Postal quote/directionality

Steve Long Salinas17 at AOL.COM
Fri Nov 22 17:58:12 UTC 2002

In a message dated 11/22/02 12:04:14 PM, geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU writes:
<< 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. >>

But there is functionality in clothing.  In fact, it is hard to see how
humans could have migrated to northern climes without an extreme appreciation
of not only the utility of clothing but the functional consequences of being
naked in a snowstorm.  Going back to Malinowski, the functionality of a war
helmet preceded its ceremonial meaning.  Boat shoes, ties, buttons and bows
pass back and forth between functional and "structural".  Push-up bras have
multitude of eternal functions, though the social acceptibility of the
consequences may ebb and flow.

As far as p > f (I just noticed my dyslexia kicked in my last post -- sorry
about that), I have a video tape of a six year old Jordan R. losing patience
with the off-camera questioner as he names his favorite movie.  Frustrated
that the adult doesn't recognize the name, Jordan articulates it emphatically
-- "Fedator!".  The movie he is referring to "Predator".  Jordan has since
"corrected" his fricatives, so that his relatives can joke about "Fedetor!"
whenever a promotion for the Arnold film is on tv.  But at least in this tiny
micocosm, one can observe f > p.  And of course -- in the majority of
IndoEuropean languages, outside of Germanic and Armenian, where p > p -- the
temptation to adopt the "directionality" of p > f has never taken hold.  And
perhaps the basic reason is the need to be understood (Fedator!).  One might
conclude that there are different functions dictating what direction change
goes in, not that any changes are without direction.

Steve Long

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