LINGUIST List 12.984

Mon Apr 9 2001

Qs: Short Message System/Corpora, PPs/Paths/Places

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  1. forus, Corpora on SMS? Do they really exist?
  2. Andrew McIntyre, PPs as Paths/Places?

Message 1: Corpora on SMS? Do they really exist?

Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2001 17:39:52 GMT
From: forus <>
Subject: Corpora on SMS? Do they really exist?

Dear all at the Linguist,

I am a student doing research on SMS (short messaging service) and in
particular my objective is to develop a classification of short messages as
they are used on the mobile phones. Could you please advise if there is
some research being done and where one can get SM corpora. I already looked
into similar issues like IRC and ICQ messages, but these still won't
provide enough material to consider.

I will highly appreciate any kind of information. Thank you very much.

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Message 2: PPs as Paths/Places?

Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 16:32:20 +0200
From: Andrew McIntyre <>
Subject: PPs as Paths/Places?

Dear linguists,
Can anyone direct me to some literature assessing the pros and cons of each
side of the following issue:
Jackendoff (1983, 1990) maintains that spatial PPs denote Paths or Places
(or Spaces, 1991, 1996). This denies what I'll call the 'relational' view,
in which prepositions are two-place predicates. In his system, the theme
(=figure, trajector, located object) is an argument of a superodinate
two-place predicate also taking the Path/Place as an argument. Below I give
some examples of semantic representations to show the differences between
the approaches (Jackendoff's approach is in each case the (a)-variant and a
representative relational view the (b)-one; in each case, 'Path' and 'Place'
are meant to be written as subscript labels indicating the ontological
category of the square-bracketed constituent):
1. Fred entered the house, Fred went into the house
 (a) GO(FRED,[Path TO([Place IN HOUSE])
 (b) BECOME(IN(fred,house))
2. Ann is in the house
 (a) BE(ANN,[Place IN HOUSE])
 (b) IN(ann,house)
I can't work out which approach I should use, since each view has empirical
arguments uniquely supporting it. To give an idea of the dilemma, I mention
two arguments. The relational view, but not the Jackendovian one, can easily
capture facts about certain narrow-scope readings of adverbs/preverbs such
as restitutive 're-' and 'back'. These have scope over a location
predication, just as the relational view predicts:
3 People reentered the country, People went back into the country
These sentences are useable even if the people had never entered the country
before. They just require that the same people were in the country before
(e.g. Wechsler 1989). There does not seem to be a way to capture this using
the idea of Path, at least short of assuming that the result state under the
scope of 're-' is an implicature, which would need some serious independent
support if it is to be plausible.
On the other hand, Jackendoff's system, but apparently not the relational
approach, can capture sentences like the following, where the PP's seem to
be coreferential with nominals lexicalising the notions 'Path/Place':
4. a. The best place to put it is on top of the cupboard.
 b. Behind the cupboard was the only hiding place.
 c. The best way out of here is through the hedge.
Has anyone got a theory that can capture both sorts of data, or has someone
refuted the arguments favouring one of the positions?
With kind regards and the promise of a summary,

Jackendoff, R. (1983): Semantics and Cognition. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT
Jackendoff, R. (1990): Semantic Structures. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press.
Jackendoff, R. (1991): "Parts and Boundaries", Cognition. 41, 9-45.
Jackendoff, R. (1996): "The proper treatment of measuring out, telicity, and
perhaps even quantification in English", Natural Language and Linguistic
Theory 14: 305-54.
Wechsler, S, (1989): "Accomplishments and the prefix re-", NELS 19.
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
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