Hey, remember that Rossica Young Translators Award I posted about a few months ago? Well, they’ve announced the winner, and I couldn’t be more pleased to proclaim here that the prize goes to Gregory Afinogenov, known around these parts as Slawkenbergius. He won by translating an extract of S.N.U.F.F by Victor Pelevin, who has got to be one of the most difficult modern writers to render into English; you can read his version (alongside the original) on pages 34-35 of this brochure (pdf). And he found out about the contest from my post, so I take special pride in his achievement.
The winner of the main translation prize was John Elsworth, for his translation of Bely’s Petersburg; from the excerpt in the brochure it looks like he did a fine job. Congratulations to both men!


  1. Thanks, Hat! I should say that the excerpt is only a part of my translation, although it does a great job of showing off Pelevin’s own facility with foreign languages. I could never have come up with “crack discoursemonger first grade.”

  2. Bathrobe says:

    The best thing is we now have a photo of the young fellow :)

  3. The original photo featured a samovar and an enormous set of wall-mounted antlers. I’m sad they cropped them out. Now I just look silly.

  4. congratulations!

  5. Congratulations! I hope that this task being out of the way, you start posting in your blog again! ;-)

  6. Congratulations!

  7. John Emerson says:

    And many happy returns.

  8. Anyone would look silly without their samovar and antlers.

  9. Trond Engen says:

    Du får aldri en mann med gevir!

  10. Anyone would look silly without their samovar and antlers.
    Quite right.
    Now, I have a terminological question that will be off-topic no matter which thread I insert it into, so I am just randomly introducing it here. I thought that among Hat’s Varied Readers someone might have an idea.
    The question is, what do you call the relationship between, for example, “sign” and “negative”. Or between “color” and “crimson”.
    It’s really my son’s question. He is familiar with the terms “hypernym” and “hyponym” (good for him — I had forgotten them), and is quick to point out that that is not what he means. I told him that there must have been a philosopher who, needing a term for this, introduced one.

  11. Noetica says:

    Congratulations, Slawkenbergius! Ah, to be young or a translator or to win such an award; but to be young and a translator and to win such an award … who needs antlers? (A samovar? That’s different. Keep that.) I’ll look through that PDF and perhaps comment.
    The question is, what do you call the relationship between, for example, “sign” and “negative”. Or between “color” and “crimson”.
    How about determinable and determinate? That’s what we use where I come from. Read Sanford at Stanford on this.

  12. Noetica, I’m not sure I understand the idea there, as the examples seem radically incoherent. The predicates is_Duke_Blue and is_Carolina_Blue are sub-predicates of is_blue; or put another way, the sets {x | is_Duke_Blue(x)} and {x | is_Carolina_Blue(x)} are subsets of {x | blue(x)}. (Please pretend that my _s are curved upward.)
    But this does not work for is_blue and is_red with respect to is_color. Whatever is red is not a color; rather red itself is a color. The relation here is between class and instance: is_red is an instance of the class is_color. So whatever determinable/determinate may be, it somehow must cut across the distinction of class/instance vs. superclass/subclass. Not being able to make sense of this, I proceeded no farther.
    In any case, I can find no proper greconyms for the verbal analogue of class/instance, corresponding to hypernym for superclass and hyponym for subclass, so I suggest the barbarisms generonym for color and sign, specionym for crimson and negative. Our Classical Greek scholars may wish to weigh in with better alternatives.

  13. Hello—Ø is my father, and it is my question that has derailed this comment thread.
    Unless I’m misunderstanding that Sanford at Stanford piece, the question it addresses is not quite the same as mine. It relates the adjectives “red” and “colored”, whereas I’m wondering about the nouns “red” and “color”. As John Cowan points out, something that is red is colored, while something that is red is not a color; red itself is a color. I’m looking for a word to describe pairs (x,y) of words that fit constructs like “The x of this object is y”: “The color of this ball is red”, “The sign of this number is positive”, “The parity of this integer is even”, etc. If the word I’m looking for does indeed exist, it would fill in the blank in this sort of sentence: “‘Sign’ is the _____ of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’.”
    Generonym (with specionym as its inverse) would certainly fill that role, though Google informs me that generonym is already in usage with a rather different meaning: a brand name that has become a generic term for the product produced by the company in question (as Kleenex, Xerox, Band-Aid, etc.).

  14. Noetica says:

    John Cowan, isn’t it a pleasure to see such young talent in the thread? There’s the connexion we were looking for!
    Now, let’s go back the original question:
    What do you call the relationship between, for example, “sign” and “negative”. Or between “color” and “crimson”.
    There are ambiguities here, already. But sign and negative can both be taken as nouns; so can color and crimson. So, steeling myself to adopt American spelling for the occasion, I could use them in sentences like these:
      S1. Negative is a sign. [Positive being taxonomically coordinate with negative.]
      S2. Crimson is a color. [Scarlet being taxonomically coordinate with crimson.]
    SOED, “crimson” “B n. 1 Crimson colour or pigment; a shade of this. LME.”
    At “negative n.” SOED gives 13 senses. Among them: “8 A negative quality or characteristic. M17.”; “9 Math. A negative quantity. E18.” Pretty near! And at “sign, n.“: “d Math. That aspect of a quantity which consists in being either positive or negative. E19.” And for “signless” (in the same entry): “…&nbsp(c) Math. of a quantity: having no sign of direction; having no distinction of positive or negative; L17.” Combined, these amply justify S1.
    If such nominal uses were not intended, then other examples might have been presented to show what was intended. Strictly, some call the relation in question here determination, because um, … the determinable gets determined as a determinate.
    All of that does something to answer comments from John and Filius Nullius (if I may; and I adjure all Australians present, in particular, to note that nullius is stressed on the second syllable).
    I now consider John’s comments in more detail.
    Note Sanford’s first sentence: “Everything red is colored, and all squares are polygons.” These are nouns or noun phrases:
      everything red
    But this is an adjective:
    Sanford starts by not caring much about the distinction. Soon he speaks also of “examples such as red and colored”. He might care more later (in analysing Johnson’s work; but really, such distinctions are not central to his concerns: “In discussion of Johnson, the term ‘property’ often replaces ‘adjective’ although it is not an exact equivalent”). Everything red picks out a class as effectively as colored does. In the context, colored entities would be understood.
    John writes:

    The relation here is between class and instance: is_red is an instance of the class is_color. So whatever determinable/determinate may be, it somehow must cut across the distinction of class/instance vs. superclass/subclass. Not being able to make sense of this, I proceeded no farther.

    Hmmm. There is more than one way to fit red and color into a determination schema. We can, as I have said, take both to be nouns naming properties directly. In that case, neither determines a class of colored things directly. Color is just a property considered abstractly (we might say); same for red. And there are relations between these two properties that make it reasonable to put them in the relation determinable–determinate (call that relation determination, abbreviate to DET). Everything that is a color (not that has a color, note) is also a determinate color: it is red, blue, or one of the others. And indeed, it is crimson or scarlet or cerulean or ultra~marine [~ because of a "questionable content" restriction!], or it is some equally definite color, though we may not be able to name it so easily. There is a hierarchy here: color DET red; red DET crimson, but also color DET crimson, yes? The transitivity of determination. There is a logic to elaborate here, and Sanford does a lot of that work.
    Here is a second way to understand the relations between color and red, touched on already: things have color, things have red (even if we might more naturally say “things have redness”; we could align these two by saying instead “things have coloredness”, and these are mere accidents of usage). Then we might articulate a different version of the determination relation: DET2, distinct from but closely connected with what we have detailed just now: color DET2 red will mean for us that all things that have red have color, and so on. So also: red DET2 crimson, but also color DET2 crimson. DET2 relations are isomorphic with DET relations; they just work with instantiation of the named properties, while DET does not.
    Sanford might have done better to start with plainer nouns that less equivocally pick out common tangible items in the world, like vertebrate, marsupial, and quoll. Then there would be less chance of the confusion we have just seen, and DET would be the most ready interpretation of determination. But DET2 would still available, because we could stipulate that marsupial is to be understood as naming not individuals in a ragged-arsed class of Austral fauna, but the property that they all share. So entities have marsupial[ness]? Right? And then: vertebrate DET2 marsupial, marsupial DET2 quoll, and of course vertebrate DET2 quoll. But DET would be more used in analysis: marsupial DET quoll because plainly whatever is a quoll is a marsupial.
    In practice, philosophers would typically not make the distinction between DET and DET2. Only when there is a sustained focus squarely on determination relations would they do so. In other areas, it is simply a very handy tool.
    Now, a lot of that addresses Nullius’s concerns also. I will wait for a response, to “determine” what more needs to be said. I’ll just point out (picking up on “generonym” and “specionym” from his and John’s comments) that not everyone thinks genus–species relations are closely identified with determination relations as I have presented them, despite my talk of taxonomies and my preference for biological taxa as examples for ease of exposition. And this, from Nullius:

