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Languages without Quantifier Hopping?
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Author:  zompist [ Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

I've been working through quantifier and negative scope, and come to the conclusion that English is really messed up by allowing these elements to hop around.

An example:

In hell, Satan only allows conlangers to write auxlangs.

This could have four meanings, depending on what "only" is taken to modify:

(Only conlangers) can write auxlangs
Conlangers can write (only auxlangs)
Conlangers can (only write auxlangs) (as opposed to doing anything else)
Only (conlangers write auxlangs) (that is, that's the only activity for anyone in hell)

Similarly:

In hell, Satan doesn't allow conlangers to write auxlangs.
= (No conlangers) can write auxlangs
= Conlangers can write (no auxlangs)
= Conlangers can't (write auxlangs) (but they can do other things)
= not (conlangers write auxlangs) -- i.e. this particular activity is ruled out

With not, I can use Mandarin as an example of a language that's pretty ruthless about placing "not" only before what is being denied.

Are there languages without Quantifier Hopping at all? That is, can you get the 4 meanings above only by changing the sentence?

Author:  Vijay [ Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

I'm a little confused about what you're looking for. Are you saying that the ambiguity with "only" exists in Mandarin, but the ambiguity with "not" doesn't? Are you asking for a language where neither ambiguity exists because "only conlangers can write auxlangs," "conlangers can write only auxlangs," "no conlangers can write auxlangs," "conlangers can write no auxlangs," etc. are all expressed in different ways?

Author:  kanejam [ Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

I have an additional reading based on the quantifier modifying the main verb:
Satan only allows it, but doesn't encourage it or provide the opportunity to.
Satan doesn't allow it, but he does turn a blind eye.

I think all of these meanings are distinguished by intonation in speech.

Author:  zompist [ Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

Vijay wrote:
I'm a little confused about what you're looking for. Are you saying that the ambiguity with "only" exists in Mandarin, but the ambiguity with "not" doesn't?


I don't know how Mandarin quantifiers work... my Mandarin grammar doesn't say! It wouldn't at all surprise me if they're like 'not'.

Quote:
Are you asking for a language where neither ambiguity exists because "only conlangers can write auxlangs," "conlangers can write only auxlangs," "no conlangers can write auxlangs," "conlangers can write no auxlangs," etc. are all expressed in different ways?


Yeah, pretty much. I know that careful phrasing (or intonation, as kanejam says) can distinguish these meanings in English, but we have those ambiguities too, largely (I think) because we allow quantifiers and 'not' to move away from what they directly modify.

Author:  Hydroeccentricity [ Tue May 01, 2018 10:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

Korean -man and -ppun immediately follow the noun they modify, but they're affixes, so that makes sense. Adverbs tend to be a little freer. Maybe the problem in English is that "only" is an adverb and English adverbs tend to sit in consistent places regardless of what they modify? After all, "not" sits next to the verb while "un" attaches to the thing it's negating.

Author:  Vijay [ Tue May 01, 2018 10:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

I wonder how those four sentences with 'not' would be translated into Mandarin.

Author:  Astraios [ Wed May 02, 2018 2:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

Hebrew doesn’t have it, and it’s actually one of the very first things you learn if you go to formal language classes, precisely because English does.

Bagehenom noten hasatan limtakhneney-safot lekhaber sfot-ézer.
in=DEF-hell ACT.PTCP\give DEF-satan to=ACT.PTCP\plan-MP.CONS language-FP to=INF\author language.CONS-FP auxiliary


Rak “only” appears in front of whichever one of the words whose scope it limits, though colloquially it can also follow the element that’s in focus by being intonationally more salient, and limit that one.

1) Bagehenom noten hasatan [rak limtakhneney-safot] lekhaber sfot-ézer, velo lenagarim.
“In hell, Satan lets [only conlangers] write auxlangs, and not carpenters.”

2) Bagehenom noten hasatan limtakhneney-safot [rak lekhaber sfot-ézer], velo likro sfarim.
“In hell, Satan lets conlangers [only write auxlangs], and not read books.”

3) Bagehenom noten hasatan limtakhneney-safot [rak lekhaber] sfot-ézer, velo lelamdan.
“In hell, Satan lets conlangers [only write] auxlangs, and not teach them.”

