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Re: Singing bird (was: does my lang cover everything?)

From:Shreyas Sampat <ssampat@...>
Date:Sunday, April 30, 2006, 20:53
caeruleancentaur wrote:

>In all my 60+ years speaking English as L1 and in all my academic >experience leading to a B.A. in English, I never came across that >rule. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, just that I never heard of it. > >I see (feel?) a differnce in the two phrases. Unfortunately, I can't >put my finger (ear?) on it at the moment. > >BTW, does "I heard the bird singing" mean the same thing as "I heard >the singing bird"? > >Charlie >
I can imagine a contrast between: 1. I heard the bird sing. 2. I heard the bird singing. 3. I heard the singing bird. I don't think that you'd actually see any of these in speech, though; 'sing' feels like the default noise-a-generic-bird-makes verb, and I'd be unlikely to say it. It'd be more plausible as "I heard the duck sing," or "I heard the bird talk." In any case the 3-form could only be used to contrast with hearing the different sounds made by "exploding bird", "dancing bird", "croaking bird," etc. -- "It is the sea," someone whispered. Shreyas Sampat