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9:12 AM
Q: Are these "for + nouns" adjectival prepositional phrases or adverbial prepositional ones?

Kinzle BConsider: Some "for + nouns" are adjectival prepositional phrases; others are adverbial prepositional ones, but I am not sure which is which in these following examples: The pension plans involve very little risk for employers. A bank creates a reserve for loan losses. How do invest...

The question reminds me of something about learning...
What's more important? Analysis or meaning.
(I haven't read all the answers yet.)
If someone asked me, I'd always say meaning comes first
> I have no difficulty in understanding these sentences, but it’s not easy to tell whether these "for + nouns" are adjectival prepositional phrases or adverbial prepositional ones.
Kinzle B said so. I think it's clear that he can understand all the sentences.
LOL -- I can see the ambiguity coming from afar!
Sometimes there's a clear difference in meaning that corresponds to where the PP lives in the tree
9:19 AM
(Although the words used to describe the phenomenon are completely different in this Language Log post, they're describing the same thing)
It's often pretty obvious:
> I saw kids with tattoos today!
Did you use the tattoos to see kids?
But in a lot of Kinzle B's examples
9:22 AM
It doesn't look like there's a clear difference either way
nods -- I think the alternate reading means almost or probably exactly the same thing in some examples.
And in a case like that, there's no motivation to pick one or the other, I'd think
A bounty could make it tempting to pick one. ;-)
I haven't looked at all of the sentences in detail, by the way
> In a sense, it's not even possible to modify only the predicate, or only the verb, or only the direct object, or only one component of that object. Semantically, the meaning of any such modification is inevitably carried up to the level of the complete clause.
9:26 AM
My personal feeling is that actually writing an answer would feel like doing homework
I guess that quote is somewhat right (especially if it were for a class), and somewhat wrong (probably in linguistics analysis).
The OP could include what they think and why as a starting point
It seems like a hefty question anyway even without that, because it's got nine questions in one
@DamkerngT. Let's try to falsify it!
9:27 AM
> Semantically, the meaning of any such modification is inevitably carried up to the level of the complete clause.
What if there is no complete clause?
I remember that we'd discussed the question last year. Fantasier mentioned (to my surprise) that she couldn't see the ambiguity. However, the ambiguity was clear to me.
@snailboat Okay!
@snailboat Eh? Hmm...
> a song about snails
This is a noun phrase
It contains a preposition phrase
9:29 AM
I think with cases like these (for + ...), we need a verb (to make the ambiguity arise).
@snailboat It does!
I'm just demonstrating that a noun phrase can be a complete unit of meaning, and it can contain a preposition phrase
@DamkerngT. Let me look at the question again
Maybe I got off track :-)
@DamkerngT. In any of the sentences?
9:32 AM
Okay, reading through the sentences, I have another observation:
If I understand him correctly, he tries to discern what for modifies in any sentence, between the verb and the noun, e.g. involve or risk in The pension plans involve very little risk for employers.
If we had context, it would probably solve any problems of ambiguity
I think so, in most cases.
> The lesson from these losses is that it is important to define unambiguous risk limits for traders.
Do traders need to know what "unambiguous risk limits" are? :-)
9:34 AM
Or are they limits upon the traders' ability to trade? (More likely!)
Wait, I think this one is a genuine ambiguous case.
You mean with two equally likely readings?
Let's think of "unambiguous risk limits" as "some kind of technical limits", i.e. X.
I see more than one possible interpretation
> Let's define X for traders.
I think it's ambiguous genuinely because both interpretations can mean the same thing, or to be more precise can be used to described exactly the same event.
And I think that's why KinzleB posted his question.
9:38 AM
This is nine questions in one. Each question on its own would be fine with some elaboration, but putting them together like this doesn't really work very well with the SE format. — snailboat 6 secs ago
It could mean we define X so that the traders will use or know. It could also mean that we define something, and that something, called X, is for traders to use or know. Either reading could mean the same event.
