LINGUIST List 4.768

Tue 28 Sep 1993

Disc: Uh-huh, Mass Nouns, Before

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Directory

  1. "Dennis.Preston", 4.755 Noun Constraints, Metanaly
  2. Bruce Fraser, Re: 4.755 Noun Constraints, Metanalysis
  3. Bill Bennett, 4.735 British English
  4. Deborah Milam Berkley, Re: 4.735 British English
  5. Lindsay Endell, Before

Message 1: 4.755 Noun Constraints, Metanaly

Date: Sun, 26 Sep 93 11:54 EDT
From: "Dennis.Preston" <22709MGRmsu.edu>
Subject: 4.755 Noun Constraints, Metanaly

One source for the Dalby material people are having trouble finding is 'The
African element in American English' in T. Kochman, (ed.), Rappin' and Stylin'
Out, University of Illinois Press, 1972, pp. 170-86.
More detail (on the 'uh-huh' and 'huh-uh' etymologies) is given in D. Dalby,
Black through White: patterns of communication in Africa and the New World,
Hans Wolff Memorial Lecture, 1969, African Studies Program, Indiana
University, 1970, but I believe this is reprinted as well.
Dennis Preston <22709mgrmsu.bitnet>
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Message 2: Re: 4.755 Noun Constraints, Metanalysis

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 93 13:27:35 -0Re: 4.755 Noun Constraints, Metanalysis
From: Bruce Fraser <bfraseracs.bu.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.755 Noun Constraints, Metanalysis

In response to Paul Werth's comment about the origin of backchanneling,
I think Victor Yngve or some of his colleagues used this term well before
1974.

Bruce Fraser
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Message 3: 4.735 British English

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 93 22:20:11 BS4.735 British English
From: Bill Bennett <WAB2phx.cam.ac.uk>
Subject: 4.735 British English

4.735 British English
I cannot accept Anne Loring's claim that "helps wanted" is grammatical in
British English. I have never met the plural form of "help" in English, unless
specified, as "home-helps" or "daily helps". A "helper" (plural available)
is defined by a wide range of activities, but always in relation to another's
activity.
 When I compare the following

piano player pianist | singer tenor, etc.
shop worker shop assistant | ruler King, etc.
dealer merchant |

I realize that any of the items on the left is to "helper" as the right-hand
item is to "assistant" (or to "cook" in Anne Loring's examples). In place of
ungrammatical *"helps wanted", a notice would read: "helpers wanted" or "help
wanted", "assistants wanted" or "assistance wanted" (on a scale of increasing
specificity of task). Could we say that there are differences of superannuation
or pension rights here?

Bill Bennett.
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Message 4: Re: 4.735 British English

Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1993 12:32:53 Re: 4.735 British English
From: Deborah Milam Berkley <dberkleycasbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.735 British English

The comments about a plural noun "helps" got me to thinking about another
noun I've noticed. When I was an undergraduate in California in the late
60's and early 70's, "homework" was a mass noun. An instructor might say
"Please hand in your homework" or "Please hand in your assignments" but
hever "Please hand in your homeworks." After a 17-year gap I returned to
graduate work, in Illinois, and discovered that "homework" is a count noun;
I hear such things as "There will be five homeworks during the quarter." I
don't know if this is a chronological change or a geographical change. Has
anyone else noticed this?

Deborah Milam Berkley
Northwestern University
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Message 5: Before

Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1993 16:12:33 Before
From: Lindsay Endell <lie1tower.york.ac.uk>
Subject: Before

Sorry it's taken a while to stick my oar in, but I've been away and the
mail's piled up.
Regarding Michael Henderson's posting on BEFORE, I'm under 30 but I have
the same feeling as Henderson regarding use of the word. When I say "I
haven't x-ed before" I'm about to x, am x-ing or have just x-ed.
Unless I've been at the receiving end of a breakdown in communication
that's the way *before* is being used by my peers too. I'm in the UK, which
may make a difference to the debate. Have any other British members heard
examples of *before* similar to those given by Henderson?

Lindsay Endell
lie1tower.york.ac.uk
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