    If the word I’m looking for does indeed exist, it would fill in the blank in this sort of sentence: “‘Sign’ is the _____ of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’.”

    I can assure him that most philosophers would be perfectly happy with determinable in that spot, no matter how they would manage the fine-grained analysis.

  15. nullius is stressed on the second syllable
    Why is that, Noe? And why Australians?
    {}, it looks like you already know about the Ding an sich, but I’ll just mention it anyway.

  16. Noetica says:

    Why is that, Noe?
    Because nullius has a long second last syllable. Really it’s nullīus. By the canons, it is therefore stressed on that syllable.
    And why Australians?
    Because they don’t know that, and the phrase terra nullius (“no one’s land”) is important in Australian legal history, and widely known as the supposed state of the land before European settlement, famously overturned in the late 20th century by the High Court in decisions that paved the way for legislated recognition of indigenous land rights. It is almost universally pronounced /ˈtɛrə ˈnʌlɪəs/, with support from SOED (at “res”: res nullius).

  17. Funny, I’ve always said /nəˈlajəs/ (nuh-LYE-us), but that’s doubtless because I studied Latin at an impressionable age and have had little contact with Australian lawyers (and by “little” I mean “no”).

  18. marie-lucie says:

    Ø,{} (like father, like son)
    what do you call the relationship between, for example, “sign” and “negative”. Or between “color” and “crimson”.
    I have been looking at some of my linguistic textbooks but can’t find an appropriate term in the “semantics” section. I agree that “hypernym” and “hyponym” are inaccurate for this type of relationship. For instance, you could say that bird is the hypernym for parrot, seagull, pigeon, etc, which would be its hyponyms: a pigeon is a bird, although not every bird is a pigeon. You could say “I saw a bird” or “I saw a pigeon” to refer to the same creature, in more or less detail. Similarly, “red” could be the hypernym for “crimson, scarlet, vermilion, carmine”, etc.
    I would be inclined to borrow terminology from morphology and to refer to “sign” or “colour” as semantic categories, and to “negative” or “red” as members or instances of those categories. Similarly, the morphological category of number may include “singular, plural, dual, trial, paucal”), that of gender may include “feminine, masculine, neuter” or “animate, inanimate”, or even more members (depending on the language). (In this context, the word class does not apply to the same things, but to types of words: nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc, to which morphological categories such as number, gender, tense, etc may apply).
    So to go back to “sign”, I would slightly alter “‘Sign’ is the _____ of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’.” to yield “‘Sign is the category which includes ‘positive’ and ‘negative’.”
    But perhaps a semanticist will come and set us right.

  19. I will engage in Geek Answer Syndrome by pointing out that although the Latin vowel length dictates the stress in both the classical and the traditional English pronunciation, it does not dictate the English vowel length. That is “short” when the Latin vowel is followed by a consonant cluster (other than muta cum liquida) and “long” when the Latin vowel is followed by another vowel or is final (so “null-EYE-us” it is). I will, however, limit my GAS and defer explaining the rules for a vowel followed by a single consonant to Wikipedia’s excellent writeup, which taught me that my “IK-see-un” of forty years’s standing is wrong, and that Ixion (he who *kwel- on a *kw(e)-kwl-o-) is “ik-SIGH-un”.

