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Topic: Grammatical Mutterings (Read 36938 times)

Grammatical Mutterings
It's simply a neuter indeterminate pronoun. A construction like "The girl went shopping. It came home with a new hat."*  is quite ordinary. "She came home..." would be ungrammatical in this context.
You are most probably right, and I must be fairly outdated in German grammar. I didn't know about such usages of "es". For me, "Es regnet" was the most representative usage of it. Thanks, anyway.
  • Last Edit: 2013-12-29, 16:02:01 by Frenzie

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #125
Without investigating it any deeper, I assume German had some effect on Japanese at that time because they were war allies. But post-war the number one Western influence has been the American variety of English.

In general I think it is common sense that borrowings get modified and adapted to the system of the destination language. It would be ridiculous in English to insist on plural "viri" for "viruses" because Latin had such a plural. There are enough such ridiculous plurals in English already.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #126
Without investigating it any deeper, I assume German had some effect on Japanese at that time because they were war allies.
A strenuous hypothesis. Back in in the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century German was the primary language of science until it committed suicide,[1] which is when Japanese borrowed... well, science itself, presumably including the language for it. Directly from Germany/Prussia even, from about 1870-1890. They were the exact opposite of war allies because the Germans supported the Russians during the Russo-Japanese War.
French and English were also in the mix.

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #127
Colonisation has had its perks, it seems. Or more accurately English as a global language, as I suspect there aren't much Dutch pronunciation in Indonesia or French in Vietnam (or German in Chinese cities like Qingdao and Dalian).  As a consequence they stick to the English alphabet and English pronunciation rules, even when they are way off.

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #128
It so happens that Dutch, French, and English (not to mention Spanish, Portuguese and German) share the same alphabet. The current generation is of course much affected and afflicted by the English pronunciation (particularly via Hollywood production that everybody seems too eager to swallow), but there are still traces of the original point of contact. Vietnamese current script easily resembles French more than English and, if the first foreign language in their universities is English now, the change was rather recent.

About Japan, even though Americans like to think of themselves as the main cause who bombarded the ports of Japan open for the rest of the world, the following Meiji restoration (restoration of the emperor as the main political force, not just a figurehead) took its influence more obviously from Europe. This picture does not emulate America of any age, but has easy parallels with the style of Prussia or France of the time.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #129
I suspect there aren't much Dutch pronunciation in Indonesia
They won't be pronounced quite like in Dutch if that's what you mean, but they're definitely not pronounced like in English.[1] Some rarely used words that went Greek/Latin/French → Dutch → Indonesian might be at some minor risk of Anglicization, but I imagine thousands of Dutch words should be quite safe.
A lot of words are French-style in English, think of Anglo-French police vs. Dutch politie, pronounced and in Indonesian also spelled polisi, albeit politsi in more careful Dutch speech.

  • ensbb3
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #130
Quantity is not quality.
Quantity has a quality of its own. :P

  • Belfrager
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #131
took its influence more obviously from Europe
There was a time when Europe was the reference to the world... today it needs help from the rest of the world.


Quantity has a quality of its own.  :P
ensbb3 - the philosopher, better than Confucius.
A matter of attitude.

  • rjhowie
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #132
Yeah Europe needs help and glad my country if getting out!
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #133
Yoshihide Suga or Suga Yoshihide? Japan pushes media to fall in line on name order
Foreign journalists working in Japan say they are coming under pressure to give in to the government's request to reverse the order of individuals' names in their news articles.

Japan adopted the Western style of writing a person's given name followed by their family name when writing in Latin script about 100 years ago, when Emperor Meiji encouraged the introduction of foreign ideas for the nation's government and society as part of what is known as the Meiji Restoration....

National broadcaster NHK was swift to adopt the new style, but the takeup elsewhere has been less successful.
By the way, George Soros was originally Schwartz György, as is normal in Hungarian. Also in Estonian, colloquially, people's names work the other way, family name first.

