LINGUIST List 2.461

Tue 03 Sep 1991

Qs: Sound change, "just) in case", Professeur

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  1. Tom Lai, Sound change by lexical diffusion
  2. "(m Lai, Re: Queries
  3. Koenraad De Smedt, professeure

Message 1: Sound change by lexical diffusion

Date: Tue, 3 Sep 91 01:11 +8
Subject: Sound change by lexical diffusion
>It is possible that the change didn't really even have anything to do with
>the function/content distinction at all. Sound changes often spread through
>the lexicon one word at a time, with two common patterns: frequent words
>change first (with infrequent words unaffected), or infrequent words change
>first (with frequent words unaffected). (Labov had a paper in LANGUAGE a
>few years back on what determines whether sound change will be
>word-by-word. There was a paper in LINGUISTICS ca. 1984 that tried to sort
>out what determines whether it is infrequent or frequent words that change
>first; I don't recall the author's name.) It is quite possible that this
>change affected frequent words first, which would largely be function
>words, since they are the most frequent words in the language. The change
>may have ended (and who knows why?) before spreading to even relatively
>frequent content words like THINK. (It may not have spread to words like
>THREE and THROUGH because of a phonological constraint in English barring
>voiced fricatives in syllable-initial consonant clusters. English doesn't
>allow *VRY or *ZLIP, either.)
>Anyway, this congruence may be entirely accidental. Anyone know more of the
>details? I'm not an expert on such long-ago sound changes.
Joe Stemberger is talking about lexical diffusion. It will be some
time before I can come up with something like a bibliography. Can
somebody out there help with this?
Tom Lai
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Message 2: Re: Queries

Date: Tue, 03 Sep 91 12:08:40 BST
From: "(m Lai <>
Subject: Re: Queries
I have nothing to add on [sic] Lee Hartman's query about the use of _on_.
Rather I have a similar query of my own, which that one reminded me of.
Linguists generally seem to use _(just) in case X_ to mean 'iff X', which
is quite foreign to my, British dialect. For me, _(just) in case X_ means
something like 'in anticipation of possible occurrence of X', as in
_I'm going to look at the paper in case there's an ad for a used bike._
 Here's my question. Is the other usage, i.e. the 'iff X' one,
(a) only used in linguistics/logic, etc, (b) normal North American usage,
(c) normal British usage and it's me that's weird?
 David Denison (d.denison
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Message 3: professeure

Date: Tue, 3 Sep 91 13:54 MET
Subject: professeure
In a recent job advertisement, we read:
> Le Departement de langues et linguistique ouvre un concours pour un poste de
> professeur ou de professeure en lexicographie. Le poste devra etre pourvu
> le 1er juin 1992.
I always thought 'professeur' covers both male and female. Indeed, my
French dictionary does not contain 'professeure'. Has this word existed
long or is it relatively new? Or was it forced into existence by equal
opportunities pressure?
Koenraad de Smedt
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