Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Update 25/03/09

Some curious facts about ellipsis. I've just written up parts of the ellipsis section: with a brief discussion of VP-ellipsis, Gapping, Sluicing, ACDs etc. It seems that Vietnamese permits the first two, an interesting variant on the third, but disallows the fourth. If these facts are true, they tell us something valuable about standard analyses of sluicing (they're wrong!) and my initial assumptions about ellipsis in Vietnamese (Duffield 2007), which is probably incorrect as well...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Demonstratives: interpretation thereof

Until a few hours ago, I had assumed that the only difference in the interpretation of demonstrative systems had to do with whether systems employed two-way, or three-way, systems: two-way, like English here/there, this/that, etc vs. three-way like Japanese kore/sore/are etc (or non-standard varieties of English here/there/yon, this/that/thon). However, it turns out that there are interpretive differences between non-standard English and Japanese: whereas selection of this/that/thon is determined only with respect to the object relative to the speaker in NSE, the presence and position of the addressee is relevant as well. For example, in a situation where an unrecognized object is placed 1 metre from an addressee and 3 metres from the speaker, the Japanese speaker may ask:
Sore wa nan desu ka? "What is that?"
However, if the addressee were absent, the Japanese speaker might then ask herself:
Are wa nan desu ka? "What is that (distal)?"
No such contrast arises in NSE, or I suspect Spanish (este/eso/aquello): the more distal form is only used where the distance increases.
This raises the question: how do things work with này/đó/kia?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Update 17/3/09 Causativization

Today I've started a particularly challenging section on transitivity/GF-changing by dealing with an easy extra: synthetic causatives. Hopefully, the more interesting content will come in the next few days...

To view the new section, click here:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


In order to let you know what's going on and also draw some more attention to this site, I've decided to start posting news of recent changes to the Online Grammar. So here goes...
In the last week I've created and/or substantially revised content relating to:

plus several more or less descriptive sections on:

As ever, if you see anything of interest, please let me know.