Hindi and Gujarati discontinuous NPs

Thomas Wiederhold th.wiederhold at GOOGLEMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 28 09:56:39 UTC 2008

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@Bob: Thanks for your Kangri teaser. I'm looking forward to read something  
more about this construction, it might have some similarities to the Hindi  
and Gujarati sentences I presented in my first post, probably mainly in it  
its pragmatics. Syntactically they seem to differ in that in your Kangri  
sentences it's a full phrase that is moved, while in the Hindi and  
Gujarati sentences it's only part of a phrase (if one wants to analyze it  
in terms of movement).

Also thanks for asking your language consultant. Did she also have  
problems with the first and third sentence from my initial post, or only  
with the second sentence? I'm, as you can already guess, mainly interested  
if there was any difference in her judgement between the second and the  
third sentence.

@Saartje: Thanks for asking about the translation. The main purpose of the  
translation was not to give an adequate information structural account of  
the Hindi sentence, but to show the scope of "bahut saari" clearly. The  
interpretation as an afterthought seems to be possible indeed. But I was  
told by our informant that "As for books, he bought many (ones)." would  
also be a possible interpretation. The problem in analyzing all these  
sentences as afterthoughts is - in my opinion - twofold: First "bahut  
saari" (or other modifiers) can be in a preverbal position as well, while  
the head noun is topicalized. Thus

kitaabeN paresh-ne  bahut saari paRhii   thiiN
book-pl  Paresh-erg many  good  read-pst be-pres

is also possible. It seems kind of hard to me to interpret it as an  
afterthought here. The other difficulty I see, is that within the  
afterthought analysis it's hard to explain why all speakers agree in the  
ungrammaticality of sentence two (and some also find sentence three as  
bad), while at the same time accepting the first sentence.

@Lakhan: As you seem to be a Hindi native speaker, could you share your  
intuitions about the second and third sentence in my initial post?

@everybody: Thanks a lot for the discussion. Also some people sent me  
their opinions on the Hindi sentences directly - thanks as well.  
Unfortunately I got no judgements for the Gujarati sentences yet - any  
Gujarati speakers out there?

Thomas Wiederhold
DFG-Project FA 255/5 (=Morphosyntax and Phonology of split NPs and PPs)
Linguistics Department
Potsdam University

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