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General => DnD Central => Topic started by: Barulheira on 2013-12-28, 23:50:31

Title: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Barulheira on 2013-12-28, 23:50:31
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You are most probably right, and I must be fairly outdated in German grammar.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.
Title: Re: Re: The Problem with Atheism
Post by: krake on 2013-12-29, 01:11:05

That's not necessarily any different from "it".

Except we have 3 genders: er, sie and es.
Der Mann ging einkaufen. Er kam mit einem neuen Hut nach Hause/nachhause.
Die Frau ging einkaufen. Sie kam mit einem neuen Hut nach Hause/nachhause.
Das Mädchen ging einkaufen. Es kam mit einem neuen Hut nach Hause/nachhause.
or more usually because of her gender
Sie kam mit einem neuen Hut nach Hause/nachhause.

But it becomes even more complicated:
The child looks hungry; give it food.
Das Kind scheint Hunger zu haben.
a, b, and c are correct answers.
a. Gib dem Kind etwas zu essen.
b. Gib ihm etwas zu essen. (if it's a boy)
c. Gib ihr etwas zu essen. (if it's a girl)

In case of an undefined subject We use "es"
Es regnet. Es schneit. Es donnert. Es blitzt. Es wird kälter. Es kann noch dicker kommen. Es mag schon sein ...  Es ist vorbei.
Title: Re: Re: The Problem with Atheism
Post by: ersi on 2013-12-29, 06:40:42
The grammatical subject is always there, even though the presence may seem hidden. There are languages that don't (always) require a pronoun with the finite verb (I have noticed the term "pro-drop languages" on wikipedia), the grammatical subject is still expressed in the verb.

Consider, for example, "Rains." The equivalent of this qualifies as a full grammatical sentence in pro-drop languages. The position of the subject is empty, but the subject is still expressed by s in "Rains." The s expresses the third person singular. The pronoun in English "It rains." also expresses the same third person singular, so these two elements together in the sentence are actually redundant. English cannot drop this particular redundancy, because the conjugation of the finite verb is minimal in English, but languages with full personal conjugation can afford to drop the redundancy. The resultant sentence is not without a grammatical subject, just the redundancy in expressing it is dropped.
Title: Re: Re: The Problem with Atheism
Post by: Frenzie on 2013-12-29, 09:23:15
Except we have 3 genders: er, sie and es.

I'd argue that, for now, English still has those same three genders. It's just that they only show in the referent. In Dutch we have something similar: the difference between masculine and feminine is nowadays made only in the referent. In Netherlandic Dutch this has over time led to almost all "de" pronouns except abstract pronouns becoming masculine, but in Brabantic Dutch (the dominant variety of Belgian Dutch) traditionally feminine words still hold on. That might lead to a Belgian saying e.g. "the dove took her food from the gutter" and I'm like "but how do you know it's a female dove; did you also see her male partner to whom she displayed feminine dove behavior? Doves are really, really hard to tell apart and you can't do it when they're alone." I imagine a Belgian might have the same reaction if I spoke of a dove and his food.

Long story short, German is kind of on the opposite end from the Romance languages. They don't have "it" at all, even though classical Latin did. English hasn't moved quite that far from its Germanic brethren yet. :P

But it becomes even more complicated:
The child looks hungry; give it food.
Das Kind scheint Hunger zu haben.
a, b, and c are correct answers.
a. Gib dem Kind etwas zu essen.
b. Gib ihm etwas zu essen. (if it's a boy)
c. Gib ihr etwas zu essen. (if it's a girl)

What if you don't know? :P

In any case, in Dutch it's perfectly fine like this to me: Dat kind ziet er hongerig uit. Geef het wat te eten. I think it's ungrammatical to say hem or haar even if you know the gender. However, the girl example is different from German the other way around: "Dat meisje ziet er hongerig uit. Geef haar wat te eten." Still, I think that might be acceptable in spoken German?
Title: Re: Re: The Problem with Atheism
Post by: krake on 2013-12-29, 11:22:55
"the dove took her food from the gutter" and I'm like "but how do you know it's a female dove;


In German: die Taube - feminine noun, independent of the dove's gender
Diese Taube ist sehr zahm. Sie frisst mir aus der Hand.
In case you know it's a cock pigeon:
der Täuberich - masculine noun
Dieser Täuberich ist sehr zahm. Er frisst mir aus der Hand.
other examples:
das Pferd - neuter noun. You don't know the gender of the horse.
Dieses Pferd ist besonders schön. Es gefällt mir. Usually, "das Pferd gefällt mir".
In case you know it is a male: der Hengst. Er gefällt mir.
In case you know it is a female: die Stute. Sie gefällt mir.
or
die Katze - feminine noun,  independent of the cat's gender = sie
In case you know it is a male: der Kater = er
or
der Hund - masculine noun, independent of the dog's gender = er
In case you know it is a female: die Hündin = sie
In case you know it is a male: der Rüde = er

Quote from: Frenzie
What if you don't know? :P


Then a. will apply. You don't say: Gib es etwas zu essen.

Quote from: Frenzie
"Dat meisje ziet er hongerig uit. Geef haar wat te eten." Still, I think that might be acceptable in spoken German?


Not only acceptable but also correct.
Whilst "das Mädchen is a neuter noun, we refer to the gender of the person which in this case is feminine.
c. Gib ihr etwas zu essen.

Der, die, das
macht für Fremde
wenig Spaß  :)
Title: Re: Re: The Problem with Atheism
Post by: Frenzie on 2013-12-29, 12:05:29
In case you know it is a male: der Hengst. Er gefällt mir.
In case you know it is a female: die Stute. Sie gefällt mir.

As if that many people in our increasingly less agricultural society still know the masculine and feminine names for all the animals. :P Okay, for horses it's hengst en merrie, stallion and... ummm...  mare? In any case, I'm pretty sure horses are in some sort of animal top ten.

Wikipedia (http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benamingen_voor_dieren) has an incomplete list of some masculine and feminine animal names. It's probably to be expected that I wouldn't know those of the gerfalcon, but I've never even heard any of those names for hare (haas). And for some of those, including an ooi (ewe), I might not be able to produce them without any thought even if I would easily understand them.

Anyway, we also have alternative, more generic constructions like vrouwtjeshaas and mannetjeshaas (or hazenvrouwtje and hazenmannetje). For me those are actually the correct words to refer to different-gendered hares.

Incidentally, Germans don't seem to care too much about the difference between a hare and a rabbit. "Ach, was für eine süße Hase," a German girl once said about my pet bunny. One wonders if that's how the easter hare turned into an easter bunny in America.
Title: Re: Re: The Problem with Atheism
Post by: krake on 2013-12-29, 13:08:20

Incidentally, Germans don't seem to care too much about the difference between a hare and a rabbit. "Ach, was für eine süße Hase," a German girl once said about my pet bunny.

hare, bunny = der Hase, (diminutive) das Häschen
female hare = die Häsin
rabbit = das Kaninchen
male rabbit = der Rammler

In German there is no Osterkaninchen. It's always "der Osterhase".

The correct spelling:
Ach, was für ein süßer Hase.
Ach, was für ein süßes Häschen.
Ach, was für eine süße Häsin. (barely used)
Ach, was für ein süßes Kaninchen.

As for children growing up in a town it's hard to make the difference between a hare and a rabbit. In cartoons they all look the same :)

I'm afraid we manage to hijack the thread or at least we are doing our best :P
Title: Re: Re: The Problem with Atheism
Post by: Frenzie on 2013-12-29, 13:29:11
Right, sorry. Cases don't come naturally to me.
Ach, was für ein süßer Hase.

She probably said "ein", but I'm not so sure she said süßer. :P (Of course it's hard to say seeing how it was sometime between '05 and '07.)

As for children growing up in a town it's hard to make the difference between a hare and a rabbit. In cartoons they all look the same

Everything about a hare is bigger, especially its ears and legs. But even if they're too far away to see any of that clearly (which they usually are), hares jump around while rabbits run around. You can see which it is even if they're just a tiny dot at the other end of a field. That being said, they can imitate each other. There once was an escaped tame rabbit who tried to join a group of wild hares and it adopted a jumping means of movement in order to fit in. The hares simply jumped over a somewhat wide ditch and left the poor rabbit standing there, unable or too scared to make the jump.

Anyway, it's the paashaas, not the paaskonijn. :P

I'm afraid we manage to hijack the thread or at least we are doing our best

I am trying to compose some kind of finishing notes because that discussion was starting to take up too much of my time with a diminishing benefit.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: krake on 2013-12-29, 22:02:09

Ach, was für ein süßer Hase.

She probably said "ein", but I'm not so sure she said süßer. :P (Of course it's hard to say seeing how it was sometime between '05 and '07.)


"ein" = (masculine) indefinite article, e.g. "ein süßer Mann" (der Mann)
"ein" = (neuter) indefinite article, e.g. "ein süßes Kind" (das Kind)
"eine" = (always feminine)  indefinite article, e.g. "eine süße Frau" (die Frau)
"süß" being the basic form of the adjective

There is no such combination as "ein süße". This is a mismatch between genders.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2013-12-29, 22:36:57
I'm aware of the German case system, even if I've not internalized it to the extent where it comes without thought. Are you aware of West Low German (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niedersächsisch)? :D Another related concept is in-between language (http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tussentaal) (English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tussentaal#Tussentaal)). That is, she may not have been speaking a pure variety of either in an informal context. Or perhaps the case system is on some kind of move closer to Dutch and English among younger Germans in general, similar how to I've been taught "ne ... pas" for French negation while in practice every French person I've ever met only said pas. Okay, that's a bit out there, because I've met plenty of Germans who certainly speak with the case system in full attire. Still, young women are apparently where language evolution starts. :P
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: krake on 2013-12-30, 00:18:43
Okay, that's a bit out there, because I've met plenty of Germans who certainly speak with the case system in full attire.

Those who don't are usually immigrants of the first generation, no matter for how many decades they are living in Germany.
The case system is not something a native has to learn at school. He/she grows up with the language in his/her ears. Even an illiterate will use the case system when speaking. Only thing he/she can't is to read and write. Mismatches of cases or genders will simply hurt his/her ears :)
Local dialects are a different story but not related to mismatches of cases or genders.
Same applies for germanised words. E.g: "Ich war auf einer Party. Da habe ich einen coolen Drink getrunken."
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2013-12-30, 09:48:27
Local dialects are a different story but not related to mismatches of cases or genders.

Not when local "dialects"* (a language is a dialect with an army and a navy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_language_is_a_dialect_with_an_army_and_navy)) have a different case system. The German term for tussentaal seems to be Missingsch (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missingsch) (actually more detailed in English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missingsch)). Something both Wikipedia articles kind of gloss over is that Missingsch will be an entire continuum from Low German to High German. Note, however, that in today's society this doesn't say much about the speaker's ability to speak standard German. It just means that your German and my Dutch formal and informal registers differ only lexically, while the formal and informal registers of a dialect or tussentaal/Missingsch speaker may well differ syntactically and phonetically as well.

None of this means that the German girl in question didn't use the proper case, because if nothing else it's simply been too long ago. But I can tell you that among those Germans who cross the border to go shopping (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enschede) because Enschede is closer or more pleasant than Osnabrück, it's mostly visually distinguishable immigrants who speak fully standard German in the relatively informal market context. I suspect most try to speak a form of Missingsch as close to their local dialect as they can manage in order to communicate most effectively with the Dutch speakers of Twents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twents). There'll also be a fair bit of code-switching (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code-switching) with some Dutch and German words thrown in. The younger generation on both sides of the border is increasingly less fluent in plat/Platt, but its influence is still present.

In conclusion, it's not simple at all.  It's incredibly, terribly messy, no matter what your experience as a High German speaking city dweller might be. :P

* Saxon is a different language than German. Franconian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franconian_languages) is Dutch, as well as all the German "dialects" bordering the south-east of the Netherlands. Saxon (also deceptively known as Low German) is spoken in the north-east of the Netherlands as well as most of northern Germany. German, as in the language considered standard in the whole of Germany, is from the south of Germany and Austria.

The case system is not something a native has to learn at school. He/she grows up with the language in his/her ears. Even an illiterate will use the case system when speaking. Only thing he/she can't is to read and write. Mismatches of cases or genders will simply hurt his/her ears :)

I'll bet you can think of an occurring change in German that hurts your ears, yet is happening. ;)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2013-12-30, 10:39:46
The case system is not something a native has to learn at school. He/she grows up with the language in his/her ears. Even an illiterate will use the case system when speaking. Only thing he/she can't is to read and write.
In case of a live dialect, the native grows up with the dialect in his/her ears. My country is highly literate and small enough so that dialect differences should be non-existent, yet occasionally I meet people who are grossly attached to their dialect and whose place of origin can thus be placed. (Actually, I am also grossly attached to my home dialect myself, but this only means some slight phonetic shift; otherwise the dialect of my home area matches the standard language very closely.)

A dialect is not too different from a closely related language. All aspects of the language may differ with a different dialect, vocabulary, phonology, morphology, syntax. I'm sure this includes the German case system, which has only minimal distinctive significance anyway. The only noun inflection suffixes are -(e)s, -er, -e, -en, and -em, which are used so as to keep the grammatical genders apart rather than the cases proper. The case and gender system in Germanic languages are evidently prone to modification even when comparing as close languages as Dutch and German (note the table) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_language#Genders_and_cases I would expect to see similar dialectal variation within German itself, because it covers a huge area in several countries.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2013-12-30, 11:31:31
In case of a live dialect, the native grows up with the dialect in his/her ears. My country is highly literate and small enough so that dialect differences should be non-existent, yet occasionally I meet people who are grossly attached to their dialect and whose place of origin can thus be placed.

The Netherlands and Belgium are said to have "een ander dialect elke tien minuten" (another dialect every ten minutes). That's a bit of an exaggeration because of dialect continua, but it does seem as if dialects in larger countries like Germany are more spread out. Perhaps it's simply a matter of population density: especially Flanders, Brabant, and Holland have been some of the most densely populated areas of Europe for almost a millennium.

I should add a note about Belgium. The Netherlands had a proper standard language to compete with the likes of French, English, and German since the early 17th century at the latest. However, in Belgium (Spanish/Austrian Netherlands) French was the prestigious standard language while the Dutch dialects were undervalued. As such Belgian-Dutch dialects are still very much alive--much more so than the perishing Netherlandic-Dutch dialects which have been in sharp decline since the 19th century at the latest. They're not dead yet because there were never any French-style discriminatory language policies, but they're hardly thriving either.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Jimbro3738 on 2014-01-03, 08:49:54
I'm pretty sure horses are in some sort of animal top ten.

Men's best friends...
1. dogs
2. horses
3. women
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: krake on 2014-01-03, 10:16:27

My country is highly literate and small enough so that dialect differences should be non-existent, ...

Dialect differences in Germany can be extreme, to a point where a Saxon won't understand a Bavarian or vice versa :D

Speaking of dialects, best wishes from Bavaria :)

Ois Guade zuam nein Jahr!

BTW,
Frenzie could exercise his Bavarian with the online translater: http://www.respekt-empire.de/Translator/?page=translateEngine
It's not perfect but gives you an idea at least ;)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: krake on 2014-01-03, 10:21:16

Men's best friends...

Hmm, did you really mean friends or pets  ???
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-03, 10:26:33
Dialect differences in Germany can be extreme, to a point where a Saxon won't understand a Bavarian or vice versa

Like I said, Saxon, Franconian, and German are three different languages from a linguistic standpoint.

I'm aware that the Bavarian language is extremely odd. In Nürnberg there was supposed to be a Straßenbahn to the Reichsparteitagsgelände, but it didn't seem to be among the trams. I asked some transit employee where to find Straßenbahn 9 (or whatever; that's just what I got from the current website (http://www.museen.nuernberg.de/dokuzentrum/oeffnungszeiten.html)), and he pointed to a bunch of buses while saying something like "over there, of course." How a bus can "of course" be a tram is a secret that eludes me to this day. I'm pretty sure there were no signs about any trams being broken at the tram stop...
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: krake on 2014-01-03, 10:58:48
How a bus can "of course" be a tram is a secret that eludes me to this day.

You have spoken to an idiot. That's it :)
BTW, here in the south (and in Austria) we also say (die) Tram.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2014-01-03, 11:08:33

Dialect differences in Germany can be extreme, to a point where a Saxon won't understand a Bavarian or vice versa

Like I said, Saxon, Franconian, and German are three different languages from a linguistic standpoint.
From the linguistic standpoint, it's well understood that dialect and language form a continuum. Linguistically, undisputed  languages belong to different families. Within language families, it's mostly politics that decides, not linguistics. A professor at the university brought an example concerning Indo-European languages: Lithuanian and Russian are separated to different groups (Baltic and Slavic respectively) while Icelandic and English which have significantly more grammatical differences belong to the same group (Germanic).

The Scandinavian languages are rather clearly a political phenomenon. Their mutual intelligibility is so fluent that they could be considered dialects. Saxon, Franconian, and (High) German have a common present. Politically they have a less common past, which makes them differ. It's a political choice if you prefer the point of view of the present or of the past. Geolinguistically they have been closely related all along.

Off-topic: It's apt that this thread split off one of the religion threads where I was in the business of defining God. According to one tenet, the relationship of the universe and God is like that of a word and its meaning. Indicative, not causal.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-01-03, 11:32:08
Ersi, you're right about "continuum" but not right about the families - which are trees not clumps. Trees means that you cannot juxtapose two languages for that purpose isolately - because they are the most probably just the current-day states (slices) of themselves taken diachronically - when in time, they intersect in their certain ancestor (if one).
Apart from the "smooth evolution" (which in the exact sense does not happen - ever), there are such processes as divergence (to the trees in the upper paragraph) and convergence. The latter means that UTTERLY different languages may (and do) produce let's call them hybrids. Although the taxonomy takes into account some deemed "core" properties of them to subdivide them into groups etc. For example, while English had a huge impact by those days' French, it still counts as Germanic - as its "grammatical core" wasn't warped by that French (or wasn't significantly).
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2014-01-03, 11:43:30

Ersi, you're right about "continuum" but not right about the families - which are trees not clumps. Trees means that you cannot juxtapose two languages for that purpose isolately - because they are the most probably just the current-day states (slices) of themselves taken diachronically - when in time, they intersect in their certain ancestor (if one).
I studied linguistics at the university and one of the professors was fairly straightforward: "We call them language/family trees but they aren't really. They are more like shrubs or bushes."

Your remarks on divergence and convergence totally apply. Also assimilation should be an instantly understandable term. Other related terms are substratum and superstratum in language contact theory.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-03, 12:07:43
You have spoken to an idiot. That's it  :)
BTW, here in the south (and in Austria) we also say (die) Tram.

Haha, perhaps. I also had some issues asking for Sprudelwasser at this one restaurant. I wasn't then aware that the term in the south was Tafelwasser, but that hardly seems like a reason to immediately start speaking English to me.

"Ein Sprudelwasser bitte."
"Do you mean table water?"

From the linguistic standpoint, it's well understood that dialect and language form a continuum.

Whether you call it a "language" or a "group of dialects significantly more closely related than others" is fairly irrelevant to the point that you can divide the Germanic dialect continuum into three primary groups. I called e.g. Franconian a language rather than a group of languages and dialects because I was thinking more about 1500 odd years ago, but I should've made that more explicit. From around the 5th century we start to speak of Old Dutch, Old English, and Old German, so with Franconian I'm talking about the language of the Franks who settled these parts around the 3rd century.

Also, some parts of the dialect continuum might be more akin to a "taalbond," an area of linguistic convergence. A clearer example of this phenomenon can be found in south-west Flanders where Dutch has picked up many characteristics of French, and in the French dialects on the other side of the language border which were strongly influenced by Franconian and later Dutch. As such there used to be a "dialect continuum" between French and Dutch, today much less so primarily due to French language policies, yet French and Dutch are grammatically and phonetically so unrelated that this would seem like a pretty silly proposition. But if you have two somewhat related languages that happen to eventually border each other due to the Völkerwanderung, maybe a "fake" dialect continuum would be indistinguishable from the real thing.

Their mutual intelligibility is so fluent that they could be considered dialects. Saxon, Franconian, and (High) German have a common present.

That's what the Nazis said. :P

If you want to see politics truly gone crazy, consider the Germanic "Italian dialects" in the north-east of Italy.

@Josh Thanks.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-03, 12:11:17
Other related terms are substratum and superstratum in language contact theory.

Dutch differs primarily from the East Franconian and other Germanic varieties due to the strong Ingvaeonic substratum. I've heard it suggested that the High German consonant swift is actually a Romance language substratum.

The effects of substrata can be very strong. Dutch is Franconian with a strong Ingvaeonic substratum and English is a variety of Saxon with a strong Ingvaeonic substratum, but that probably makes them more similar to each other than to other varieties of Franconian and Saxon. (Admittedly the effect was destroyed a bit thanks to William the Conqueror, but Dutch is still the language most closely related to English by various measures.)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-03, 12:34:34
On a semi-related note, on a Dutch linguistic site I saw a South-African lamenting that if the Dutch hadn't disavowed Afrikaans on account of apartheid, Dutch could now be a strong medium-large international language with close to 50 million speakers instead of a medium-small language with 23-25 million speakers. Nevertheless, Dutch is an official language in the Union of South American Nations, and English is not. Suck on that, English. :P
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: krake on 2014-01-03, 12:35:25

I also had some issues asking for Sprudelwasser at this one restaurant. I wasn't then aware that the term in the south was Tafelwasser, but that hardly seems like a reason to immediately start speaking English to me.


Sprudelwasser means Sodawasser (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Syfon.szklany.woda.sodowa.jpg).
Tafelwasser means potable water enriched with some ingredients.
Mineralwasser means mineral water.

In this case I have some understanding for the waiter/waitress. Since he/she has noticed that you aren't a native he/she wonted to make sure, you get the right drink. Hope, you got it at last :D
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-03, 12:38:47
I don't really care as long as it's water and it's free of pathogens. :P

(I suppose I care in some places. In Luxembourg and some places in Germany the tap water easily equals the best mineral water; in a Dutch expert taste test apparently Rotterdam tap water beat all other water including bottled mineral water. But on the other hand, in France, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan all the tap water tastes odd to me. I don't know what they do with it.)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-01-03, 13:15:28
I studied linguistics at the university and one of the professors was fairly straightforward: "We call them language/family trees but they aren't really. They are more like shrubs or bushes."
Did your professor study math? The tree is a topological type of a graph.
Other related terms are substratum and superstratum in language contact theory.
Yes, they are related terms but not terms expressing things on the same level.
(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2F9no1k4p.png&hash=4bccd7c5e405e4719ff2b20301d90f4c" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://i.imgur.com/9no1k4p.png)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2014-01-03, 14:05:00
Dutch is still the language most closely related to English by various measures.
What I have heard (actually read in encyclopedias), it's Frisian that is most closely related to English. But this is irrelevant in several ways. The languages in that corner of the continent are necessarily closely related. Moreover, English is a lingua franca, i.e. a global communication tool pliable hither and thither rather than a fixed symbol system, a distinctive marker of (self-)identity for a specific group/location. The latter is how I prefer to define (proper/real/true) language. Lingua franca is related to everything and everybody, nothing special about it.

These two points...

Their mutual intelligibility is so fluent that they could be considered dialects. Saxon, Franconian, and (High) German have a common present.

That's what the Nazis said. :P

I saw a South-African lamenting that if the Dutch hadn't disavowed Afrikaans on account of apartheid
...nicely illustrate how the distinction between dialect and language is political rather than linguistic. Science is politically neutral, even though it can be used politically, and often is.

By the way, my two sentences, as you quoted them, did not belong together. "Their mutual intelligibility is so fluent that they could be considered dialects" referred to the Scandinavian languages. With "Saxon, Franconian, and (High) German" I began next thought that I probably should have marked by beginning a separate paragraph.

I studied linguistics at the university and one of the professors was fairly straightforward: "We call them language/family trees but they aren't really. They are more like shrubs or bushes."
Did your professor study math? The tree is a topological type of a graph.
He studied literature, so he saw in the term "language tree" a poetic metaphor rather than a math concept.

Other related terms are substratum and superstratum in language contact theory.
Yes, they are related terms but not terms expressing things on the same level.
(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2F9no1k4p.png&hash=4bccd7c5e405e4719ff2b20301d90f4c" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://i.imgur.com/9no1k4p.png)
This is basic in the structuralist principle of analysis to provide a multidimensional view of what we are talking about.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-01-03, 14:17:52
Moreover, English is a lingua franca...
This franca falls into a set of francas: Franca Americana, Franca Europeana, etc.;)
(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2F9no1k4p.png&hash=4bccd7c5e405e4719ff2b20301d90f4c" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://i.imgur.com/9no1k4p.png)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-03, 14:39:26
What I have heard (actually read in encyclopedias), it's Frisian that is most closely related to English.

