delocutives [was Graha epithets (tArA,tArakA and tAraka)]

jonathan silk silk at WMICH.EDU
Fri Dec 12 16:23:01 UTC 1997

Perhaps it is my ignorance of linguistics which leads me to say this, but I
still do not think that there exist verbs "to honey" or "sonny-boy". (I
believe Clare Martin is correct that these words should be placed in
quotation marks.) For me, perhaps, the test is whether -ing "gerunds" are
possible. I do not think one can say "*honeying" as a verb (of course, as
an adj. it is common), or "*sonny-boying". Likewise *yesing is an
impossibility. On the other hand, what about "okay"?  I suppose that one
could argue that this is actually a denominitive, but an argument that it
is delocutive seems plausible to me -- and of course, "okaying" and other
verbal forms are in common use.

Back to "to hail" for a moment; if I have understood the OED correctly,
while it does seem that the verbal form derives from the vocative usage, in
English in any case it seems to be borrowed -- as a verb -- from Old Norse;
see OED s.v. hailse.  Perhaps Lars or someone with knowledge of
Scandanavian linguistics can shed some light on this.

Jonathan Silk
Department of Comparative Religion
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5013
tel. 616-387-4399
fax 616-387-4914
silk at

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