Rule-List Fallacy

David Tuggy david_tuggy at
Wed Jun 18 18:33:55 UTC 2008

Edith Moravcsik wrote:
> <snip>If we did not know that these expressions might be analyzed by 
> linguists as multi-part phrases, there would be nothing suprising 
> about how people treat them; and we would lose the interesting 
> question of why linguists' analyses and people's ways of processing 
> these expressions parted ways.
> The same holds for formulaic expressions in general. The reason it is 
> interesting that people treat them as atomic wholes is that we 
> linguists can analyze them as having parts.
Well, it is also interesting that people can also analyze them as having 
parts. Linguists are people too, of course, but non-linguist people are 
often quite aware of parts of formulaic structures. The fact that both 
modes are available (though perhaps differentially attractive) to both 
linguists and language speakers is, I would maintain, highly important 
(as well as interesting).

--David Tuuggy

More information about the Funknet mailing list