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CHAT slavering drivel (was: NATLANG: Chinese parts of speech (or lack thereof))

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, August 16, 2004, 18:03
On Sunday, August 15, 2004, at 07:08 , Adam Walker wrote:

> --- Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...> wrote: >> But never mind. As the Chinese mystics probably >> never >> said (but could have said), "La bave du crapaud >> n'atteint pas la blanche colombe." (1) >> >> (1) Toad's slaver doesn't reach the snow-white dove. >> > > So that's why we don't understand you. You just can't > spit far enough to reach us on our branches.
So that's what the saying means - obviously some allusion to the high ideas & high language of those fogs. I've been trying to figure it out. [snip]
> English speakers (at least ones on this side of the > pond) almost never use "slaver".
Not common in Right-Pondia either. I've come across it used as a verb, always of animals like horses or dogs, never of humans.
> Over here it's > slabber, which is the stuff that runs down one's face > and drips off one's chin when one is not careful to > swallow often enough (or has just had work done at the > dentist and is still waiting for the lidocane to wear > off).
Yep - otherwise known as 'slobber' or 'dribble' over here.
> The stuff which is expelled at high velocity > and might be used in an attempt to hit a bird in the > branches of a tree (but is more likely to end up > falling back into one's own eye) is called spit.
Spot on! ================================================================ On Sunday, August 15, 2004, at 11:49 , John Cowan wrote:
> > Joe scripsit: > >> In the UK, at least, that's 'slobber' or 'dribble'. I think you may >> have the latter. But yeah, when expelled, it's spit. And Saliva can be >> used for all of them, if you want to sound pretentious. > > I suspect Adam's "slabber" (which I've never seen) is a typo for > "slobber" (/A/ and /O/ are probably are merged in his dialect).
Nope. Chamber's English Dictionary gives _both_ 'slabber' _and_ 'slobber' as separate entries. The dictionary also defines 'dribble' as "to fall in small drops; to slaver as a child or an idiot". We can, and do, talk of rain as 'dribbling' if its in small drops like drizzle or Scots mist. According to my dictionary 'drivel' also means "slaver like a child", but is usually used metaphorically nowadays to mean "to speak like an idiot" or, as a noun, "nonsense". Thinks: "toad's drivel" ?
> I have all of the terms above plus "drool". All except "saliva" are > both nouns and verbs.
Well, 'saliva' ain't really English, it's Latin. True, all the _English_ words are both nouns & verbs - further proof, of course, that English doesn't have parts of speech, but is a 'concept language' ;) Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760


Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>