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

Nigel Vincent nigel.vincent at manchester.ac.uk
Mon May 2 16:57:00 UTC 2022

Dear David,
I'm glad you raised this. Exactly the same concern had occurred to me.

Professor Nigel Vincent, FBA MAE
Professor Emeritus of General & Romance Linguistics
The University of Manchester

Linguistics & English Language
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
The University of Manchester

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de>
Sent: 02 May 2022 6:44 PM
To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Non-compositional words for “rock-paper-scissors"

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). 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<mailto: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,


This message (including any attachments) contains confidential information intended for a specific individual and purpose. If you are not the intended recipient, you should delete this message and notify the sender and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (the University) immediately. Any disclosure, copying, or distribution of this message, or the taking of any action based on it, is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful.

The University specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through University E-mail Facilities. Any views and opinions expressed are only those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the University and the University accepts no liability whatsoever for any losses or damages incurred or caused to any party as a result of the use of such information.

Lingtyp mailing list
Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org<mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>

Lingtyp mailing list
Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org<mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>

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

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20220502/9e59ec42/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list