General Extender.

I found Dmitri Sitchinava’s FaceBook post (in Russian) interesting enough I thought I’d translate it here:

Many, many years ago, the Russian Language Corpus compiled a list of “turns of phrase” (units of more than one word that, at the whim of Russian spelling, are written with a space). Useful stuff. It was based on Rogozhnikova’s dictionary (2003) The Explanatory Dictionary of Word-Equivalent Combinations and on the corpus’s frequency collocations.

Well, in this list the combination “и так далее” [‘and so on’] (48700 occurrences, counting [the abbreviations] “и т. д.” and, especially for Victor Sonkin, “итд”) does NOT exist, but there is a hyperfrequency [?] combination “в супряге с” [‘in a yoke with,’ i.e. ‘together’] (2 occurrences, both in [Sholokhov’s] Quiet Don).

This is not a criticism or mockery of the corpus — it is an objective typological and theoretical “hole” in the description of language (not merely Russian, but language in general), and it is clear why it happened. The point is that these “turns” are classified according to the syntactic function they perform — conjunction, adverb, parenthetical word, or particle, whatever that means. And “и так далее” [‘and so on’] is a continuation of any homogeneous list, it doesn’t care about part of speech. It’s a cross-category… cross-category what? Rogozhnikova’s dictionary has “и так далее” [‘and so on’], of course, but where there should be a particle marking, it says in italics “at the end of an enumeration.” Thanks, cap.

Of course, this problem has nothing to do with how many words it takes to write an expression with the meaning of “and so on.” You don’t have to go far from Russian — in Ukrainian, it’s one word, тощо. I started thinking about this when I encountered the Chinese Penn Treebank part-of-speech tagset, where for the corresponding character (which can be doubled) there is the special notation ETC.

A kind colleague tells me this is described as a general extender (Overstreet, Whales, Candlelight, and Stuff Like That: General Extenders in English Discourse. If the morpheme is arranged in this way (this includes, as I understand it, the legendary китаб-митаб [redoubling of китаб ‘book’], consequences shmonsequences, маслице да фуяслице, etc.), it is a similative plural.

WALS has such constructions under The Associative Plural: “By virtue of its referential heterogeneity, the associative plural construction is related to other non-homogeneous plurals, such as what might be called the similative plural (e.g. Telugu (Dravidian; India) puligili ‘tigers and such’ (Colin Masica, p.c.)), which differs from the associative plural in that it denotes a class of objects sharing similar features rather than a group of closely related associates.”


  1. The Trinidadian English of V.S. Naipaul has something like a similative plural, but not quite:

    1. “You too stupid. Priests and them have children?”
    2. “Hear them women and them!”
    3. “But what about the other taxi-drivers and them?”
    4. “Where you learn all these big words and them?”
    5. “This fort was built when the French and them was plannning to invade Trinidad.”
    6. “I don’t think Governor and them is really educated people.”

    In all but the last of these usages, “and them” is added after a plural noun, which already refers to a specific group of people, without any intention to generalize. I’m not sure what this form is doing.

  2. Nice to see one of my first Engish words (shmoconsequences…).

  3. I have no wisdom of Kozma Prutkov to share on the subject, but Švejk has something to say about it.

    V krev Páně se tenkrát proměňoval vinný střik a kázání bylo delší, přičemž každé třetí slovo bylo a tak dále a zajisté.
    “Vy dnes, vojáci, budete odjíždět na frontu a tak dále. Vy obracejte se nyní k bohu a tak dále, zajisté. Nevíte, co se s vámi stane, a tak dále a zajisté.”
    A dál hřmělo od oltáře a tak dále a zajisté, střídajíc se s bohem a všemi svatými.
    V zápalu a v řečnickém rozmachu vydával polní kurát i prince Evžena Savojského za světce, který je bude chránit, až budou dělat mosty přes řeky.

    This time, he turned wine with soda into the blood of the Lord, and the sermon lasted longer, while every third word was “and so on” and “for sure”.
    “Soldiers, today you will go to the front and so on. Turn yourself to God now and so on, for sure. You don’t know what will happen to you, and so on, for sure.”
    And it thundered from the altar, and so on, and for sure, mixed with God and all the saints.
    In the rhetorical heat, the field curate also made Prince Eugene of Savoy a saint who would protect them when they build bridges over the rivers.

