LINGUIST List 9.388

Tue Mar 17 1998

Qs: Irony, Transcription, Wh-Questions, 'if-then'

Editor for this issue: Anita Huang <>

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. Arthur Merin, Testing for Universality of Irony
  2. Juan Antonio Peqa, Computer Program for Transcription
  3. ivy sichel, Wh-questions
  4. palma, adriano p, 'if-then'

Message 1: Testing for Universality of Irony

Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998 11:49:03 +0100 (MET)
From: Arthur Merin <arthurIMS.Uni-Stuttgart.DE>
Subject: Testing for Universality of Irony

For some time a question, most recently, it appears, posed as 
part of a query in the "Guardian" newspaper, has been going 
back and forth, unanswered:

 Are there cultures in which there is no institution
 of (verbal) irony?

Anecdotal observations of individual inability to understand
irony, often in inter-linguistic communication, are available.
But no conclusive answer to the question as posed about 
trans-idiolectal languages has emerged.

I should be grateful for answers deciding the question and 
hope to be able to post results.

Arthur Merin
Institute for Language and Computation (IMS)
University of Stuttgart
Azenbergstr. 12
70174 Stuttgart

Arthur Merin
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Message 2: Computer Program for Transcription

Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 17:55:48 -0400
From: Juan Antonio Peqa <>
Subject: Computer Program for Transcription

Dear LINGUIST friends,

 My wife is working on her thesis dealing with nasal sounds. She
recorded several people and analyzed the recordings in order to discover
how many bilabial, alveolar, velar and so on nasal sounds those people
said. It has been a very tough job. We were wondering if there happens
to be any sort of computer program that, once fed with the recordings,
could do a transcription into phonetic symbols. We thought there probably
is something. Could any fellow linguist give us a hint or some reference
regarding this point?

Thanks for the time and effort.
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Message 3: Wh-questions

Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 10:46:56 -0500 (EST)
From: ivy sichel <>
Subject: Wh-questions

Dear Linguists,
I am trying to figure out how to represent Wh-questions in
non-transformational theories such as HPSG, LFG, and Relational Grammar. The
literature I have read discusses Wh-questioning of subjects and objects, but
I haven't yet found anything on adjuncts or on the mechanics of subject-aux
inversion, or on modal structure more generally, as in the following example:

 1. How can John fix the car?

If anyone can help me with the representation of such a sentence in any of
the theories above, either by providing the structure or by referral to the
relevant literature, it would be greatly appreciated. Please respond
directly to my account, and I will post a summary if there is interest. 
Thanks in advance,
Ivy Sichel
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Message 4: 'if-then'

Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 22:51:40 -0800
From: palma, adriano p <>
Subject: 'if-then'

Does any of you note any difference in structure, semantics, pragmatics,
or whatever
between the two following forms

IF x q


(the claim is presented by Grice that there is indeed a difference, a
detectable one)
I would appreciate any example or consideration on this.
thank you

adriano palma

CCU 621 taiwan ROC
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