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Re: request

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Monday, December 16, 2002, 19:18
Quoting John Cowan <jcowan@...>:

> 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...)
Indeed. My Georgian professor, Howie Aronson, always likes to say that if Chomsky had been a Georgian, all we'd hear about is "pro-add" languages.
> 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.
I think there's a distinction to be made between the literal rendering of a sentence with or without pronoun in such languages (in which the "meaning" would be identical) and the illocutionary force which each is meant to carry. In formal semantics, "meaning" describes the former condition of identity, not the latter sense of pragmatics. ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637


Jake X <starvingpoet@...>