LINGUIST List 3.793

Mon 19 Oct 1992

Qs: Lexicon, Polish, Dialects

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  1. Larry Horn, a technical question
  2. , Query: Polish Phonology (Palatalized [x]).
  3. Henry Kucera, Re: 3.782 Qs: Subjects; Ontology; Change

Message 1: a technical question

Date: Wed, 14 Oct 92 22:48:02 EDa technical question
From: Larry Horn <LHORNYALEVM.bitnet>
Subject: a technical question

The cover article in this week's New York Times Sunday Magazine by Jeffrey
Schmalz, "Gay Politics Goes Mainstream", contains the following claim with
reference to the word "queer":

 The word is in vogue now, with some lesbians preferring it to "gay",
which, despite common usage, technically applies only to men.

Now, I have always assumed that "gay" TECHNICALLY applies to both sexes
although it has tended to become restricted in usage to males (especially as a
noun, which seems to be the category in question here). This restriction may
have arisen through the prior existence of a narrower, marked term "lesbian"
(as I in fact claimed in my 1984 NELS and BLS papers), in much the same way as
"square" restricts the domain of "rectangle" and "thumb" that of "finger".
At the same time, the restriction of the noun "gay"--and for that matter, of
the noun "homosexual"--to males would constitute a prime instance of the
masculine usurpation of the generic, as reflected in the sex-specific
hyponymic interpretation now predominating for words like "man" and its
Romance counterparts. Either way (and they're not mutually exclusive but
mutually reinforcing hypotheses), I always assumed that the narrowed use
reflects a departure from the "technical", inclusive sense of the deadjectival
noun. Schmalz evidently has a different perception of the facts, but I wonder
if there's a more informed opinion than mine or his on just what the
"technical" usage is here, as well as on who gets to decide.

 --Larry Horn (LHORNYALEVM.bitnet)
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Message 2: Query: Polish Phonology (Palatalized [x]).

Date: Sat, 17 Oct 92 00:21:26 EDQuery: Polish Phonology (Palatalized [x]).
From: <Alexis_Manaster_RamerMTS.cc.Wayne.edu>
Subject: Query: Polish Phonology (Palatalized [x]).

Having made a fairly dilligent study of works on Polish phonology,
I cannot find any reference to the existence of a contrastive
palatalized [x'], which occurs exclusively with the suffix
-ewicz, used to form some last names. Since I am about to
refer to this phenomenon in print, I would appreciate any
reference to previous mention that anyone out there knows about.
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Message 3: Re: 3.782 Qs: Subjects; Ontology; Change

Date: Sat, 17 Oct 92 11:19:59 EDRe: 3.782 Qs: Subjects; Ontology; Change
From: Henry Kucera <HENRYBROWNVM.bitnet>
Subject: Re: 3.782 Qs: Subjects; Ontology; Change

 I have noticed (both in print and especially on TV) that the expression
"could not care less" is now often rendered as "could care less". Clearly, the
 lack of negation destroys the intended semantics of the expression ("to be
completely indifferent") and states the opposite. Question: Is this "change"
widespread in American English and what would be the explanation? (I am
particularly interested in this because of questions I got about such things
during my last visit to Europe). Anything like this in British English? Thanks.
 Henry Kucera
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