LINGUIST List 6.790

Thu 08 Jun 1995

Misc: Possessives, Syldavian, Etymogical Dictionaries

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  1. "Jack Wiedrick", Possessives
  2. Desrochers Richard, Re: 6.775, Syldavian Tutorial
  3. benji wald, etymo-dicts

Message 1: Possessives

Date: Mon, 5 Jun 1995 12:49:15 GPossessives
From: "Jack Wiedrick" <WIED6480VARNEY.IDBSU.EDU>
Subject: Possessives

I've been away for awhile, but I just came back and checked my email,
finding Benji Wald's speculative comments on _of 's_ constructions,
dated May 20th, the LINGUIST List. I just want to say one thing: Way
to go, Benji!!
I think it's great that my question and summary can have led to such
great and interesting ruminating on an admittedly poorly-understood
area of the English language. As I wrote to another interested
party, I hope that this whole thing has opened up a great big can of
worms, the messier the better. I'm just vindictive enough to love
seeing formalist theories smashed to smithereens by real language
data, and just crazy enough to love the chaos. I'd love to see more
comments put out on the list by anyone with even a passing interest
in the matter and a few baffling examples they can't explain.
Just to further the matter a little, I'd like to comment on something
in Benji Wald's article? (installment? memo? hmmm.... What do we
call serial email things like this?) He wrote:

>a friend of John's (INHALE) wife =?? one of John's friends' wife
>/and I'm starting to dislike the last example on the right./
>I don't think position of INHALE really helps, well, maybe if you
>know whether I'm asthmatic or not (is that how you spell it in
>Also note in passing that another irregular plural can take a bow for
>doing something useful,
>one of John's wife's friends VS. one of John's wives'(??es) friends
>cntr. one of John's significant other's(/others'(??es') friends
>(And once again: Yeah, but if you SAY it...)
>But then again, what's the difference between:
> one of John's friends' (...) wife AND one of John's friends'
>(I mean given current Anglophonic customs), except that we can
> FORMALLY reduce the latter to
> one of the wives
>BUT NOT the former to
> one of the wife
>/ That's why I don't like "one of John's friends' wife"/

I think I understand why he doesn't like _one of John's friends'
wife_--it's because it sounds funny if we have the abbreviated
phonological form [ ... djanz frenz wayf]. BUT, if we add in another
/z/ to "friends'", it seems to sound better (even more so with

 1) One of John's long-time friends's [frenz.z] wife is evil.


 2) The wife of one of John's (long-time) friends's is evil.

sounds better than either to me. But here's something for the
experts. In sentence (2) above, I feel an almost irresistable urge
to steal the final /z/ from "friends's" and put it on "John's", which
would leave the sentence:

 2') The wife of one of John's's [djanz.z] long-time friends is

which, funny as it looks in print, is the most grammatical-sounding
sentence so far, as far as I'm concerned. In (2'), the wife has to
be the friend's, of course, and not John's, so why is "John" able to
get the /z/?


Another (happily) flustered linguist.

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Message 2: Re: 6.775, Syldavian Tutorial

Date: Mon, 5 Jun 1995 19:38:22 -Re: 6.775, Syldavian Tutorial
From: Desrochers Richard <desrochrERE.UMontreal.CA>
Subject: Re: 6.775, Syldavian Tutorial

 There IS one (at least) translation of the oldest Syldavian text,
which our first tutorial ommitted. Ihave waited to long to refer
interested readers to my sources, but it is an inevitable work for those
interested as much in Syldavian as in Bordurian. It comes from Frederic
Soumois' Dossier Tintin: Sources, Versions,Themes, Structures, Jacques
Antoine, 1987.
 It shows how much Herge used Brussels French and Flemish roots in
every language he "devised" in his works.For example, pace Guy who
adopted Herge's own suggestion of translation of "Eih bennek, Eih blavek"
by "Qui s'y frotte s'y pique" (roughly, "whoever rubs himself against it
will get stung by it"), it looks more like Dutch "Hier ben ik, hier blijf
ik", meaning "here I am, here I stay".
 The translation Soumois proposes for the XIVth century manuscript
goes approximately like this (I won't bother to go into the etymological
details, and I won[t try to reproduce the original text:
 "Father Ottokar, thou art then king of [the city/Poland?], then
the trone is for me". That one says to the other: "Come get the sceptre".
And the king stroke Staszrvich with the sceptre, and the nanny-goat [?]
fell on the floor/was left on the field."
 I also recommend, as an example of L2 morphology, the excellent
passage in Borduria that one can find in the French version of "the
Calculus Affair" (L'affaire Tournesol), unfortunately absent in the
English version, and hopefully to be found again in the German version,
if I can get it (and probably not in the Chinese version).
 There are also short passages of linguistic interest in
Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon, and, for Arumbaya, in Tintin
and the Broken Ear. Any useful or absolutely useless information welcome.
 Richard Desrochers
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Message 3: etymo-dicts

Date: Mon, 05 Jun 95 22:05 PDT
From: benji wald <IBENAWJMVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: etymo-dicts

I'm amazed and shocked that in his 2nd summary of etymological
dictionaries, Se rme's again failed to mention under CAUCASIAN
(or anywhere else) the incomparab le (or is it incompatible?):

G.A. Klimov. Etimologicheskij slovar' kartvel'skix jazykov. 1964.
 Moskva: Izdatel'stvo Akademii NAUK CCCP (I mean SSSR).
 [Etymological dictionary of the Kartvelian languages - all four of them!]
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