LINGUIST List 5.112

Wed 02 Feb 1994

Qs: Kleinschmidt, Organic, Folk etymologies, Arabic

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  1. , Q: Kleinschmidt
  2. , Query: The term 'organic'
  3. , Linguistic Folk Etymologies, A Query
  4. Zhijun Zhang, Question about Arabic

Message 1: Q: Kleinschmidt

Date: Tue, 1 Feb 94 13:27:18 ESTQ: Kleinschmidt
From: <Alexis_Manaster-RamerMTS.cc.Wayne.edu>
Subject: Q: Kleinschmidt

Does anybody know of any biographical data on Samuel Kleinschmidt,
the author of the great Greenlandic grammar from the 19th century?
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Message 2: Query: The term 'organic'

Date: Tue, 1 Feb 94 19:32:08 ESTQuery: The term 'organic'
From: <Alexis_Manaster-RamerMTS.cc.Wayne.edu>
Subject: Query: The term 'organic'

I believe this originally meant 'original', i.e., found in
the oldest stages of the language (e.g., in Grimm) but came
to be used to mean 'psychologically real' in the works of
people like Sapir. Anybody know anything about the origins
of this?
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Message 3: Linguistic Folk Etymologies, A Query

Date: Tue, 1 Feb 94 19:35:32 ESTLinguistic Folk Etymologies, A Query
From: <Alexis_Manaster-RamerMTS.cc.Wayne.edu>
Subject: Linguistic Folk Etymologies, A Query

Does anybody know of good examples of folk etymologies
involving linguistic terminologies? What I have in mind
is cases like that which I discovered for the term 'ergative',
which actually seems to come from Latin erga 'near to', not
from Greek ergates 'worker', and was originally used for
a kind of locative but got established in its present sense
because of the incorrect etymology that became attached to it.

Also, I would be interested in any examples of confusion
in linguistics due to the ambiguity of a term. For example,
'topic' as used in Philippine linguistics has nothing to
do with 'topic' as used in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese
linguistics, but I wonder if some linguists have been misled
by the use of the same term.
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Message 4: Question about Arabic

Date: Tue, 1 Feb 94 17:36:01 -05Question about Arabic
From: Zhijun Zhang <zzjcs.UMD.EDU>
Subject: Question about Arabic


I heard that in Arabic, like in Spanish, sentences often do not have subject.
In Spanish, this is because the subject can be infered from the verb, e.g.,
"soy" in Spanish is the same as "I am" in English. But what surprised me is
that according to what I was told, in Arabic this is not the case. That is,
the subject is ommitted even if it cannot be infered from the verb.

Is this true? If it is, does it make any sense? I mean, what will be the meaning
of a sentence with neither an explicit subject nor an implicit subject, such as
"Be a student". (For what I heard, this is a common case in Arabic)

Any information is highly appreciated.

-zhijun
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