Re: THEORY: Re : THEORY: Natural language change (was Re: Charlie and I)
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, September 22, 1999, 20:49|
Irina Rempt-Drijfhout wrote:
> On Tue, 21 Sep 1999, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
> > Charles wrote:
> > > "the guy who i usedta date his sister comma is angry now"
> > > ^^^ ............. ^^^ ...... ^^^^^
> > >
> > > This is illegal in American, we use something more complicated.
> > No, it's actually probably quite common in colloquial American
> > English. But the more common way of fixing that problem is to
> > use the "genitive" cliticized suffix attached to the end of the noun
> > phrase:
> > "The guy who(m) I used to date's sister is angry now".
> But that means something different! Charles' version has you dating
> the sister and the guy angry:
> the guy [who [i usedta date his sister]] (comma) is angry now
> Yours has you dating the guy and the sister angry:
> The guy [who(m) I used to date]'s sister is angry now
> Mind the comma! I understand that Mathias is confused; you had me
> convinced for a moment.
But the sentence makes no sense with the pause there. As it was,
it looked like a standard example of topicalization -- grammatical in
colloquial speech -- but with an anomalous pause there. It looked
like (with the pause excised):
"The guy who I used to date -- his sister is angry now."
Otherwise, you don't have a sentence, which was implied in the
"The guy who -- I used to date his sister -- is angry...
As if you were interjecting some aside about how you (a male)
know him. I assumed the intended speaker was to be female,
speaking about how the guy's sister has become angry.
The way you phrased it, you have a resumptive pronoun in the
The guy [who [i usedta date *his* sister]] (comma) is angry now.
And, in my dialect at least, resumptive pronouns are just flat
ungrammatical. If you want to talk about a male and the sister
being dated by you, you'd have to rephrase it the way Nik did:
The guy whose sister I used to date is angry now.
That way you have a full sentence, too...
Tom Wier <artabanos@...>
ICQ#: 4315704 AIM: Deuterotom
"Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero."
Denn wo Begriffe fehlen,
Da stellt ein Wort zur rechten Zeit sich ein.
-- Mephistopheles, in Goethe's _Faust_