LINGUIST List 12.1863

Thu Jul 19 2001

Qs: Verb Agreement, "Acquiring Human Lang" Video

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


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  1. Kristina.Hultgren, Verb Agreement
  2. Cori Yochim, "Acquiring Human Language" video...Please help!!

Message 1: Verb Agreement

Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 12:28:04 +0200
From: Kristina.Hultgren <Kristina.Hultgrenlhs.be>
Subject: Verb Agreement

Dear Linguist,

I would be very grateful if you could give me your view on the below
sentences

The proportion of females that was in oestrus was lower.
The proportion of females that were in oestrus was lower.

Even if both alternatives are possible from a descriptive point of view,
would you be able to say which is the most "acceptable" one from a
prescriptive point of view (according to written British English standards,
please) and, if possible, argue for why that is the case?

Although several respected linguists have maintained that only the first
sentence is correct, I (and, thankfully, a few others with me) would argue
that, grammatically speaking, the verb of the relative clause "that were in
oestrous" should agree with the subject of that clause and hence the
antecedent ("females"), which is plural. Therefore, the verb of the
subclause should be "were"; as opposed to the verb of the mainclause
("was") which agrees with the subject of that clause ("the proportion").

Perhaps you could even let me know if other rules apply if the syntactic
structure is altered to

Among the females, the proportion that was in oestrus was lower.
Among the females, the proportion that were in oestrus was lower.

Or even, if the logical subject is omitted entirely, as in

The proportion that was in oestrus was lower.
The proportion that were in oestrus was lower.

Looking forward to hearing your answer!

Best regards,
Kristina Hultgren.
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Message 2: "Acquiring Human Language" video...Please help!!

Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 13:18:05 -0400
From: Cori Yochim <cyochimscetv.org>
Subject: "Acquiring Human Language" video...Please help!!

Dear Ones ~

Can ANYONE tell me who produced the video "Acquiring Human Language"?
I'm trying to obtain it for a course I'm teaching and am hitting a
lot of brick walls!!

Thank you for any help you can give!

Cori Ann Yochim
ESOL Teacher Trainer
South Carolina Department of Education

cyochimscetv.org
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