LINGUIST List 6.158

Mon 06 Feb 1995

Qs: Mouth as metaphor, Move-XP, Syllabification, Cecilia Falk

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  1. Claude Boisson, Q: Metaphor "mouth" = edge (knife)
  2. Vincent DeCaen, Q: move-XP
  3. Debra R West, Syllabification of Spoken English
  4. Steven Schaufele, address request, Cecilia Falk

Message 1: Q: Metaphor "mouth" = edge (knife)

Date: Wed, 1 Feb 1995 08:14:58 +Q: Metaphor "mouth" = edge (knife)
From: Claude Boisson <>
Subject: Q: Metaphor "mouth" = edge (knife)

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The French Africanists Jacques Fedry and Paulette Roulon have written about=
 the lexicalized metaphor "mouth" =3D "edge" (of a knife) in a few African=
 languages. At first sight this frozen trope is very original, since usually=
 "edge" (of a knife) is expressed by a word with the generic meaning EDGE,=
 or by a word derived from CUT, SHARP, or more rarely THREAD (as in French).

A brief investigation shows that this metaphor is in fact more widespread=
 than was at first realized, as I found similar data ("mouth" =3D "edge" of=
 a knife, a sword, an axe, a razor, etc.) in quite a few languages which do=
 not necessarily have any clear typological, genetic or areal relationships=
 with one another.
So far the trope is found in the following languages :
(1) Non-Afroasiatic African languages: Gbaya (Oubanguian), Day (Adamawa),=
 Sar (Nilo-Saharan), Yoruba (Kwa).
(2) Possibly Hausa (Afroasiatic).
(3) Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew.
(4) Akkadian (on which see below).
(5) Aramaic (Eastern dialects).
(6) Coptic (as a calque from Greek, itself imitated from Hebrew ?).
(7) Homeric and Classical Greek. Modern Greek.
(8) Sanskrit.
(9) Old Icelandic.
(10) Dravidian languages (Burrow & Emeneau 1984, n=B0 5352), possibly going=
 back ro Proto-Dravidian.
(11) Turkish.
(12) Mandarin Chinese.
(13) Marginally in English: the mouth of a spade, etc.

My queries are the following :
(1) Generally, do you know any other languages where the metaphor is used?
(2) Specifically, is the metaphor used in Sumerian? Von Soden's Akkadian=
 dictionary gives one example of an Old Babylonian / Sumerian bilingual text=
 with Akk. "pi-i patrim" ("mouth of a sword") =3D Sum. "ka" (for Akk.=
 "pi-i"). Is this "ka" a calque from Akkadian, or did Sumerian use "ka"=
 ("mouth") spontaneously for "edge" of a sword ?

Thanks in advance for any information.

Claude Boisson
Universite Lumiere, Lyon, France
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Message 2: Q: move-XP

Date: Wed, 1 Feb 1995 08:34:08 -Q: move-XP
From: Vincent DeCaen <>
Subject: Q: move-XP

I'm curious whether we have evidence of an entire XP moving, that is,
a phrase with an overt spec-position all moving in a block. In the
garden variety of movement in English and other familiar systems,
there does not appear to be movement of constituents that could not be
simply interpreted as X'. I'm wondering if we are not dealing with
move-X' vs move-XP.
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Message 3: Syllabification of Spoken English

Date: Wed, 1 Feb 95 11:52:57 ESTSyllabification of Spoken English
From: Debra R West <>
Subject: Syllabification of Spoken English

 I am working on rules to break English into syllables.

 I don't want to reinvent the wheel -- especially a third wheel
 -- and if anyone can direct me to good resources or advise in
 any way, I'd be very appreciative. Thanks very much!

 Markell Raphaelson West
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Message 4: address request, Cecilia Falk

Date: Sat, 4 Feb 1995 12:01:36 -address request, Cecilia Falk
From: Steven Schaufele <>
Subject: address request, Cecilia Falk

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I've been trying to get in touch with Cecilia Falk, last known affilia-
tion with Lund University, to discuss a possible collaborative research
project, and have so far been unable to get an address for her. I've
tried the LINGUIST Nameserver and the LSA membership list with no suc-
cess, and attempts to get the information from other people at Lund have
drawn a complete blank so far. And every attempt on my part to guess at
her e-mail address have bounced back. If anybody knows of an e-mail or,
failing that, a snail-mail address for Cecilia Falk, could you please
post it to me?

Dr. Steven Schaufele
712 West Washington
Urbana, IL 61801

**** O syntagmata linguarum liberemini humanarum! ***
*** Nihil vestris privari nisi obicibus potestis! ***
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