LINGUIST List 2.91

Sunday, 24 Mar 1991

Qs: European ACL, Root Structure, Albanian, Finnish, and more

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Room sharing at European ACL
  2. Gregory K. Iverson, Root Structure Constraints
  3. , Albanian
  4. Richard Ogden, Finnish - please check address
  5. Henry Thompson, Translation experiment -- request for help
  6. , Parsers for the Macintosh?
  7. Ellen Broselow, Transfixation
  8. Scott C. Browne, Middle Voice vs. Stative?
  9. Joyce Tang, `would of'
  10. , Spanish linguists
  11. , Subject-verb agreement in Arabic

Message 1: Room sharing at European ACL

Date: Wed, 20 Mar 91 04:29:12 -0800
From: <magermanNeon.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Room sharing at European ACL
I'm an impoverished graduate student who is attending (and presenting at)
the European ACL in Berlin in April. I'm looking for someone who is also
attending this conference who would like to share a room. I would also
be interested in renting a bed (or couch or piece of floor to put my
sleeping bag) in an apartment or house in Berlin near the conference.

I am pretty clean person, and I don't smoke or drink (much). I don't plan
on taking any pets with me, either :-). I plan to keep regular hours
with fun and frivolity kept at a minimum (unless encouraged by my host).

I'm pretty desperate, since I'm paying for this trip on my own,
and the hotel rooms offered by the conference are over $100 a
night. I will need a room for about 7 or 8 days, although any number of
days of shared or cheap housing would be greatly appreciated.

Please respond to

-- David Magerman
Stanford University
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Message 2: Root Structure Constraints

Date: Wed, 20 Mar 91 10:42:27 -0600
From: Gregory K. Iverson <>
Subject: Root Structure Constraints
Joe Salmons at Purdue University and I here at Milwaukee are looking to
document (relatively) clear cases of constraints on root structure that
may be at play in various languages. An example of what we have in mind
is the restriction reported for Quechua to the effect that only one of
two consonants in a CVC root may be glottalized (an anti-identity kind of
constraint), counterbalanced by the basically opposite situation reported
for Yucatec Maya where if one obstruent in a CVC root is glottalized then
so must the other be (a pro-identity kind of constraint). References to
cooccurrence restriction of this sort or others defined on root morphemes
would be appreciated.
Greg Iverson:
Joe Salmons:
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Message 3: Albanian

Date: Wed, 20 MAR 91 16:44 N
Subject: Albanian
Is there anybody interested on albanian language.
I would be very glad to know if somebody else work on this language and to
communicate with him.
I am particularly interested on anaphoric and deictic system of this
language and I'm working for a computational implementation based on
Discourse Representatiom Theory.
Thank you,
---Aleksander Murzaku
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Message 4: Finnish - please check address

Date: Wed, 20 Mar 91 16:33 GMT
From: Richard Ogden <>
Subject: Finnish - please check address
I mailed the other day asking for contacts with other people working on
Finnish. I'm not sure if the address I gave works. To be sure, here
it is again: 

Richard Ogden
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Message 5: Translation experiment -- request for help

Date: Wed, 20 Mar 91 16:35:26 GMT
From: Henry Thompson <>
Subject: Translation experiment -- request for help
In order to conduct an experiment on the evaluation of translation, I
need a large collection of translations of the same text. I am
therefore appealing via various electronic channels for help. If you
have the time, the ability and the inclination, please assist me by
translating one or both of the French passages given below into
English, and returning them to me.

Common courtesy, to say nothing of the requirements of the data
protection act, leads me to assure respondents that their names will
not be retained, nor will they appear in any subsequent publication.

I will, however, retain e-mail addresses, unless you request
otherwise, and there are a few questions about your linguistic
background which I would also be grateful for the answers to.

The two French texts below are followed by a pro-forma for you to use in
your response.

Thank you in advance

Henry Thompson
Human Communication Research Centre
University of Edinburgh


The first text, a business letter:

Objet: Colloque sur les Industries de la langue


Je vous remercie d'avoir bien voulu participer a ce colloque dont la
Commission tirera le plus grand profit et vous prie d'en trouver
ci-joint le compte-rendu.

