LINGUIST List 6.730

Wed 24 May 1995

Qs: Universals, Grammar, Phrase origin, Plural markers

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Directory

  1. Gunnar Bergh, Extractions and Universals
  2. George Aaron Broadwell, Fun: The worst passage in a grammar
  3. Carrie Porter, query re "katy bar the door"
  4. Vincent DeCaen, Q foots or feets?

Message 1: Extractions and Universals

Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 12:31:38 Extractions and Universals
From: Gunnar Bergh <berghvinga.hum.gu.se>
Subject: Extractions and Universals

Dear subscribers of Linguist,

This is a humble request for help. Looking into potential universal
tendencies within the field of unbounded dependencies, I'm currently trying
to collect authentic examples of extractions from as many languages as
possible. The structure at issue can be described as follows:

[extracted element] + [matrix clause] + [finite source clause with gap (=90)=
]

In English, this pattern can be realized in several different ways, primaril=
y:

This girl I think =90 will win (topicalization)
Which girl do you think =90 will win? (question formation)
This is the girl who I think =90 will win (relativization)

What I would like to find out is what languages (Indo-European as well as
others) tend to permit this construction (please provide authentic examples
plus indication of potential style values). If you happen to know anything
about the possibility of inserting resumptive pronouns in the subordinate
clause, deletion of the conjunction corresponding to English "that" (when
the subject, a complement or an adjunct has been extracted, respectively),
such information is more equally welcome.

At present, my data cover languages like English, Finnish, French, German,
Russian and Swedish, but there is room for much more. If possible, try to
e-mail your observations directly to me, and I will post the usual summary
to Linguist later on.

Thanks in advance,

Gunnar Bergh,
English Department, University of G=F6teborg
Renstr=F6msparken
412 98 G=F6teborg
Sweden
fax: (0)31-773 4726
e-mail: bergheng.gu.se
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Message 2: Fun: The worst passage in a grammar

Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 11:09:14 Fun: The worst passage in a grammar
From: George Aaron Broadwell <gb661csc.albany.edu>
Subject: Fun: The worst passage in a grammar

 I found the following passage in Haswell's (1901) grammar of Mon,
and I like to nominate it for the worst thing anyone has ever written in a
grammar:

 "The language is gradually going out of use; and the sooner it is
supplanted by the Burmese the better..."

 How's that for a positive approach to one's subject matter? Has
anyone come across similarly appalling passages in other grammars?
 ---------------------------------------------------------
George Aaron Broadwell, g.broadwellalbany.edu
Anthropology; Linguistics and Cognitive Science,
 SUNY-Albany, Albany, NY 12222 | 518-442-4711
 ---------------------------------------------------------
"I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than
diagraming sentences" -- Gertrude Stein
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Message 3: query re "katy bar the door"

Date: Wed, 24 May 1995 22:53:25 query re "katy bar the door"
From: Carrie Porter <cep387nwu.edu>
Subject: query re "katy bar the door"

Content-Length: 1175

I was wondering if anyone out there knows the meaning and/or origin of the
phrase "Katy bar the door." My grandmother once told me that my mother had
been planning to name me Katie but didn't because of some negative
connotation associated with the phrase. Now, however, neither of them can
tell me what it means. A linguistics professor at Northwestern suggested
this listserv. I would appreciate any help...

Carrie Porter
cep387nwu.edu
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Message 4: Q foots or feets?

Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 10:42:49 Q foots or feets?
From: Vincent DeCaen <decaenepas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Q foots or feets?

in work in reconstructing Semitic morphophonology, the question of
double marking of plurals comes up. one point that I think ought to
be made is that where the plural is internally marked, cf. "feet", the
development should follow "foots" rather than "feets". I just don't
know my way around the theoretical lit in historical linguistics to
pursue this competently. can someone set me on the right track, please?
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