Query on structural properties

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Leiss e.leiss at GERMANISTIK.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Fri Dec 18 13:43:20 UTC 2009

Dear Daniel Everett,

just give it up to find primitive languages.
There are a lot of languages without epistemic verbs. Nevertheless, there
are intricate patterns of marking epistemicity in a different way. You are
not the person, linguistically trained enough, to find out these patterns.
Nobody should help you to do your kind of work.

Elisabeth Leiss

Elisabeth Leiss

> Folks,
> I am interested in beginnng a statistical study on the relative rarity of
> the following patterns (this query will not be the basis for the study!
> Just a tool to start gathering data). I am first interested in knowing of
> languages that have any one of the specific properties below.  Next I am
> interested in learning of any languages that are described by any subset
> of these. Please respond to me individually, rather than to the list as a
> whole.  I will post a summary if there are enough responses. I would
> particularly appreciate any suggestions for particular corpora to consult
> in rarer languages.
> Thanks very much in advance for your answers.
> Dan
> **
> 1. The language lacks independent  factive verbs and epistemic verbs (not
> counting the verb 'to see').
> 2. The language has no morphosyntactic marker of subordination.
> 3. It has no coordinating disjunctive particles (no words like 'or').
> 4. It has no coordinating conjunctive particle (no words like 'and').
> 5. No unambiguous complement clauses (no strong evidence for embedding as
> opposed to juxtaposition).
> 6. No multiple possession (no structures like 'John's father's son' -
> whether pre or postnominal) .
> 7. No multiple modification (no structures like 'two big red apples').
> 8. No scope from one clause into another: 'John does not believe you left'
> (where 'not' can negate 'believe' or 'left', as in 'It is not the case
> that John believes that you left' vs. 'It is the case that John believes
> that you did not leave')
>  9. No long-distance dependencies:
> 'Who do you think John believes __ (that Bill saw__)?'
> 'Ann, I think he told me he tried to like ___'

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Leiss
Lehrstuhl für Germanistische Linguistik
Department für Germanistik, Komparatistik und Nordistik, Deutsch als
LMU München
Schellingstraße 3/RG
80799 München
Tel.: +49 (0)89 2180 2339 (Büro)
Tel.: +49 (0)89 2180 5744 (Sekr.: Frau Burauen)
Tel.: +49 (0)89 769 969 23 (priv.)

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