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Morphosyntax / Re: Argument-Adjunct Asymmetry and Exhaustivity
« Last post by Daniel on March 01, 2019, 03:36:48 AM »
Well, a casual explanation might be that because adjuncts can already move around somewhat freely, there's no need to focus them in Spec,CP. This might mean it's also possible to do so (so the complementizer could show up), or that it just isn't used like that, although it wouldn't explain why it is strictly ungrammatical. Maybe a "Last Resort" explanation? Are you sure that even with the right kind of emphatic intonation it isn't possible to get this?

In English, Do-support is said to be a Last Resort operation when tense must be spelled out without attaching to the lexical verb, but we can get an emphatic reading as in "He DID read the book." Without that emphasis it is "ungrammatical" but it is possible to generate, even as a Last Resort, if there is emphasis.
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Typology and Descriptive Linguistics / Re: Why we use have + past participle?
« Last post by Audiendus on February 28, 2019, 10:07:47 PM »
Originally, perfectives with HAVE as an auxiliary came from a different source, namely transitive constructions with a sort of possessive sense of a stative description like "I have the window broken", parallel to "I saw the window broken".
In French, the gender and number of the past participle agree with those of an object pronoun (but not with those of an object noun):

J'ai vu la fille. (I have seen the girl)
Je l'ai vue. (I have seen her)

J'ai acheté les livres. (I have bought the books)
Je les ai achetés. (I have bought them)

It is as if we are saying "I have her seen", "I have them bought".
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Morphosyntax / Re: Argument-Adjunct Asymmetry and Exhaustivity
« Last post by Morphosyntax on February 28, 2019, 06:33:55 AM »
The complementiser is spelt out when arguments are focus-moved to SpecCP. It's the element that introduces subordinate clause, like 'that' in English. The interpretation of this focus construction is comparable to a cleft in English.

Hanya Ali yang   dia   tumbuk.
only    Ali COMP 3.SG punch
'It was ONLY ALI whom he punched.'

"Hanya Ali" in the example above is moved from the object position, and "yang" surfaces as the head of C.

"Exhaustive" focus is the effect you get when there is a set of alternatives, but only one choice is permitted, e.g. in the use of focus operator 'only'. All the other alternatives are negated.

Even when 'sahaja/hanya/cuma' (all meaning "only") is used, the complementiser surfaces with arguments only.

Hanya semalam   dia   tumbuk Ali.
Only    yesterday 3.SG punch   Ali
'Only yesterday he punched Ali.'
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Linguist's Lounge / Re: Helping to compare 'descriptive power' of languages
« Last post by Daniel on February 26, 2019, 12:24:44 PM »
It is generally assumed to be axiomatic that all languages have the same descriptive power. It is more that there is no good counterevidence to this, than that there is any obvious proof.

One important point is the infinity of languages: that we can generate longer and longer sentences, from a finite, relatively small, set of words, and build up sentences of any imaginable length, and therefore can express many ideas, although certain ideas may take longer to express (and may be longer in some languages than others). There has been some research into questions like the information rate (over time, e.g., per second) of different languages, but it's not entirely clear what the point of that research is, or what the results should mean, and it is controversial how to measure it anyway. In short, there are probably better questions to ask.
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Morphosyntax / Re: Argument-Adjunct Asymmetry and Exhaustivity
« Last post by Daniel on February 26, 2019, 12:20:36 PM »
I'd like a little more information before commenting here:

1. Why does C appear in second position in the clause? Are these embedded examples, or is this C appearing in matrix clauses? (This is a C element structurally parallel to English "that", correct?)

2. What precisely does "exhaustive" mean? Is it aspectual (=completive, perfective) or more about the actual semantics of finality/consumption? And could you use an adverb that has this meaning explicitly such as the word "exhaustively" itself (or "completely", "finally", or "already", etc.)?

So I'm not sure about the answer, but more information from those two questions should at least lead you in the right direction.
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Morphosyntax / Argument-Adjunct Asymmetry and Exhaustivity
« Last post by Morphosyntax on February 26, 2019, 03:43:16 PM »
In Malay, complementiser 'yang' surfaces when a DP constituent obtains exhaustive focus.

Dia   yang   mati
3.sg  COMP die
HE died.

It does not surface when an adjunct is focalised.

Semalam  (*yang)   dia   mati
Yesterday (*COMP) 3.SG die
YESTERDAY he died.

It does not seem logical that adjuncts cannot be exhaustive. Is there anything in the linguistics literature that discusses this?
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Linguist's Lounge / Re: Helping to compare 'descriptive power' of languages
« Last post by frostysh on February 26, 2019, 03:01:18 AM »
I will send my opponent to this forum instead! And will be totally perfect if you can provide with some reference to such subject as a 'descriptive power' in some academic articles or like that.