J`attire votre attention sur le fait que le document LIFE qui vous a
ete distribue contient une bibliographie importante en annexe et je
vous serais particulierement reconnaissant si vous pouviez m'indiquer
quelques references meritant d'y etre ajoutees.

Vous remerciant de votre collaboration, je vous prie d'agreer,
Monsieur, l'expression de mes sentiments distingues.



The second text, an extract from a background paper for a meeting

2. L'impact economique des langues

Les langues constituent le vehicule de l'information, notamment de
l'information economique. La creation d'un marche unique europeen
demande que tous les partenaires participant aux activites economiques
puissent avoir acces aux informations mises a leur disposition dans
des langues autres que la leur et qu'inversement ils puissent communiquer
les informations qu'ils destinent a des personnes ne parlant pas leur
langue. C'est le probleme du transfert de l'information entre les
langues, autrement dit de la traduction.

Plus precisement, l'impact economique negatif du multilinguisme est
double pour les agents economiques europeens:

 * en tant que producteurs de biens et services, ils se heurtent a des
 obstacles supplementaires lorsqu'ils veulent exporter, ce qui se
 traduit par des pertes de temps et d'argent et, par voie de
 consequence, par une competitivite moindre;

 * en tant que consommateurs de biens et services, ils eprouvent des
 difficultes accrues a s'informer sur les developpements techniques les
 plus recents et a se procurer les equipements les plus modernes, ce
 qui a pour consequence un retard technologique et donc, cette fois
 encore, une perte de competitivite.

Par contre, le fait d'etre le seul bloc economique et industriel
important dans le monde a devoir trouver une solution a de tels
problemes peut aussi donner a l'Europe un avantage economique
considerable: elle a ici l'occasion unique d'acquerir un savoir-faire
precieux dans le domaine du traitement des langues, qu'elle pourra
mettre en valeur sur le plan economique (directement en vendant son
experience et ses realisations; indirectement en surmontant plus
aisement d'autres barrieres linguistiques dans ses relations avec des
partenaires economiques exterieurs: URSS, Chine, Monde arabe,
Amerique latine, etc.) et sur le plan social (en appliquant ses acquis
a l'integration des handicapes, etc.), dans le cadre d'activites tant
monolingues que multilingues.

Le developpement d`industries de la langue saines et profitables
assurerait a plus long terme une suprematie mondiale a l'Europe.


Please e-mail your responses to

with the Subject field as follows:

 Subject: Translation exercise

Please include answers to the following questions, and indicate if you
do NOT wish your e-mail address retained, e.g. so that I can let you
know how the experiment turns out.

1. Age:

2. Native language: English/French/Other(please specify); Version of
 that language (e.g. American/Scottish/English/Australian/...
 or French/French-Canadian/...).

3. For non-native speakers of English, source and duration of your
 knowledge of English: x years Primary/Secondary/University study;
 x years residence in English speaking country (which?); other.

4. For non-native speakers of French, source and duration of your
 knowledge of French: x years Primary/Secondary/University study;
 x years residence in French speaking country (which?); other.

5. If you have formally trained as a translator, please indicate in
 what way and for how long.

6. Anything else you think might be relevant, comments, etc.

 Henry Thompson, Human Communication Research Centre, University of Edinburgh
 2 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LW, SCOTLAND -- (44) 31 650-4440
 Fax: (44) 31 662-4912 ARPA: JANET:
 UUCP: ...!uunet!mcsun!ukc!cogsci!ht
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Message 6: Parsers for the Macintosh?

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 91 09:39 MDT
From: <REBWHLR%cc.usu.edumunnari.oz>
Subject: Parsers for the Macintosh?
I*m trying to find out what parsers are currently available
for a Mac II (si or ci). It*s primarily syntax parsers I*m looking for
but semantic/pragmatic parsers are also of interest. My research
concerns the relationship between lexical sense and syntactic environment.
So what I*d like to be able to do is search on a stretch of continuous
text, locate instances of a lexical item whose senses I*m attempting
to delimit and have the parser give me a relatively detailed
syntactic tree for the sentence in which the target lexical item occurs.

Is this pie in the sky? Or are there parsers out there that I could
be using now in my research? Where are they? How much do they cost?, etc.


