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Summary Details

Query:   Summary on meaning analysis of "The man gives ..."
Author:  Hans Prufer
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Semantics

Summary:   Dear colleagues,

Here is a summary of what I enquired about a month ago, meaning analysis of a sentence, ?The man gives a dog a water.?

In all, I received 74 e-mails. As some respondents have given me multiple meanings, I have included them in multiples in such case.

(11) The sentence is proper and grammatical.
(20) The sentence is improper and ungrammatical. All 20 pointed out the fact that water is non-count and should not be used with ?a?.
(17) The sentence would be more proper with ?present progressive? or?past tense?. ('is giving? or ?gave? instead of ?gives').
(26) Within a proper context, the sentence is grammatically okay without anthromorphisizing ?a dog?.
(22) The sentence is grammatically okay but semantically and/or pragmatically odd for dog is not participants for a bottle or glass of water in context unless dog is anthromorphosized.
(3) The sentence sounds foreign, mis-written by a foreigner.
(14) Using ?the? instead of ?a? in front of ?dog? would be more suitable.
(40) Missed out ?a? in front of ?dog? and interpreted ?a? as ?the?.
(58) Directly or indirectly recognized ?a water? as ?a bottle of water? or ?a glass of water?.
(15) ?a water? is possibly used as a verbal noun meaning pouring dog water such as in ?gives a plant a water?.
(8) ?a water? means a kind of water.
(2) ?water what?? Expected a noun to follow ?a water?.
(1) ?give a dog a water? as a possible idiom for ?give the dog a bath??
(1) ?give a dog a water? as a possible idiom for ?take the dog out to urinate??

To satisfy the curiosity of some respondents who asked me what my purpose was in asking possible sentence meanings: I am currently doing a research on how much and what aspects of the surface language expressed might be due to language particular grammar rules and not Linguistic Competence, the Universal Grammar of languages.

Thank you!

LL Issue: 14.1050
Date Posted: 08-Apr-2003
Original Query: Read original query


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