4) Bagehenom noten hasatan limtakhneney-safot lekhaber [rak sfot-ézer], velo safot omanutiyot.
“In hell, Satan lets conlangers write [only auxlangs], and not artlangs.”

5) Bagehenom noten hasatan limtakhneney-safot+rak lekhaber sfot-ézer, velo lenagarim.
“In hell, Satan only lets conlangers write auxlangs, and not carpenters.”


Lo “not, no” can appear in front of any word to focus it, or more colloquially stay in front of the verb and let intonation do the focusing:

1) Bagehenom noten hasatan [lo limtakhneney-safot], éla lenagarim, lekhaber sfot-ézer.
“In hell, Satan lets [not conlangers], but carpenters, write auxlangs.”

2) Bagehenom noten hasatan limtakhneney-safot [lo lekhaber sfot-ézer], éla likro sfarim.
“In hell, Satan lets conlangers [not write auxlangs], but read books.”

3) Bagehenom noten hasatan limtakhneney-safot [lo lekhaber] sfot-ézer, éla lelamdan.
“In hell, Satan lets conlangers [not write] auxlangs, but teach them.”

4) Bagehenom noten hasatan limtakhneney-safot lekhaber [lo sfot-ézer], éla safot omanutiyot.
“In hell, Satan lets conlangers write [not auxlangs], but artlangs.”

5) Bagehenom lo noten hasatan limtakhneney-safot lekhaber sfot-ézer, éla lenagarim.
“In hell, Satan doesn’t let conlangers write auxlangs, but carpenters.”


Given that the sentences where rak and lo have fixed positions are more colloquial, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re influenced by English.

Author:  zompist [ Wed May 02, 2018 6:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

Neat! Astraios, do the rak sentences have the same meaning if the velo subclause is omitted?

(Also, I'd like to use these in my book. Could you PM me your name for proper attribution?)

Author:  Astraios [ Thu May 03, 2018 3:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

They do; I included them just to give the focusing a context. In a real-life situation you could easily drop the “and not …” part.

Author:  Vijay [ Thu May 03, 2018 7:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

I think something similar might be true of Malayalam, too, but I should probably test the 'not' part at least on my dad, and I need different sentences because I'll be damned if I have any clue how to talk about conlanging in Malayalam. :P Maybe something more like "in the field, the landlord doesn't allow/only allows me to tie my male water buffalo up to this coconut tree."

Author:  Circeus [ Thu May 03, 2018 7:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

For French, permettre allows a pretty neat separation thanks to the ne...que restrictive negation, though one of the meanings (marked with *) requires a passive construction and cannot be expressed in an active "voice"

  1. Satan ne permet qu'aux conlangers de faire des auxlangs. = (Only conlangers) can write auxlangs
  2. Satan ne permet aux conlangers de faire que des auxlangs = Conlangers can write (only auxlangs)
  3. Satan ne permet aux conlangers que de faire des auxlangs = Conlangers can (only write auxlangs) (as opposed to doing anything else)
  4. *Satan ne permet que la création d'auxlangs par les conlangers = Only (conlangers write auxlangs)

But if using the word-for-word equivalent of "only" (by eliminating satan from the sentence), things get a little odd and not all meanings are separate

  1. Seuls les conlangers peuvent faires des auxlangs = (Only conlangers) can write auxlangs
  2. Les conlangers peuvent faire seulement // seulement faire des auxlangs = Conlangers can write (only auxlangs) OR Conlangers can (only write auxlangs) (as opposed to doing anything else)
  3. [can't get that meaning without a complete reformulation] = Only (conlangers write auxlangs)

With simple negation, though, french presents with the same neg hopping as English and you can't separate the meanings without complete rewrites.

Author:  Xephyr [ Fri May 04, 2018 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

zompist wrote:
An example:

In hell, Satan only allows conlangers to write auxlangs.

