LINGUIST List 10.120

Wed Jan 27 1999

Qs: Noun clusters, Obj->Sub Raising, Similar to

Editor for this issue: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar <>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.


  1. Agathopoulou Lena, noun clusters versus genitive
  2. Mark Davies, Obj->Sub Raising (Span/Port, Old Romance, Latin)
  3. guenter radden, "Similar to" and "Different from"

Message 1: noun clusters versus genitive

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 19:43:13 +0200
From: Agathopoulou Lena <>
Subject: noun clusters versus genitive

Dear colleagues

I'm doing a preliminary error-based investigation into the use of noun
clusters versus genitive -'s or of-constructions. This seems to be an
area of confusion to Greek EFL learners. Can anybody give me some
helpe here? Suggested bibliography/articles?

Thanks you

Eleni Agathopoulou
D/ment of Linguistics
School of English
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Obj->Sub Raising (Span/Port, Old Romance, Latin)

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 08:58:54 -0600
From: Mark Davies <>
Subject: Obj->Sub Raising (Span/Port, Old Romance, Latin)

I am beginning research on have been called the OSR (Object to Subject
Raising) constructions in classical TG:

	es dificil [ leer ESTE LIBRO ]
	ESTE LIBRO es dificil [ de leer __ ]
	"this book is hard to read"

My research deals with the construction from Old Spanish and Old
Portuguese to the modern languages, and I am looking for comparative
data on the historical development in Latin and Late Latin / Old
Romance. I have already looked quite extensively in the MLA
bibliography as well as traditional grammars like Meyer-Lubke, but
have been unable to find any references to articles on anything in
older stages of French or Italian, or in Latin. I would appreciate
any insights that others might have, and will post a summary if there
is sufficient interest.

A subset of the OSR sentences are those involving an overt subject:

era dificil [ LOS JUGADORES entender LA ESTRATEGIA ]
 "it was hard for the players to understand the strategy"


(1) LA ESTRATEGIA les era dificil [ __ de entender __ a LOS JUGADORES ] 
(2) LA ESTRATEGIA era dificil [ para LOS JUGADORES entender __ ]
(3) LA ESTATEGIA era dificil [ de __ entender __ por/para LOS JUGADORES ]
	"the strategy was hard for the players to understand"

(2) is the "lexical subject of infinitive" construction, and is a
feature of (colloquial) Spanish in the Caribbean, as well as other
areas. (1) sounds a bit formal and old-fashioned to most speakers, but
is still found in corpora (it can also occur with a preposed IO: "a
los jugadores [la estrategia] les era dificil de entender").

(3) is the one that appears to have received little or no attention in
the literature, but one that appears a number of times in a 35,000,000
word corpus of Modern Spanish that I have created
(, and does appear to be a
feature of just Modern Spanish (no cases in a 5,300,000 word corpus
1200-1900). I'd be interested in any comments from native speakers
regarding the frequency / distribution of this construction vis a vis
the other forms, and will post a summary if there is sufficient

Thanks in advance,

Mark Davies

Mark Davies, Associate Professor, Spanish Linguistics
Dept. of Foreign Languages, Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4300

Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: "Similar to" and "Different from"

Date: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 19:02:09 +0000
From: guenter radden <>
Subject: "Similar to" and "Different from"

"Similar to" and "different from/to/than"

We are researching the uses of similar and different and their
prepositions or similar markers. In English, similarity seems to
relate to closeness, and difference to remoteness. Thus we have:

 a. My house is close to your house.
 b. My house is similar to your house.
 c. My house is far away from your house.
 d. My house is different from your house.

Closeness and similarity are construed with the notion of goal
(English "to," Dutch "gelijk aan," Greek "paromios me"), remoteness
and difference are predominantly construed with the notion source
(English "from," Dutch "verschillend van," Danish "forskellig fra,"
Greek "Diaforetikos apo"); mainly in British English also the goal
preposition "different to" is used.

Another construal makes use of the comparative pattern, e.g., English
"different than" and "other than," German "anders als," Dutch "anders
dann," Danish "anderledes end."

We would appreciate more data on other languages. 
A summary of the responses will be posted.

Guenter Radden, Hamburg University
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue