Verbal hugs don’t lie

Written by Martina Wiltschko (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)

When we talk to each other, we interact in ways that go beyond telling each other about ourselves and the world around us. We let our interlocutors know what we think and how we feel; we can share our attitudes towards each other and the things we talk about. We do this by using language dedicated to interaction and which does not contribute to the content of what we say. The mood of a conversation changes dramatically when the language of content (you made it) is enriched with interactional language (oh wow), bold-face in (1-2).

(1) Ann: Oh wow, you made it, eh?

Beth: I know, right?

(2) Charlie: Damn. I’m sick.

Dorian: Oh no! Get better, okay?

Without interactional language the . . . → Read More: Verbal hugs don’t lie

Never end a sentence with a preposition! That is something up with which I will not put!

Written by Thomas Hoffmann

From a typological point of view, preposition placement in English is an extremely interesting area of variation: most languages either require a preposition to be dragged along to the start of a clause by a displaced complement (as in the German relative clause das Haus, [in dem]i ich _i lebe vs. *das Haus, [dem]i ich [in _i] lebe) or they obligatorily leave the preposition in its clause-internal position (as in Swedish: huset [som]i jag bor [i _i] ‘the house that I live in’ vs. * huset [i som]i jag bor _i; adopted from Dekeyser 1990: 103). English, on the other hand, allows the preposition in clause-initial position (1a; a phenomenon known as ‘pied-piping’) as well as clause-internally (1b, . . . → Read More: Never end a sentence with a preposition! That is something up with which I will not put!