8.1635, Qs: English verb data, Subject Prominence

The LINGUIST List linguist at linguistlist.org
Thu Nov 13 23:28:46 UTC 1997


LINGUIST List:  Vol-8-1635. Thu Nov 13 1997. ISSN: 1068-4875.

Subject: 8.1635, Qs: English verb data, Subject Prominence

Moderators: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar: Texas A&M U. <aristar at linguistlist.org>
            Helen Dry: Eastern Michigan U. <hdry at linguistlist.org>
            T. Daniel Seely: Eastern Michigan U. <seely at linguistlist.org>

Review Editor:     Andrew Carnie <carnie at linguistlist.org>

Associate Editor: Ljuba Veselinova <ljuba at linguistlist.org>

Assistant Editors:  Martin Jacobsen <marty at linguistlist.org>
                    Brett Churchill <brett at linguistlist.org>
                    Anita Huang <anita at linguistlist.org>
                    Julie Wilson <julie at linguistlist.org>
                    Elaine Halleck <elaine at linguistlist.org>

Software development: John H. Remmers <remmers at emunix.emich.edu>
                      Zhiping Zheng <zzheng at online.emich.edu>

Home Page:  http://linguistlist.org/


Editor for this issue: Brett Churchill <brett at linguistlist.org>
 ==========================================================================

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually
best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is
then  strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list.   This policy was
instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we
would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.

=================================Directory=================================

1)
Date:  Thu, 13 Nov 1997 08:16:30 +0200
From:  "Radu Daniliuc" <srdan at assist.cccis.ro>
Subject:  The verb to be in Spoken English

2)
Date:  Thu, 13 Nov 1997 05:55:54 -0500 (EST)
From:  Mark Newson <newson at isis.elte.hu>
Subject:  Nonconfigurational Subject Prominence

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Thu, 13 Nov 1997 08:16:30 +0200
From:  "Radu Daniliuc" <srdan at assist.cccis.ro>
Subject:  The verb to be in Spoken English


I am very preocupied of the verb TO BE in varieties of Spoken English.
I am mostly interested in its "odd" forms and uses in all English
Varieties,main pidgins and creoles included.
I mainly hope to receive files and not book titles,as it is very difficult
to find them in my country.
In case anyone wants to help me by sending materials through mail,I'll be
mighty much obliged to that person.
Thank you,
Radu Daniliuc
srdan at assist.cccis.ro
Mail address:
Ana Ipatescu 10,A,A,9
Suceava 5800,ROMANIA


-------------------------------- Message 2 -------------------------------

Date:  Thu, 13 Nov 1997 05:55:54 -0500 (EST)
From:  Mark Newson <newson at isis.elte.hu>
Subject:  Nonconfigurational Subject Prominence

I hope this query means something to someone besides me.  However, I
am perfectly willing to accept that I'm just not asking the right question.
Your views either way are equally interesting.

I'll ask the question first and then add some explicatory comments.

Is there any such thing as a nonconfigurational subject prominent language?

I assume nonconfigurationality to be indicated by free word order of arguments
inside the VP and also by a lack of asymmetries in the movement possibilities
for these arguments.  In other words, I am assuming the kind of
nonconfigurationality ascribed to Hungarian by E. Kiss (1994).

As for subject prominence, I am, of course, thinking of the distinction
between subject and topic prominent languages.  Let me characterise this
difference in the following way.  A topic prominent language allows any (NP)
argument to enter into a predication relationship with the VP while a
subject prominent language restricts this relationship to some notion of
'external' or 'most prominent' argument.  Thus subject prominent languages
have a thematically restricted element of predication, while topic prominent
languages impose no such restriction.

Thus, under these assumptions, English is a configurational subject
prominent language and Hungarian is a nonconfigurational topic prominent
language.  I might, tentatively, propose that German is a configurational
topic prominent language and then there is one logical possibility left.
Does such a language exist?

Thanks

Mark Newson

Department of English Linguistics
Eotvos Lorand University
Budapest
newson at isis.elte.hu

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
LINGUIST List: Vol-8-1635



More information about the Linguist mailing list