ELL: RE: VGolla's remarks on 'Reburial of 500 Huron'...

David Harris dharris at LAS-INC.COM
Thu Dec 9 17:40:44 UTC 1999

Victor Golla did some interesting research here. I would like to suggest,
however, that in book titles, it's a little more difficult to know if the
generic singular is being used (as in the previously mentioned _The American
Jew in Sports_). Golla cited the following title:

   "Invisible People"--Genocide of the Traditional Navajo

In that particular example, the plural can perhaps be assumed because there
is a plural reference earlier on in the title. Then again, maybe not. In any
case, care should be taken to check the other titles with no -s ending to
ensure that they are verifiable plurals. It may seem like a minor point, but
it's not.

Dave Harris

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-endangered-languages-l at carmen.murdoch.edu.au
[mailto:owner-endangered-languages-l at carmen.murdoch.edu.au]On Behalf Of
Victor Golla
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 1999 4:14 AM


It was dumb of me not to have thought of some of the non-American
Indian occurrences of zero-plural ethnonyms that Tony Woodbury
and others have cited in rebuttal of my claim that this is an
American phenomenon.  I also think Tony is pretty much on target
with his hypothesis that the category marked by zero-plural
ethnonyms is "tribal" and "exotic".

There is also, clearly, something phonologically exotic about
most of the non-pluralizing tribal names, especially when they
have vowel finals.  That  (or the echo of Latin -i) seems to
be the best explanation for the contrast "Lapps" (always s-plural)
vs. "Saami" (mostly zero-plural).  (In a quick search of the UC
Library catalogue, I found 18 books with "the Lapps" in their
titles;  zero with *"the Lapp"; five with "the Saami";  and two
with "the Saamis".)

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