Re: [OT] Re: the Ethnologue

From: Kevin Bracey (
Date: Thu Sep 21 2000 - 12:32:15 EDT

In message <>
          Doug Ewell <> wrote:

> Marion Gunn <> wrote:
> >
> > Mm. Maybe a more polite (more PC) turn of phrase might be found than
> > "could be considered co-dialects", which more than implies, it
> > postulates the existence of a standard language referent of which the
> > above "could" be considered dialects.
> Mmm. I hadn't thought of it that way. The impression I got from the
> prefix "co-" was one of equality among peers, as in "co-author" or
> "co-champion"; but now I recognize a separate, contrasting sense of
> "co-" to denote subsidiary status, as in "co-pilot." I suspect the
> Ethnologue staff intended the former (polite?) sense, but it could be
> intepreted either way as desired.
> What fun language is.

As far as I'm aware the co- prefix does mean an equal grouping. Examples that
spring to mind are co-worker, co-conspirator, co-exist, coincidence and
co-operative. I thought co-dialects was a cunningly concise way of saying
that they could all be considered dialects of each other.

I suspect co-pilot was intended as a polite way of NOT saying that the pilot
was secondary to the pilot. But because he clearly is, it looks like a
secondary implication of subsidarity has attached itself to the term, and so
now people start looking for a new term that doesn't imply subsidiarity.
Repeat this cycle until bored, or there are no words left :)

What fun PC is!

Kevin Bracey, Principal Software Engineer
Pace Micro Technology plc                     Tel: +44 (0) 1223 518566
645 Newmarket Road                            Fax: +44 (0) 1223 518526
Cambridge, CB5 8PB, United Kingdom            WWW:

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