LINGUIST List 5.906

Fri 19 Aug 1994

Qs: Plurals in 's', Not vs n't, African names, Locative inversion

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  1. , plurals in 's'
  2. Pierre Larrivee, not versus n't
  3. Stanley Dubinsky, Q: African names used in Alice Walker fiction
  4. , Query: Locative Inversion

Message 1: plurals in 's'

Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 11:04:03 plurals in 's'
From: <ggaleVAX1.UMKC.EDU>
Subject: plurals in 's'

A colleague who makes his living as a translator of technical dox asked me
something yesterday that I couldn't answer. "But", I told him, "I bet I
know where to find some folks who CAN answer.!" So, folks, here it is:

"How did it come about that Western European languages such as English,
French, Spanish and Portuguese have chosen to make most plural words by
adding an 's' or 'es' to the singular? Italian, Greek, German, and, I
believe, the Slavic languages do not do this. Latin did not either."

I thought that an interesting question, and hereby throw it out to the net
of distributed linguist knowledge.
[If this is just a dumb, newbie question, I apologise.]

George Gale
ggalevax1.umkc.edu
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Message 2: not versus n't

Date: Thu, 18 Aug 94 12:17:08 EDnot versus n't
From: Pierre Larrivee <3914LARPVM1.ulaval.ca>
Subject: not versus n't

In response to Mr. Rowlet's querry on not versus n't
It strikes me that not cannot be interpreted as a concord marker, contrary to
contracted n't:
1. He did not do nothing
2. He didn't do nothing
probably because not is not avalaible in the varieties of English where concord
 is allowed. This needs to be verified, of course. This might be wrong. In my
own research on negative concord in Quebec French, negation adverb pas is found
 to both involve in concord-marking and double negation:
3. J'ai pas vu personne
 I have not seen nobody
 'I haven't seen anybody'
or 'I did not see nobody (I saw Jack)'
I'd like to take the opportunity to mention that in formal English, not seems
to have a much wider distribution than is generally assumed. In interrogative
contexts, not can place before the verb:
4. Do people not say such things? (from a paper read at 20th LACUS Forum)
This also seems possible in subjunctive context, but i won't try to invent
an example.
Does anyone have any idea about those two facts?

Pierre Larrivee
Departement de langues et linguistique, Universiti Laval, Quebec, Canada,
G1K 7P4
3914larpvm1.ulaval.ca
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Message 3: Q: African names used in Alice Walker fiction

Date: Thu, 18 Aug 94 13:22:06 EDQ: African names used in Alice Walker fiction
From: Stanley Dubinsky <DUBINSKUNIVSCVM.CSD.SCAROLINA.EDU>
Subject: Q: African names used in Alice Walker fiction

I am posting this for a colleague in the English Dept here. Please
respond directly to me.
-- Stan Dubinsky

********************************************************************

I am working of the fiction of Alice Walker would like to
find out if her use of African names is satirical. One of her
characters, enamored of African culture, renames herself
"Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo". Is this wholly a fabrication on
Walker's part -- or is it a legitimate African name? In what
language? Might Walker intend some joke, as for example that the
name, translated, would mean "I am a goose", or some such.

The character's original name is Dee, short for Dicie. Any chance
that either of these, ironically, is in fact African?

David Cowart
English Department
Univ of South Carolina
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Message 4: Query: Locative Inversion

Date: Thu, 18 Aug 94 13:48:00 CDQuery: Locative Inversion
From: <mtaitmerle.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject: Query: Locative Inversion

I'm looking for references to accounts of locative inversion; e.g.,

Down the hill rolled the boy.

which posit a V2 remnant type of account, within a GB or GB-related paradigm,
i.e., in the above example, the claim would be that the PP is in [SPEC,CP],
the verb in COMP, and the subject remaining in [SPEC, IP].

I'll post responses to the list if there's interest.

Mary Tait
Speech and Language Pathology
Northwestern University
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