LINGUIST List 7.205

Thu Feb 8 1996

Qs: Script, Caseless forms, Intensification

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  1. Matt Walker, Mystery Script
  2. "Carsten Breul", Caseless forms?
  3. Jan K Lindstrom, Intensification

Message 1: Mystery Script

Date: Thu, 08 Feb 1996 04:14:59 GMT
From: Matt Walker <>
Subject: Mystery Script
Forgive this probably inappropriate Posting.

I am trying to identify the language a script of which I have a small
sample. I was wondering if any list members would have any ideas.

I have posted it on the WWW at:

If anyone has an opportunity to look at it and even better has an idea
of its origin I would be very grateful.


Matt Walker
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Message 2: Caseless forms?

Date: Mon, 05 Feb 1996 09:14:36 GMT
From: "Carsten Breul" <>
Subject: Caseless forms?
Dear linguists,

the visibility condition for theta-marking seems to imply
that not all overt NPs are Case-marked. Chomsky (Knowledge
of Language, p. 95) writes: "the visibility condition does
not require Case assignment to an NP that is not
[theta]-marked (unless this NP must 'transfer' Case to an

I assume that the copula complements in such 'identifying'
sentences as

(1) It's me/?I.
(2) C'est moi (French)

are not theta-marked and need not 'transfer' Case, and are
thus not assigned Case, i.e. are ultimately Case-less.

My assumption seems to be compatible with Chomsky's (ibid.)
remark that the visibility condition does not require that
the bracketed NP in (3) is assigned Case:

(3) John is [a fine mathematician].

On the other hand, this remark of Chomsky's and my
assumption seem to be incompatible with Chomsky's
statement that "Complements of a head always occupy
[theta]-positions" (ibid., p.93). I mean, obviously
'me/I', 'moi' and 'a fine mathematician' in (1)-(3) are
complements of copulas which head a VPs; and does
the notion of 'theta-position' not imply that elements
that occur in them are theta-marked?

My idea now is that Chomsky's statement that "Complements
of a head always occupy [theta]-positions" is not true for
copulas as heads (as in (1)-(3)), and that the
inconsistency referred to above can be remedied by
acknowledging this.

My question now is this: Are there any languages in which
the copula complements in sentences analogous to
(1)-(2)/(3) have forms that are MORPHOLOGICALLY NOT
IDENTICAL with any of the obviously Case-marked forms. In
other words: Are there any languages which distinguish
morphologically between Case-marked forms and (what I
assume to be) Case-less forms.

If such languages exist, this would, I think, provide a
good empirical argument for my assumption.

I would be very grateful for answers to my question as well
as comments on my idea, and for eliminations of
misunderstandings which I may be subject to. References to
relevant literature would be welcome as well.

Carsten Breul
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Message 3: Intensification

Date: Thu, 08 Feb 1996 14:19:03 +0200
From: Jan K Lindstrom <jklindstwaltari.Helsinki.FI>
Subject: Intensification
I am studying intensification phenomena in Swedish, mostly from the point
of lexikal reiteration but also more generally. Right now I would simply
like to know of languages where an intensifying adverbial or grade adverbial
is homonymous or has developed from an expression conveying that something
is 'true' or 'real' or, indeed, 'a fact'. Examples from Swedish and English

(i)	verkligt/faktiskt liten
	real/really small

(ii)	riktigt liten
	truly small

I would greatly appreciate comments and examples concerning preferably
the most different languages.

If there is enough interest I will, of course, post a summary.

Many thanks!

Jan Lindstrom
Scandinavian lgs
University of Helsinki
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