LINGUIST List 8.589

Fri Apr 25 1997

Qs: R-exprs, Latin, language comprehension

Editor for this issue: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar <>

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. Elisa Vasquez-Iglesias, R-expressions
  2. Alan Dench, Q: Latin and Non-configurationality
  3. Alain Dawson, Comprehension of unknown languages

Message 1: R-expressions

Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 10:41:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: Elisa Vasquez-Iglesias <>
Subject: R-expressions

Dear listers,

I would like to find out if there are any languages where there is no
contrast between the (a) and the (b) cases

(1) a. In Ben(i)'s office, he(i) is an absolute dictator.
 b. *In Ben(i)'s office, he(i) lay on his desk.

(2) a. For Mary(i)'s valor, she(i) was awarded a purple heart.
 b. *For Mary(i)'s brother, she(i) was given some old clothes.

(3) a. On Rosa(i)'s birthday, she(i) took it easy.
 b. *On Rosa(i)'s lawn, she(i) took it easy.

(4) a. With John(i)'s novel finished, he(i) began to write a book of
 b. *With John(i)'s computer, he(i) began to write a book of poetry. 

Thanks in advance,

		Elisa Vazquez
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Message 2: Q: Latin and Non-configurationality

Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 12:41:11 +0800
From: Alan Dench <>
Subject: Q: Latin and Non-configurationality

From: Luke Yates
Centre for Linguistics
University of Western Australia

I'm studying non-configurational features of Classical Latin for
my Honours thesis at the University of Western Australia. My main
focus is null anaphora, including but not restricted to null subjects.
I'm interested in the status of Latin verbal inflections in predicate
argument structure and their role in identification and licensing.
Caesar's 'Gallic' and 'Civil Wars' will be my data sources.

I would be very grateful for pointers to resources/contacts re
non-configurationality and (above all) null anaphora in Latin.

Replies can be sent to me via Alan Dench at:

and I will post a summary of responses.

Thank you,

Luke Yates
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Message 3: Comprehension of unknown languages

Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 11:17:10 +0200
From: Alain Dawson <>
Subject: Comprehension of unknown languages

Dear Linguists,

I'm a PhD student carrying on a research into text comprehension in the
case of unknown, but closely related, languages, in particular among Slavic
languages (i.e., in a situation that can be described as "mutual
intelligibility"). I've been looking for references in that field, but it
appears as relatively unexplored. Text comprehension studies put as a
premice a supposed "transparency" of language, that is, a perfect identity
of the speaker's (or writer's) language and the reader's language. Maybe
some experiences were done by artificially corrupting the text to make it a
little unusual to the reader. On the other hand, foreign language
comprehension seems to be explored as a problem of language teaching and
learning, and, when "mutual intelligibility" is involved, it is as a
facilitating or disfacilitating factor to language learning.

Does anyone know of references more corresponding to my project ? I know
there has been in the 50's a few attempts to explore mutual intelligibility
among Amerindian dialects, and in the same time some interest to
intelligibility among Scandinavian languages. I've heard, too, of recent
works in the field of Romanic languages, but I couldn't find their results.
And what about Slavic languages ?

Thank you for your help.

Alain Dawson
PhD student
University of Paris-4 (Sorbonne), Department of Slavic Languages
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