LINGUIST List 3.510

Thu 18 Jun 1992

Disc: Natural Phonology, Comparatives, Predicates

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Rick Wojcik, Re: 3.497 Natural Phonology
  2. Jason Johnston, Re: 3.502 Predicates, Comparatives
  3. Ivan A Derzhanski, 3.502 Predicates, Comparatives

Message 1: Re: 3.497 Natural Phonology

Date: Mon, 15 Jun 92 12:30:24 PDRe: 3.497 Natural Phonology
From: Rick Wojcik <>
Subject: Re: 3.497 Natural Phonology

John Coleman responds to Geoff Nathan:

> A matter of opinion about what are the interesting things that happen
> in real speech production. I venture to predict that Nathan cannot
> name more than one or two "interesting things that happen in real
> speech production" accounted for by Natural Phonology but not
> addressed by someone else in some other framework.

The question isn't whether some other theory addresses speech production. The
problem is that speech production can only be addressed in other
frameworks as "secondary" or "external" evidence. The reason for this, at
least in the generative world, is that theory is grounded in intuitions about
well-formed linguistic structure. NP grounds itself in actual speech produc-
tion. It attempts to explain linguistic constraints on articulation as a
direct result of phonological processes. In fact, a phonological process is
every bit as much of a speech impediment as, say, a lisp or stutter is.
More traditional linguistic theories do try to address production, acquisition,
errors, etc., but the nature of the link between language production and
grammar is left vague. How do you link the speech production of language
learners with the development of internal judgments about what is well-formed?
So, although linguists may address the same issues that NP does, those issues
may not clearly lie within the purview of their theories. E.g., although
phonological theory is clearly relevant to foreign accent--the nature of the
relevance continues to elude traditional phonologists.
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Message 2: Re: 3.502 Predicates, Comparatives

Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1992 09:19:01 Re: 3.502 Predicates, Comparatives
From: Jason Johnston <>
Subject: Re: 3.502 Predicates, Comparatives

Re Allan C. Wechsler's posting regarding the following "lovely sentence"
which he shares "without further comment":

(1) I think this is rarer than Allan does.

Am I missing the joke, or is this a dialectal thing? To me the sentence
seems neither ungrammatical nor unacceptable, nor even particularly
infelicitous. It is on a par with (2)-(4):

(2) I think this is rarer than Allan thinks it is.
(3) I think this is rarer than I used to believe [it is].
(4) I think this is rarer than people generally admit [it is].

Jason Johnston,
University of Sydney,
NSW 2006 Australia
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Message 3: 3.502 Predicates, Comparatives

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 92 21:17:27 BS3.502 Predicates, Comparatives
From: Ivan A Derzhanski <>
Subject: 3.502 Predicates, Comparatives

> Date: Mon, 15 Jun 92 08:44:32 PDT
> From: Rick Wojcik <>
> David Pesetsky responds to Ronnie Wilbur's query about Russian:
> >
> > One datum that might become an argument for an empty verb is that
> > Russian
> > <...> does not allow the empty verb before a movement site.
> > 	*Masha -- xoroshij lingvist, kakov Misha tozhe.
> > 	Masha good linguist, which Misha also
> >
> > 	Masha -- xoroshij lingvist, kakovym Misha tozhe byl.
> > 				 which Misha also was
> I'm not sure about the above sentences, since the first calls out
> for a present tense marker "est'".

It doesn't.

> But my Russian isn't good enough to tell me that you can
> tack "est'" on the end and come out with a grammatical sentence.

You can't. - I'm not quite a native speaker, just a near-native one,
but I'm pretty confident about this.

> 	U kogo -- karandash? "Who has a pencil?"
> 	U kogo est' karandash? "Who has the pencil?"

No, it is the other way around. (You may take that dash out.)

> I have never heard of a language in which the
> copula did not behave like an auxiliary verb, when given a chance.

I'm afraid this generalisation depends too much on what you mean by a
copula, and what you mean by behaving like an auxiliary verb.

 `If ye hiv ears oan yer heid - then use them tae lissen.' (The Glasgow Gospel)
Ivan A Derzhanski (;
* Centre for Cognitive Science, 2 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LW, UK
* Cowan House, Pollock Halls, 18 Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh EH16 5BD, UK
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