LINGUIST List 9.493

Mon Mar 30 1998

Qs: Lang Acq,Facial Features,Passives,Stylistics

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. MOHY, Language Acquisition
  2. Chris Beckwith, Names of Facial Features
  3. George Elgin, Suzette Haden Elgin, Followup: Agents and Patients
  4. Alex, Stylistics

Message 1: Language Acquisition

Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 21:16:16 +0200
From: MOHY <>
Subject: Language Acquisition

 I am writing my Ph.D thesis in " Study of the acquisition of
syllable structure in sentences of child". Please help me in finding
references related to my work.
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Message 2: Names of Facial Features

Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 15:30:48 -0500 (EST)
From: Chris Beckwith <>
Subject: Names of Facial Features

I am looking for any examples in which the words for 'ear', 'eye',
'nose', 'tongue', 'tooth' or 'mouth' have been borrowed from one
language to another, excluding any examples of innovation. I can only
use clear, attested examples. A similar question was posted a few
years ago, to which Alexis Manaster Ramer replied (LINGUIST List 29th
of June 1995), but a search of Linguist back issues did not turn up
anything more recent. AMR's summary mentions his failure to find any
clear examples of the words for 'eye', 'ear', or 'tongue' (except for
'a whole bunch of Ethiopian languages') having been borrowed; he does
not mention if that is the case for 'nose', 'mouth', or 'tooth' also.
Please reply if you know of clear examples of any of these terms
having been borrowed. I am especially interested in the words for
'ear', 'eye', and 'mouth'.

Thanks in advance for your help!

I will post a summary. 

Chris Beckwith
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Message 3: Followup: Agents and Patients

Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 10:13:50 -0500
From: George Elgin, Suzette Haden Elgin <>
Subject: Followup: Agents and Patients

March 30, 1998

Recently I posted a query and request for help to the list, assuming
that it would be easily and quickly answered; I was wrong. I've been
asked to post a summary, and will be glad to -- but first I have to
try to clarify the situation. I've asked a question of the form "Does
your language allow speakers to do X?" and have received a batch of
very informative and welcome responses, from native and/or fluent
speakers of the languages, that vary dramatically in judgment. For a
given Language X, I have responses from one native speaker who says
"yes" and another native speaker who says "no." This is not
surprising; my own Ozark English allows -- and encourages -- things
that "every educated native speaker of English" would robustly assert
that English would never allow under any circumstances. However, as
matters stand, I can't construct a summary. Let me try again,
therefore. (Responses to my query regarding pronominal agents and
patients were very clear; I am following up only with regard to the

I am looking for a language that does not allow "deniability" to
agents. Ideally, it would be a language in which a structure such as
"Oil was spilled" or "Mistakes were made" is simply ungrammatical --
not necessarily because the language has no passive directly
comparable to English passive, but because the agent must obligatorily
appear . Perhaps no such language exists; I'm trying to find out.

By "ungrammatical" I mean something like the ungrammaticality of
English sentences with no nominal whatsoever in surface subject
position. That is -- although it's true that English allows sentences
like "Kills germs" in advertisements, and allows sentences of that
kind where the agent is apparent from context, in response to
questions, etc., -- I think it's safe to say that speakers of English
agree that subjectless sentences are ungrammatical for English, in
this sense. I hope that's clear.

If I can get this question answered, I'll apply it to the data you've
already sent me and construct a summary as quickly as possible. Please
reply to me directly at Thanks for your help.

Suzette Haden Elgin
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Message 4: Stylistics

Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 16:48:07 +0400
From: Alex <>
Subject: Stylistics

I'm a four year student of Kiev National University of foreign
(English) philology department. I was advised to visit your site in
order to find interesting material for my bachelor diploma
ab. stylistic of English language.
 I've thought out interesting topics for my bachelor diploma, they

1. Expressive stylistical peculiarities of scientific text. 
2. Stylistic of the business speech and business documentation. 
3. Culture of students' speech in USA or UK.

These are topics that really interesting for me to work out, but most
of all #2 & #3. If you have some interesting materials concerning
these themes and if it is not difficult for you, I'd like you to send
me any interesting material. 

Best regards

P.S. If you have another ideas concerning other topics I'll be grateful
for submitting.
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