LINGUIST List 5.1336

Mon 21 Nov 1994

Qs: Center-embedding, Punctuation, Versification, Greek

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "Rick Lewis", center-embedding in Mandarin
  2. MICHELOUD FRANCOIS-XAVIER, ponctuation signs with expressive contents
  3. , Q: Deep/Abstract Phonology and Versification
  4. Barbara Beard, Ancient Greek Relative Clauses

Message 1: center-embedding in Mandarin

Date: Mon, 21 Nov 94 10:30:27 EScenter-embedding in Mandarin
From: "Rick Lewis" <rickclarity.Princeton.EDU>
Subject: center-embedding in Mandarin

I'm working on a theory to account for contrasts between difficult and
acceptable embeddings cross-linguistically (I've compiled a list of about 50
relevant constructions so far), and the following sentences (a) and (b) have
been offered to me as possible examples of unacceptably difficult center
embeddings in Mandarin:

(a) Jeyge sh shuay si chi mi de laushu de mau
 This is squish die eat rice of mouse of cat
 (This is the cat that squished the mouse that ate the rice.)

(b) Jeyge sh chi chi mi de laushu de mau
 This is eat eat rice of rat of cat
 (This the cat that ate the rat that ate the rice).

(c) Jeyge sh chi mi de laushu
 This is eat rice of rat
 (This is the rat that ate the rice)

While (c) is perfectly acceptable. However, it might be the case that there
is an additional complicating factor in (b): the "chi chi" might be locally
ambiguous between two separate verbs and a contraction of "chi-i-chi", which
means something like "have a bite to eat".

So I have three specific questions (particulary for those native Mandarin
speakers on LINGUIST) and one general request:

1. Can "chi chi" in fact be momentarily interpreted as a contraction?

2. Are such local ambiguities generally unproblematic, or can they give rise
 to garden path effects?

3. Does the comprehension difficulty remain with a sentence such as (a)
 which I believe has the same structure as (b), but eliminates the
 (possible) local ambiguity?

4. General request: Please send me your favorite examples of difficult
 embeddings, or complex but acceptable embeddings.

Please respond to me directly, then I'll try to post some reasonable summary.
Rick Lewis

Richard L. Lewis
Princeton University Internet:
Cognitive Science Laboratory Phone: +1 609 258 2821
221 Nassau Street Fax: +1 609 258 2682
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: ponctuation signs with expressive contents

Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 14:48:08 ponctuation signs with expressive contents
Subject: ponctuation signs with expressive contents

In an interview, the french sociologist Pierre Bourdieu complained
about the fact that there is no sign in french that permit to express
irony, smile, laughter and other graphic indications which could indicate how
the utterance should be taken. We just have interrogation and
exclamation. I have a list of the so-called
"smileys" used on e-mail,for instance :) to indicate smile, which
seem to be what Bourdieu spoke about, but I'm looking for the
equivalent in natural languages.

My questions are :

1) Do these ponctuation signs with expressive contents
have an accurate denomination in linguistic theory ?
2) Is there any litterature about these signs ?
3) Is there any language with more signs than the two I know (interrogation and
 exclamation) as expressive content ?

I would welcome any advice on this subject
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Q: Deep/Abstract Phonology and Versification

Date: Mon, 21 Nov 94 09:11:28 ESQ: Deep/Abstract Phonology and Versification
From: <>
Subject: Q: Deep/Abstract Phonology and Versification

I am trying to compile a complete bibliography of published
arguments that rules of versification may be sensitive to levels of
phonological representation deeper or more abstract than classical
phonemics. If anybody knows of any additions to be made to the
following, please let me know.

Anderson, Stephen R. 1973. _u_-umlaut and Skaldic verse. _A
 festschrift for Morris Halle_, ed by Stephen R. Anderson and
 Paul Kiparsky, 3-13. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Chen, Matthew Y (1984) "Abstract Symmetry in Chinese Verse,"
 Linguistic Inquiry 15, 167-170.

Hayes, Bruce (1988) Metrics and phonological theory. In Frederick
 J. Newmeyer (ed.) Linguistics: the Cambridge survey, II
 (Linguistic Theory: Extensions and Implications. 220-249.

Kiparsky, Paul. 1968c. "Metrics and morphophonemics in the
 Kalevala". Studies presented to to Professor Roman Jakobson
 by his students, ed. by Charles E. Gribble, 137-48.
 Cambridge: Slavica.

Kiparsky, Paul (1972) Metrics and morphophonemics in the Rigveda.
 In Michael Brame (ed.) Contributions to generative phonology.
 Austin: University of Texas Press.

Kiparsky, Paul (1973) The role of linguistics in a theory of
 poetry. Daedalus, Summer 1973: Linguistics as a Human Problem.
 Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
 102(3): 231-244.

Malone, Joseph L. (1982) Generative phonology and Turkish rhyme.
 Linguistic Inquiry 13, 550-553.

Malone, Joseph L. (1983) Generative phonology and the metrical
 behavior of u- 'and' in the Hebrew poetry of medieval Spain.
 Journal of the American Oriental Society 103, 369-381.

Malone, Joseph L. (1988a) On the global-phonologic nature of
 Classical Irish alliteration. General Linguistics 28. 91-103.

Malone, Joseph L. (1988b) Underspecification theory and Turkish
 rhyme. Phonology 5. 293-297.

O'Connor, M. P. (1982) "Unanswerable the knack of tongues": The
 linguistic study of verse. In: Loraine K. Obler & Lise Menn
 (eds.) Exceptional language and linguistics. New York:
 Academic Press. 143-168.

Schane, S. A. 1968. French phonology and morphology. Cambridge,
 Mass.: MIT Press.

Watkins, Calvert (1963) Indo-European metrics and Archaic Irish
 verse. Celtica 6, 194-249.

Zeps, Valdis J. 1963. The meter of the so-called trochaic
 Latvian folksongs. International journal of Slavic
 linguistics and poetics 7: 123-128.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 4: Ancient Greek Relative Clauses

Date: 21 Nov 94 09:16:39 EST
From: Barbara Beard <>
Subject: Ancient Greek Relative Clauses

I am investigating what has traditionally been called "case attraction" between
the (Homeric, Attic, and Koine) Greek relative pronoun and its antecedent.
This has been explained as a correlative pronoun having its case assigned by
the antecedent NP of the main clause followed by an omitted relative marker
in the embedded clause. This results in what appears to be a relative
pronoun being attracted to the case of the antecedent. This explanation
seems fairly straight forward from an historical linguistics viewpoint. I
would like to know what evidence there is of a caseless relative marker in
ancient Greek. There are all kinds of (pardon the hyperbole) uninflected
particles in ancient Greek. Could any of these have been derived from a
caseless relative marker? Are there any other syntactic explanations for
the so-called case attraction? I am aware of the exegetical/hermeneutical
(basically, semantic) explanations, but what about syntactic perspectives
which allow for the application of GB Case Theory?

I appreciate very much any responses you could send my way. I will, of course,
post a summary after an appropriate time for analysis. Thank you!
Mike Beard
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue