« first day (132 days earlier)      last day (3705 days later) » 

10:00 PM
@Martha Sure, but "it" is still referring to something and could be replaced with another word and not break the sentence
In "it's raining", there is nothing that "it" could conceivably be a substitute for; in "it was Rachel who did it", "it" is clearly a substitute for "Rachel".
@Cerberus Or any other word that ends up pointing to Rachel. Such as "she."
Which... actually sounds horrid: She was Rachel who did it
@Cerberus but you can't put any other word besides 'it' in "it was Rachel who did it". Any other word in place of the first 'it' would make an ungrammatical sentence.
Interestingly, in Greek, you could say "rains" to indicate "it is raining"; as an alternative, you could say "Zeus rains"; so you could say that "he" is implicit in Greek "rains". Note that in Greek personal pronouns can be left out at any time if they are subjects.
Hey sis!
10:02 PM
@Nohat: True. But do you disagree that "it" serves as some kind of substitute?
@nohat Yeah, I guess I get to back peddle on that.
It looks like you are right.
It's a dummy pronoun. It doesn't stand for anything. It just takes up a slot in the syntax that can't be empty.
@JPmiaou, Can you explain why it's "it is they who lied" rather than "it is them who lied"?
I suppose a case could be made for saying that "it" is identical in function to "there" in "there's nothing here".
But that does explain one of the problems Reg and I were having way back when
Okay, that makes sense now
10:04 PM
@Nohat: That would be the most accurate description in a purely functionalist approach.
Okay, to pop up the question stack:
It is he who has come to save us.
John is he who has come to save us.
That still seems to work.
But that "it" is the same as "It is Rachel who did it."
But "John is him who has come to save us" would also work, if it weren't an odd mix of formal and informal registers.
It is John who has come to save us.
10:06 PM
"Him who did it" sounds wrong to me
Why does "It is" change that?
That is not a complete sentence.
Oh, I see.
The reason is that "him" is much more frequent as a subject complement than as a subject.
The same applies to them, her, etc.
@MrHen as I was saying before because phrases of the form "<personal pronoun> who <verb phrase>" are very formal
Aha, another linguist. Welcome, @JSBangs. You're still not too late to the party.
@nohat Okay. I don't know why that affects things here. Does it just sound funny because I don't hear it often?
10:09 PM
Him that did it is over there: sounds like very informal dialect, probably rural or something; it's him that did it: sounds somewhat informal but very frequent, you will hear this a lot.
I think this is officially the longest thread any question on any site of the network has ever generated.
@RegDwight "Officially"? Isn't that sort of like misusing "literally"? ;)
@Martha I don't remember the terminology, so probably not. (Syntax was my least-favorite linguistics class.)
@MrHen: No, Reg is an official here.
@MrHen No, "officially" means "according to RegDwight".
10:11 PM
Ah, I see.
Feb 17 at 19:07, by RegDwight
I'm on all sites 24/7.
That makes me totally official, you know.
You get the difference between subject and subject complement, @Mrhen?
@RegDwight I completely agree.
Frequency = officialdom.
10:11 PM
@Cerberus Actually no. I was about to ask.
I am a teacher: I = subject; a teacher = subject complement.
I figured I'd let the conversation take a breath first :)
"Him" as subject is rare; "him" as subject complement is very common.
How about "A teacher am I"? Same labels?
(Quickly skimming chat...) In "It is Rachel who did it", the (first) "it" can't be replaced with any other word. Test it: try putting "Rachel" in its place. "Rachel is Rachel..."?
10:13 PM
There you have inversion: I is still subject, teacher still complement.
@JPmiaou What about "John is he who did it?"
@MrHen Just don't mention girls. That will make Cerberus go berserk and forget all his subjects and their complements in one fell swoop.
Or "that is he who did it".
@Reg: Nooo don't do this to me...
For those who feel they are a bit late to the party, here's a handy link to the beginning of the discussion:
1 hour ago, by RegDwight
This is another question that just won't stop popping up:
@RegDwight I could mention my wife.
10:14 PM
@MrHen That just sounds wrong. Why not just "John did it?"
I am supposed to meet people in a bar in 5 minutes!
@JPmiaou It doesn't sound "wrong" to me, just odd or old.
I'm not disagreeing though. I think it would make sense if it were wrong.
Is there a version of "semantic satiation" that applies to entire sentences?
'Cause I think I've got it.
@JPmiaou Semantic sentensation? Sentantic satiation?
@JPmiaou Considering I have no idea what side I am on anymore...
I started out disagreeing with Reg and now I think we are agreeing
Same with Cerberus
But I have always disagreed with @Martha ;)
(Not really. I don't actually have a strong opinion about this.)
Just really curious and apparently very wrong.
10:17 PM
@JPM: It is called Sentential Semantic Satiation. Stare at THAT!
@MrHen pbbbbblll!
@MrHen: I still don't see any real problem! There are just different options. Perhaps a real example with real context could be commented on in a more practical manner.
I don't think I could actually learn anything at this point anyway
@MrHen Welcome to the club!
10:19 PM
Said one of the gods, probably a minor diety, who was omniscient, but still a lowly servant.
@Cerberus Well, there was a point buried in here somewhere. I no longer have any idea what it was.
Stick to that feeling! It becomes you.
Feb 17 at 18:51, by RegDwight
Okay, I'm out. See you guys later.
Hey, why was my "fuck" changed to f*ck" in the starred lines? Is that policy? How very American...
10:21 PM
Thanks for the "help" everyone
I'm pretty sure that the "it" in "It is John who lied" is exactly like the one in "It rained": it's a placeholder, because English doesn't allow a verb to stand without a subject.
Bye Mr!
@MrHen Nice talking to ya. Laterz.
@JPmiaou I think that was the consensus with a few odd examples left unexplained or ignored
Gotta go figure out what's for dinner...
10:23 PM
@JPM: Yeah it is a placeholder all right... but with "it is she" an antecedent can be conceived of, as opposed to "it rained".
Unless you follow the Greeks, who considered it a placeholder for Zeus there.
I must be off too, later!
@JPmiaou, courtesy of the Frying Pan (aka Cooking chat): try this
@Cerberus I can conceive of an antecedent for "it rained": the weather, a cloud, the outdoors...
@JPM: "The weather rained"? That doesn't sound as OK as "this person here is Rachel" for "it is Rachel"...
@Cerberus Not American, Russian. Pre-emptive measures.
Feb 18 at 17:31, by Michael Myers
Let's make things more clear: Don't use such words here unless you're actually discussing language. Same policy as on the main site.
I wouldn't have touched it, but it got starred and featured prominently. I don't want that to be the first thing new users get to see.
@Reg: Russian as in communist censorship? Or is this site owned by Russians?
Yeah I don't mind. I think it is a bit silly to censor in a way that it is still quite clear what the word is, but it doesn't matter.
10:30 PM
@Cerberus Yes, I tried to walk a fine line there. I may have succeeded or failed, whatever.
@Reg: Yeah don't worry. I just feel obliged to point out such things whenever I see them, an OCD thing.
Okay now I'm really gone. Bye!
Q: What are the principles that make certain lists sound euphonious?