  20. marie-lucie says:

    How to pronounce Latin and especially Greek names in English is something I am very insecure about (fortunately, I rarely have to say them aloud). I would never have thought of null-EYE=us and ik-SIGH-un. I will have to study the Wikipedia link, thanks JC.

  21. That is indeed an excellent writeup—thanks!

    Exception: a consonant cluster of p, t, or c/k plus l or r is ambiguous. The preceding syllable may be considered either open or closed. For example, the name Chariclo (Chariklō) may be syllabified as either cha-rik-lō or cha-ri-klō, so both [...] /kəˈrɪkloʊ/ kə-RIK-loh and /ˈkærɪkloʊ/ KARR-i-kloh are accepted pronunciations in English.

    I thought I knew TEP pretty well (I’ve always said “ik-SIGH-un”), but that wrinkle had escaped me. Now, which to say when the topic of Chariclo comes up today at my grandson’s birthday party? I think I like kə-RIK-loh better—it sounds more classical somehow.

  22. a consonant cluster of p, t, or c/k plus l or r
    This is indeed the muta cum liquida (also sometimes known as mutus cum liquidus) exception I mentioned. Vulgar Latin pretty well ditched it, which is why Spanish has tineblas ‘darkness’ instead of *tiéneblas or something of the sort.
    Well, it’s Greek to me.
    grandson’s birthday party
    And may he have many happy returns!
    Female celebrity-stalker on a hot Cairo morning: “Imagine, Colonel Lawrence, ninety-two already!”
    El Auruns’s reply: “Indeed, madam? Many happy returns of the day!”

  23. Noetica, I think the relation I’m trying to describe is neither your DET nor your DET2. As I understand them, your proposed relations are as follows:
    A DET B := B is an A.
    A DET2 B := if x has B, then x has A.
    I’m not entirely confident about my definitions of your relations, actually. Would you define A DET B as “B is an A” or “if x is a B, then x is an A”? I thought you meant the former, but then you said that “marsupial DET quoll because plainly whatever is a quoll is a marsupial”, which seems predicated on the second definition.
    Either way, I’m looking for something more like this (which I can’t seem to phrase as rigorously as I’d like):
    A * B := there is an object X such that one may say “B is the A of X.”
    I haven’t fully explored this yet, but I think A * B implies both A DET B and A DET2 B. However, neither A DET B nor A DET2 B implies A * B. Consider one of the examples above: (A,B) = (vertebrate,marsupial). Certainly we have A DET B (quoll is a marsupial, or all quolls are marsupials, whichever definition you’d like) and A DET2 B (whatever has quoll[ness] must have marsupial[ness]), yet there is no object X for which it makes sense to say that quoll is the marsupial of X.
    I think I agree that DET and DET2 are isomorphic (with the isomorphism between them being the correspondence that identifies red as an attribute of an object with red as an abstract property), but my * relation is a stronger condition, one that implies but is not the same as determination.
    John: ¿Es tinieblas, no?

  24. Quite so, {}, and thanks for the backstop.

  25. { }, could we amend “there is an object X such that one may say ‘B is the A of X’” to “there is a class of objects X that ‘B is the A of X’”? I see no special reason for excluding the empty case.

  26. Correction: “Consider one of the examples above: (A,B) = (vertebrate,marsupial).”
    I meant (marsupial,quoll), as the rest of the paragraph no doubt made clear.

  27. Noetica says:

    I like your response. In particular I like this:

    … but then you said that “marsupial DET quoll because plainly whatever is a quoll is a marsupial”, which seems predicated on the second definition.

