lexical query

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Sep 3 14:34:30 UTC 2007

On Sep 3, 2007, at 8:01 AM, Lynne Murphy wrote:

> Can't a spell be either a blessing or a curse?
> --On Sunday, September 2, 2007 9:07 am -0700 "Arnold M. Zwicky"
> <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
>> ... is there a language with a word referring to something that
>> is both a blessing and a curse?

oh dear.  let me try, one more time, to get at what my friend was
asking about.  this is a word, or other fixed expression, that picks
out just those things that have both the property of being
advantageous (that is, being a blessing) and also the property of
being disadvantageous (that is, being a curse).  once again, the
query is not about speech acts, but about situations or events.

so: winning a lot of money in a lottery is both a blessing (you have
more money) and a curse (people will besiege you for money).

but even if the question were about speech acts, i don't think that
spells would count, since a spell is not, in general, *both* a
blessing *and* a curse.


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