Tuesday, November 01, 2005

linguistic obsession

Sorry all. I'm just obsessed with this tense thing. I spend all my time thinking about it. It's silly and unproductive. And, no, I haven't solved it, but I am inching my way forward or more like stumbling through the dark, but still feel that more steps are in the right direction than in the wrong. I discussed it with N a couple days back, and she gave me an idea that, simply put, children learn that subjects are attached to tense and when the tense gets dropped, the subject gets dropped. Is that what you said, N? It is all running together. But I have been following this lead to some extent, looking at explanations where subjects get built on to tense, and so when tense is dropped, so is the subject. How far even this would get me though isn't obvious. Again, I'd have to prove that this construction with either learned, or, else, somehow part of a domain-general mechanism. Sigh... On the other hand, I saw a wonderful article today by a nativist tying together, much more coherently, many of the things that I have been pursuing, such as anaphora, tense, and agreement. One nice thing she said was that the original pointing reference might be in the pragmatic system, with the grammar following that non-grammatical link. This is very close to my search for a connection between syntax and semantics, where the co-indexing in syntax is in fact a semantic link. So, this annoying search is why I am so boring lately.

In other news, we did Halloween last night. B was a ghost pirate and N was a butterfly. I wore a big hat.

1 comment:

N said...

I didn't really say that subjects get attached to tense. I said that the subject defines the tense. A little bit different, and I'm not sure it helps.