    Yes indeed! While such a dependency would not in fact be fatal, there are serious complexities in how my improvised DET and DET2 are connected that I glossed over. One can’t say everything; and already my post was long. But after I made it I regretted setting things up quite that way. In such a domain every term is to be deployed with caution. Huh! I wrote “determines a class” in discussing determin* terms that are used in other ways entirely. We cannot edit our comments once they are made here – which is usually a good thing, because we relearn the ancient art of considered composition. I invite you similarly to regret “predicated on the second definition”, since predication is a term of art in this discussion, where red[ness], color[edness], sign[edness], and quollity are to be predicated (of whatever are red, colored, signed, or quolls).
    In brief, there is this uncertainty about DET. It purports to relate items according to their properties but without a clear account of what it is to have a property. That is a shaky undertaking, in this context. The difficulty is compounded by our concern with such abstracta as color and sign. DET covertly appeals to some unnamed higher-order properties that color and sign have, in virtue of which red[ness] and negative[ness] respectively may be put into relation with them. Those are choppy waters; and I think nothing is gained, for our purposes, by venturing far into them. With DET as I distinguished it from DET2, red[ness] gets treated equally with concrete individual quolls, for example. Some would be happy enough to go that way; I’d rather not make that commitment.
    So let’s go back a little, and talk about method. You did not take up my point about uncertainties in what was asked. I should have stayed more with those myself, and insisted Socratically that the question be sorted out first. I observed about Sanford that he’d be better off starting with vertebrates, marsupials, and the like. Yes! Color is extraordinarily difficult to analyse, for linguistic semantics and for philosophy of all flavors. [I will stick with American spelling for -o[u]r, through gritted teeth.] And sign, as used in the question, is a headache unto itself. Faced with that, I usually advise dealing first with plainer cases – like vertebrates, marsupials, and quolls. Too many philosophers rush to explore the conundrums of time travel for humans, when they have never turned their mind to preliminaries. The conundrums met in considering time travel for rocks and methane molecules are far simpler, and provide essential background for cases with consciousness (Dennett help us all!). There are “philosophical heuristics”, like these from Robert Nozick’s The Nature of Rationality (which is worth buying for them alone, in their full form and with surrounding observations):
    1. When a conflict between intellectual positions has gone on for a long time without any resolution or large movement, look for an assumption or presupposition that is common to all the contending positions. …
    2. More often than not, I suspect, an underlying assumption is explicitly identified only after a radically new possibility is considered. …
    3. Pay special attention to explaining unexpected symmetries or unexpected asymmetries, ones that there is no special reason to think should hold or some reason to think should not hold. …
    4. Apply an operation or process that has been fruitful elsewhere to a new case that is similar in appropriate respects, making appropriate modifications for the differences between the cases. …
    5. Try models or analogies from other well-developed areas to structure the inchoate material you are dealing with. …
    6. Work backward from the goal and forward from the initial state to see if you can get this transcontinental railway to meet. …
    7. Reduce one hard problem to a set of easier problems, and use other heuristics to solve these. …
    8. Examine extreme cases, consider what will result if some parameters are set at zero or at infinite value, and then reconsider your intermediate case in the light of this extremal behavior.
    9. Investigate and list the general features that a correct answer to the problem must have. Look for something that has these features. If you find exactly one and cannot find any others, try to prove that this object uniquely satisfies the conditions and hence is the solution. If you cannot find any, try to prove that nothing can satisfy all those conditions; …
    10. With a new particular idea, formulate a little formal structure or model to embed this idea and then explore its properties and implications.
    11. Find a more abstract description of a process, notion, or phenomenon and investigate its properties to get a more general and powerful result; increase the abstractness of the description until the results become less powerful.
    12. In investigating a relation R (for instance, ‘explains’ or ‘justifies’), consider also the structure of the whole domain that is induced by R. What special problems are raised by this global structure, and what modifications in R would produce a different and better global structure?
    13. Transform known phenomenon [sic] to discover new ones. …
    14. If you try to force a decision or description in an unclear case by presenting a parallel case where the decision or description is clear, state the difference between the two cases that makes them differ in clarity and show why this difference does not also make it appropriate to decide the cases differently, even oppositely.
    15. There recently has emerged a new procedure for generating questions, sharpening puzzles, and stimulating detailed ideas: build a computer simulation of the phenomenon or process.
    16. It also would be useful to formulate some principles about the generation of fruitful thought experiments in science and in philosophy. …
    [Those without an ellipsis have been quoted in full.]
    Some of these are obvious and “common sense”. But it is almost because of this that they need to be made explicit! “Blindingly obvious” is an expression that might give us pause.
    So in the spirit of Nozick, I ask you to look for a simpler variant of the original question. Set aside the complexities attached to color and those attached to sign (less notoriously), along with their deeply and separately problematic connections with red and negative. Are there simpler cases that will get us to the relation you are after? We know it is some sort of superordinate–subordinate relation, right? Well, you might also show, with the simplest cases you can adduce, exactly why hyper[o]nym*–hyponym is not apt as you assert. Others have agreed with that, but no one has given a clear reason. You might also do the same for genus–species. For both of these relations, keep open the possibility that they do a better job than you had thought.
    * Some writers prefer hyperonym to hypernym, on two grounds: that hypernym sounds too much like hyponym, and that hyperonym is better formed, given that the relevant root element is onym (or onom, as in onomastics), not simply nym. SOED has 23 headwords ending with nym, but only one of these does not end with onym: hypernym itself. It seems that in all other cases the “o” of onym is swallowed by and confused with the final “o” of the preceding element: acro, auto, topo, and so on. I would add a further reason: hyperOnymy has a more happily placed stress than hyPERnymy.

  28. Father Ø: Of course—what a case to have forgotten!
    Three small things before I get to the substance of your post:
    I do indeed regret my artless usage.
    I love that list from Nozick.
    Hyperonymy does indeed have a more happily placed stress than hypernymy, but how is one to pronounce hyperonym?
    Now, I may be confused about the precise meaning of hyponymy, but my impression of it is captured quite nicely by your original DET relation. (Wikipedia seems to agree, albeit rather fuzzily, when it identifies hyponymy with the “is-a” relation.) I cannot tell from your most recent comment whether you would like us to leave DET and DET2 behind altogether, or merely to step away from their complexities. If I may still make use of them, then I think I have already answered one of your challenges: “[Y]ou might also show, with the simplest cases you can adduce, exactly why hyper[o]nym*–hyponym is not apt as you assert.” In my previous post, I gave a concrete example of a pair (A,B) for which A DET B but not A * B: (A,B) = (marsupial,quoll). I haven’t yet thought of such a pair for which A * B but not A DET B. In fact, I’m perfectly willing to accept that A * B implies A DET B—or, equivalently and more amusingly, that this word I’m looking for is a hyponym of hyponym. But isn’t the (marsupial,quoll) example enough to differentiate my * relation from hyponymy?
    I’m not familiar with a definition of genus outside of biology and mathematics, but I think I’m cobbling together something of a definition from Wikipedia and The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Is this reasonable?
    A GEN B (“A is a genus of B”) := a definition of B can be obtained by appending a further restrictive statement to a definition of A.
    I’ve arrived at this possibly wildly inaccurate guess at a definition mostly from Wikipedia’s examples: a rectangle is a quadrilateral whose interior angles are all right angles, and a square is a quadrilateral whose interior angles are all right angles and whose sides are of equal length, so square is a species of the genus rectangle, or rectangle GEN square.
    GEN is certainly not equivalent to *. Take (A,B) = (dog,puppy). It seems reasonable to say that A GEN B (perhaps the definition of puppy is that of dog along with “which is in the first X months of its life” or something similar) but we cannot say that puppy is the dog of some object, so we cannot say that A * B. Assuming my definition of GEN is a reasonable interpretation of the genus-species relationship (which it may well not be, but it’s what I’ve got to work with until someone corrects me), then GEN/”is-a-genus-of” is much broader than *, just as DET/”is-a” turned out to be.
    I hope I’m not getting too caught up in the particular “A is the B of X” syntax of my * definition. Perhaps this is a usefully concrete case: consider the isotope chlorine-35. Consider two pairs of qualities: first, (A) nonmetal and (B) halogen; second, (C) atomic number and (D) atomic number of 17. All these are true of chlorine-35 (and, incidentally, none identifies it uniquely, as other isotopes like chlorine-37 also have atomic number 17). In one sense, these pairs of qualities are similar: halogens are nonmetals, and things with atomic number 17 have atomic numbers (in other words, A DET B and C DET D). But C and D have an additional connection that A and B do not. Loosely stated, if C is the heading on a field on a questionnaire, D is the answer that fills the subsequent blank: “Atomic number: 17″. A and B do not seem to follow suit. If I were chlorine-35 and while filling out a questionnaire I encountered the field “Nonmetal: _____”, I would first be puzzled and then perhaps answer “Yes”, but the response “halogen” would not, I think, occur to me.
    I don’t think I’ve really accomplished the simplification you requested. Does any of this answer your comments, or have I missed the mark?

