Nice comments and Stevens citation, MM, ("the squirming facts exceed
the squamous mind.") I'll have to dig into my dictionary and see if
my half-memory of ain't being amn't with phonological modification is
nonsense or not (which it may well be).
Brett's original question, I think, was on "à la," which would
seemingly always need to be considered as two words in French. When it
is borrowed into another language, I'm not sure. How will it can
constrast with "au" in "au gratin", for example? Which will be the
lemma "à la", "au", or "à le" or will it just mean in the style of, as
Really "à la mode" (gloss= with ice cream, in style), like "au gratin"
(gloss="with cheese") for example, seems to have been borrowed into
English (and likely other languages) as though it were a single word
or at least a fixed expression. The only question, I suppose, would
be whether "à la" is productive, and my distant memory of living in an
anglophone country suggests that the following is not too deviant in
% That's a response "à la" Lou's Laptop.
Though I'm pretty sure that at least in the project I'm working on
I'll never get down to the "word" level, it's interesting as always to
follow the discussion.