LINGUIST List 2.642

Thu 10 Oct 1991

Disc: Sound Change, Collective marking

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Directory

  1. Ellen Kaisse, Re: 2.621 Sound Change
  2. Ellen Prince, Re: 2.621 Sound Change
  3. Michael Barlow, Re: 2.614 Collective marking
  4. Scott Delancey, Re: 2.633 Yours, and Distributivity

Message 1: Re: 2.621 Sound Change

Date: Tue, 8 Oct 91 18:35:38 -0700
From: Ellen Kaisse <kaisseu.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.621 Sound Change
Alexis Manaster Ramer writes that every phonological framework allows,
indeed encourages, us to write rules of the form X-->Y without
conditioning environment. Allow me to come to the phonologists' defense
(if defense is what is called for.) Most phonologists would now agree, I
think, that assimilations should be represented as spreading rules,
dissimilations as delinking rules, and that feature-changing rules
not caused by spreading and delinking are both marked and (therefore)
more difficult to write, since one has to insert a feature from out
of nowhere rather than simply letting the the geometric representation
be minimally altered by the addition or removal of lines of association.
ellen kaisse
university of washington
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Message 2: Re: 2.621 Sound Change

Date: Tue, 08 Oct 91 21:03:08 -0400
From: Ellen Prince <ellencentral.cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.621 Sound Change
>Date: Sun, 6 Oct 91 16:04:16 EST
>From: bert peeters <peeterstasman.cc.utas.edu.au>
>Subject: 2.601 Unconditioned/-tional change
>When I chose to interpret "unconditioned" as 'without a cause' I did
>so to denounce the inappropriateness of the term. Instead, it looks
>as though I have convinced a certain number of people about my utter
>ignorance of what most historical linguists mean when they use the
>term. As a matter of fact, I am not at all unaware of what is usually
>meant - but it is about time we start thinking about a substitute for
>a word which is potentially misleading. When the labels "conditioned"
>and "unconditioned" were coined, historical linguists did not know
>better (witness the other label for "unconditioned", viz. "spontaneous").
>Nowadays, we do know that there are no changes without causes. So why
>do we stick to the old terminology?
historical linguists did not know better? what is the evidence that they ever
thought that unconditioned (or conditioned) sound change did not have (or had)
causes? and why is 'spontaneous' another label for 'unconditioned'? i thought
it was opposed to 'gradual', a distinction that is, to my understanding,
orthogonal to conditioned/unconditioned.
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Message 3: Re: 2.614 Collective marking

Date: Tue, 8 Oct 91 23:00:10 -0700
From: Michael Barlow <barlowucselx.sdsu.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.614 Collective marking
Michael Kac asks about languages in which there is some kind of verbal
morphology indicating a collective interpretation in a sentence such as
"John and Bill carried the piano upstairs". I have looked for examples of
collective marking, but without distinguishing different kinds of collective
meaning. Generally, only the nouns have collective morphology, but presumably
nominal morphology of this sort says something about a preferred
interpretation of the activity, as long as the collective is not of the
"police, army" type.
Languages with SOME kind of collective marking include Abkhaz, Hua, Manam,
and Turkana.
The only example of verbal marking of collectivity that I came across was
Hixkaryana, which has collective markers all over the place (so the verb may
be agreeing with the noun). The data is given in Derbyshire 1979 (Lingua
Descriptive Studies 1). Another tack might be to look for languages in which
reciprocal marking on the verb gives a collective interpretation.
Michael Barlow
Linguistics
CSU San Marcos
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Message 4: Re: 2.633 Yours, and Distributivity

Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1991 08:52 PDT
From: Scott Delancey <DELANCEYOREGON.UOREGON.EDU>
Subject: Re: 2.633 Yours, and Distributivity
For Michael Kac: I think that reduplication and other "distributive"
derivations in a number of North American languages may be of interest.
Typically these indicate plural Theme or multiple actions, but not
plural Agent, so that the sense 'John and Bill [eac] carried a piano'
could have a distributive form, but the sense 'John and Bill [together]
...' couldn't. See Marianne Mithune's paper in Hammond and Noonan,
_Theoretical Morphology_.
On "one of yours'" -- the correct version, of course, that we would
use back in Syracuse is "Is this one of you guys's books?"
Scott DeLancey
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