Rebecca S. Wheeler
Utah State University
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Message 7: Transfixation

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 91 12:34:16 EST
From: Ellen Broselow <>
Subject: Transfixation
For an article for the handbook on morphology edited by Booij and Mugdan, I'm 
looking for examples of transfixation, where a transfix is defined by the 
editors as "a discontinuous affix that disrupts the base". I'd be grateful 
if people could steer me to relevant examples other than the familiar Semitic 
ones, Sierra Miwok, and Yawelmani. (Clearly questions of analysis arise here; 
I'm just looking for anything that might conceivably fit the definition.)
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Message 8: Middle Voice vs. Stative?

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 91 16:30:25 -0500
From: Scott C. Browne <brownesacf5.NYU.EDU>
Subject: Middle Voice vs. Stative?
 I'm looking for some info/guidance/clarification.
What is validity of using the term MIDDLE VOICE in English grammar? I have read 
about it in Kaplan(1989) and it seems that it's a stative use of the specific 
verbs- (1) a. These pictures sell well. 
 b. Elle photographs wonderfully. 
 c. the fabric folds nicely.
My questions are...
A) does the middle voice require present tense, i.e.
 " these pictures are selling well" (not middle voice?)
B) wouldn't most definitions of stative include those in (1) above?
B) wouldn't most definitions of stative include those in (1) above?
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Message 9: `would of'

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 91 17:24:30 -0800
From: Joyce Tang <>
Subject: `would of'
Dear linguists:

Apparently there is a change in progress in both American and 
British English, in which contracted `have' is turning into 
an inflection on modal auxiliaries (e.g. `could've', `would've', 
`should've'). I am interested in finding out if anyone has
studied this change, and, if so, what your thoughts have been.

Does this schwa-v syllable have underlying `have', or `of'; 
or is it simply a "filler" syllable?

Anyone who grades high school or undergraduate papers has probably
noted that this form often surfaces orthographically as `of'. 
How recent a development is this?

Does it occur only post-consonantally, as in `would've', 
`could've', `should've', or does it also occur
in other environments (e.g. `will've', `ought to've')?

Does it occur only in counterfactual contexts, or
is the same change occurring for other auxiliaries
(`will', `ought', etc.).

How does it interact with negation and with question forms?

Has anyone found the syllable to occur in places where it would 
not be expected as a contraction of 'have'? For example, I have
heard: "What would uv you videotaped?" 
Martin Harris noted, in 1984, what he called "a new form in
spoken English": "He really should've done that, but even
if he had've, it wouldn't've made any difference." (He also
noted that his son's written version was "had of.")

Is this change related to `would've' replacing `had' in 
dependent clauses? (E.g.:
"If I would've done that, then X would've been fine."
"You would've known somebody who would've gone there.")

When `would' is used in unexpected contexts, does `uv' go 
with it (E.g.: "You might not ever would uv done that")?

Are there data on pronunciation over the past few generations
and in different registers?

Is there any regularity to the uv vs. uh alternation
(e.g., `woulda' pre-consonantally, vs. `wouldve' 

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Joyce Tang
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Message 10: Spanish linguists

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 91 20:32:55 -0500
From: <pqj4331acf5.NYU.EDU>
Subject: Spanish linguists
 I would like to get in touch with linguists from Spain that also
use this list.
 I am a student at NYU from Spain. My address:
 Thank you,
 Pilar Jimenez
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Message 11: Subject-verb agreement in Arabic

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 91 13:38 GMT
Subject: Subject-verb agreement in Arabic
Can anyone give me some information on the conditions under which subject-
verb agreement fails to occur in Arabic, or on similar phenomena in other
languages? I understand that in Arabic it depends on word order, SVO or
SOV, and that it has been argued (but I don't know where or by whom) that
agreement does not take place where the subject is not in SPEC/IP, but
I don't know the precise details.
The reason is that I'm working on this phenomenon in Belfast English, where
a plural subject may have a singular verb (or more precisely I think default
agreement), provided it is not a pronoun and there is no subject-auxiliary
inversion -
(1) The eggs is/are cracked
(2) They are/*is cracked
(3) Are/*is the eggs cracked?
If anyone can give me information on similar phenomena in any other languages
I'd be grateful
Alison Henry
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