[Ads-l] on the origins of the (muttly [not in OED]) English language

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Nov 19 00:59:23 UTC 2015


Perhaps too a pun on "motley".  (I was even led to wonder if "mutt" and "motley" might be related, since they both seem related to mixed or mongrel appearance, but I see they're not: "mutt" is a truncation of "mutton-head(ed)".  Who knew?)

LH


> On Nov 18, 2015, at 7:31 PM, Joel Berson <berson at att.net> wrote:
> 
> I was thinking:
> 
> mutt (n.) = mongrel.
> 
> mutty (adj.) = like a mutt.
> 
> muttly (adv.) as in "a vocabulary constructed muttly."  
> 
> 
> Although perhaps the adverb would be created as "muttily", which would not fit well in "a muttily vocabulary", proving Larry is right that "muttly" is the adjective.
> 
> 
> Joel 
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 2:30 PM
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] on the origins of the (muttly [not in OED]) English language
> 
>> On Nov 18, 2015, at 11:19 AM, Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
>> 
>> Well, one more comment -- I like "This muttly vocabulary" ... particularly since (am I correct?) McWhorter has constructed an adverb.  To convey a sense of action?
>> 
>> 
>> Joel
> 
> Well, an adjective (cf. "friendly", "westerly", "motherly").  
> 
> As for the article, there's a bit of oversimplification--"English started out as, essentially, a kind of German" is no more valid than vice versa, or--if the thought is that German has changed less over the centuries than English has from the Proto-Germanic roots--we could say that English and German started out as, essentially, kinds of Icelandic.  Or maybe, since that's a more distant cousin, English started out as a kind of Dutch.  Hard to write such an article without cutting a few corners.  (Is do-support *really* attributable to the Celtic substratum, lying dormant for several centuries before someone pushed the switch to activate it in the early modern period?  Seems unlikely, but I'm no expert.)
> 
> LH
> 
>>       From: Bill Mullins <amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM>
>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
>> Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:19 AM
>> Subject: [ADS-L] on the origins of the English language
>> 
>> I don't know how much to trust this article, but it was fascinating:
>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__aeon.co_essays_why-2Dis-2Denglish-2Dso-2Dweirdly-2Ddifferent-2Dfrom-2Dother-2Dlanguages&d=AwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=7c4PXi2zhUAQc69tuep9c6RoY4CyW2_zJkRev1PcMKs&s=G8dhNgmQXeAJwcjlChJaIljedpcQ8vnBVV13bAuYVJQ&e= 
>> 
>>                         
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=7c4PXi2zhUAQc69tuep9c6RoY4CyW2_zJkRev1PcMKs&s=4OVRNrk1I-VP_eRGbNCDL-3Yw3t5joYpIwf4xBf7Rfg&e= 
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>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=7c4PXi2zhUAQc69tuep9c6RoY4CyW2_zJkRev1PcMKs&s=4OVRNrk1I-VP_eRGbNCDL-3Yw3t5joYpIwf4xBf7Rfg&e= 
> 
> 
>> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=ZiT_I4ZSJ3gri6GN-GR1Lg02sWR8ppoDmqZUecdk4iM&s=nzVwQYn2OVTHB0menhngjb7QqNEx9ICIZLQGKfHOKxI&e= 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=ZiT_I4ZSJ3gri6GN-GR1Lg02sWR8ppoDmqZUecdk4iM&s=nzVwQYn2OVTHB0menhngjb7QqNEx9ICIZLQGKfHOKxI&e= 

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