  29. Noetica says:

    I admit that I was thrown by a certain incoherence in the post to which I was responding. No shame in that small incoherence; we all strive with more or less success to avoid those, and the matter is indeed hard to express. You corrected the slip in the seconds before I posted my reply, with this text:

    Correction: “Consider one of the examples above: (A,B) = (vertebrate,marsupial).”
    I meant (marsupial,quoll), as the rest of the paragraph no doubt made clear.

    Alas, some doubt. As you can see, I just gave up on addressing the fine detail here, as earlier with both you and John. In different circumstances with a simpler message, the detail would be reparable (like DNA mutations that are not fatal); with the present more intricate message, all seemed lost and I did not attempt a painstaking restoration. I just called for a change of method. I stand by that call. And I think the original question was very misleadingly phrased, for which if blame is to be assigned let it go to an older generation than your own. This time!
    I think I now see what you’re getting at. The question as put by Pater Filii Nullius was this:

    What do you call the relationship between, for example, “sign” and “negative”. Or between “color” and “crimson”.

    My reworking:

    Taking each of the following terms as a noun, fruit is superordinate to apple, marsupial to quoll, color to red, and sign to negative. However, though we say “red is the color of this ribbon”, and “negative is the sign of this number”, we do not say “apple is the fruit of this object I have in my hand”, or “quoll is the marsupial of this critter”. So there is some special relation that holds between sign and negative, and between color and red, that does not hold between the others. What all four ordered pairs share is some sort of superordinate–subordinate relation (perhaps identified as hyper[o]nym–hyponym, perhaps as some other relation). But what do we call the more specific (or perhaps additional) relation that holds between sign and negative, and between color and red?

    Have I got it? If so, I think I can develop an answer to your question – though it will not be remarkable for its elegance.
    As for the pronunciation of hyperonym, stress on either first or second syllable is defensible. I prefer “HYPeronym”. Would you like me to defend it?
    John Cowan:
    Tarentum, and Taranto. Talk to those. Then ananda, if you will.

