LINGUIST List 6.974

Mon Jul 17 1995

Qs: Pres/descriptive, Acq of control, Ling intuition, Word/WP

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Query: Prescriptive vs. Descriptive
  2. William Davies, acquisition of control
  3. Barbara Luka, Loss of native speaker linguistic intuitions
  4. Jon Aske, Word vs. WP; numbered examples, etc.

Message 1: Query: Prescriptive vs. Descriptive

Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 08:11:45 Query: Prescriptive vs. Descriptive
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Query: Prescriptive vs. Descriptive

I am looking for references to debates about this distinction
esp. before the 20th century. I will post a summary,

Alexis Manaster Ramer
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: acquisition of control

Date: Thu, 13 Jul 1995 09:04:15 acquisition of control
From: William Davies <>
Subject: acquisition of control

I have a student investigating the acquisition of control structures. I
would appreciate getting any and all literature references to both L1 and L2
acquisition of control. A summary will, of course, be forthcoming. Thanks.

Bill Davies
Department of Linguistics
University of Iowa
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Loss of native speaker linguistic intuitions

Date: Wed, 12 Jul 1995 16:44:10 Loss of native speaker linguistic intuitions
From: Barbara Luka <>
Subject: Loss of native speaker linguistic intuitions


Have you ever experiened the following curious mental state: You're
looking at a sentence to rate its grammatical acceptability, but suddently
you can't access your usually strong linguistic intuitions. You repeat the
sentence quietly to yourself a couple of times, your eyebrows becoming more
closely knit with each repetition. Any sense of linguistic intuition
recedes further the more you try to pin it down. All sentences of that
particular type sound indistinguishably questionable.

What makes you lose your linguistic intuitions?
Is the state brought on just by looking at a bunch of "marginal"
utterances? Or by trying to judge a particular type of syntactic
construction? Maybe a type of syntactic construction you don't even use in
your dialect?

Do you lose touch with your linguistic intuition when judging any kind of
syntactic construction which contains a particular lexical item (such as
"scant" as noted by Haj Ross)? Does it have to be a rarely used, perhaps
archaic lexical item, or even a modern a jargon or slang term that just
isn't in your standard vocabulary?

I'd like to know what characteristics of the stimuli (or what state of your
metalinguistic judgment center) can make your intuitional core melt down.

How would you describe your subjective mental experience?

Can you point me to examples of syntactic judgments from the literature
which can make your intuitions flounder?

I am currently developing a psycholinguistic experiment to induce in
non-syntacticians that odd sense of intuitional vacuum we linguists have
all experienced. I have some theories about what might cause "judgment
fatigue" as I call it, and I think the theories have some pretty
fascinating implications for linguists and cognitive scientists alike.

I have not yet found any work published on this topic, but if you are aware
of such documentation, please let me know.

Also, if you have any other names for this phenomenon, please send them to me.

Thank you,

Barbara Luka
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 4: Word vs. WP; numbered examples, etc.

Date: Sat, 15 Jul 1995 17:55:59 Word vs. WP; numbered examples, etc.
From: Jon Aske <>
Subject: Word vs. WP; numbered examples, etc.

I am seriously thinking of moving ("migrating"?) from WordPerfect 6 to MS Word
6, which came bundled with my new computer, and would like to know if people
with similar experiences have anything of interest to say about such a move,
such as for example any good references to look into (that are not too basic;
the software didn't come with a reference manual, just the online manual).

Two specific questions:

1) NUMBERED EXAMPLES: In WP you can set up counters, which is how I dealt with
numbered examples in that word processor. Word doesn't seem to have a similar
capability? Could that be possible? How do people deal with automatic
numbering of examples in Word (as well as cross-references to examples)?

2) FILE MANAGER: This is something where WP is better than Word by a long
shot, but I understand that there are add-ons for Word out there. Has anybody
heard of this?

3) SEARCH SOFTWARE: While I'm at it, I just got a message about a software
utility called PowerSearch, by CommTech, which has powerful search mechanisms
and works within Word or WordPerfect (there are two versions). Has anyone had
any experience with this? (it is obtainable with ftp).

Thanks a lot and if I get interesting stuff I will post a summary.


Jon Aske Home address:
Bates College 12 Bardwell St.
Lewiston, Maine 04240, USA Lewiston, Maine 04240-6336
e-mail: -Phone/Fax: (207) 786-0589
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue