LINGUIST List 14.1436

Mon May 19 2003

Disc: Anaphora makes the headlines

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


Directory

  1. Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Re: Anaphora makes the headlines -- perhaps undeservedly
  2. Joseph F Foster, Re: 14.1421, Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines
  3. Laurence Horn, Re: 14.1421, Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines
  4. Dan Maxwell, 14.1421, Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines

Message 1: Re: Anaphora makes the headlines -- perhaps undeservedly

Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 09:40:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Dr. Joel M. Hoffman <joelexc.com>
Subject: Re: Anaphora makes the headlines -- perhaps undeservedly

Re Linguist 14.1421

> Toni Morrison's genius enables her to create
> novels that arise from and express the injustices
> African Americans have endured.

I would argue that there are at least two things wrong with the
sentence, including using a PP in parallel with a direct object
("arise from ... the injustices" and "express the injustices"), and,
in terms of content, genuis is not what helps anyone create novels
that arise from injustices. Either the novels arise from the
injustices or they do not.

But sentences of the sort NP1's NP2 V Pronoun1 ("Bill's friend helped
him," "Toni's genius enables her" etc.) are so clearly grammatical
that I have to wonder at an organization that will now be teaching
people not to write that way. Let us also remember that most of a
decade was devoted to teasing apart "Bill's picture surprised him" and
"Bill's picture surprised himself." In spite of the tens of thousands
of collective hours of scrutiny those sentences received, no one
seriously suggested that the former was ungrammatical.

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

Message 2: Re: 14.1421, Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines

Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 09:52:17 -0400
From: Joseph F Foster <Joseph.FosterUC.Edu>
Subject: Re: 14.1421, Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines


Of course the sentence in question is perfectly good grammatical
English and of course a possessive noun can be an antecedent for a
pronoun. Otherwise the young _professor's_ book would not have helped
_him_ get tenure. And the _test taker's_ having gotten a good night's
sleep would avail _him_ nothing on the College Boards.

I already have serious doubts about the College Boards and this episode
does nothing to aussage them. 

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

Message 3: Re: 14.1421, Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines

Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 10:15:29 -0400
From: Laurence Horn <laurence.hornyale.edu>
Subject: Re: 14.1421, Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines

This has been discussed very extensively over the past two weeks at 
the American Dialect Society list; this discussion (still ongoing) is 
archived at linguistlist.org and can be searched under "Re: PSAT 
Glitch" at 

http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?S2=ads-l&q=PSAT+Glitch&s=
&f=&a=2003&b= 

I think Arnold Zwicky's postings are especially useful; there have
also been extensive exchanges over which traditional style guides and
grammars have sought to maintain this (somewhat silly) proscription,
and why.

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

Message 4: 14.1421, Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines

Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 11:07:22 -0400
From: Dan Maxwell <DMaxwell10compuserve.com>
Subject: 14.1421, Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines

Michael,

I agree with you completely. "Tony Morrison's" could conceivably be
analyzed as an adjective, but I don't see any reason for that to rule out
"Tony Morrison" as an antecedent. 

Most linguists like to rely on their own intuitions in making
decisions about grammaticality, and mine say this sentence is fine.
But even if we don't trust introspection, I don't think it would be
difficult to find plenty of textual examples of possessives serving as
antecedents.

I wonder who the linguists are that made this decision for the college
boards.

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