LINGUIST List 11.1723

Thu Aug 10 2000

Qs: Get/Have/Particles, Comp Mediated Conversation

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>

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. Andrew McIntyre, 'get'/'have', particles
  2. Ragnar Lund, Computer mediated conversation

Message 1: 'get'/'have', particles

Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 17:19:16 +0200
From: Andrew McIntyre <>
Subject: 'get'/'have', particles

Dear Linguists,
can anyone recommend any literature dealing with the syntax or semantics of
'get' in transitive sentences like the following:
(1) They couldn't GET the cupboard through the door.
(2) It was hard GETTING the cork out without a bottle opener.
(3) They GOT him drunk/emotional/angry.
References bearing on related intransitive uses ('get angry, get to the
station, get off') would also be useful, as would discussions of equivalents
in other languages.
I am also interested in literature on the use of 'have' which refers to the
result state of the above-mentioned 'get'-actions:
(4) We had him drunk in no time.
 The dentist had the tooth out in 5 minutes
To give a better idea of what I am looking for, I will outline the problem I
am trying to understand. These uses of 'get'/'have' might be instructive for
people interested in the structure of verb-particle and resultative
constructions. While much has been written about the fact that English
transitive motion verbs typically allow alternative possibilities in the
sequencing of particles and direct objects ('I took the rubbish out' vs 'I
took out the rubbish'), it does not seem to have been noted that one use of
'get' strongly resists placement of the particle before the object:
(5) *I wish I could GET OFF this straightjacket.
(6) *I can't GET ON the lid, maybe it doesn't go with this jar.
(7) *I can't GET IN the key, they must have changed the lock.
(8) *I can't GET OUT the screw with this pathetic excuse for a
In my variety at least, these are so bad that the system tries to parse the
object as complement of P, even in cases like (5) where this results in
semantic nonsense.
Note that there are related uses of 'get' where these comments do not hold:
(9) She GOT OUT her wallet/a gun.
The use of 'get' in (5-8) differs from that in (9) in that the former seems
to have some type of possibility operator in its semantics, and is
paraphrasable as 'be able to cause x to attain a certain state or position'.
The two uses of 'get' receive different translations in other languages
(e.g. German 'kriegen' vs 'nehmen, holen').
'Have' behaves similarly to 'get' when combined with an intransitive
prepositional element.
(10) *The doctor HAD OUT the splinter in no time.
(11) *She HAD OFF the lid of the jar in no time.
although it is hard to analyse these because this word order is often bad
with stative particles anyway (*she left off her hat).
I am reticent about going public with my as yet half-baked analysis of
(5-11), but will of course summarise any responses I receive.
Andrew McIntyre
Dr. Andrew McIntyre
Institut fuer Anglistik,
Universitaet Leipzig
Bruehl 34
04109 Leipzig
Office: Bruehl 34, Room 720
Tel (home): 0341-213 2658 (from Australia:001149-341 213 2658)
Tel (work): 0341-9737 328 (from Australia:001149-341 9 7373 28)
Fax: 0341-9737 329
Privatadresse: Shakespearestr. 43
 04107 Leipzig
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Computer mediated conversation

Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 16:31:28 GMT
From: Ragnar Lund <>
Subject: Computer mediated conversation

My name is Ragnar Lund and I'm a student at the department of Italian 
language at the Stockholm University .
I'm currently trying to find material for my thesis.
My special field of interest is computer mediated communication from a 
linguistic perspective, especially the characteristics of the language used 
by two individuals in a synchronous or asynchronous communicative 
interaction trough e-mail, IRC etc.
Since I'm writing for the department of Italian language I'm trying to find 
some Italian studies or get in contact with researchers who have had an 
interest in the Italian language from this perspective.
If you have information about book titles, articles or researchers 
interested in this topic, I would be glad if you could send me an
Thank you,
Ragnar Lund.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue