LINGUIST List 5.432

Fri 15 Apr 1994

Qs: ONLY vs. *SHMONLY, Examples, Duarte reference, Kolami gender

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  1. Larry Horn, Query: ONLY vs. *SHMONLY
  2. , Query: Examples
  3. Bernhard Rohrbacher, Duarte reference
  4. Ann Lindvall, Kolami gender

Message 1: Query: ONLY vs. *SHMONLY

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 94 14:30:06 EDQuery: ONLY vs. *SHMONLY
From: Larry Horn <>
Subject: Query: ONLY vs. *SHMONLY

This query addresses the asymmetry exhibited by English and other languages I
know of in the lexicalization of exceptive operators. For the sake of
simplicity, I'll focus on the distribution of ONLY-type items with NP focus;
the asymmetry in question is illustrated by the following paradigm:
 {Nobody but Homer/Only Homer} ate doughnuts.
 {Everybody but Marge/!Shmonly Marge} ate doughnuts.
--where ! indicates that no lexical item occupies this slot. The point is
that many (most?) languages provide a lexical equivalent (or, a la francaise,
a frozen semi-opaque collocation) for 'no{body/thing} but X' but
(hypothetically) no languages provide one for the corresponding positive
exceptive, 'every{body/thing} but X'.
 This asymmetry is interesting in the light of the fact that 'only' is an
essentially negative operator (triggering negative polarity items and
subject-aux inversion in appropriate contexts), as of course is 'no...but...',
and ceteris paribus negative operators tend not to lexicalize as readily as
their positive counterparts: we have MOST as a determiner but not !LEAST
(i.e. 'less than half of the...'), SOME (as weak positive/monotone increasing
determiner) vs. !NALL (='not all'), etc. And many (most?) languages don't
allow lexical negative determiners (corresponding to NO, FEW) at all, relying
on the scopal disambiguation of negation + unmarked positive operators. Why
then do get a lexicalization for 'no...but' but not for
'every/all...but'? My line on this would involve the idea that even
stronger than its prejudice against negative-entailing/negative-incorporating
lexical items is natural language's antipathy against negative-presupposing
lexical items, which SHMONLY would have to be by definition, but ONLY isn't.
 (Various asymmetries might be trotted out as possible reflexes of this
 antipathy, but I won't trot them out here.)
This in turn would be attributable to the characteristic use of negation as a
second-order operation on an earlier or contextually plausible affirmative, as
widely discussed (cf. Parmenides, Plato, Kant, Strawson, Wason, Givon,
Horn,...). Whether or not this analysis is sound, what I'm really curious
about at this point is the empirical generalization: Are there any languages
with candidates for SHMONLY-type lexical items (= every...but)? Are there any
particularly exotic representations for 'only'? (Notice that of course I'm
not saying there's anything particularly unwieldy about expressions for
positive exceptives--both 'Everyone but Marge ate doughnuts' and 'Only Marge
didn't eat doughnuts' are perfectly natural things to say--but they do seem
to be harder to lexicalize. Impossible?
 Please reply to LHORNYALEVM or LHORNYALEVM.YCC.YALE.EDU; I'll post a
summary on the list.

Thanks, Larry
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Message 2: Query: Examples

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 94 20:26:06 EDQuery: Examples
From: <>
Subject: Query: Examples

I am wondering if anyone out there has really nice examples,
the kind that would grab the attention of a reader, of the
following phenomena:

Unbounded branching (coordinate structures with an unbounded
number of constituents)



Free word order

Word order variation

Complex grammatical categories (such as [NP, pl.])

Zeroes (Ellipsis, Deletion, or whatever you call it).

What I have in mind is examples from well-known literary works,
popular songs, limericks, or the like. As I said, anything
that a reader would pay attention to.

If anyone has such examples and would let me use them in
a publication I am planning I would be very grateful.
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Message 3: Duarte reference

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 20:00:48 Duarte reference
From: Bernhard Rohrbacher <>
Subject: Duarte reference

Does anybody know the exact reference for
Duarte, M. (1993?) Do pronome nulo ao pronome pleno: a trajetoria do sujejto no
portugues do Brasil.
(Sorry, a couple of diacritics are missing)
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Message 4: Kolami gender

Date: Thu, 14 Apr 94 12:43:00 +0Kolami gender
From: Ann Lindvall <>
Subject: Kolami gender

To the Linglist receivers

I am working within the field of typological universals, and I have a question
about gender. I have been informed that the language Kolami in southern India
has two genders or noun classes, one which covers male humans and one which
covers the rest of the world (no comments...).
 Could somebody tell me the appropriate pronouns for these two genders or, in
case the language doesn`t use pronouns at all, some other corresponding
particles or affixes expressing this gender difference?

Thank you in advance

Ann Lindvall <Ann.LindvallLING.LU.SE>
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