I'm game. Here's our first puzzle.
Originally Posted by awatef
First, determine the number of possible interpretations (there are) for the elided verb phrase represented by "did" in Mark said that he likes his soccer coach, and Tom did, too. (HINT: To do this, you'll need to rephrase "did".)
(a) which of the interpretations is unmarked; i.e., is the most natural. That is, additional context is not required in order to figure out the uumarked meaning of the sentence (HINT: parallel structures; congruency), and Third, in your own words, explain why it is that native speakers automatically assume the unmarked reading, and not the marked one. That is, what is it about the elided verb phrase, represented by "did", that has speakers automatically assuming one meaning over another? (HINT: economy)
(b) which of the interpretations are the most marked; i.e., forced. That is, additional context is required in order to "force" the meaning of the sentence (HINT: inconguency).
Fourth, how would you teach a language learner about how to interpret the various meanings? Say, for example, our sample sentence is on an exam and its various interpretations are possible answers. The student is asked to give "the best possible answer"; i.e., the unmarked form. Which one should the student choose, and why? (Note that, a computer program is a type of language learner. How would you "teach" (program) it to interpret the unmarked form? Ahem, programming language is not required in your answer. )
Looking forward to your reply.