"center meters"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 18 18:15:28 UTC 2009

At 12:04 PM -0500 12/18/09, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>At 12/18/2009 11:37 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>At 9:25 AM -0500 12/18/09, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>... Doesn't one need a phrase that makes sense semantically?  I don't
>>>know what "six center meters" could mean.
>>It's a relatively opaque measure expression,
>Very opaque to me!  Although "zero" works:  I see "The zero-center
>meter then indicates the difference in output of the detectors.".
>There is also "City centre meter zone permit application", but that I
>suspect is distinguishable from "The city centimeter is different
>from the country centimeter" by a "pause" phoneme.
>>but my point is that it
>>would be *less* opaque than centimeter for those who are familiar
>>with the word "center" (or "centre"; see below) and not the prefix
>>"centi-".  And if you don't think there are a bunch of such folks,
>>just page through the 25.7 million hits for "centre meter",
>I feel deprived -- I only get 10,400 hits for "centre meter" (when
>quoted).  And only 52,400 for "center meter".

Right; the latter was the figure I quoted in the first post on this,
and the former was my error.  As you imply, I left off the quotes
when I did the search this morning.  And indeed, a lot of the hits
are irrelevant, like the "City Center/Centre" ones. Still, there are
enough reanalyses (even the occasional "cubic centre/center meter")
to make the point.


>>(although obviously not all, or perhaps even most) of which are
>>... linear measure terms for "centre/center") so the reanalysis
>>sort of makes sense.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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