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Garden path sentences in other languages?

  Tags: Syntax | Multilingual
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Ari
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 Message 9 of 20
14 March 2012 at 1:59pm | IP Logged 
It's not really a garden path sentence, but it can easily be made into one by adding another adjective. Something like "flores blancas y naranjas grandes".
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mrwarper
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 Message 10 of 20
14 March 2012 at 2:29pm | IP Logged 
manish wrote:
Sure it can be both, but in that sentence it's only supposed to be "white flowers and oranges" (since orange trees don't have orange-colored flowers, AFAIK ... the first interpretation didn't make sense...

Haha! You're right about that -- I hadn't even noticed ;)
Still, it is necessary to know that about orange trees, while for all I know garden path sentences rely on grammatical features -- the reader stumbles on something that doesn't add, and only then he realizes another grammatical category can be applied to an earlier word so that everything makes sense.

Ari wrote:
It's not really a garden path sentence, but it can easily be made into one by adding another adjective. Something like "flores blancas y naranjas grandes".

Ari, that's still ambiguous rather than misleading; it can be either "big orange and white flowers" or "big oranges and white flowers".
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tommus
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 Message 11 of 20
14 March 2012 at 8:31pm | IP Logged 
A three word sentence can be a garden path sentence.

"Workers can paint."

1. Workers can paint your house.

2. Workers at the paint manufacturing company put paint in cans.

The English verb "to can" used to be far more popular when many people "canned" vegetables and fruit, etc. from their gardens to preserve them. I think such canning is becoming less common. Canning was somewhat of a general term for preserving vegetables, including using bottles, jars and other containers.

I suppose you could consider "Workers can." to be a two word garden path sentence. But of course you could create lots of such sentences using verbs that have two or more unrelated meanings. Although not a GPS, "Workers can can" is a perfectly valid and good sentences. In the local dialect in this area, people would probably pronounce these two "can"s differently, something that would sound like "People kin can". Another variation: "A paint can can". (A paint can can contain paint).

Are there any languages that have no such verbs that can mean different things? Esperanto perhaps? Can any Esperanto verb also be a noun, such as English "fly"? I suspect not, due in part by standard verb and noun endings.





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tommus
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 Message 12 of 20
14 March 2012 at 8:38pm | IP Logged 
I guess you could have a "garden path sentence"-like sentence that has only one possible meaning, and as such, disqualifies itself. The classic example is:

""Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_buffalo_Buffalo_buffalo _buffalo_buffalo_Buffalo_buffalo
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mrwarper
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 Message 13 of 20
14 March 2012 at 11:29pm | IP Logged 
From reading the Wikipedia article linked by the OP

Wikipedia wrote:
A garden path sentence is a grammatically correct sentence that starts in such a way that the readers' most likely interpretation will be incorrect; they are lured into a parse that turns out to be a dead end.

it is clear that ambiguous phrases don't cut it per se; the most likely interpretation must be grammatically incorrect. Now, a garden path sentence that is also ambiguous would be truly remarkable. Any ideas?

Edit: BTW the seven buffalos sentence is just crazy! :)

Edit: Oh, it's eight buffalos. Silly me, of course everything's clear now!

Edited by mrwarper on 14 March 2012 at 11:33pm

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tommus
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 Message 14 of 20
15 March 2012 at 3:18am | IP Logged 
mrwarper wrote:
Now, a garden path sentence that is also ambiguous would be truly remarkable. Any ideas?

The horse raced past the cow jumped but fell.
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stelingo
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 Message 15 of 20
15 March 2012 at 7:04pm | IP Logged 
manish wrote:
I found one (I think) in Spanish, while trying to brush up on the language with some easy reading.

Hay, sobre todo, campos de naranjos, que en primavera se llenan de flores blancas y naranjas.

It's not "white and orange flowers", it's "white flowers and oranges".



I thought that naranja used as an adjective was invariable?
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manish
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 Message 16 of 20
15 March 2012 at 7:32pm | IP Logged 
stelingo wrote:
manish wrote:
I found one (I think) in Spanish, while trying to brush up on the language with some easy reading.

Hay, sobre todo, campos de naranjos, que en primavera se llenan de flores blancas y naranjas.

It's not "white and orange flowers", it's "white flowers and oranges".



I thought that naranja used as an adjective was invariable?


It doesn't change its ending according to gender, since "naranjo" only means orange tree, but it does have a plural form... I don't think it's right to say "flores naranja" for "orange flowers"... Or did you mean something else? Grammar terms are not my strong point.


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