LINGUIST List 9.1839

Thu Dec 24 1998

Qs: Spelling system, Syntactic calque

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  1. Zouhair Maalej, -ise vs. -ize
  2. cristina.corcoll, Notion of syntactic calque

Message 1: -ise vs. -ize

Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 10:31:55 +0100
From: Zouhair Maalej <>
Subject: -ise vs. -ize

Dear colleagues,

Out of accuracy and/or purism, teachers of English as a second and/or
foreign language have always urged their students to follow a
consistent spelling system. My realization that spelling in -ise or
-ize is not necessarily a distinction between British English and
American English leaves me with two distinct sets of data: (i) some
lexical items admit only -ize even in British dictionaries
(e.g. anesthesize); and (ii) some others admit both -ise and -ize
(e.g. familiarise and familiarize), which is more like the distinction
between the two most important dialects of English. Am I right in
assuming that the -ise suffix (rightly or wrongly) associated with
British English is disappearing or has never existed? Isn't this a
hint that spelling in -ize is becoming the norm?

If anyone can indicate rules of thumb, papers, manuscripts, etc. that
deal with the issue, they will be greatly appreciated.

In case I get enough feedback/material, I promise to post a summary to
the list.

Zouhair Maalej
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Message 2: Notion of syntactic calque

Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 11:07:36 +0100
From: cristina.corcoll <>
Subject: Notion of syntactic calque

Dear linguists,

I am now beginning to work on my PhD thesis and I intend to reassess
the notion of syntactic calque, as a type of language contact
phenomenon. I would like to find arguments that help me treat this
type of calque as a codeswitch that only occurs at a structural level
(since in a sentence where there appears a syntactic calque, the
structure of two different languages is being used) and not at the
lexical level (since, on the surface, only one language is being

Let me give you an example drawn from the corpus I work with:
"We went to the highway on foot and saw planes at the [polgono], at
the industrial polygon, but to get a better view we came here, and we
saw the flame, {two explosions more}, one huge and another
smaller". Here, the sequence "two explosions more", although produced
in English, is a literal translation of the Spanish "dos explosiones
ms". This is what makes me say that, in fact, there are two languages
involved here and that what is being used is something that could be
called a structural codeswitch. If any of you is working on this, or
you know of somebody who is, I would greatly appreciate you letting me

Thank you all for your help,

Cristina Corcoll
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