LINGUIST List 2.690

Tue 22 Oct 1991

Misc: Finiteness, like, you guys

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  1. Gilbert Harman, Infinite sentences?
  2. Scott Delancey, I'm like
  3. Scott Delancey, you guys

Message 1: Infinite sentences?

Date: Tue, 22 Oct 91 14:57:21 EDT
From: Gilbert Harman <ghhPrinceton.EDU>
Subject: Infinite sentences?
It is sometimes said that ordinary linguistic communication
involves common knowledge of certain presuppositions, for
example, that the speaker is trying to say something to
someone. The relevant common knowledge is sometimes
explained as follows.
(1) I am trying to tell you something; I know that I am
 trying to tell you something; you know that I am trying
 to tell you something; I know that you know that I am
 trying to tell you something; you know that you know
 that I am trying to tell you something; ...
The three dots in (1) indicate that (1) is to be continued
in the obvious way infinitely. This would seem to be an
infinite sentence. Maybe there could even be a larger
sentence embedding an infinite sentence of this sort:
(2) Lewis says that I communicating with you only if
 I am trying to tell you something, I know that I am
 trying to tell you something, you know that I am trying
 to tell you something, I knw that you know that I am
 trying to tell you something, you know that you know
 that I am trying to tell you something, ..., but he
 can't be right about that, can he?
	Gil Harman
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Message 2: I'm like

Date: Tue, 22 Oct 1991 14:44 PDT
From: Scott Delancey <DELANCEYOREGON.UOREGON.EDU>
Subject: I'm like
I come from the wrong time and place (b. 1949 in upstate NY) to be an
"I'm like ..." speaker, but I just yesterday noticed in my own
informal narrative speech a construction that looks like a likely
precursor:
	so I walk in and everybody's looking at me like "Where
	have you been?"
This seems pretty normal to me, though I have no intuitions about
how it might sound to older speakers than I.
Scott DeLancey
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Message 3: you guys

Date: Tue, 22 Oct 1991 16:48 PDT
From: Scott Delancey <DELANCEYOREGON.UOREGON.EDU>
Subject: you guys
I'm certainly a native "you guys" speaker; for me it is indubitably
the grammaticalized plural form. I had the impression, though I
can't recall now whether I read it somewhere or absorbed it less
formally somehow, that there was a set of traceable isoglosses
in the East, such that _y'all_ is Southern, _you'uns_ Midland,
and in the North _youse_ was urban working class, and -you guys_
everywhere else.
Scott DeLancey
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