LINGUIST List 15.1587

Tue May 18 2004

Qs: Ling/Non-Majors; Language System Omissions

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  1. Elizabeth Grace Winkler, linguistics for non-majors
  2. Frederick J Newmeyer, Things that no languages do

Message 1: linguistics for non-majors

Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 13:03:07 -0700
From: Elizabeth Grace Winkler <>
Subject: linguistics for non-majors

Hello Folks,
I'm collecting some data on basic courses in linguistics offered to
non-majors. I've received some info and posted the results. I'd like
to broaden the question a little bit. Off-list please let me know if
your university offers an introductory undergrad class in linguistics
to non-majors, either as a department class or as a university-wide
general education class. If you could give the approximate yearly
enrollment, that would be helpful as well.
I'll post the list when completed.
Thank you and happy summer vacation to everyone!

Elizabeth Grace Winkler
Dept. of Linguistics
Douglass Bldg. 200E.
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
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Message 2: Things that no languages do

Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 16:25:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: Frederick J Newmeyer <>
Subject: Things that no languages do

I am interested in collecting examples of phenomena that are not found
in any language in the world (as far as we know), where there is no
OBVIOUS functional explanation for that fact. Here is an example of
the sort of phenomenon that I am looking for: In no language do
grammatical processes pay attention to 'third position' (though of
course 'second position' is often important). I suspect also that
there are many conceivable syntax- phonology and semantics-phonology
interactions that are logically possible and not obviously
dysfunctional, but which never occur.

If anybody has examples of this sort (or, even better, knows if there
already exist compilations of them), I would be very grateful to know
about them. I'll summarize.

Fritz Newmeyer
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