Re: Ordinal (and other numerical) adverbs
|From:||John Vertical <johnvertical@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 27, 2008, 12:23|
>So a sentence like
>could be ambiguous between "I ate for the third
>time" (on the day in context, I suppose) and
>"The third thing I did was eat" (after unloading
>the car and changing clothes, perhaps, those
>being the first and second actions in the sequence).
>I'd like to fix this ambiguity and I see three possible
>ways to do it. I'd like your feedback on which seems
>best and whether you see any fourth or fifth ways
>to do it.
>1. Add another suffix to mean "for the Nth time".
Fairly basic, whether replacing or simply adding, but consider also:
1a. Add other words to disambiguate, such as "in series" for "for the Nth
time" (Finnish does basically this) or "of all" for "Nth in sequence"
>2. Let sentence-scope ordinal adverbs (at the
>beginning of the sentence) have one of
>those meanings and verb-scope ordinal adverbs
>(right after the verb) have the other.
>3. Require the "for the Nth time" sense to be
>expressed with a postpositional phrase.
Clumsy, but this might not be a distinction that comes up too much anyway,
so something like this might also suffice when required to disambiguate. If
you wanted to leave the original expression explicitly ambiguous, maybe
you'd need a circumlocution also for "Nth in sequence".
>#3 requires the least change to the existing
>grammar, but it's also most verbose. #2
>extends a precedent set by evidentiality
>and attitudinal adverbs (which are so far
>the only adverbs that can go at the beginning
>of the sentence).
Does this usage of these adverbs imply a similar semantic shift too? Like "I
was angry by the time I jumped" -vs- "I angrily jumped"?
Oh, and one further idea. Maybe you could use a different verbal form to
distinguish? Finnish has something like five infinitiv forms (altho not
useful for this purpose).