  30. I prefer “HYPeronym”. Would you like me to defend it?
    Er…yes, please.

  31. the original question was very misleadingly phrased, for which if blame is to be assigned let it go to an older generation than your own.
    Yes, my fault. Of course there is more than one relation, even more than one superordinate–subordinate relation, that holds for both sign-negative and colo(u)r-crimson, even when we eliminate irrelevant senses of the words.
    I can’t remember the exact words of {}’s original question to me, or whether it was he or I who first mentioned filling out a form or questionnaire. As rough-and-ready ways of distinguishing (my (tentative) understanding of) his notion from hyper(o)nym-hyponym I have been hanging on to two thoughts: (1) field in a questionnaire, and (2) the template Y is the X of something.
    I did suggest to him last night that using (2) as a test may lead one astray due to linguistic irrelevancies, parts of speech and so forth. I then questioned test (1) as well, inventing an example of a questionnaire that has a field marked marsupial in which one might enter quoll. (Maybe you are invited to an event, and you have to say what animals you are going to bring along.) He had a good answer to that. Then I went to bed, reminding him that he did say he had a lot of schoolwork to do this weekend and probably shouldn’t let this stuff take up all of his time.
    Here is an example of a well-known genus and a species I have never encountered before. Genus: parent suggesting that child should finish his schoolwork before he plays any more. Species: “There will be plenty of time to discuss philosophical niceties with Noetica after you graduate from high school next month.”
    I hope you guys get this cleared up. I’ll try to stay out of it, maybe.
    I’m happy to have at least learned the word “quoll”. At first I wondered whether it was a spelling of “koala”, but no, this marsupial is sort of like a cat. If you took it to a party with other animals, I’m afraid it might enter into a whole other kind of superordinate-subordinate relation by killing and eating something. Probably better to turn up at the party with a koala. Maybe I’ll jump in again when it’s time for a pun on quoll-qualia.

  32. I’ve been reading the title of this post as Rosacea Prize 2012, maybe a W.C. Fields memorial thing.

  33. Noetica: I’m terribly sorry that my stray marsupial derailed your train of thought—I’ll try to keep it off the tracks in future. I am very happy with your reworking, and would love to see your answer, however inelegant it may be. (And, like Crown, I think I would enjoy a defense of the first-syllable stress on hyperonym.)
    And, from Father Ø’s post:

    I then questioned test (1) as well, inventing an example of a questionnaire that has a field marked marsupial in which one might enter quoll. (Maybe you are invited to an event, and you have to say what animals you are going to bring along.) He had a good answer to that.

    The answer, in case it’s relevant to further discussion, was that on a questionnaire about animals brought to a contribution, the “marsupial” heading is really shorthand for a more descriptive heading, part of whose meaning is contained elsewhere (perhaps in the title of the questionnaire itself): “marsupial guest” or “marsupial contribution” or something of the sort, depending on the fate of the marsupial once at the event. If we make that additional content an explicit part of the heading, we’re much closer to something that fits my * framework: Quoll is the marsupial guest of this event-goer.

  34. marie-lucie says:

    I had never heard of a quoll either, and I just looked it up. It may be about the size of a cat, and it has fur, but that’s about it for the resemblance: the head looks more like a rat’s, I think (not a lot like a rat’s though). Anyway, thanks Noetica for introducing us to this interesting animal.

  35. Noetica: I can’t work out the exact story of Taréntum/Táranto (throughout I use the acute to mark stress, not length), because I don’t know the relative sequence of two events: the change of name of the Greek city from classical Τάρας to Τάραντας, the name it bears in Greek today, and the adoption of (some form of) Latin by the inhabitants. The Latin Taréntum is the expected outcome of borrowing a Greek word into Latin: the Greek accent (perhaps pitch rather than stress at the time) is ignored, and the ending is re-formed according to Latin notions, as in Αλέξανδρος > Alexánder. So Italian Táranto owes its stress to the Greek pronunciation, the rest of its form to the Latin. Both the Latin and the Italian forms passed into English, applied respectively to the ancient and modern cities.

  36. But do any English speakers (unfamiliar with Italian) say Táranto? I never know how to say it out loud in English, because that stress sounds so odd in an English context. And yet if you say Taránto it sounds like Toronto. So I talk about Naples instead.

  37. reminding him that he did say he had a lot of schoolwork
    I hope that this mild parental remark has not been taken as a hint that anyone should drop the subject.

  38. Noetica says:

    Who me? Sorry, I’ve been distracted. The matter raised by young {} is engaging, and exposes some uncertainties in the standard philosophical lexicon. I’ll get back to it. But seriously, he really ought to set it aside for the next week or so. (And the Tarantic responses, and all that. In due course.)

  39. Yeah you.
    I am totally accustomed to the odd rhythms of internet conversation. People have work to do, it is night in Australia when it is day here, some marsupials are nocturnal, etc.
    I just wanted to be sure I had not made trouble.

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