LINGUIST List 4.696

Mon 13 Sep 1993

Disc: Marginal Utterances

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  1. Bill Bennett, Marginal utterances
  2. Bill Bennett, Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances

Message 1: Marginal utterances

Date: Fri, 10 Sep 93 23:51:58 BSMarginal utterances
From: Bill Bennett <>
Subject: Marginal utterances

Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances

This is a reply to Ellen Prince and Robert Wachal. Robert was good enough to
find my example
 That is the linguist whom we think seems obscure

acceptable, though "bookish". I would point out that my data are exclusively
from written English: where introspection plays a particular role for all of us
who are literate. I am surprised that Ellen will take no account of the
interplay between intuition and introspection, but glad that she makes a
distinction between these aspects of cognition which I share. By contrast,
though, I wish that linguists regarded the interplay as more important than
they seem to do.
 I do not see what Ellen's rule-of-thumb does for my example:
> use 'whom' unless it immediately precedes a finite verb
Since she exemplifies this rule with the sentence
 ...whom do you think you are?
she may have meant "transitive"(?) - there is surely no non-finite verb in
either example, but -whom- is there in a place where a naive speaker-listener
might assume a "transitive" verb and "government" with "case". But -think-
governs S not NP, doesn't it? I believe that what is happening in the
interpretation/utterance of data like my example (and also like Ellen's) is
confusion of domains of government. The example which I use to illustrate the
 [I like [him to be away]] because I dislike him.

 Note that my example could have been (and would be in speech)

 That is the linguist that/who we think seems obscure
but was not

 That is the linguist that/who/*whom, we think, seems obscure

 Ellen asked about my theory of language behaviour. My (syntactic)
model-theory is GB.

My theory is drawn from -Aspects- p.3, minus 1 "homogeneity", and with
de-entification of "language" and "speech-community", and rescue of some
"performance" attributes. Now, that's trailing my coat!!

 By the way, is no-one else going to reply to the originator of this question
of marginal utterances?

Bill Bennett
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Message 2: Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 93 18:36:11 BSRe: 4.665 Marginal utterances
From: Bill Bennett <>
Subject: Re: 4.665 Marginal utterances

It is hard to be concise without being obscure. Here are two examples of
-whom-, where it is a relativized cognate of ECM (which I mark as [-t-])

 The fact that a defendant, whom justices expected [-t-] to
 be in court, was unable to attend....
 The Independent (4/5/92).

 ...the need to please the person who loved you. Or more
 importantly whom you wanted [-t-] to love you.
 Charlotte Bingham -The Business-, Bantam
 Books, 1989
 Now, over to YOU.
Quirk et al (1985:368) commented on the following example:
 The Ambassador, whom we hope will arrive at 10 a.m....
as follows 'Here the relative pronoun is the subject of -will arrive- but is
felt to be in object territory in relation to -we hope- embedded in the
relative clause (cf. -we hope that she will arrive at 10 a.m.-')

Quirk and his colleagues were using a non-linguistic register. If YOU are a
convinced GBist, how would you translate the description?

Am I wrong to be perturbed at the absence of original responses to the
enquiry about the linguist's approach to marginal utterances? I felt and still
feel that some response was called for. While I treasure the animadversions on
the response which I submitted, I am puzzled that there appears to be no other
work in the linguistic world on the analysis of questionable utterances!

Bill Bennett.
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