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English / Re: The robin bird
« Last post by Daniel on Today at 09:05:33 AM »
When people go somewhere new, they still use their familiar words for things that seem familiar.

A peacock in Spanish (as in Latin, etc.) was once called "pavo", but once Spanish speakers reached the new world and discovered turkeys they started calling them the same thing. So after that they started to refer to a peacock as a "pavo real", a 'royal turkey'. Or calling potatoes "earth apples" in French (and some other languages). The other option is borrowing, or making up a new word.

There are many examples like that. Even where there is no common distinction made later (like adding an adjective to one). In terms of human experience, "robins" in both places are basically the same. But it does cause some confusion for a biologist or bird watcher.

For a comparison, imagine traveling to an alien world with life biologically unrelated to any on Earth. You still probably would use some Earth-life words like "tree" or "plant" or "bird" or "fish" or "animal" or "worm", etc., if your observations were of things that felt familiar. It's also possible that in some cases the comparison is deliberate, by people who feel homesick and want to imagine their new environment as similar to the old. (Or just unaware enough to assume or even proclaim that it is the same.)
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English / The robin bird
« Last post by giselberga on Today at 01:25:38 AM »
Spices of The European and American robin are different
Spices of The European robin is Erithacus rubecula
But Spices of The American robin is Turdus migratorius
Why do Erithacus rubecula and Turdus migratorius use “robin bird” word
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Morphosyntax / Re: Ambiguity
« Last post by Daniel on May 22, 2018, 11:21:12 PM »
Yes, that makes the alternative reading easier. But having looked at this too long my judgments are now too fuzzy to give you any specifics about likelihood or 'equal naturalness'.

My guess is that by omitting 'the' it just makes the phrase shorter, thereby decreasing the reading span between the beginning and the position of the scope element, so the garden path effect is less obvious. A similar effect would apply for example with "a group of two...", not just definite phrases.
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Morphosyntax / Re: Head final language
« Last post by Daniel on May 22, 2018, 11:19:04 PM »
Those phrases are generalizations, and allow exceptions. Furthermore, they're not defined based on any set list of phrases, so I don't know how we'd test it. There certainly are many very strongly head-final languages out there-- heavily suffixing, verb-final order, postpositions, etc. (I can name dozens off off the top of my head.) I'd even guess there are some languages without exceptions, at least for major categories. But it depends on how you define this. And if you care about defaults or possible alternative word orders due to pragmatics, etc.

In short, this particular claim needs to be examined in detail for what it is saying. In general I would say it is completely incorrect for normal generalizations about languages-- some languages are strongly and consistently head-final. Depends on what an "exception" can be though, I suppose.

Completely head-initial languages are rarer. That would mean VO order, and perhaps specifically VSO order, which is quite rare (something like 12% of languages have VSO as their default, but fewer are not flexible in that). And more importantly, around the world there is a strong suffixing preference, so in that sense even many head-initial languages have suffixes (sometimes as well as prefixes). In short, whatever claim you found about head-finality would probably also apply with more exceptions to head-initiality.
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Morphosyntax / Head final language
« Last post by binumal on May 22, 2018, 10:03:22 PM »
I have come across a claim  that there doesn't exist any head -final language which is consistently head  final ( means all the phrases in the language  is head-final). Is this true ? I wonder whether all the head-initial languages exhibit consistent  head-initiality ?
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Morphosyntax / Re: Ambiguity
« Last post by binumal on May 22, 2018, 09:09:48 PM »
I would like to know what if we omit the Det 'the' to make the sentence-I phoned  two patients that every doctor will examine
tomorrow
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Morphosyntax / Re: Ambiguity
« Last post by Daniel on May 22, 2018, 08:58:51 PM »
I'm not sure how to measure "equally natural", but both readings are certainly possible. The narrow scope reading is more obvious to me because of a garden path effect, "I phoned the two..." suggests a total of two, until you continue.
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Morphosyntax / Ambiguity
« Last post by binumal on May 22, 2018, 08:53:43 PM »
Kindly look at the following sentence
# I phoned the two patients that every doctor will examine
tomorrow
Are  both the interpretations of this sentence  equally natural ( narrow scope reading Versus wide scope reading of QP 'two patients')
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In particular, the Book of Mormon uses "and" to break up new lines, leading to a pattern where there is often para-hypotaxis (see above, along the lines of "If X, / and Y"), which is considered by some Mormon scholars to be a Hebraic style, and obviously quite unusual for English. Poetic rhythm is another factor or explanation to consider.

I don't know if similar usage is found exactly like that elsewhere in English (it seems unusual, perhaps unique), but I just happen to know of that example because I cited it in the 2016 paper mentioned above, with reference to a Mormon scholar's introduction to a volume of the text discussing that particular feature.
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Morphosyntax / Re: Plural Subject + Singular Agreement (Implied Clausal Subject)
« Last post by Daniel on May 19, 2018, 08:36:30 PM »
I wouldn't say they involve ellipsis (which I see as a specific syntactic operation in a generative sense), but they do involve/require context. If we coined the term "discourse ellipsis" then that might fit. Similar to how fragment answers work, but in this case there is no full linguistic structure to refer back to, so I don't know that they'd still be literally "ellipsis" rather than just fragments -- that is, concepts rather than declarations.

Indeed, quotations might be needed as punctuation-- I was thinking of just pronouncing those words, not how to write it out (I'm not sure such sentences would really appear in print).

So is it the case that those examples require quotes, but the plural subject NPs discussed above in this discussion do not?

As I said, I don't think that "Two doctors is fine" is literally metalinguistic, but it's something along those lines-- mentioning, rather than referring. Playing with the compositionality of language.

For similar reasons I'm not certain that quotes are needed on all of the examples in my previous post, although I would be more likely to agree for those than for the plural-with-singular-agreement noun subjects.
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