De Amerikaanse schrijver, journalist, musicus en acteur Roy Alton Blount Jr. werd geboren op 4 oktober 1941 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Zie ook alle tags voor Roy Alton Blount Jr. op dit blogen ook mijn blog van 4 oktober 2010.
Uit: Alphabet Juice
« And the scholar has a point. I’m not here to play tricks (see abracadabra), but to find traction. I am saying arbitrary, schmabitrary. Linguisticians will concede me onomatopoeia: snap, crackle, pop, and so on. But they marginalize these words by throwing up the inconstancy of pig sounds, and then they get on with their theories. Steven Pinker does allow that some people might channel their magical thinking into “sound symbolism (words such as sneer, cantankerous, and mellifluous that naturally call to mind the things they mean).”
As it happens, scrutiny of the term symbolic in that sense has led me to find a discrepancy in the greatest lexicographical work in English, the Oxford English Dictionary, but I won’t dwell on that (see wh-). I will say that theorizing stands and falls on its examples. Here is Pinker: Sound symbolism, for its part, was no friend of the American woman in the throes of labor who overheard what struck her as the most beautiful word in the English language and named her newborn daughter Meconium, the medical word for fetal excrement.
This has the ring of an urban legend, a tendentious one, like Ronald Reagan’s mink-coated woman stepping from a limousine to claim her welfare check. If there was a woman who gave her baby girl such a name, she had a highly idiosyncratic ear. (Of the thousand most common female names according to the 1990 census, Miriam was the only one ending in m, and it was 285th.) Salmonella, maybe, or Campho-Phenique, but Meconium? No. This mother—I will stop short of saying that linguisticians conjured her up, consciously or unconsciously, to reinforce their denial of so much evidence of the senses, but I will say that this mother is not, in this respect, a good example.“
Roy Alton Blount Jr. (Indianapolis, 4 oktober 1941)
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