LINGUIST List 15.969

Mon Mar 22 2004

Sum: Object Deletion

Editor for this issue: Steve Moran <>


  1. Hiroaki Tanaka, Sum: Object deletion of "and not"

Message 1: Sum: Object deletion of "and not"

Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2004 03:00:55 -0500 (EST)
From: Hiroaki Tanaka <>
Subject: Sum: Object deletion of "and not"

Dear all,

 To the query I posted about a month ago (Linguist 15.625) Mon Feb
16 2004 Qs: Object Deletion), three people kindly responded, whose
names are:

Bruce Despain
Ekaterina Jasinskaja
Barbara Zurer Pearson

 I am grateful to all of them.

First, Ekaterina Jaskaja introduced me the following paper in the
farmework of DRT(Disourse Representation theory), with which I am of

Txurruka (2003) ''The Natural Language Conjunction And'' Linguistics
and Philosophy 26:255-285

She comments , 

''This is a theoretical proposal in the framework of SDRT which tries
to account for both temporal effects of ''and'' (i.e. A and B is not
the same as B and A), and its purely ''logical'' uses.

In general, with the exception of some linguists like Txurruka and the
Relevance theorists (e.g. Blakemore & Carston 1999) who are interested
specifically in the discourse functioning of cojunction ''and'', the
mainstream of formal semantics and pragmatics actually assumes that
the English ''and'' is equivalent to logical conjunction. One of the
founding fathers of this approach is Grice

Grice (1975) ''Logic and Conversation'' in Cole & Morgan ''Syntax and
semantics 3: Speech Acts'', pp.41-58

Grice (1989) ''Studies in the Way of Words'' Cambridge,

Of course I know how important the works of Grice is to the study of
pragmatics and semantics in present-day linguistic philosophy. Thanks
again for letting me know the above DRT paper, the volume of which I
found in my universoty's library.

 The two points I asked were the seemingly twofold objet
interpretaions of eat in (1), and how 'and' is intrepreted,
sequentially or reversedly.

(1) You can't fish and not eat.

Bruce Despain and Barbara Zurer Pearson agree that (1) could be read
''you can't fish and then not eat what you catch, the specific fish
you caught.'' However, as Barbara Pearson correctly (and also
intrestingly to me as a non-native speaker of English) points out that
you need the specific objects in both object positions like, ''You
can't catch something and then not eat it.'' That, I think, clearly is
a good way of avoiding an ambiguous construction. As Bruce Despain
suggets, the more general object can be interepreted if we provide
more specific context before the sentence in question is put forward.

 In fact, I found the same sentence as (1) in Hemingway's ''The Old
Man and the Sea'', which it seemed to me the obeject of eat is
generally the meals the old man eats in his everyday life. The
translation in Japanese, translated about 40 years ago by a famous
scholar of English/American literature, is just ''meals/super.''

The boy left him there and when he came back the old man was still
asleep. ''Wake up old man,'' the boy said and put his hand on one of
the old man's knees. The old man opened his eyes and for a moment he
was coming back from a long way away. Then he smiled. ''What have you
got?'' he asked. ''Supper,'' said the boy. 'We're going to have
supper. ''I'm not very hungry.'' ''Come on and eat. You can't fish
and not eat.'' ''I have,'' the old man said getting up and taking the
newspaper and folding it. Then he started to fold the blanket. ''Keep
the blanket around you,'' the boy said. ''You'll not fish without
eating while I'm alive.'' 'Then live a long time and take care of
yourself,'' the old man said. ''What are we eating?'' ''Black beans
and rice, fried bananas, and some stew.

 The second point I am very doubtful about is that if ''and'' is
intrepreted cause-effect-reversedly, how and when. To this, Depain
made an interesting reply.

(2) You can't commit a crime and not be punished.
(3) You can't get good grades and not study.
In (2) the cause and effect are properly ordered and the two negatives
imply the two positives.
(2a) If you commit a crime, you will be punished.
In (3) the cause and effect are reversed. The more precise statement
of (3) would be that it is a conclusion of the speaker:
(3') You can't get good grades and not have studied. 
(3'a) If you get good grades, you will have studied.

 I may as well have an idea that (3) is not enough to give a
reversal cause-effecr reading, instead we will need some more precise
device of making it clearer, like he suggests.

 Thank you very much to all the three poeple. Their comments is/will
be of great help to me.

Best wishes,

Hiroaki Tanaka,
Professor, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan 
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue