Query on structural properties

Yaron Matras Yaron.Matras at MANCHESTER.AC.UK
Fri Dec 18 13:59:37 UTC 2009

Shame on you, Professor Leiss, for such a reply!

We are all entitled to freedom of research and to the freedom to  
point out issues of interest to our colleagues; it is up to them  
whether they take an interest or not. You have no right to ask a  
colleague not to pursue a question, certainly not to pass judgement  
whether somebody should or should not help answer a query posted on  
this list by a fellow member of the association.

Yaron Matras

On 18 Dec 2009, at 13:43, Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Leiss wrote:

> 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
> Fremdsprache
> 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.)
> http://www.lrz-muenchen.de/~GL/Leiss

Yaron Matras
Professor in Linguistics
School of Languages, Linguistics & Cultures
University of Manchester
Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Phone (direct) +44 161 275 3975

Romani project: +44 161 275 5999

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