  4. David Eddyshaw says

    Associative plural

    I’m used to calling this the cum suis plural. I don’t think the WALS discussion is correct in denying this to mainstream English: it’s certainly part of my idiolect (mainstream by definition, of course.)

    Kusaal does this with personal names: Awin “Awini”, Awinnam, either “several people called Awini” or “Awini and his people/family/friends/whatever.”

    [I’ve kept to the traditional word division conventions here, but the nam part is actually a bound word rather than a suffix. It also forms ordinary plurals for other words and phrases which for whatever reason can’t pluralise by ordinary morphological means, so Kusaal would get a Blue Dot on the WALS map. This seems to be pretty standard for West Africa.]

    The blue dots don’t distinguish between cases where the “associative” sense is found only with one kind of plural, which is also seen with an ordinary plural sense in some cases (as in Kusaal), and those where the associative meaning can potentially occur with more or less any sort of morphological plural formation (not possible in Kusaal.) Consequently, I don’t think that there really is a neat real division between the blue-dot type and the red-dot type; come to that, “bound morpheme” is not the same as “affix”, so I suspect the red/orange distinction is a bit questionable too.

  5. I think we have a lot of ways to say the likes of that in English. “… and the like”, “… and such”, “… and stuff”, “… and all that”. V.S. Naipaul’s examples are a little non-standard, but not by much. I wouldn’t find it strange if someone said those sentences or their ilk to me, and I’m not in Trinidad.

    There was even a major retailer, Linens ‘n Things.

  6. I’ve definitely heard “and them,” but I can’t remember from whom. (Almost certainly in NYC, though.)

  7. You don’t have to go far from Russian — in Ukrainian, it’s one word, тощо.

    I do not understand this word. I use etc. in English, particularly in a lazy mode (when I am too lazy to even speak my broken idiolect well). It happens to learners and this mode is similar to texting. In this mode this etc. is as much a word as “…”*. A meta-mark, unrelated to syntax and prosody.
    When I write or speak normally it normally I am not very tempted to use it.

    In Russian и так далее and in English “and so on” I clearly feel the presence of “and”. X, Y and-и-و -et so on. X, Y, so on (with a comma).

    This тощо is perplexing for me: what is it pragmatically, prosodically, etymologically?

    * Is “…” a word?

  8. Don’t forget, “… and shit.”

  9. David Marjanović says

    wine with soda

    That’s a thing in eastern Austria: G’spritzter.

    In the rhetorical heat, the field curate also made Prince Eugene of Savoy a saint who would protect them when they build bridges over the rivers.

    As explained here.

    Associative plural

    I’m reminded of the “elliptical dual” in Ancient Greek and Vedic Sanskrit: “Heaven” > “Heaven and Earth”, “Castor” > “Castor and Pollux”, “Mitra” > “Mitra and his sidekick Varuna”, “Ajax” > “Ajax and his sidekick whose name I’ve forgotten”…

    (That, BTW, has given rise that the identical endings of the dual number and the instrumental case in PIE are not a coincidence, but are separate developments from an original comitative meaning. It is or was on somewhere, but Google can’t find it.)

  10. David Marjanović says

    You’re gonna die, gonna die, gonna die for your gover’ment,
    die for your country and shit!

  11. Per the Onion: Linens-N-Shit

  12. This тощо is perplexing for me: what is it pragmatically, prosodically, etymologically

    Pragmatically, you end an unfinished list with it, just like etc., and so on, toscho. I am not sure it is used outside of the formal register.

    Prosodically, stress on the first syllable, never emphasized, falling intonation.

    Etymologically, I don’t know. Sounds like то-що/ that-which, which makes no sense. Maybe from то-ще/that-yet. то [ли] ещё (будет).

  13. @David L: I have no memory of reading that Onion article before, but I almost certainly had, since the mention of Linens ‘N Things in this context immediately brought the phrase “Linen’s ‘N Shit” to mind instead.

