LINGUIST List 4.57

Mon 01 Feb 1993

Disc: Subjects and Objects

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  1. RichardHudson50, idioms and subject-object asymmetries
  2. Caoimhin P. ODonnaile, Subject/object ambiguity in Breton

Message 1: idioms and subject-object asymmetries

Date: Sat, 30 Jan 93 16:45:33 +0idioms and subject-object asymmetries
From: RichardHudson50 <uclyrahucl.ac.uk>
Subject: idioms and subject-object asymmetries


Alexis Manaster-Ramer asks if any of us believes there's an asymmetry between
subjects and objects regarding idioms. I do, and I bet lots of others do too.
Even if we can find the odd example - and I think Alexis' "The vultures are
circling X" is pretty convincing - it still leaves an enormous asymmetry
between subjects and objects: subjects are vastly less likely to be part of
an idiom than objects are. Why shouldn't a statistical asymmetry count?


Dick Hudson
Dept of Phonetics and Linguistics,
University College London,
Gower Street,
London WC1E 6BT
(071) 387 7050 ext 3152
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Message 2: Subject/object ambiguity in Breton

Date: Sun, 31 Jan 93 01:02:50 GMSubject/object ambiguity in Breton
From: Caoimhin P. ODonnaile <caoimhinsabhal-mor-ostaig.ac.uk>
Subject: Subject/object ambiguity in Breton


Gaelic, another Celtic language, also has subject/object ambiguity, but
in certain relative clauses.

 An fear a chonaic mo mhac
 The man which saw my sun

can mean either "The man whom my son saw" or "The man who saw my son",
and is just out equally likely to mean either.

 Kevin Donnelly
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