Query on structural properties

Joseph T. Farquharson jtfarquharson at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 18 14:05:52 UTC 2009

I suspect that the responses that this thread will be getting will not help
Dan much in his pursuit because Elisabeth Leiss' response will shift the
focus. That said, I do not believe we should let it go unnoticed. I find her
response rude, unprofessional, and downright distasteful.


2009/12/18 Yaron Matras <Yaron.Matras at manchester.ac.uk>

> 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
> http://romani.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/
> http://languagecontact.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/

Joseph T. Farquharson
Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies
University of Technology, Jamaica
237 Old Hope Road
Kingston 6 Jamaica
Website: www.jotifa.com Alternative Email 1: joseph.farquharson at utech.edu.jm
Alternative Email 2: joseph.farquharson at uwimona.edu.jm Blog:
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