    Interestingly, the company Web site listed in the story actually points back to the Onion article itself, so if anybody fooling around spontaneously enters the URL, they will get sent to the humor piece. This reminds me of a bumper sticker my friends and I saw as a kid: “Don’t like my driving? Call 1-800-EAT-SHIT” Feeling rather bored, we tried the number, and it turns out that 1-800-328-7448 was indeed a number that billed itself as 1-800-EAT-SHIT. It’s just an advertisement for a different (pay-to-call) “party” line, but when it picks up, the message starts out: “You’ve called 1-800-EAT-SHIT, where the party’s just begun!” My friend who actually tried calling it the first time was so shocked, he slammed down the receiver immediately.

  14. Etymologically, I don’t know.

    Russian in the same place and with the same meaning uses (or used to use) the word “tozh”.

    proshu ne pol’zovat’sya ruchkami avtomaticheskimi, ruchkami sharikovymi i karandashami tozh

    cf. first use by Shevchenko.

    Я сам бачу, — сказал он, — що мы свои, та не знаю, як до вас приступыты, бо вы все то з офицерами, то з ляхами тощо.

    Maybe Ukrainian invented “tosho” in order to distinguish this usage from Ukrainian “tozh” which has many other meanings.

  15. In my mind тоже (one of the most difficult words for Russian classical-style learners – that is, those who do exercises – because [new topic] тоже [same focus]: they, likely, learn it in terms of subjects-predicates, but as anything can be the topic. anything can become an “exception”) neatly matches elements of “the same”.

    то the, же same

    I went to the movies, Vasya же stayed at home (“while Vasya…,” “as for Vasya, he…” – in this example же is contrastive.).

    I wrote the screenplay. I filmed it. I же was doing и the editing.
    I wrote the screenplay. I же it и filmed. ([I]-again [filmed it]-as well)

    Wrote it I. Filmed it I же. (it was written by me, it was filmed by me-again)
    Wrote it I. Filmed it тоже I.

  16. На переднем Стенька Разин,
    Стенька Разин на втором.
    И на третьем тот же Стенька,
    На четвёртом тоже он…

    (the third line is not canonical – but I do not know what is canonical. I used тот to indicate that то and же in то же can be understood as two words. “that-guy again: S.” (тот же), “that-thing again: he” (тоже))

  17. (A variant of a popular song…:))

  18. Maybe from то-ще/that-yet. то [ли] ещё (будет). !!!

    D.O., It did not occur to me that it can be ще.

  19. Tozh stood for “alias,” “also known as” in XIX-century Russian. The best-known example is probably Nekrasov’s Neelovo, Neurozhayka tozh. A village called No Eating, also known as Bad Crop.

  20. Y,

    re Trinidadian English and them: this is a bog standard plural marker. You get simple dem in most Afrocaribbean Creoles (Cameroon Pidgin English, Krio).
    Dagmar Deuber describes (on p. 162) “and them” as follows:

    The forms and them and them as postnominal plural markers occur only in the conversations. There are four instances of the former and one of the latter. All are combined with nouns already marked otherwise for plurality.

  21. It’s funny: this post was the first thing on my RSS feed this morning. The next post included the latest book on the subject of general extenders.

  22. Pittsburgh has a distinctive one, usually transcribed as something like n’at, a very reduced and that. There was (perhaps still is) a classic local menswear outlet, Pants N’At.

    @David Eddyshow: WALS’ denial of associative plurals to mainstream English seems reasonable — we certainly have plenty of ways to express the concept, but none seem as lexicalised/grammaticalised as the examples given in other languages, which is presumably the level it’s counting.

  23. I also grew up using “and them.” Is West Virginia the northernmost range of this locution, as it is with so many Southern/Caribbean usages?

  24. Russian has another “general extender” и прочее. Theoretically, it is two words “and other”. Not sure about part of speech etc.

  25. и т.п.

  26. Yes, that too. But it is clearly more than one word. I thought of whether Dmitri Sitchinava really needed to go to Ukrainian (to be sure, a move that I always approve of) to find a one-word example.

  27. i wonder whether naipaul’s “[plural noun] and them” is a different (middle-class anglophile) point on a trinidadian creole continuum, or just him trying to force pluralizing “dem” into a standard-british-english-looking form. i don’t think i’ve ever heard his version in my largely trinidadian/jamaican neighborhood (“dem”, yes; “n shit”, absolutely – but that’s pan-brooklyn, and i think more of an intensifier than a pluralizer or extender).

  28. I thought of whether Dmitri Sitchinava really needed to go to Ukrainian (to be sure, a move that I always approve of)

    It is motivated by “word-equivalents”. But this is a shaky foundation: what is a word?

    The motivation for the dictionary is that these combinations can be hard to find in a normal dictionary (if they are present there at all), and it is a very good motivation, of course.

  29. «Божіею поспѣшествующею милостію, Мы, NN, Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссійскій, Московскій, Кіевскій, Владимірскій, Новгородскій; Царь Казанскій, Царь Астраханскій, Царь Польскій, Царь Сибирскій, Царь Херсониса Таврическаго, Царь Грузинскій; Государь Псковскій и Великій Князь Смоленскій, Литовскій, Волынскій, Подольскій и Финляндскій; Князь Эстляндскій, Лифляндскій, Курляндскій и Семигальскій, Самогитскій, Бѣлостокскій, Корельскій, Тверскій, Югорскій, Пермскій, Вятскій, Болгарскій и иныхъ; Государь и Великій Князь Новагорода низовскія земли, Черниговскій, Рязанскій, Полотскій, Ростовскій, Ярославскій, Бѣлозерскій, Удорскій, Обдорскій, Кондійскій, Витебскій, Мстиславскій и всея сѣверныя страны Повелитель и Государь Иверскія, Карталинскія и Кабардинскія земли и области Арменскія; Черкасскихъ и Горскихъ князей и иныхъ наслѣдный Государь и Обладатель; Государь Туркестанскій, Наслѣдникъ Норвежскій, Герцогъ Шлезвигъ-Голстинскій, Стормарнскій, Дитмарсенскій и Ольденбургскій, и прочая, и прочая, и прочая».

  30. тощо, тощо, тощо…

    (or: n shit n shit n shit…)

  31. “And on the behalf of the most Christian King, the most eminent Prince and Lord, Henry of Orleans, Duke of Longueville, and Estouteville, Prince and Sovereign Count of Neuschaftel, Count of Dunois and Tancerville, Hereditary Constable of Normandy, Governor and Lieutenant-General of the same Province, Captain of the Cent Hommes d’Arms, and Knight of the King’s Orders, &c.”

  32. Käyserl. Privilegium.

    Wir Ferdinand der Dritte / von Gottes Gnaden / Erwöhlter Römischer Käyser / zu allen Zeiten / Mehrer deß Reichs / in Germanien / zu Hungaren / Böheimb / Dalmatien / Croatien vnd Sclavonien König / Ertzhertzog zu Oesterreich / Hertzog zu Burgundt / Steyr / Kärndten / Krain vnd Wirtemberg / Graff zu Tyrol / etc.

    (I like the “zu allen Zeiten.”)

  33. David Marjanović says

    zu allen Zeiten Mehrer des Reichs is calqued from semper augustus.

    äy is an awesome idea.

    The auch between the two majesties must be taken from a Swedish original.

  34. J.W. Brewer says

    Try wikipedia’s English-translation option for that treaty, which transforms Römischen Käyserlichen into “Roman cheese.”

  35. David Marjanović says

    I’m actually surprised they cut off with / etc. so early. Get yourselves this.

  36. Yandex offered a thread on ru_etymology that does not seem to contain anything interesting – apart of that “и прочая” is Slavonic version of etc. (a Greek calque). The original poster (he asked why -ая, they said it is neuter plural, he asked why plural: in Russian it is usually singular, прочее) discovered in a dictionary that the word can also mean впредь and liked the idea that the title could mean that too. I think he is wrong, but his “I like” is similar to LH’s “I like” – and the Käyser’s like.

  37. Wiktionary does not have etymology for et cetera.:-/ In ru_etymology “etc.” is said to be “systematically denoted by neuter plural, without a noun, different alternative [expressions]” in Greek, including ta hetera.

    WP has “Et Cetéra is a calque of the Koine Greek καὶ τὰ ἕτερα (kai ta hetera) meaning ‘and the other things’. The typical Modern Greek form is και τα λοιπά (kai ta loipá), ‘and the remainder’. ”
    The Slavonic dictionary linked on this page (on the right) names καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς (kaì tà hexês) as the source.

    Of these loipá looks closer to the Slavonic than ἑξῆς and ἕτερα…

  38. …does not seem to contain anything interesting
    A quote from the Instruction of Vladimir Monomachus:

    и ѿрѧдивъ ꙗ вземъ Псалтъıрю впечали разгнухъ ꙗ. и то ми сѧ въıнѧ . вскую печалуѥши дш҃е . вскую смущаєши мѧ . и прочаꙗ . и потомь собрах̑ словца си любаꙗ.
    ( И, отпустив их, взял Псалтырь, в печали разогнул ее, и вот что мне вынулось: “О чем печалишься, душа моя? Зачем смущаешь меня?” – и прочее. И потом собрал я эти полюбившиеся слова)

  39. Latin cēterus and Greek ἕτερος are confusing:/

    “1. the other, remainder, rest 2. besides, also” are the meanings of ceterus in WIktionary.

    Firstly, “remainder” is the meaning of λοιπός rather than ἕτερος.

    Secondly, I do not understand the etymology.

    “From Proto-Indo-European *ḱe- (“here”) + contrastive *-(e)teros. Confer with citer. See also cis, hic. ” (ceterus)

    “From Proto-Hellenic *hə́teros, from Proto-Indo-European *sḿ̥teros, from the zero grade of the root *sem- (“one”, from which also comes Ancient Greek εἷς (heîs), “one”) +‎ *-teros (contrastive suffix, from which also comes Ancient Greek -τερος (-teros)). Cognates include Sanskrit एकतर (ekatara), Breton hanter, and perhaps Old English sunder (English asunder).” (ἕτερος)

    And how “here-terus” and “one-terus” give the meaning “different, other”?

  40. David Eddyshaw says

    In Kusaal (and its close relatives) the pronouns that mean “a certain” equally mean “another”:

    “a certain chief (na’ab), some chief”


    Na’asɔ’ lɛm bɛ.
    “There is another king.” (translation of Acts 17:7: i.e. “beside Caesar”)

    Hausa wani/wata/wasu is just the same (from Jaggar’s excellent grammar):

    Wani yaro na kiranka.
    “Some boy is calling you.”


    Sun koma wata unguwa.
    “They’ve moved to another neighbourhood.”

    Wannan biro ba ya aiki – akwai wani?
    “This biro doesn’t work. Is there another one?”

  41. David Marjanović says

    And how “here-terus” and “one-terus” give the meaning “different, other”?

    “The one over here, on the other hand, …”.

    and perhaps Old English sunder

    That fits perfectly if the second syllable was originally stressed, which is expected anyway; stress shift to the first syllable, as seen in Greek, makes sense as a nominalization.

  42. @rozele: Naipaul grew up with Trinidadian Creole and was fluent in it, well enough to portray different speech habits of different characters. That said, what he describes is the language as spoken in the 1940s among Indian Trinidadians, and for all I know that might be different from the language of the Trinidadians that you are familiar with.

    @bulbul: I actually see four different ways of expressing noun plurality: the singular (unmarked) form and the plural form, both with or without “and them”, e.g.:
    — “On the left-hand side they have the names of the batsman who finish batting.”
    — “We use to pitch marble together.”
    — “The police and them come round asking me how the water get in the milk.”
    — “I get friendly with some of the turnkey and them, and you know what happen? I pull two three strings and — bam! — they make me librarian. They have a big library there, you know. All sort of big book.”

    These all come from one character, nicknamed — what else? — Hat, in his namesake short story, in the collection Miguel Street.

  43. PlasticPaddy says

    from the small sample you give, it looks like:
    Undramatic unambiguous (e.g, because “all”): use singular
    Undramatic ambiguous : use plural
    Dramatic: use plural + them
    For me this “and them” is not “and others” but a way of dramatising the narration. In Ireland you could say something like “We had the police and all calling to the door” (I am not sure “and all” here is standard, except maybe Scotland).

