Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3
Results 21 to 29 of 29
  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: pronoun agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    So here's my syntactic-layer theory summarised:

    Where [subject] = [noun-phrase] a pronoun refers to the noun-phrases head, if possible. If not possible, it refers to head of any noun-phrase that may modify that head. If that's not eligible either, you go down one more step. And again. And again. And... (Although at some point it's impossible to keep track.)
    There's a paper (1980s I think) by Rosen et al--or possibly just Rosen E. (MIT Press) that discusses "PossP" (possessive phrases) that you may want to take a look at. Rosen deals in the semantic side of lingistics

    I agree with you. She is unmarked (it refers to the head of the PossP, the closest (unbounded) noun, but the problem for some speakers, native and non-native alike, is in determining the boundaries. Sue's grandmother is a name, just like Sue. Both NPs (noun phrases) can head the PossP, which is why, I believe, pronominal she can be ambiguous for some.

    Unmarked she = Sue
    "Like I was saying, Max, Sue's grandmother's birthday was a week away and, as you know, she couldn't afford to buy a new dress, so she decided to sew a dress for herself."

    For the marked version (See below), modification; i.e., she, that is Sue's grandmother, is needed for clarification,

    Marked she = Sue's grandmother
    "Like I was saying, Max, Sue's grandmother's birthday was a week away, so she, that's Sue's grandmother, a retired seamstress, decided to sew a dress for herself for the special occasion."

    Given context, however, that modification wouldn't necessarily be required. Consider this. If Sue's grandmother's name was unknown to the speakers, then the noun Sue's grandmother functions as a proper noun. Thus: she works:

    Unmarked she = Sue's grandmother
    "Like I was saying, Max, Sue's grandmother's birthday was a week away, so she, a retired seamstress, decided to sew a dress for herself for the special occasion."

    In short,

    Unmarked she = Joe's grandmother (Joe is female)
    "Like I was saying, Max, Joe's grandmother's birthday was a week away, so she, a retired seamstress, decided to sew a dress for herself for the special occasion."


    All the best.
    Last edited by Casiopea; 06-Jun-2007 at 15:21.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    101
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: pronoun agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    There's a paper (1980s I think) by Rosen et al--or possibly just Rosen E. (MIT Press) that discusses "PossP" (possessive phrases) that you may want to take a look at. Rosen deals in the semantic side of lingistics
    Thanks. I'll look it up.

    I agree with you. She is unmarked (it refers to the head of the PossP, the closest (unbounded) noun, but the problem for some speakers, native and non-native alike, is in determining the boundaries. Sue's grandmother is a name, just like Sue. Both NPs (noun phrases) can head the PossP, which is why, I believe, pronominal she can be ambiguous for some.
    True. An empirical study of misunderstandings would be interesting. Although untangling syntax and grammar could be a rather Gordian task...

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: pronoun agreement

    You're most welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm
    An empirical study of misunderstandings would be interesting. Although untangling syntax and grammar could be a rather Gordian task...
    Where there's rope ...

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    344
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Joe's grandmother / She

    ha ha ha

  5. #25
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    1,277
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Joe's grandmother / She

    Quote Originally Posted by fiona bramble View Post
    ha ha ha
    I'm confused by your reaction on reading the posts.
    Why did you LOL?

    Thanks.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    101
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Joe's grandmother / She

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    I'm confused by your reaction on reading the posts.
    Why did you LOL?

    Thanks.
    Hi,

    I talked about the interpretation of misunderstandings and called that a "Gordian task."

    Casiopea replied with:

    "Where there's rope..."

    There's a saying "Where there's rope, there's hope." I'm not overly familiar with it, but in this context it means that I shouldn't give up just because of difficulty. It may not be futile.

    If you take a look at the link above, you'll see that Cassiopea has also made quite a clever pun. I think that's why Fiona is laughing. (I'm chuckling myself.)

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    344
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Joe's grandmother / She

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    I'm confused by your reaction on reading the posts.
    Why did you LOL?

    Thanks.
    My laughter is related to C's comment about "the rope" (in reference to Dawnstorm's "Gordian" remark. Linguists and grammarians love a puzzle!
    see: Gordian Knot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Have a good day
    F

  8. #28
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    1,277
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Joe's grandmother / She

    Thanks, Fiona.

    It's 1.30 am now and most Singaporeans are asleep. You should have said goodnight to me because it is night in Singapore.

    So have a good day, and, as for myself, have a goodnight.

    See you tomorrow.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    344
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Joe's grandmother / She

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    Thanks, Fiona.

    It's 1.30 am now and most Singaporeans are asleep. You should have said goodnight to me because it is night in Singapore.

    So have a good day, and, as for myself, have a goodnight.

    See you tomorrow.
    Sweet dreams!

Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •