Saturday, July 09, 2005


My, how time flies! Hope you all are getting this on an RSS feed. Back from the UK Cambridge to the US one, and now enjoying lurking around the Institute, prepping a talk, working on some papers, catching up with some more reviewing... phew! There'll be time for blogging in here somewhere, I know.

But can't resist posting today's Agnes cartoon for the binding-theoretically inclined among you. The best part is the first panel: 'I need to self-hypnotize me,'—whadya think; incorporation of 'self' from reflexive 'myself'?—though the second panel's pretty wacky too. Enjoy!


Blogger Q. Pheevr said...

I like the incorporation story, apart from the fact that English doesn't do that. :-P

On the other hand, I can imagine this arising sort of as follows: the cartoonist starts out writing "I need to self-hypnotize...," then realizes that the object is going to have to be "myself," but "self-hypnotize myself" sounds redundant, but the cartoonist really wants to use the verb "self-hypnotize" and therefore dereflexivizes the object instead of going with the obvious "I need to hypnotize myself" or the clunky "I need to perform self-hypnosis."

4:20 PM  
Blogger Luis said...

Such a shame "self-hypnotise me" is ungrammatical! It's about the beautifullest piece of English I've seen for a while.
Incidentally, are there any languages where it *is* grammatical?

10:35 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

Sure seems like something about self-hypnotize makes it want to be transitive. ?!?I self-hypnotized yesterday. I wonder if "I didn't hypnotize myself, I self-hypnotized myself" means anything meaningful.

On a related note, google reveals:

your self-evaluation of yourself
self-portait of himself
self-aware of themselves

The web is lovely.

11:47 AM  
Blogger hh said...

Yeah, I gotta agree with Russell that 'self-hypnotize' ain't any more intransitive than 'hypnotize', and with q that 'self-hypnotize myself' isn't any good either. I think 'self-hypnotize me' is really the only available form! Maybe it's not ungrammatical after all. 'Self-hypnotize' still must be a back-formation, though (from 'self-hypnosis'? Don't know about that. Maybe it is incorporation after all....
Anybody have any feelings about the transitivity of 'self-destruct'? Seems unambiguously intransitive to me; definitely '*I'm going to self-destruct me.' But that's REALLY a back-formation. Should really be 'self-destroy'. Oddly, 'I'm going to self-destroy me' sounds much better than 'I'm going to self-destroy.' Not that it's going to oust 'self-destruct.'

8:05 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Surely self-hypnotize is just an overt expression of reflexive-marking a la Reinhart and Reuland, not *real*
in- & ex-corporation (in- hypnotize, ex- myself)

8:00 PM  
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