* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
LINGUIST List logo Eastern Michigan University Wayne State University *
* People & Organizations * Jobs * Calls & Conferences * Publications * Language Resources * Text & Computer Tools * Teaching & Learning * Mailing Lists * Search *
* *
LINGUIST List 18.2479

Thu Aug 23 2007

Qs: Regarding Posting 18.2457

Editor for this issue: Dan Parker <danlinguistlist.org>


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 http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
Directory
        1.    Bingfu Lu, Regarding Posting 18.2457


Message 1: Regarding Posting 18.2457
Date: 22-Aug-2007
From: Bingfu Lu <lubingfuyahoo.com>
Subject: Regarding Posting 18.2457
E-mail this message to a friend

Dear colleagues,

This dissertation (18.2457, Diss: Psycholing/Syntax: Lorimor: 'Conjunctions
and Grammatical Agreement') sounds interesting to me, since I am doing some
investigation on the relation between the distance/adjacency and the
relational
marking (cases, co-indexing, agreement etc) of the head and its dependents.
In many cases, the more distant the two constituents are, or the more deviated
from its canonical position the dependent is, the more needed the relational
marking is. Such examples are ample; for instance, in Chinese, when an
adjective serves as an adverbial of the verb, if it is adjacent to or
precedes the verb, the adverbial marker –de (similar to English –ly) is
optional; if it is separated from the head verb, or postponed after the
verb (non-canonical position), the marker-de is necessary, as shown below.

(1)
a. Ta zai tushuguan renzhen(-de) zhao ziliao. (Chinese)
He in library cautious-ly search data
‘He is cautiously searching data in the library.’

b. Ta renzhen*(-de) zai tushuguan zhao ziliao.

(2)
a. Ta jianjian(-de) kangfu-le.
he gradual(-ly) recuperate-PFCT
‘He gradually recuperated (from an illness)

b. Jianjian*(-de), ta kangfu-le

c. Ta kangfu-le, jianjian*(-de).

Similar data are ample cross-linguistically. To cite some from English:

(3)
a. He climbed (up) the mountain.
b. He climbed steadily *(up) the mountain.

(4)
a. He was my lover *(for) 20 years.
b. He was 20 years my lover.

(5) a. I took three years *(of) Chinese.
b. I took Chinese *(for) three years.

(6)
a. John believes (that) Mary will win.
b. John believes wholeheartedly *?(that) Mary will win.
b. *(That) Mary will win, John believes wholeheartedly.

The number agreement in the dissertation seems to be a counter-example to
the above tendencies.

My first assumed explanation is that information redundancy works here.
When the dependent is separated from its head word, or deviated from its
canonical position, it tends to be forgotten if the marker is
informationally redundant; it tends to be used if it is not redundant.
However, redundancy is an issue of degree. Such an explanation seems
unattractive.

My second assumed explanation is related to the formal markedness. When
the number agreement is dropped in English, it is actually using an extra
marker –s on the verb, in contrast to the zero agreement form. In other
words, though –s of singular third person of agreement is taken as
unmarked in the sense that it is the most unconditioned, it is formally
marked. Such a contradiction between the formal and conditional
unmarkedness leads to the malfunction of the above mentioned tendencies.

I need more data both for and against the tendencies.

Bingfu Lu
Institute of Linguistics
Shanghai Normal University

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                            Morphology
                            Syntax
                            Typology



Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue




Please report any bad links or misclassified data

LINGUIST Homepage | Read LINGUIST | Contact us

NSF Logo

While the LINGUIST List makes every effort to ensure the linguistic relevance of sites listed
on its pages, it cannot vouch for their contents.



Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue


Print This Page


Please report any bad links or misclassified data

LINGUIST Homepage | Read LINGUIST | Contact us

NSF Logo

While the LINGUIST List makes every effort to ensure the linguistic relevance of sites listed
on its pages, it cannot vouch for their contents.