This could have four meanings, depending on what "only" is taken to modify:

(Only conlangers) can write auxlangs
Conlangers can write (only auxlangs)
Conlangers can (only write auxlangs) (as opposed to doing anything else)
Only (conlangers write auxlangs) (that is, that's the only activity for anyone in hell)


+ Satan allows conlangers to only write auxlangs (i.e. they cannot sing them)
+ [archaic] Satan alone allows conlangers to write auxlangs (i.e. Beelzebub has no such authority over what conlangers do in hell)

Author:  hwhatting [ Wed May 09, 2018 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

One point about which I'm not sure concerning English - in German, the restriction by nur together with erlauben can mean "only X can do Y", but it can also mean "Y has permission to do only Y, but they are also free to do Z". Is that the same for English? In German, the positioning of nur can mean that only the second reading is allowed.

German can avoid the hopping for nur "only" by placing it near the restricted constituent. Still, some cases are ambiguous:

(Only conlangers) can write auxlangs: In der Hölle erlaubt Satan nur Conlangern, Hilfssprachen zu schreiben.

Conlangers can write (only auxlangs) OR Conlangers can (only write auxlangs) (as opposed to doing anything else) OR + Satan allows conlangers to only write auxlangs (i.e. they cannot sing them): In der Hölle erlaubt Satan Conlangern nur Hilfssprachen zu schreiben.
A comma can delineat these: In der Hölle erlaubt Satan Conlangern nur, Hilfssprachen zu schreiben. = Conlangers can (only write auxlangs);
OTOH In der Hölle erlaubt Satan Conlangern, nur Hilfssprachen zu schreiben. means "it's fine with Satan if they write only auxlangs, but they are also free do anything else. Similarly.
In der Hölle erlaubt Satan Conlangern, Hilfssprachen nur zu schreiben. means "it's fine if they only write them (and don't e.g. recite them)".

Only (conlangers write auxlangs) (that is, that's the only activity for anyone in hell) - this needs a different construction, with a finite dependent clause: In der Hölle erlaubt Satan nur, dass Conlanger Hilfssprachen schreiben.

+ [archaic] Satan alone allows conlangers to write auxlangs (i.e. Beelzebub has no such authority over what conlangers do in hell) - In der Hölle erlaubt nur Satan Conlangern, Hilfssprachen zu schreiben. (Not archaic at all in German)

Nur in der Hölle erlaubt Satan Conlangern, Hilfssprachen zu schreiben. has a wide scope, like in English:
(1) the only place where the act of allowing takes place is hell
(2) the only place where Satan is the one who allows is hell
(3) the only place where conlangers can write auxlangs is hell
(4) conlangers can (write auxlangs) only in hell
(5) conlangers can write (auxlangs) only in hell
(6) conlangers can (write) auxlangs only in hell

So putting nur next to the adverbial complement leads to hopping in German, but that is due to the scope of the complement.

Isn't it also possible in English to put "alone" near the restricted element to limit the restriction to said element? Are e.g. "In hell, only Satan allows ..." or "allows conlangers to write only auxlangs" not grammatical?

Author:  zompist [ Fri May 11, 2018 10:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

hwhatting wrote:
One point about which I'm not sure concerning English - in German, the restriction by nur together with erlauben can mean "only X can do Y", but it can also mean "Y has permission to do only Y, but they are also free to do Z". Is that the same for English?


Yes, but I believe only if "only" appears after 'conlangers'. E.g. (IMD) these easily admit the reading "it's allowed that conlangers do nothing but write auxlangs":

Satan allows conlangers to only write auxlangs.
Satan allows conlangers to write only auxlangs.
Satan allows conlangers only to write auxlangs. (this one feels more likely to be a restriction, but the permission reading could be forced)

These seem to me only to allow the restriction reading:

Satan only allows conlangers to write auxlangs.
Satan allows only conlangers to write auxlangs.

Quote:
Isn't it also possible in English to put "alone" near the restricted element to limit the restriction to said element? Are e.g. "In hell, only Satan allows ..." or "allows conlangers to write only auxlangs" not grammatical?


It's fine, we can certainly force one meaning or another. What I'm interested in, however, is the 'hopped' version-- where the negative or quantifier is in a default location that's ambiguous between meanings. And whether other languages prohibit this sort of thing.

Author:  Seirios [ Mon May 14, 2018 8:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Languages without Quantifier Hopping?

I've seen someone say that Hungary has explicit quantifier raising. That's like no raising, though a bit different...

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