It's more closely related to the language of their Saxon neighbors who moved across the North Sea, but the North Sea trade took place primarily between Holland, Zeeland, and Flanders on this side and England on the other. It has even been suggested that the most famous old Dutch literary phrase (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebban_olla_vogala) is actually Old English rather than Old Flemish, which is rather unlikely for extralingual reasons, but it does illustrate how the distinction between Old Dutch and Old English can be far from obvious after several centuries of North Sea trade. At the same time, Frisian has been heavily influenced by Dutch after losing significantly in worldly power and status especially since West-Frisia was annexed by Holland in 1297. However, there are certainly dialects of English which may be significantly more similar to Frisian; I understand Northumbrian is one of them. Incidentally, I'm from West-Frisia. What's spoken there are Hollandic dialects with a Frisian substrate.

Some similarities between Frisian and English are extremely obvious, for instance:
Dutch: kaas
German: Käse
Frisian: tsjiis
English: cheese

That brings to mind the Frisian equivalent of schild en vriend (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_shibboleths#Dutch.E2.80.93French): "Bûter, brea en griene tsiis" (Butter, bread, and green cheese. See here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_shibboleths#Frisian.E2.80.93Dutch).)

Anyway, I can't seem to find the research. It was published no more than two or three years ago. I think the comparison focused on Dutch, German, and the Scandinavian languages, but I'm not completely sure.

...nicely illustrate how the distinction between dialect and language is political rather than linguistic. Science is politically neutral, even though it can be used politically, and often is.

It was also political prior to then to call it Nederlands in spite of the fact that Afrikaans is more of a creole. However, the political decision shaped the language in the sense that it might've moved closer to standardized Dutch again if relations had remained well. I don't know if you've heard of Schneider's dynamic model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schneider's_dynamic_model)? The point in time where they decided to call it Afrikaans instead of Dutch in many ways concludes phase 4.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Barulheira on 2014-01-03, 17:03:00
Nevertheless, Dutch is an official language in the Union of South American Nations

What is this? A typo?
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-03, 17:15:59
What is this? A typo?

Hardly (http://www.unasursg.org/inicio/documentos/unasur/tratado-constitutivo). Surinamese Dutch is one of the four major varieties of Dutch: Netherlandic Dutch, Belgian Dutch, Caribbean Dutch, and Surinamese Dutch. Although I seem to have been slightly mistaken about the status of English:

Quote
The official languages of the Union of South American Nations shall be Spanish, English, Portuguese and Dutch.


However, it might be that English is not actually an official language in any of the individual member states. I'll have to check up on that.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Barulheira on 2014-01-03, 17:23:16
Interesting. I've never heard about that.
In Guiana they speak English.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-03, 17:25:02
In Guiana they speak English.

Good point. Guyana is probably why English is an official language too.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-01-06, 10:29:28
I would expect the German case system to be greatly simplified if not to disappear all together, like has happened to other Germanic languages.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-06, 10:34:22
Yes, me too.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: krake on 2014-01-06, 18:04:43

I would expect the German case system to be greatly simplified if not to disappear all together, like has happened to other Germanic languages.


Yes, me too.

Grrrr  :o
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-01-09, 12:26:34
Haha, I'm sorry. It's just something that seems to be a global rule, observed in the evolution of languages all around the world. But there's no need to worry; there's a hypothesis that languages will start the whole process all over again once they reach the "end."
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-01-10, 04:51:32
Agreed. I used the Perl motto to describe this in an earlier posting (http://my.opera.com/community/forums/findpost.pl?id=3061572).

Quote from: jax
Quote from: rjhowie
I found it amusing having been involved in the Educational field for years when an English teacher in Glasgow bemoaned to me once that no matter how much time he spent on the language as soon as the pupils were out at 3.30pm they just reverted back to their working class Glaswegian lingo.


I think this one post more than any condenses the future of English  (or any other language or dialect).

Languages change constantly, and it is primary the children who change it. The adults can add a nifty phrase here and there, or analyse the language to make up rules that governs it, but the dramatic or subtle language shifts that garners from one generation from the next are largely caused by the new custodians, children and young adults.

<a href="http://my.opera.com/community/forums/findpost.pl?id=2510212">I have appropriated the Perl virtues[/url], laziness, impatience, and hubris, as the drivers of natural languages as well. Laziness is a major cause of sound shifts, the new sounds are less energy consuming than the old ones, it is easier to say dis than this. Impatience efficiently shortens language, while hubris is the drive to do better, resulting in the construction of more elaborate linguistic structures. The impatience-hubris engine is powerful and social, you deemphasise what unimportant to you and the listener, and emphasise what is important. As the culture changes so does the language, as the language changes so does the culture.

The amount of creativity stirred into the language is staggering. We spend an immense effort in creating new words and phrases or reappropriating old ones, and we take joy  from that. Just look at any medium-length thread on D&D and you will find this in action. It is even more satisfying when others take up on our creations, but most are one-use, or short-use that fads away.

Seen from the language more important than the constant creations is how and from whom we monkey our words. We pattern all our speech on others. Early on that would be the parents and the background chatter, later our peers, especially those we would like to emulate, the teachers, the writers, the television, the future employers and authority figures, the Internet. We are capable not only of learning one or more languages, but keep track of the status of those speaking it and how they speak it.

The Glaswegian children can speak one variant at school and another one after school. They will even adjust to an individual speaker or group and what they want to achieve. Later on in life they will discard some part of their language as childish, other parts as low-status, and other parts as too difficult for their new peer groups. What parts they have discarded or discounted by the time they become parents themselves determine how the language evolves.

When school's over for good, will they speak Glaswegian or RP or a mix? Glaswegian like Singlish or Nigerian Pidgin have traditionally been low-status with "proper" English the high-status language. This quest for status has driven British English pronunciation to exaggerate high-status features, as you can see by comparing it with high-status English a couple centuries back. On the opposing side language is also part of identify. By speaking Glaswegian you announce to the world that you come from Glasgow or aspire to come from Glasgow. Then comes television as the great leveller. Glaswegian is one of the British dialects that do best, most British languages and dialects have died out or become greatly reduced, but it, like the other survivors, is becoming more standardised and less unique.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-01-10, 05:01:59
That link in turn is relevant to the case system. The -s at the end of nouns denoting ownership is straightforward Germanic genitive, a remnant from the case system that seems to have no inclination to go away anywhere, but the English added a spurious apostrophe to it, "the father's son" or "the son's father" instead of the more sensible "the fathers son" and "the sons father". What is more that useless apostrophe seems to be spreading to other languages, including German.

Quote from: jax
Quote from: Leviticus 20.20
Wenn jemand bei seines Vaters Bruders Weibe schläft, ...
'If someone sleeps with his father's brother's wife,...'


That reminds me of another property of English, <a href="http://my.opera.com/community/forums/findpost.pl?id=2449461">excessive use of apostrophes[/url]. Apostrophes, remember, is primarily used for contraction in English. The English cognate of Vaters (pronounced "fater" for those who don't know German) is father's and brother's is of Bruders. So where does this strange apostrophe in 's come from? It seems that a phenomenon called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His_genitive">his genitive[/url] made grammarians think that -(e)s was a contraction.

That in turn caused the endless confusion of its and it's, since by the seeming genitive rule its should be it's, but it's not. By the gods of usability the apostrophe should be among the first against the wall when English 2.0 comes. Its a difference that doesnt make a difference. Unfortunately the gods dont seem to hear my vocative.

On the contrary it seeps into other language. The Norwegian father and brother is far and bror (an archaic form is fader and broder so again the difference isn't too large), and from that the genitive fars and brors is formed. Undue influence from English makes some write far's or bror's instead, or more commonly form it with names, Vinnie's kebab style. German has its case system mostly intact, but I wouldn't be surprised if the same phenomenon happens in German.

All languages seem to follow the path of the Perl language: <a href="http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?LazinessImpatienceHubris">laziness, impatience, and hubris[/url]. Laziness and impatience simplifies the language, and hubris, or ornamentation, makes it more complex.

Quote from: Jaybro
In The Blank Slate, Stephen Pinker, following others, posits that knowledge grows at least in part along lines of latitude because similar latitudes support important technologies, the growth of agriculture and animal husbandry being two.
In the gossip category, I heard on the radio that he just got an honorary doctorate at the <a href="http://uit.no/castl/pinker/">University of Tromsø[/url].

