LINGUIST List 4.1026

Fri 03 Dec 1993

Qs: Relative clauses, English dialects, Speaker, Classifiers

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  1. David Gil, QUERY: RELATIVE CLAUSES
  2. Gwyn Williams, English dialects
  3. , speaker needed
  4. David Gil, QUERY: CLASSIFIERS

Message 1: QUERY: RELATIVE CLAUSES

Date: Thu, 02 Dec 93 17:27:22 SSQUERY: RELATIVE CLAUSES
From: David Gil <ELLGILDNUSVM.bitnet>
Subject: QUERY: RELATIVE CLAUSES


In some South-East Asian languages, a relative clause
construction corresponding to, say, English

(1) Mary ate the apple that John bought in the market
 with a knife

has a structure of the following form:

(2) JOHN BOUGHT APPLE IN MARKET, MARY ATE pro WITH KNIFE

that is to say, it consists of two apparently complete
clauses, the first corresponding to the embedded
(relative) clause in (1) but without a gap, the second
corresponding to the matrix clause in (1) but containing
a pronoun referring back to an NP in the first clause.
Syntactically, the two clauses appear to be of equal
prominence, however the intonation contour is that of
one sentence (not two), and semantically the first
clause is clearly subordinated to the second, just as in
(1).

My query: has anybody encountered anything like this,
either in "real life" or else in the literature? Any
data, references, thoughts, etc. would be greatly
appreciated.

Some further comments. To the best of my knowledge,
relative clause constructions come in 3 major structural
varieties (abstracting away from word order):

"ORDINARY" RELATIVES (EITHER POSTNOMINAL OR PRENOMINAL)
[s ... [np NP (rp) [s ... (pro) ... ] ] ... ]
Here the relative clause is adjacent to the head noun,
except perhaps for an intervening relative pronoun. The
relativized NP in the relative clause is either deleted,
or else it leaves a resumptive pronoun behind. In some
cases, the verb in the relative clause may have a
special marking.

CORELATIVES
[s ... wh NP ... ] [s ... dem NP ... ]
Here the relative clause may occur outside the matrix
clause (typically in front). The relativized NP occurs
twice: in the relative clause, with a WH-word, and in
the matrix clause with a demonstrative. For example

 John bought which apple in market, Mary ate that
 apple with knife

INTERNAL RELATIVES
[s ... [ np [s ... (rel) NP ... ] ] ... ]
Here the relative clause occurs instead of the
relativized NP, in the position the latter would
naturally occupy within the matrix clause. The
relativized NP occurs only in the relative clause; in
some cases it is marked with a relative marker. For
example:

 John bought Mary ate apple with knife in market

Now sentence (2), the one I'm interested in, has some
properties of corelatives, and other properties of
internal relatives. Under one analysis, it could be
viewed as a corelative without the usual WH and
demonstrative markings. Under an alternative analysis,
it could be seen as an internal relative in which the
relative clause has undergone left-dislocation, leaving
a pronoun behind. Both analyses are problematical. Any
ideas out there?

David Gil
ellgildnusvm.bitnet
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Message 2: English dialects

Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1993 18:36:18 +English dialects
From: Gwyn Williams <gwynipied.tu.ac.th>
Subject: English dialects


 I am teaching a linguistics course on "Varieties of English" in
Thailand. I am looking for word lists or texts that illustrate
different (non-standard) dialects of English. Does anyone know of the
existence of such material or a relevant database on the Net?

Please reply to me privately. Any assistance most appreciated.

Mr Gwyn Williams
Department of Linguistics
Thammasat University
Bangkok
<gwynipied.tu.ac.th>
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Message 3: speaker needed

Date: Thu, 2 Dec 93 9:38:45 CST speaker needed
From: <jlillymerle.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject: speaker needed

Hello from Northwestern!
 The Language and Cognition program has chosen "bilingualism" as its
topic for the winter quarter colloquia. The program usually hosts four or
five speakers during a quarter. We are interested in finding those
who would be willing to present recent findings to students and faculty
in the L&C program at Northwestern. Any suggestions by others for topics
or speakers are welcome as well.

Thanks in advance,
Jacqueline L. Lilly
jlillymerle.acns.nwu.edu

Michelle Weinberg
shellibabel.ling.nwu.edu
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Message 4: QUERY: CLASSIFIERS

Date: Fri, 03 Dec 93 14:02:35 SSQUERY: CLASSIFIERS
From: David Gil <ELLGILDNUSVM.bitnet>
Subject: QUERY: CLASSIFIERS


In languages with numeral classifiers, the most common construction
is of the form (abstracting away from word order)

(1) [NUM CL N]

ie. a tripartite construction consisting of numeral, classifier and noun
in some order.

However, in some languages with numeral classifiers, there exists an
alternative "bare classifier" construction of the form

(2) [CL N]

ie. a bipartite construction consisting only of classifier and noun.

The purpose of this query is to solicit any information, data, thoughts
or references that anybody out there may have on the bare classifier
construction in (2).

So far, I have come across bare classifier constructions in two
languages.
In Vietnamese they appear to be quite common; in all the examples I
have seen cited, the interpretation of the resulting NP is singular, and
in most or all of the examples it is also definite. For example "con
cho" "CL dog" "the dog".
In Mandarin they are much less frequent, and seem to be
constrained in their distribution in various ways; from informant
work here in Singapore, the interpretation of the resulting NP is
singular (like Vietnamese) but invariably indefinite (unlike
Vietnamese).
(Note: for a construction to qualify as a bare-classifier construction, it
is necessary that the numeral classifier not double as a member of
some other category, eg. noun. For example, in Vietnamese, many
classifiers are also nouns; however, some classifiers aren't, and it's
the latter that provide the true examples of bare-classifier
constructions.)

So here are some more specific questions:

(a) To speakers of Vietnamese: is it really the case that bare-
classifier NPs are always singular and definite?

(b) To speakers of (or linguists familiar with) numeral-classifier
languages other than Vietnamese and Chinese: does your language
have bare-classifier constructions? Please note that I would be
equally appreciative of negative evidence (especially such that I
could quote) to the effect that language X DOESN'T have bare-
classifier constructions. So what about Japanese? Korean? Khmer?
Thai? Any other numeral-classifier languages?

(c) To speakers of languages with bare-classifier constructions: any
examples, information, references, thoughts, etc. would be extremely
welcome.

Thanks,

David Gil
ellgildnusvm.bitnet

PS Thanks to all those who answered a previous query of mine on
classifiers and constituency, and apologies for not having posted the
summary yet; my current intention is to post a joint summary for
that query and the present one.
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