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Typology and Descriptive Linguistics / Why do we use "have + past" participe?
« Last post by ValeryLeFay on February 22, 2019, 08:32:34 PM »
There is a topic which has much interest for me but I can't solve it.
If we look some european languages, we can observe this curious coincidence.

Spanish and romanic languages:
Yo he comido (Subject + form of to have verb+ past participe)
Yo he estado

I have eaten (Subject + form of to have verb + past participe)
I have been

Ich habe gegessen (Subject + form of to have verb + past participe)
Ich bin gewesen (Subject + form of to be verb + past participe)

In the german language, we find the use of form of to be verb. However, Italian language use the same process ("mi sono alzato").
This phenomenon is natural in romanic languages, although in classic latin perfect verbal times was synthetic (amavit). Except the perfect passive verbal times (amatus est), which use the form of to be verb. Thanks to (re)inventation of new present perfect (classic present perfect was being used as close past), appeared the formula "habeo + past participe" in vulgar latin.

Now, latin language in its imperialist context had this influence in english and german?
Do you believe that the influence of scholasticism makes this change possible?
We can't speak about a typical procces of indoeuropean languages, actually, latin and ancient greek have synthetic forms in perfect times.

In addition to this, why do german and italian use the form of "to be" verb? (specially in intransitive verbs)
Perhaps by heredity of the "amatus est" formula? Deponent verbs?
Linguist's Lounge / Hi everyone!
« Last post by ValeryLeFay on February 22, 2019, 07:57:58 PM »
Hi everyone!
I'm an student of Spanish degree in the University of Alicante, Spain. Although I want to be a general linguist,  my specialty is the spanish language and its syntax, phonemics, pragmatics, semantics, amd more -ics... I think that you have realized my "bad" english. (Can we speak about bad and good in languages as semiotic systems if they do well her communicative function?) Actually, english language and me are not very good friends. Other languages with grammar more difficult (in relative terms) has been easier for me. Hahaha. Nevertheless, English has "something" that makes it complex.

I'm an absolute fan of linguistics. I love Chomsky, but I have some consideration for structuralism as good european.  ;D
However, my favourite linguistics are of "new" generation: Johnson, Lakoff, Van Dijk, Coseriu...
I think that Constructivism and Cognitivism has the same importance in different levels.

Nowadays I am in the second course of the grade, only nineteen years old. My first investigation is about queer linguistics and syntax/semantics. I research about the semantization (at the lexic level) of the grapheme -a in homosexual man speech. I still am a neophyte, but my passion of linguistics shakes mountains.

I would like to meet you!!
What is your favourite discipline?
Computational linguistics, pragmatics, syntax... or maybe ethnolinguistics?  ;)

(By the by, my name is Sergio, but you can call me Valéry)
Morphosyntax / Re: Sentence ungrammaticality
« Last post by Daniel on February 22, 2019, 12:23:06 AM »
You could have a passive participle, but that is only possible for a transitive verb (so you can have "John was arrested/eaten"). "Died" is only a past tense verb, and that would mean that tense is instantiated twice in the same clause (you have tense only once).
This is a past participle (or past tense), as in "John died" (past tense) or "John has died" (past participle). But the first part of your explanation is correct there: the participle must be from a transitive verb.

Passives promote a non-subject to subject, and remove the subject as an argument of the verb (it may appear as an extra bit of information then, introduced with "by").

So the verb "die" does not have enough arguments (just one: no object like "John died his life"), meaning that there is nothing to promote to subject.


Now, you might wonder, what about not having a subject all? Well, that's generally not allowed, and at least in English you would need to fill in something like "It was died". Even in a language like Spanish where overt subjects are not required, there is still generally an understood subject (as indicated by subject agreement still found on the verb!), so that also wouldn't make sense: there must be a conceptual subject, even if it is not pronounced.