Quote from: Shandra
Does only a small amount of Translators or Traders developed a little knowledge of the other language(s), and/or was there also some influence. And if, to what degree and in what context? As it seem there are just few or little adoptions from arabic languages to western europe ones, even if there must have been much interaction before and during the middle-ages.
Traders alone don't change language. You don't even need language to trade, trade gestures have been sufficient to show intent and handle haggling. Even today you when you get to places where you are unable to speak the language, you can be sure that this little detail won't prevent people from trying to make a sale. But trade gives incentive for other cultural contact. Spain and Spanish is heavily influenced by Arabic culture and language, and to some extent it goes further up Europe. A Buddha statuette was found <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helgö">in Sweden[/url] from the 6th century, before Islam, and just a few days ago, while I was there, they found <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7330540.stm">yet another Arab hoard[/url].

Quote from: Jaybro
What seems clear about numeration is that it comes as needed. Where it isn't needed, as with the group mentioned by Oakdale, it doesn't come at all. My early understanding about the Aborigines of Australia is that they had no conception of linear time. Is that even imaginable in the development of Western thinking?

There's nothing hardwired about 'three.' Grammar may be wired, but words? Where some words seem to possess that quality, I think other explanations suffice.

No, there is nothing hardwired about the word three, but I wonder what it meant before it was reused to refer to the pure abstraction three. What was the original threesome? In English it would be tempting to think of tree, even more so in Norwegian where the "th" sound has been simplified into "t" so there is no difference between three and tree (the word for both is tre), but this is a false cognate. Colours by comparison are pretty simple, almost all words originally denoted something having that particular color. What had threeness, fourness, fiveity?

You don't need a word to have a concept, but you need a concept to have a word. <a href="http://my.opera.com/community/forums/findpost.pl?id=2233459">My claim[/url] is that not only humans but many other animals have the concept of three, and these animals have no way of expressing it in words.

If all words have a concrete, physical, meaning that if you trace them far enough back, you can end up with a fairly minimal vocabulary. <a href="http://my.opera.com/community/forums/findpost.pl?id=2472388">Guy Deutscher[/url] speculated that a language based on little more than pointing and a few fundamentals like the body would be sufficient.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2014-01-10, 07:47:47
Laziness and impatience simplifies the language, and hubris, or ornamentation, makes it more complex.

Not just hubris, but also actual need of communication demands a certain minimal level of relevant distinctions. Language is for conveying a message after all. If laziness and impatience were everything, then language would be reduced to one single sound which is incapable of conveying anything. But this is not the case. Where some distinctions are levelled due to laziness or haste, other distinctions crop up elsewhere in the word/sentence to compensate, and this principle of serving a purpose is as relevant as the principle of minimal effort. The conjunction of these principles produces a tender level of efficiency that is constantly changing due to the tendency of less effort on one hand and due to inevitable need to convey relevant messages about the ever-changing world on the other.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-01-10, 09:34:09
Not just hubris, but also actual need of communication demands a certain minimal level of relevant distinctions. Language is for conveying a message after all.

I have become increasingly convinced that language was never developed as a tool for conveying precise messages. Of course language is a very versatile means of communication, but it is not something an engineer would come up with. He would make something closer to a computer language instead. Natural languages go way beyond that.

One case is the cliché, writers and readers abhor them, but from a functional communication perspective they are great. When something is working well, why not repeat it, again and again and again? You know them, the audience know them, no scope for confusion. Instead we spend considerable effort coming up with synonyms and alternative phrasing, greatly increasing the risk of error.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2014-01-10, 09:40:06
The answer to this is simple - everybody needs language, but hardly anyone is engineer. People come up with different terms for the same thing, and this must be allowed. A computer language may be precise according to your definition, but it would also be too limited, whereas natural languages handle with ease all the imaginable and even unimaginable complexities of real life. So, endless ways of expressing the same thing are not redundant after all, but rather necessary and inevitable.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-01-10, 11:14:20
Versatility is not the argument why language is over-engineered for the simple task of getting a message across. Language is as much concerned with style and flair, how we speak, as with telling things, what we speak about. Merely telling things is easy and and could use a much simpler system than natural languages.

Quote from: jax
Quote from: OakdaleFTL
For instance: I neglected to mention that I followed your link to Guy Deutscher's book's ad; and that -even if I disagreed with every "theoretical" point he makes (I've not read it, yet)- I'd recommend it to everyone, for its wit and charm and the wealth of "language experience" and, yes, oddities and freaks as well as commonplace and "regular" examples...interesting, all. He gives enough there to make one wish it were umpty-times as long; a mere 368 pages would only whet my appetite for more of the same.

Yes, I've taken a lot from The Unfolding of Language in this thread, including the thread title itself. Language is deeply fascinating, and closely related to who we are and what we think and how we share, but still most linguists manage to turn the field barren. You would have thought that people that devote their lives to the study of languages should have acquired the ability to write somewhere along the way.


Much of the book is fairly uncontroversial, he largely keeps away from the most heavily fought battles among linguists, though he builds up to some speculation on early language, but still well after it has become a language in most modern senses. There are many speculations on how language itself came to be.
Quote from: Investor
I believe that language must have been quite developed before leaving safe home, as exploration requires planning, courage and confidence, which needs to be convinsingly communicated and understood.
The idea that language came to be to serve practical problem solving and communication needs is not popular these days. For that purpose language seems vastly overengineered. Other species have similar needs and have gotten away with much simpler and much cheaper systems. On the other hand having language skills has improved our problem solving skills immensely.

Another theory is that language was sexually selected, that language is our peacock's tail. Geoffrey Miller (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Miller_(evolutionary_psychologist)) is arguing this case. The earnest sweet-talker gets the child, and people get in power through language skills. It is a persuasive case, though I have a hard time believing that grammarians get laid more often than others.

Deutscher has written a defence of clichés (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/18/opinion/18deutscher.html?_r=0), and I find it interesting that they need defending. If language were purely utilitarian, clichés would be considered a good, they express ideas more parsimoniously than novel expressions.
Quote from: fanfaron
Anyway, I'd say language is a feminine invention.
I guess you by that refer to the gossip theory, that language isn't just an entertainment device (http://www.cogsci.ecs.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy?12.008), but a tool to get power and influence over your fellow man and particularly your fellow woman. The ensuing mental arms race would caused a rapid growth in language skills. This is the more popular theory, or so I have been told.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2014-01-10, 11:31:18
The idea that language came to be to serve practical problem solving and communication needs is not popular these days. For that purpose language seems vastly overengineered.
Clearly, this looks this way only when your thinking is overly engineerial itself. Problem-solving is not practical in the mechanistic sense. In the mechanistic sense it's only practical to let things be. As some wise dude said: Work pays off on payday, laziness pays off now.

Problem-solving, when understood correctly, is entirely sufficient prerequisite for language. The correct understanding of problem-solving does not entail just any actual problem here and now, but all possible and thinkable problems any time anywhere. When problem-solving is understood this way, and it's also understood that this is what language is supposed to cover, the nature of language also becomes clear.

Computer languages are too limited for problem-solving understood as I described. When new bigger problems arise or a new angle to computational problem-solving is discovered, hackers usually create a new language to deal with it, whereas natural languages are immediately usable or readily extensible to handle any new situation.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-01-10, 11:46:21
We can device, have deviced, much simpler languages that are more than sufficient for any form of problem-solving. However they never last long. Because they are insufficient to solve problems? No, even the simplest language can be extended as needed. They never last because they are boring.

Somehow the imperative "don't be boring" beats "let me get this point across" in the human mind. This is the hubris speaking. There is no functional reason why boring should be bad, for precision or problem solving boring is good, but language is more than mere functionality. It expresses who we are, or who we want to be.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2014-01-10, 11:58:54
Somehow the imperative "don't be boring" beats "let me get this point across" in the human mind. This is the hubris speaking.

Yeah, I see your point now. See how much repetition it took. And still, "don't be boring" can be seen from problem-solving point of view also: When there's nothing to solve, we conjure up problems just for fun. I personally am a broadly problem-solving person. Everything is a problem, and I don't mean it in a bad way. Solving problems is my style of entertainment.

[Language] expresses who we are, or who we want to be.
Right. I said that before.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Barulheira on 2014-01-10, 13:23:34
I know I'm boring.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-01-10, 13:29:34
We can device, have deviced...
(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2F9no1k4p.png&hash=4bccd7c5e405e4719ff2b20301d90f4c" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://i.imgur.com/9no1k4p.png)
The verb is "to devise".
Title: Re: Neologically speaking
Post by: jax on 2014-02-04, 12:10:13
Some new words from across the world.

Words of the Year from Around the World. Can You Say Gubbploga? (http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2014/01/23/word_of_the_year_popular_words_this_past_year_from_countries_around_the.html)   [sure I can]

Quote from: Slate
You've heard about selfie, science, and because. But we aren't the only ones who like to try to capture the spirit of the year in a word. Here are some Words of the Year chosen by 13 other countries.

1. SAKTE-TV, NORWAY
The Language Council in Norway chose sakte-tv (slow-TV), reflecting the popularity of shows like "National Wood Fire Night," a four-hour discussion of firewood followed by an eight-hour broadcast of a crackling fire. Some of the good competitors were rekkeviddeangst (range anxiety)--the fear that the battery of your electric car will run out before you can get to a charging station--and revelyd (fox sound) because, of course, Ylvis.

2. GUBBPLOGA, SWEDEN
The Swedish Language Council takes an egalitarian, Swedish approach to the word of the year, releasing a list of the year's new Swedish words without declaring a winner. I like the sound of gubbploga (old man plowing), which refers to criticism of snow plowing priorities that put male-dominated workplace routes over bus and bike lanes and schools. Another good one was nagelprotest (nail protest) for the practice of painting your nails in the name of a cause--for instance, getting a rainbow manicure as a statement against Russian anti-gay laws.

3. UNDSKYLD, DENMARK
A member of the Danish Language Council, along with the hosts of the "Language Laboratory" radio show, chose undskyld (sorry) as Word of the Year, making specific reference to the apology a politician had to make after his luxury travel expenses were revealed. It won out over some familiar choices like twerk, selfie, and lårhul (thigh gap), but also gastroseksuel (gastrosexual, for food lovers) and kønskrans ("gender wreath"), a proposed substitute for jomfruhinde (hymen, or "virgin barrier").

4. GROKO, GERMANY
GroKo is short for [...]
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: tt92 on 2014-02-05, 07:56:49

The answer to this is simple - everybody needs language, but hardly anyone is engineer. People come up with different terms for the same thing, and this must be allowed. A computer language may be precise according to your definition, but it would also be too limited, whereas natural languages handle with ease all the imaginable and even unimaginable complexities of real life. So, endless ways of expressing the same thing are not redundant after all, but rather necessary and inevitable.

Speaking of language and engineers, I am told that engineers the world over, in a hundred languages, all describe a very small distance using the same phrase. Unfortunately it is not used in polite conversation so I can't tell you what it is.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-02-05, 08:16:16
Ersi, if something is covered by a language, then it OBVIOUSLY has been IMAGINED by the natives who formed the lexicon. There CAN'T be WORDS for anything that hasn't been imagined at least once; if "a word" has no concept which caused its birth, it does not exist, nor can it exist in principle. Language - human language - does not handle, never has, anything that hadn't first come up as a thought - or perception. Generally, it is called idea.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2014-02-05, 10:50:39
Josh, language and mind are coexistent, coeval, and coextensive. They are perfect analogies of each other. Language is imagination, by analogy.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-02-05, 11:29:35
Language is a system.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-02-05, 11:49:49
Linked, not embedded (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bhldlJ0Aus).
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2014-02-05, 12:22:11

Language is a system.
Language is a system on one hand, but the system covers everything perceived plus everything conceivable. Thus language is also all-pervasive continuum. Just like the mind: structured on one hand, all-pervasive and omnipresent on the other.


Linked, not embedded (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bhldlJ0Aus).

I have that cool little tool on Linux, so I can check the titles and captions of Youtube videos without having to visit the site with a webbrowser. The tool also lists available download formats, if the video turns out to be something interesting.

Nice try, Jax. Fair attempt.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-02-05, 19:28:47
 Not bad. Anyway, thanks to new technology (https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=10.msg7859#msg7859), here is to embedded, not linked.


Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: krake on 2014-02-05, 21:49:25

Speaking of language and engineers, I am told that engineers the world over, in a hundred languages, all describe a very small distance using the same phrase. Unfortunately it is not used in polite conversation so I can't tell you what it is.


(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Ffun.drno.de%2Fpics%2Fenglish%2Feureka.jpg&hash=2e80d72a8fc1bb24b965b126c8551663" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://fun.drno.de/pics/english/eureka.jpg)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-02-07, 16:59:48
Found some online Latin dictionaries showing the full declension: :)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-02-26, 15:54:10
For an especial consideration of some posters here:
Quote from: BBC Berkshire
(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbcimg.co.uk%2Fmedia%2Fimages%2F73223000%2Fjpg%2F_73223950_1656370_10152173895342936_1816422736_n.jpg&hash=6d6ed5aff5d0f702aafc238f538f4f4c" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/73223000/jpg/_73223950_1656370_10152173895342936_1816422736_n.jpg)Drivers going past Sonning Bridge, near Reading, have expressed annoyance at a closed road sign which uses an incorrect apostrophe.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-26351494
:)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-02-26, 18:41:39
And yet the sign would've been just fine had it read

Quote
Road closed
due to
structural instability
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-02-26, 18:50:31
Yah, avoiding the difficulties is the best solution, huh?
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-02-26, 19:10:08
Given the amount of wet weather in the British islands, you would have thought that they would have some grammatical emergency service to handle situations like these.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-02-26, 19:30:58

Yah, avoiding the difficulties is the best solution, huh?

On signs I think it also makes for a better transfer of information.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-02-28, 11:01:11
Englishmen! Why are your grandfathers' fathers so great? Are they?
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Jimbro3738 on 2014-02-28, 11:49:18
I like this one.
(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSCXkSgt5pHbJWr2cAjxz_QggUBaYOkHVVA4y5jRd9mpfes5R2K)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ensbb3 on 2014-02-28, 12:32:23

For an especial consideration of ***abbr=SmileyFaze & Belfrager in particular]some posters here[/abbr***:
Quote from: BBC Berkshire
(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbcimg.co.uk%2Fmedia%2Fimages%2F73223000%2Fjpg%2F_73223950_1656370_10152173895342936_1816422736_n.jpg&hash=6d6ed5aff5d0f702aafc238f538f4f4c" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/73223000/jpg/_73223950_1656370_10152173895342936_1816422736_n.jpg)Drivers going past Sonning Bridge, near Reading, have expressed annoyance at a closed road sign which uses an incorrect apostrophe.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-26351494
:)


O'k


Always the hypocrite. I've seen far worse from you. Regularly... And if you have something to say to Smiley and Belfrager don't be such a coward. Both are likely to respond with better grammar than anything you've posted here. (https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=209.0) :left:
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-02-28, 13:48:03
[place]Here should have been a single quote.[/place]
"here."?
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-08, 14:47:04
In light of this post (https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=109.msg15884#msg15884), I wish to draw attention to some helpful tools.

I already linked to phpSyntaxTree (http://ironcreek.net/phpsyntaxtree/), which allows you to easily draw diagrams using a syntax like this:
Code: [Select]
[S [NP This graphic][VP [V summarizes][NP [N data][that-clause [Subord that] [VP [V refutes] [NP a related myth[that-clause [Subord that] [NP publications now supporting the scientific consensus [that-clause [Subord that] [NP the world][VP is warming due to increased carbon dioxide]]] [VP were predicting in the 1970s [that-clause that the world would cool.]]]]]]]]]


(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fpolymathicmonkey.smugmug.com%2Fphotos%2Fi-TFL2xcM%2F0%2FO%2Fi-TFL2xcM.png&hash=cec4aef876e4973bf34fbceb15e7b2c1" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://polymathicmonkey.smugmug.com/photos/i-TFL2xcM/0/O/i-TFL2xcM.png) (http://polymathicmonkey.smugmug.com/photos/i-TFL2xcM/0/O/i-TFL2xcM.png)

You might be able to jump start your trees using the <a href="http://nlp.stanford.edu:8080/parser/">Stanford parser[/url] or the <a href="http://tomato.banatao.berkeley.edu:8080/parser/parser.html">Berkeley parser[/url]. However, you'll have to perform a quick conversion of parentheses to square brackets first.

I haven't looked at it in much detail, but the Stanford parser's parse of the sentence above appears to be essentially correct:
Code: [Select]
[ROOT
  [S
    [NP [DT This] [NN graphic]]
    [VP [VBZ summarizes]
      [NP
        [NP [NNS data]]
        [SBAR
          [WHNP [WDT that]]
          [S
            [VP [VBZ refutes]
              [NP [DT a] [JJ related] [NN myth]]
              [SBAR [IN that]
                [S
                  [NP
                    [NP [NNS publications]]
                    [VP
                      [ADVP [RB now]]
                      [VBG supporting]
                      [NP
                        [NP [DT the] [JJ scientific] [NN consensus]]
                        [SBAR [IN that]
                          [S
                            [NP [DT the] [NN world]]
                            [VP [VBZ is]
                              [VP [VBG warming]
                                [ADJP [JJ due]
                                  [PP [TO to]
                                    [NP [VBN increased] [NN carbon] [NN dioxide]]]]]]]]]]]
                  [VP [VBD were]
                    [VP [VBG predicting]
                      [PP [IN in]
                        [NP [DT the] [NNS 1970s]]]
                      [SBAR [IN that]
                        [S
                          [NP [DT the] [NN world]]
                          [VP [MD would]
                            [VP [VB cool]]]]]]]]]]]]]]
    [. .]]]

