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    #71

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post

    Hmm. I don't like your idea that they 'don't work'. I think that's a deeply problematic way of thinking about this. What do you mean by that?...
    Let's be clear about what 'doesn't work' actually means.
    Let me show you some examples:

    1) #23:
    Me:
    If he leaves tomorrow, will it/this/that upset you?
    GS: Only "it" is possible.
    You (#24): As GS said, only it is appropriate here.

    2) # 40
    You: Imagine that we're walking along the beach when I look up and point to a UFO in the sky. Which of the following would I say?:

    What's that?!
    What's it?!

    One of the above is not possible.


    3) # 49
    You: (describing my video example) Call it incorrect, or wrong, or no good, or inappropriate, or whatever you like.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Really? I don't think it's clear. Maybe we should ignore this example.
    This is surprising, given that you agree with my analysis (you said, "Okay"). You can easily substitute 'it' with the blue part.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Can we stay with this example? Because I think it can help us resolve our different approaches.
    I'd say that it could work. It's just like your example from before (1b). If anyone has said that it doesn't work, I think they just mean that it is not very likely, or very natural—nothing about the kind of linguistic restriction that you're thinking of.

    That's what I'm talking about. In some contexts only 'this/that' sounds natural/correct to natives, in others only 'it' does. Or, partly assuming your psychological approach, different contexts make you want to choose different pronouns. It's not only up to your personal intentions and wishes.

    Based on what I've read so far, I conclude that natives would almost never consider "It's not true" or, especially "I know it" a natural immediate response to a statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    You're invoking some kind of grammatic, or otherwise linguistic rule. I think that's an error. If your questions were confined only to anaphoric use of it, then I think there are linguistic rules to speak of, but since we're talking about deixis here, the explanation can only be psychological.
    As I see it, we're talking about language usage with regard to deixis, thus the explanation should rely on grammar, contextual characteristics and psychological aspects (
    which seem to me subordinate and secondary to the first two).
    Last edited by Alexey86; 07-Jun-2020 at 23:26.
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  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #72

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    1) #23:
    Me:
    If he leaves tomorrow, will it/this/that upset you?
    GS: Only "it" is possible.
    You (#24): As GS said, only it is appropriate here.


    Good example. There's a difference between 'possible' and 'appropriate'. I don't think GS meant only it was possible. I deliberately avoided using the word 'possible', precisely because it might lead you to think that there was some kind of restriction. The fact is that it is possible to use this/that there, in the sense of 'possible' that you mean.

    2) # 40
    You: Imagine that we're walking along the beach when I look up and point to a UFO in the sky. Which of the following would I say?:

    What's that?!
    What's it?!

    One of the above is not possible.
    Okay, fair enough. That was misleading. Well, the fact is that using it is possible there (without the contraction), in the sense that you're using the word 'possible'. It was my mistake to use that word.

    3) # 49
    You: (describing my video example) Call it incorrect, or wrong, or no good, or inappropriate, or whatever you like.
    ... apart from 'impossible'.


    In some contexts only 'this/that' sounds natural/correct to natives, in others only 'it' does.
    I don't really agree with that. I mean, it's not about what sounds natural and what doesn't because everything a native speaker says is natural. There's a reason why he uses the particular reference word he does.

    Or, partly assuming your psychological approach, different contexts make you want to choose different pronouns. It's not only up to your personal intentions and wishes.
    I'm not sure I understand that.

    Based on what I've read so far, I conclude that natives would almost never consider "It's not true" or, especially "I know it" a natural immediate response to a statement.
    That's just not true. You'll have to trust me here, or there's no point discussing this any further. Anyway, why 'almost' never?

    As I see it, we're talking about language usage with regard to deixis, thus the explanation should rely on grammar, contextual characteristics and psychological aspects (which seem to me subordinate and secondary to the first two).
    Why is it that you're asking for an explanation from me, then? Why don't you just refer to the semantics literature, or grammar literature, to find the kind of answer you're looking for?

  3. Member
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    #73

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I'm not sure I understand that.
    I'm talking about the same idea here: contextual characteristics force speakers to choose one or another pronoun. Let me explain with an example: Suppose we have a table with two apples placed at a distance from each other. Then, a little boy approaches the table and tries to grab the one closest to him saying, "I want this." Which apple he wants is a psychological factor, but 'this' is determined by 1) the physical/spatial context 2) the pragmatic 'rule' to choose pronouns referring to physical objects in accordance with spatial context.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    That's just not true. You'll have to trust me here, or there's no point discussing this any further. Anyway, why 'almost' never?
    'Almost' means that I can't be 100% sure, of course, but I've found tons of "I knew it" and none of "I know it" as an immediate response referring to the preceding statement or its content. All I could find were '(and) I know it' and 'I know it now' closing a statement:

    "The truth will set you free," he said."I know it now".
    Scenes of imagined deprivation are running through her head, I know it.
    The results are utterly respectable, but they don't reflect reality, and I know it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Why is it that you're asking for an explanation from me, then? Why don't you just refer to the semantics literature, or grammar literature, to find the kind of answer you're looking for?
    I couldn't find any literature with comparative analysis of the use of 'it', 'this' and 'that'. Would you recommend any book or article?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    There's a reason why he uses the particular reference word he does.

    Would you please summarize your take on the pronoun choice reasons, especially with respect to immediate short responses like 'X is true/makes sense/I know X'? And then, let's call it a day.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 08-Jun-2020 at 15:48.
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    #74

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    I couldn't find any literature with comparative analysis of the use of 'it', 'this' and 'that'. Would you recommend any book or article?


    I wish I could. I did have a look but to no avail. I'm not actually surprised, though, because I don't think there is anything. If I come across anything interesting, I'll let you know.

    Would you please summarize your take on the pronoun choice reasons, especially with respect to immediate short responses like 'X is true/makes sense/I know X'? And then, let's call it a day.



    • it is a 'grammar' word. It has a grammatical/logical function. Its reference is to another grammatical/logical element within the discourse. Because of this, you can invoke linguistic rules to talk about how it's used.




    • this/that are very different. They are are not 'grammar' words. Their use, being deictic, depends on extralinguistic factors. These factors are ultimately psychological. Any productive investigation must therefore take a psychological approach.


    The complicating factors here, as I see them:

    1) Similar to this/that, the reference word it can sometimes have as a referent a thought, rather than a grammatical/logical element. See this thread, where the OP has in my view gotten bogged down in working out a grammatical explanation where only a psychological one exists, leading him to conclude that the use of it is an error. Inasmuch as there are grammatical/logical rules governing anaphoric reference, he has a point, but he fails to understand the use in terms of a psychological explanation—what the speaker means, rather than what the language itself means.

    2) The use of demonstratives to point to utterances as objects (so-called discourse deixis). This is especially complicated by assigning truth-values (as in our examples it/this is true), because objects cannot logically be true/false. The interpretation of an utterance such as That's true must therefore be simultaneously both a reference to an utterance as an object and to the propositional content of an utterance, similar to with it.


    I'm ready to stop the discussion there, but before we do, I'd like to thank you for making me think in depth about something I find very interesting.

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