LINGUIST List 5.925

Sun 28 Aug 1994

Qs: Program closure, Unaccusatives, Asymmetries with relatives

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , linguistics program closure
  2. Hiroyuki Oshita, Query: acquisition of unaccusatives
  3. , asymmetries with relatives

Message 1: linguistics program closure

Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 09:32:05 linguistics program closure
From: <>
Subject: linguistics program closure

It has just come to my attention that the Linguistics program at the
National University of Singapore was closed some three months ago. Can
anyone out there enlighten me as to the circumstances of that closure?
Though we in Perth were physically as close to Singapore's as to any other
linguistics program on the planet, no one here has the slightest idea what
brought about the closure. Any information would be most welcome.


shelly harrison email:
centre for linguistics fax: +61-9-380-1154
university of western australia phone: +61-9-380-2859
nedlands, w.a. 6009

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Message 2: Query: acquisition of unaccusatives

Date: Sat, 27 Aug 1994 16:12:25 Query: acquisition of unaccusatives
From: Hiroyuki Oshita <>
Subject: Query: acquisition of unaccusatives

 We are currently working on the acquisition of unaccusative verbs
by L2 English learners and looking for references on the topic. We
are particulary in terested in the grammatical structures in which
unaccusatives are used, e.g. the relative position of the verb and
the sole NP argument, the use of overt/covert expletive subjects,
the existence and lack of the "passive" structure of [be + Ven],
etc. We hope to investigate possible variations in the use of
these structures among different L1 groups as well as developmental
aspects involving the use of unaccusatives by L2 learners. References
on the L1 acquisition of unaccusatives would be also helpful to us.
 Please send your reading suggestions to one of the following addresses.
We will summarize the responses. Thank you for your help.

Joe Allen / e-mail:
Hiro Oshita / e-mail:
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Message 3: asymmetries with relatives

Date: Sat, 27 Aug 94 16:33:53 EDasymmetries with relatives
From: <hubertMIT.EDU>
Subject: asymmetries with relatives

Dear editors:
Could you post the following query for me? Thank you,
Hubert Truckenbrodt

I would like to ask the linguist-readers for their help in finding out
more about the correctness the following hypothesis in connection with

(a) Moving a relative clause is possible only if the relative
clause originates in a position to the RIGHT of its head Det or N.
(b) Movement of a relative clause, if it may happen at all, takes
a relative clause to the RIGHT, never to the left.

In other words, relative clauses can only be moved FROM THE RIGHT (of
their head) FURTHER TO THE RIGHT (of a larger constituent).

Thus it is my impression that we can find these types of languages:

1. The English type: relative clauses originate to the right of their
heads and move to the right. No other possibilities.

2. The Japanese type: relative clauses originate to the left of their
heads. They may not move either to the left or to the right.

3. The Armenian type (so far only represented by Armenian): relative
clauses originate either to the left, or to the right of their head,
with some syntactic differences between the two. Those that originate
to the right of the head may be moved to the right (not to the left),
whereas those that originate to the left of their heads may not be
moved at all.

4. The Hindi type: there are languages that look like exceptions to
the hypothesis above. In the few cases I have seen, the association
between head and relative clause appears to be fairly loose. So far,
this encourages me to believe that one can find arguments that
movement might not be involved at all here.

I am looking forward to all kinds of comments, brief or elaborated.
I am particularly interested in non-European languages that belong
to ANY of these four categories, or that don't fit in.
Please write to me directly. If there is interest, I will post a summary.

Thank you,

Hubert Truckenbrodt
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