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Question about English Grammar

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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri May 29, 2009 1:21 pm

Essorant wrote:The roots and the history of the language determine it. It never was otherwise. "Be" is not the kind of word that turns "I" into "me" and surely you know that. "I" (instead of "me") belongs in the sentence because it follows the copula (not a transitive verb). "Is" (not "am") belongs in the sentence because the subject of the sentence is "it" not "I".

I understand the principle you're applying against "it is me" (although it's not a universal principle across languages). What I don't understand is why you think that principle is set in stone and cannot be changed without introducing errors, but other principles can be changed at will, which is why I brought up the history of the "it is I" construction, which as far as I can gather is as follows: Old English had "hit eom ic" or in other orders (and this is still the construction in the languages most closely related to English). In Middle English, the most popular order became "it am I", and this was reinterpreted (I imagine you would say misinterpreted) as having "it" as the subject, and so people started saying "it is I", a sentence which is impossible in many other languages. (This seems to be part of a wider pattern in Middle English of reinterpreting words that come before the verb as subject, e.g. originally "me liketh" but the dative was later replaced by the nominative.)

This is why, if it's the history of the language that makes "it is me" incorrect, I don't understand why you don't think it makes "it is I" incorrect. Both are equally innovations from the point of view of the original state of the language. And to be honest, getting the subjects wrong seems to me to be a much bigger mistake than dropping the n from nadder.

But even if you think I'm wrong about there being a change when it comes to "it am I" > "it is I", there are countless other changes that people don't complain about. Is "I have come" (instead of "I am come") wrong? What about "its" (his)? " Are double negatives that resolve to a positive wrong because originally in English double negatives reinforced each other, as they do in many languages?
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Benedarius » Fri May 29, 2009 2:41 pm

Essorant wrote:The roots and the history of the language determine it. It never was otherwise.

That is arbitary. Irish comes, if you go back far enough, from the same language as English (PIE), but has a totally different construction for the copula. "to be" isn't inherently any sort of verb, it can change. Read about it. Why do you think that we have to stick to what case follows to be, and totally and utterly change the Old English paradigm. Why stop at that, let's go right on back to PIE and as far back as we can go, because anything that is different from that is wrong.

Another thing, why do you think that the nominative case should follow to be? Because it does in Latin I presume would be high up the list. Not because it always has in English, as has been shown, and for centuries there have been grammarians who have argued on both sides. Latin grammar (dangling prepositions sound familiar, I think I quoted "that is the sort of nonsense up with which I shall not put already") can not and should not be applied to English. German uses nomanitive after to be too, but neither should German grammar be applied to English. That is not universal, even within the Indo-European branch. One of the Slavic languages, or all I don't know, occasionally use the instrumental case with the copula, I think it expresses the same distinction as the two copula in Romance languages.

Essorant wrote:"Be" is not the kind of word that turns "I" into "me" and surely you know that.
Isn't it? If that's what English speakers now say, then it is. Three hundred years ago at least people were saying it, so I don't quite know where you are getting that certainty. What about other copulative verbs? "He became I" wouldn't be said by anyone (even if the phrase is a little contrived anyway), but in that copulative verb, English speakers would certainly use "He became me" if they really wanted to use that sentence. (I cannot think of a better example with another copulative verb, but I wanted to make the point anyway).
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby spiphany » Fri May 29, 2009 3:54 pm

Benedarius wrote:
Essorant wrote:One of the Slavic languages, or all I don't know, occasionally use the instrumental case with the copula, I think it expresses the same distinction as the two copula in Romance languages.

Well, Russian does this in any case. Nor is it particularly unusual. It's used to indicate a temporary state as opposed to an innate quality (My father was happy (today) (inst) vs. My father was happy (i.e., a happy person) (nom).)

(Of course, the verb "to be" is not generally used in the present tense in Russian, but there are other ways of expressing the same thing. One sees this construction heavily with 'become', for instance, particularly in fairy tales and such.)
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri May 29, 2009 4:27 pm

That also reminds me -- Arabic uses the accusative for the complement of "to be" when the latter is explicitly used. I found that weird when I first learned about it, because it uses the nominative when "to be" is implicit.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Essorant » Sat May 30, 2009 5:07 am

What I don't understand is why you think that principle is set in stone and cannot be changed without introducing errors, but other principles can be changed at will, which is why I brought up the history of the "it is I" construction, which as far as I can gather is as follows: Old English had "hit eom ic" or in other orders (and this is still the construction in the languages most closely related to English).


I don't think it is set in stone, but it is established as a long and strong tradition in the English language. All such Premodern English examples have the same principle no matter what the wordorder: The verb "be" is a copula, and any accompanying pronoun is in the nominative case not the accusative or dative. This is an established tradition, whose length and strength outweigh just ignoring and doing whatever the whim of popular usage turns towards.

