Judgements needed!

Are you a native speaker of (any variety of) English? Do you have some background in linguistics? Do you accept the sentence “There’s three linguists in the garden” as grammatical? If so, I need your judgements!

Each question gives you a situation and a statement related to that situation. Please read the sentence carefully and tell me whether you think it’s true or false in the given situation. Thanks so much!πŸ™‚

Question 1.
Situation: I’m visited by three fellow linguists, John, Mary and Sue. They are currently exploring my garden, which is a lovely place for sunbathing and also for taking short walks. My friends can’t decide what they’d like to do most, but they do want to stick together. In the end they decide to go for a walk together first, and then spend the rest of the time sunbathing together. I haven’t looked outside for a while so I don’t know what they are doing at this particular moment, but I do know that they’re all doing the same thing.
Now, imagine I tell you the following:

β€œThere’s three linguists walking or sunbathing in my garden.”

Do you think my statement is true or false in the described situation?

Question 2.
Situation: I’m playing hide-and-seek with six of my younger cousins. Now it happens that I’m a really sore loser, so I have secretly bugged them with tiny GPS transmitters so I know exactly where they are hiding. On my special radar I can see that they have all decided to hide in the same place, behind the garage.
Now, imagine I tell you the following:

β€œThere are six children hiding somewhere.”

Do you think my statement is true or false in the described situation?

Question 3.
Situation: I’m visited by three fellow linguists, John, Mary and Sue. They are currently exploring my garden, which is a lovely place for sunbathing and also for taking short walks. Unfortunately, at the moment, the sun has almost gone from the garden, and the remaining patch of sunlight is just enough for a single person to sunbathe in. So they decide to take turns sunbathing, while the remaining two go off and have a walk.
Now, imagine I tell you the following:

β€œThere’s three linguists walking or sunbathing in my garden.”

Do you think my statement is true or false in the described situation?

Question 4.
Situation: I’m playing hide-and-seek with four of my younger cousins. Now it happens that I’m a really sore loser, so I have secretly bugged them with tiny GPS transmitters so I know exactly where they are hiding. On my special radar I can see that Sally is hiding behind the garage, Johnny is hiding under the hedge, Billy has crawled into a rubbish bin and Jenny has climbed a tree.
Now, imagine I tell you the following:

β€œThere are four children hiding somewhere.”

Do you think my statement is true or false in the described situation?

Question 5.
Situation: I’m visited by three fellow linguists, John, Mary and Sue. They are currently exploring my garden, which is a lovely place for sunbathing and also for taking short walks. My friends can’t decide what they’d like to do most, but they do want to stick together. In the end they decide to go for a walk together first, and then spend the rest of the time sunbathing together. I haven’t looked outside for a while so I don’t know what they are doing at this particular moment, but I do know that they’re all doing the same thing.
Now, imagine I tell you the following:

β€œThere are three linguists walking or sunbathing in my garden.”

Do you think my statement is true or false in the described situation?

Question 6.
Situation: I’m playing hide-and-seek with six of my younger cousins. Now it happens that I’m a really sore loser, so I have secretly bugged them with tiny GPS transmitters so I know exactly where they are hiding. On my special radar I can see that they have all decided to hide in the same place, behind the garage.

Now, imagine I tell you the following:

β€œThere’s six children hiding somewhere.”

Do you think my statement is true or false in the described situation?

Question 7.
Situation: I’m visited by three fellow linguists, John, Mary and Sue. They are currently exploring my garden, which is a lovely place for sunbathing and also for taking short walks. Unfortunately, at the moment, the sun has almost gone from the garden, and the remaining patch of sunlight is just enough for a single person to sunbathe in. So they decide to take turns sunbathing, while the remaining two go off and have a walk.
Now, imagine I tell you the following:

β€œThere are three linguists walking or sunbathing in my garden.”

Do you think my statement is true or false in the described situation?

Question 8.
Situation: I’m playing hide-and-seek with four of my younger cousins. Now it happens that I’m a really sore loser, so I have secretly bugged them with tiny GPS transmitters so I know exactly where they are hiding. On my special radar I can see that Sally is hiding behind the garage, Johnny is hiding under the hedge, Billy has crawled into a rubbish bin and Jenny has climbed a tree.

Now, imagine I tell you the following:

β€œThere’s four children hiding somewhere.”

Do you think my statement is true or false in the described situation?

About hannadevries

University lecturer (in linguistics/artificial intelligence) with occasional opinions on religion & social justice-related stuff.
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One Response to Judgements needed!

  1. Andrea says:

    1. True
    2. True
    3. False
    4. True
    5. True
    6. True
    7. True
    8. False

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