LINGUIST List 7.1422

Fri Oct 11 1996

Qs: Pronoun Usage,Length of morpho-synt. categories,Human/MT

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Directory

  1. Larry Rosenwald, a query about pronoun usage in life and literature
  2. jaretu.washington.edu, length of grammatical elements
  3. Larry Rosenwald, seeking help for a course on human and machine translation

Message 1: a query about pronoun usage in life and literature

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 09:15:15 CDT
From: Larry Rosenwald <LROSENWALDWELLESLEY.EDU>
Subject: a query about pronoun usage in life and literature

Hi - I'm trying to comment on a trait in James Fenimore Cooper's
representations of Native American speech, and would like some help.

The trait in question is this: fairly often in speech said to be
Native American, and still more often in conversations between Native
Americans and European-Americans in English, the third person
"replaces" the first person and still more often the second
person. For example, in _The Last of the Mohicans_, in a conversation
between the the Native American Magua and the European-American Cora
Munro, Cora says,

	"What would le Renard [Magua's French-Canadian epithet is le
	Renard Subtil] say to the daughter of Munro?"

	And Magua answers, "Magua was born a chief and a warrior among
	the red Hurons of the lakes; he saw the suns of twenty summers
	. . before he ever saw a pale-face etc." 

I'm trying to understand the effect of this, and trying to understand
it both linguistically and literarily. Pretty clearly Cooper didn't
get the idea for this trait from any of his proximate sources about
Native American languages, and it's not characteristic, I think, of
what writers contemporary with Cooper do in representing Native
American speech. What I've read that's been most useful to me in
understanding the effect of this trait is some essays of Benveniste's,
namely "La nature des pronoms" and "De la subjectivite dans le
langage," but I'd be grateful for other suggestions, and would of
course post a summary if there were enough material.

Thanks in advance, Larry Rosenwald (lrosenwaldwellesley.edu)

P.S. I'm noticing more and more an analogous trait in political and
athletic oratory - e.g., Bob Dole saying, "anyone who knows Bob Dole
knows that he's a fighter," or Shawn Kemp saying, "Shawn Kemp has got
his game face on tonight." So whatever is going on in Cooper isn't
going on in Cooper alone.

LR
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Message 2: length of grammatical elements

Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 18:23:53 PDT
From: jaretu.washington.edu <jaretu.washington.edu>
Subject: length of grammatical elements
I have a hunch that the length of the average verb and noun is greater
than the length of the average auxiliary and preposition, which is
greater than the length of the average clitic, which is greater than
the lenghth of the average affix, ...

Does anybody know if there are published studies verifying my hunch?

Thanks,

Frank Jaret

jaretu.washington.edu
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Message 3: seeking help for a course on human and machine translation

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 09:18:00 CDT
From: Larry Rosenwald <LROSENWALDWELLESLEY.EDU>
Subject: seeking help for a course on human and machine translation

	Hi - a colleague of mine (he's in Computer Science) were
talking about the possibility of teaching a course on human and
machine translation, and wondered whether anyone had done that before,
and if so, what topics and texts had worked better and worse. Of
course, if you haven't taught such a course, but nonetheless have
ideas about what might work or be interesting, I'd be grateful for
those ideas too. I'll post a summary if there's sufficient interest -
thanks, Larry Rosenwald
	(lrosenwaldwellesley.edu)
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