However, If the established tradition were somehow illogical or linguistically "out of joint", I would certainly believe we should consider something else regardless of how much the tradition were established. If something were brought forth that were much more logical and better, by all means it would be worth respecting. But whoever looks well, and considers how the meaning of "be" and its use as a copula go along together shall find well that the established tradition is not at all illogical, but very sound and reasonable. Therefore, we have these two things: the long establishedness of it in English and the logical soundness of it.That is already enough. But there is more. There is the "credibility" of the replacement edition. "It is me" has no credible basis or logic that it is based on, nor reason to replace "It is I". It is not much more than lazy ignorance of the establishedness of the English language, blind following and imitation of popular usage, and the kind of modern-centricness that treats whatever is more modern as better and what is less modern as worse simply because it is less modern. That kind of behaviour doesn't deserve to be an "authority" of the English language.



But even if you think I'm wrong about there being a change when it comes to "it am I" > "it is I", there are countless other changes that people don't complain about. Is "I have come" (instead of "I am come") wrong? What about "its" (his)? " Are double negatives that resolve to a positive wrong because originally in English double negatives reinforced each other, as they do in many languages?


There is a change in wordorder but not in the <i>principle</i> of how the words/wordforms are being used and relate to each other grammatically. For "it is I" retains the longestablished copula + nominative case. Likewise "I have come", has no grammatical mistake. "I" is correctly in the nominative, and "have" and "come" are the correct forms of the verbs. The wording is different, but the grammatical principles that belong to the words are correct.

Unlike "it is me" "its" becoming the genitive of "it" had reasonable cause behind it. The initial h of "it" disappeared, leaving "his" having no resemblance to "it" anymore. And the h-form of the genitive being the same as the genitive for he made room for confusion, from whence "its" was proved to be reasonable "solution".

As far as the double negatives, without a doubt the the length and strength of tradition being otherwise in Premodern English is a strong argument. But on the other side (unlike "it is me") there is some logic and reasoning for the double negatives meaning positive. Both sides have strong arguments behind them and therefore I may respect both sides. Neither of them is a blind whim of popular usage and just doing it more or less because everyone else is doing it.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Benedarius » Sat May 30, 2009 12:59 pm

Essorant wrote:But it is established as a long and strong tradition in the English language.

That's partially my point, it isn't. In the last three hundred years at least, both have been used, "it is I" in formal contexts under the influence of Latin. So it is not a long established tradition in the English language, that the subject complement takes the nominative, but you chose that option because that is what other languages do. There is no historical precedent (which shouldn't play a role anyway) for choosing "it is I" over "it is me".

What English does have a strong tradition of is preserving distinctions in pronouns and demonstratives that have been lost for centuries. We haven't marked case on anything but pronouns for centuries, and that is the problem. We preserved hence, whence, thither, whither and hither long after those distinctions had been lost for everything else.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat May 30, 2009 1:23 pm

Essorant wrote:I don't think it is set in stone, but it is established as a long and strong tradition in the English language. All such Premodern English examples have the same principle no matter what the wordorder: The verb "be" is a copula, and any accompanying pronoun is in the nominative case not the accusative or dative. This is an established tradition, whose length and strength outweigh just ignoring and doing whatever the whim of popular usage turns towards.

However, If the established tradition were somehow illogical or linguistically "out of joint", I would certainly believe we should consider something else regardless of how much the tradition were established. If something were brought forth that were much more logical and better, by all means it would be worth respecting. But whoever looks well, and considers how the meaning of "be" and its use as a copula go along together shall find well that the established tradition is not at all illogical, but very sound and reasonable. Therefore, we have these two things: the long establishedness of it in English and the logical soundness of it.That is already enough. But there is more. There is the "credibility" of the replacement edition. "It is me" has no credible basis or logic that it is based on, nor reason to replace "It is I". It is not much more than lazy ignorance of the establishedness of the English language, blind following and imitation of popular usage, and the kind of modern-centricness that treats whatever is more modern as better and what is less modern as worse simply because it is less modern. That kind of behaviour doesn't deserve to be an "authority" of the English language.

It's just part of the general trend of English becoming more analytic, so just like the dative "me" took over for the accusative "mec", it's now taking over for the nominative. The distinction between "I" and "me" in English, unlike the distinction between "ego" and "me", carries no information. It's just clutter from a previous state of the language, and things like "it is me" just represent a process to make English more regular and more efficient. I'd ask you, what benefit is there to keeping the distinction between "I" and "me" in modern English?

There is a change in wordorder but not in the <i>principle</i> of how the words/wordforms are being used and relate to each other grammatically. For "it is I" retains the longestablished copula + nominative case.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree then. If no principle is being changed why is it impossible to say εγώ είναι or ego est or das ist ich?

Likewise "I have come", has no grammatical mistake. "I" is correctly in the nominative, and "have" and "come" are the correct forms of the verbs. The wording is different, but the grammatical principles that belong to the words are correct.