(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fpolymathicmonkey.smugmug.com%2Fphotos%2Fi-K3fgfX5%2F0%2FO%2Fi-K3fgfX5.png&hash=168afeb4db46017df2b8ad214ff72255" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://polymathicmonkey.smugmug.com/photos/i-K3fgfX5/0/O/i-K3fgfX5.png) (http://polymathicmonkey.smugmug.com/photos/i-K3fgfX5/0/O/i-K3fgfX5.png).
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-08, 15:07:17
Hell!
It was much easier doing on paper. And I didn't parse English sentences that way actually. Maybe I'd be more happy with block-schemes? I don't know.
When I "parse" - or worse;) - it's easier for me to do that just mentally - in my mind. I'm not sure I'd be able to show such parsing properly, though;) (Although I've been trying so far using language for the purpose. Yes, Ersi, the English language is very nice for that too!:P)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-08, 15:31:53
Okay, it allows you to easily draw electronic diagrams. Ones that -- by pasting the source -- you can easily adapt to your own alternative parses.

Just think of this example:

Code: [Select]
[S
  [NP [PRP I]]
  [VP [VBD ordered]
    [NP
      [NP [DT a] [NN pizza]]
      [PP [IN with]
        [NP [NNS anchovies]]]]]
]


Code: [Select]
[S
  [NP [PRP I]]
  [VP [VBD ordered]
    [NP
      [NP [DT a] [NN pizza]]]
    [PP [IN with]
      [NP [NNS anchovies]]]]
]


Edit: fixed it up so it can be pasted straight into the generator.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-08, 15:46:59
All that looks more like programming writings -- at which I've always been not good. (Once I even attempted to invent my own easy language - with the commands simply put by a single letter, followed by the command's value.:))
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-08, 17:28:15
There might be something out there to generate your block schemes as opposed to trees. Do you have any examples?

Here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete_syntax_tree#External_links) are some more links about (generating) syntax trees and here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence_diagram) are some alternative sentence diagramming systems.

I'm glad I checked, because now I learned about http://yohasebe.com/rsyntaxtree/ and http://www.ling.upenn.edu/advice/latex/qtree/, both of which might come in useful.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-10, 10:22:42
What is the verb for "penitence"? "Penis"????
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-10, 11:21:38
Repent.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-10, 11:56:14
"Repent" who?
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-10, 12:10:00
What do you mean, "who"? One would repent an action, not a person.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-10, 12:33:16
What do you mean, "who"?
You said "Repent.".
WHO should do?:)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: tt92 on 2014-04-10, 19:35:15

Repent.

I don't have to.
I pented once and got it right the first time,
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-10, 20:05:12
I pented once and got it right the first time,

:up:
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Belfrager on 2014-04-10, 20:09:59


Repent.

I don't have to.
I pented once and got it right the first time,

The man that only grets once. He never regrets.
Way to go, Australian.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-10, 20:28:10
The man that only grets once. He never regrets.
Repeat, please.
:rolleyes:
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-10, 20:29:51
Belfrager only peats. Get with the program. ;)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Jimbro3738 on 2014-04-14, 09:15:15
The internet is loaded with misspellings and other gaffes. How about a radar that can spot angels at a certain hight?
Quote
The Wurzburg Radar: satellite dishes had a range of around 30 klm. And were extremely accurate for measuring angels for the hight of incoming aircraft.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-14, 10:00:13
klm
Kilolumens?
???
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-14, 12:28:03
Hush, Josh. :lol:
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: tt92 on 2014-04-14, 19:29:57

The internet is loaded with misspellings and other gaffes. How about a radar that can spot angels at a certain hight?
Quote
The Wurzburg Radar: satellite dishes had a range of around 30 klm. And were extremely accurate for measuring angels for the hight of incoming aircraft.


Non Angeli sunt, sed angli.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-14, 19:33:07
Now I get it! I suppose angels ARE measured in kilolumens.:P
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-16, 14:37:13
https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=245.msg17540#msg17540
What does - in the second line - "head full of zombie" mean?
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-16, 14:46:53
I don't speak Aussie, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest it refers to Mary J.  :sherlock:
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-16, 15:01:19
Well, "according" to their clip, it was "head" referring to the inners of their "fried-out combie", huh?;)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-24, 18:16:51
Not exactly grammatical, but then neither was the last page or two.

Shakespeare in the original pronunciation sounds a bit like a cross between a Scottish and an American accent (and not at all like RP). Of course, I've always read that American English is a lot closer to Shakespeare's English, but it's pretty cool to hear the reconstruction.

Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-24, 18:21:56
So, they undug some ancient cassettes or what?:rolleyes:
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-24, 18:25:25
We have a pretty good idea of what Middle Dutch and Middle English sounded like. But for some reason we never pay much attention to the pronunciation of Early Modern X, because the whole Modern aspect means it's close enough to today that we don't have to bother too much with the correct pronunciation.

I'd imagine something similar applies to Middle Russian?
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-04-24, 18:47:10
Early Modern X
???

I'd imagine something similar applies to Middle Russian?
Yeah, we're muttering in the middle.
:D
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-24, 18:59:53

Early Modern X
???

Early Modern Dutch, Early Modern English, Early Modern French, Early Modern High German, and so forth.
Title: Re: Immigrants
Post by: Banned Member [2] on 2014-04-26, 16:29:51
Where the emigrant is from plays a big part.
"To play a part" means "to act in a role".
The term "emigrant" refers to those who, having left their motherland (often unwillingly/reluctantly), have not broken their (often spiritual) connection to the place they've come from. Usually the term is used referring to particular exodi: Russians from Soviet Russia, German citizens from Nazi Germany, etc. Often such people do not even haste to acquire the citizenship of the host country.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-26, 17:12:44
"To play a part" has been metaphorically used meaning "to participate in something" for so long that it is a stretch to call its current usage metaphorical. This is not a usage that is incorrect, like how people misuse begging the question. The oldest quotation in the OED dates back to 1596: Raigne of Edward III sig. A4v, "Bearest thou a part in this conspiracy?"
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-04-26, 17:18:25

Shakespeare in the original pronunciation sounds a bit like a cross between a Scottish and an American accent (and not at all like RP). Of course, I've always read that American English is a lot closer to Shakespeare's English, but it's pretty cool to hear the reconstruction.


Kind of kool. So instead of  'aving a speak like a pirate day, we should have a speak like a Shakespearian?
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-04-26, 17:42:05
I'll make sure to carry my sword.

(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.therpf.com%2Fattachments%2Ff9%2Fromeo-juliet-guns-swords-daggers-ect-benvolio2.jpg-38724d1290044502&hash=e9b3a62d14b1f588fc616ffde7c70c29" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://www.therpf.com/attachments/f9/romeo-juliet-guns-swords-daggers-ect-benvolio2.jpg-38724d1290044502)

(Explanation for the uninitiated (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117509/))
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member [2] on 2014-05-12, 12:47:19
Came across a word, "yesteryear".
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-05-12, 13:35:12
Just keep in mind that though the word was originally modelled upon yesterday, in modern English it doesn't usually mean "last year" (though it can, and this sense of the word may be growing more common), rather referring to the recent years.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member [2] on 2014-05-12, 13:40:28
 I could see that from the context, thanks.:cool:
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2014-05-12, 14:08:08
yesterday

The Dutch (gisteren/gister) and German (gestern) cognates are independent, without a day attached. There's also eergister(en), something like yore-yester: the day before yesterday.

