LINGUIST List 5.702

Thu 16 Jun 1994

Qs: Sample size, Source of 'iff', Get-passive, Quadral number

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  1. , Sample size in research
  2. Kai von Fintel, Source of 'iff'
  3. , Historical development of "get-passive" in English
  4. "G.Corbett", Query: Quadral number

Message 1: Sample size in research

Date: Fri, 17 Jun 94 10:10:45 CSSample size in research
From: <>
Subject: Sample size in research

I have a question about sample size in a research project.
I'm doing some research on phonology and foreign language
acquitision in children with my foreign-language class. The
problem I'm facing is that my class is very small, only seven
students. Is this sample size too small to get reliable or
valid results?

Thanks in advance.

Dennie Hoopingarner
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Message 2: Source of 'iff'

Date: Wed, 15 Jun 94 14:39:10
From: Kai von Fintel <fintelMIT.EDU>
Subject: Source of 'iff'

Can anyone enlighten me about the origin of the abbreviation 'iff' for
'if and only if'? Who invented it where and when? Please reply by email.
I will post a summary if desired.

Kai von Fintel (
Dept. of Linguistics & Philosophy
MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139
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Message 3: Historical development of "get-passive" in English

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 94 15:37:42 CSHistorical development of "get-passive" in English
Subject: Historical development of "get-passive" in English

I am interested in the historical development of English get-passives. How did
it come into the grammar of English? Was it a borrowed structure? How did it's
semantics change over time? If anyone know any literature on this topic, please
let me know. (GT3555 at SIUCVMB)
 Also, how L1 learners of English and L2 learners of English acquire get-pass
ives in comparison to the usual passive, be +-V-ed structure? Is there any diff
erence between two structures as to the acquisition rate and sequence? Thanks.
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Message 4: Query: Quadral number

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 19:14:58 Query: Quadral number
From: "G.Corbett" <>
Subject: Query: Quadral number

Does anyone know of properly documented instances of languages
with quadral number (in addition to a plural) ?

Languages with a dual (for two referents) and a trial (for three
referents) are well known. There appears to be a small number
of languages with a quadral (for four referents). The most
promising I have found is Sursurunga; Marshallese is another
possible (see references below). In both the quadral forms
have unusual properties.

There are various references in the literature to other
languages with a quadral. Sometimes this is simply a misnomer
for plural (that is, the language is claimed to have singular, dual
trial and quadral, but it turns out that the the "quadral" is used
for four or more, and hence is just a plural). Sometimes the
mention of a quadral in a language is carried from writer to writer
without any forms being given.

So, are there more languages with possible quadrals? And can
anyone throw any more light on Sursurunga and Marshallese ?
Please reply to me; if there are so many additional languages
that I would need a quadral to describe them I will post a
summary to the list.

Bender, Byron W. 1969. Spoken Marshallese: an Intensive Language
Course with Grammatical Notes and Glossary. Honolulu:
University Press of Hawaii.
Hutchisson, Don. 1986. Sursurunga pronouns and the special uses
of quadral number. In: Ursula Wiesemann (ed.) Pronominal
Systems (Continuum 5), 217-55. Tuebingen: Narr.

Greville G. Corbett
Department of Linguistic and International Studies
University of Surrey
Surrey, GU2 5XH
Great Britain

FAX: +44 483 302605
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