LINGUIST List 5.923

Fri 26 Aug 1994

Qs: Writing corpus, Koine Syncope, Pronouns, Thesaurus

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  1. Joyce Tang Boyland, Query: corpus of undergrad writing?
  2. , 1st C. Koine Syncope
  3. Alex Eulenberg, query: mystery pronouns in nonstandard(?) English
  4. "Y. Shum", Thesaurus

Message 1: Query: corpus of undergrad writing?

Date: Wed, 24 Aug 94 15:07:29 -0Query: corpus of undergrad writing?
From: Joyce Tang Boyland <jtangcogsci.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: Query: corpus of undergrad writing?

Hello,
Does there exist any corpus, preferably computerized, of
undergraduate (or high school) writing? I am thinking of
material like papers from college freshman composition classes.

Joyce Tang Boyland (jtangcogsci.berkeley.edu)
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Message 2: 1st C. Koine Syncope

Date: Thu, 25 Aug 94 20:36:55 ED1st C. Koine Syncope
From: <Dvdmooreaol.com>
Subject: 1st C. Koine Syncope

 I am interested in understanding the process of sound change as it was
active in first-century Koine Greek. Specifically, I want to know about the
influence of syncope (also called haplology) on pronunciation. I am familiar
with what the standard New Testament grammars say on the subject but wonder
if something more specific has been written. Also works that give in-depth
treatment of syncope as a linguistic influence in general would be of
interest.

David Moore
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Message 3: query: mystery pronouns in nonstandard(?) English

Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 16:03:36 query: mystery pronouns in nonstandard(?) English
From: Alex Eulenberg <aeulenbeindiana.edu>
Subject: query: mystery pronouns in nonstandard(?) English

Hey, linguists, does this sound familiar?

Yesterday I called about getting a waiver so I wouldn't have to pay the
$80 security deposit for telephone service. I was told by my friendly
customer service representative, "She'll send you a letter about that in a
week."

She? She who? Aren't you supposed to establish the identity of someone
before you use a pronoun to refer to him or her?

Most people I've spoken to on this subject have said they've had similar
experiences (even in Russian!), and they take such mystery pronouns as a
sign of low education or intelligence. Something about not being able to
determine the common ground, that the speaker somehow has an infantile "if
it's known to me it's known to you" attitude.

I'm wondering whether such usage has ever been "legitimatized" by
sociolinguists. What I'm thinking is that standard English uses the third
person PLURAL for the same purpose. If she had said "They'll send you a
letter about that in about a week" I would have thought nothing of it.

Any comments? Is this a matter of intelligence or mere use of a
different dialect? Are there certain areally/socially defined groups that
use this construction with a greater frequency than others? Also: this
"she" inevitably seems to refer to a person well known to the speaker;
perhaps it always means the speaker's superior. Are the following
incorrect as "mystery pronouns"?

?
 She called about that yesterday, and I told her she'd get a letter.

?
 I told her to send you a letter. I guess she didn't.

Mail me your comments and I'll post a summary.
 Alex Eulenberg <aeulenbeindiana.edu>
 Indiana University
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Message 4: Thesaurus

Date: Fri, 26 Aug 1994 10:33:23 Thesaurus
From: "Y. Shum" <shuychonmehta.anu.edu.au>
Subject: Thesaurus

Hi there,
 I'm looking for a thesaurus that would help to identify that
words such as 'car' is a general term for words such as 'sedan'. Many
research papers have claimed to have used a thesaurus some way or another,
but I have never seen such thesaurus before . I would be grateful if anybody
could advice me on how to acquire such a thesaurus. I would accumulate
all good replies and broadcast them to the servers . The thesaurus is required
to identify synonyms, hypernyms and meronym relationship between words .

Thanks.
ywshum
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