lexical query

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Sep 2 18:11:12 UTC 2007

At 1:10 PM -0400 9/2/07, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>Stretching the definition a bit, English "sanction" has always needed
>context to disambiguate.

Well, along those lines, there are all those past threads on both
ADS-L and especially Linguist List from several years ago on "words
that are their own opposites", "antilogies", "enantionymys", etc.
etc., with hundreds of examples.  But most aren't specific to
Janus-faced blessings/curses.  (The category of course includes those
underspecified wishes that sound like they could be the former but
are intended as the latter, e.g. the (real or apocryphal?) Chinese
one, "May you live in interesting times", or the ones Jerry mentions.)


>At 12:07 PM 9/2/2007, you wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>>Subject:      lexical query
>>an old friend came to me yesterday with a language question
>>(apparently, it was Ask-A-Linguist Day at the Palo Alto Farmers'
>>Market): is there a language with a word referring to something that
>>is both a blessing and a curse?
>>(obviously, "blessing" and "curse" will require some cultural
>>everybody seems to think that yiddish must be such a language, but no
>>one has yet come up with a relevant lexical item.
>>any nominations from the floor?
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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