LINGUIST List 8.193

Sat Feb 8 1997

Disc: Odd construction

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. Knud Lambrecht, Re: 8.187, Disc: Odd construction

Message 1: Re: 8.187, Disc: Odd construction

Date: Fri, 7 Feb 1997 14:25:20 -0600 (CST)
From: Knud Lambrecht <>
Subject: Re: 8.187, Disc: Odd construction

For what it's worth: I have a paper in BLS 88 on the English construction
represented by "There was a farmer had a dog" (that's also the tile of the
paper). This construction is by no means rare in modern English, in fact 
people use it all the time, but most speakers don't want to admit that.
Of course, this construction is not totally free, its predicates are limted
to those that can be used presentationally.
After I published my paper I got various interesting responses, in particular
from Chinese speakers (Chinese has a very similar construction).

Knud Lambrecht
Dept. of French & Italian
UT Austin
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