LINGUIST List 3.431

Fri 22 May 1992

Disc: Adjuncts

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  1. "Ellen F. Prince", Re: 3.416 Rules, Adjuncts
  2. , rules for adjuncts?

Message 1: Re: 3.416 Rules, Adjuncts

Date: Wed, 20 May 92 12:28:37 -0Re: 3.416 Rules, Adjuncts
From: "Ellen F. Prince" <>
Subject: Re: 3.416 Rules, Adjuncts

>Date: Sat, 16 May 1992 01:33 GMT+1000
>Subject: Re: 3.408 Adjuncts
>re Michael Newman's query and the responses:
>In my English "when" is permissable as a rel. cl. marker and C.L. Baker. 1989.
>English Syntax. explicitly says so on p. 238. I don't agree that any kind
>of elision has taken place or that it is an adverbial clause of time.
>The problem if there is one is simply the collocation of the two words
>"time" and "when" which don't sit comfortably together to the English ear.
>Consider for acceptability:
>1) I remember the first occasion when we played golf.
>The rejection of "when" in the sentence Newman cites:
>2) I don't remember the first time when I played golf.
>is made not on structural or syntactic grounds but purely on the basis I
>suggest that "time" means "when" and thus sounds awkward....

for me, _when_ requires that the activity in the subordinate clause have
(relevant) duration. i have no problem with 'the collocation of _time_ and
_when_', so long as the duration (rather than, say, the enumeration) of
the activity is relevant. thus, 1 above is a little strange for me, as it
stands. it would be better if it continued in such a way as to make the
duration relevant, e.g.:

2'. i remember the first occasion when we played golf and we had that big
 fight with that bunch of loud-mouthed people ahead of us and...


3. do you remember the day she was born? (possible answer: yes, it was may 4.)
4. do you remember the day when she was born? (possible answer: yes, everybody
 was hysterical and mary wound up driving herself to the hospital and bill
 brought along champagne...)

the answer to 4 could also be an answer to 3 but the answer to 3 could not,
for me, be a felicitous answer to 4.

the same for _time_:

5. that was the time when/?that/?0 roosevelt was president.
6. that was the time *when/that/0 roosevelt died.

since _nth time_ is always an enumeration, it's weird, for me, with _when_:

7. that was the first time *when/that/0 roosevelt was president.
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Message 2: rules for adjuncts?

Date: Fri, 22 May 92 01:15:02 BSrules for adjuncts?
From: <>
Subject: rules for adjuncts?

Lloyd Holliday (3048/4) is right in saying that what makes the grammaticality
 I remember the first time when we played golf

suspicious is the contiguity of "time" and "when". But it is strange that
Lloyd Holliday claims that the problem is that "time" and "when"
>sound awkward

It is not a phonetic problem. The problem is one of semantic overlap, as also
between "place" and "where" in

 I remember the first place where we played golf.

This colligational weakness of such pairs should come as no surprise to lexical
semanticists, who will be aware of the number of shared lexical features. I
assume that Eric Schiller (3048/5) really was grinning when he thought of the
>flexibility< of English speakers in >confusing< "which"/"that" and
"that"/"when". I wonder he didn't ally himself in spirit with Saussure's
marvelling at the English omission of such words completely.

 I remember the first time *which/that we played golf
 I remember the first time [e] we played golf.

No confusion allowed there in English, unless it is the preference for
parataxis anyway. By the way, does this make English a peasant language?

Lloyd Holliday is also right to conclude that "day"
>is less basically a word like "time"
concluding that this made it easier to assign unquestioning grammaticality to

 I remember the first day when I played golf.

What about a formal anlysis, lexical semanticists?

A look at French data suggests the difference we might hypothesize for English
"when" and "that".

 Je me rappelle la premiEre fois oU nous avons jouE au golf
 ("I remember the first time when we played golf")

where there is a clear indication of the adjunction of an adverbial clause
beginning with the fronted adverb "oU" (literally ="where", by the way). When
we look at the French alternative

 Je me rappelle la premiEre fois que nous avons jouE au golf
 ("I remember the first time that we played golf")

it becomes obvious that we are not dealing with anything other than a
subordinate clause, introduced by the all-purpose subordinator "que". Thus the
difference between "when" and "that", as between also "where" and "that", is
that between an explicit adverbial clause complementizer and no more than a
subordinate clause complementizer.

I wish here to add some further contrasts and similarities between French and
English. In doing so, I hope to throw more light on the fronted item which
introduces the adverbial clause. In English it is possible to say

 John came to where they were playing golf.

Here the preposition "to" can govern the adverbial clause. In French it cannot

 *Jean est venu A oU on jouait au golf
 ("John came to where they were playing golf")

In French a preposition must govern a noun, to which a clause may then be
adjoined. A grammatical sentence in French is possible only if the noun
implicit in "oU" is overt

 Jean est venu A l'endroit oU on jouait au golf
 ("John came to the place where they were playing golf")

A preposition in French must govern a noun, and such a noun must be overt in a
finite clause. Yet, like English, a preposition can govern a clause, without
the intercession of a noun, if that clause is non-finite

 Jean est venu A [retrouver son ami]
 John managed [to find his friend]

When Lloyd Holliday calls "that"
>perhaps...the strongest marker in English of restrictiveness
I think he must be reflecting a sense of the "ordinariness" of "that" or
(French) "que" , neither of which takes from the lexical content of the time or
place word to which a clause is adjoined.
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