LINGUIST List 6.422

Fri 24 Mar 1995

Misc: Capitalisation in English, Affricates

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  1. wachal robert s, Re: 6.389 Sum: History of Capitalisation in English
  2. , RE: 6.389 Sum: History of Capitalisation in English
  3. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Affricates--one segment or two

Message 1: Re: 6.389 Sum: History of Capitalisation in English

Date: Sun, 19 Mar 1995 13:43:46 Re: 6.389 Sum: History of Capitalisation in English
From: wachal robert s <rwachalblue.weeg.uiowa.edu>
Subject: Re: 6.389 Sum: History of Capitalisation in English

I believe that at one time all nouns were capped in English as they still
are in german. You may find something of interest in my paper on the
capping of ethnic names in the just published CENTENNIAL USAGE STUDIES, PADS.
As i recall, Nunberg tries to map out a descriptive theory of punctuation
and says little if anything about caps (Almost no one says anything about
them but there are a few works reference in th bibliography to my article.
Bob Wachal
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Message 2: RE: 6.389 Sum: History of Capitalisation in English

Date: Mon, 20 Mar 1995 17:30 +01RE: 6.389 Sum: History of Capitalisation in English
From: <WERTHALF.LET.UVA.NL>
Subject: RE: 6.389 Sum: History of Capitalisation in English

Just a quick one before everyone else gets in. Two Germanic languages, at least,
Dutch and Standard German, use a captalised pronoun form for the polite second-
person use: 'U' in Dutch, 'Sie' in German. I guess the explanation for this is
respect, just as pronominal references to the deity are capitalised by many. In
modern Netherlands Dutch, this is disappearing, and 'u' is used, whereas in
Belgian Dutch (Flemish), I have the impression it's retained much more (as is
the use of 'U' itself - in Netherlands Dutch, I believe that 'u' is beginning
to be restricted to formal, rather than merely polite, usage, whereas in
Belgium, people use 'U' with each other for much longer - I even heard my
children calling their friends, aged around 10, 'U', and they're not notably
polite).
The explanation for capitalised 'I' in English can't be respect - I suspect
it's merely typographical, having to do with the fact that lower-case 'i' is
so small.

Paul Werth
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Message 3: Affricates--one segment or two

Date: Mon, 20 Mar 1995 07:53:27 Affricates--one segment or two
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Affricates--one segment or two

The recent query and summary by Larry Trask on German affricates
makes me think of the fact that, unless I am mistaken, it is
perfectly easy to HEAR the difference between one- and two-segment
stop-fricative sequences at least in some cases.

Polish has a contrast of this sort at least in initial position,
where the words spelled _trzy_ and _czy_ differ only in that the
former has a cluster, the second an affricate.

Also, if you compare the English way of saying _ts_ with the
German way of saying _z_ (or the Polish or the Yiddish, etc.),
there is an audible difference. Most English speakers'
rendition of _matzah_ (or _matzoh_) for example sounds quite
different from the Yiddish or Polish, but (and this is also
very suggestive) I have found a few Am. Engl. speakers (not
all of them Jewish, by the way) who have the affricate, i.e.,
one-segment /ts/ in this and perhaps some other Yiddish
borrowings but the two segment /t/+/s/ otherwise, so that
these speakers do not rhyme _matzah_ and _lots o(f)_, whereas
most speakers do.

Finally, I think some speakers have a one-segment /tS/ in
hit ya, but a two-segment /t/ + /S/ in hits ya, although
most speakers I have asked refuse to admit anything but
the nonpalatalized, non-affricated pronunciation in the second
case.

Alexis MR
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