LINGUIST List 2.886

Mon 30 Dec 1991

Qs: deictics, `hoozier,' scanning

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Martin Haase, iconicity in demonstratives etc.
  2. Phil Bralich, The term "Hoozier"
  3. "Don W.", Scanning "till death do us part"

Message 1: iconicity in demonstratives etc.

Date: Wed, 18 Dec 91 22:28:09 MEZ
From: Martin Haase <MHAASEDOSUNI1.bitnet>
Subject: iconicity in demonstratives etc.
Iconicity in demonstratives / local adverbs
In many languages deictic local adverbs ('here, there') form a
system, often related to the system of demonstratives. It seems
that such systems follow an iconic principle: typically, smaller
or greater distance from the speaker/hearer (the 'deictic point')
are indicated by closer or more open vowels.
In order not to take English, here is French as an example for a
better known language: _ici_ 'here', _la_ 'there' (similarly: the
corresponding demonstratives: _ceci_ 'this', _cela_ 'that' etc.).
Italian has a tricky system of two words for one deictic level:
_qui_, _qua_, _li_, _la_, the difference between them seem to
follow the iconicity principle.
In Basque the vowels for a close deictic relation are _o_ and _u_,
for a distant relation _a_. This distribution occurs in
demonstratives (_hon-_ vs. _har-_), but in most dialects it
spreads to the postfixed article (_bi-o-k_ 'the two of us' vs.
_bi-a-k_ 'the two'), sometimes even to the locative (normally:
_-an_): _larre-on_ (instead of: _larre-an_) 'on this/our prairie'.
I would be interested in similar (or counter) examples from other
You can send contributions either to the list or to my e-mail
address (especially longer ones). I will summarize them and post
the results to the list.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: The term "Hoozier"

Date: Fri, 27 Dec 91 11:41:04 -1000
From: Phil Bralich <bralichuhccux.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
Subject: The term "Hoozier"
In a recent discussion, the term "Hoozier" was mentioned as a well-known
nickname for a resident of Indiana, but no one knew the origin of the term.
Can anyone explain?
Phil Bralich
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Scanning "till death do us part"

Date: Sat, 28 Dec 1991 02:12:49 PST
From: "Don W." <webbdCCVAX.CCS.CSUS.EDU>
Subject: Scanning "till death do us part"
Given that the phrase "till death us depart" became "till death do us
part" when the verb "depart" became intransitive only, the question
arises Why didn't a grammatically simpler form replace the original
wording? Such as: "till death parts us" or "till death we part."
It may be a matter of versification; that is, "till death do us part"
represents a least-effort adaptation to the change in usage of the
verb 'to part'. This adaptation preserves the meter of the original
phrase and thereby maintains the rhythm of the whole passage.
If someone could tell us what the meter is called, I'd be grateful.
It's one of those things I wish I knew but don't.. :-)
Is this an example of a linguistic "rule" that has something to do
with preservation of length? Now, as I understand it, words have
tended to shorten in the evolution of many languages, such as English
and the Romance languages. Is there any language in which words have
evolved into *longer* forms?
Of course, the evolutionary elision of syllables means that words
will be shortened without nostalgia for their previous length.
However, in fixed expressions that might not be the case. Any ideas
on that?
I recall a study purporting to record that in some French dialects
the feminine ending -e'e (e-acute, e) of past participles was still
lengthened relative to the masculine/generic -e' (e acute). I don't
remember the study's saying anything about the endings -ie or -ue,
where the final -e would presumably be a feature of the written
language only. In any case, it may be an instance of "mute e"
retaining at least some of its quality as a separate vowel whereas
it has disappeared in modern French except for special cases like
versification or enunciation in classical music, esp. opera.
In short (too late!), it doesn't seem to be a case of "word-length
nostalgia." But can anyone tell me more about the phenomenon of
length maintenance? If that's what it's called. Sorry if the query
0is elementary to bona-fide linguists, which I most definitely ain't! :-)
Don W.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue