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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Discussion Details




Title: Ross's Rule
Submitter: Joe Calabrese
Description: R.L Trask mentions two rules in 'Language: The Basics,' (pp. 34) one of
which is referred to by Trask as 'Ross's rule', or the complex noun phrase
constraint.

1. Example: 'The guests who arrived in a car are ready to go home.'

Does Ross's rule say we can't ask a (grammatical question) about the car in
the relative clause?

How about 'Which car did the guests who are ready to leave arrive in?'

2. Concerning the 'complex noun phrase constraint': We can't ask a
question about the car in 'The rumor that John has stolen a car is
completely untrue.'

But, isn't the following a grammatical question about the car?

'Which is the car that the false rumor claims John has stolen?'

I appreciate any attention you might give to this.
Date Posted: 05-Mar-2010
Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
LL Issue: 21.1078
Posted: 05-Mar-2010

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