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

Daniel Ross djross3 at gmail.com
Mon May 2 17:40:18 UTC 2022

Haha, yes, that's a great example, David, thanks for reminding me of that

Yes, I wonder also about the (possible) meanings of the components in the
other languages. It is interesting, though, that the terms in English have,
at least as far as I am aware, no other meaning at all. (It's interesting
that in Thai the third is "choop", and, not knowing Thai, I'm going to
guess that one might be scissors, assuming individual components can be
identified. I wonder if it's a general ideophone, in which case then it
would also arguably be compositional to some degree.)

On Mon, May 2, 2022 at 10:34 AM David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de> wrote:

> Daniel,
> There actually are plenty of variants of the game (my favourite can be
> viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PUEoDYpUyQ).  But not
> knowing enough German or Thai to understand the original examples in Ian's
> query, I was (and remain) puzzled over what exactly he is looking for, as
> none of this seems to have any connection with compositionality.  My
> current best guess is that what he is after is variants of the game in
> which the hand-shapes are referred to by dedicated terms as opposed to
> terms with other meanings (such as 'rock, 'paper', etc.)  Perhaps
> 'dedicated' vs.'metonymical' might capture the distinction more
> appropriately.
> David
> On 02/05/2022 20:07, Daniel Ross wrote:
> There might be a better term, but clearly "rock-paper-scissors" is more
> literal than "ro-sham-bo". The meaning is somewhat idiomatic regardless (I
> think what you're asking about, David), but children sometimes make up
> variants with additional or different hand shapes, and so this can be
> somewhat productive and compositional (within the idiomatic context as a
> name for a game). If you asked a child to play a variant called
> "rock-paper-scissors-spaceship" they'd only ask you what the hand shape is
> for spaceship and how it interacts with the other shapes (of course these
> casual variants can make the game hopelessly unbalanced, if for example
> spaceships destroys everything else!), but that seems like compositionality
> to me (again, within the context of a name of the game, listing the shapes).
> On Mon, May 2, 2022 at 9:58 AM Nigel Vincent <
> nigel.vincent at manchester.ac.uk> wrote:
>> Dear David,
>> I'm glad you raised this. Exactly the same concern had occurred to me.
>> Best
>> Nigel
>> 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
>> https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/en/researchers/nigel-vincent(f973a991-8ece-453e-abc5-3ca198c869dc).html
>> ------------------------------
>> *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?)
>> David
>> 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>
>> 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
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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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