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Re: request

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Monday, December 16, 2002, 17:56
Nik Taylor scripsit:

> A friend of mine's sister is working on a paper for a class in Romance > Linguistics. She needs to find examples in French, Portuguese, English, > and American Sign Language where words can be omitted without changing > the meaning of the sentence, like pro-drop in Portuguese. If you could > reply by private e-mail with examples, that would be great. Thanks!
This can't really be answered without knowing what is meant by "meaning". Using a subject pronoun in pro-drop languages (which should really be called "normal languages" and a name applied to those anomalies which are not pro-drop, but never mind...) creates emphasis on the subject, more or less like overstress (*I* am hungry) or clefting (It's me who is hungry) in English. I can't imagine a sentence in which a word could be omitted without changing meaning at least to some degree. In World War I (and still, for all I know), when an American sargeant gave the order "Get your fxxxing rifles!", it was a matter of routine; but when he said "Get your rifles!" there was trouble. -- Winter: MIT, John Cowan Keio, INRIA, Issue lots of Drafts. So much more to understand! Might simplicity return? (A "tanka", or extended haiku)


Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>