LINGUIST List 4.124

Tue 23 Feb 1993

Qs: Character Recognition; Latin; Chaining; Thing is

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  1. Frank Schumacher, character-recognition
  2. , Latin demonstratives
  3. Shin-Ja Hwang, Head-initial chaining languages
  4. , The thing is...

Message 1: character-recognition

Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1993 13:34:36 character-recognition
From: Frank Schumacher <>
Subject: character-recognition

Does anybody know where I can find a good, new, and maybe somehow complete
bibliography on character-recognition in general and the problem of chinese-
character-recognition in particular?

Frank Schumacher
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Message 2: Latin demonstratives

Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1993 11:49 MSTLatin demonstratives
Subject: Latin demonstratives

A student of mine is doing a paper on the development of Romance
articles from Latin demonstratives, and would like information on
the possibility of Latin having used the demonstratives generically,
as in 'The (dem) lion is a noble beast'. Any leads would be very

Carol Georgopoulos
Linguistics Program
University of Utah or
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Message 3: Head-initial chaining languages

Date: 18 Feb 1993 16:40:00 -0600Head-initial chaining languages
From: Shin-Ja Hwang <>
Subject: Head-initial chaining languages

Most discussions on chaining languages so far have focused on what I will call
here Head-Final Chaining languages, i.e., those with medial clauses (also
called coordinate dependent and cosubordinate clauses) followed by the
fully-inflected final clause. Most of these languages are SOV (head-final in
the clause structure) and found in Papua New Guinea, Colombia, India, North
America, etc. Many of them also have some kind of switch reference morphology
on the verb, which cataphorically predicts whether the following (or
final) clause subject (or topic, more broadly) would be the same or
different. It seems that, however, not all chaining languages have switch
reference suffixes in the verb; only some correlation which may indicate a
tendency, as is the case of Japanese and Korean.

Now, I would like to know of languages which display a mirror image to this
Head-Final chaining. Bob Longacre's book, "Storyline concerns and word order
typology in East and West Africa," includes a description of such Head-Initial
chaining languages found in Africa. Are there similar Head-Initial Chaining
languages in other parts of the world? In such a language (usually with the
basic order of VSO or SVO, I would expect), the Initial verb/clause assumes
the functional load of inflectional marking for tense and mode, while the
Consecutive verbs/clauses are reduced in form (may have been called "gerund"
or "stem" or "participle"), showing a grammatical dependency but not quite as
subordinated as adverbial clauses. The interclausal conjunction may be in the
form of a prefix to the verb or an independent word at the beginning of the
clause (which may mark for switch reference as well). An example from English
to show a comparable chain could be taken from Givon's "Syntax" vol. 2, p.877:

 a. Mary has been coming here every summer,
 b. gathering plants,
 c. watching birds,
 d. collecting rocks
 e. and just resting and having a quiet time.

Does anyone know a language and have data displaying such Head-Initial

Shin Ja Hwang (Summer Institute of Linguistics, 7500 W. Camp Wisdom, Dallas, TX
75116; e-mail:
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Message 4: The thing is...

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 93 17:23:15 PSThe thing is...
From: <>
Subject: The thing is...

I'm looking for 'real' (transcribed from a recording) examples
of utterance-initial "the (only) thing is" and utterance-final
"that's the (only) thing", as in:

A: Are you going swimming today?
B: I don't know. The thing is, I have a class until 2:30.


A: Are you driving there.
B: I don't know. If it rains, the roads may freeze again.
 That's the only thing.

I would sure appreciate it if anyone who has such an example
mails it to me at:

Anyone interested may mail me for the results of this
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