# Volition and shirts

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• 17-Sep-2005, 00:39
M56
Volition and shirts
Recently on this forum, there's been a lot of talk about shirts that can iron themselves and other items of clothing.

:evil:

How about here, shirts and other items with volitional characteristics?

I requested ironing shirts, and Mary, cleaning the hearth.

Above all, ironing shirts will be welcome.

I suggested ironing shirts would be a nice thing to see.

I suggested ironing shirts would be useful.
• 17-Sep-2005, 02:29
Roro
Re: Volition and shirts
Quote:

I suggested ironing shirts would be a nice thing to see.
http://www.extremeironing.com/module...=slideshow.php

Sorry for my interruption.
• 17-Sep-2005, 02:50
Casiopea
Re: Volition and shirts
Quote:

Originally Posted by M56
shirts and other items with volitional characteristics?

I don't understand your statement. Here 'ironing shirts' functions as a noun, a gerund; it's synonymous with it (i.e., it's inanimate, so how could it be interpreted as having volition?).

[It] Ironing hairshirts will follow prayers.

I requested ironing shirts [it], and Mary, cleaning the hearth.

Above all, ironing shirts [it] will be welcome.

I suggested [that it] ironing shirts would be a nice thing to see.

I suggested [that it] ironing shirts would be useful.

I need the shirts ironing. (regional variation, according to M56)

First, what does it mean? Do we interpret 'shirts' as the , as the thing doing the act, see [1] Cf. I need the soldiers (to be) marching, or do we interpret 'shirts' as the , as the thing undergoing the process of ironing, see [2]?

[1] I need the shirts (to be) ironing. :shock:
[2] I need the shirts (to undergo a process of) ironing. :up:

Second, if given a choice, which of the two would a speaker choose? Well, [2] of course. Shirts being inanimate, the noun 'shirts' coudn't be interpreted as the , so [1] would be deemed semantically awkward (?).

[1] ?I need the shirts ironing. :shock:
[2] I need the shirts ironing. :up:

But, it's not as simple as that. If the noun is animate, it can be interpreted as either the , [3], or the , [4].

[3] I need the soldiers marching. (to do marching) :up:
[4] I need the soldiers marching. (to undergo marching) :up:

Of course, there are other variables to consider aside from the animate-inanimate distinction. There's the semantic contribution of ING. Consider,

[5] ?I need the soldiers ironing. (to undergo ironing) :shock:
• 17-Sep-2005, 03:59
Steven D
Re: Volition and shirts
Quote:

Originally Posted by M56
Recently on this forum, there's been a lot of talk about shirts that can iron themselves and other items of clothing.

:evil:

How about here, shirts and other items with volitional characteristics?

I requested ironing shirts, and Mary, cleaning the hearth.

Above all, ironing shirts will be welcome.

I suggested ironing shirts would be a nice thing to see.

I suggested ironing shirts would be useful.

Oh yes, well of course, some shirts iron themselves. They cost a lot, but it's worth it. Ironing is such a tiresome ritual. Let them iron themselves if they really want to be ironed.

I'll be picking up some ironing pants next week, which of course would be "trousers" for those of you who speak BrE.

I've even got some washing dishes. These dishes wash themselves.
• 17-Sep-2005, 04:33
Roro
Re: Volition and shirts
I'm really sorry to butt in. I'm wondering if M56's question is related to the distinction between root/epistemic modality, even though slightly.

[1] This shirt needs ironing. (=This shirt needs to be ironed.)
=>The subject this shirt has a 'modal' property (necessity of being ironed/ironing [gerund]) ...root modality
In other words: P is necessary, and the subject of P is .

[2] He needs this shirt (to be) ironed. (= He needs this shirt ironing [in North England dialect, according to my dictionary].)
=> The same doesn't apply here. Could I paraphrase this sentence as he thinks that [1] ? Then this sentence could be considered as an example of 'epistemic' modality.
In other words: he thinks that P is necessary, and the subject of P is .

Cf. He needs to iron this shirt (or: to be ironing this shirt).
=> In this case, I think, we cannot paraphrase it as he thinks that P and the subject he has some 'modal' property, so to say.

In other words: P is necessary, and the subject of P is.

Please correct me when I'm wrong. While writing I've got confused so I'm afraid I'm not clear enough.
I think, at least, the terms like 'volition', 'gerundive' and 'aspectual difference' are not so useful here.

Sorry, I'm not so confident in my opinion.
• 17-Sep-2005, 08:57
M56
Re: Volition and shirts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Roro
http://www.extremeironing.com/module...=slideshow.php

Sorry for my interruption.

That is just perrrrfect! Many thanks.
• 17-Sep-2005, 09:08
M56
Re: Volition and shirts
I don't understand your statement. Here 'ironing shirts' functions as a noun, a gerund; it's synonymous with it (i.e., it's inanimate, so how could it be interpreted as having volition?).

LOL! You'd be surprised. BTW, is it a gerund, or a gerundive?

What is this "according to" that keeps rearing its head? It is regional. It is used in the NW England and Midlands. Some have told me it also appears in SW England, but I've yet to confirm that.

, as the thing doing the act, see [1] Cf. I need the soldiers (to be) marching...

What you are doing, is showing that we can't always use standard written grammar rules to analyse regional spoken grammar. A very useful lesson for all of us. Thanks.
• 17-Sep-2005, 09:12
M56
Re: Volition and shirts

:lol:
• 17-Sep-2005, 09:38
M56
Re: Volition and shirts

[1] This shirt needs ironing. (=This shirt needs to be ironed.)
=>The subject this shirt has a 'modal' property (necessity of being ironed/ironing [gerund]) ...root modality
In other words: P is necessary, and the subject of P is .

You butt in all you like, it's a free forum.

Yes, I agree, we ascribe modal property to the shirt, even though the "evidential" opinion/obligation is still that of the human speaker.

To me, the verb "need" is boulomaic* - when meaning desire - in "I need my shirt ironed/ironing". And doesn't really express obligation, in a direct way, but it could be implied indirectly in context. It's a request or opinion, or can be both at the same time. So, you could say that the modality is epistemic (belief, opinion, deduction, etc) in that one.

In "this shirt needs to be ironed/ironing", we could see epistemic modality at work, but it is more than likely to be root modality (obligation, permission, etc) when in context.
• 17-Sep-2005, 09:47
M56
Re: Volition and shirts

I agree on "volition" not being applicable here, but "gerundive" and "apectual" might be.

The gerundive is used in situations where something should, or must, be done.

So "I need my shirt ironing" would suit that use. Or, we could see aspect -in the sense of incomplete action - in such as this "I need my dog walking". i.e. the dog must be doing involved in the process of walking at some time in the future".

I'm still thinking on all of this, so don't take anything as fact or decidedness.

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