LINGUIST List 2.652

Mon 14 Oct 1991

Misc: Sound Change, Potawatomi, Postpositions

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Tellier Christine, query
  2. Richard Goerwitz, Re: 2.645 Queries
  4. Ron Kuzar, Overt/covert Messages
  5. , postposition -s

Message 1: query

Date: Thu, 10 Oct 91 20:02:42 EDT
From: Tellier Christine <>
Subject: query
Does anyone have an e-mail address for Robert Kluender at UC San Diego?
I'm also looking for a (street) address for Jean Dubois (Universite de
Paris-Nanterre), and Catherine Fuchs (CNRS, somewhere in France).
- Christine Tellier.
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Message 2: Re: 2.645 Queries

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 91 12:41:09 CDT
From: Richard Goerwitz <>
Subject: Re: 2.645 Queries
Ellen Kaisse <> says (re sound change):
 Alexis Manaster Ramer writes that every phonological framework
 allows, indeed encourages, us to write rules of the form X-->Y
 without conditioning environment. Allow me to come to the
 phonologists' defense (if defense is what is called for.) Most
 phonologists would now agree, I think, that assimilations should
 be represented as spreading rules, dissimilations as delinking
 rules, and that feature-changing rules not caused by spreading and
 delinking are both marked and (therefore) more difficult to write,
 since one has to insert a feature from out of nowhere rather than
 simply letting the the geometric representation be minimally
 altered by the addition or removal of lines of association.
This statement raises a question that's been on my mind for some time.
Why is it that nondistinctive features condition many
dis/assimilations? For instance, in Arabic, rounding often pervades
vowels adjacent to the "emphatic" consonants. Likewise, in Tiberian
Hebrew /r/, emphatic /q/, and sometimes emphatic /t/ sometimes
condition a similar shift (this may be, incidentally, the reason for
the o in Greek renditions of "Nazoreth," Jesus' birthplace). If in
fact assimilation and dissimilation represent linking/delinking of
association lines in a quasi-geometric feature array, then how is it
that nonsystematic features seem to enter in at times (and yet at
times do not enter in)? For instance in Tiberian Hebrew, CVC (<
*CVCC) "geminate" nouns ending in /q/ or /r/ often show a labialized
/c/ (turn the c around to get the low-mid back rounded vowel) where
it's not expected (e.g. scq for saq, hammcq for hammaq, pcr and scr
for par and sar, etc.). The change is sporadic, and not present in
verbs. How is it that we can explain such vascillations using a
geometrical set of arrays and association lines, especially when
phonetic investigation reveals that such assimilations typically do
not pervade an entire segment? What do we do then? Remember that the
assimilation is not an idiosyncratic property of the segment in
question, so how do the rules look which determine how far into the
preceding segment a given assimilatory "linking" should go?
I guess what I'm driving at is that some phonological rules seem best
accounted for as part of a continuum - i.e. in kind of Stampean terms.
Other shifts seem to be better accounted for via the kinds of quasi-
geometric constructs you speak of.
I must confess to being one of those dreaded, linguist-hating :-)
philologists, and to being ignorant of much.
May I be pardoned this ignorance, and pose my (perhaps naive)
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Message 3: potawatomi

Date: Thu, 10 Oct 91 10:50:37 -0400
Subject: potawatomi
An archeologist colleague of mine is looking for lexical information on
Potawatomi. Specifically, he would like the words 'black', 'wolf', and
I've come up empty handed on bibliographic searches for Potawatomi lexical
information. Can anyone out there in linguist land tell me what these
words are or give a suggestion on how to find them?
Aaron Broadwell, Dept. of Linguistics, University at Albany -- SUNY,
Albany, NY 12222
"Reason's last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of
things which are beyond it." -- Pascal
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Message 4: Overt/covert Messages

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1991 10:13 IST
Subject: Overt/covert Messages
Dear Colleages,
A few days ago I posted a request for bibliography and haven't
received any responses. I believe that describing my little
project may trigger some more interest.
One of the extreme right wing writers in Israel is using a very
sophisticated method of double-messaging: The opinions voiced
(the overt message) have a liberal appearance, but the language
used (the couvert message) is extremely racist and inhuman. For
example, in a book about the Jewish Underground of the early 80's
in which he was active he tells about the attempted assasination
of West-Bank mayors by putting bombs under their cars, an action
which was not completely successful and resulted in their loss of
their legs. The report is seemingly factual, quoting also people
(from the right) who opposed the action or condemned it. But the
attempted assasination is referred to as 'ktiat raglayim' or
'kitsuts raglayim'. 'raglayim' means 'legs'. 'ktia' is a term
used for 'amputation' or for minor violations of the social code,
like 'interruption' of conversation. 'kitsuts' is used for
'chopping' vegetables, 'cutting' the budget etc.
To observe and describe this discrepancy is easy, and it is no
problem to write a newspaper article about it. Things like this
have been done before, both by linguists and by lay people (what
is a linguist anyway). What has not been done yet is to say these
things within the academic system, which is holding a
positivistic facade of scientific neutralism. Now, I am mainly a
syntactician, not a semanticist. I am doing this work more as
political involvement than as regular linguistic work. What I am
looking for is some theoretical framework(s) for the description
of such phenomena.
Any remarks or references will be appreciated.
Ron Kuzar
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Message 5: postposition -s

Date: Sat, 12 Oct 91 17:07
From: <>
Subject: postposition -s
Elise's response to the comment from Lachlan Mackenzie - which I also did
not see, only goes into the origin of the 's marker for possessive.
Is it controvertible that this is a postposition?
Does anyone not have the following type of construction in their dialect?
The house on the corner's garage burnt down.
This sort of thing is surely eveidence of the current status of 's as an
enclitic postposition.
On another matter - whilst I am on the line, so to speak - Has anyone apart
from me noticed the increasingly widespread phenomenon in English (British
in my case)?
He bought a bottle of wine to the party = He brought a bottle of wine...
In both written and spoken English people seem unable to produce two distinct
forms, although they apparently mean two different things. Or do they? I
am beginning to wonder if in fact the semantics is changing to something
which (con)fuses the two. Anyone got any ideas?
Looking through my example is clear to me - but not perhaps to those who have
not heard it. People have stopped saying 'brought'.
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