LINGUIST List 7.1539

Thu Oct 31 1996

Qs: Subj deletion, "Text type"?, Adjs with possessor Ns

Editor for this issue: Susan Robinson <>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.


  1. Dawn Harvie, Subject Deletion
  2. "H. Lin Domizio", "Text Type" or "Discourse Type"?
  3. Malcolm Ross, Adjectives with possessor nouns

Message 1: Subject Deletion

Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 08:45:55 EST
From: Dawn Harvie <>
Subject: Subject Deletion

 I am working on a paper on overt subject versus null subject
in tensed clauses in English for a graduate course in
Sociolinguistics. Research in this area is rather limited. Can
anybody give me references to work done in this area or is anybody
willing to share their own research on subject deletion in English? I
would be most grateful.

 Also, does anybody know where I can get a copy of VARBUL? Is
it as sophisticated at GOLDVARB? If not, can anybody tell me why not?

 Many thanks in advance. Please respond to me directly and I
will post a summary to the list.

Dawn Harvie
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Message 2: "Text Type" or "Discourse Type"?

Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 06:51:41 EST
From: "H. Lin Domizio" <>
Subject: "Text Type" or "Discourse Type"?

Dear Netters and Linguists,

I wonder if any of you would kindly comment on the appropriateness of
the definition "Text Type" as one assessment criteria to evaluate an
interviewee's oral proficiency performance, promoted by ACTFL (The
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).

In the ACTFL Guidelines, "text refers to the quantity and the
organizational aspects of speech produced by the interviewee." (p. 3-6)

Here is how the criteria listed to see an interviewee's speech product can
be rated at:

Superior level -- Extended discourse (organized, sequenced paragraphs)
Advanced level -- Paragraphs
Intermediate level-- Discrete sentences
Novice level -- Individual words and phrases

While I understand that, according to Richards et al., "text" can be
referred to a piece of spoken or written language (taking its
structure or functions into account), many of my friends pointed out
that they are more comfortable referring "text" to written language
than spoken/speech production. One suggested me to replace "Discourse
Type" to "Text Type" since the interview speech production is the
result of an act of communication.

I would be most grateful for any comment, casting of your vote for
either term (i.e., text type or discourse type), or even give a new
term for this matter to enlighten me from you all in the field of

I would be happy to provide a summary in the end. Thanks in advance.

Hsiu-huei Lin Domizio
Doctoral Candidate
Applied Linguistics,
Columbia University
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Message 3: Adjectives with possessor nouns

Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 18:09:50 +1000
From: Malcolm Ross <>
Subject: Adjectives with possessor nouns

In a number of Western Oceanic (Austronesian) languages, we find noun
phrases in which something like 'the big house' is ostensibly
expressed as 'the house's big(ness)'. That is, a noun phrase
containing an attributive adjective has the structure of a noun phrase
with a possessor, and the adjective occupies the 'slot' of the
possessed noun, whilst the expected head noun occupies the slot of the

I am interested in figuring out the history of these structures, and
would be very grateful for information about similar structures in
other languages (of any language family) or pointers to grammars
describing them, as well as for references to any theoretical work
which anyone has done on such noun phrases.

I will summarise the responses, if any.

Malcolm Ross

Malcolm Ross
Senior Fellow
Department of Linguistics
Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies
Australian National University
PO Box 1428
Australia 2601
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