Prescriptive Linguists

Michael H Covarrubias mcovarru at PURDUE.EDU
Wed Jan 30 19:57:35 UTC 2008

Quoting "David A. Daniel":

> ...If said descendants were Portuguese/Brazilian we would get a lot
> of "I go to the cinema with the my friend Carlos," or "The your mother is
> you calling," or "Where is the my car new?" (Italian too). Just because a
> seemingly fluent speaker says something doesn't make it correct even
> acceptable, or even understandable, among those who do not share the same
> multi-linguistic background/knowledge.

A "multi-linguistic background/knowledge" isn't necessary for these structures
to occur or be understood, if I understand correctly that you mean
proficiency/competence/familiarity or even just more than passing exposure to
more than one language.

While in my example another language provided an analogy that made the
ditransitive use of "saw" understandable in the sentence "he's the one that saw
you your hands" I could also have taken an analogy from  English itself: for
example a sentence like "He's the one that wrote you the letter."

Are you saying that it's only because of language contact that such a structure
exists? Or are you saying that it's only because of contact that the
acceptability of ditransitive use creeps onto other verbs?


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