[Ads-l] Is there something wrong with this title?

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 6 17:05:04 EST 2020


I agree. Are we talking about geographical isolation and social isolation
as discrete concepts, or an isolation that is "geographic and social"? I
read it as the former, so drive sounds right to me.

On Sun, Dec 6, 2020, 4:09 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:

> I would find “isolations” very odd indeed, but like Joe I could imagine
> either singular or plural agreement with “Geographical and social
> isolation”.  Slight meaning difference, based on whether these are
> considered as two separate factors (…drive…) or two instances of the same
> factor (…drives…).
>
> LH
>
> > On Dec 6, 2020, at 3:59 PM, Joe Salmons <
> 000008f18d0e0c45-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> wrote:
> >
> > Hi Sali,
> > Whether my judgments are the ones you want is highly debatable, but I
> would automatically use the form in the title. And I probably wouldn’t
> blink if an editor changed it!
> > Joe
> >
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Date: Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 2:56 PM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Subject: Is there something wrong with this title?
> > To native speakers and experts of English grammar out there:
> >
> >     I just came across this article titled "Geographical and social
> > isolation drive the evolution of Austronesian languages." I wonder
> > whether the verb should be "drives" or whether the subject noun should
> > be "isolations"--the latter of which sounds less natural but quite
> > logical. It sounds like the author intended a combination of factors
> > that drive the evolution, hence the plural. But the grammar I learned or
> > inferred tells me something isn't quite right, though the title doesn't
> > sound so odd--the editors accepted it!
> >
> > Sali.
> >
> > --
> > **********************************************************
> > Salikoko S. Mufwene                    s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
> > The Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics
> and the College
> > Professor, Committee on Evolutionary Biology
> > Professor, Committee on the Conceptual & Historical Studies of Science
> > Professor, Committee on African Studies
> > Extraordinary Professor, University of Western Cape, 2018-2021
> > University of Chicago                  773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-0924
> > Department of Linguistics
> > 1115 East 58th Street
> > Chicago, IL 60637, USA
> > http://mufwene.uchicago.edu/
> > **********************************************************
> >
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> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
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>

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