Non-native linguistic detachment

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Dec 24 16:27:09 UTC 2007

dInIs said:


I always remember sitting in a basement beer bar drinking beer with
Polish friends when it struck me that one of the Polish words for
basement (piwnica) must have been connected to beer (piwo) - beer
storing place? It is, of course, but none of the native speakers with
me (all linguists!) had ever noticed the connection, and the phonetic
modification in the case was minimal.


Sometimes it takes a bit of detachment from a case to notice stuff like this.  I
remember once being at a party with other linguists in Philadelphia where the
local lager Juengling was being served.  The question came up as to where the
name had come from;  I was surprised that anyone should even be asking the
question, since it seemed very likely to me (especially given the partially
German settlement history of the area) that it was simply the German word
*J√ľngling* 'young man'.  A German friend among us didn't spot it, though;  her
first thought was that it looked like something Chinese.

I agree with the nomination for Quote of the Year.  And it makes me think:  how
do we pronounce these acronyms?  Is there an accepted way?  (Never been to the
ADS Annual Meeting.)  If Word Of The Year is /wowti:/, can Quote Of The Year be

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

The American Dialect Society -

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