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Language-specific analysis / Re: What language is this?
« Last post by aramis720 on October 05, 2018, 07:28:01 PM »
Great, thanks. I'll check with her.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Plural language used for a singular actor
« Last post by Daniel on October 04, 2018, 10:26:32 AM »
More generally, this relates to groups performing collective actions:

"We called for help." (As in your situation.)
"We drove here as a family." (But not everyone drove, perhaps just the parents or one parent.)

"Drive" is an especially interesting verb in this case, because it can even be extended to singular usage for passengers. "How did you get here?" -- "I drove.", even if actually it wasn't "I" who drove but a friend, while I rode in the car. The collective action of "driving" though applies to the whole group. Note that it does not apply when riding the bus, even though there is a driver there, but not part of the relevant group. I suppose in some sense this relates to responsibility, similar to how someone in the workplace might be reprimanded for not doing a task but (probably) only if someone else (e.g., on their team) didn't already do it. "You should have done it!" -- also interesting that in English, "you" is ambiguous between singular and plural, and I think in some cases that fits this type of discourse well, although I'm not sure how that works out in other languages.

Collectivity and related semantic concepts are complicated for linguistic analysis and in some ways just beginning to be explored in linguistic theory (at least compared to other topics). Even just plurals in general are a more complex topic than singulars, when for example thinking about the sort of referents that noun phrases express: we think about entities as subjects ("Who drove?" / "John drove."), but in fact once we consider data from plurals we must consider sets of entities rather than just individuals, and everything gets much more complicated. (There's also a question of whether singulars are sets of single individuals, or if there is actually a substantive distinction between singulars as individuals and plurals as sets!) See, for example, Lasersohn (1995), Plurality, Conjunction and Events:

As panini points out, "let's" often has this collective sense, but it's by no means a grammatical anomaly, no more than other collective/plural/etc. usage in general.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Plural language used for a singular actor
« Last post by panini on October 04, 2018, 08:36:22 AM »
If Bob were alone and said "Let's call for help", the weirdness would be him talking to himself and not just doing it. Or, using the hortative, rather than saying "I should call for help". To make it situationally less odd, suppose there's a dead rat in the road and the intent is to toss it in the ditch. Then you might say "One of us should toss it in the ditch", or "Let's toss it in the ditch". I would vote for the second option. The form addresses the group (which includes me); it's unrealistic to expect more than one person to participate in the rat-toss. The "Let's" form is addressed to a group, which does not mean that there is a reasonable expectation that every addressee will perform the action. The let's-form has an advantage over the option "Jill, toss the rat!" because it is less likely to generate the response "Who died and made you the boss?" It's a vague and avoidable suggestion that does not impose a burden on any addressee. It's better that "Somebody should...", which carries the scent of moral dictation (which nobody likes). Although, if you plan on tossing the rat yourself, then "Somebody should toss that rat" is a better form to use, if your goal is to claim moral superiority. (That could backfire if you don;t move quickly enough).

Anyhow, the grammar is fine.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Plural language used for a singular actor
« Last post by josephusflav on October 04, 2018, 07:47:55 AM »
Imagine that Bob John and Jill are walking down the street and they come across a dead body.

Bob says" let's call for help!"

Jill calls the police and nothing eventful happens.

Is there something wrong with the grammar of Bob's exclamation?

He said "us" yet only Jill actually engaged in the action of getting help.

I feel like I'm on the something weird here so I've tried to find some more sentences like this

Sociolinguistics / Re: Code-mixing and borrowing
« Last post by Daniel on October 03, 2018, 11:49:15 PM »
As much as I appreciate the compliment, I would strongly advise finding a published source for any official paper. Citing me here would be similar to citing one of your instructor's comments during office hours. You could do it, it might even be helpful for the paper, but there are probably better options, and your instructor might not consider it a proper citation for an assignment.

From a purely technical perspective, whatever citation style you're using would have information on how to cite a webpage (or even specifically a forum post). But that still isn't generally advisable for academic work, if you're citing it for content. If it's just for phrasing, I'd still ask your instructor first, but maybe that's acceptable.

In this case, I will just emphasize that while I'm glad I clarified it (and I understand that it's often hard to find the exact phrasing for a quote you're looking for), what I wrote here is by no means original, just my understanding from what others have said and experience in general. I'd treat it like Wikipedia: helpful to get started, and then ideas to research more thoroughly and cite from published sources. I'm confident you will find what you need, although it might take some time to find the best sources-- which is good to do anyway.
Sociolinguistics / Re: Code-mixing and borrowing
« Last post by studentlinguist on October 03, 2018, 07:44:18 PM »
Daniel: I would like to quote the following statement from you in an assignment  "As for code-switching vs. borrowing, the distinction is that borrowing is a conventionalization process, while code-switching is just a using-in-the-moment process." I cannot access your profile to find out your last name. Please let me know how you would like me to attribute the quote. Thanks
Morphosyntax / Re: A question about Performativity
« Last post by Old Nick on October 02, 2018, 01:20:17 PM »
Thanks Daniel and Vox for your input. It’s very interesting for me as a non linguist who is not on the path to become one. ;-) I will think about it more thoroughly.

Hello again, just to update, whilst I have not entirely solved the translation riddle I have managed to work out that the Greek bride lived in the Phanar (Fanar/l) on the marriage certificate which was the Greek area of Constantinople.  So whilst we don't have the exact name translation, the help on here has guided my research to further evidence allowing me to reach the conclusion that my ancestor was indeed Greek along with all that entailed in the 1800s in the Ottoman Empire.  Thank you.
Outside of the box / Re: Pronounciation of f, p and ph
« Last post by Daniel on September 29, 2018, 02:32:46 AM »
The sounds certainly are similar in some ways, but they are not the same. In your examples, you're mixing up different languages, dialects, and second-language-learner pronunciations. So there are several different questions here.

What is similar about the sounds is that they are all labial (pronounced with the lips) and also voiceless (versus v and b for example).

The differences:
[f] is a fricative (hissing sound, produced when there is a narrow construction where turbulent airflow makes a sound)
[p] is a stop (or plosive, where a 'popping' sound occurs from the release of a complete construction of airflow)
[pʰ] is like [p] but also aspirated meaning there is a small h-like sound following it, produced by the glottis (vocal folds). Note that frication and aspiration are very similar, which is why you find this sound to be similar to [f].
[pf] is actually a combination sound, where both [p] and [f] are pronounced together. This is called an affricate and another example is "ch", which is really just a combination of "t" and "sh" sounds.

There are also other interesting relationships between sounds that you might not expect. For example, if you record [b] then chop off the initial release (it's a stop sound, like [p]), then you will surprisingly hear [f]. Acoustically the sounds are almost identical aside from the first part. (You might hear something similar with [p], although for [pʰ] the aspiration would probably make it sound different to you, but still similar to some extent.)

So... what does all of this mean? Well, sounds vary in different languages, and when they come in contact, mixing or borrowing occurs in somewhat systematic but also maybe unexpected ways. For example, speakers of some languages replace English "th" with a [t] sound, and others with an [s] sound. Neither one is "more correct" (since both are different from English), but for whatever reason (based probably on the sounds in the language and how they therefore perceive English) speakers of different languages differ in what they think sounds closest. So that would explain the examples of language learners you gave. Something similar would apply to children learning a language as they adjust toward adult-like usage-- this is normal around 5 years old, plus or minus a few years.

As for the example of "pf" in Texas, that's actually from German-- a number of German immigrants historically moved to Texas, and there is even a (now very endangered) dialect of German spoken there (and other similar dialects elsewhere in the United States). Those words are just borrowed from German, for names of towns, streets, etc. (Pfennig means 'penny', for example. I'm not sure about "Pflerge-".) Historically in German, over a thousand years ago, a sound change happened in German where word-initial [p] became [pf]: -- what this means is that variation in speakers (either children learning the language, or via contact, or just general variation in society and then dialects) caught on and became the new norm. This happens in all languages, but in this case it again shows us that these sounds are in some sense related. Additionally, something else happened even earlier (probably around 3,000+ years ago), when [p, t, k] became [f, th, kh~h] in early Germanic-- this is why in English we say "father" but in Spanish the same original root became "padre" (from the distant ancestor of Germanic and Latin, referred to as Proto-Indo-European, where the sound was originally a "p"). See:
Outside of the box / Pronounciation of f, p and ph
« Last post by xian0099 on September 29, 2018, 02:15:47 AM »
Hi, there, I found these consonants have some association with each other  in pronunciation. For example, in Texas, there is a town Pflergeville, the first letter “P” is voiceless, so is for Pfennig Ln in the town. Some Korean pronounce “if” as “ipu”. And in Chinese, p and f can be replaced by each other in pronunciation. I wonder if there is any difference between f and ph in pronunciation. When my son was 1 year old, who was taken care of by his grandma, he called her Pfo-pfo instead po-po (grandma). He learned from his grandma who was from remote mountain area in Southwestern China.
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