Why ask?

This post is based on a small observation I made in this tweet, a couple of days ago, and the subsequent discussion, so special thanks to @lingulate, @essikert, and @themitcho for their responses! Consider the following context: George and Jerry are lounging around Jerry's apartment doing nothing in particular. Jerry…

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"...harsh noises damp with passion."

A description of the German language, left here without comment, from DonDello's novel White Noise. "When he switched from English to German, it was as though a cord had been twisted in his larynx. An abrupt emotion entered his voice, a scrape and gargle that sounded like the stirring of…

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Remarks on ellipsis, tense, and rebinding

In an embedded clause in English, the preterite past gives rise to an interesting ambiguity. 1. (t' < t) Britta said that Shirley was at home. a. Britta said (at t) that Shirley was at home (at t). (simultaneous) b. Britta said (at t) that Shirley was at home (at…

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A note on if-questions

If-clauses are weird. They have a couple of prominent uses: as the antecedent clause in a conditional if...then... statement (see (1)), and as an embedded question (2). 1. If Britta is taking this class, then I'm not. 2. Jeff asked if Britta is taking this class. Here, I'm interested…

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