Instances of unmodified hair-day

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sun Feb 13 04:00:59 UTC 2000

In a message dated 2/12/2000 9:16:42 AM, preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU writes:

<< Ron,

It is very seldom that "words" or "collocations" (as you describe them)
come from "new" rules (or even "new" subcategorizations of items). If we
followed your suggestions to the hilt, there would be no search for the
origins of these "words" and "collocations," while this seems to be the
major interst of many on this list. Although I am not a participant in this
dating game, the search, it seems to me, is for the origins of such fully
licensed constructions, not for "linguistic novelty" in any strictly
grammatical sesnse.

dInIs >>

Well, maybe I didn't make myself clear, or maybe I don't know what I am
talking about. Let me try one more time.

New words come into the language all the time. Old words get new meanings.
New compounds get created (e.g., "hot dog"). All of these are fair game for

On the other hand, it is a general rule of English that two nouns can be
placed side by side, and there are ways that these can be (and cannot be)
interpreted. For example, "aardvark foreskin." It seems to me that it would
be pointless to try to determine when "aardvark foreskin" was first use in
English because--in a very real sense--it has been there as long as
"aardvark" and "foreskin" have been there. I would say the same about "hair
day." On the other hand, "bad hair" seems to have taken on for some people
something of the role of a compound. So, to ask "when did 'bad hair'" first
come into American English with its specialized meaning is NOT a meaningless

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