LINGUIST List 14.946

Mon Mar 31 2003

Qs: Syntax, Morphology

Editor for this issue: Renee Galvis <>

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  1. Tim Baldwin, Syntax: web-based verb-particle experiment
  2. Dan Villa, Morphology: Translation of Modality, Spanish to English

Message 1: Syntax: web-based verb-particle experiment

Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2003 23:10:29 -0800
From: Tim Baldwin <tbaldwincsli.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Syntax: web-based verb-particle experiment


I am involved with joint research on the semantic compositionality of
English verb-particles, and looking for willing participants for a web
experiment. The experiment involves judging for each of a number of
English verb-particles, whether sentences which contain the
verb-particle always imply the verb and/or the particle. This is best
explained by some examples. "John put the picture up" tells us that
John put the picture somewhere and as a result of this action the
picture was up. There are no conceivable circumstances in which we say
that person put something up where it is not implied that that person
put that object and as a consequence that object was up. This might
seem obvious, but if we look at the other sentences then we can see
that these kinds of phrases are not always this
straightforward. "Barbara and Simon made out" tells us that Barbara
and Simon made out, but it does not tell us that they made anything,
or that before, during, or after the event, anything or anyone was
out. "Susan finished up her paper" tells us that Susan finished the
paper, but it doesn't tell us that anything was up. And in "Philip
gunned down the intruder", we can easily see that as a result of
Philip's action the intruder was down, but we would probably not want
to say that Philip gunned.

If you are interested in learning more about the experiment or
participating, you should enter
into your web browser. You should then click on the "Word Meaning
Experiment" link in the list of studies, and this will take you to a
page containing detailed instructions on how to continue. Any comments
on the experimental set-up or data are also very welcome.

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Message 2: Morphology: Translation of Modality, Spanish to English

Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2003 21:20:41 -0700 (MST)
From: Dan Villa <dvillacrl.NMSU.Edu>
Subject: Morphology: Translation of Modality, Spanish to English

I would like elicit responses on the translation of the Spanish modal
_deber_, specifically as inflected in the future tense, into
English. The context for the translation is as follows:

Todos los alumnos _debera'n pasar_ un examen comprensivo al final del
cuarto semestre.

(I intentionally omit the orthographic accent over the _a_ in the
auxiliary verb, as not all code pages will represent it correctly.) I am
interested in the reading of this usage as an agent-oriented modal (cf
Bybee et al 1994). Please reply to me directly; if there is sufficient
interest, I will post a summary of results. Thank you!

Daniel Villa
New Mexico State University
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