re pro-verbs

Nigel Vincent nigel.vincent at MAN.AC.UK
Wed Apr 21 07:39:04 UTC 2004

This is not to provide data for Nino's inquiry but to comment on the
proposed terminology. I would like to suggest that we do not call the
items he identifies 'pro-verbs' or even following Martin 'obliviative
pro-verbs'. The reason is that the prefix 'pro-' in the set pronoun,
proverb etc seems to me to have acquired a clear and useful meaning
as referring to items that pick up/refer back to/are anaphorically
linked to a previous item in the sentence or discourse. This function
tends to give them specific distributional properties vis-a-vis full
nouns, verbs, etc. By contrast obliviative items like English
'thingamy' have the standard distribution of a full noun including
co-occurrence with an article, numeral or adjective. So I would
suggest we call what Nino is looking for simply 'obliviative verbs'
and reserve pro-verb for the kind of support, anaphoric function
associated with English 'do' and similar items in other languages.
Nigel Vincent

Professor Nigel Vincent
Department of Linguistics
University of Manchester
M13 9PL
Phone:	+44-(0)161-275-3194
Fax:	+44-(0)161-275-3187
Email:	nigel.vincent at

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