LINGUIST List 7.668

Tue May 7 1996

Disc: Lg-movies, Millenium, Grammatical gender

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. benji wald, movies
  2. Dag Gundersen, Re: 7.664 (2), Qs: Millenium
  3. "Ormsby Lowry Harold-CELE", Re: 7.661, Disc: Grammatical Gender
  4. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Re: 7.661, Disc: Grammatical Gender

Message 1: movies

Date: Tue, 07 May 1996 00:04:00 PDT
From: benji wald <IBENAWJMVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: movies
Paul Wood's gracious correction of my error is appreciated. For the
correction, I meant "Nottingham". This is where the action in the
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner takes place, and is Midlands,
like Birmingham. I was vaguely aware I was mixing something up, because
I was thinking "Sheriff". Well, that's Robin Hood's nemesis, the Sheriff
of Nottingham. Somehow I came out with Sheffield from that. His last
point is worth noting too. He wouldn't mind being mistaken for an Aussie.
But for most Northerners (and Midlanders) that would actually be inconceivable,
like being mistaken for a Londoner.
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Message 2: Re: 7.664 (2), Qs: Millenium

Date: Tue, 07 May 1996 09:40:23 BST
From: Dag Gundersen <>
Subject: Re: 7.664 (2), Qs: Millenium
R: (Millennium) Vol-7-664
The question of what to call the first two decades of the next millennium
in Norwegian was recently discussed in The Norwegian Language Council.
Since we have opted for "two thousand" (totusentallet) and not, like the
Swedes, for "twenty hundred" (tjugohundratalet), we found that "the two
thousand and tens" (totusenogtitallet) ought to do for the years 2010-2019.
But we were unable to suggest one word to cover 2000-2009 (or 1900-1909),
so in replies to queries we decided to say that our language just doesn't
seem to have one word for it, you'll have to call it e.g. "the first decade
of the century". If anyone has a better suggestion it would be welcome.
Dag Gundersen
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Message 3: Re: 7.661, Disc: Grammatical Gender

Date: Sun, 05 May 1996 19:53:24 CST
From: "Ormsby Lowry Harold-CELE" <>
Subject: Re: 7.661, Disc: Grammatical Gender
I've noticed in all the discussion of indigenous American languages, not 
one commentator has said "we say," "we perceive," etc. It's always "they 
whatever." Are there no actual daily users of any of these languages out 
there who might comment? What degree of validity can the opinions of 
non-users --no matter how those opinions are arrived at-- have? It seems to 
me that the whole schtick has become profoundly disrespectful of the 
cultures, languages and people.

Harold Ormsby L.
Ensenyanza de Lenguas Indigenas
Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores
en Antropologia Social (CIESAS-Mexico) (asuntos academicos/academic matters) (cualquier asunto/whatever)
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Message 4: Re: 7.661, Disc: Grammatical Gender

Date: Mon, 06 May 1996 07:53:40 EDT
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Re: 7.661, Disc: Grammatical Gender
I see that there are still people who believe that Hopis "refer to
clouds in an animate way". For the record, I have no evidence that
anyone ever asked any Hopi about the animacy of clouds. The story
originates with Whorf's claim that clouds are thought of as animate,
which he based on the fact that the plural of cloud is formed in
a way which otherwise seems to be reserved to animate nouns. 
If there is any real evidence, since this clearly is not (for
reasons identified by Greenberg in his classic paper on Whorf's
claims some time in the early fifties), that would of course be
interesting to know.
By the way, it is important to note that, although by today's
standards, many of Whorf's analyses of Hopi (he also had similar
ones of several other languages, incl. Nahuatl, but people seem
to get fixated on Hopi) are not adequately supported, it is also
the case that, because a lot of people only know of Whorf through
secondary or tertiary accounts of this so-called Whorf thesis,
it seems to be generally forgotten that (a) it was NOT his thesis,
(b) the thesis was not what everybody says, (c) he was a great
descriptivist (esp. of Hopi and Nahuatl), who among other things
gave us information on Hopi phonology which is not available 
from any other source, and (d) he was a great comparativist
(as his papers on Uto-Aztecan, the family to which both Hopi and
Nahuatl belong, attest). 
Couldn't we please stop repeating a half-century of accumulated
errors long enough to pay homage to a great man and at the same
time to understand once and for all that for at least forty
years now his claims about how Hopis view the world have been
discredited, not in the sense that they are wrong (I don't
think anybody except the Hopis of the time ever knew THAT),
but in the sense that they are not adequately supported by
the morphological and syntactic evidence that he cited for them.
Alexis MR
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