LINGUIST List 8.1077

Mon Jul 21 1997

Disc: Evolution analytic > synthetic

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. benji wald, Re: 8.1059, Disc: Evolution analytic > synthetic

Message 1: Re: 8.1059, Disc: Evolution analytic > synthetic

Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 04:21:43 -0700 (PDT)
From: benji wald <bwaldHUMnet.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: Re: 8.1059, Disc: Evolution analytic > synthetic

On Sun, 13 Jul 1997 Bill Bennett wrote:

 If my language use sought conciseness
>(implicitness), than in time it might be working at the well-known
>"now for cocoa and I'll put the cat out" with one vocable, the
>language might end as "ugh" (synethesis) - unless the language were to
>be "saved" by a countering balance in explicitness.

I've always enjoyed the verbal humor of the Marx Brothers, what with
their puns and all (phonology is the beginning of humor), but only in
my dotage am I beginning to understand the exquisite wit and
profundity of Burns & Allens, e.g., what is going on in terms of
expectations for the discourse management of information in the
following exchange.

Gracie: I cut myself with soup the other day.
George: Hunh?
Gracie: The other day I cut myself with soup.
George: You cut yourself with soup?
Gracie: Yeah, I was opening the can and...

Keep it up with the implicit and the explicit and the concise and
economy for the speaker vs. intelligibility for the addressee
and-all-that. In the final analysis, it is such exchanges as Burns &
Allens which ultimately explains why language will never reduce to
UGH. Say goodnight...
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