[Ads-l] Sluicing

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Mon Oct 23 07:43:21 UTC 2017

I should start with the disclaimer that I'm strictly here as an amateur,
and can neither comment on the analysis of this feature, not on its
naming. This said.

For a German speaker, this term is a pretty intuitive one.
Interestingly, some of the examples on the (English) Wikipedia page are
from German. It's always better to have an example to hand...

===> Er hat jemandem geschmeichelt, aber ich weiß nicht, wem.

===> He has flattered someone but I don't know who.

(And we're talking about the indirect interrogative clauses being
reduced to the wh-thingy.)

English "sluice" is a cognate of German "Schleuse", and the two words
mean almost the same thing. Almost. I started out in the
English-speaking world using "sluice" whenever I meant "Schleuse", but
that just led to all sorts of confusion. I figured out the best 1st
approximation for a translation should be "lock", as in, for
transportation on rivers and canals. Locks usually have sluices, of
course. In German, the verb "durchschleusen" ("sluice through", or
rather, let something pass through, smoothly and swiftly, as if in a
water channel) is pretty common. It is used especially in a figurative
sense. And that's what's happening in the feature: The rest of the parts
of the indirect interrogative clause are just, fffffffffp, virtually
passed through from the main clause.

Now of course Dr. Ross may have had a different metaphor in mind. But he
better then deal with the German imagery...


On 10/22/17 10:01 PM, W Brewer wrote:
> Dear linguists,
>      I understand that yer use of <sluicing> is "a type of ellipsis that
> occurs in both direct and indirect interrogative clauses. The ellipsis is
> introduced by a wh-expression, whereby in most cases, everything except the
> wh-expression is elided from the clause. Sluicing has been studied in
> detail in recent years and is therefore a relatively well understood type
> of ellipsis.[1]"  Wp's footnote 1 implicates Ross 1969 as possible
> originator.
>      Q:  What the h*** does the word <sluice> have to do with post-wh
> deletion? Was it a spelling error for <slicing> & nobody dared to correct
> him or what? I just can't picture a water chute in this usage. Snipping &
> clipping have a less watery connotation, anyways.
>      Ah gotsta no.
> Sincerely,
> WB
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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