LINGUIST List 6.218

Wed 15 Feb 1995

Qs: Complementizers, Proportional, Pseudocleft, Speech rate

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Vincent DeCaen, Q: declarative complementizers
  2. , Query: "Proportional constructions"
  3. , query about the term 'pseudocleft'
  4. Wim van Dommelen, speech rate and weight

Message 1: Q: declarative complementizers

Date: Sun, 12 Feb 1995 13:03:41 Q: declarative complementizers
From: Vincent DeCaen <>
Subject: Q: declarative complementizers

In Middle Egyptian, there is a unique contrast. There is a particle
iw that most naturally is analyzed as an overt complementizer. We
obtain the following contrast:

sdm.f "when/if/because/etc he hears"
iw sdm.f "he hears"

sdm.n.f "when/if/because/etc he heard"
iw sdm.n.f "he heard"

Notice that the markedness relations appear backward: iw apparently
marking the unmarked simple declarative.
Q: are there other systems that employ an overt declarative
contrasting with zero (zero having marked semantic effects)? And
crucially, what is the etymology of such a particle??
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Message 2: Query: "Proportional constructions"

Date: Sun, 12 Feb 1995 21:44:40 Query: "Proportional constructions"
Subject: Query: "Proportional constructions"

I am tentatively investigating a set of construction closely related to
conditional sentences -- what I call "proportional constructions:"

Like father, like son.
Sw. Saadan herre, saadan hund.
Turk. daha... daha...
Fr. tel pere, tel fils

and so on. My criteria, so far, is that they lack a verb (without loss
of grammaticality) and exhibit symmetry on four levels:
morphological (same inflection)
syntactic (same word-order)
lexical (same lexical categories)
intonational (LHHL)
There may be other levels of symmetry, such as conceptual (same "kinds of
things"); but I don't have enough data for that. My hypothesis is that
these are conditional sentences that have been shortened to iconically
represent an increase in directness of connection between the protasis
and the apodosis.
 My query, now: I have found these constructions in the following
lgs: Vietnamese, Turkish, Finnish, Hungarian, Romance, and Germanic. I
would like to expand this database to be able to draw more universally
valid conclusions, and so I'd like to ask for examples from other lgs,
especially non-Indo European ones. I am not only looking for constructions
with an omitted verb, but rather all constructions that meet the symmetry
criteria. I am, of course, equally interested in negative evidence.
I will post a summary of my arguments when I get further along.

Anders Joensson
Macalester College
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Message 3: query about the term 'pseudocleft'

Date: Mon, 13 Feb 1995 00:49:26 query about the term 'pseudocleft'
From: <>
Subject: query about the term 'pseudocleft'

Who invented the terms `pseudocleft' and 'inverted pseudocleft' (to speak for
 instance of sentences
like "What I need is money" and "Money is what I need") ?

[Note: The Oxford English Dictionary credits Jespersen (1924) for `cleft' [e.g.
 "It is money (that) I
need"] but it does not even list `pseudocleft.']
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Message 4: speech rate and weight

Date: Mon, 13 Feb 1995 11:26:22 speech rate and weight
From: Wim van Dommelen <>
Subject: speech rate and weight

In my current research on speaker identification I came across
sex-specific effects in speech production: for male speakers
reading isolated words or a text, there is a significant positive
correlation between speech rate and body weight. This effect is
completely absent for female speakers. I wonder whether there exist
similar investigations or more general studies looking at correlations
between body characteristics like weight, height, etc. and body
functions (kinematics). Searching through the literature has been
unsuccessful so far. I would be grateful for any hint or reference
(possibly from other disciplines like anthropology, biology, etc.)!

Wim van Dommelen
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