Sunday, December 27, 2009

Le mot juste

From a Language Log discussion:

Geoff Pullum
There really is a lot we don't know about syntactic processing.
Shimon Edelman
I guess the same could be said about Santa Claus, and for the same reason.

I also wrote a more technical answer to Geoff's puzzle.

2 comments:

Cosma said...

The link to your more technical explanation fails to refer. (The sentence, while no prize-winner, sounds fine to me, while calling it "angloid gibberish" sounds totally over the top, but what do I know?)

Fernando Pereira said...

It's working now, I think there was a lag between my posting the comment and it appearing to other browsers besides the one from which I posted. The reason Geoff says that is that he's assuming that "they" must refer to some previous noun phrase, specifically the "more people" who found Bush ads negative, and that does not work because that set of people is, by the comparative construction, larger than the set of people who found Kerry ads negative.