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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Grammar
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0938  Thursday, 4 April 2002

[1]     From:   Steve Roth <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Apr 2002 09:46:27 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

[2]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Apr 2002 19:45:39 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

[3]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Apr 2002 14:36:24 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

[4]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Apr 2002 21:18:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

[5]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 02:37:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

[6]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 11:08:58 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Roth <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Apr 2002 09:46:27 -0800
Subject: 13.0924 Re: Grammar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

Thanks to all for the lesson in
grammar/usage/vocabulary/lexicography/??.

To clarify, Steve Sohmer posted the original (perfectly well-written)
question. I thought fellow word dweebs might find it amusing to discuss
the "that/which" issue. It seems they did (as did I).

>Aren't those five different words, all of which happen to be spelt
>"c-h-e-c-k-"?
and
>Words don't have meanings. They have uses.

There are no words. There are only strings.

Thanks,
Steve
http://princehamlet.com

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Apr 2002 19:45:39 +0100
Subject: 13.0924 Re: Grammar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

> Words don't have meanings. They have uses.
>
> T. Hawkes

And relationships.  The hard-nosed Saussurean view proposed above (while
I have a lot of sympathy for it) only works for idiolects.  The fish is
parole, langue is the sea in which we all swim.

Leave aside convinced solipsists.

Robin Hamilton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Apr 2002 14:36:24 -0600
Subject: 13.0924 Re: Grammar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

Terence Hawkes avers,

> Words don't have meanings. They have uses.

But I am not sure what he means by the word "meanings."

Or, for that matter, "uses."

Is it possible to find out?

Meaningfully yours,
don

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Apr 2002 21:18:35 -0500
Subject: 13.0924 Re: Grammar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

This thread is interesting. One correction for Mari Bonomi, who wrote:

> In this sentence both first and second pronoun should be "that"--
> "which" would follow a comma and be essentially an appositive.  I know
> there are more proper grammatical terms for the usage than "appositive"
> but I assiduously avoided learning such terminology in school

It's not an appositive, although, like an appositive, it IS adjectival.
The term you're looking for is 'relative clause' ('that' and 'which' are
relative pronouns).

David Evett did a great job explaining the way it all works. For more
grammar questions, I'd recommend you check the following web site:
www.ateg.org

Terence Hawkes comment was fascinating:

> Words don't have meanings. They have uses.

This is true, since words are human constructions that wouldn't
otherwise exist in nature.  Of course, we GIVE them meanings (which are
useful - vide: Saussure).  Actually, linguists talk about two types of
words: FORM words, which supposedly have meanings (nouns, verbs,
adverbs, and adjectives), and FUNCTION words (which are structural, not
'meaningful').  Again, all this stuff about words is useful.  Even
grammar is useful (contrary to popular opinion).  What a concept!

Paul E. Doniger

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 02:37:13 -0500
Subject: 13.0924 Re: Grammar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

From the OED, second edition.

homonym . Also homonyme.

   ad. late L. homo-nym-um (Quintilian), a. Gr. , neut. of  homonymous.
Cf.
   Fr. homonyme 'an equiuocation, or word of diuers significations'
(Cotgr.).

   1. a. The same name or word used to denote different things. b.
Philol.
      Applied to words having the same sound, but differing in meaning:
opp.
      to heteronym and synonym.

Please see the raging debate on the aptly named Useless Pages

http://www.go2net.com/useless/useless/homonym.html

some contributors to which would restrict the below to homophone.

Clifford

> While I'm on the subject, 'homonym' is NOT the correct term. Homonyms
> are words that sound the same but have different meanings (there, their,
> they're), not multiple meanings for the same word. POLYSEMY does look
> like the best choice. I've never known anyone to use this term, however.
>
> Paul E. Doniger

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 11:08:58 +0100
Subject: 13.0924 Re: Grammar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0924 Re: Grammar

"Homonyms are words that sound the same but have different meanings
(there, their, they're), not multiple meanings for the same word",
writes Paul Doniger.

The venerable OED disagrees:

"I.a. The same word used to denote different meanings."

That is, "The SAME word".

By the way, the stuff on that / which was good. I understand it better
now. I don't see how anyone could get stuck with who / whom, though...

m

PS: I pronounce "they're" as "thay-er", not "thair"

PPS: Nice to see the author of "Structuralism and Semiotics" (1977)
reminding us that "Words don't have meanings. They have uses". Again,
the OED would appear to disagree (how could it not?) On the other hand,
ever tried to understand the Dictionary's entry for "synonym"...?

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