LINGUIST List 6.1406

Thu Oct 12 1995

Qs: Punctuation, Lg-I list, Uh-huh, Lg planning, Resumptive

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. Bilge K. Say, Corpora for punctuation
  2. JANICE ROTHSTEIN, Languages-I list
  3. , Who's got the right one, baby (UH-HUH)?
  4. "* Deumert, A, Ana, Ms", language planning
  5. "Mesthrie, R, Raj, Dr", query: resumptive pronouns

Message 1: Corpora for punctuation

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 09:43:21 Corpora for punctuation
From: Bilge K. Say <>
Subject: Corpora for punctuation

I am looking for English corpora suitable for study of punctuation marks.
It should preferably contain original written material (not
transcribed from speech) on general non-fiction subjects (journalism,
social sciences etc.). I am particularly interested in tagged and
American English material. I am already aware of Oxford University
Text Archive, BNC and LOB corpus.

Please email your answers directly to me and I will summarize.

Thanks in advance,

Bilge Say

*Bilge Say (Karal) * Tel: 90-312-266 40 00 /1946 *
*Research Assistant * 90-312-266 41 33 (for messages)*
* * Fax: 90-312-266 41 26 *
* * Email: *
*Computer Engineering and Information Science Department *
*Bilkent University *
*06533 Bilkent,Ankara , TURKEY *
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Message 2: Languages-I list

Date: Sun, 08 Oct 1995 22:23:16 Languages-I list
Subject: Languages-I list

On Mon, 2 Oct 1995, The Linguist List wrote:

> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> LINGUIST List: Vol-6-1341. Mon Oct 2 1995. ISSN: 1068-4875. Lines: 127

> ---------------------------------Messages------------------------------------
> 1)
> Date: Sat, 30 Sep 1995 18:13:45 +0200
> From:
> Subject: Languages-l list: how do we get there?
>	I tried to subscribe to the list mentioned below, but receive a
message back saying "list unknown". Can anyone steer me to this list, it
sounds very interesting and I would like to check it out. Can post here
on Linguist list or email me directly:
	Thank you.

> We can even subscribe to the list, languages-l to discuss the attempts
> in U.S. Congress to pass a law making English the official language of
> the U.S. Steve Seegmiller says that to subscribe to this list, we can
> send a message to:
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Message 3: Who's got the right one, baby (UH-HUH)?

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 14:30:11 Who's got the right one, baby (UH-HUH)?
Subject: Who's got the right one, baby (UH-HUH)?

 This query concerns the derivation of two expressions (or, depending on
your definition, two pairs of expressions) about which it appears to be
especially difficult to do research, given that nobody seems even to be able
to agree on how to spell lexical items replete with glottal stops, voiceless
nasals, and phonemic tone. The items in question are the 'uh-huh' of consent
and its negative companion, 'uh-uh'. Spellings are of course approximate, but
I'm following the OED Supplement and J. C. Wells (Accents of English, vol. 3:
Beyond the British Isles, 1982), who describes them as follows, in a section
devoted to borrowings into Am. Eng. via the 'creole, African-derived
substratum' of Black English. (I use  for schwa, V~ for nasalized vowel,
M for voiceless bilabial nasal, and ? for glottal stop.)

 There are also the grunts sometimes spelt UH-HUH and UH-UH
 respectively. The first, 'yes', is phonetically ['~h~, 'mMm],
 hence nasal or nasalized; it usually has a rising tone pattern...
 The second, 'no', is ['??'?, '?~?'?~, '?m?'m], sometimes with
 a lengthened final segment, an initial [h], and/or a final extra
 glottal stop; it is not necessarily nasal, and has an accented
 final syllable, with an obligatorily falling tonal pattern.
 (Wells 1982: 556)

Wells goes on to assert that the positive "grunt" is 'quite at home in
Britain', while the negative uh-uh is a recent import from the States or West
Indies--via Africa. This split-source hypothesis seems odd to me, given
how closely the two forms (each with its open and close-mouthed versions)
track each other in modern (American) English. Wells is also close-mouthed
himself on just WHAT African source he has in mind for 'uh-huh'. I'm a bit
suspicious about Wells's use of "grunt" here (does he think they must come from
Africa BECAUSE they're "grunts"?), and not encouraged by his blithe acceptance,
on the same page, of the now largely discounted African genesis of "OK". So
while Wells MAY be right on 'uh-uh' and 'uh-huh', I'd need to be convinced.
 Nor is the OED much help: it just takes both to be of "[Imitative]" origin.
One wonders: Imitative of what?
 One more variable: as one of my students reminds me, there's
also a variant of the negative "grunt" that can be transcribed as 'nuh-uhn'
(modulo the usual arbitrariness of these spellings).
I assume, without any particular evidence, that this represents a
relatively recent blend of our (Afro-)American 'uh-uh' above with the initial
n- of so many negative adverbs and particles. Can anyone out there clarify
any of these histories or geographies?

Larry <>

P.S. I love Webster's (NID3) solution to the phonetics of 'uh-huh': within
the usual backslashes we find not the usual symbols or any approximation
thereof, but the prose statement \a disyllabic sound with m-sounds at the
beginning & end, an h-like interval of voicelessness between, & heavier stress
on the first member...\ (Incidentally, I'm not sure I agree with Webster's
and Wells in finding uh-huh primarily stressed on the initial syllable.) As
for uh-uh, it doesn't seem to be in Webster's at all, despite its appearance in
Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon (1930, cited by the OED) and in a 1924
list of interjections printed in Dialect Notes (5: 278), which includes the
UH-uh of dissent along with the uh-HUH of consent.
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Message 4: language planning

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 10:53:20 language planning
From: "* Deumert, A, Ana, Ms" <>
Subject: language planning

Dear Linguists,
I am currently teaching a post-graduate course (4th year)in the
linguistics department of the University of Cape Town. It is the
first time that such a course is offered by this department.
Having planned the course myself and almost finished teaching it, I
became quite critical of what I thought was a good course outline.
I would be interested if anyone knows about language planning
courses at other universities.(I believe the University of Adelaide
offers a post-graduate diploma in LP).
I also would like to get into contact with people who teach or taught
LP in order to discuss possible course structures.
I will post a summary if sufficient information turns up.
Ana Deumert
Department of Linguistics
University of Cape Town
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Message 5: query: resumptive pronouns

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 13:15:48 query: resumptive pronouns
From: "Mesthrie, R, Raj, Dr" <>
Subject: query: resumptive pronouns

I have a terminological query regarding `resumptive pronoun'. The
way it is used in modern syntax doesn't seem very resumptive at all:
 1. I saw the man that you were talking to him.

Many writers extend the term to refer to pronouns in left dislocated
 2. That woman - I saw her again.

Jespersen (1927) used the term `resumption' for "a relative clause
primary that may be resumed later by a personal or demonstrative
pronoun, especially if the sentence is somewhat long or if the exact
continuation has not been clear to the mind of the speaker or writer
from the very first beginning". His example (3) is from writing;
while (4) is from "colloquial and vulgar speech":
 3. Giue me also this power, that on whomsoeuer I lay my hands,
hee may receive the holy Ghost.
 4. ...the old doctor at the hospital, he said...

I presume these are resumptive pronouns for Jespersen. For sentences
like 1 he uses the term "exhausted relative clauses": it is "as if
the power of the relative were exhausted, a personal pronoun being
substituted for it". His examples, as 5 shows, involve complex
relative clauses:

 5. It is not the first dede she hath done and afterward denide it.

Does anyone know who first altered Jespersen's terminology, and why?

I would like to suggest that "resumptive pronoun" be retained in the
Jespersenian sense; there are many dialects of English (and many L2
dialects in Africa) which favour genuine resumption, as Schmied
shows in his work. Example 6 is garden variety South African Black

 6. The people who are born in Soweto, they can speak Tsotsi Taal.

For the examples in 1 and 2 "trace pronoun" is fine, if a bit too
theory specific; I like the term "shadow pronoun" (used I believe at
Edinburgh for some time). Sentence 7 would have both shadow (`him')
and resumptive pronouns (`he'):

 7. The man that you were talking to him yesterday, he's my uncle.

Left dislocated subjects presumably have shadow rather than
resumptive pronouns, as in 8.

 8. The people, they got no money.

In some ways, though, 8 is like 7; so at a pinch `they' in 8 might
well be both shadow and resumptive???

Comments please, especially on the terminology.

raj mesthrie
linguistics dept
university of cape town
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