LINGUIST List 4.681

Thu 09 Sep 1993

Disc: Marginal utterances

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  1. "Ellen F. Prince", Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances
  2. wachal robert s, Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances

Message 1: Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances

Date: Fri, 03 Sep 1993 17:57:00 Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances
From: "Ellen F. Prince" <ellencentral.cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances

reply to bill bennett:

i don't know the facts of british english, nor do i know your theory of
language behavior, but, in american english, sentences like:

> That is the linguist whom we think seems obscure.

occur in the self-conscious discourse of those english speakers whose native
dialect does not mark the case distinction in wh-words, which includes the vast
majority of americans, at least. i believe the sentences can be 'accounted for'
without recourse to 'clause', 'government', or 'case', in any deep sense. the
generalization seems to be: when nervous about your english, use 'whom' unless
it immediately precedes a finite verb. this also gives us:

 Just whom do you think you are?

this is akin to another self-conscious pattern that says something like 'be
uncomfortable about 'me' unless it immediately follows a verb or preposition',
which gives us things like 'he was staying with john and myself/i', 'between
you and i,...'

fascinating tho they may be, i think these things tell us mainly about why we
shouldn't consider conscious introspection as having anything to do with the
underlying (unconscious) intuitions that are to be accounted for by a theory of
linguistic competence, since these speakers' 'real' grammar does not appear to
need 'rules' of this type at all.
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Message 2: Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances

Date: Sat, 4 Sep 1993 09:11:37 -Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances
From: wachal robert s <rwachalumaxc.weeg.uiowa.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances

Such structures in which "to be" can be inserted are often permissible
only in British Enlish. The one cited below sounds perfectly native to my
American ears though possibly somewhat bookish.

>
> That is the linguist whom we think seems obscure.
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