I should edit that to say "and additional context"
@snailboat Ah, the way I see it, it's only one question! The nine examples are test cases.
@DamkerngT. Hmm, it's a difficult one!
Each sentence is a (potential) example of PP ambiguity. Each one does need an individual answer, though.
9:41 AM
Man from India has made a valiant attempt at writing the first six :-)
I have a simple test, but don't know how well it can work.
The test is: replace the verb with the copula be.
> The lesson from these losses is that it is important to define unambiguous risk limits for traders.
Essentially, it's
> [Someone] defines unambiguous risk limits for traders.
Checking with the copula be:
> Here are unambiguous risk limits for traders.
If the copula be makes sense (or makes more sense in the context), for modifies the noun.
Now it's clearly attached to the NP
Some PPs are complements, selected for by their heads, such as verbs or nouns
Others are adjuncts and are not selected for...
9:45 AM
Sometimes you can tell whether it attaches to a VP or NP by looking to see whether the V or N selects that PP
Sometimes only one or the other does
Another test:
Re-order the sentence.
It is important to define for traders unambiguous risk limits.
Now for clearly modifies the verb!
9:46 AM
In English it's often easy to avoid attachment ambiguities by re-ordering
But in natural speech speakers rarely use this strategy :-)
Intonation is another strategy that's not relevant here
A couple days ago, I crafted this sentence:
in English Language Learners, Apr 14 at 13:14, by Damkerng T.
> I've built schools for children.
I purposefully made it possible to read either way. ;-)
Yes! That is a fine example of PP attachment ambiguity!
Note that if it attaches to built, it could mean the children employed you :-)
9:49 AM
They (or their representatives) could.
Or you could be doing it on their behalf. Maybe the children were building schools, but it was too difficult, so you did it for them.
Don't know if that (representative) is a good word there.
I'm not sure.
I was thinking that the children could appoint someone to represent them.
So a lot of examples, like yours, have more than one possible parse
9:52 AM
But as we can see, even with a single parse, multiple readings (= "interpretations") are often possible! :-)
Hello @jimsug! Welcome back!
> the shooting of the hunters
Hunters can be agent or patient!
aha, it has been a while, yes. Thanks :)
9:52 AM
So even though the of-phrase clearly attaches to the NP (we don't have anything else here for it to attach to!) it's still ambiguous :-)
Ahh... there are not many new ELL questions today. So it's about weekends (that we'll have fewer questions).
Hello @rohanr!
Welcome to the chat room!
I think it's normal for SE sites to have fewer questions on weekends.
Yeah, most places are a bit slower on the weekend.
Clearing up unanswered :)
9:57 AM
Hehe! Yay!
Law Area 51 has a lot unanswered, though.
Yes, Law Area is pretty prolific
@jimsug I will admit that sometimes I just skip his! (Sorry!)
And is posting to Linguistics.SE now, too
9:58 AM
Oh dear. I like Linguistics.SE too.
But I still (randomly) pick some of his up and post a comment when I think I can help a bit.
Hmm. Does the stigma from his early days still linger?
I think it's just the nature of his questions.
I wish I could convince him that he doesn't always have to read everything that literally.
I usually assume everyone's memory is like mine. "His early days? What? Oh hey, I do remember that . . ."
I can remember lots of things. Almost all of them are vague in my mind, though. :-)
10:01 AM
I mean, I wouldn't have noticed, but... there are quite a few.
Law Area is currently dominating the Unanswered charts.
Second place is pretty far behind.
I think the others are all tied for second place ;)
I admire his effort though.
A lot of the questions, though, go into the too difficult for ELL basket
My feeling about questioning grammatical terms is that it belongs in Linguistics.SE, if anywhere.
10:04 AM
Agree. (Though personally, I don't think anything is really too difficult for learners.)
Hmm. Maybe not too difficult, then, but I think it's at least a little tangential to what I think the aims of ELL are/should be
If LawA51PC liked to chat, our chat rooms could help him a bit (but he seems to prefer to think through things carefully, which takes time, as he indicates in his profile).
Did we ever decide what was said in this?


