someone/somebody, etc.

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Mon Oct 30 17:01:16 UTC 2000

At 09:20 PM 10/29/00 -0700, you wrote:
>Also not quite what was asked for but, Helena Raumolin-Brunberg and Leena
>Kahlas-Tarkka (1997) "Indefinite Pronouns with Singular Human Reference"
>trace the historical development of -body -man and -one compounds from OE to
>the 18th century.  According to them, Quirk et al. (1985) and Jespersen
>(1914) claim -body and -one compounds are identical in meaning although
>Bolinger (1976) "argues that there is a subtle difference in meaning between
>the series, ONE and its compounds being marked for closeness to the speaker
>and individualization, whereas BODY is unmarked in these senses."
>R-B and K-T suggest that there are no semantic differences, though
>syntactically there are, since only -one compounds can be used in partitives
>(anyone of the students / *anybody of the students).

This leads to an interesting spelling/spacing problem:  I would write "any
one of the students" for the partitive above, and stress the "one" in
speech.  Isn't this different from the usual one-word usage?  I'd also
distinguish between "any one of you" (again, pausing and stressing in
speech) and "anyone among you" (with the combined, no-pause word)--but I'm
not sure why.  Sometimes I agonize over whether to spell words in this
category as one word or two.  My dictionary lists "someday" as a compound,
though I would never use it as such; "some time/sometime" is another
problem example.  Guidelines, anyone?

>Johanna -- a student--but not someone/somebody volunteering for this
>Johanna Wood
>Teaching Associate
>Department of English
>Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0302
> >Since there has been no response to this, maybe someone/somebody
> >(probably a student) should create a source. My own pragmatic approach
> >to such questions, as a lexicographer specializing in the usage aspect
> >of words, has been to draw up a concordance of a pair in question (using
> >a good contemporary database, not something historical like what the OED
> >disk could generate) and note the semantic, syntactic, and other
> >differences between the members of the pair. This is just a pragmatic or
> >working solution to the problem, but Lynne wants something more
> >theoretical, I presume.
> >Tom
> >
> >THOMAS M. PAIKEDAY, lexicographer since 1964
> >Latest work: "The User's (tm) Webster," Lexicography, Inc., 2000
> >ISBN 0-920865-03-8 from: utpbooks at
> >
> >Lynne Murphy wrote:
> >>
> >> Does anyone (or anybody) know of any source on semantic/pragmatic
> >> differences between the -body and -one words?  (somebody/someone,
> >> everybody/everyone, anybody/anyone, nobody/no one)
> >>
> >> Thanks in advance,
> >> Lynne
> >> --
> >> M. Lynne Murphy
> >> Lecturer in Linguistics
> >> School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
> >> University of Sussex
> >> Brighton BN1 3AN    UK
> >> phone:  +44(0)1273-678844
> >> fax:    +44(0)1273-671320
> >

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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