Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 13:22:42 -0400
From: Wayne Glowka wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MAIL.GAC.PEACHNET.EDU
Subject: Re: Double/Multiple Modals
A great discussion! Kudos to all. I remember talking to James Sledd in
the summer of 1971, where he taught summers at Montana State University,
Bozeman. I was fresh out of Chomskyan UCLA training, and couldn't figure
out this old coot, a dyed-in-the-wool structuralist who would have
nothing to do with this new-fangled transformational stuff. And guess
what?! He pointed to the existence of double modals as an Achilles heel
for TG -- which I guess today would extend to GB and others as well.
Little did I know then that I was a year away from flushing it all down
the toilet in the face of an American Indian language, Cheyenne, in which
a word can be a sentence -- LONG on morphology and short on syntax.
Whatever happened to morphosyntax anyway?
I had a Chaucer class with him in 1972 in which he noted the idyllic beauty
of a forest scene in the Canterbury Tales, a forest inhabited by agents of
the devil but uninvaded by modern technology. In that lecture he expressed
dismay that the stream in which he flyfished every summer in Montana was
ruined by the daily passing of commercial airlines overhead. He had a
similar (but private) lecture on the barking of hounds in Sir Gawain and
the Green Knight. He was fascinated with a school of English critics in
the 1920s and 1930s who claimed that no great poet ever rode in an
What a great teacher! I learned my Middle English, you better believe me.
Professor of English
Director of Research and Graduate Student Services
Milledgeville, GA 31061
wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]mail.gac.peachnet.edu