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Topic: Grammatical Mutterings (Read 20159 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You are most probably right, and I must be fairly outdated in German grammar.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

  • Frenzie
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #100
I'll make sure to carry my sword.



(Explanation for the uninitiated)

Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #101
Came across a word, "yesteryear".

  • jax
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #102
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.

Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #103
 I could see that from the context, thanks.:cool:

  • Frenzie
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #104
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).

  • jax
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #105
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.

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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #106
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.

  • tt92
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #107
Good morrow to you all, good sirs.

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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #108
Good terday to you too.
... No terday????

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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #109
lose - /lu:z/ -- verb: not to win, or cease to have something
loose - /lu:s/ -- adjective: not tight, lax

  • jax
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #110
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.

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #111
Merriam-Webster dictionary adds 'they' as 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.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #112
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."

  • ensbb3
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #113
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. :)

  • Barulheira
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Indeterminate subject
Reply #114
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.

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #115
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) 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.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #116
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"?

  • ersi
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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #117
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."
  • Last Edit: 2019-09-26, 05:21:00 by ersi

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Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Reply #118
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".