  • jax
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #134
You have this map (some own work at r/MapPorn; it seems correct).


Apart from not including the whole world, it doesn't include the full complexity. For instance, which name(s) do you actually use? Are nicknames common? In what context?

The dominant rule in the West is that given name is used among friends (and usually family), mostly with colleagues. Family name, possibly with an honorific, dominate in formal context, though full name (given and family in whichever order), possibly with an honorific, is common too. In Iceland your first name is your formal name, as is the case in Britain for knighted individuals, so e.g. Tim Berners-Lee would formally be Sir Tim. 

Naming order in Vietnam is the same as in Hungary or China, but here the given name is the formal name.  In China, unsurprisingly, the formal name is the full name (FAMILY Given). Depending on the number of syllables, that can also be the informal name. Family names in China are predominantly single syllable. Given names can be one or more syllables. If both names are monosyllabic both names would be used informally.  So e.g. LIU Cixin would be Cixin among friends, while XU Yong would be XU Yong among friends.

Making and maintaining an international name list is an interesting challenge.

  • Belfrager
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #135
The family name is the same thing as the father's surname?
A matter of attitude.

  • jax
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #136
I believe all the light green and dark green have father's family name as default choice for family name, but that there are often some mechanism to apply for the mother's family name instead, or using both.

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #137
Dutch politie, pronounced and in Indonesian also spelled polisi, albeit politsi in more careful Dutch speech.
Indonesian syllable structure is consistently so simple that of course they should adapt the pronuciation. Some Indonesian reggae for reference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDh55czkKrA

Another great grammatical muttering:



  • Frenzie
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #138
On a semi-related note:
https://omniglot.com/writing/folkspraak.htm
https://anglish.fandom.com/wiki/What_is_Anglish%3F
https://anglish.fandom.com/wiki/Oned_Kingdom (my opinion is that it should be "foroned kingdom" but I suppose I'm too much of an Old English thinker)

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #139
(Thanks for keeping this thread going, guys!
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #140
Another great grammatical muttering:

Wonder where Old English had gone, if it had survived. Anglish is one possible outcome.

The sound shift from sc to sh is most striking to Scandinavian ears. The ilanders started to pronounce sc like /sh/ long before other Germanic speakers. The word "shift" itself was "sciftan" in OE. With other cultural exchange English got doublets like skirt/shirt, skipper/ship, skull/shell, scatter/shatter, score/shore. 

Other Germanic languages have partially followed suit (except Icelandic, I think). Fish in German is pronounced like English, not like Scandinavian fisk (as in the dish lutefisk, or the journalist Robert Fisk). 

Another case is ski, taken from the Norwegian word for those foot planks. Only that in Norwegian we pronounce it like "she", while English has re-introduced the pre-OE hard k sound. I am waiting for that pronunciation to be reintroduced into Norwegian again from modern English. It is there in "après-ski".

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #141
Wonder where Old English had gone, if it had survived. Anglish is one possible outcome.
Modern Frisian is perhaps the closest indication. Also Scots and the Newcastle-upon-Tyne dialect are iterations of English without the drowning into French that happened in southern England. The worldwide common English is the drowned-into-French variant.

Do you prefer the sc detail to have been preserved or transformed? In Frisian it is preserved, according to this wordlist:

FrisianEnglish meaningSome cognate
ferskilleto differskilja (Norwegian)
wittenskipsciencevetenskap (Swedish), Wissenschaft (German)
wierskynlikprobablewahrscheinlich (German)

Clearly, modern English vocabulary is hopelessly messed up. Every other Germanic language is in a better state at least in the aspect of vocabulary.

I have dabbled in constructed languages, starting with Esperanto, since early teens, but eventually I have decided against them for communication purposes. For the purposes of communication, if you are smart enough to devise rules and vocabulary and learn them, then you are definitely smart enough to simply learn the other guy's language as it actually is. For me, constructed languages only make sense as a tool of historical analysis or experimental world-building.
  • Last Edit: 2021-04-24, 10:44:04 by ersi

  • jax
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #142
My guess of witship (unattested, ken attested) in Anglish for wittenskip, worked out. More unexpected undershed for ferskille, and then likely for wierskynlik(Swedish analogue is sannolik, Norwegian sannsynlig; sann being an alternative word for truth to wahr, a word vaguely related to English sin.)

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #143
the drowning into French
What a marvelously constructed appellation! When you mention artificial languages, do you also imply some familiarity with the (fairly) recent project, to code Chomski's UG-subgenre into a translate-to-English app? (They claimed it was a total failure; I suspect their programming languages are simply inadequate, or they -as programmers- are...

(This mind stuff keeps coming back to haunt us!:)
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #144
...do you also imply some familiarity with the (fairly) recent project, to code Chomski's UG-subgenre into a translate-to-English app? (They claimed it was a total failure; I suspect their programming languages are simply inadequate, or they -as programmers- are...
Let's get the terminology straight first. An artificial language can be any computer language, which has only very remote resemblance to a human language, without any pretension to be usable for human communication or even general human consumption. A constructed language (conlang) is like languages in Star Trek or Tolkien, pretending to be languages usable for human communication and consumption. Some of the conlang attempts are more serious than others and more seriously meant to go into general practice, and some may enjoy a level of actual success, such as Esperanto.

The mainstream view of language is that of an arbitrary system with a fair systemic rigour. Based on the systemicity, there is an approach at machine translation projects that the algorithm of the translating machine should be the main focus. This has never yielded good results, as it has turned out that, even though language is a system, different languages are different systems, so the algorithm should be based on some kind of metasystem instead. None of the available metasystem proposals, including Chomsky's UG, has worked out for machine translation purposes. I think Chomsky's UG is a useless conjecture for most purposes. It is useful though as an illustration of syntactic structures of English, so not entirely useless, but still useless as a theoretical foundation for a machine translation tool. The programming and the programmers in the project may have been inadequate too, but also UG itself is inadequate when put to practical test. In my opinion, the main reason is that the proposed features of the UG straightforwardly reflect the perceived syntactic structures of English, i.e. its input is laughably provincial.

The more fruitful approach has been to first load up a bunch of content (actual language texts) into a language memory and only then start working out the algorithm. It is basically the Google approach: Track/store everything first, sort it out later. And the sorting is treated as an eternal work in progress, based on further incremental input. In practical use, the language memory approach under constant human revision has been the way to go in e.g. national translations of EU legislation.

The fact that the latter approach has been more fruitful indicates that the case made for the systemicity of language has been either flawed or overstated. Different human languages are the same/similar system only assuming a bunch of nulls in all the actual output representations - occasionally more nulls than data. In the surface systems (i.e. in actual languages) the nulls can usually be treated as non-functional or non-entities, as if not there at all, but in the background system ("universal grammar") one would need a careful procedure to their potential to materialise in some surface systems and not others. The subtleties of how the proposed background system would interact with surface systems have been over the head of most who have tried to wrestle with the problem. Any proposed mechanics have been unreliable. On the positive side, Chomsky's proposal was famous enough to be tested. Wittgenstein's ideas have fared considerably worse, a complete non-starter.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #145
I mostly agree with you on this, ersi. First, that UG itself has not been presented, and is not likely to be anytime soon. So Google's approach is sensible, in that it uses what is available -big data and constant "human" correction- to accomplish the task.
About Wittgenstein: Do you refer to pre- or post-Tractatus? :) (That's a pun, son!)
For the post, I'd say he's still influietial.
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #146
About Wittgenstein: Do you refer to pre- or post-Tractatus? :) (That's a pun, son!)
Neither. I have a very low regard of everything about him.

For the post, I'd say he's still influietial.
Not in linguistics, never has been. Only non-linguists think he had some impact on linguistics.