Heidi Harley

Website: http://dingo.sbs.arizona.edu/~hharley/

Posts by Heidi Harley:

    Nature's dominoes

    My colleague Tom Bever felt he had really hit the big time today when he learned that one of his example sentences had made it into the funny pages. Admittedly, it was in the linguistically hypersophisticated Dinosaur Comics (as usual, click on the image to see it full-size):


    For a brief introduction to the example, try the Wikipedia article on garden-path sentences1, or for a rather more thorough discussion, Chapter 1, section 4.2 of this on-line introductory neuropsychology coursebook, in which Tom is referred to as 'a famous psycholinguist'. [Aside to Tom: It's true! Big time! Quick, ask for a raise — my finder's fee is a mere 10%.]

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    Keep related words, as a rule, together

    Whee! I think I'm the first to post using the swanky new system, which has a wisywig interface and everything! First!

    Nodding to the giant posts of yesteryear, I return to the Language Log classic of finding howlers in that horrid little book.

    I hadn't looked at the thing since freshman composition, remembering it vaguely only through the scientific and unbiased reminders provided by Language Log posts. But a talk I attended last Friday referred to a S&W rule, purportedly about avoiding ambiguity: "Keep related words together".

    I was curious about how Strunk and White would formulate the notion of 'related words', so I went to check it out. And, I kid you not, this is the formulation of the rule:

    "The subject of a sentence and the principal verb should not, as a rule, be separated by a phrase or clause that can be transferred to the beginning."

    I was afraid someone was playing a joke on me. But no, that's really it!

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