LINGUIST List 7.497

Wed Apr 3 1996

Sum: Grunts and Groans

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. John Old, Grunts and Groans

Message 1: Grunts and Groans

Date: Mon, 01 Apr 1996 18:45:59 CST
From: John Old <>
Subject: Grunts and Groans
 Date: Sat, 23 Mar 1996 20:36:42 CST
 From: (John Old)
 Subject: grunts and groans

I am looking for a lead or references for an analysis or discussion of
those words such as "Uh huh, oooh, ouch, ow, Huh?, Oh oh, mmmh" etc.
Expletives is one class of such words - are there others? Thanks L J
Old University of Arkansas at Little Rock

I always thought they were interjections, but I'm REALLY old, and it
was way way back that I learned that. Perhaps they're now called
expletives. Looking forward to reading your summary. Waruno Mahdi
tel: +49 30 8413 5408 Faradayweg 4-6 fax: +49 30 8413 3155 14195
Berlin email: Germany WWW: NOT SO OLD - AND CORRECT, I SHOULD
>From A rather extensive list of similar interjections
etc. in Frisian is given in: J. Hoekstra & S. Dyk (1987), _Ta de
Fryske Syntaksis_, Ljouwert: Fryske Akademy. Regards - Henk
>From Sun If you get any references do please
send them on. I have been thinking of writing something about this in
the Africvan languages I work on but I have not actually got there
yet. Best wishes Roger Blench
>From When I was writing my dissertation, I used
Goffman, Erving. 1978. Response cries. Language 54.787-815. Ths
was reprinted along with an article by Carol Brooks Gardner called
"Passing by: Street remarks, address rights, and the urban female" in
the 1984 book "Language in use", eds. John Baugh and Joel Sherzer,
Prentice-Hall, Inc.: Englewood Cliffs NJ. This and the following are
obviously a more consciously motivated set of "grunts and groans".
There's Alan Dundes work on the piropo, given in his book "Parsing
through customs" (1987. U. of Wisconsin Press: Madison WI). You
might also find my dissertation useful (or maybe not): Maduell,
Mariana. 1994. On-stage calls: An ethnolinguistic analysis of spoken
language in professional flamenco performance. U.M.I. Dissertation
Services: Ann Arbor MI. Mariana Maduell P.O. Box 62206 Honolulu HI,
96839 e-mail:
>From BLINDSEYSIUCVMB.SIU.EDU There is an article written by Emanuel
Schegloff on the use of 'uh huh'. It was written in 1981 and appeared
in the proceedings of a conference held at Georgetown University. The
editor of the volume is Deborah Tannen, but right now the exact title
of the book escapes me. I hope this is what you're looking for.
Sincerely, Brian Lindsey Southern Illinois University
>From I just happen to have a student's
review of an article (so I still have it in my briefcase) on
"nonlexical" intonation signals (which it turns out are 14 items such
as you list (although I think "ouch" is too lexical for them. The
closest thing they have to a word is "oops"). The article is Luthy,
Melvin. "Non-native speakers' perceptions of English 'nonlexical'
intonation signals." in Language Learning, 33, (1983), pp 19-36.
There's a bibliography which lists a few other articles that appear to
treat the same phenomena (but not for non-natives). (also, I think
Larry Horn had a query on Linguist last year asking how the spelling
conventions for these non-words had been established, but I never saw
the resolution--and my memory may be faulty on it.) Never thought of
them before, myself, but they have a certain fascination. Let us hear
what you come up with. Barbara Zurer Pearson University of Miami Dept
of English Box 248145 Coral Gables, FL 33124
>From I have been writing about cursing for 20 might want to check my book CURSING IN AMERICA (1992, John
Benjamins 1-800-562-5666) for a comprehensive look at the who, what,
where and when of expletives. CIA has one of the best biblio's on the
topic THe paper you want is Goffman's "Response Cries" (1978) in
LANGUAGE 54(4), 787-815. Let me know if you have trouble locating
either of these Professor Timothy Jay Department of Psychology
>From Check out the book TITLE: Sound symbolism /
edited by Leanne Hinton, Johanna Nichols, and
 John J. Ohala.
SOURCE: Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press,
DESCRIPTION: x, 373 p.
I believe there is an article on English words of the sort you describe,
as well as words like "Ka-Pow!" Best,
Bill Turkel
UBC Linguistics
I too have been interested in grunts, esp. HUNH
and EH (far more common in Canada and England) used as what I
call invariant tags, e.g. in: So you're a linguist, hunh?
You might have a look at my recent Squib "HUNH-tags and
evidentiality in conversation," JOURNAL OF PRAGMATICS 23
(1995): 687-92. If you hear of any interesting work on
related matters, please let me know, in case you don't
summarize for LINGUIST as a whole.


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