LINGUIST List 7.804

Sat Jun 1 1996

Disc: Lg & dreams, -y

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. Esther Kuntjara, Lg & dreams
  2. Karl Teeter, Re: Language and Dreams
  3. benji wald, -y

Message 1: Lg & dreams

Date: Fri, 31 May 1996 11:19:02 +0700
From: Esther Kuntjara <>
Subject: Lg & dreams
The disc. on lg & dreams is very interesting. I remember one of my
professors who said once that if a non-native speaker of English
speaks English in his/her dream, it probably was a sign that he/she had
been good enough in mastering the foreign language they learn. Perhaps I
should have asked him why.
On another occasion, while I was watching a live hypnotic show in English, I
was wondering if a non-tive speaker of English would be able to respond
the same way as other native speakers of English when they were under
unconcious state. Anybody has this experience?

Esther Kuntjara
Petra Christian University
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Message 2: Re: Language and Dreams

Date: Fri, 31 May 1996 09:17:49 EDT
From: Karl Teeter <>
Subject: Re: Language and Dreams
Dear Friends: While it has been fun reading all of the interesting
anecdotes here related on this subject, I am a bit disconcerted to see
everything we have learned in scientific psychology since William James
swept away, until we are back to pure introspection. It should not be
necessary to point this out to this list, but we know very little
about what really happens in dreams. Even the rem sleep business, which
now seems to be taken so for granted, is known only because of
painstaking and detailed empirical study. As for the languages of which
one has fluent command in dreams, it's simple. In real life, I struggle
to approach limited fluency in any language beyond my native English. In
dreams I can speak any language fluently -- you name it. What does this
prove? Yours, kvt
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Message 3: -y

Date: Thu, 30 May 1996 01:04:00 PDT
From: benji wald <IBENAWJMVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: -y
To acknowledge Charles Rowe's last comment on -y, as in Honk-AY tonk,
I admit it! I didn't realise that "honky tonk" was a genre
of rock (associated with some period of the Rolling Stones?) In
fact, I like to admit I don't know (sometimes -- strategically), so that
the naive will not confuse me with Chomsky (uh pace). So while I'm at
it, I was also informed by those in the know that the German word for
"bitey" is "bissig", not beissig. -ig adjectives in German are
formed from nouns. not verbs. Come to think of it, English -y ones
seem to be too, but it's harder to tell nouns from verbs in English.
So angry and hungry are from the nouns anger-y and hunger-y, not
the verbs of similar complexion. Are there any unambiguous examples
(anymore)? Hmm, there's also an -y that makes adjectives into
nouns as in goody, baddy, batty and quicky (OK, "quickie", somebody
translate this into another language, demonstrating the ultimate degree
of fluency, French vit-eau? literal translation). An "exchange"
morpheme? Interesting language -- English. Has anybody ever tried to
analyse it?

Getting back to Charles Rowe's comment now, apart from that I think
everything I said in the message he was responding to was consistent
with what he had previously written (uh oh, now I sound like Chomsky

Just to agree with him further about opera and vowels, I've had
furious passionate arguments with every prima donna I've ever known
about Italian. They inevitably insist, as they've been taught, that
Italian is the perfect language for singing because it has those five
pure vowels, to which I've always responded (1) then Swahili's just as
good (2) yeah, but what about those geminate consonants (3) then
singing in Italian is not much of a challenge, is it? It's (3) that
they resent the most (they don't even understand (2), and think (1)
is prima facie/donna ridiculoso until I present them with a Swahili
operatic score). Somehow I don't manage to get very far with the
prime donne, so next time I get a chance I think I'll just "tace"
(Italian/musical cognate to "tacit") -- but not on the List. -- Benji
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