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Thread: Linguistic Exercise

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    Senior Member Makers!*'s Avatar
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    Linguistic Exercise

    Given the data set, try to formulate some general restrictions that account for the following sentences. Consider why the ones on the left may not agree with our mental grammer, while the ones on the right do. You may form seven different restictions, but the more universally applicable one(s) is preferred.

    1) *He was weighing 180lbs—He was weighing the chicken

    2) *He was resembling his father—He was imitating his father

    3)*He is having a car—He is a having a party

    4) *He is being fat—He is being careful.

    5) *He is being old—He is being helpful

    6) *I am liking it very much—I am studying it very hard.

    7) *I am resenting that— I am rejecting that.

    and Extra credit

    8) *The house is building—The house is burning.

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    Merry Christmas Blorg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makers!* View Post
    Given the data set, try to formulate some general restrictions that account for the following sentences. Consider why the ones on the right register in our mental grammer, while the ones on the left may not. You may form seven different restictions, but the more universally applicable one(s) is preferred.

    1) *He was weighing 180lbs—He was weighing the chicken

    2) *He was resembling his father—He was imitating his father

    3)*He is having a car—He is a having a party

    4) *He is being fat—He is being careful.

    5) *He is being old—He is being helpful

    6) *I am liking it very much—I am studying it very hard.

    7) *I am resenting that— I am rejecting that.

    and Extra credit

    8) *The house is building—The house is burning.
    edit: I'm not sure if I did this right, but anyway...

    The ones on the right refer to events that often occur in a short(er) amount of time. The ones on the left describe events that are likely to stay "still" for a while.

    edit 2: in other words, the ones on the left are confusing because they imply that events that we normally assume are long-term, are actually short-term.

    He was weighing 180 lbs: long-term. Weighing the chicken: short-term, a brief/isolated event.

    He is having a car: long-term. He is having a party: short-term.

    He is being fat: long-term. He is being careful: short-term (this one is kind of ambiguous. If it said, "he is careful," then it would probably/more likely be long-term).

    etc

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    Senior Member Makers!*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chobani View Post
    edit: I'm not sure if I did this right, but anyway...

    The ones on the right refer to events that often occur in a short(er) amount of time. The ones on the left describe events that are likely to stay "still" for a while.

    edit 2: in other words, the ones on the left are confusing because they imply that events that we normally assume are long-term, are actually short-term.

    He was weighing 180 lbs: long-term. Weighing the chicken: short-term, a brief/isolated event.

    He is having a car: long-term. He is having a party: short-term.

    He is being fat: long-term. He is being careful: short-term (this one is kind of ambiguous. If it said, "he is careful," then it would probably/more likely be long-term).

    etc
    Good. According to your postulation, it sounds like the progressive aspect generally signifies a finite length of time. But what about 6 and 7, you can't like or resent something in the short term? And 3, If I rent a car for an afternoon would I then be able to say, I am having a car?

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    Merry Christmas Blorg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makers!* View Post
    Good. According to your postulation, it sounds like the progressive aspect generally signifies a finite length of time.
    I think that all of these sentences describe (traditionally) finite situations. I don't think it's a matter of finite vs. infinite-- I think it's more a matter of long-term vs. short-term.

    But what about 6 and 7, you can't like or resent something in the short term?
    You can-- you can also weigh 180 in the morning and 185 later the same day. But the default assumption is that these (left column) are relatively long term things. You weigh the chicken: bam, you're done. You don't resemble your father one minute and stop resembling him the next.

    And 3, If I rent a car for an afternoon would I then be able to say, I am having a car?
    The word "have" is weird because it often refers to possession but it can also refer to birth. When I think about the phrase, "I am having a car this afternoon," I think that someone is producing a car-baby. I think this is a vocabulary issue.

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    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    passive voice?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chobani View Post
    I think that all of these sentences describe (traditionally) finite situations. I don't think it's a matter of finite vs. infinite-- I think it's more a matter of long-term vs. short-term.



    You can-- you can also weigh 180 in the morning and 185 later the same day. But the default assumption is that these (left column) are relatively long term things. You weigh the chicken: bam, you're done. You don't resemble your father one minute and stop resembling him the next.



