rarity of preposition stranding

dryer at buffalo.edu dryer at buffalo.edu
Fri Oct 1 21:59:28 UTC 2010

I think Fritz is probably as interested in stranded postpositions as 
stranded prepositions.  For a page with buttons that open up to lists of 
1074 languages with adpositions, see



--On Friday, October 1, 2010 5:04 PM -0400 "Angus B. Grieve-Smith" 
<grvsmth at panix.com> wrote:

> On Fri, October 1, 2010 12:16 pm, Frederick J Newmeyer wrote:
>> Dear Funknetters,
>> Does anybody know of a functional explanation (published or not) for why
>> preposition stranding is so rare in the languages of the world? (I am
>> referring to constructions such as 'Who did you talk to?', 'Mary was
>> talked to', etc.) As far as I know, it exists only in Germanic,
>> marginally in French, and possibly in some Niger-Congo languages. There
>> are a number of functionally-oriented accounts of P-stranding in
>> English, but I wonder if anybody has taken on the question of its rarity
>> crosslinguistically.
> In order to have preposition stranding, you need prepositions, right?  So
> the only way we can answer the question of how rare languages with
> preposition stranding are is by getting a rough sense of the proportion of
> languages with prepositions they represent.  Mr. Givon mentioned a bunch
> of languages with them, but is there a comprehensive list in some typology
> text somewhere?
> I also wanted a clarification from Mr. Newmeyer: your category of
> preposition stranding includes (1) but not (2), right?
> 1) Who are you going with?
> 2) Are you coming with?
> --
> 			-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
>                         Saint John's University
> 			grvsmth at panix.com

More information about the Funknet mailing list