hobbes words


So that's it, all over, no longer a linguistics student. Though I am still a student of linguistics. (Wait a minute... *mutters to self*... syntax versus morphology, morphological combination must have semantic differences... No, wait! I don't do that any more!) I am an unemployed person of no fixed vocation.

Here are the last moments of That:

8.57 continue writing what I didn't do any of last night cos of the brandy
12.03 begin printing
1.03 baffled by clasp on plastic binder
2.22 finish proofreading
2.48 printer runs out of ink
2.48.02 triumphant ha! I am prepared for this
3.11 finish printing
3.14 out of house
4.04 stuff binders into box in department
5.05 back home
5.08 booze (Hobgoblin)

Sometimes for amusement I taunt spelling-checkers. Here are words I used that it doesn't know: arity, binarity, clitic, coreference, complementizer, cybernetically, discardable, disfluency, ditransitive, featural, fillable, Golgi apparatus, grammaticalized, intervenience, intonational, iterable, logophor, lookahead, minimality, moggy, nominalized, ourself, parametrize, proformal, satisfiable, specifier, stipulative, structuralist, subcategorization, subrule, syntagmatic, tertium quid, therefrom, topicalization, treehood, unaccusative, unassignable, underlyingly, unemphatically, unimplementable, unnoticingly.

So I won't be updating here any more, this is the LAST ONE, and I'm putting on the Ring and slipping out into another life.

Some of you might spot the odd luminous pale eye on the water, a faint paddling, a bit of wood on your tail, and wonder what it might be...
hobbes words

Citizens of Prague, beware!

Conkers have started falling, it's cold out even in a jumper, and a bottle of Courvoisier is therefore much needed. Mmm.

And this, I spose, means I have therefore finished It? Well. Well not finished as such, but section 8 (Command, government, and barriers, pity, it was the only section name longer than three words) has been stifled and upended into the wood-chipper and might make a nice pair of decorative parenthetical comments somewhere, and [I don't know any football team managers' names but pretend I do and think of one being written here, to make me seem 'with-it'] has sent section 5-1/2 (a screed about Learning I'd forgotten I'd added to) in as a substitute.

So the corpse hath torso and limbs, but to make it shamble once printed out (estimated time: noon tomorrow) it needs a little something extra, a tetragrammaton slipped under its tongue, a few choice morsels from other people's thoughts, so I've been through my book of notes and red-biro'd at least one per source so I can legitimately list 'em in the references. That I can do tonight, since it doesn't involve thinking, even though I'm sipping the brandy. Tomorrow morning, same ploy with my last-minute photocopies.
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    Weber, Grand duo concertant for clarinet and piano
hobbes words

dogs etc.

oh god hav got about 2 days til The Thing is due, and must still finish typing introduction (c. 800 words) before sewing into reanimated corpses of other bits I printed out, cut up into sections, and sellotaped together. No longer have time to read or discover any more; it's just going to be barefaced lying about who's influenced me. Actually I've made it up out of my own head and everyone except Chomsky and Culicover has their head in the sand.

Pub. Dogs. An ageing salt-and-pepper Staffordshire very interested in finding nice comfy places to curl up and get to sleep on. A young particoloured collie-like heraldic beast nosing out company and being interested. Stroked both.
hobbes words

Green Eggs and Sam

Green Eggs and Sam

Sample snippet (with flimsy linguistic connexion at end):

Gandalf:  I would not, could not, by the fire.
             I would not, could not, in the Shire.
Frodo:    Would you, could you, in a tree?
             Would you, on the road to Bree?
             Would you, with an orc or troll?
             Would you, in a hobbit-hole?
Gandalf:  I would not, could not, in a tree.
             I would not, on the road to Bree.
             I would not, with an orc or troll.
             I would not, in a hobbit-hole.
             I will not take it here or there.
             I will not take it anywhere!
             For it is evil, as you say.
             You'll have to take that ring away
             And throw it in the Cracks of Doom.
Frodo:    I'll need a friend. But who, or whom?
hobbes words

consider siderophobia

I hate these silly made-up words for non-existent phobias, and my ire is particularly invoked on ones like Walloonophobia 'fear of Walloons' and angrophobia 'fear of anger'. Since anger is a Norse borrowing, this more than usually violates the principle that if you're going to make up words, try to have the courtesy of making them up in Greek. So fears of railways and peanut butter have respectable-looking Greek elements.

