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Morphosyntax / Cleft -mono-clausal literature
« Last post by binumal on April 07, 2018, 03:46:07 PM »
Can anyone suggest some literature that analyze English (or any other language ) cleft construction as mono-clausal. I remember to  have  come across some literature which treats it as mono-clausal,but cant remember the details . Any help would be greatly apopreciated, Thanx in Advance
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Morphosyntax / Re: Is this sentence ambiguous
« Last post by panini on April 04, 2018, 08:27:08 AM »
But it is not John who speaks GREEK or Sanskrit,It is the man  he knows that speak Greek or Sanskrit .  Now coming to the question of possible ambiguity- my doubt is whether the sentence can  either be interpreted as having a narrow scope reading or wide scope reading.
But still, the same question arises with a much simpler structure: "John speaks Greek or Latin". The problem, IMO, arises from a failure to distinguish between propositions that are compatible with a sentence, and those that are literally entailed by the words of a sentence. If you say "He took 3 of my 6 apples", that is not 20 ways ambiguous, it is just vague as to which particular apples he took. It is annoying that the original author didn't bother to say what the other interpretation is supposed to be.
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Morphosyntax / Re: Is this sentence ambiguous
« Last post by Daniel on April 04, 2018, 07:35:52 AM »
It doesn't strike me as ambiguous, but I suppose you could try to interpret it like this:

A) Either [John knows a man who speaks Greek, or John knows a man who speaks Sanskrit]
B) John knows one man, and that one man knows either Greek or Sanskrit.

It's unclear to me if the scope difference actually results in different truth conditions in any relevant circumstances (or indeed whether the scope change is even possible structurally).
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Morphosyntax / Re: Is this sentence ambiguous
« Last post by binumal on April 03, 2018, 11:28:39 PM »
Only if "John speaks either Greek or Sanskrit" is (and in the same way).
   But it is not John who speaks GREEK or Sanskrit,It is the man  he knows that speak Greek or Sanskrit .  Now coming to the question of possible ambiguity- my doubt is whether the sentence can  either be interpreted as having a narrow scope reading or wide scope reading .
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Morphosyntax / Re: Is this sentence ambiguous
« Last post by panini on April 03, 2018, 10:09:09 PM »
Only if "John speaks either Greek or Sanskrit" is (and in the same way). One interpretation of "either" is "one or the other, or both", and this would be most sensible if the context included something like "it just depends on who he's talking to". The other interpretation is "just one of these, but I (or whoever's perspective the discourse takes) don't know which". I think the point is that this latter "wide scope" reading is supposed to be equivalent to "John knows a man who speaks Greek, or John knows a man who speaks Sanskrit"; as opposed to "John knows a man who speaks 'Greek-or-Sanskrit'".
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Morphosyntax / Focused?
« Last post by binumal on April 03, 2018, 09:45:29 PM »
In the following sentence ,Is SUE focused. If so what is its semantic function.

# John only said that he knew a man who was acquainted with SUE--(In comparison with  the sentence like " John only saw SUE" ,I cant imagine of any syntactic function for focusing SUE)- The example is from Jayaseelan 2001














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Morphosyntax / Is this sentence ambiguous
« Last post by binumal on April 03, 2018, 09:39:32 PM »
!  John knows a man who speaks either GREEK or SANSKRIT - from Jayaseelan 2001. Is  this sentence ambiguous?
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Morphosyntax / Re: Does this sentence have two readings?
« Last post by Daniel on April 01, 2018, 12:57:17 PM »
The readings don't come very naturally for me pragmatically, but I guess the two are:
1. What is the most probable NUMBER of books that John will read?
Context: John has a homework assignment to read 5-10 books and write a report.
2. How many books exist such that John is probably going to read those particular books?
Context: John is very picky about choosing books, and he usually refuses to read all popular books.

The problem for me is that both questions seem to have the same exact numerical answer, as interpreted in context. I can't think of an obvious context where the two answers would differ in a meaningful way.

I suppose you could try to interpret it like this:
John only has time to read three books this year, so he is likely to read three books, but there are a lot of books he wants to read, so for each individual book there are many he is likely to read.
But still, it's very hard to actually get a different numerical answer that is specific to a single context. It would be odd, for example, to say "He's likely to read 10 of the great books I suggested, but he's so busy he's likely to read only 3." I mean, that makes sense abstractly, but seems like a contradiction in actual usage. It would need to be more like a hypothetical versus actual interpretation of "likely to", and that's not a proper ambiguity, because the phrasing would need to be different, e.g., "He'd be likely to.... but he is likely to only...".
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Morphosyntax / Does this sentence have two readings?
« Last post by binumal on April 01, 2018, 11:13:40 AM »
Here is a sentence from "Lahiri, U., 2017. Binding Theory, Scope Reconstruction, and NPI Licensing Under Scrambling in Hindi. In Perspectives on the Architecture and Acquisition of Syntax (pp. 183-194). Springer, Singapore". The author claims that the sentence has two reading.I cant make out the second reading. can you help me please.                            How many books is John likely to read?        - . Thank in advance                                                                                                                             
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Linguist's Lounge / Re: Where google fails, ask a linquist
« Last post by panini on March 29, 2018, 09:51:44 AM »
The reason why a Google search does not answer your question is because it is way toe specialized and beyond the grasp of Google technology. Google simply sweeps up everything that is out there on the web, and there are no enforced standards for what goes out on the web, minus some stuff about illegal content. You are interested in a specific form of English, Normative English, but there is no way to (a) authoritatively determine whether a web page follows the rules of Normative English or indeed (b) to absolutely determine what the rules of Normative English are. Very much of the content of the web is in non-Normative English, indeed a huge amount is in non-native English, to the point that utterances ostensibly in English are really the result of e.g. a Chinese speaker learning enough English to post a question or comment. There are a number of people trained in Normative English, and through apostolic tradition we know that "I did the dishes" is Normative English", likewise "I have done the dishes". You want to direct your question to them.

One weakly useful Google approach is the literal search, where you put sample pair in quotes and count the hits. "I did the dishes" gets twice as many hits as "I done the dishes". In the case of "I would have did/done the dishes", the number of hits is so low that you learn nothing. With a more generalized search for "I would have did/done", you find that "I would have done" is 7-fold more popular; the most general search for "have done" vs "have did" favors "have done" by about 250-fold. This is a very crude method, because included in the set of hits for "I would have did" are many examples of Normative English grammarians saying "You can't say 'I would have did'".

Linguists are probable very bad people to ask about this, because we are aware that this is a property of Normative English, and not a general property English. Usually if you direct such questions to a Normative English focused audience (such as English Language stack exchange, or any of a number of English grammar fora), the audience will ignore non-Normative dialects and just say "You can't say 'have did'".
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