Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Tue Jun 6 16:16:48 UTC 2000

Although I agree with the thrust of your point, if someone in the next stall
to ask me if I had the paper, I would assume he wanted the newspaper and I
would hand him the sports section because I never read that part. If he had
a non-English accent, I might reply with, "Do you mean toilet paper?"

To me, asking, "Do you have any paper" requires "over there?" for it to be
understood as toilet paper.

Benjamin Barrett
gogaku at

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf Of
RonButters at AOL.COM


If I say to a stranger in the next public-toilet stall, "Do you have the
paper?" they will not think I mean 'the newspaper' or 'your term
though "the paper" would have to mean 'the newspaper' or 'your term paper'
other pragmatic situations, and even though the normal way of requesting the
desired information would be "Do you have any paper?" They may think I am a
foreigner, however. (Or that I believe that this particular public toilet
only one roll available to all.)

In a message dated 6/5/2000 11:20:07 PM, amy at W-STS.COM writes:

<< Haven t those chuckling ignoramuses ever heard of polysemy?  Even

>though åBerliner  is also used in northern Grmany to mean åjelly-filled

>doughnut,  when someone says åIch bin (ein) Berliner,  it means åI am a

>male person from Berlin  only. >>

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