LINGUIST List 11.96

Tue Jan 18 2000

Qs: English/Farsi verbs, Discourse functions

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <jodylinguistlist.org>


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.

Directory

  1. ali jabbari, English/Farsi (or Persian) unaccusative & unergative verbs
  2. Frederick Newmeyer, Grammatical elements and discourse functions

Message 1: English/Farsi (or Persian) unaccusative & unergative verbs

Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 22:35:04 IRT
From: ali jabbari <a_jabbarihotmail.com>
Subject: English/Farsi (or Persian) unaccusative & unergative verbs

Dear Friends,

I am now trying to do a research on the identification of English and
Farsi (or Persian) unaccusative and unergative verbs. I need some
syntactic and semantic tests to diagnose them. Is there anybody that
can tell me or provide me with more information about this field?
The information would be related literature, papers, articles, books,
dissertation, and the like. I would appreciate those who can help me.

Best wishes,

Ali Jabbari
Department of English,
University of Yazd



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

Message 2: Grammatical elements and discourse functions

Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 14:41:09 -0800 (PST)
From: Frederick Newmeyer <fjnu.washington.edu>
Subject: Grammatical elements and discourse functions

Informally, it is very common to talk about particular GRAMMATICAL
ELEMENTS as having particular discourse functions. For example, we say
that a particular word is the 'topic' of the sentence, that a direct
object is 'presupposed', that an NP is 'in focus', and so on.

Clearly, that is just a shorthand convenience-based way of talking. Words,
grammatical relations, and syntactic categories aren't topics, presupposed
elements, and so on. Rather it is WHAT THEY REPRESENT that have these
properties. These discourse functions are the properties of situations,
events, entities, and so on.

Somewhere, I remember reading a paper, or part of a paper, that discusses
this issue. The paper gives a number of examples that show what kind of
trouble you can get into by conceiving of grammatical elements themselves
as having particular discourse functions. I am sure that the argument
involves demonstrating that many discourse functions cannot be linked in
any simple fashion to particular elements of grammatical structure.
Unfortunately, I can't remember the paper that takes on the issue. 

Can anybody remember coming across the paper that I might have in mind?
I'll report what I hear.

Thanks,

Fritz Newmeyer
fjnu.washington.edu
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue