Tom Roeper sent the following "Summer question" around to the UMass Linguistics Department the other day, and I offered to put it onto Language Log as a guest post. What follows is all Tom's. (I've never worked on this topic myself).
For anybody who is intrigued: This is a summer question because you might have time in the summer to devote 10 minutes to it — if it captures your fancy. For several years [too many actually] in my various explorations of recursion, I have looked at cases like: hero after hero after dead hero => all the heroes are dead.
Today in the NYT, I read this quote from Ray Bradbury who just died: "it was one frenzy after one elation after one enthusiasm after one hysteria after another" My question is: what does this sentence mean? Is it a set of frenzies followed by a set of elations followed by a set of enthusiasms or are they systematically interspersed, or randomly interspersed? Any comments welcome– Tom