Ronald Butters ronbutters at AOL.COM
Fri Dec 3 02:05:53 UTC 2010

I don't see that Arnold and I are saying anything very different. OF COURSE I, too, was talking about conceptual distinctions, not mere names. My questioning was in large part based  on his labeling of "groin" as seemingly "learned" to some and "not learned" to others. To my mind, he is suggesting something about the nature of how the conceptual systems work when he uses a NAME such as "learned."

If we disagree about anything at all, it is about the nature of those conceptual distinctions, and what I am saying is that they are obviously not etymologically based, and probably not even learned-versus-nonlearned. People are more likely to think, "this is the technical term, that is the ordinary term," but this also intersects with polite-versus-impolite, ordinary-versus-vulgar, etc. "tit" is not merely "ordinary," it is somewhat vulgar; "breast" is not exactly "ordinary," and it is not vulgar, but it is not "technical"--that would be covered by "mammary." "Groin" is not exactly "ordinary," and it is not "vulgar," but it seems a little more technical than "crotch" and there is no well-known technical term, so "groinal" sounds OK to a lot of people, and not so OK to some (maybe they are just effete eletes who know the etymologies). But "cuntal" does not work except humorously because everybody knows that is not only not technical, it is vulgar and offensive to many and of!
 ten used in a derogatory way.
On Dec 2, 2010, at 7:19 PM, Arnold Zwicky wrote:

> On Dec 2, 2010, at 3:52 PM, Ronald Butters wrote:
>> I don't suppose that the ordinary user of American English gives a fecality about Anglo-Saxon versus Greco-Latin,.
> this misses the point entirely.  it's not about what NAMES people might have for the distinctions, but about the conceptual distinctions.  (in order to talk about these things, i have to use labels, but there's no claim here that ordinary people have any labels at all, only that they make a conceptual distinction.)
> so let's put it this way: there are (at least) two strata of lexical items in English,

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