LINGUIST List 8.348

Tue Mar 11 1997

Disc: Language and public behavior

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <seelylinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Mark Mandel, Language and public behavior
  2. benji wald, Re: 8.341, Disc: Lg and Public Behavior (was ebonics)

Message 1: Language and public behavior

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 17:38:39 -0500
From: Mark Mandel <Markdragonsys.com>
Subject: Language and public behavior

In LINGUIST 8.341, Elena Koutsomitopoulou writes:

>>>>
	[...]
But to tell the whole story, being polite and not discriminating show in
several other (essential) ways and not really into smiling or keeping any
face of compassion. Besides, offering help is one of the very common
ways to take control over someone. What could really be helpful is the
expression of our real (positive or negative) feelings when confronted
with a disability. Above all, not all people are able to handle it......

<<<<

This makes sense to me, except for the second sentence. Is she
recommending NOT offering to help someone -- e.g., offering to hold a
door for a person in a wheelchair or on crutches -- because they might
feel you were trying to take control over them?

 Mark A. Mandel : Senior Linguist : markdragonsys.com
 Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200
 320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA : http://www.dragonsys.com/
 Personal home page: http://world.std.com/~mam/
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Message 2: Re: 8.341, Disc: Lg and Public Behavior (was ebonics)

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 21:44:49 -0800 (PST)
From: benji wald <bwaldHUMnet.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: Re: 8.341, Disc: Lg and Public Behavior (was ebonics)

Just a short elaboration on John Atkinson's following comment.

>A minor point. As I'm sure Benji knows, but Carol may not, "pole",
>or more commonly "pole pole", does not "literally" means 'I hope
>you're OK'. The nearest I can get in English to its literal meaning
>is 'be cool' ("cool" the opposite of "warm", when used figuratively
>= "comfortable" or "unharmed", rather than "unperturbed" as in
>English -- so 'pole' it doesn't necessarily mean "don't get upset",
>which is what 'be cool' or 'cool down' usually means in English).

In the situation I described I have only heard "pole", very frequently, and
never "pole pole". "pole pole" is used for "take it easy", "take it slow"
or "be careful", and THAT use can but rarely is ever shortened to "pole".
It is in the nature of advice, not the commiseration of "pole". Otherwise
John is right. But, it might also be worth noting that "pole" as a formula
has a phonological archaism which divorces it from "be cool/get well" (as
when recovering from a fever). That is, that it retains post-stress
intervocalic -l-. The root *pola is now simply "poa" in Swahili, so the
expression "pole" is no longer transparent, and hasn't been to most
speakers for centuries. u-po-e (2s-cool.off- subjunctive) literally
means "you should get cool/comfortable" or "I hope you get...."

- Benji
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