  44. PlasticPaddy says

    @drasvi, dm
    for sondern DWDS gives Latin sine and Greek ἄτερ = “without” as cognate, for me this is semantically more plausible (without, rather than here).

  45. January First-of-May says

    Russian in the same place and with the same meaning uses (or used to use) the word “tozh”.

    AFAIK Russian тож is merely a (somewhat archaic) shortened version of тоже “also, as well”.
    Consequently, Nekrasov, as already quoted by Alex K…

    Семь временнообязанных,
    Подтянутой губернии,
    Уезда Терпигорева,
    Пустопорожней волости,
    Из смежных деревень:
    Заплатова, Дырявина,
    Разутова, Знобишина,
    Горелова, Неелова —
    Неурожайка тож.

    Here the name Неурожайка is a qualifier: “Neyelovo, Neurozhayka as well = aka Neurozhayka” (note that, alone of the seven names, it is given in the nominative).
    [The seven men are from six, not seven, villages, because two of them are brothers. AFAICT I’m not aware of any exegesis on the specific correspondence of men to villages.]

    SFReader’s example appears to be similarly straightforward: “…automatic pens, ballpoint pens, and pencils as well”. No “etc” to be seen.

    For the benefit of the explainers in the audience, here’s another silly example: А я ещё и вышивать могу… И на машинке тоже… (Matroskin, Prostokvashino)

  46. David Eddyshaw says

    The Welsh for “etc, and so forth” is ac ati, literally “and to it” (with a conjugated preposition.)

  47. Тож in this sense has different syntax than тоже (and can be maybe compared to тощо).

    But its meaning can be derived from that of тоже/то же.

  48. Тоже мне!

  49. Get yourself this

    I love the way all his titles are given at the church door and nothing happens, and only when he says “Otto, a mortal and sinful man” is he admitted. When the Queen is opening Parliament, Black Rod goes from Lord to Commons to summon the Commoners to hear the Speech, finds the door to the House slammed in his face, and he has to knock three times with the Rod to get in. Heinlein’s World (or Solar System) Empire improves on that:

    We heard the ceremonial knocking amplified over the speaker system; the Sergeant at Arms rushed the mace to the door. Three times the Emperor demanded to be admitted, three times he was refused. Then he prayed the privilege; it was granted by acclamation. We stood while Willem entered and took his seat back of the Speaker’s desk. He was in uniform as Admiral General and was unattended, as was required, save by escort of the Speaker and the Sergeant at Arms.

    The Emperor in question is, of course, Willem, Prince of Orange etc.; but see also Queen Diana’s titles a few comments down. These owe much to the Habsburg and Spanish Habsburg titles.

  50. @Y: for sure! my neighborhood is mostly afro-trinidadian; for the deep indo-trinidadian surround, i need to go to queens.

  51. Funnily enough, there is a town (now also a suburban railway station) of Gorelovo quite near St. Petersburg, about midway to Gatchina. While Nekrassov’s intention seems to have been to provide “talking” toponyms (to the tune of “from the villages of Patched, Holey, Shoeless, Shivers, Burndown, Nogrub a.k.a. Badcrops”), I wonder if he knew at least one of them actually existed.

  52. David Marjanović says

    I love the way all his titles are given at the church door and nothing happens, and only when he says “Otto, a mortal and sinful man” is he admitted.

    This is – well, was; that was the last time – the usual ceremony for getting dead Habsburgers into the Capuchin Crypt (Kapuzinergruft). It was given a twist. Up to then (the ceremony for Zita, the last empress, buried in the late 1980s, is on YouTube somewhere), the second time was just an abridged version of the first, with only the most important titles. This time, the second time was wholly independent of the first and listed Otto’s post-imperial accomplishments, e.g. his membership in the European Parliament – a list no shorter than the list of long-forgotten places he had been gefürsteter Graf of.

    Didn’t impress the Capuchins either.

    Also noteworthy: the announcer is Viennese enough to lack /p/ entirely. All /b/ all the time.

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