BillareHas this ever happened to you: You write a question, include a list or two in the discussion, and then come back to edit that list because the order doesn't sound "right"? Off the top of my head, I can remember it happening to me twice here on English L&U: I changed God, man, and nature to r...

HAWT new question.
Must answer, Cerebus.
@Billare D'oh, the answer is so obvious that I don't even want to get the points for it. I'll post it as a comment.
Go me!
so i just read through the backlog, at least partly
looked like i missed most of the action
10:48 PM
@JSBangs You can still say, "you're all totally wrong, here's how it really works".
you're all totally wrong, here's how it really works
Thank you.
See? Wasn't that hard.
much easier than disentangling the subtleties of English case marking, that's for sure
When oh when will we drop cases altogether? Zero should be enough for everybody.
is there a meaningful difference between one case and zero cases?
also, don't you speak Russian? cases galore, there
10:52 PM
Sure. Cases all over the place. Six if you ask school teachers, a few more if you look closer.
Vocative, locative, partitive...
and the russians seem to like it fine
now if we could get some finns or hungarians in here we'd really have a party
Yup. I like myself some cases early in the morning.
(of case-marking)
I keep telling people, Hungarian doesn't have an unusual number of cases.
Mar 16 at 1:23, by Martha
Hungarian doesn't have 15 cases either. People just count wrong.
10:54 PM
who said that 15 was unusual?
btw, i hold that English has 4 cases
Just because we attach the preposition to the noun doesn't magically turn it into a case marking.
are they really more like enclitics?
@Martha The same argument could be made about English.
What are enclitics?
(Have I mentioned I'm not the linguist in the family?)
In morphology and syntax, a clitic is a morpheme that is grammatically independent, but phonologically dependent on another word or phrase.[http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsACliticGrammar.htm SIL Glossary of Linguistic Terms: What is a clitic?] It is pronounced like an affix, but works at the phrase level. Clitics may belong to any grammatical category, though they are commonly pronouns, determiners, or adpositions. Note that orthography is not a good guide for identifying clitics: clitics may be written as independent words, bound affixes, or separated by ...
10:57 PM
yes, that'd be the one
@JSBangs BTW, four? Not five? No love for the vocative?
i find it hard to justify counting the vocative
but if you don't care, we can throw it in for five:
I punch rabbits.
Rabbits bite me.
She punched me a rabbit.
She bit my rabbit.
Bite me, o rabbit!
I count accusative two, genitive zero.
that's nom, acc, dat, gen, and voc, in order, of the 1sg pron (except that for the voc example i used rabbit)
Ugh. I would say nom and acc are reversed, and the only thing that is gen in the fourth example is the my.
11:02 PM
er, right
i can't edit now, so let me repost
**I** punch rabbits. (nom)
Rabbits bite **me**. (acc)
She punched **me** a rabbit. (dat)
She bit **my** rabbit. (gen)
Bite me, **o rabbit**! (voc)
Ah. Me feels stoopid now. Me thought yours was talking about them rabbits!
isn't this bold ?
don't know why that didn't show up in my post
yesterday, by Martha
@RegDwight It's the line break in that post: putting in a line break turns a post into preformatted text, essentially.
No formatting love for preformatted text.
Anyhow, if you were talking about the I rather than the rabbits, I take everything back.
yeah. the acc and the dat have the same morphology everywhere in modern English, but they have distinctive syntactic distributions and don't require prepositions, so i think it's justifiable to call them separate cases
Ok, having read (well, skimmed) the article on Clitics, I guess Hungarian prepositions (which come after the noun, but I digress) are not quite enclitics - they can't function grammatically without a noun to attach to. So by a strict definition, they can sorta be called case markings. But that just makes it sound so alien and hard, when it really isn't.
11:07 PM
do you mean after the noun?
btw, if they follow the thing they cliticize to then they're called proclitics
(clitic: yet another opportunity for dirty linguistic puns)
Verb, noun, what difference does it make? :)
@JSBangs Wait, what? Wasn't it like the other way round? My head hurts.
And I haven't even read a single line of The Language Instinct today.
@RegDwight wait, you're right. never mind
well, at least you've got that going for you
@RegDwight I think that's because of the marathon they/them discussion we just had.
@Martha Absolutely.
Seriously folks, I think I'll go watch Will & Grace.
Have fun. I'm out!
11:13 PM
@Martha, are you hungarian?
@JSBangs Uh, yes? I thought everybody knew that by now?
A: What is a female ass called?

Mr E. Smile it is call "beautass" from www.assparadase.com

but do not click on that link
sorry, i'm really bad with bios on here
i have no idea where any of y'all are from
(Well, ok, so I was born and raised in Southern California, and currently live in PA, but my first language was Hungarian.)
By the way, T-Rex is also Hungarian. Unfortunately.
@Fx It's already gone.
(And the gravatar randomizer needs some help or something. All of the newer images are shades of green and more-or-less square.)
@RegDwight, the new data is actually up now:
A: Stack Exchange Data Explorer was not really updated

wafflesAll data should be up to date now ... my import process runs in 2 phases: I export all public data to the current db (separate db per exported set) I detach all the dbs that were exported and attach them to a sandboxed db. Step 2 did not run.


« first day (132 days earlier)      last day (3705 days later) »