You can say things like:
gistermorgen (yesterday morning)
gistermiddag (yesterday afternoon)
gisteravond (yesterday evening/night)

but not gisterdag or gisterjaar (except in poetry, one imagines).
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-05-12, 14:36:30
Norwegian and Czech are structurally similar to each other in having about the same concepts, but the words are each unique, there isn't much of a pattern

Norwegian / Czech / English

forgårs / předevčírem /day before yesterday
i går / včera / yesterday
i morgen / zítra / tomorrow
overimorgen / pozítří / day after tomorrow

forifjor / předloni / year before last year
i fjor / loni / last year

No particular phrase for next year (neste år, příští rok) or the year after.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-05-12, 15:02:30
No particular phrase for next year (neste år, příští rok) or the year after.
Because they've thought they were doomed.:lol:
Looks like Slavic words are similar. In Russian we have "вчера" and "завтра" for "yesterday" and "tomorrow". The former seems to derive from "вечер" ("evening/night"), the latter - from "утро" ("morning"); looks like the English "tomorrow" originated a similar way.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: tt92 on 2014-05-12, 19:04:55
Good morrow to you all, good sirs.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-05-12, 19:48:17
Good terday to you too.
... No terday????
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Banned Member on 2014-05-21, 11:59:13
lose - /lu:z/ -- verb: not to win, or cease to have something
loose - /lu:s/ -- adjective: not tight, lax
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2014-05-31, 03:06:15
Quote from: http://mentalfloss.com/article/57032/25-words-are-their-own-opposites
25 Words That Are Their Own Opposites

Quote
Here's an ambiguous sentence for you: "Because of the agency's oversight, the corporation's behavior was sanctioned." Does that mean, 'Because the agency oversaw the company's behavior, they imposed a penalty for some transgression' or does it mean, 'Because the agency was inattentive, they overlooked the misbehavior and gave it their approval by default'? We've stumbled into the looking-glass world of "contronyms"--words that are their own antonyms.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2019-09-18, 19:06:53
Merriam-Webster dictionary adds 'they' as nonbinary pronoun
Quote from: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/sep/17/merriam-webster-they-nonbinary-pronoun
Merriam-Webster wrote a pre-emptive clapback on its blog. "We will note that 'they' has been in consistent use as a singular pronoun since the late 1300s; that the development of singular 'they' mirrors the development of the singular 'you' from the plural 'you', yet we don't complain that singular 'you' is ungrammatical; and that regardless of what detractors say, nearly everyone uses the singular 'they' in casual conversation and often in formal writing."

[...]

Branstetter [a media relations manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality] offers this example for anyone who might be confused: "If you are at a restaurant and you found a stranger's phone at a table, you wouldn't say, I found his or her phone. You would say, 'I found their phone.'"
Actually, when you find a completely strange phone, you are not finding his/her/their phone, but a phone.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2019-09-19, 07:40:55
Actually, when you find a completely strange phone, you are not finding his/her/their phone, but a phone.
Agreed, that's at the very least an odd example, if not an outright usage error. You can only say that you found someone's phone. Their requires a specific referent, even if it can be as vague as: "That person whom I just saw driving off and didn't really see at all, just their car? I think I found their phone."
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ensbb3 on 2019-09-24, 18:22:08
Incidentally (and off subject); Why isn't there an "I just found your phone" option in with the emergency call/contact feature?
Shoots you an email, drops the phone's coordinates in... Textbox for the finder to enter contact info if applicable.

Just a thought. Carry on. :)
Title: Indeterminate subject
Post by: Barulheira on 2019-09-25, 01:02:58
In Portuguese, "they" has always been used as an indeterminate subject. It's OK to say "they stole my car" when I don't know who "they" are, or even how many "they" are. Actually, we use it all the time.
Though, because of verb declination, we don't really have to spell "they" - the verb does it implicitly ("Roubaram meu carro"), giving a better idea of an indeterminate subject.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2019-09-25, 06:27:24
In Portuguese, "they" has always been used as an indeterminate subject. It's OK to say "they stole my car" when I don't know who "they" are, or even how many "they" are. Actually, we use it all the time.
Though, because of verb declination, we don't really have to spell "they" - the verb does it implicitly ("Roubaram meu carro"), giving a better idea of an indeterminate subject.
There is a famous Czech (a Slavic language) novel that begins "And so they've killed our Ferdinand," (Švejk by Hašek (https://libcom.org/library/good-soldier-%C5%A1vejk-jaroslav-ha%C5%A1ek)) where there is no emphasis felt on "they" or "who-did-it". Rather, the next piece of dialogue is "Which Ferdinand?"

Similarly, when Russians say "They took away electricity" nobody begins inquiring "Who? Did you see them?" Rather, it is merely stating that there is a power outage.

Whereas the same sentence is unworkable in Estonian and Finnish, because it feels hyperpersonal. The same statements would be more appropriately formulated something like "Electricity vanished" and "Oh dear, Ferdinand got killed." In Estonian and Finnish there is a special impersonal verb form in addition to the common six personal verb forms. The personal verb forms have their corresponding personal (non-compulsory/pro-drop) pronouns while there is no impersonal pronoun. And it is not an issue of grammatical gender in any way. The grammatical gender does not exist in these languages. As we say, "Finnish/Estonian is not sexy."

In contrast, Russian, Lithuanian, and Latvian have a very strong presence of grammatical genders, but as far as I know, they ignore the political correctness issues that go along with it.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2019-09-25, 20:28:39
You can only say that you found someone's phone.
However, you could say that someone lost their phone.

Similarly, when Russians say "They took away electricity" nobody begins inquiring "Who? Did you see them?" Rather, it is merely stating that there is a power outage.
So how would a Russian say that "they" (the Illuminati/Jewish conspiracy/Soviets/capitalists/etc.) took away the electricity? Would they have to be specific about who "they" are or are there different kinds of "they"?
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2019-09-26, 04:27:40
So how would a Russian say that "they" (the Illuminati/Jewish conspiracy/Soviets/capitalists/etc.) took away the electricity?
How to imply Illuminati etc. without saying Illuminati etc. out loud? The difference is as follows:

Электричество отключили translates formally "They turned off electricity" without any implication on them. The personal pronoun is preferably missing while the verb form is explicitly third pers. pl.

Это они отключили электричество is like "It's them who turned off electricity." The personal pronoun они is there and strengthened with это "it (is)".

But Russians like to blame monkeys rather than the Illuminati.

Edit: I checked the beginning of Švejk by Hašek. In Russian it's "Убили, значит, Фердинанда-то нашего." I guess you could say the missing они makes some difference. In Czech it is also without the pronoun, "Tak nám zabili Ferdinanda."
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2019-09-26, 16:45:32
Yes, Czech can be largely pronoun-free as grammar (normally) gives you all the context you need. Plus they have several ways to express passive, that something has been done, usually to someone, possibly by someone.

German has worst of both worlds. You have much of the grammar, but still need those pronouns.

Ironically (?) that Hašek sentence has a pronoun, just not who did the killing. Literally "So our killed Ferdinand" or more English "So our Ferdinand was killed".
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2020-03-15, 19:32:03
Not grammar, but somewhat grammar-adjacent. Some in Japan are saying that the word "virus" shouldn't be pronounced roughly vee-roos like the German loanword it apparently is, but roughly vai-rus like in English.

https://www.asiasentinel.com/p/koronavairusu-or-koronauirusu-japan
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Belfrager on 2020-03-15, 20:02:53
The word "Virus" it's Latin and had the meaning of "poison". It was a Dutch, Martinus Beijerinck, that made revive the word because he used it for designing small creatures, smaller than bacteries, that were responsible for transmitting diseases.

So, it's "virus" = "veerus", not "vairus".
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2020-03-15, 20:25:51
Of course it's (neo-)Latin, but assuming the article is accurate it's a German loanword in Japanese.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ensbb3 on 2020-03-16, 18:13:58
Given greater contact with Dutch and then English (both American and British) seems odd many German loanwords would show up much.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Belfrager on 2020-03-16, 19:12:43
Given greater contact with Dutch and then English (both American and British) seems odd many German loanwords would show up much.
Quantity is not quality.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2020-03-16, 19:15:20
seems odd many German loanwords would show up much.
Back before WW2 it was a major language of science. I'm not sure if Japanese borrowed many scientific terms from Dutch actually, Indonesian did though.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2020-03-17, 17:52:23
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.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2020-03-17, 18:50:54
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.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: jax on 2020-03-24, 11:30:16
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.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ersi on 2020-03-24, 12:41:50
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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Expedition) 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.
(https://www.economist.com/sites/default/files/20180203_BLP513.jpg)
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Frenzie on 2020-03-24, 14:06:30
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.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: ensbb3 on 2020-03-26, 23:09:31
Quantity is not quality.
Quantity has a quality of its own. :P
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: Belfrager on 2020-03-27, 07:03:46
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.
Title: Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Post by: rjhowie on 2020-03-31, 23:38:42
Yeah Europe needs help and glad my country if getting out!