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Indo-European Linguistics

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Query Details

Query Subject:   Referential/Expressive
Author:   Suzette Haden Elgin
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Phonetics

Query:   July 14, 1999

Dear Linguistpersons,

I'd be grateful for your help with the following pair:

Q: ''How could you do that?''
A: ''Well, I guess I could start by putting them all in alphabetical order.''

Q: ''HOW could you DO that??''
A: ''Well, if I hadn't done it she wouldn't have *gone* to Bermuda with me!''

I haven't been able to find any information about work done with pairs like
these; if you could direct me to a source, I'd be grateful. I'd also like
to know how, precisely, you would explain the meaning difference regarding
this pair to beginning students. (The more beginning the better, since what
I have to do is explain it do nonlinguists.) Explanations such as ''There
are things that Providence doesn't intend for us to know'' won't speak to my

If anything useful comes of this query, I'll post a summary.

Suzette Haden Elgin
LL Issue: 10.1105
Date posted: 18-Jul-1999


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