LINGUIST List 7.1295

Tue Sep 17 1996

Qs: Schwa epenthesis, Haitian French, had-to, English errors

Editor for this issue: Susan Robinson <>

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  1. David Britain, schwa epenthesis in -own/-ewn past participles
  2. sshellyACS.WOOSTER.EDU, Teaching French in Haiti
  3. hiro-t, Query: Epistemic _had to_
  4. Guenter Schubert, error-marking

Message 1: schwa epenthesis in -own/-ewn past participles

Date: Sat, 14 Sep 1996 16:38:13 -0000
From: David Britain <>
Subject: schwa epenthesis in -own/-ewn past participles
In New Zealand and Australian English, a change is underway in a closed set of
participles ending -own/-ewn (blown, flown, shown, mown, sown, sewn, grown,
known, thrown, hewn).

The change involves the insertion of schwa before the final /n/, so, where  =

/flo:n/ becomes /flo:n/ or /flown/
/gro:n/ becomes /gro:n - grown/ etc.
/stru:n/ becomes /stru:n/
/hju:n/ becomes /hju:n/

This change is NOT taking place in words such as groan, moan, moon, tune or own
this common anywhere else in the English speaking world?

Look forward to hearing from you. I'll summarise what I hear from you all.


Dave Britain

Dr David J Britain
Department of Language and Linguistics
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
Great Britain CO4 3SQ

Telephone:	+44 1206 872101
Fax:		+44 1206 872085
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Message 2: Teaching French in Haiti

Date: Sun, 15 Sep 1996 16:26:16 EDT
Subject: Teaching French in Haiti
A colleague and friend of mine, currently living and working in Haiti,
recently "inherited" a high-school French class (the former teacher had to
leave unexpectedly). Most of her students are native Creole speakers; all
have very modest speaking and writing proficiency in French. My friend
functions pretty comfortably in both standard French and Creole, but is
finding it tricky to juggle the two in a formal classroom setting. She
asks me to direct her to teaching materials that have been developed for
this particular pedagogical context.

If you have references or ideas on this, you may respond directly to me at Thanks!

Sharon L. Shelly
Department of French
College of Wooster
Wooster, OH 44691
(330) 263-2287
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Message 3: Query: Epistemic _had to_

Date: Sun, 15 Sep 1996 15:22:30 +0200
From: hiro-t <>
Subject: Query: Epistemic _had to_
Dear colleagues,
 One of my colleagues in Osaka asked me about the following
sentence including an epistemic _had to_. He cites it from modern
American novels. He said that he didn't understand the meaning.
Are these _had to be/ had to have been_ the same as _must have been_?
The below is his query,

- ---------------------------------------------------------------
 I would like to ask you just one question about the English modal
_had to_. I have two examples where _had to_ is used in an epistemic

 (1) "When did you last see her?" "I don't know," Newcastle said.
 "It _had to_ be sometime around midnight."

 (2) "What time did you go to bed?" "It must have been two-thirty.
 I took a bottle of Scotch and went up to my rooms. That _had to_
 have been about two."

I do not know the meaning of "It had to be..." in (1) or that of "That
 had to have been..." in (2). Could you please put these in another
 I would be very grateful if you would answer this question.

- -----------------------------------------------------------------
 Thanks in advance. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Please e-mail me directly.

Best Wishes,
Hiroaki Tanaka
Tokushima University, Japan
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Message 4: error-marking

Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 18:42:00 BST
From: Guenter Schubert <>
Subject: error-marking

Dear Linguist readers,
we are a small group of teachers of English here in the Northern part of
Germany, and we've set ourselves the task of re-considering some of our
error-marking-strategies in essays or text-analyses written by our 16-19- year-
old students in school.

In general we feel that although our error-marking conforms with the norm
prescribed in our grammar-books, we in many cases neglect common usage and
change in language. Living languages are constantly changing, and what has
previously been considered as non-standard may now be accepted by more and more
educated speakers.

Thus we frequently come across linguistic phenomena in utterances (written or
oral)by native speakers of English that along our grammar-books and norm-
descriptions would be considered ungrammatical and wrong.

We would be very grateful for responses to any of the following items, either i
the form of brief hints like 'spontaneously considered correct' or
'unacceptable', or else as more lengthy comments. Of great help would be
detailed quotes from reference-books/ grammar-books that would accept the
sentences mentioned here as already 'grammatical'.

Here are some of the sentences we came across and are discussing now:

1) Since when did you smoke? (tense?)

2) The father of Garp... ( 's-genitive?)

3) We would be very grateful if you would spare some of your time...
 If I would be in the play, I would enjoy it. ( sequence of tenses?)

4) In one building are pictures. ( there are?)

5) At some point in their life they... (lives?)

6) The boy fell in the water. ( into?)

7) She acted slower than I had imagined.
 He didn't always act totally honest. ( Adverb?)

8) I took to my mother my blue tin of pennies. (...pennies to my mother?)

9) After my father died , mother lived for religion. ( had died?)

Also it would be helpful to learn, in how far contracted forms ( can't, etc.)
are acceptable in written texts. We are rather divided on that.

Please send replies to my address:

Guenter Schubert,teacher trainer, IPTS Kiel, Germany
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