Umfriend and Mmmfriend

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Mon Apr 11 15:44:09 UTC 2005

Do we have other examples of emotive, discourse, or hesitation
markers being incorporated into words themselves? I can think of the
augmentative ker-, ga, - ka- prefixes (e.g., "kerflop) but nothing
else comes to mind, and they seem to have their origins as
attachments to existing words, not independent elements.


>In a message dated 4/11/05 11:14:26 AM, laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:
>>  Or "umfriend", which I see has 1790 google hits.  "Friend plus" is
>>  also heard, but has other uses, while I think "umfriend" is pretty
>>  much univocal.
>univocal or unigraphological? I've never heard this uttered, and would guess
>that there would be a pause between "um" and "friend" in speaking--it looks to
>me like a stunt spelling that has caught on.
>One might actually say "Mmmfriend," though, it seems to me. But to write
>"mmmfriend" would be ambiguous, since "mmm" in writing can be the
>equivalent of
>In any case, I'm delighted to make the acquaintance of this new (?) form--new
>to me, anyway.

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages
A-740 Wells Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 432-3099
Fax: (517) 432-2736
preston at

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