Sunday 5 December 2021

Grandpa Greg's Advanced Grammar: BINOMIAL EXPRESSIONS, part #1

Editors' Note:  Before proceeding to these collections of short verses, reader might benefit from reviewing an earlier post entitled Edification about Word-Pairs: "The Binomials", A Linguistic Lesson

Hale and hearty 
Hug and kiss
Food and drink 
First and last
Sin and redemption
Down and out
Betwixt and between
Hem and haw,
plus many others that play a supporting role in the verses
(check the link below for a follow-up series)

Authors' Note A binomial pair, phrase, or expression, is a language element consisting of a pair of words that are used in a fixed order as an idiom. The two members of the pair are the same part of speech, are semantically related, often near-synonyms or antonyms, and are most commonly joined by and, or or; they often play a role as clichés. The term irreversible binomial was coined and extensively discussed by American philologist Yakov Malkiel in 1954. The most catchy of these phrases are alliterative, as hale and hearty, or rhyming, as in near and dear, or haste makes waste.

 Authors' Note: Binomial expressions combine two paired elements in a fixed order. Lists of these phrases show that when the two genders are in question, males almost always come first. This bias is shown in dozens of idioms such as boys and girlslords and ladiesmen and womenbrother and sisterkings and queensJack and Jill, etc.

The few notable exceptions highlight a gender-constrained role for women, including belles and beausbride and groom, and moms and dads.

Gender-bias in language is also discussed in another verse by the authors. Click HERE

Authors' Note: The forty-fifth US president and his advisors seem to have come up with a scare tactic, telling voters that waves of Central American refugees appearing on the southern US border were comprised of potential rapists and drug-dealers. The 'redemption' referred to here is entry into the safe refuge of the United States.   

For binomial expressions, such as sin and redemption, there is (in normal times) a mandatory, irreversible order of the two linguistic elements.

Authors' Note:   The concept of fossil words derives from the fact that dozens of obsolete and obscure words, e.g. betwixt, retain currency only as a part of idioms whose use has continued into modern times. The final line of the verse refers to beck and callgoods and chattels, and hither and yon.
 More examples of fossil words and phrases are given in the verse hem and haw.

Authors' Note:   The astute reader might realize that "whence, wherefore and whither" (like "snug as a bug in a rug") is a TRInomial phrase, a less common entity.  

For more verses about  "Binomial Expressions", please proceed to part #2 by clicking HERE

To resume daily titillations on our related blog 'Daily Illustrated Nonsense', click HERE. Once you arrive, you can select your time frame of interest from the calendar-based listings in the righthand margin, and check the daily offerings for any month in the years 2020 to the present. (As of September 2023, there are over 1200 unique entries available on the Daily blog, and most of these are also presented here on 'Edifying Nonsense' in topic-based collections.) The 'Daily' format has the advantage of including some videos and other material that are not shown here on this topic-based blog.

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