LINGUIST List 3.97

Fri 31 Jan 1992

Disc: Postposed Modifiers, Synaesthesia

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  1. Ron Smyth, Re: 3.83 Postposed Modifiers
  2. , synaesthesia

Message 1: Re: 3.83 Postposed Modifiers

Date: Tue, 28 Jan 92 00:10:06 ESRe: 3.83 Postposed Modifiers
From: Ron Smyth <>
Subject: Re: 3.83 Postposed Modifiers

I had an interesting reaction to Brian Linson's comments on Lisa Russell's
observations about postposed modifiers. Although I am a psycholinguist with
a clear preference for gathering lots of data, I also acknowledge the
value of linguists' intuitions, including intuitions about contexts of
use. To the extent that Russell's claim is based on her knowledge of this
structure, it should have about the same status as, for example, the claim
that coreference is blocked for "I knew him when Harry was just a boy". Such
claims are in fact little theories that can be subjected to empirical test,
in this case by recording such utterances, or perhaps by gathering judgments
from others about it.
Ron Smyth
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Message 2: synaesthesia

Date: Mon, 27 Jan 92 15:10
From: <>
Subject: synaesthesia

In reply to Victor Raskin - and maybe others too (I have not read every entry
under this heading) - I'd make the following comment.

The phenomena of synaesthesia, as I understand it, is not cultural; or at
least, not necessarily so. To suppose that one could ever hope to find a
uniform set of colours for sounds seems quite bizarre.

I have synaesthesia which colours all alpha-numeric characters; as does my
sister, and as did my father (mother did not, brother does not). The colours
we each have/d differ.

A school-based experiment produced only very few who even knew what I was
talking about - and later reference to psychology texts, and published papers
on the topic confirmed my impression - a small percent of people have this
form of synaesthesia.

It appears to be neurological, and possibly hereditary.

So, how do we know Rimbaud was talking about sounds, not shapes?
Why should we assume that there should be any uniformity?

If anyone else sees black print on a white page as multifariously coloured,
please let me know - I'll submit a summary to the LINGUIST list if it looks
like being of general interest.

William Edmondson
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