LINGUIST List 7.390

Wed Mar 13 1996

Qs: Netiquette, Isolating Amerindian language, Billion

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.


  1. Alex HOUSEN, Netiquette
  2. "Marc Eisinger (+33 (1) 40 01 52 01)", Isolating Amerindian language
  3. Bernard Comrie, request for posting

Message 1: Netiquette

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 20:03:30 +0100
From: Alex HOUSEN <>
Subject: Netiquette
Dear linguists,

Here is yet another query posted on behalf of a friend and colleague
of mine, Jamila Boulima, who is not on LINGUIST (yet). She is looking
for information on netiquette (i.e. the etiquette of email, internet
communication, etc.). She is particularly interested in the
sociolinguistic aspects of netiquette.

Please send all replies directly to Jamila at :

(I might be mistaken but I vaguely remember a discussion on LINGUIST on a
similar topic a while ago. Unfortunately I can't check the LINGUIST 'back
catalogue' because my netbrowser has let me down and all my bookmarks are
gone. I would be much obliged if someone would be so kind so as to send me
the address of the LINGUIST site on the web).

-Alex Housen

Dr. Alex HOUSEN Germanic
Languages Dept.
Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels Vrije
Universiteit Brussel
Tel: 32+2+629 26 64 Fax: 32+2+629 36 84 Email:
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Message 2: Isolating Amerindian language

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 10:09:08 +0700
From: "Marc Eisinger (+33 (1) 40 01 52 01)" <eisingerVNET.IBM.COM>
Subject: Isolating Amerindian language


Is anyone aware of an isolating amerindian language ? All I find is
more or less agglutinative ones.

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Message 3: request for posting

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 07:21:55 PST
From: Bernard Comrie <>
Subject: request for posting

I am interested in getting firsthand accounts of the numerical value
of the word "billion" in different languages/countries. Much of the
secondhand literature I have tried to consult is contradictory. The
kind of information I am interested in is the following, from my own

"At elementary school in England in the 1950s I was taught that
"billion" is 'a million millions', without qualification. At least by
the mid-1960s I had encountered the US usage 'a thousand millions',
and around this time some British publications (e.g. The Economist)
adopted this usage.

In English in the US--firsthand experience since the late 1970s--I
have encountered no variation from "billion" as meaning 'a thousand

Let me clarify somewhat the range of items I am interested
in. Usually, it will be a word similar to "billion", e.g. "bilion",
"biljoen", etc. However, as long as the system is based on powers of
a thousand ("million" = 'thousand to the power of 2', "billion" =
'thousand to the power of 3' or 'thousand to the power of 4'), it
falls within the range, e.g. Modern Greek "ekatommyrio" 'million',
despite its etymology as '100 times 10,000', counts, given the
existence of "disekatommyrio" 'billion'. But for this purpose, I am
excluding languages that use radically different systems, such as
powers of 10,000 (East Asia), or lakhs (100,000) and crores
(10,000,000) (South Asia).

I will post a summary of responses.

Bernard Comrie
Dept of Linguistics GFS-301 tel +1 213 740 2986
University of Southern California fax +1 213 740 9306
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1693, USA e-mail

Warning: If you have been using the address "" or
"comrieucsvm.bitnet" for me, please change your records as indicated
above, as (usc)vm will be discontinued on 15 May 1996.
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