Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 17:22:03 -0500

From: Gerald Cohen gcohen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UMR.EDU

Subject: Language and Logic

The recent discussion about language being logical has centered on the

double negatives, but there is much additional material that is relevant

here. Just a few examples:

1. English has the odd construction "many a," e.g. "Many a student will

flunk physics." Is this not

illogical? (plural + "a")

2. Another odd construction: "time and again." If language is always

logical, how does one link "time" (a

noun) with "again" (an adverb)? What about about "time and time again?

3. Why is "He took sick" permissible but not "He took ill"?

4. If it is logical to put the direct object in the accusative case in

German, why does German have about

50 verbs that take a direct object in the dative? E.g. Er sieht mich

(He sees me; accusative case) but

Er hilft mir (He helps me; dative case).

--Gerald Cohen