LINGUIST List 5.249

Fri 04 Mar 1994

Misc: French, Semitic meat/bread, Chimps, Contrastive repetition

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Y. Shum, Translating French To English
  2. , Query: Semitic meat/bread
  4. Jan Krister Lindstrom, Contrastive repetition

Message 1: Translating French To English

Date: Fri, 4 Mar 94 11:50:48 ESTTranslating French To English
From: Y. Shum <>
Subject: Translating French To English

Hi there,
 I'm interested in any software which could translate
a French document into English document. If anybody know of
any, I hope to be informaed about it.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Query: Semitic meat/bread

Date: Tue, 1 Mar 1994 07:17:57 +Query: Semitic meat/bread
From: <>
Subject: Query: Semitic meat/bread

Some time ago I posted a summary of replies to my query on meat/fish
polysemy/semantic change (apologies, incidentally, for making a mistake
with Stavros Macrakis' name there). Since then I have received a few more
bits of information (meat/fish polysemy in Melanesia - it would be good
to know its distribution; deer/"ruminant"/meat polysemy in North America -
cf. Indo-European). One that particularly intrigued me was the observation
from R.Hoberman (SUNY, Stony Brook) that Arabic laHm means 'meat' and
Hebrew leHem 'bread' with the comment that perhaps this has to do with
the ancestral groups being respectively pastoralists and agriculturalists.
Assuming these are cognates, what do Semiticists/Afro-Asiaticists reconstruct
as the meaning of this root in the proto-language(s) and has anyone
mounted a full argument about the semantic change being related to

Patrick McConvell
Northern Territory University
PO Box 40146
Casuarina NT 0811
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Can Chimps Talk?

Date: Mon, 28 Feb 1994 13:39:06 Can Chimps Talk?
Subject: Can Chimps Talk?

 The PBS series Nova aired an episode entitled "Can Chimps
Talk?" a week or so ago. I'm familiar with the critiques of the
Gardner's work with the chimp Washoe, and with the Terrace material on

 However, I had not previously seen tape of Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
working with the pygmy chimpanzee Kanzi. I was moderately impressed,
and her work did not seem to suffer from the same laundry list of
complaints that I learned in grad. school -- in particular, there
seemed to be reasonable controls for inadvertant cues from the
experimenter, bias in interpretation, etc.

 I'd like to show this film in an introductory linguistics
class, but I'd like to be pointed to work that critiques
Savage-Rumbaugh's work with Kanzi and other pygmy chimpanzees. I am
already familiar with Joel Wallman's recently published *Aping
language*. Can LINGUIST readers point me to other discussion?

Aaron Broadwell | `To anyone who finds that grammar is a
Dept. of Anthropology | worthless finicking with trifles, I
Dept. of Linguistics and | would reply that life consists of
 Cognitive Science | little things; the important matter is
Albany, NY 12222 | to see them largely' -- Jespersen, 1925 |
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 4: Contrastive repetition

Date: Thu, 3 Mar 94 14:58:41 +02Contrastive repetition
From: Jan Krister Lindstrom <jlindstrwaltari.Helsinki.FI>
Subject: Contrastive repetition

I have been dealing with semantic and pragmatic issues related to
iterative coordination -- i.e. structures like: a geat, great man,
or He's getting better and better. These examples were English but
my focus is actually on the phenomon in Swedish. Having excerpted
and analysed a range of instances I have come across with a pragmatically
rather speacial use of conjoined repetition (that I term "Contrastive
repetition"). The usage is typically colloquial and dialogic, the
repetition being a reaction to (or against...) an item in a previous
utterance/sentence. It can look like this:

Ex. -- Du har en ny blus.
 -- Ny och ny, jag k|pte den i v}ras.

Transl. -- You've got a new blouse.
 -- New and new, I bought it last spring.

The function of this repetition seems to be to give a critical emphasis
on an item as regards its content. Repetition signals that the item may be
understood in at least two ways in its context, or that the item may be
understood in a relative rather than an absolute sense. In the
above example, e.g. 'You can say perhaps "new", but my blouse is not
really/absolutely new'.

Now what I would like to know is if a similar kind of a phenomenon
is natural in other languages than Swedish (I know it's used in Finnish).
Is my English translation, for instance, correct usage or just a one-to-one
copy of the Swedish model? Could you please provide some examples? And if
you happen to know about any work in this field (also in Swedish or Finnish),
please let me know!

I will send a summary.
Thanks in advance,

Jan Lindstrom <>
Dept. of Scandinavian Languages
University of Helsinki
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue