LINGUIST List 8.1825

Mon Dec 22 1997

Qs: Enquete de l'acceptabilite,Italian,Text

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  1. NAGAHARA T., enquete de l'acceptabilite
  2. Giampaolo Poletto, Prepositions in Italian
  3. Kevin Bretonnel Cohen, Looking for Source on Text Statistics

Message 1: enquete de l'acceptabilite

Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 18:52:32 +0100
From: NAGAHARA T. <>
Subject: enquete de l'acceptabilite

Je prepare un article sur le verbe modal en francais _pouvoir_,
surtour l' interpretation _sporadique_ , qui exprime "ce que
l'on peut trouver un evenement a certains moments avant
le moment de parler. " Par exemple,
(a) En bateau, Jean peut etre malade comme un chien.
(a) est paraphrase en (b)
(b) En bateau, Jean est parfois malade comme un chien.

Par ailleurs, comme intepretation centrale, _pouvoir_ a celle
de _possibilite materielle_. Par exemple,
(c) Jean peut faire ce travail parce qu' il a suffisament de temps.

Pour moi, on peut dire que _sporadique_ est ,de temps en temps,
difficile d'etre distingue de_possibilite materielle_.
Dans mon article je confirmerai des conditions qui permettent a
_pouvoir_ d'etre inteprete comme sporadique. 
Et je voulais prier de verifier si les phrases ci-dessous expriment 
une sporadicite ou non.

- -----------------exemples---------------------
Si inteprete comme _sporadique_(comme (a) ), marquez en s-OUI, 
si non, en s-NON.
Si inteprete comme _possibilite materielle_ (comme (c)), marquez en
si non, en p-NON

(01) Jean peut etre vulgaire.
(02) Jean pouvait etre vulgaire.
(03) Jean pourra etre vulgaire.
(04) Jean a pu etre vulgaire la semaine derniere.
(05) La semaine derniere, Jean a pu etre vulgaire.
(06) Jean ne peut pas etre vulgaire.
(07) Est-ce que Jean peut etre vulgaire?
(08) Jean ne pouvait pas etre vulgaire.
(09) Est-ce que Jean pouvait etre vulgaire?
(10) Jean ne pourra pas etre vulgaire.
(11) Est-ce que Jean pourra etre vulgaire?
(12) Jean n' a pas pu etre vulgaire la semaine derniere.
(13) Est-ce que Jean a pu etre vulgaire la semaine derniere?
(14) Jean peut etre sage.
(15) Jean peut pleurer.
(16) Jean peut nager.
- ---------------------exemples-------------------
Je vous souhaite que vous ajoutiez des remarques.
Veillez envoyer E-mail directement a
merci d'avance

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Message 2: Prepositions in Italian

Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 17:26:04 +0200
From: Giampaolo Poletto <>
Subject: Prepositions in Italian

I have a degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures and a
degree in Letters. At the moment I am working in Hungary, as Italian
Lecturer at the 'Bences Gymnazium' in Pannonhalma, and from February
1998 I will be teaching Italian Dialectology and Morphology at the
'Janus Pannonius' University in Pecs. Me and some other teachers of
Italian, all of them Hungarian, namely Prof. Korompai Eszter, Toth
Laszlo, Joo Eva, are interested in working out an essay on the use of
prepositions in contemporary Italian language. We would like to focus
on both the use of a preposition in connection with a specific verb,
and the meanings of expressions differing for the preposition used,
supplying with examples, comparisons and explanations. The whole of
it should result in an enquiry with an essentially didactic purpose,
with mother tongue and foreign teachers facing together one of the
items which creates many doubts at the very beginning of the teaching
of Italian. Thus we are starting to collect material on the
matter. Could you please help us simply by providing examples of
prepositional expressions in Italian, in connection or not with verbs,
and specifying the relevant meaning, eventually out of a comparison
among slightly differing expressions? For instance, in Italian we
difference? Is it depending on the specific meaning of the
preposition, on the specific verb used, on the characteristics of the
place indicated by the nouns? Native speakers do not feel the need to
explain why to express themselves correctly, of course, but to teach
correctly a rational structure where to insert the information is
needed. How to shape it, if not all of the information fit in a
logical and coherent path? Let us start from listing examples,
comparisons, explanations unprejudiced; at the end of it we will se
what to do.

Thank you, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Giampaolo Poletto <>, <>,
the latter reachable either directly or through automatic forwarding
from the former.
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Message 3: Looking for Source on Text Statistics

Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 10:54:36 -0500
From: Kevin Bretonnel Cohen <>
Subject: Looking for Source on Text Statistics

Holiday greetings---

In the first edition of David Crystal's delightful "Cambridge
Encyclopedia of Language," there is a statement to this effect:

Take a text, in any language, and count the words. Order the words in
terms of decreasing frequency. According to statistical prediction,
the first 15 words will account for 25% of the text. The first 100
words will account for 60%; and the first 1,000 for 85%. The first
4,000 will account for 97.5%. In short samples, however, considerable
variation from these proportions will be found. (p. 87)

Can anyone direct me to the source of this claim? I'm particularly
interested in knowing what constitutes a "short" sample, along with
the size of the smallest sample of which these statistics would hold.
(I've tried places that seemed obvious, like Zipf's "Psycho-biology of
language" and Miller's "Language and Communication," but didn't find
anything there.)

Kevin Cohen
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