LINGUIST List 3.240

Wed 11 Mar 1992

Disc: French Eggs, Idioms

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Directory

  1. "NAME MICHEL, Re: 3.219 Queries: Russian, Vocabulary, Eggs
  2. Dominique Estival, French 'eggs' after numerals
  3. Michael Israel, Re: 3.237 Queries: Intro. Lx, Polarity, Idioms, EST
  4. mark, Off the cuff

Message 1: Re: 3.219 Queries: Russian, Vocabulary, Eggs

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1992 16:21 EST Re: 3.219 Queries: Russian, Vocabulary, Eggs
From: "NAME MICHEL <MGRIMAUDLUCY.WELLESLEY.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3.219 Queries: Russian, Vocabulary, Eggs

FRENCH OEUFS

In certain registers (and perhaps?) regions "des_oeufs" (with liaison and
	[f] pronounced) is not unusual, as in "tu veux des oeufs" which
 	sounds right to me as having been heard in the Midi (Toulon and
	Marseille) in the 1950-60.

In 1985-86, I lived again in France. At that that there was a egg crisis
and the government named an "Egg Czar" a "M. Oeufs" which was thus written
in _Le Monde_. ("Monsieur Drogue" would mean Drug Czar; this is a
productive phrase in France; see my article "Les appellatifs dans le discours"
in _Le francais moderne_, 57, 1989)

However, on TV, this was pronounced "M. Oeufs" and did *NOT* rhyme with
"eux" or "euh" but rhymed "incorrectly" with "veufs" [-f].

Why? In this particular case Monsieur ["eu"] Oeufs ["eu"] is an un-
euphonious internal rhyme and is semantically unclear. "Oeufs" with the
[f] is semantically clear.

Conclusion?
-- See if "boeuf"/"boeufs" alternates in a similar way. In my
speech it does if I think of myself as speaking in a very "relaxed"
register.
--See if this is age related (children); regional...
--Etc.

But "oeuFs" is definitely part of my dialect and has the same status as the
"forbidden" liaison "des_haricots" or the feminine "une 'elastique" for
"un": I used to say it but as a teacher avoid it as un-standard.

Michel Grimaud
Dept of French
Wellesley College
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Message 2: French 'eggs' after numerals

Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1992 10:37:37 +French 'eggs' after numerals
From: Dominique Estival <estivaldivsun.unige.ch>
Subject: French 'eggs' after numerals

It definitely is [katroe] for me. Whether the preceding word ends
in [z] or not is irrelevant.

Dominique Estival
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Message 3: Re: 3.237 Queries: Intro. Lx, Polarity, Idioms, EST

Date: Mon, 9 Mar 92 19:19:41 PSTRe: 3.237 Queries: Intro. Lx, Polarity, Idioms, EST
From: Michael Israel <israelbend.UCSD.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3.237 Queries: Intro. Lx, Polarity, Idioms, EST

Mike Maxwell is puzzled by the expression "off the cuff""--
an idiomatic prepositional phrase that appears to act like an adjective
and can appear prenominally.

Seems to me these are not so terribly rare. The following all seem fairly
good to me:
	"an out of the way place"
	"the out of order photocopier"
	"an above board business"
	"Under the counter dealings"
	"an off hand remark"
	"an out to lunch dude"
Mike actually specifically claims he can't get this last one, but
I think it is at least marginally acceptable.
And if I try a little bit, I can even imagine myself calling something
	"a real out of the frying pan into the fire kind of a plan"
Although that does require some effort.

It should not be surprising that such conventionalized idiomatic
PP's can sometimes be reanalyzed as adjectives since PP's function
semantically (often anyway) as one place predicates modifying nouns.
The only thing that changes in the reanalysis is where you're allowed
to put them.

The question, of course, remains: why can some idiomatic PP's prepose,
while others can't? I don't know and I'm not sure there is any real answer
but I think it might be worth noting that, as far as I can tell,
all the examples that are good involve originally spatial prepositions
that have been bleached of their original spatial senses. An expression
like "above board" has (or had) some locative significance which has
been lost in the conventional usage; on the other hand, an expression
like "in trouble", which doesn't prepose is always metaphorical (a boy
in trouble is not in any particular place under any interpretation).
This may of course be totally wrong, since it is after all, quite
off the cuff.

Michael Israel
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Message 4: Off the cuff

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 92 16:39:36 ESOff the cuff
From: mark <markdragonsys.com>
Subject: Off the cuff

In formal punctuation i would require hyphens in this phrase when
it's used attributively ("an off-the-cuff remark"), as opposed to
predicatively ("My remarks tonight will be off the cuff"). That
applies to any phrase used attributively.

Now that that's out of the way:
 an under-the-table payment
 We had to pay under the table.

 over-the-counter stocks/medicines
 These stocks/medicines are sold over the counter.

 an out-of-town guest
 We have a couple of people coming from out of town.

 an out-of-the-way location
 ?That village is way out of the way.

In the last pair I find the predicative construction somewhat
less acceptable -- obsolescent?

 Mark A. Mandel
 Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200
 320 Nevada St. : Newton, Mass. 02160, USA
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