LINGUIST List 9.471

Fri Mar 27 1998

Qs: Learning Ling,Slavic,Geminates,French

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>

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. D. Andrews, Technology for Learning Linguistics
  2. Elena Rudnitskaya, Dative Infinitive Subjects in Slavic Languages
  3. NORA AION, Geminates
  4. R.D.N.Walker, Language Interference in France.

Message 1: Technology for Learning Linguistics

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 09:52:51 -0800 (PST)
From: D. Andrews <>
Subject: Technology for Learning Linguistics

There are a ton of computer programs available now to help students
learn langauges. I'm looking for resources to help students learning
Linguistics. For example, "Sounds of the World's Langauges," from
UCLA, has audio samples of phonemic distinctions not made in English,
that a student can access by clicking on a world map, or a list of
langauges, or IPA symbols. It's great. I'm wondering what other
resources are out there, possibly for morphology, semantics or syntax.
Or any branch of Linguistics actually. I'd be grateful for any
thoughts and post a summary.

Donna Andrews
University of Washington
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Dative Infinitive Subjects in Slavic Languages

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 18:26:05 -0500 (EST)
From: Elena Rudnitskaya <>
Subject: Dative Infinitive Subjects in Slavic Languages

Dear linguists,

I am working on infinitive Dative subjects in Russian, such as
(1) "Ne znaju, chto mne delat'"
 not know what-Acc I-Dat to-do
"I do not know what I must do"

I am trying to find out which head checks the Dative feature of such
subjects (or assigns Dative to them). For the sake of that, I am
looking for comparative data from different Slavic languages (Czech,
Polish, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Slovene). In every single Slavic
language, I am trying to get evidence for a correlation between
existence of Dative "subjects" with modals meaning "necessary"("must")
and "possible" ("can") and existence of Dative infinitive subjects,
such as in (1).

I will appreciate all the native speakers of Slavic languages who can
answer the following questions:

I have two big questions.

 1) Can you use Dative "subjects" with predicates meaning
"necessary" ("must", such as "trzeba" or "nuzhno" in Russian) and
predicates meaning "possible" ("can", such as "mozhna", "mozhno" in
Russian"); "impossible" ("cannot", such as "nel'zja" in
Russian). (Note that these Dative "subjects" are not structural
subjects with which the predicate agrees, but just sentence-initial
noun phrases which occur with 3 sg. neut. predicate.)I give the
literal English translations of possible examples:

 (a) John (Dative) (is) necessary to-go-to-bed
 Mary (Dative) (is) not necessary to-go to school

 (b) Peter (Dative) (is) possible to-eat candy
 Ann (Dative) (is) impossible to-go-to-bed late

If you cannot have Dative subjects in examples (a)-(b), can you
translate (c) and (d) into your language with a "for John (Genitive)"
phrase or something like that (but not with a Nominative "John" as in
"John must go to bed", "John can eat candy"). If yes, please give the

 (c)"It is necessary for John to go to bed"

 (d)"It is possible for John to eat candy"

Please give examples of clauses where you can use Dative subjects
(with predicates "easy", "want", "cold", "hot", etc).

2) Can you have Dative subjects of infinitives, according to the
scheme: (Wh-word)-subject(Dat)-(copula)-infinitive. I give literal
English translations of possible examples:

(a) For-what (is) John(Dative) to-marry? (Meaning lit."What is the
reason for John to marry?" or "John must not marry")

For-what (is) Mary(Dative) to-study? (Meaning lit."What is the reason
for Mary to study?" or "Mary must not study")

(b) Where (is) Peter(Dative) to-sleep? (meaning "Where can/must Peter
sleep?") What (is) John(Dative) to-do? (meaning "What can/must Peter

(c) Tom(Dative) (is) not to-win us (meaning "John cannot win us")
Bill(Dative) (is) not to-pass the exam (meaning "Bill cannot pass the

If you cannot have sentences as in (a)-(c) with Dative, can you
translate "John must not marry", "Where can/mustJohn sleep?" and "John
cannot win us" into your language as finite sentences? Please give the
translations with whatever case of "John".

 Can you have dative subjects in embedded infinitives, such as in (d)?

(d) John(Nom) did not say when Peter(Dative) to-come to-see him
(meaning "...when Peter must come")

Mary(Nom) does not know who(Acc) she(Dative) to-ask to-do that
(meaning "...who she can ask to do that")
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Geminates

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 16:12:37 -0500 (EST)
From: NORA AION <>
Subject: Geminates

Can anyone point me to a language(s) where geminates appear heavy for
one phonological process within the language, but not for another
phonological process within that same language? Please reply directly
to Thank you.
Nora Aion
The Graduate Center of the City Univ. of New York
C.U.N.Y Graduate School and University Center
(212) 691-1846
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 4: Language Interference in France.

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 21:33:03 +0000
From: R.D.N.Walker <>
Subject: Language Interference in France.

Hi. I'm interested in finding out if there are any geographical areas
in France where the French language 'norme' is influenced or changed
by contact with foreign languages, for example like the appearance of
'franglais' in some parts of Canada.

Please e-mail any help on this subject to:
Daniel Jarvis
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue