LINGUIST List 3.262

Wed 18 Mar 1992

Disc: Text, Idioms, OVS

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. "Larry G. Hutchinson", Re: 3.245 Intro. Texts
  2. Paul Saka, Re 3.245 Idioms
  3. Eric Schiller, Re: 3.240 French Eggs, Idioms
  4. AHARRIS - Alan Harris, RE: 3.240 French Eggs, Idioms
  5. Dan Everett, Re: 3.257 Spanish el/la, Teaching Linguistics, OVS
  6. John Cowan, OVS

Message 1: Re: 3.245 Intro. Texts

Date: Thu, 12 Mar 92 09:17:38 -0Re: 3.245 Intro. Texts
From: "Larry G. Hutchinson" <hutchincs.umn.edu>
Subject: Re: 3.245 Intro. Texts

I have been using O'Grady, Dobrovolsky, and Aronoff for several years, and I
am very happy with it. It gets really good reviews from my students. There is
more in it than I could possibly cover in a quarter, and I cover additional
topics of my own, but the book is so readable that many students report they
read it all.

Previous comments about the intended audience are apt, but here's an audience
worth thinking about: I belong to a faculty dining club that frowns on having
more than two members from any one department, and I am not ashamed to loan
copies of ODA to any members who ask what the hell linguistics is. I even did
 this with one of my own deans! I would not steer them on to Fromkin and
Rodman. Journalists I am not sure about.
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Message 2: Re 3.245 Idioms

Date: Thu, 12 Mar 92 11:53:42 -0Re 3.245 Idioms
From: Paul Saka <sakacogsci.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: Re 3.245 Idioms

	"Off the cuff" CAN be used attributively: "Off-the-cuff
remarks can be embarrassing."
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Message 3: Re: 3.240 French Eggs, Idioms

Date: Thu, 12 Mar 92 23:18:50 CSRe: 3.240 French Eggs, Idioms
From: Eric Schiller <schillertira.uchicago.edu>
Subject: Re: 3.240 French Eggs, Idioms

I think Mark Mandel is on the right track.

I mused recently that we use hyhphenation to justify syntactically
unacceptable forms in pre-nominal position, that is, we sort of turn
it into morphology. Funny things happen in prenominal position, and I
will deal with some such matters at CLS, but meanwhile:

* a not considerable sum
 an inconsiderable sum
* a not quite clear answer
 (oops, that is supposed to be not starred)
* a not clear answer

this sort of stuff was pointed out to me by Jim McCawley.

Eric Schiller
University of Chicago
(sapir and tira are back - they have been down almost a week)
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Message 4: RE: 3.240 French Eggs, Idioms

Date: Sat, 14 Mar 1992 07:28:15 RE: 3.240 French Eggs, Idioms
From: AHARRIS - Alan Harris <vcspc005VAX.CSUN.EDU>
Subject: RE: 3.240 French Eggs, Idioms

this is re: off the cuff.. I am at the home of Valley Talk at CSUN. One of my
students said the other day in relation to a student friend of his that he was
". . . a way far out,never quite with us when we are all in sync sort of dude"
shall we play can you top this?

Alan C. Harris, Ph. D. telno: off:
Professor, Communication/Linguistics 818-885-2853/2874
Speech Communication Department hm:
California State University, Northridge 818-780-8872
SPCH CSUN fax: 818-885-2663
Northridge, CA 91330
 Internet: AHARRISVAX.CSUN.EDU
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Message 5: Re: 3.257 Spanish el/la, Teaching Linguistics, OVS

Date: Tue, 17 Mar 92 09:20:16 -0Re: 3.257 Spanish el/la, Teaching Linguistics, OVS
From: Dan Everett <deverpogo.isp.pitt.edu>
Subject: Re: 3.257 Spanish el/la, Teaching Linguistics, OVS

OVS languages listed in the Cambridge encylopedia are not so clear as
they are there presented. The strongest case is for Hixkaryana. The others
are all disputed by people that work on them.

Satere-Mawe (Tupi trunk) is not OSV (contrary to F Brandon's posting).
However, like many languages in the Amazon and elsewhere which have
rich morphological systems, word order is fairly free in many cases.

Arawan languages (Banawa, Jamamadi, Madija/Culina, Jarawara, Zuruaha,
Deni, and Paumari) tend to be OSV. However, no one has seriously
investigated reflexive structures in these languages (something I
hope to do in field work next year). In Jamamadi, for example, reflexive
word order is SOV, while non-reflexive is OSV. This could indicate that
OSV is perhaps more natural pragmatically, but that configurational
structure involving c-command is necessary, requiring the object (reflexive)
to appear in the VP to be c-commanded by its antecedent (the subject).
The point is, nobody really knows.

Makuan languages (e.g. Kama, Nadeb, Yahup) also seem to be OSV. The
only really reliable study of these languages is by Helen Weir of
SIL, who studies Nadeb. Her MA thesis at the University of Campinas
(under the direction of Frank Brandon) is one of the best studies of
negation in any nonIndoEuropean language, certainly the best study
ever done of any Lowland SouthAmerican negation system. Moreover, her
recent work on incorporation is a fascinating portrait of Nadeb
syntax, raising all sorts of neat problems for current theories of
incorporation (cf. her article in Doris Payne's *Amazonian Linguistics*
by UT Press).

In short, descriptions of most Amazonian languages (the only cases of
OVS or OSV I am aware of) almost never include any syntactic
argumentation and are almost strictly descriptions of superficial
syntax, so that one should not place too much weight on them for
typological or UG claims. The authors of these studies usually are
missionaries concerned with describing the basic superficial features,
not at all a `less worthy' goal in any sense, just one that the reader
of such studies should be aware of. Moreover, even when argumentation
is provided, it is often limited to discourse or pragmatic
considerations and not is really syntactic, at least in a generative
sense. Compare, for example, claims that Yagua (Peba-Yaguan, Peru) is
VSO, with my 1989 Lg article arguing that it is SVO.

Anyway, there are 170 languages spoken in the Brazilian Amazon and
we only have (LIMITED) data on about 60 of these. So, there is
plenty of room for more researchers.

One last note on the Amazon: Brazilian President Collor's much-publicized
granting of a large reserve to the Yanomami has been shelved by the
Brazilian Congress and no current action is planned, leaving the miners
outnumbering the Y people by a huge margin in the traditional tribal
areas.

Dan Everett
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Message 6: OVS

Date: Tue, 17 Mar 92 12:05:20 ESOVS
From: John Cowan <cowanuunet.UU.NET>
Subject: OVS

I have never really understood the necessity for talking of object-first
languages, using this term as a cover for OVS, OSV, and VOS languages.
What reason is there to believe that such a language actually has a different
order rather than believing that it takes a different view of what its
verbs mean? Using Okrand's study of Klingon as the readily-available
example (:-)):

	puq legh yaS
	child sees officer
	The officer sees the child.

What reason is there to gloss "legh" as "sees" rather than "is-seen-by"?
It seems to me a mere prejudice to believe that seeing is "inherently"
more natural, and more deserving of a single morpheme, than being seen.
So talk of the rarity of object-first languages can be reduced to talk
of the rarity of "is-seen-by" as a single morpheme with "sees" as the
derived form.

--
cowansnark.thyrsus.com		...!uunet!cbmvax!snark!cowan
		e'osai ko sarji la lojban
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