[Ads-l] The part of speech of it

Geoffrey Steven Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Thu Oct 1 17:15:15 UTC 2015


I'll agree that IT has to be in predicate nominal position unless it means 'the one who is IT'. Not sure where that leaves us.

As for 'clean-up' being parallel to 'fourth' I'd agree. Also 'next' and 'last'. But what are they? 'Last' can be modified by 'very', but none of 'next', 'fourth' or 'clean-up' can take an intensifier. Being at heart a Cognitive Linguist I'm not uncomfortable with a scattering of words that don't fit into the traditional syntactic categories, but this is an interesting conundrum.

Geoff

Geoffrey S. Nathan
Faculty Liaison, C&IT
and Professor, Linguistics Program
http://blogs.wayne.edu/proftech/
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)

Nobody at Wayne State will EVER ask you for your password. Never send it to anyone in an email, no matter how authentic the email looks.

________________________________________
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, October 1, 2015 12:05 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: The part of speech of it

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Subject:      Re: The part of speech of it
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

> On Oct 1, 2015, at 11:48 AM, Geoffrey Steven Nathan =
<geoffnathan at wayne.edu> wrote:
>=20
> I disagree with Larry that this 'it' can't be a subject. For me it =
can, as for example, in explaining the rules of a particular kind of =
'tag'. '
>=20
> Let's say that IT has to touch people with two hands'.=20
>=20
> So that would make IT a proper noun, I guess, since it rejects any =
kind of Determiner.

OK, let's keep the all-caps for our "IT".  For me, "Chris is IT" is much =
more natural than "IT is Chris" (much less "IT's Chris").  I agree about =
the acceptability of "IT has to touch people..." but I take that as =
elliptical for "The one who is IT..." =20
>=20
> On the other hand, to me 'clean-up' feels like an adverb. It's a place =
or time, and semantically it modifies 'bats'.

It does seem to answer the question "Where is Gehrig (in the line-up)", =
if that makes it an adverb.  It doesn't always modify "bats", though.  =
Is "fourth" an adverb in "He's (hitting/batting) fourth"? =20

LH

>=20
> Geoffrey S. Nathan
> Faculty Liaison, C&IT
> and Professor, Linguistics Program
> =
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__blogs.wayne.edu_prof=
tech_&d=3DAwIFAw&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1T=
sSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D1HZyYiPZ_36b00-4bn-KMHSEEJeY4UELWyXeFx6NHRo&s=3DVkiw=
d_qUZBv-s-2Aoj_566yBJrMGqzDLdAg_YGYEsgc&e=3D=20
> +1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
>=20
> Nobody at Wayne State will EVER ask you for your password. Never send =
it to anyone in an email, no matter how authentic the email looks.
>=20
> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of =
Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Sent: Thursday, October 1, 2015 11:41 AM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: The part of speech of it
>=20
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header =
-----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: The part of speech of it
> =
--------------------------------------------------------------------------=
-----
>=20
>> On Oct 1, 2015, at 11:09 AM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM> =3D
> wrote:
>> =3D20
>> I can't answer the question, but to me it is the same as 'trumps' in =
=3D
> the
>> sentence "Spades are trumps."
>=20
> But "trumps" can be a subject as in "Trumps win against all other =3D
> suits", while "it" can't (for me, anyway).  "Trump" I think is an =3D
> ordinary noun (although I can think of one who would beg to differ), =3D=

> allowing modification ("small trumps"), while "it" isn't and doesn't.
>> =3D20
>> It is also similar to 'cleanup' in the sentence "Duda is batting =3D
> cleanup."
>=20
> The OED has "clean-up" as a noun "freq. attrib." (clean-up hitter); =3D
> there's a 1909 cite referring to "batters of the 'clean-up' kind", not =
=3D
> apparently referring to the fourth hitter in the lineup, but by 1922 a =
=3D
> cite refers to the "the clean-up position".  But none of these are =3D
> possible for "it", which only occurs predicatively, so I don't think =3D=

