LINGUIST List 2.574

Fri 27 Sep 1991

Disc: That's and WordCruncher

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  1. David Powers, That's (cf What is a linguist) - a plea for _real_ examples
  2. John E. Koontz, WordCruncher Concordance Program

Message 1: That's (cf What is a linguist) - a plea for _real_ examples

Date: Fri, 27 Sep 91 14:56:38 MET DST
From: David Powers <>
Subject: That's (cf What is a linguist) - a plea for _real_ examples
Warning: This submission may make unmarked references to straw
linguists. Real Linguists need not be offended. (What is a
linguist anyway? Do real linguists eat quiche or read LINGUIST?)
>>On reading the recent list of possible ways to say "the book whose cover
>>is red"/"the book the cover of which is red" etc., I was struck by the
>>absence of the way I would always say it: "the book with the red cover".
>>Me for avoidance every time. I should imagine that a study of this pheno-
>>menon would have to take such cowardly detours into consideration.
>>--Elise Morse-Gagne
>Elise Morse-Gagne's comment on avoidance of constructions points to an
>interesting problem that Jacqueline Schachter addressed ...
>Chinese speakers in fact used significantly fewer relative clauses and tended
>rather to make errors in choice of construction than in syntax of construction.
>Avoidance of selected syntactic structures appears to be a real phenomenon.
>-- Herb Stahlke <00HFSTAHLKEBSUVAX1.bitnet>
I made a similar comment to Elise's in an earlier posting, and
Herb's comment on avoidance by second language learners prompts me
to point out a complementary kind of avoidance by Linguists.
I find it very difficult to take seriously linguistic discussion,
even by some of the top-name Linguists, where the examples on which
the theories are built seem highly artificial - indeed to my mind
quite ungrammatical. In the "thats" discussion, the construction
(actually, if I recall aright, proposed by a student)
**The book thats cover is red ...
seems only marginally more unacceptable than
*The book whose cover is red ...
On the other hand I and some others have given examples using a
similar paradigm which do seem feasible, at least in spontaneous
Can I have a pencil whose lead is not broken?
Can I have a pencil thats lead is not broken?
Can I have a pencil thats tip is sharp?
Why the difference between books and pencils, covers and lead/tip?
My guess is it is something to do with inalienability.
This is a form of avoidance (of reality) on the part of the linguists,
not on the part of people like Elise or me who find the linguists'
grammatical examples unconvincing, unacceptable and/or ungrammatical.
My unreasonable plea: Could linguists try to use _real_ examples,
things which people have actually said (or better still written, to
avoid constructs which are actually production errors).
My reasonable suggestion: The increased availability of (tagged)
corpora now allows the seeking of such examples of actual usage, so
as to avoid _straw_ examples.
David Powers		 +49-631/205-3449 (Uni); +49-631/205-3200 (Fax)
FB Informatik; +49-631/13786 (Prv)
Univ. Kaiserslautern	 * CONG - Compartmentalized Connection Graph
W-6750 KAISERSLAUTERN	 * MARPIA - Concurrent Logic Programming
WEST GERMANY		 * STANLIE - Natural Language Learning
Riddle:		What is the difference between the university and me.
Disclaimer:	My opinion.
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Message 2: WordCruncher Concordance Program

Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1991 09:22:39
From: John E. Koontz <>
Subject: WordCruncher Concordance Program
Reposted from Humanist. Since WordCruncher is one of the better concordance
programs, this information may be useful to Linguist subscribers. The
Oxford Concordance Program and TACT are alternatives. TACT is quite
impressive and very inexpensive.
Forwarded message follows:
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0338. Wednesday, 25 Sep 1991.
 Date: Mon, 23 Sep 91 10:42:33 MDT
 From: Randall Jones <HRCJONESBYUVM>
 Subject: WordCruncher
The subject of WordCruncher has been discussed several times on
HUMANIST during the past week. Please allow me to give the definitive
information from the source. I am no longer part of the company that
originally marketed WordCruncher and accompanying texts, but I am in
direct contact with the software authors and the current distributor.
Electronic Text Corporation exists in name only. They have no real
structure, no mailing address, no phone or FAX number, and no way
to market products. HOWEVER, an non-exclusive marketing license has
been granted to:
 Johnston & Company
 P.O. Box 446
 American Fork, Utah 84003-0446
 801-756-1111 (voice)
 801-756-0242 (FAX)
They are selling WordCruncher 4.4 for $299 or $249 for educational
discount. They also have the Library of American texts, the
Riverside Shakespeare texts, and the King James Bible and Constitution
Papers. A call or FAX to the above numbers can provide you with a
brochure and any additional information you may wish.
Randall Jones
College of Humanities
Brigham Young University
R.L. Jones
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