Apr 6 at 20:59, 8 minutes total – 12 messages, 2 users, 0 stars

Bookmarked Apr 6 at 21:09 by snailboat

10:20 AM
I think the OP wanted the feedback, and I'd say he sorta had it.
> I don't know if what I am saying is considered connected speech.
Maybe someone can write about connected speech.
I'm not that good in spoken English, but I think it's better to let it be connected unconsciously than to try to connect it consciously.
I can do phonetic stuff with it, but I can't really record an American accent. Anyway, the voicing and stops are a bit sloppy.
> The frantic pacing scene changes every eleven seconds, often leaves kids zoned out and spun up, unable to concentrate.
Is that it? That's as close as I can get it.
That's what I got, although my transcription appears to have a typo! An extra 's'
It was really hard for me to get the part around zoned
I had to listen five or six times
it was either that or zenned out
which doesn't really work, so I guess I'm assuming that he's using mostly "real", English words.
The stops are a bit weird. It's like the "tense" stop in Korean, like he's had to learn to suppress aspiration in all positions.
10:35 AM
I think TRomano's mentioned that he should focus on speaking clearly (not sure if it was in that question), which I think is good advice.
The /p/ in pacing for instance, sounds a bit off, right?
I asked what his native language was, but he said he wanted to keep that private
@jimsug That's what I thought too.
One can draw conclusions from his username, location on profile, and the intonation in his speech
in English Language Learners, Apr 7 at 22:32, by Damkerng T.
I have a rather strong feeling that our Marco Dinatsoli is either Korean or Chinese. :P
10:36 AM
I'd feel fairly safe in wagering Italian on that evidence, separately and together.
Just a wild guess. No mocking intended, btw.
To be fair, I should upload my own sample.
Nah, intonation is a bit off, and the /l/s are more articulate than I'd normally expect.
I could upload an AusE sample. But I often get told that I have a British accent.
Well, about half the time. The other half, I get told that I have an American accent. :/
I usually mistake AusE as BrE!
But I blame it on myself.
Is the pacing and the stress that also throws you off, though. I'm not surprised it took you a few listenings, @snailboat
Well, all Aussies sound Kiwi to me on television and in movies
@jimsug Wait, how does Kiwi sound like!?!
10:40 AM
Umm.They've had a vowel shift, so it's like Australian English but some of the vowels are in different places.
@jimsug I think the speech would be the most reliable clue
I think the username and profile change over time to reflect different locations
I think I can't tell the difference between NzE and AusE.
@snailboat I'd say that, but it can be a wild red herring.
The profile used to say something else.
10:42 AM
I think, depending on whether you more strongly associate with AmE or BrE, I'm usually identified as the other.
And never as Australian ;)
(I think I'm respecting the user's wishes by not sharing any other information I have)
Then again, Australians don't usually remark on other Australians having an Australian accent, right? :P
@snailboat Of course.
New Zealand English (NZE, en-NZ) is the dialect of the English language used in New Zealand. The English language was established in New Zealand by colonists during the 19th century. It is one of "the newest native-speaker variet[ies] of the English language in existence, a variety which has developed and become distinctive only in the last 150 years". The most distinctive influences on New Zealand English have come from Australian English, English in southern England, Irish English, Scottish English, the prestige Received Pronunciation, and Māori. New Zealand English is most similar to Australian...
I dunno! :P
I'm really not very good at identifying English accents in the first place
I think I know what Australians sound like, 'cause I used to work with Australians
10:46 AM
Hmm, robust oneboxing.
I don't really know what NZers sound like
Okay, so six > sex
Well... basically a number of merges
I know that NZ announcers at train stations sound cute. :-)
It's called the pin-pen merger, but six-sex is more fun ;)
ɪ > ɘ
Other things. I can't remember them off the top of my head, but it's all very interesting.
I wonder if his vowels will still sound the same if he pronounces each word carefully. I mean, his attempt on connected speech might've shifted the vowels.
Afternoon! @MARamezani
10:50 AM
Kinda what happened with English a little while ago, with the Great Vowel Shift or Grimm's Law.
Hmm. I think, though I might be wrong, that rapid speech doesn't usually change the quality of vowels, other than forcing them all into schwas or deleting them.
1 hour later…
12:10 PM
Q: would you throw a light on the concept of the sentence?

nimaIn these clinical cases, as in other phobias, the more likely cause is a displacement of diffuse anxiety to an external focus which can be avoided. I am wondering what this sentence could mean or what is the concept if it. What is more, would you please in a more readily way show me what is me...

visualizing the phrase...
Since when have articles started working unconsciously for me? ...
Q: How to determine whether a (phrasal) verb truly needs a particle?

Law Area 51 Proposal - Commit Source: A particle along with a verb in a phrasal verb forms a single semantic unit. Particles affect the meaning of the phrasal verb. Prepositions do not change the meanings of their preceding verbs and are independent of them. pp 108-110 of Plain Words, 2014, by Gowers censures 'verbosity...

