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  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    Default Existential there

    "existential there"
    What is it?
    What functions can it fulfill in the sentence?

  2. #2
    Natalie27 Guest

    Default Re: Existential there

    [QUOTE=Unregistered]"existential there"
    What is it?


    Again,I think it's the same as expletive. "There" ...it's a word that has no meaning by itself other than to fill out a syntactic position ( "it" is another word).

    e.g. There is a fly in my soup.

    There is almost like a "filler word".






  3. #3
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    Default Re: Existential there

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered
    "existential there"
    What is it?
    What functions can it fulfill in the sentence?
    In addition,

    Meaning
    the term existential has nothing to do with the function of 'there' per se. That is, there's nothing "existential" about 'there'; it gets its name from the phrases There is (not) and There are (not), used to express what exists and what doesn't exist, and hence nicely differentiates it from the adverb "there".

    EX: There is a pie there. (Adverb)

    Distribution
    Existential 'there' fulfills a grammatical constraint: In English, every sentence must have a structural subject. If the subject is missing, then it's filled in by an expletive, or a semantically empty word, a term which is also used to refer to profanity (See the note below).

    EX: It is raining. ("It" is an expletive: It is not meaningful)
    EX: There are six of us. ("There" is an expletive. It is not meaningful)

    Existential 'there' is not the logical subject, but it's co-indexed with the logical subject (i...i):

    Logical Subject: Thereiis a piei under the table.
    Logical Subject: A pie is under the table.

    Function
    Existential 'there' has a function: it places the logical subject last, after the verb, which creates a passive-like word order, but with an active verb.

    Note, For example, the word sh*t is called an "expletive" because it's semantically empty in terms of what some people would refer to as a meaningful utterance.

  4. #4
    Natalie27 Guest

    Default Re: Existential there

    Thanks Cas, you're the best!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Existential there

    Quote Originally Posted by Natalie27
    Thanks Cas, you're the best!
    Thanks. But... counter to what's been written, I actually believe that existential 'there' is not an empty subject; that is does in fact contribute in a meaningful way.

  6. #6
    Natalie27 Guest

    Default Re: Existential there

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Thanks. But... counter to what's been written, I actually believe that existential 'there' is not an empty subject; that is does in fact contribute in a meaningful way.
    And I believe you, Cas! I am getting confused over that one myself...a bit over my head, I am afraid....

  7. #7
    Natalie27 Guest

    Default Re: Existential there

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    In addition,

    Meaning
    the term existential has nothing to do with the function of 'there' per se. That is, there's nothing "existential" about 'there'; it gets its name from the phrases There is (not) and There are (not), used to express what exists and what doesn't exist, and hence nicely differentiates it from the adverb "there".

    EX: There is a pie there. (Adverb)

    Distribution
    Existential 'there' fulfills a grammatical constraint: In English, every sentence must have a structural subject. If the subject is missing, then it's filled in by an expletive, or a semantically empty word, a term which is also used to refer to profanity (See the note below).

    EX: It is raining. ("It" is an expletive: It is not meaningful)
    EX: There are six of us. ("There" is an expletive. It is not meaningful)

    Existential 'there' is not the logical subject, but it's co-indexed with the logical subject (i...i):

    Logical Subject: Thereiis a piei under the table.
    Logical Subject: A pie is under the table.

    Function
    Existential 'there' has a function: it places the logical subject last, after the verb, which creates a passive-like word order, but with an active verb.

    Note, For example, the word sh*t is called an "expletive" because it's semantically empty in terms of what some people would refer to as a meaningful utterance.
    Now, that you got me thinking more about it....

    To me, Cas, frankly speaking, "there" is existential because it simply states that something exists.

    There is a spider in my closet.

    As you have noticed, this could be rewritten as:

    A spider is in the closet.

    The sentence itself lost its rhythm and is a little out of sinc to my ears but it can be done and the sentence is still perfectly correct, right? As you have pointed out it places the real subject at the end of the sentence. But other than juggling the words around, there doesn't really mean anything in itself and doesn't bring anything new to the sentence.
    What do you think?

  8. #8
    wunaide Guest

    Default Re: Existential there

    I have written clearly on this before so I'll try to be brief. You will find the answer to your Existential "there" question below.

    There are several varieties of Verbal Process in English. Find below some examples of some of these. The Processes are underlined.

    Example 1. MATERIAL PROCESSES (refer to action or event)

    I drink coffee. I have been studying for the exams.
    I would have been making sure of that!


    Examples 2, 3. VERBAL AND MENTAL PROCESSES (self explanatory)

    She said no. I like coffee.
    He says || that she's coming (PROJECTED CLAUSE WITH MATERIAL PROCESS)
    She doesn't think much of you.


    Example 4. RELATIONAL PROCESSES (concerned with relating a Thing to an Attribute or a Possessor with a thing Possessed)

    She is embarrassed. I have an idea. Your wallet was there a minute ago.
    It had seemed like the right thing to do. She has great legs.



    Example 5. EXISTENTIAL PROCESSES (relate to the existence of something).

    There is an interesting museum in Xian.

    Some claim that the there is existential. I disagree and claim that the Existential Process is in fact there is (or there + any form of is Past, Present or Modal. For example, the following sentences all involve Existential Processes, the most basic form of which we can think of as being represented by there is:

    There would have to be a very good reason for this.
    There were always enough potatoes.
    There will never be another you etc etc etc)

    The forms of there is represent the true Existential Process in English. (Note if you can, how it corresponds precisely with the Chinese, the Indonesian, the Thai and the Japanese Relational Processes "you", "ada", "mii" and the forms of "o-aru" and "o-iru" respectively. If you aren't familiar with any of these languages, think about Relational Processes in languages with which you are familiar)

    Note that although the "there" of the Existential Process "there is" is phonologically similar and graphologically identical to the deictic "there" as in "I put it over there" or "there it is!", they are in fact not semantically related.
    Last edited by wunaide; 27-Nov-2004 at 10:03.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Existential there

    I'm not sure how examples 1 through 4 actually add to the discussion, or contribute to the thread, but they're 'clearly' interesting, nonetheless. On that note, and this is just a kind reminder to save you and the posters time and energy, if you take a look at the other posts in this thread, you may find that the information you so kindly provided (Please see below) has already been mentioned.

    Example 5. EXISTENTIAL PROCESSES (relate to the existence of something).

    There is an interesting museum in Xian.

    Some claim that the there is existential. I disagree and claim that the Existential Process is in fact there is (or there + any form of is Past, Present or Modal.

    Note that although the "there" of the Existential Process "there is" is phonologically similar and graphologically identical to the deictic "there" as in "I put it over there" or "there it is!", they are in fact not semantically related.

  10. #10
    Natalie27 Guest

    Default Re: Existential there

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    I'm not sure how examples 1 through 4 actually add to the discussion, or contribute to the thread, but they're 'clearly' interesting, nonetheless. On that note, and this is just a kind reminder to save you and the posters time and energy, if you take a look at the other posts in this thread, you may find that the information you so kindly provided (Please see below) has already been mentioned.
    Thanks Cassy! And Wunaide!
    Clearly a lot has been said. Thank you. I am usually trying to keep things down to earth as much as I can.
    Thanks guys.

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