LINGUIST List 6.1104

Tue Aug 15 1995

Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1100

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <dseelyemunix.emich.edu>


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  1. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Re: 6.1100, Disc: Uniformitarianism, Re: 1086; Sex/Lang

Message 1: Re: 6.1100, Disc: Uniformitarianism, Re: 1086; Sex/Lang

Date: Mon, 14 Aug 1995 16:23:51 Re: 6.1100, Disc: Uniformitarianism, Re: 1086; Sex/Lang
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Re: 6.1100, Disc: Uniformitarianism, Re: 1086; Sex/Lang

Dick Hudson's observations on US use of 'son' but not 'daughter'
as a vocative are very thought-provoking, but I am not sure that
it is fair to attribute this to "sons" being "treated like senior
relatives". For one thing, we don't normally use 'brother' in
this way any more than we do 'daughter', and it is hard to imagine
a natural class comprising senior relatives and 'son' but excluding
'brother'. For another, there seem to me to be differences here.
If I am not imagining a distinction that is not there, it seems to
me that the senior relative terms are used in a wider variety of
contexts, e.g., calling out from a distance to get someone's attention,
and hence at the beginning of an utterance, whereas 'son' seems more
natural in utterances like 'Yes, son', 'Hand me that, son' than in
ones like
'Son!' or 'Son, help me!' (although perhaps these latter ones are not
completely impossible).

Alexis MR
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