I find someone has stuck the Latin sidus, sideris 'star' into the sausage machine and created siderophobia 'fear of stars'. Now not only is there a much more familiar prefix astro-, which happens also to be Greek, but sidero- is Greek for 'iron'. Siderophobia is a perfectly good word for 'fear of iron', but a rotten one for 'fear of stars'.

etymology feastCollapse )
hobbes words

wrought with pain/errors

Either an eggcorn or a development of a new verb form. Wrought is being treated as meaning racked or fraught, in senses such as wrought with pain, wrought with errors. In fact racked makes better sense as an origin for the first, fraught for the second, and it's picking up on the fact that racked with is often spelt wracked with by association with the older word wrack = wreck.
hobbes words

wh garden path

An interesting example in the comments in latin of a garden path from wh-fronting: the commenter writes 'Verres was a former official whom the Sicilian people hired Cicero to prosecute for embezzlement.'

As far as I can tell, this is not only grammatical but natural. The simplest thing is just to front the pronoun. Pied-piping is relatively costly and moves you up a register (I have to say 'for whom', 'pictures of whom', whereas direct object 'who(m)' depends on register). The pied-piped alternative here is particularly marked: you have to front an entire VP, 'to prosecute whom the Sicilian people hired Cicero'. And dammit, there's an adjunct, and it just doesn't fit anywhere else, so you have to pied-pipe the goddam adjunct! 'to prosecute whom for embezzlement the Sicilian people hired Cicero'.

So the most natural grammatical way of saying it is a garden path: 'a former official whom the Sicilian people hired...'.

Afterthought. I suppose if 'to prosecute [him]' is an adjunct itself, to 'hired', that'd be some sort of barrier to extraction.
hobbes words


Now trying to come up with a CV. For most people keeping it down to a page is supposed to be a problem. I am up to about half a page, and that's mainly name and address. Useful skills: None. Relevant experience: Nil. Telephone manner: Abysmal. Can-do attitude: Can't even pretend. Prospects: Awful.
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hobbes words

(no subject)

Am mildly amused and rather horrified and terribly embarrassed that Daniel Everett himself has picked up on my throwaway phrase "Borgesian fantasist". I could try accusing Mr Libermann of abusing the privileges of private e-mail if I hadn't bandied similar slack-jawed amazement around in several other places off my own BAT (a winged mammal). So deep apologies again to Professor Everett, but of course it is completely... er... contrary to expectations. (And oh god it would be such a wonderful Borges story!) It is literally unbelievable, and Everett seems to have acknowledged this repeatedly in his quest to be believed. I'm a staunch defender of the orthodoxy and always a rubbisher of the Sapir-Whorfian, so one of the first things to do on seeing this sort of amazing claim is to worry about other well-known expositors, Mead and Turnbull and Chagnon... but the way Everett describes it just doesn't sound like them. It doesn't sound ideologically pegged, it doesn't sound linguistically credulous, it... I don't know what it is. But worlds come crashing down. Everything I thought was part of my Sprachgefühl is wrong.

Couple this with the despair at the fact that I can't come up with anything original about the logic of grammar. I think I'm fifty years too early. We have no idea what's going on. No idea at all.
  • Current Mood
    depressed depressed
hobbes words

(no subject)

Went to library. Did some reading and note-taking. I think the only interesting quote I got was someone echoing Einstein, that grammar was subtle but not malicious. Got distracted reading about Tagalog infixation. Spent the last couple of hours reading in Huddleston and Pullum's CGEL, more interested in something I could at least partly understand. It's so good to see English grammar described freshly and impartially, with terminology appropriate to it. And they spend only a few paragraphs on such hard nuts as used to and had better. This much needs to be done on every language in the world, starting with Pirahã and Eyak and all the ones that are rich and strange or that we might be about to lose.

Am still nowhere nearer understanding anything of what I'm trying to write about. I want to give up. I don't know how I can hand in anything.

Am now about to get more maudlin over some Old Peculier.
  • Current Mood
    depressed depressed