    The word "have" is weird because it often refers to possession but it can also refer to birth. When I think about the phrase, "I am having a car this afternoon," I think that someone is producing a car-baby. I think this is a vocabulary issue.
    You're creating some dichotomies that could potentially be drawn to deeper conclusions. My point being, is that there are deep notions governing what we find acceptable and don't. This excercise is not my own. It's something we've been studying. Particulary, number 8. At a certain point in linguistics, the terms weird, strange, etc. become inadequate. Conversely, the more data that is added, the more those terms seem applicable.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    passive voice?
    Why passive voice? How that might apply to 1-7, I'm not sure. But I can tell you that "The house is building" was common usage, as a passive construction in late Modern English. Or "There was some mischief contriving" as Jonathan Swift used in Gulliver's Travels. Now it's hard to recognize as anything other than figurative, potentially.

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    Merry Christmas Blorg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makers!* View Post
    You're creating some dichotomies that could potentially be drawn to deeper conclusions. My point being, is that there are deep notions governing what we find acceptable and don't. This excercise is not my own. It's something we've been studying. Particulary, number 8. At a certain point in linguistics, the terms weird, strange, etc. become inadequate. Conversely, the more data that is added, the more those terms seem applicable.
    In your response (if I'm reading it correctly) you disagreed with my observation and then you wrote out a different, slightly-related observation. I didn't like this because my observation is valid-- it's a fact about the sentences' relationship. I'd be willing to use my observation as a starting point for "deeper conclusions"-- I just don't think the observation itself needs to change.

    It does lead to interesting questions. I like the question you brought up in your previous post: "you can't like or resent something in the short term?" I think this might have something to do with the strength of the words "resentment" and "liking very much" (it's not just "like"). These strong judgments are unlikely to change/resolve as quickly as mild judgments (like "appreciate" or "dislike") which is why the sentences containing these judgments fall on the evil left side. "Like" (minus the "very much") is for fleeting/forgettable Facebook posts; "love" is for marriages (hopefully long-term).

    [I'll update this post later with something that's better/thought-provoking, hopefully. I'm too tired and irritable to do it right now]

    The exercise is cool-- thanks for posting it.

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    Senior Member Makers!*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chobani View Post
    In your response (if I'm reading it correctly) you disagreed with my observation and then you wrote out a different, slightly-related observation. I didn't like this because my observation is valid-- it's a fact about the sentences' relationship. I'd be willing to use my observation as a starting point for "deeper conclusions"-- I just don't think the observation itself needs to change.

    It does lead to interesting questions. I like the question you brought up in your previous post: "you can't like or resent something in the short term?" I think this might have something to do with the strength of the words "resentment" and "liking very much" (it's not just "like"). These strong judgments are unlikely to change/resolve as quickly as mild judgments (like "appreciate" or "dislike") which is why the sentences containing these judgments fall on the evil left side. "Like" (minus the "very much") is for fleeting/forgettable Facebook posts; "love" is for marriages (hopefully long-term).

    [I'll update this post later with something that's better/thought-provoking, hopefully. I'm too tired and irritable to do it right now]

    The exercise is cool-- thanks for posting it.
    No, I'm not disagreeing at all. In trying to understand you position, I made a misinterpretation. But I see where you're are going, and if you feel as though youre on to something, as you very well may be, then I would continue in that direction. Keep in mind, that I'm in the process of learning this material and so am not completely qualified to validate one idea over another; however, I will provide my own conjucture:

    That is, a doer must precede verbs that are in the progressive form. (doer and reciever being terms we've learned in class)

    So, 1)*He was weighing 180lbs. There is no doer. A person can't choose to weigh 180 lbs.
    2)*He was resembling his father. Again no doer.
    3-5) same

    At 6 and 7, it becomes a little trickier, I'm not sure if liking or resenting is somthing we choose to do.

    Now 8...that is an anamoly. And something obviously fascinating to our professor, whose claimed to have a genius IQ... we've spent the last 4 classes talking about ways to approach it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    passive voice?
    I've been thinking more about this...the passive must factor in somehow. "Is being," can signifiy the passive. The sentence "The house is being built"—is passive. ("Being" is a progressive helping verb.) Our mental criterion for a sentence is satisified; and yet there is no doer. So, the restriction I formulated will not solve without additional qualifiers.

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    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    I was thinking more about it too. I think the left column are passive states, whereas the right are active states or passive activities.

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