LINGUIST List 2.868

Sun 15 Dec 1991

Disc: GB

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , case problem for GB
  2. Herb Stahlke, Re: 2.858 Language and Culture, Chomsky
  3. Lou Burnard, government bonding

Message 1: case problem for GB

Date: 13 Dec 91 10:12
From: <>
Subject: case problem for GB
Re Chandrashekar Siddaramaiah's question on case assignment in Kannada:
The fact that this is difficult for GB shows that GB is still much too
biased in favor of Indo-European languages, rather than showing that Kannada
is weird in seme rpspect.
 A language I am working on, Lezgian (Nakho-Daghestanian), also shows
Nominative case in non-finite clauses, e.g.
(1) Gada-0 agaq'-da.
 boy-NOM arrive-FUT(FINITE) 'The boy will arrive.'
(2) Didedi-z gada-0 agaq'-na k'an-zawa. 'Mother wants the boy to arrive.'
 mother-DAT boy-NOM arr.-NONFIN want-PRES
Lezgian and other Nakho-Daghestanian languages (spoken in the northeastern
Caucasus) are very similar to Dravidian languages also in other respects,
so this seems to be a typological feature of this type of language
(SOV, rich nominal and verbal morphology, etc.)
 For an interesting typological survey of nominalization phenomena in the
world's languages (containing references to quite a few languages of the
Kannada-Lezgian type), cf.
 KOPTJEVSKAJA-TAMM, MARIA. 1988. A typology of action nominal constructions.
 Ph.D. dissertation, University of Stockholm. (Revised version to appear
 in Routledge linguistics series)
Martin Haspelmath, Free University of Berlin
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Message 2: Re: 2.858 Language and Culture, Chomsky

Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1991 09:10 EST
Subject: Re: 2.858 Language and Culture, Chomsky
On the blurb that Dan Donoghue forwarded:
I continue to find baffling remarks like those made about Chomsky
"admitting he was wrong." Whether one works in a specifically
Chomskyan model or not, it's got to be clear that the progression from
the early post-Harris transformational grammar of Chomsky's
dissertation, through Syntactic Structures, Aspects..., Extended
Standard Theory, Government and Binding, and all the phases in between
is simply the result of rigorously applied scientific methodology, not
a manifestation of changing one's mind and admitting one was wrong. I
might change my mind about what to have for lunch or whom to vote for,
but to apply that sense of the phrase to the process of testing and
falsifying hypotheses and devising better ones to test and falsify
suggests a poor understanding of how one does science. I run into
this sort of misunderstanding most frequently from some (not all) of
my graduate students from education who tend to confuse published
formal models with truth, at least until they hit a linguistics course.
Herb Stahlke
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Message 3: government bonding

Date: Fri, 13 Dec 91 14:18 GMT
From: Lou Burnard <>
Subject: government bonding
We Europeans of course know of 'government bonding' already. It's what
that nice Mr Major was trying to save us from at Maastricht all last
sorry, it's been a long week
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