LINGUIST List 4.865

Wed 20 Oct 1993

Disc: Null object

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  1. MARC PICARD, Re: 4.861 Null object
  2. MARC PICARD, Re: 4.861 Null object
  3. guy modica, null object

Message 1: Re: 4.861 Null object

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1993 10:35:29 Re: 4.861 Null object
From: MARC PICARD <PICARDVax2.Concordia.CA>
Subject: Re: 4.861 Null object

 John Goldsmith was right to point out that JE L'AI COUCHE AVEC
can't possibly mean 'I slept with him/her' but that doesn't mean it's
ungrammatical or nonsensical. In fact, it means 'I put put him/her to bed
with him/her'. Take the following scenario. A couple with two children are
spending the night at grandma's house. Come bedtime, the father takes the
children upstairs to find them a place to sleep. When he comes down, the
mother asks him where he put Jeannot and he tells her he put him in the
back bedroom. Then she asks him where he put Pierrot and he says: "Je l'ai
couche avec".
 I'd never heard of the expression 'come with' before this discussion
started but if I'm right in deducing that the intended object is always
first person singular or plural (and please tell me if I'm wrong), then there
is very little in common with French 'venir avec' (or any other structure
of this type) which can only mean 'to come with him/her/it'

Marc Picard
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Message 2: Re: 4.861 Null object

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1993 10:56:55 Re: 4.861 Null object
From: MARC PICARD <PICARDVax2.Concordia.CA>
Subject: Re: 4.861 Null object

 Dominique Estival's observations concerning VENIR AVEC and COME
WITH would certainly not apply to North American French. Here's something
you might hear any hour of any day of any week:
Nicole - A sort-tu encore avec Bozo? 'is she still going out with Bozo?'
Monique - Ben sur, meme qu'a reste avec. 'sure, she's even living with him'

Marc Picard
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Message 3: null object

Date: WED, 20 OCT 93 14:22:26 JSnull object
From: guy modica <GMODICAJPNNUCBA.BITNET>
Subject: null object

I've been watching this discussion and waiting for someone else to make this
observation, but none have (my ideolect likes plural agreement here). Most of
the commentary has centered around possible influences for the English term
"come with" (including my good buddy - whoops, BUDETTE - Candace McKenna, to
whom I say hello). Why are we considering this an instance of NULL OBJECT, I
would like to ask? (And ask I will!)

I come from Chicago originally, and as I told Richard Hahn, I use "burgle" -and
am not adverse to "coming with". I do not see this lexical item as some indica-
tion of null object structures leaking into ENglish. This looks to me to be
clearly a case of a periphrastic verb with no object specified in its subcat
frame. No different to me than "take off" or "come along" or "tune in, turn on,
drop out". Many people seem to be parsing this structure as:

/v' COME /pp WITH e //

I'd like to suggest the simpler:

/v COME WITH /

Verb incorporation, or reanalysis or what have you, this single item appears
interesting only because (seemingly) many speakers are unaccustomed to it.
The fact that it is regional only strengthens my sense that this is just a
variation in lexicon rather than some shift in the syntax of ENglish. THe
argument that English is not fundamentally "minus null object" would need
a larger class of data to support it. Maybe some verbs like "pick up" or
"write down" in attestations without an object. With this class in hand,
one might discover that the possible objects constitute a semantically re-
stricted set, which might motivate the emergence of an intransitive peri-
phrastic as a lexical item.

guy modica
gmodicajpnnucba.bitnet
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