LINGUIST List 14.3084

Tue Nov 11 2003

Qs: MP3 Recorders; English Subjunctive

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>

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. In addition to posting a summary, we'd like to remind people that it is usually a good idea to personally thank those individuals who have taken the trouble to respond to the query. To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at


  1. Eva van Lier, experience with MP3 recorded fieldwork data.
  2. Kenji Kashino, Q: mixed conditional sentences

Message 1: experience with MP3 recorded fieldwork data.

Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 05:03:43 +0000
From: Eva van Lier <>
Subject: experience with MP3 recorded fieldwork data.

I am looking for researchers who have recorded fieldwork data with an
MP3/harddisk recorder. I am planning to use one for my PhD fieldwork
on multilingual youth registers in the street. What kind of
microphone could I use best if I want to be able to walk around with
the recorder, record about 4 participants talking together, without
having too much problems with streetnoise and shock-sensitivity? Who
has experience with this type of data and with this recording
technique and wants to help me?
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Q: mixed conditional sentences

Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 21:58:16 +0900
From: Kenji Kashino <>
Subject: Q: mixed conditional sentences

Hello, linguists. I have a question about English subjunctive, especially
mixed conditional sentences.

The normal pattern of subjunctive past perfect is like this:
(1) If you had worked harder, you would have passed your exam.
But I sometimes find mixed conditional sentences such as "If+subject+past
tense, subject+ would[could] + have + past participle"in novels, as in:
(2) I'd have done the same thing if you were my daughter.
(3) If I was a nun, I'd never have had Lucy.
(4) If I had brains, I could have solved the problem.
My view on this is as follows: These sentences contain stative verbs such
as "be", "have" in "if" clauses.
When "if" clauses have stative verbs this kind of construction is possible.
This will be proved by the unacceptability of the following sentence using
action verbs like "visit" in "if" clauses:
(5)* If they invited her to the conference, she would have attended.
However, the following sentences are strange if not unacceptable even though
there are stative verbs in "if" clauses:
(6) If I were more careful, I would not have been hit by a truck.
(7) If I had one more dollar, I could have bought the bag.
It seems to me that this is the problem about permanence or temporariness in
"if" clauses. When "if" clauses express permanence , the construction under
discussion is possible. On the other hand, when "if" clauses express
temporariness, the construction is not possible.

>From this principle, sentence (8) below seems to be acceptable.
(8) If he weren't such a terrible bore, we'd certainly have visited him
more often while he was here.
However, I have found the following examples in American novels, which are
counterexamples to my principle :
(9) She was so high-keyed that if she smoked she would have been a chain
(10) He would have gone right into your bedroom if I didn't stop him.
(11) If she were working for Bill, he would have protected her with a
reasonably plausible story.
I would like to know the acceptability of examples (8)--(11).
With best wishes and thanks in advance.

Kenji Kashino
 Professor of English Linguistics
Osaka Shoin Women's University, Japan
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue