LINGUIST List 9.456

Wed Mar 25 1998

Qs: Passives,Rhyme/Memory,Pronouns,Modals

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <martylinguistlist.org>


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.

Directory

  1. George Elgin, Suzette Haden Elgin, Agents and Patients
  2. monika.bruendl, Rhyme and Memory
  3. Miura Ikuo, Reference of Pronouns
  4. YIB00161niftyserve.or.jp>, Modals

Message 1: Agents and Patients

Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 09:11:18 -0500
From: George Elgin, Suzette Haden Elgin <oclsipa.net>
Subject: Agents and Patients

I have a query that I assume can be easily and quickly answered; your
help will be greatly appreciated.

English allows sentences like "Oil was spilled" and "Mistakes were
made" and "It was regretted." That said, I am looking for the
following:

1. A polysynthetic (or choose your label) language -- or dialect of a
language -- which allows the "it was regretted" sort of thing, in that
it allows a verb with the patient affix slot filled and the agent
affix slot empty.

2. An isolating (or choose your label) language -- or dialect of a
language -- which does *not* allow the "Oil was spilled" structures,
in that the agent must obligatorily appear and/or there must at least
be an indefinite ( as in "Somebody made mistakes") in the clause.

 Please reply directly to me at oclsipa.net; if there is
interest, I'll post a summary. If I've overlooked some obvious
feature in this query, your
corrections/additions/emendations/imprecations will be welcome.
Thanks for your help.

 Suzette Haden Elgin
 oclsipa.net
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Message 2: Rhyme and Memory

Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 22:14:22 +0000
From: monika.bruendl <monika.bruendlstud.uni-muenchen.de>
Subject: Rhyme and Memory

Does anyone know of any (psycho-)linguistic studies or theories on the
relationship between rhyme and the ability to memorize? What I'm
looking for is evidence for the fact that words that rhyme
(e.g. flower power, snail mail) are easier to memorize and more
prominent to the language user compared to words that do not rhyme.

Thanks for your help.
Monika.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Monika Brundl, Munich, Germany
T: -89-2609865
monika.bruendlstud.uni-muenchen.de
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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Message 3: Reference of Pronouns

Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 14:11:24 +0900 (JST)
From: Miura Ikuo <a966702deds.ecip.nagoya-u.ac.jp>
Subject: Reference of Pronouns

I am a graduate student of Nagoya University in Japan. I am studying
English linguistics under the framework of generative grammar. I am
interested in relations of pronouns and their antecedents in English.
I need a help of native English speakers to check some English
sentences. But there are few native English speakers around me. So
please check the grammatical judgements of the following sentences.

(1) 
a. John filed them without reading the papers. (them=the papers)
b. John looked at him after Mary had spoken to Bill. (him=Bill)
c. The chairman hit him on the head before the lecturer had a chance
to say anything.
 (him=the lecturer) (cited from Reinhart (1981))
d. He looked at Jim after John was spoken to by Mary (he=John)

(2) 
a. John filed every paper without reading it. (every paper=it)
b. John filed every paper without reading them (every paper=them)

I hope you are kind enough to reply me directly.

Thank you.

Ikuo Miura
(a966702deds.ecip.nagoya-u.ac.jp)
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Message 4: Modals

Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 19:16:00 +0900
From: YIB00161niftyserve.or.jp> <YIB00161niftyserve.or.jp>
Subject: Modals


I am a professor of English linguistics at Osaka Shoin Women's
College. I am very interested in English grammar and usage. I am now
writing a paper on English modals. Let me ask you two questions about
"must" and "will". My first question is: Which is more certain, (1)
or (2)?

 (1) Speaker A: Someone is knocking on the door.
 Speaker B: That must be George.
 (2) Speaker A: Someone is knocking on the door.
 Speaker B: That will be George.

British literature such as Halliday (1994) and Close (1975) say that
"must" is more certain, while American literature such as Feigenbaum
(1985) and Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman (1983) say that "will" is
more certain. I wou ld like to know whether there is a difference
between British and American usage. My second question is about the
following quoted examples.

 
(3) Then the bell rang again, and then again, two short insistent
peals. It must be Nan, he thought -- no one else would ring like
that, as if they had a right to come in. (I. Murdoch, The Sandcastle)
 

(4) Mason hung up the telephone and said to Della Street, "Irving is
on his way here." "To see you?" "Probably." "So what do we do?"
"Wait for him. The party may be rough." Five minutes later angry
knuckles banged on the door of Mason's private office. 

"That will be Irving," Mason said .
 
"I'll let him in myself, Della." (E. S. Gardner, The Case of
Terrified Typist)

As to "must" and "will", Palmer (1990:57-58) does not write anything
about the relative degree of certainty. Instead, he points out that
"must" indicate s the only possible conclusion on the basis of the
evidence available, whereas "will" indicates what is a reasonable
conclusion from previous knowledge. I think that examples (3) and (4)
can be explained in terms of "evidence available" and "previous
knowledge", respectively. In (3) the speaker conclud es from his
observation about the bell ringing that it must be Nan. This can be
regarded as an evidence available. In (4) Mason knows that Irving is
coming.
 
This is previous knowledge. So I think that Palmer's view is
right. What do yo u think about this?

With thanks in advance and best wishes,
Kenji Kashino 
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