LINGUIST List 5.1310

Fri 18 Nov 1994

Disc: Language and social settings, Native speaker intuitions

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  1. Elsa Lattey, Re: 5.1285 Sentence a star, Data/judgments/teach, Language evolution
  2. , Re: 5.1301 Sum: Native speaker intuitions

Message 1: Re: 5.1285 Sentence a star, Data/judgments/teach, Language evolution

Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 16:27:05 Re: 5.1285 Sentence a star, Data/judgments/teach, Language evolution
From: Elsa Lattey <nesla01mailserv.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de>
Subject: Re: 5.1285 Sentence a star, Data/judgments/teach, Language evolution
 context

G. Gautier's "hsiang" example, picked up on by J. Guy, is
an example of what I have called UTTERANCE POTENTIAL
(Lattey, Elsa. Utterance Potential, Code-Switching and
Speech Errors. in: Langage et L'Homme 41 (Oct. 1979):
51-58). The effect of the environment is so strong that
it overrides even the usual speech habits of native-to-
native speaker in a "foreign language" environment. An
example from the German setting is the use of "Pause" and
"Pausenbrot" for "recess" and "sandwich for the recess
period" even among native English speakers in the setting
of the German school, WHILE THEY ARE SPEAKING ENGLISH.
This reflects the associations that go along with the
lexical item -- its being embedded in the local German
culture -- and seems to be a very natural social and
linguistic adjustment to a bi- or multilingual life
experience. I wouldn't call this language evolution,
though. It's not a feature of English, but of the
context of use.
Elsa Lattey, Univ. of Tuebingen, Germany
(latteymailserv.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de)
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Message 2: Re: 5.1301 Sum: Native speaker intuitions

Date: Tue, 15 Nov 1994 11:03:35 Re: 5.1301 Sum: Native speaker intuitions
From: <CONNOLLYmemstvx1.memphis.edu>
Subject: Re: 5.1301 Sum: Native speaker intuitions

Marilyn Silva recently wrote:

)Following this line of inquiry, Tony Bex offers an enlightening pair
)of examples:
)
)[1] The teacher asked the child to leave the room.
)[2] The child asked the teacher to leave the room.
)
)He contends that these sentences "are typically interpreted
)pragmatically taking into account perceived authority; i.e., in [1]
)the teacher TELLS the child to leave; in [2] the child asks WHETHER
)s/he can leave." In either case, it is likely that it is the child who
)will be leaving. I should note that this pair of examples proved to be
)particularly amusing and illuminating to my students--especially to
)those who, like me, found the 'permission' reading peculiar. Tony's
)examples demonstrated to them to what extent pragmatic knowledge plays
)a part in interpretation.

The contrast between [1] and [2] becomes particularly clear when the two
are shortened:

[1a] The teacher asked the child to.
[1b] ??The teacher asked the child.

[2a] The child asked the teacher.
[2b] *The child asked the teacher to.

(Needless to say, [1b] and [2b] are acceptable when they do not correspond
in meaning to [1] and [2].)

 --Leo Connolly
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