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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 original: "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 relative clause: 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 Website: <> "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_ ========================================================