LINGUIST List 8.1401

Wed Oct 1 1997

Qs: Medieval Medical Writing, Mandarin, VSO

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>

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  1. Francisco Alonso Almeida, Medieval medical writing
  2. Michael Kliffer, Q: Mandarin zero anaphora
  3. Vieri Samek-Lodovici, Qs: VSO language with focus in-situ

Message 1: Medieval medical writing

Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 22:17:34 +0100
From: Francisco Alonso Almeida <>
Subject: Medieval medical writing

I am working on a Middle English scientific text. I would really
appreciate it if someone could tell me some references on mediaeval
medical writing, that is, books dealing with stylistic features of
medieval medical texts. 

Thank you very much. 
Francisco Alonso-Almeida 
Departamento de Filologia Moderna 
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 
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Message 2: Q: Mandarin zero anaphora

Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 12:31:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Kliffer <kliffermcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA>
Subject: Q: Mandarin zero anaphora

I would be very grateful if any native Mandarin speakers could tell me
if it's possible to have zero anaphora for possessor of the body part
in the sections between asterisks in the following 3 narratives.
e.g. in narration 1, would it be grammatical to have just "after they
raised head", with the object being construed as my head?

Narration 1:
I went into the dentist's office and they put me in the chair
immediately. Since the bad tooth was an upper one, the dentist's
assistant put the chair back so far that it gave me a headache, so I
asked if ***they could raise my head a bit. After they raised my
head***, I felt a bit better, but the headache didn't go away
completely. Alternate: ***After they put a pillow under my head***, I
felt a bit better...

Narration 2:
The prisoners were made to strip down to their underwear, all their
possessions were confiscated, they were put in handcuffs,
fingerprinted and **finally the guards shaved their heads***.

Narration 3:
The child was on his bike, he had to swerve to avoid a pedestrian and
lost control, ended up sprawled on the street, crying, scared and with
a bleeding arm. We took him to the hospital, which made him even more
scared, but ***the doctor only bandaged his arm*** and told him he'd
be fine.

If there's enough interest I'll post a summary.


- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael D. Kliffer Phone: 905-525-9140, ext. 23748
Department of French E-Mail:
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
L8S 4M2
- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Message 3: Qs: VSO language with focus in-situ

Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 22:52:24 +0100
From: Vieri Samek-Lodovici <>
Subject: Qs: VSO language with focus in-situ

Does any one know of a language with VSO basic word order, but with
in-situ focus ? (i.e. with focused constituents occurring in accord
with the basic word order, with focus marked only phonologically
and/or morphologically).

This language should follow the following patterns, here given in
English. Focus can be tested through question-answer pairs, as shown
below. The test in (3) is necessary to make sure the language does not
require rightward focusing of objects.

1. VSO order in absence of focus:
 'wrote a man a letter' (for 'a man wrote a letter')
 'put a man a vase on the table' (for 'a man put a vase on the

2. VSO order with focused subjects:
 Q:who wrote a letter?
 A: 'wrote a man a letter' (for 'a MAN wrote a letter').

3. VSO order with focused objects:
 Q: what did a man put on the table?
 A: 'put a man a vase on the table' (for 'a man put a VASE on the

Vieri Samek-Lodovici
Universitaet Konstanz - Germany
Vieri Samek-Lodovici
Sprachwissenschaft, Uni-Konstanz
Postfach 5560 D 176
D-78464 Konstanz

tel. univ: (49) (7531) 882963
fax univ: (49) (7531) 884115 / 883095
tel home: (49) (7531) 693545
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