29: The verb is the coat rack that the rest of the sentence hangs on

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Feb 22 2019 38 mins   971
Some sentences have a lot of words all relating to each other, while other sentences only have a few. The verb is the thing that makes the biggest difference: it’s what makes “I gave you the book” sound fine but “I rained you the book” sound weird. Or on the flip side, “it’s raining” is a perfectly reasonable description of a general raining event, but “it’s giving” doesn’t work so well as some sort of general giving event. How can we look for patterns in the ways that verbs influence the rest of the sentence? In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about a new metaphor for how verbs relate to the other words in a sentence -- a verb is like a coat rack and the nouns that it supports are like the coats that hang on it. Admittedly, it creates some slightly odd-looking coat racks that you might not actually want in your home, but as a metaphor it works quite well. (We’ll stick to linguistics rather than becoming furniture designers.) We also take you through a brief tour of other metaphors for verbs and sentences, including going across (aka transitivity) and molecular bonds (aka valency). This month’s bonus episode is a recording from our liveshow in Melbourne, Australia, where we talk about how the internet is making English better with real audience laughter occasionally in the background! Feel like you’re in a cosy room of friendly linguistics enthusiasts by supporting Lingthusiasm on Patreon to gain access to this and 23 previous bonus episodes. lingthusiasm.com/patreon Internet language is also the topic of Gretchen’s book, Because Internet, which is now officially available for preorder! You can show the publisher that people are interested in fun linguistics books and have a delightful treat waiting for you on July 23, 2019 by preordering it here! gretchenmcculloch.com/book For links to more topics mentioned in this episode, check out the shownotes page at https://lingthusiasm.com/post/182969748701/lingthusiasm-episode-29-the-verb-is-the-coat-rack