LINGUIST List 2.884

Sat 28 Dec 1991

Disc: X and a Half

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. "Michael Kac", Re: 2.869 Queries: Brown/LOB Corpus, Pronoun Usage, Opaque Rules
  2. Ton van der Wouden, Re: 2.869 Queries: Brown/LOB Corpus, Pronoun Usage, Opaque Rules
  3. Dale Savage, "an X and a half"
  4. LL23000, 2.869 Queries: and a half
  5. Martin Haase, Re: 2.869 Queries: a ... and a half

Message 1: Re: 2.869 Queries: Brown/LOB Corpus, Pronoun Usage, Opaque Rules

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 91 21:19:53 -0600
From: "Michael Kac" <kaccs.umn.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.869 Queries: Brown/LOB Corpus, Pronoun Usage, Opaque Rules
In response to Wayles Browne's query re *a(n) X and a half*, I can report
that I have that expression as a well entrenched part of my own colloquial
speech -- to such a degree, in fact, that it surprises me that he evidently
finds its occurrence in English fairly striking. I unfortunately haven't a
clue when or how I acquired it.
Michael Kac
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Message 2: Re: 2.869 Queries: Brown/LOB Corpus, Pronoun Usage, Opaque Rules

Date: Wed, 18 Dec 91 13:37:30 +0100
From: Ton van der Wouden <Ton.vanderWoudenlet.ruu.nl>
Subject: Re: 2.869 Queries: Brown/LOB Corpus, Pronoun Usage, Opaque Rules
In Linguist List: Vol-2-869. of Tue 17 Dec 1991, Wayles Browne
<JN5JCORNELLA.cit.cornell.edu>, asked about
	an expression schema in Serbo-Croatian "... i po", for instance
	"djevojka i po". I means "and", po means "half". "A girl and a
	half" signifies "an excellent girl", similarly we get "a student
	and a half", "a man and a half", etc. Rudolf de Rijk
	(University of Leiden, NL) has pointed out to me that the same
	expression exists in Egyptian Arabic, and even in English,
	judging by attestations in the works of C.P.Snow: "Ah. That was
	a terrible weapon", said Gay. "That was an axe and a half."
	(_The_Masters_, Chapter 36).
	De Rijk asks, and I ask my fellow list members whatever
	languages they may represent: What do you think of this idiom?
	Does it sound foreign to you, or only outdated? Could I use it
	in writing or speech? Could it conceivably be of Celtic origin?
I know one or two Dutch speakers who now and then use the expression
"prachtig en een half" (beautiful and a half), with a meaning parallel
to this. "prachtig" is the only word I have heard it with.
Ton van der Wouden
State University of Utrecht
The Netherlands
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Message 3: "an X and a half"

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 91 23:55:01 CST
From: Dale Savage <daleutafll.uta.edu>
Subject: "an X and a half"
Wayles Browne queries concerning the expression "a ... and a half". The
expressin is common in my home area southern Arkansas, and I also recall
hearing it often in various parts of Texas in recent years. It generally
has the same sort of function -- some sort of superlative.
Dale Savage
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Message 4: 2.869 Queries: and a half

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 91 17:56:16 EST
From: LL23000 <LL23NEMOMUS.bitnet>
Subject: 2.869 Queries: and a half
Wayles Brown asks:
> There is an expression schema in Serbo-Croatian "... i po", for instance
> "djevojka i po". I means "and", po means "half". "A girl and a half"
> signifies "an excellent girl", similarly we get "a student and a half",
> "a man and a half", etc. Rudolf de Rijk (University of Leiden, NL) has
> pointed out to me that the same expression exists in Egyptian Arabic,
> and even in English, judging by attestations in the works of C.P.Snow:
> "Ah. That was a terrible weapon", said Gay. "That was an axe and a half."
> (_The_Masters_, Chapter 36).
I think in English the meaning is not a positive one--my students today,
in fact, referred to my final as a test-and-a-half. I've heard people
refer to a bad day as a day-and-a-half. The only examples I can think
of like this. Different from the Serbo-Croation, which could be glossed
as 'awesome'. There may be examples of the positive sort from English,
but I can't think of any at the moment.
Karen Kay
LL23NEMOMUS
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Message 5: Re: 2.869 Queries: a ... and a half

Date: Wed, 18 Dec 91 21:20:20 MEZ
From: Martin Haase <MHAASEDOSUNI1.bitnet>
Subject: Re: 2.869 Queries: a ... and a half
As De Rijk will confirm, the same formula is found in Basque, a very
common example is _agur t' erdi_ meaning lit. 'greeting(s) and half'
or better 'greeting you very heartily, but _t' erdi_ ('and half')
can be used generally as a means of reenforcement. It doesn't seem
to be a loan expression from Romance.
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