LINGUIST List 4.887

Thu 28 Oct 1993

Disc: Infixes

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Directory

  1. Peter H. Salus, Re: 4.885 Infixes
  2. "Geoffrey S. Nathan<n", Infixation
  3. , Re: 4.885 Infixes
  4. Larry Horn, Re: 4.885 Infixes
  5. , Re: 4.885 Infixes
  6. "david joseph kathman", Re: 4.885 Infixes

Message 1: Re: 4.885 Infixes

Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 05:44:53 PDT
From: Peter H. Salus <peterusenix.org>
Subject: Re: 4.885 Infixes
(1) It seems to me that "a-whole-nother" and other SE US
uses are derived from "nother" (which occurs) and that such
items may well be the result of layered affixes.
(2) Dylan Thomas' creation in Portrait of the Artist as a
Young Dog ("You can always tell a cuckoo from Bridgend.
It goes cuck-BLOODY-oo, cuck-BLOODY-oo") or the many
such inventions in e.e. cummings (e.g. in Buffalo Bill)
seem to lead to the notion of infixation as an active creative
process on both sides of the Atlantic.
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Message 2: Infixation

Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 08:29:22 CST
From: "Geoffrey S. Nathan<n" <GA3662SIUCVMB.SIU.EDU>
Subject: Infixation
The definitive account of what came to be called 'Expletive
Infixation' (abso-blooming-lutely, etc.) was by John
McCarthy: Prosodic Structure and Expletive Infixation. _Language_
58.3:574-590 (September 1982). He shows quite definitively (for
English) that such infixes may only be placed between
metrical feet (thus, I think, also showing definitively
that metrical feet are 'psychologically real' phenomena).
A more interesting question is whether similar phenomena
occur in other languages. Alexis raised the question about
the other kinds, but do other languages permit the infixation
of obscene or emotionally charged material in the same
way as English does? It would be nice if stress timed
languages with foot structure do, and syllable-timed languages
don't.
 Geoffrey S. Nathan
 GA3662SIUCVMB.SIU.EDU
 Department of Linguistics
 Southern Illinois University
 Carbondale, IL, 62901 USA
 Phone: (618) 453-3421
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Message 3: Re: 4.885 Infixes

Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1993 09:05:08 -0500 (CDT)
From: <GGALEVAX1.UMKC.EDU>
Subject: Re: 4.885 Infixes
The earliest infix I can remember hearing is Jesus-H-Christ. Perhaps it
is the parent? Sounds that way to my ear...
George
ggalevax1.umkc.edu
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Message 4: Re: 4.885 Infixes

Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 09:46:12 EDT
From: Larry Horn <LHORNYALEVM.YCC.YALE.EDU>
Subject: Re: 4.885 Infixes
On infixation and "infixation": it is emphatically NOT the case that an affix
automatically becomes an infix 'once it [finds] itself between the stem and a
new affix'. Nor is it the case (contra one recent poster and an old "On
Language" column by William Safire) that 'whole' in 'a whole nother thing' is
an infix. The point here is that 'another' is not a single unanalyzable unit
the way stems interruptable by true infixes (e.g. fan-fuckin-tastic) are.
 Rather, what we have is our old friend morphological reanalysis
or metanalysis: an+other-->a+nother, as in the birth of newts and nicknames
(or, in a whole nother direction, aprons and oranges). Of course the process
can't be attested as complete until 'nother' starts showing up freely; for now
it's in effect a whole-polarity item. But 'whole' doesn't interrupt any
integral stem elsewhere, so the preponderance of evidence is on the side of
the metanalysis, rather than infixation, line. As for the prosodic and morpho-
logical constraints on in-fuckin-sertion, I'm sure this has come up on the list
before, but see McCarthy's 'Prosodic Structure and Expletive Infixation' in
Language 58 (1982) and works cited therein, esp. McCawley's 1978 paper 'Where
You Can Shove Infixes'.
 Larry Horn (LHORNYALEVM.bitnet)
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Message 5: Re: 4.885 Infixes

Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1993 11:01:30 -0500 (UTC -05:00)
From: <FIONAkuhub.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.885 Infixes
In reference to Marney Jo Petray's analysis of phrases such as 'a whole
nother country' as examples of 'whole-infixation' - is there any evidence that
'a whole nother' is a word? I always considered this structure to be an
example of backformation : an other ---> a nother / a whole other --->
a whole nother. which would rule out morphological infixation as an
analysis.
Fiona Mc Laughlin
U of Kansas
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Message 6: Re: 4.885 Infixes

Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 14:52:19 CDT
From: "david joseph kathman" <djk1midway.uchicago.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.885 Infixes
In response to Marnie Jo Petray's mention of "a whole nother problem":
this is certainly not restricted to Arkansas, because I have it in my
speech (grew up in suburban Chicago) and it's very common here in Chicago,
as far as I can tell.
Also, I would say "unbe-fucking-lievable" rather than "un-fucking-believable";
my intuition is that the infix must come immediately before the stressed
syllable. This is consistent with "fan-fucking-tastic" and the other
examples given, but not with "un-fucking-believable".
Dave Kathman
djk1midway.uchicago.edu
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