* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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 19.1847

Tue Jun 10 2008

Qs: Expressing 'Knowing How' Across Languages

Editor for this issue: Catherine Adams <catherinlinguistlist.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.    Jason Stanley, Expressing 'Knowing How' Across Languages


Message 1: Expressing 'Knowing How' Across Languages
Date: 09-Jun-2008
From: Jason Stanley <jasoncsrci.rutgers.edu>
Subject: Expressing 'Knowing How' Across Languages
E-mail this message to a friend

I am currently working on embedded question constructions, specifically
ones involving ''how'' plus infinitive, as in:

(1) John knows how to ride a bicycle.
(2) John knows how to swim.
(3) John knows how to cook risotto.

In English, these constructions involve explicit use of the question word
''how'', an infinitive, and the propositional knowledge verb 'know' that
occurs with straight declarative complements, as in (4):

(4) John knows that Barack is the nominee.

In certain languages, such as French, it is much more natural to express
what a sentence like (2) expresses with just a bare infinitive, as in:

(5) John sait nager.

Some languages allow for both the explicit embedded question syntax, as in
English, as well as the bare infinitive construction, such as (5).

I have several questions. First, I would like to know about other languages
that are English-like, in that the preferred natural way to express (1)-(3)
is with the propositional knowledge verb 'know', together with the question
word ''how'', and the infinitive (obviously, this won't be languages that
disallow infinitives in embedded questions, like German). Please provide
examples if you can. Secondly, I'd like to know about languages that allow,
in translating (1)-(3), the explicit question embedding syntax (like
English), and also allow the bare infinitive.

I will post the results. Thanks!

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
                            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.