Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wordforms and Hunting Accidents

As a continuing source of humor, the Cheney hunting accident continues unabated. A conversation from yesterday follows (well, the memoir version, not the autobiography version).

The Scene: Field Methods class where we are working with a speaker of a Micronesian language to document the sounds and grammar of her dialect. The general process to start is that you collect a lot of very common words that almost every culture has and then use them to investigate how the language works. So some of the words we had collected include spouse and beautiful.

Syntax Group: How would you say "his wife is beautiful?"

Speaker: There is only one word in our language for husband and wife. Only spouse.

Syntax Group: So, imagine I am talking to Paca here, and I say, "Paca, your spouse is beautiful."

Paca: "What are you trying to say here?"

Class giggle.

Paca: "Maybe you should wait until after Valentine's Day to ask my wife out."

Sounds Group: "Uh-oh, Paca's gonna go all Cheney on your ass."

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