My brain is not working...

<b>Forum for the discussion of Applied Linguistics </b>

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citruscinders
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My brain is not working...

Post by citruscinders » Fri Feb 25, 2005 3:07 am

I have a student who insists that "Who did wrote King Lear?" is correct. It is obviously not. I've been researching and am at wits end trying to find the correct grammatical classification to prove that the question above is wrong.

(I am one of those native English speakers who have had to re-learn grammar points.)

I am probably just looking too hard.... but any input is appreciated.

Thanks a bunch!

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Lorikeet
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Post by Lorikeet » Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:14 am

I'm sure there will be better answers, but here is one to start. First of all, "Who did wrote King Lear." is wrong because we don't use a "did" marker along with the past form of a verb.

The usual question would be "Who wrote King Lear?" In general, "Who" questions for the subject don't use the so-called auxiliaries like "did" (or whatever they are called now.)

However, you could, in special situations, use "Who DID write King Lear?" (Where "did" is emphasized.) This situation would be, for example, Student: I know who wrote King Lear. It was Hemingway!
Teacher: No, it wasn't.
Student: Okay then it must have been Faulkner.
Teacher: No.
Student: Robert Frost?
Teacher: No.
Student: Well then who DID write King Lear?

fluffyhamster
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Post by fluffyhamster » Fri Feb 25, 2005 6:33 am

Lori has a good take on it. As an extra level of refinement, you could ask this student to look up "finite" (versus "non-finite") in a grammar dictionary/book, and then get them to think about how many finite elements can occur in a verb phrase (answer: one, at the very start; the main verb comes at the very end. In a simple verb phrase, the finite and main verb would be one and the same thing).

Start by going down to 'verb phrase' at the following link:
http://folk.uio.no/hhasselg/terms.html

Spank that student for us. Hard.

:twisted:

Stephen Jones
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Post by Stephen Jones » Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:20 pm

I think Who did wrote 'King Lear'? would qualify for that marvellous classification the SOED has joc.

fluffyhamster
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Post by fluffyhamster » Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:44 pm

Not owning the "Shorter" OED*, I cannot be sure what 'joc' means. Jocular? Enlighten us some more, please, Doctor Jones.

Talking of 'jocular', why didn't you get the full-size OED, eh eh eh? You a cheap b*stard? :D

I wouldn't mind students insisting on stuff like that if they could show it was a spontaneous utterance by somebody else, and cared to offer a halway plausible (i.e. probably implausible, attestation-wise) psycholinguistic explanation for the phenomenon (perhaps along the lines of: Who...did (Sh...[inaudible or unuttered remainer: akespeare write])...wrote King Lear? (="I could hazard a guess that it was Will, but I don't want to risk being wrong, even though by not guessing, I am appearing extremely ignorant!")), but when they are saying it is or should be perfectly acceptable grammar, they most likely talking only for and ultimately to themselves. Tw*ts. :evil:

*I only own the single-volume NODE, and right now have access only to the CD-ROM version (minus front matter).

citruscinders
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Post by citruscinders » Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:00 pm

Thank you all for your input and help! I will definately make the student squirm by drilling him next lesson.

Thanks again!

fluffyhamster
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Post by fluffyhamster » Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:13 am

Found this recently whilst finishing off the last few pages of englishdroid.com:
At the placement test a black guy enters the room, and you think: Great, a real live black guy, and I've only met three of them in my native city, how cool...until he opens his mouth. He turns out to be a hot-shot MA from Sierra Leone who can't speak English. He makes terrible mistakes, corrects you if you don't pronounce the final 'b' in words like 'dumb' and 'comb', and during the part of the Listening when you're expected to show you can distinguish between long and short vowels, you discover that he can't. 'Ship' and 'sheep' sound exactly the same. Spotting our bewildered gazes, he says: Listen, there is a difference (pronounced like the French word, with the nasal vowel and all). You complain to the Manager or whatever that dear old lady's position is that the guy doesn't know English. She says Well, he speaks in a dialect, and you've only been taught RP in schools, so that's why you'd think that. You sigh, and decide not to ask in which dialect of English you could find a phrase like 'He did thought I am dumbe'.

(Mental note #1: The customer is never right if s/he is a 'dumbe' EFL student.)
http://sites.google.com/site/englishdro ... lt-student

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