LINGUIST List 8.883

Sun Jun 15 1997

Qs: Russian, Aphasia, Aerobics

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  1. joyce blanchette, Search for Russian semantic/phonetic material
  2. Xiuhong Zhang, information about Chinese-speaking aphasics
  3. George Aaron Broadwell, The syntax of aerobics instructors

Message 1: Search for Russian semantic/phonetic material

Date: Mon, 9 Jun 97 11:36:19 EDT
From: joyce blanchette <>
Subject: Search for Russian semantic/phonetic material

Dear colleagues:

My friend, Stephanie Smolinsky, is in the middle of writing her
dissertation on sound symbolism. She is desperately trying to find the
following (written minus the diacritics):

Levickij, V.V. (1973) Semantika i fonetika. Posobie, podgotovlenmoe na
materiale eksperimentalnyx issledovanij. Cernovcy: Cernovickij
godudarstvennyj universitet.

Zuravlev, A.P. (1974) Foneticeskoe znacenie. Leningrad: Leningradskij 
godudarstvennyj universitet.

Any information about the whereabouts of these books/monographs would
be greatly appreciated. Please respond to:

Thanks in advance from Stephanie.
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Message 2: information about Chinese-speaking aphasics

Date: Mon, 9 Jun 1997 21:13:04 -0500 (CDT)
From: Xiuhong Zhang <>
Subject: information about Chinese-speaking aphasics

I am a graduate student in Linguistics. I am trying to do a research
on noun-verb dissociation in Chinese aphasia. I already have some data
on the subject, but I still need more data for my research. Would you
please send me a message if you have any information about where I can
get access to Mandarin-speaking aphasics in the States or to any
relevant documents? I will be very grateful.


Mimi, Xiuhong Zhang
Rice University
E-mail address:
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Message 3: The syntax of aerobics instructors

Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 18:03:54 -0400
From: George Aaron Broadwell <>
Subject: The syntax of aerobics instructors

- ----


	I'd like to hear the intuitions of LINGUIST readers about
sentences like
	"Lift those thighs!" (meaning "Lift your thighs!")
	"Tighten that stomach!" (meaning "Tighten your stomach!")

where the demonstrative 'that/those' is understood in context as
'your'. Sentences of this sort occur very frequently in various sorts
of exercise classes/videos. These sentences also seem possible in the
context of drill instructors commanding recruits to do various
things. ("Straighten that leg!")
	A related construction seems to occur in the context of
pornographic movies, where 'that/those' may be interpreted as 'my'.
Consider the following examples:

	"Kiss that elbow!" (meaning "Kiss my elbow!")
	"Nibble those earlobes!" (meaning "Nibble my earlobes!")

(In order to keep the discussion G-rated, these examples are rather
ludicrously mild. Readers may mentally substitute racier examples.)

Some questions/comments:

a.) These examples only sound good to me in the imperative. (*? Mary
lifted those thighs. *? John kissed that elbow.) Do other readers
agree? Are there other contexts for them that I haven't thought of?

b.) 'That' can only mean 'your' or 'my' in prenominal position.
("John kissed that." is not interpretable as "John kissed me/you.").
Do other readers agree?

c.) This construction is best when the possessed item is a body part
and perhaps acceptable when the possessed item is an item of clothing.
Otherwise, it seems bad. (OK "Lick that boot!" *"Kiss that uncle!"
"Buy that cheese!" is of course okay, but it certainly doesn't mean
"Buy my cheese!"). Do others agree?

d.) There is some difference in the meaning/usage of "Tighten your
stomach!" and "Tighten that stomach!" that is hard to make precise.
The first way is just the ordinary imperative. The second way seems to
treat the parts of the body as alienable; that is, they imply that the
parts of the body are being treated as distinct/detached from the
person they make up. In the aerobics context, the usage seems to imply
that the person giving the order views the hearer as a collection of
parts to be fixed. 
	Do others share this intuition? If not, how would you
characterize the difference in meaning?

e.) The pattern here seems to me reminiscent of one found in Romance
languages in somewhat wider context, e.g. the following Spanish and
French examples:

Dame la mano	"Give me your hand"

On lui tranche la tete. "S/he had his/her head cut off." (from
C. Bally)

I believe that an important difference, however, is that the use of an
article in such contexts is unmarked and that use of the ordinary
possessive pronoun yields an emphatic (or detached/alienable?)
interpretation. If others agree with the judgments, English would
show the reverse.

Any comments or pointers to discussion of these facts elsewhere would
be welcome.


- -----------------------------------------------------------------------=
- George Aaron Broadwell, Anthropology;
Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University at Albany, SUNY, Albany,
NY 12222 | 518-442-4711
- -----------------------------------------------------------------------=
- "Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a
crime to examine the laws of heat" -- John Morley
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