If we can name all this things that language can describe as 'medium' the same descriptive power means that for all languages this medium will be basically the same. Is it right? About difference of description and translation of a particular text, in translation we usually obtain end data near to the size of the initial one, and in description we can turn any single word into the Wikipedia article and still we will correctly show the meaning. Is it true?

I am not the linguist, and actually unemployment so I interesting in science because I want to study and find a job, and of course I need to have some knowledge in the field of Linguistic. The discussion about translation and a description has showed to me that.
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Linguist's Lounge / Re: Helping to compare 'descriptive power' of languages
« Last post by Daniel on February 26, 2019, 02:28:32 AM »
Quote
all languages have basically the same ability to describe something
Yes, that is correct.

One important type of difference between languages is which types of meaning contrasts are grammatically required (or just used often, or available in short, concise forms). For example, Evidentiality is a category of grammatical "evidence" for statements, like "I think" or "I know for a fact" or "someone told me", etc. Languages with obligatory evidentiality marked on every verb are different from English (and other languages without evidentiality) because speakers engage in that sort of behavior so often, and it may even have some effects on how they classify the world around them. But these are questions of usage and grammar, not questions of what can possibly be expressed because we can paraphrase anything we need to-- as shown by the examples above, like "I think", "I know", etc.
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Linguist's Lounge / Helping to compare 'descriptive power' of languages
« Last post by frostysh on February 25, 2019, 09:43:23 AM »
Hello to everyone who read this! And sorry for my English...

I have a discussion on some particular internet forum which is now about a languages. In short:

I saying that all languages have basically the same ability to describe something. In example English speaker can hypothetically understand any thoughts and cultural things of a China speaker, but with a different language (in this case English) and my opponent saying to me that sometimes translation is impossible and I am saying that translation is a more stub term than 'description' and means basically finding a proper 'shortcuts' which have same or similar meanings.
Please help me to understand which of us is speaking truth and if it possible with some academic writings or something like that.

Thank you for the future answers!

P. S. I am a far from linguistic science, so please not explain more simple.
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Typology and Descriptive Linguistics / Re: Why we use have + past participe?
« Last post by Daniel on February 25, 2019, 01:08:26 AM »
This is a complex topic, but I do have some ideas about it.

An important observation is the argument rules selected for by participles. Consider "singing man" vs "sung song".

As it turns out, past participles select for absolutive arguments: objects/patients of transitives (leading to passives like "the song was sung"), and subjects of intransitives (leading to perfectives like "I am left"). The passives presumably developed out of stative resultatives ("the window is (currently in a state of being) broken"), and then grammaticalized as passives through that usage.

The transitive/intrasitive split for HAVE vs BE auxiliaries for perfectives is still found today in several Indo-European languages, including German, French and Italian. It was also found up until around 200 years ago in English, and also in earlier Spanish as well.

But then the auxiliary HAVE generalized to be used for all verbs, whether transitive or intransitive. Originally, perfectives with HAVE as an auxiliary came from a different source, namely transitive constructions with a sort of possessive sense of a stative description like "I have the window broken", parallel to "I saw the window broken". This word order apparently still exists in Irish English, for example. Notice that this usage still originally comes from the absolutive alignment of these participles, and the agent— an ergative argument— is introduced as an additional, external argument, only then associated with the verb/participle after grammaticalization when a new argument structure has come about.

So the surprising pattern here is that of ergative-absolutive split in auxiliary selection, in contrast to typical nominative-accusative case marking in Indo-European. This is almost certainly also why the constructions have eventually shifted to use only HAVE for perfectives in English and Spanish, leaving BE for passive usage. (Now HAVE is nominative, while BE is accusative.) This may appear to be an unexpected analysis, but it also seems to fit.

Interestingly, Basque has something very similar, although it is a language with substantial ergativity in general, unlike its Indo-European neighbors. Some have actually proposed that the participle+auxiliary constructions might be due to Basque influence, but there doesn't seem to be any compelling historical sociolinguistic argument for how that would have actually happened! Instead, it's probably just coincidence, although interesting nonetheless. There does seem to be some kind of complex drift and contact situation going on throughout Europe, but the exact details are still debated, such as why Germanic and Romance are so similar. Some other somewhat similar patterns are also found in Greek, Slavic, etc.

For more about this, here is a presentation from a project on the topic a year or so ago: http://publish.illinois.edu/djross3/files/2017/09/Ergativity-in-Europe.pdf
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