[b-hebrew] Uncancelable meaning

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 2 19:03:32 EDT 2007

And the seeming refusal to accept any methodological consequences of 
such living-language data -- esp. when English data form a large part of 
the backbone of the methodological discussion of aspect in the 
dissertation! -- is worrying, particularly so when the primary aim of 
the methodology is to uncover the "uncancellable meaning" of verbal 
conjugations in a dead language.

David Kummerow.

> On 30/03/2007 20:41, David Kummerow wrote:
>> ...
>> Suppose an English teacher was up the front of class and she was 
>> getting the students to think about the word "have". Supposed she 
>> asked "what do you have?" The default construal of this would be that 
>> the question is one of possession, either as in a) below as a question 
>> of owned possessions or physical attributes as in b):
>> a) I have a cat (= I own/possess a cat)
>> b) I have a big nose (= I possess a big nose)
>> Both are stative situations.
>> The answer in a) can refer to possessions currently with them at their 
>> desk or not (as in a) above where the cat is most likely at home, but 
>> could be at school on a show-and-tell day):
>> c) I have a blue pen
>> Since our present discussion revolves around eating, here's another 
>> possible answer to the question:
>> d) I have a plate of dinner
>> This can only be construed that a plate with the student's dinner is 
>> on their desk or at least in their immediate vicinity at the moment of 
>> speaking. Again, the construal is stative.
>> However, suppose the teacher were to ask "What do you have at 
>> Maxim's?" This could be answered in a few ways, for example:
>> e) I have a large plate of chips
>> Notice how the construal by the student is as a question asking about 
>> what the student usually orders at Maxim's, ie it is a question as to 
>> what they usually eat. ...
> Indeed. And if the student said "I go to Maxim's for dinner every day" 
> and the teacher's "What do you have?" was said in that context, then "I 
> have a large plate of chips" would be a quite normal response, whereas 
> any of (a) to (c) would be odd in that context. So it is clear that in 
> the context of "I go to Maxim's for dinner every day" the default sense 
> of "have", which is stative, has been cancelled, and an alternative 
> dynamic sense is understood. So much for the stative property of "have" 
> being uncancellable by context.
> In passing I note that once again Rolf has withdrawn from the 
> discussion. Could it be that he realises that he has misunderstood 
> English "have" and the uncancellability of the stative property, but 
> doesn't want to be forced to admit an error?

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