LINGUIST List 3.773

Wed 14 Oct 1992

Qs: Pejoratives; Access; Phonetic Lexicon; Adpositions

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Pamela Munro, Slang and Pejoratives
  2. Robert Englebretson, New Grad student seeks advice: Access for the Blind
  3. Charles Schleicher, phonetic lexicon
  4. Charles Schleicher, adpositions w/out adjuncts

Message 1: Slang and Pejoratives

Date: Sat, 10 Oct 92 15:34 PDT
From: Pamela Munro <IBENAJYUCLAMVS.bitnet>
Subject: Slang and Pejoratives

I'm teaching a freshman seminar about slang this quarter. On the second day
of class one of the students happened to remark that his political science
professor had said (presumably on the first day of class?) that dominant
groups create words like "nigger" to signify their subjugation of non-
dominant groups. This threw me, first because although I certainly imagined
that we would discuss loaded words like "nigger" in class, I had hoped to
postpone it for a while, and second because this certainly did not seem
right to me, except perhaps as some kind of metaphor.
I have checked a number of references, and have only succeeded in confirming
my initial impression that "nigger", as one representation of a nonstandard
pronunciation of Negro (or perhaps French negre), gradually acquired the
specific connotations it now has, presumably sometime during the 19th century.
I would guess that by careful study of citations of nigger / Negro / etc.
one might tease out more about when and how this happened, though it strikes
me as difficult, since out of a large context an individual use of the term
might be ambiguous as to connotation. (Many dictionaries casulally conflate
all these terms, but what I'm interested in is specifically how they diverged.)
I am hoping that someone knows of a study that's already been done on the
history of this word, which many of us surely have to deal with somehow in
introductory courses. Please send me any references or other comments, and I'll
be happy to share them with all of you.
Pam Munro
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Message 2: New Grad student seeks advice: Access for the Blind

Date: Sun, 11 Oct 92 15:14:56 PDNew Grad student seeks advice: Access for the Blind
From: Robert Englebretson <6500rengUCSBUXA.bitnet>
Subject: New Grad student seeks advice: Access for the Blind

I am a first-year grad student in linguistics at the University of California
at Santa Barbara. As a person who happens to be blind, I am facing several
challenges, in addition to those common to new grads. I would be very
grateful for any information or insights into the following:

 A. Access to Literature
Since I cannot read print, I utilize materials (1.) recorded on cassette
tape, (2.) available on computer disk (which can be "read" with a voice-
synthesizer attached to my PC,) and (3.) transcribed in Braille.
 1. Recording for the Blind (see subsequent posting) has some linguistics
materials on cassette, and readers employed through the university can record
others as well. (Unfortunately, current OCR software (optical character
recognition) does not work well with linguistics.) I would welcome any
information on additional audio "texts" or "literature."
 2. I would venture to guess that most papers, books, and journals
published nowadays have been written by means of a computer. Does anyone
know of a way I could obtain the publication disks for current books, papers,
and journals? If not, what would be the possibility of those of you
compiling journals etc. to make these available on disk as well? Also, are
there any Internet sites or other BBs which perhaps have archives of such
 3. I am familiar with the Braille IPA and other standard linguistic
symbols. However, I know of no Braille transcribers in the U.S. who know
these systems. Is anyone acquainted with transcribers (or computerized
Braille translators) conversant with such materials?

 B. Writing
As most grad students do, I extensively use computers and technology for
writing papers etc. However, it is not possible for me to write in
diacritics by hand, or to draw figures and diagrams. Therefore, I am looking
for information regarding the availability (and price) of ASCII-based
software for either Unix or IBM to do the following:
 1. IPA fonts and other diacritics which could be used in conjunction
with Wordperfect or other word processors.
 2. Keyboard-oriented programs useful for drawing autosegmental diagrams
(especially three-dimensional ones) and syntax trees.

 C. "networking"
I would welcome any contacts with other visually-impaired linguists to
exchange ideas, or to just tell blind jokes!

Please contact me directly (so as not to tie up "Linguist") regarding any of
these issues. For those who would like a summary of my results for any of
these points, let me know and I will be happy to send them to you.


 Robert Englebretson
 (Bitnet: 6500rengucsbuxa.bitnet)
 (Home Phone: 805- 968-5756)
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Message 3: phonetic lexicon

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 92 17:56 CDT
From: Charles Schleicher <>
Subject: phonetic lexicon

To Whom It May Concern - I have two queries:

1) Does anyone out there know of a lexicon of English alphabetized according to
phonetic transcription (and presumably with the entries written in phonetic

2) In the recent discussion on u.b.t.'s, I have seen a lot of acronyms for
grammatical models that I have never heard of before. Aside from not wanting
to be lost in the discussion, I am also very curious about lesser-known
grammatical models. Can somebody point me to some kind of guide to these other
frameworks? I'd be most grateful.

 -- Charles Schleicher (schleichwiscmacc.bitnet)
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Message 4: adpositions w/out adjuncts

Date: Tue, 13 Oct 92 12:53 CDT
From: Charles Schleicher <>
Subject: adpositions w/out adjuncts

Is anyone aware of a language, living or dead, which has phonologically null
pronominal objects of adpositions in the third person? For example, a sentence
 John went to.

would read, "John went to her/him/it(/them)."
I'm looking particularly for a language in which this is the default
construction, but I would also be interested in seeing languages in which this
is a marked construction. Any references? Thanks.

 -- Charles Schleicher (schleichwiscmacc.bitnet)
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