LINGUIST List 3.147

Sat 15 Feb 1992

Disc: Parsing challenges (Wat was was...)

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  1. , same-word sequences
  2. , Re: 3.139 Wat was was...
  3. , Like like like

Message 1: same-word sequences

Date: 12 Feb 92 8:34
From: <HASPELMATHPHILOLOGIE.fu-berlin.dbp.de>
Subject: same-word sequences

Here is a sequel to the "was was was" and "had had had" story:
In German, the following sentence is completely grammatical and processable
(it's even nicer when it's spoken, because the orthographic capitalization
of nouns destroys the phonological identity):

Wenn hinter Fliegen Fliegen fliegen, fliegen Fliegen Fliegen nach.
when behind flies flies.N fly.3pl fly.3pl flies.N flies.D after
'When flies fly behind flies, flies fly after flies (literally:
flies after-fly flies -- nachfliegen is a sort of posterior-applicative)'

Martin Haspelmath, Free University of Berlin
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Message 2: Re: 3.139 Wat was was...

Date: Wed, 12 Feb 92 15:37:38 GMRe: 3.139 Wat was was...
From: <jcbdcs.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 3.139 Wat was was...

mfleckcs.uiowa.edu (Margaret Fleck) writes in item (3) of 3.139:

>It was circulating when I was at Yale around
>1980, but I'm not sure exactly who to blame for it (and the most
>likely two culprits are not on the list and so cannot defend their
>reputations).

> John, where Mary had had "had," had had "had had." "Had had" had had
> the examiners' approval.

This is standard. It was around when I was at primary school (in
England) in the early 70s, and I think (though I'm not sure) that my
parents knew it when they were at school.

There's a similar trick with seven consecutive "and"s, but I can't
remember it; however, I think it was rather more contrived. Does
anybody else remember it?
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Message 3: Like like like

Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1992 9:31:52 +Like like like
From: <A_DENCHFENNEL.CC.UWA.OZ.AU>
Subject: Like like like


Mention and use ambiguities when the riddle is spoken:

Jack where John had had "had" had had "had had" "had had" had had the
teacher's approval.

The painter, painting the sign over the bar had left no space
between dog and "and" and "and" and duck.

Alan Dench
Centre for Linguistics
University of Western Australia
Nedlands WA 6009
A_DENCHfennel.cc.uwa.oz.au
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