LINGUIST List 5.889

Sun 14 Aug 1994

Misc: Correction, Ye Gods and Little Fishes!, Endangered langs

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  1. Richard Hudson UCL, Linguists vs normals (PPS)
  2. "Michael C. Beard", 5.877 Misc: Ye Gods and Little Fishes!
  3. "LUCINDA HART-GONZALEZ", Re: Endangered Languages

Message 1: Linguists vs normals (PPS)

Date: Thu, 11 Aug 94 08:39:29 +0Linguists vs normals (PPS)
From: Richard Hudson UCL <>
Subject: Linguists vs normals (PPS)

A small but possibly important error in my summary of information on
differences between judgements made by linguists and by others is that
Mary Ellen Ryder's email address is: The
address I gave was the one that the UCL computer generated in the `In'
line of her messages - a UK peculiarity - so no use to most of the world.

Dick Hudson
Dept of Phonetics and Linguistics,
University College London,
Gower Street,
London WC1E 6BT
(071) 387 7050 ext 3152
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Message 2: 5.877 Misc: Ye Gods and Little Fishes!

Date: 06 Aug 94 20:57:47 EDT
From: "Michael C. Beard" <>
Subject: 5.877 Misc: Ye Gods and Little Fishes!

"Ye Gods and little fishes"

The latest response to this interesting inquiry seems a bit ad hoc. Speculation
based upon one's cultural background is not quite the same as researching the
phrase's derivation. Several good responses have revolved around only a couple
of similar points, such as the phrase's use as an interjection expressing
contempt. My suggestion is to examine the "little fishes" as a possible
reference to early Christianity's use of the fish as a religious symbol. The
fish sign comes from the Greek word "ichthus" (fish) and was used because each
Greek letter in the word (i -ch-th-u-s) represented the first letter in the
phrase "Jesus Christ God's Son Savior." As such, the fish was used as a means
of identifying fellow believers during times of persecution. Could it be that
the invective is a reference both to God and to Jesus' followers? I'll leave
that speculation for others, but I think the line of investigation is worth
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Message 3: Re: Endangered Languages

Date: 13 Aug 94 10:39:00 EST
Subject: Re: Endangered Languages

George Fowler asks about readings on endangered languages. While
it has only just begun to unfold, a current event to follow might be
the fate of Afrikaans with the change in government. All Things
Considered (NPR) recently broadcast a piece on the fact that Afri-
kaans was once a required language, but will now be one of eleven
official South African languages. The predicted effect is the
virtual death of Afrikaans. If you can contact NPR for a tran-
script of the piece (sorry I don't remember the date, and I can't
remember ATC's e-mail address offhand either), it could be a
starting point for discussion and a current events watch on the
endangerment of languages. This is an unusual opportunity since we
usually only know about endangerment when it is a fact. Prediction
like this is a rare event. Its unfolding will extend at least a
generation, but what signs of transition evolve? For instance, how
many hours of radio/TV broadcast in Afrikaans are there now, and
by the end of the semester (ask someone on the Net)? What types of
programs? With what content? What do we hear about school lang-
uages? For whom in what parts of S.Af.? Newspapers and magazines?
Government speeches, laws, courts, etc? How about gophers and
lists on the Net?
 Just a thought.
 Cindy H-G

Dr. Lucinda Hart-Gonzalez
School of Language Studies
Foreign Service Institute
National Foreign Affairs Training Center
U.S. Department of State or
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