Postal quote/directionality

Geoff Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Fri Nov 22 16:49:36 UTC 2002

At 11:13 AM 11/22/2002 +0100, Martin Haspelmath wrote:
>This overwhelming directionality
>has not been sufficiently emphasized by historical linguists, I feel,
>and its true extent can only be seen from a broad cross-linguistic
>perspective (which Labov doesn't have, which may explain his skepticism
>of functional explanations).
>I am not aware of a similar directionality in fashion changes

While Dan is correct to point out the distinction between actuation and
spread, we can note that a similar directionality in clothing fashion would
lead to cycles of nudity followed by reimposition of elaborate,
totally-covering clothing.  Life might be more interesting that way, but
clothes don't seem to follow the p > f > h > 0, or N > P > Case ending >
schwa > 0 cycles.


Geoffrey S. Nathan <geoffnathan at>
Computing and Information Technology/Linguistics Program

Department of English
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI, 48202

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