LINGUIST List 6.1143

Mon Aug 21 1995

Disc: Kinship terms

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


Directory

  1. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Re: 6.1141, Disc: Kinship Re: 1119, Sex/Lang, Re: 1100
  2. Richard M. Alderson III, Re: 6.1135, Disc: Kinship

Message 1: Re: 6.1141, Disc: Kinship Re: 1119, Sex/Lang, Re: 1100

Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 13:03:34 Re: 6.1141, Disc: Kinship Re: 1119, Sex/Lang, Re: 1100
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Re: 6.1141, Disc: Kinship Re: 1119, Sex/Lang, Re: 1100

Leo Connolly is right to suggest that I know the term 'vocative'
and what it means. I do. The point is that there appear to be
two different "vocative" patterns in English, or as I have
suggested calling them, vocative vs. addressive, and 'son' behaves
differently from the terms for senior relatives with respect to
this distinction. And since the whole discussion started with Dick
Hudson suggesting that there is no difference (and this implied some
special respect for male, but not female children), that point is
surely the relevant one here.

I am not sure that it is true that there is a connection between
vocative use and use as a quasi-proper-name. It seems to me that
'baby' works much like 'mom' and 'dad', i.e., it can be used as
a vocative (and merely an addressative like 'son'), and yet it is
not used as a quasi-proper-name. 'Officer' is another common vocative
which is not a quasi-proper-name.

Alexis Manaster Ramer
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Re: 6.1135, Disc: Kinship

Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 12:25:47 Re: 6.1135, Disc: Kinship
From: Richard M. Alderson III <aldersonnetcom.com>
Subject: Re: 6.1135, Disc: Kinship

Jefwebaol.com compares the words _sister_ and _mister_, claiming a "feminine
agentive" ending "-ster" in both, which he also claims for _foster_.

First, _mister_ < Latin _magister_ and is not germane to further discussion.

Second, _foster_ is related to _food_, rather than to _father_. _father_ < PIE
*pX-ter-, where *X is usually thought to be *x{^w}, the o-colouring laryngeal
which then connects the PIE etymon with the root *po:- "protect", rather than
the root *pat- "eat". The suffix *-ter- is the usual agentive; presumably in
origin *pXter- is a nursery word re-analyzed by adult speakers.

The same suffix is seen in _mother_, _brother_, and _daughter_; a related
agentive suffix *-sor- appears in _sister_. The Germanic *t in the cognate
forms is epenthetic: A similar *t is seen, for example in _stream_, cf. Greek
_rheuma_ "stream", Sanskrit _sravati_ "flows".

None of these suffixes is gender-specific.

Rich Alderson
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue