Fronter and Backer
James A. Landau
JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sat Jun 22 14:51:10 UTC 2002
In a message dated 06/22/2002 12:25:49 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU writes:
> Larry will probably tell us that "front" and "back" are not gradable per
> is interesting that one dimension would be gradadable and another not.
Yes, the dimension is gradable: "further forward" and "further back". You
can also say "more forward" and "more backward" but "backward" has all sorts
of other meanings, e.g. retarded, backwoods, behind-the-times, underdeveloped
(referring to countries,the long-standing PC term is "developing"). Or you
could use the nautical terms "forward" and "aft" (with superlatives
"forwardmost" and "aftermost"), but I'm sure even a freshman linguistics
class would find that strange. Hmm, It would make a great skit at the MLA
convention to talk about "bower vowels" and "sterner vowels".
If you think the front-back dimension is clumsy when it comes to gradation,
consider the left-right dimension. Someone who speaks out of the side of his
mouth has "liberal" and "conservative" phonemes? Or "starboarder" and
"porter" phoenemes and can be said to have a bad case of the yaws?
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