Interestingly enough, there actually are some languages that do allow passivization of intransitive verbs. In German, the verb "werden" (lit. 'become') works like English "be" in passives. And you can literally say "It was danced": Es wurde getantzt. -- meaning something like "There was some dancing going on; people danced." I'm not sure whether "Es wurde gestorben" would make sense to a German speaker ('there was dying going on'?), but it may be a grammatical possibility. But again, English does not allow for this.
Morphosyntax / Re: Sentence ungrammaticality
« Last post by panini on February 20, 2019, 09:56:05 AM »
It's because there is no rule of English grammar that will generate that sentence. It might be easiest to start with the rules that introduce "be" plus something else. You could have an NP, but "died" is not an NP. You can have a progressive particle, but "died" isn't one. You can have an adjective, but "died" isn't one ("dyed" is). You could have a passive participle, but that is only possible for a transitive verb (so you can have "John was arrested/eaten"). "Died" is only a past tense verb, and that would mean that tense is instantiated twice in the same clause (you have tense only once). So there is no rule of English that generates this, and by definition the string is ungrammatical.

I should point out that many people get confused about the difference between acceptability and grammaticality. Grammaticality is an abstract analytic judgment that requires you to explicitly know the rule of English grammar, by which I mean the actual rules of English grammar and not things they teach you in school. Usually, linguists conjecture that a certain sentence is ungrammatical because they have a reasonable theory of the rules of English and can do the computation. The underpinning of that theory is the intuitive reaction that a given sentence is unacceptable. Sentences can be unacceptable for many reasons, not all of which are about grammar. In this case, though, I'd say it is clearly about grammar.
Morphosyntax / Sentence ungrammaticality
« Last post by Elena on February 20, 2019, 03:45:12 AM »
Hi, can anyone tell me why the sentence "john was died" is ungrammatical?
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Use of the word "the"
« Last post by Daniel on February 17, 2019, 03:55:29 AM »
That usage is often called "generic". Note that "a" can, interestingly, be used in the same way. "A lion is a dangerous foe" or "The lion is a dangerous foe". This range of usage of definite (and indefinite) articles is part of well known variation and historical change, if you look up some of the trends of development. The meaning of "definite" is somewhat unclear because there are specific, generic, context-established, etc., meanings.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Use of the word "the"
« Last post by Bunbury on February 17, 2019, 12:19:57 AM »
Is there a grammatical category for what might be called the universal determiner "the" - as in "the spleen."  That is, not using the word "the" to refer to a specific example or member of a class (as in "the spleen was transplanted yesterday"), and not to refer to all the members as in the class (as in "the speens are all organs"), but rather to refer to all the members of a class in terms of a single member (as in "the spleen has many cells" or "the spleen is found in the abdomen").  This is found in scientific writing all the time in phrases such as, "the brain has many neurons," "the heart pumps blood," and "the human body is a living organism." 
English / Re: Linguistics exam
« Last post by Daniel on February 14, 2019, 04:47:38 PM »
Exams are meant to test your knowledge. You should be prepared for it in some way. It isn't clear what this is for, but if you are not prepared, then you should look at options to get prepared: take a class, read a book, etc.

This question is not appropriate here, or really anywhere on the internet or otherwise outside of your institution/program.

If you had a specific question about one of the ideas on the test, then we could discuss that, but even then actually discussing test content is generally not a good idea, and against the rules here.

Are you taking a class? Go talk to the instructor. Review your notes or the textbook.


I have also removed the images from the exam you posted, because that is inappropriate: posting exams and/or answers for exams online can too easily lead to cheating, regardless of whether this is allowed in your particular case (e.g., if this is a practice exam, but that is not clear from what you wrote).
English / Linguistics exam
« Last post by Gricom on February 14, 2019, 05:26:00 AM »
Hi everyone,
I will need to retake the exam and I have no idea how to deal with the exam. I known that the retake exam will be different but this is not the case. I have notes from all lessons and I have read a few books, but sill I have no idea how to deal with it, can anyone help me with this? If this thread is in the wrong place please move it to the right one

[Attached images of exam removed by moderator.]
Phonetics and Phonology / Re: Do you hear /b/ or /v/ ?
« Last post by Isaac Newton on February 12, 2019, 09:30:07 PM »
By the way here is my reading of Psalm 114 in the Yemeni pronunciation :

(A) Bet without dagesh voiced as a "v"

(B) Bet without dagesh voiced as a "b"

Which reading of bet without dagesh above sounds more like that of the native Yemeni reader we are inspecting ?
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