Noel Rude nrude at UCINET.COM
Tue Apr 8 11:19:15 UTC 1997

Hi again,

        Ah yes, didn't think when making the post that "my airplane needs
fixing" would also be good English.  All that I can say is that I
collected (wrote down) many examples of my son's -en versus -ed:  his
-en was restricted to passive constructions ("It is fixen" = "It is
fixed", etc.) and his -ed to the past tense. Also I suspect that Ellen
Prince ("never heard that children's regularizations of irregular verbs
were accompanied by precise semantic differentiations") meant semantic
differentiation that was not already there in the child's input, and in
this sense then mine was no counterexample.  As to where structure
leaves off and semantics begins, who am I to know?  One would think
though that since semantic distinctions are continually being leveled by
language change (e.g. OE beon and waesan merging in the single "be"
paradigm of modern English) then surely new semantic distinctions must
be arising or else our languages would become semantically
impoverished.  And one imagines not all enrichment comes by borrowing.
Surely the kids are responsible for some.


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