigated in detail,
looking at lots of language families?
Does anyone out there have any counterevidence to this belief?
---joe stemberger
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Message 7: 2.563 Queries

Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1991 08:41:19 +0200
From: Swann Philip <>
Subject: 2.563 Queries
Re: ASL as a Second Language
Can somebody explain the status of ASL to me? Is it a code,
a pidgin, a creole, an artificial language, a natural language -
or something sui generis?
Philip Swann
University of Geneva
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Date: Fri, 27 Sep 91 10:20 EDT
My students and I have launched a cross-cultural research project
investigating how various cultures conceive and experience the relation-
ship between mind and body/brain. We are looking at the literature
for the 186 societies in the Standard Sample (Murdock and White 1969).
What I wish to ask you is if any of you know of any literature on the
matter? And I mean this in the broadest sense: whether there are
words for what we mean by "brain," whether the culture has a notion
of what the brain does (for example, the Navajor are good at anatomy,
but poor at physiology -- they think somewhere around the base of the
nose, but "think from" the heart), mental-physical terminology,
general discussions of the relationship between mind and body in
non-Euroamerican cultures, and that sort of thing. I'd be much
obliged for any clues you care to share. I can be reached at
e-mail: charles laughlincarleton.bitnet. Thanks.
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