> we've cracked the puzzle yet. (You can get "the 'it' role", but that's =
=3D
> metalinguistic or quotational in a way "the cleanup position" isn't.) =
=3D20=3D
>=20
>=20
> It doesn't really pattern with predicate-only adjectives either, since =
=3D
> it doesn't pass the adjective test:
>=20
> She seems (looks, sounds) asleep/agog/awake.
> #She seems (looks, sounds) it. =3D20
>=20
> The OED does get to our "it" eventually (after many other entries, =3D
> including one glossed as 'sexual intercourse'--it is a very versatile =
=3D
> word), taking it to be a noun (and not worrying about its =
distributional =3D
> restrictions).  The first cite is from Scotland:
>=20
> C, n. 1  a. In children's games: (the name of) the player who has the =
=3D
> task of catching or touching any of the others. Also fig. and in =3D
> extended use. Cf. he n.1 3a.
>=20
> 1825   J. Jamieson Etymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. Suppl.   It, a term =
applied, =3D
> in the games of young people, to the person whose lot it is to afford =
=3D
> the sport. Thus, in Blindman's Buff, he who is blindfolded is It, in =3D=

> Loth.
>=20
> C, n. 1b. is a synonym for the game itself, i.e. "tag":
>=20
> 2.  b. A children's game in which one player has the task of catching =
or =3D
> touching any of the others
>=20
> LH
>=20
>> =3D20
>> I think 'maillot jaune' works the same way, n'est-ce pas? Also Punto =
=3D
> and
>> Banco in baccarat.
>> =3D20
>> DanG
>> =3D20
>> On Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 5:15 AM, Benjamin Barrett =3D
> <gogaku at ix.netcom.com>
>> wrote:
>> =3D20
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>>> Subject:      The part of speech of it
>>> =3D20
>>> =3D
> =
--------------------------------------------------------------------------=
=3D
> -----
>>> =3D20
>>> In various children=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D99s games, such as tag, freeze =
tag =3D
> and =3D3D
>>> hide-and-seek, one person is designated as it, which perhaps can be =
=3D3D=3D
>=20
>>> summarized as the person having the role of making someone else it =
=3D3D
>>> according to various rules. Wiktionary and the Oxford Dictionary =
site =3D
> =3D3D
>>> say the role is to catch other players. I don=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D99t =
think =3D
> the caller =3D3D
>>> in mother, may I? or Simon says is referred to as it.
>>> =3D20
>>> Wiktionary =3D
> =
(https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3D3Dhttps-3A__en.wiktionary.or=
g_=3D
> =
wiki_it-23Noun&d=3D3DAwIBaQ&c=3D3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3D3DwFp3X4Mu39h=
B2bf13=3D
> =
gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D3D-4MrIZN-o_h0_cP-NMv7bRZsne8KYPSHkgZwBxI0r=
4I=3D
> &s=3D3Dy4GtY6CbIqHpLPk9YZINpVwBgQB0f-BYnATzPKdDnK0&e=3D3D ) lists this =
as a =3D
> noun =3D3D
>>> and the Oxford Dictionary site =3D3D
>>> =3D
> =
(https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3D3Dhttp-3A__www.oxforddiction=
ar=3D
> =
ies.com_definition_american-5Fenglish_it-23IT&d=3D3DAwIBaQ&c=3D3D-dg2m7zWu=
uDZ0=3D
> =
MUcV7Sdqw&r=3D3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D3D-4MrIZN-=
o_h0=3D
> =
_cP-NMv7bRZsne8KYPSHkgZwBxI0r4I&s=3D3D1lbufLBxF5ST9ndo1TKRa86aexotO73IlLAZ=
IS=3D
> xNdy4&e=3D3D ) =3D3D
>>> lists it as a pronoun.
>>> =3D20
>>> 1. Noun?
>>> If if it=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D99s a noun, you should be able to =
say,=3D3D20
>>> =3D20
>>> * =3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D9CRachel=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D99s the =
it.=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D9D=3D3D20
>>> =3D20
>>> (Wiktionary but not Oxford has a different definition that probably =
=3D3D=3D
