Missing PREP - redux
halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Apr 9 13:48:40 UTC 2008
I post, with permission, the edited/annotated transcript of an exchange with a
colleague last night. He had sent around an accommodation-available listing
ending with the following:
(1) Please forward to anyone you think who might be interested.
I was of course more interested in the syntax that wasn't in my idiolect than in
the accommodation, since I already have a house, so I wrote back to him
suggesting three alternatives for interpreting his sentence:
- Typo for
(2) Please forward to anyone who you think might be interested.
- or typo for
(3) Please forward to anyone you think of who might be interested.
- or a syntax I can't do, presumably to be analysed as
(1') Please forward to anyone(i) you think t(i) who(i) might be interested.
I can't do it without the preposition; I would have to say (3), to be analysed
(3') Please forward to anyone(i) you think of t(i) who(i) might be interested.
He wrote back that he would never say (3), though (2) would be acceptable;
however, (1') was the interpretation he had in mind. He said he didn't think
his sentence was ungrammatical, 'though [he was] considering the possibility'.
What this boils down to, I think, is that, in this construction at least, my
colleague (American, white, early 20's - that's all I know) has a grammar where
the optimal variant seems to be the one possibility that for me (British, white,
mid-30's) is ungrammatical. The alternation is between his (1') and my (3').
He has a missing PREP, for my grammar.
Maybe this is just one of at least two funny things that seem to go on with
phrasal verbs involving _think_. The other one I have in mind is the Northern
(4) What do you think to my new piece of music?
for what I would have to say as
(5) What do you think of my new piece of music?
(4) is a quotation from a Lincolnshire friend (I think that qualifies him as
Northern in English terms, since Lincolnshire is coastal and North-East of
Watling Street), but I believe it is also heard further North than that, though
I have no other examples.
University of Pennsylvania
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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