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Raising and Equi-verbs: a birds eye overview

From:taliesin the storyteller <taliesin-conlang@...>
Date:Sunday, April 4, 2004, 19:14
In the thread "Help: Zhyler ECM/Raising Verbs (Longish)"
David/ThatBlueCat mentions raising verbs. In the linguistics as Chmosky
et al. see it, the difference between raising and equi verbs are seen as
vitally important, to the degree that they claim the universal that all
languages have standalone raising and equi verbs[*]. (Some talk about
control verbs instead, and some use control instead of equi.)

However, they don't seem to be really discussed much at all by
descriptive linguists and field-linguists, for instance they aren't
mentioned in "Describing Morphosyntax" at all. A further problem is that
in the literature that do discuss it, it is usually in the form of a
throwaway reminder of what raising and equi is and then pages upon pages
of how it is solved within that particular grammatic framework. Not at
all useful for the amateur linguist :)

Therefore, this thread to begin to explain what they are about.

Basically, there are verbs that take can take subclauses as arguments,
here are two, seem and try:

    1) "David seemed to leave"
    2) "David tried to leave"

The first is a raising-verb, the second is an equi-verb. Ways to
test for the difference is eg. to try to rewrite the sentences:

    a) By replacing the subject by "it" or "there" (aka. "empty
       subjects" or "expletive pronouns") and keep the meaning

        1) "It seemed that David left"
        2) "*It tried that David left"

    b) By giving both verbs in the sentence the same overt (visible,
       explicit) subject and use a conjunction

        1) "*David seemed and David left"
        2) "David tried and David left"

More verbs, believe and prefer:

    3) "He believes Caesar to be dead"
    4) "He prefers Caesar to be dead"

The difference here is in the object, not the subject and one test is:

    Can it function without an object?
        5) "*He believes to be dead"
        6) "He prefers to be dead"

There are more examples at
<>, but skip the
first two pages and half of the last.

I've been hunting for a list or lists of such verbs so that I can think
about how it is done in other languages but no such luck, and I'm still
looking for the definite paper or book *describing* it properly.

[*] Can't remember where I read that but my teacher in LFG/"typology"
    last fall made this absolute claim.



Herman Miller <hmiller@...>