LINGUIST List 5.431

Fri 15 Apr 1994

Qs: Old English & GB, Kashmiri, Gerunds, SCHWAB & SHICHI

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  1. , Chomskyan INFLo in Old English Modals
  2. JEAN RUTTEN, Kashmiri
  3. , Re: Gerunds
  4. Lindsay Endell, Reference wanted

Message 1: Chomskyan INFLo in Old English Modals

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 94 02:49:52 PDChomskyan INFLo in Old English Modals
From: <>
Subject: Chomskyan INFLo in Old English Modals


I would be delighted if anyone proficient in Old English verb structure
and GB theory would comment on the following diachronic interpretation.

First, there is the following historical movement (where strong Gmc
preterites shifted to the precursors of contemporary modal verbs about
1500 years ago, viz., new preterites with weak endings):

 OLD Infinitive | Present | Present | Pret Sg | Pret Pl
 to avail *deogan | 3P sg | 3P pl | deag | dugon
 to know | | | cuthe | cunnon
 to be able *magan | | | meahge | magon
 to be obligated *sceolan | | | sceal | sculon
 ----<-----<-----/ / /
 ===================== -----<---/---<-----<-----<-------/ /
 NEW Infinitive / / ---<----<----<--/
 / / /
 to avail dugan | deag | dugon |
 to know cunnan | can | cunnon |
 to be able magan | maeg | magon |
 to be obligated sculan | sceal | sculon |

(Adapted from Bright's OE Grammar and Reader, Cassidy & Ringler, 1971.)
The old plural preterite provides a new third person plural and a new
infinitive. Old past singular provides a new third person singular.
(Please freely correct me on any errors in my terrible Old English.)

After additional morphological simplification, I assume that this
process uncontroversially provides some of our contemporary modals.
Since something special needs to be said about modal verbs, could it
be useful to view the resulting syntactic and semantic structure as:

1. compounding both finite TNS (past or present) and INFLo into modals?
 (INFLo perhaps dominates the finite tense component such that modals
 have different pragmatic (or sometimes no) rules about tense usage?
 Moreover, double modals are possible in some dialects.);

2. seen as vaguely parallel formations with encliticizations such as
 HAFTA, GONNA, WANNA, GOTTA, OUGHTA, et al. (which are blocked from
 orthographic adoption by 'literacy' and spelling prescriptions)?;

3. persuasive that some functional 'embedding' of INFLo, i.e. the
 'syntactic referent' of INF TO, is the 'modality operator' that
 evokes atemporality or tenselessness within the modal complement?
 (Periphrastic substitutions for modals explicitly use INF TO.)

Please email me with any criticisms or references you think relevant.
I will summarize back to the list if there is interest.

Ken Hughes..........Science Education,
2125 Main Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver B.C. V6T 1Z5
[Thesis on phenomenological interpretations of language constructions]
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Message 2: Kashmiri

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 13:46:15 Kashmiri
Subject: Kashmiri

As a member of a research group on SOV Languages I would like to get
into contact with (a) linguist(s) who is/are familiar with the
Kashmiri language (spoken in India).
>From the literature I have gathered that Kashmiri is considered to be
an SOV language with Verb Second. Therefore, Kashmiri should be comparable
to German and Dutch. In particular I would like to know if Kashmiri has
constructions with more than one auxiliary per sentence, how infinitives
behave and if Kashmiri has extraposition.

If you're willing to answer questions about Kashmiri, please mail.

Dr. J. Rutten,
Dept. of General Linguistics,
Utrecht University, Holland
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Message 3: Re: Gerunds

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 13:13:00 Re: Gerunds
From: <>
Subject: Re: Gerunds

I'm doing work on English gerunds and would appreciate recent
references on the topic.
Thanks in advance,
Fiona Fay,
University College, Dublin.
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Message 4: Reference wanted

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 16:22:32 Reference wanted
From: Lindsay Endell <>
Subject: Reference wanted

Thanks to those ppl who replied to my recent request for assistance
translating some Swahili, it was gratefully recieved and acknowledged. I
have finished the essay and handed it in, any further comment on my grasp
of the subject is left to my lecturers... :-)

And now... another request for help, this time in tracing a reference. I
have found a nice article I wish to use in my final Linguistics Paper but
have very little in the way of reference to acknowledge it in my
bibliography. If anyone can help with the date of publication and
publisher, please email me.
The article in question is:
William SCHWAB and Asae SHICHI, Picking up on cultural subtleties: the
cocktail party as teacher for the Japanese.

Thanks in anticipation,

Lindsay Endell
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