>=20
>>> works for this.)
>>> =3D20
>>> 2. Pronoun?
>>> If it=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D99s a pronoun, you should be able to =
say,=3D3D20
>>> =3D20
>>> * =3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D9CRachel is it. It is trying to catch =
me!=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D9D=3D
>=20
>>> =3D20
>>> Neither of those work, and the Wiktionary illustrative sentence =3D
> (which =3D3D
>>> appears to not be a citation) is, "In the next game, Adam and Tom =3D
> will =3D3D
>>> be it=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3DA6=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D9D showing that this =3D
> =3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D9Cit=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D9D can be =3D3D
>>> plural.
>>> =3D20
>>> 3. Proper noun?
>>> I don=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D99t think it=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D99s a proper =
noun, either, =3D
> along the =3D3D
>>> lines of Miss America:=3D3D20
>>> =3D20
>>> Rachel was last year=3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D99s Miss America/ * =
yesterday's it
>>> =3D20
>>> 4. Predicate adjective?
>>> Could it be a predicate adjective, along the lines of =3D
> =3D3DE2=3D3D80=3D3D9Caglow"?=3D3D20=3D3D
>>> =3D20
>>> =3D20
>>> The ice rink was aglow
>>> Rachel was aglow
>>> =3D20
>>> * The aglow ice rink
>>> * The it Rachel
>>> =3D20
>>> My first guess is predicate adjective and second proper noun.
>>> =3D20
>>> Benjamin Barrett
>>> Formerly of Seattle, WA
>>> =3D20
>>> Learn Ainu! =3D
> =
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3D3Dhttps-3A__sites.google.com_=
si=3D
> =
te_aynuitak1_-3D&d=3D3DAwIBaQ&c=3D3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3D3DwFp3X4Mu3=
9hB2bf=3D
> =
13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D3D-4MrIZN-o_h0_cP-NMv7bRZsne8KYPSHkgZwBxI=
0r=3D
> 4I&s=3D3DOt_oLMGY2eV7MlWEuaDh6dAfhObzFw5-pyqGlTFAsAY&e=3D3D=3D20
>>> =3D20
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - =3D
> =
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3D3Dhttp-3A__www.americandialec=
t.=3D
> =
org&d=3D3DAwIBaQ&c=3D3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3D3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0Z=
pW1TsS=3D
> =
xPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D3D-4MrIZN-o_h0_cP-NMv7bRZsne8KYPSHkgZwBxI0r4I&s=3D3DLj=
1pss=3D
> XARrqUdAjgTlyARvgKIJIqRPuulEPhUkb4ID4&e=3D3D=3D20
>>> =3D20
>> =3D20
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - =3D
> =
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3D3Dhttp-3A__www.americandialec=
t.=3D
> =
org&d=3D3DAwIBaQ&c=3D3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3D3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0Z=
pW1TsS=3D
> =
xPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D3D-4MrIZN-o_h0_cP-NMv7bRZsne8KYPSHkgZwBxI0r4I&s=3D3DLj=
1pss=3D
> XARrqUdAjgTlyARvgKIJIqRPuulEPhUkb4ID4&e=3D3D=3D20
>=20
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - =
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__www.americandialect.=
org&d=3DAwIFAw&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsS=
xPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D1HZyYiPZ_36b00-4bn-KMHSEEJeY4UELWyXeFx6NHRo&s=3D0HaDDX=
Xlx3GjTDm3s8M6OwYAsTZdaZcD04tsRfVBZCE&e=3D=20
>=20
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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org&d=3DAwIFAw&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsS=
xPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D1HZyYiPZ_36b00-4bn-KMHSEEJeY4UELWyXeFx6NHRo&s=3D0HaDDX=
Xlx3GjTDm3s8M6OwYAsTZdaZcD04tsRfVBZCE&e=3D=20

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