[Lingtyp] Non-compositional words for “rock-paper-scissors"

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Mon May 2 16:44:05 UTC 2022

Dear all,

I am puzzled by the ongoing use of the term "compositionality" in this 
thread.  Compositionality is when two (or more) meaningful expressions 
are brought together, and the meaning of the resulting construction is 
derived from the meanings of the constituent parts.  I don't see how 
this applies here (or am I missing something?)


On 02/05/2022 19:34, Tim Bodt wrote:
> Hi Ian,
> While in standard Dutch, Flemish and Frisian this game is commonly 
> known by its compositional names (cf. 
> https://taalverhalen.be/minionderzoekje/een-open-hand-een-vuist-en-twee-vingers/), 
> there was a similar game played in the Dutch East Indies that was 
> called by the non-compositional name /soeten/ ('to/soet/', see the 
> first page on 
> http://www.indischhistorisch.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Anthonio_kinderspelletjes.pdf). 
> This name is derived from its Indonesian name /suwit - suit /or /sut 
> /(https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suit, see also, for example, 
> https://www.kompasiana.com/widikurniawan/60f979c17aa97822be2a9732/cara-suit-yang-perlahan-punah-semut-gajah-manusia, 
> also /gamsit/, 
> https://warisanbudaya.kemdikbud.go.id/?newdetail&detailCatat=7180 
> <https://warisanbudaya.kemdikbud.go.id/?newdetail&detailCatat=7180>)/./ It 
> is known as /pingsut /in Javanese 
> (https://jv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pingsut) and /suten /in Sundanese 
> (https://su.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suten). Instead of rock, paper (or 
> leaf) and scissors and the whole hand (this game is literally 
> translated as /batu, gunting, kertas/ or /suwit jepang/ 'Japanese 
> /suwit/', https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batu_gunting_kertas), the game 
> uses elephant, man and ant and three fingers.
> In using animals, I guess it is similar to the Japanese game of 
> /mushi-ken/ (虫拳), which originated in China 
> (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sansukumi-ken).
> Best, Tim.
> On Mon, 2 May 2022 at 16:30, JOO, Ian [Student] 
> <ian.joo at connect.polyu.hk> wrote:
>     Dear all,
>     I’m making a list of non-compositional words for the
>     rock-paper-scissors game or similar games.
>     In other words, I’m looking for words for “rock-paper-scissors”
>     that do not consist of words for “rock”, “paper”, and “scissors”,
>     or any other meanings, such as German Schnick Schanck Schnuck,
>     Thai bpao ying choop, etc.
>     I would much appreciate it if you could share with me any words
>     for this game or its kind that do not consist of meaningful words.
>     From Korea,
>     Ian
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David Gil

Senior Scientist (Associate)
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig, 04103, Germany

Email:gil at shh.mpg.de
Mobile Phone (Israel): +972-526117713
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81344082091
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