Ahh... this is possibly about learning.
(not usage)
Basically, "you can't" or "no concrete rules for that" is the answer.
12:57 PM
> You can make it to canote desire of wanting to be in trouble by changing it to shall since the definition is to express an intention although it may not sound right.
It's interesting to see canote in there! :-)
Connote, presumably?
Yes. I remember that I thought (or guessed) that this answerer is a non-native speaker in another answer. So, it's interesting to see they write canote. :D
I should learn to avoid saying 'see that', I think...
see them write
Or see that they write
Ah, I forgot to fix the pronoun fixing see that.
1:01 PM
Two different structures
@snailboat The real thing I thought was: to see (that) they wrote ...
Why did I correct your sentence? I don't know anymore.
But I thought to see them write would've been better.
You broke my grammartron!
1:02 PM
It's okay. It's never been very reliable :-)
I mean, what I really did was trying to choose the more likely pattern a native speaker would choose in the same situation.
I think you can omit that
(Though I knew that see that they wrote wasn't really wrong.)
For whatever reason, when I read your sentence the first time, my brain rejected that because it thought you were using the other structure
1:04 PM
@snailboat Yes, but you know what, it always is an absent syllable in my real speech!
A muted one, if I may say so.
In natural speech people omit that an awful lot of the time
It shows up more often in writing
Which is not to say people never say that :-)
So, even though I don't really say that out loud, I actually say it inside.
Maybe if I analyzed my old speech examples, I could find that there is always a slight pause (just a very slight one) in the place of (that).
Hmm... probably not always, but I think very often.
BTW, I'm developing something to improve the intonation.
1:07 PM
I don't think I have an internal that that works the way yours does
Actually, I don't think that is there at all unless I add it. In my mind.
@snailboat I guessed so!
I don't really believe I start with that and then omit it.
But ellipsis is a nice model for describing how we put words together.
Just like I don't believe people really form trees of constituents top-down when they speak
1:08 PM
I think this deletion effect in me must be a result of the way I was taught.
But it's a nice model for describing how we put words together :-)
@DamkerngT. Oh, I see
@snailboat I'd be surprised if someone really does that in their brain!
Well, the evidence points toward a more incremental model
in English Language Learners, 27 secs ago, by Damkerng T.
> When readers process a local ambiguity, they settle on one of the possible interpretations immediately, without waiting to hear or read more words that might help decide which interpretation is correct (this behaviour is called incremental processing). If they are surprised by the turn the sentence really takes, processing is slowed. This is visible for example in reading times.
I think that's a very good approximation.
(Personally, I think we can hold more than one interpretations at times. Probably not always, and usually doesn't work with very complicated sentences.)
1:18 PM
Oops, I confused myself by switching rooms :-)
@snailboat It's alright. Either room is fine for me. :-)
I'm in both!
Ah, German!
1:21 PM
Oh, talking about processing gives me an idea that this might be a clue to why and how non-native speakers process sentences differently.
Incremental interpretation at verbs!
Umm... the PDF hates me. (-_-)"
For a moment I thought your cat was typing!
I think Incremental interpretation at verbs is probably related to that "health care system" sentence!
LOL -- I read several eat's in that paper as cat. :-)
1 hour later…
2:34 PM
Welcome to the room!
Thank you @DamkerngT.
Thanks for the visit!
I hope we'll find this room useful.
3:18 PM
Welcome to the room! @Choko!
Thank you :)
4:17 PM
@DamkerngT. Hullo!
I guess "Hullo! is the new "Hello!"
Yes. You're right.
I wrote a question an answer today!
The question makes me think... how do we (or can we) understand jokes in another language?
I think you wrote an answer after a long time @DamkerngT.
consider writing frequently :-)
Not that long. ;-)
I can write a few a month. :D
4:29 PM
Oh...then surely I have missed your recent posts.
But a few is a vague word, so it could be 1 or 2 or even around 12! :P
now a days generally I see your comments....
I comment almost every day, I think.
@DamkerngT. lol
4:47 PM
Our hello's are becoming more and more enigmatic!
When I revisited my version, somewhere back in my mind what I perceived was a tiger's roar :D
5:51 PM
in English Language Learners, yesterday, by Damkerng T.
Someone posted a question on ELL asking how they can improve their listening (because they can't understand native speakers, in real-life, in movies, etc.), and I remember I told the OP to listen to "non-English" songs. snailboat asked me why? I replied "It breaks the ice!"
09:00 - 18:0018:00 - 21:00

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