Really? You think using a non-nominative form with the copula is a mistake but you have no problem using the past participle of the intransitive verb with the transitive verb "have"? What's the object of "have"? "I have come" on the fact of it is pure nonsense -- what could it mean? At least it's easy to see the development of "I have read the book" from "I have the book read" but what could lead to "I have come" other than a false understanding of the role of "have" in such constructions?

Unlike "it is me" "its" becoming the genitive of "it" had reasonable cause behind it. The initial h of "it" disappeared, leaving "his" having no resemblance to "it" anymore. And the h-form of the genitive being the same as the genitive for he made room for confusion, from whence "its" was proved to be reasonable "solution".

But English, going by Indo-European languages in general, has a long tradition of masculine and neuter nouns sharing the same inflections in the non-nominative/accusative cases ;). But on a serious note, I agree that that's the most likely motivation for the creation of "its". I had the impression, though, that you had adopted the view that any change represented a falling away into incorrectness, which is why I brought it up.

As far as the double negatives, without a doubt the the length and strength of tradition being otherwise in Premodern English is a strong argument. But on the other side (unlike "it is me") there is some logic and reasoning for the double negatives meaning positive. Both sides have strong arguments behind them and therefore I may respect both sides. Neither of them is a blind whim of popular usage and just doing it more or less because everyone else is doing it.

I have to admit, I'm a bit surprised by your response -- I'm not sure I've ever seen someone who thinks so little of "it is me" but has no problem with double negatives, so now I'll have to find something else with a long tradition that's decried by many. But I don't see how logic has anything to do with it -- it's just a matter of usage.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Lucus Eques » Sat May 30, 2009 4:10 pm

With regard to the "It is me" vs. "It is I" vs. "I am I" debate, have you folks considered French?

In French, one says, "C'est moi," where "Je suis je" would be utterly preposterous, while in Italian and Spanish, "Sono io" and "Soy yo" respectively, make perfect sense and "Sono me" or "Soy mí" would be ridiculous at best.

So what's the deal with French? Well, as I understand it, "moi" is the emphatic pronoun version of "je," and takes its place here, where other languages prefer the simplest subject-noun form (nominative). The emphatic pronoun, though, in French is not dependent upon case, and can either be subjective or objective:

Moi, je sui américain.
Moi, elle m'aime.

I believe that English, under the heavy influence of Norman French, took on a similar trait; thus "It is me" and "Are you him?" come to exist alongside the more Germanic "It is I" and "Are you he?"

I don't know any other language where both versions might be so acceptable as they in fact are in English. The diversity of English leads to confusion — but perhaps, much as the plethora of synonyms we have in English due it its extensive borrowings offer variety — say, "get" versus "acquire" — both can be correct, and appropriate in their particular context of usage.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby spiphany » Sat May 30, 2009 10:10 pm

Lucus Eques wrote:So what's the deal with French? Well, as I understand it, "moi" is the emphatic pronoun version of "je," and takes its place here, where other languages prefer the simplest subject-noun form (nominative). The emphatic pronoun, though, in French is not dependent upon case, and can either be subjective or objective:

Disjunctive pronoun, not emphatic, I believe. I posted on this earlier.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby modus.irrealis » Sun May 31, 2009 1:16 am

That makes me wonder, what are the equivalents of "it's me" in the various Germanic languages. Looking at bible translations (of John 6:20 to be precise), the ones I could find are:

Dutch: Ik ben het.
German: Ich bin es.

Swedish: Det är jag.
Danish: Det er mig.
Norwegian: Det er mig.
Icelandic: Það er ég.

Gothic: Ik im.

If that's right, it seems that Swedish and Icelandic use "it is I." I wonder then if that's the original pattern for the North Germanic languages and Danish and Norwegian underwent the change English is undergoing -- does anybody know? Because if that's the case, maybe "it is I" is another North Germanic influence on English, rather than it being a reinterpretation of it as subject like I mentioned before -- or maybe it was a combination of the two. But then what caused the change in North Germanic, since comparing Dutch and German with Gothic, it seems clear that the original version had "I" as the subject.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Essorant » Sun May 31, 2009 1:37 am

Benedarius


That's partially my point, it isn't. In the last three hundred years at least, both have been used, "it is I" in formal contexts under the influence of Latin.


That doesn't remove at least a thousand years of evidence where copula with pronouns in the nominative was the stationary feature in the English. Furthermore, you are treating the grammatical principle (that is, copula + nominatives) as if it is somehow confined into this area of ado. But that is not true. The principle is everywhere the verb "be" is used in English. "The truth" in "It is the truth" doesn't have any special form or inflection, but any one with learning in grammar knows that it is the nominative case, not accusative or dative. How do they know that? They know that because that is the way "be" works in English.


but you chose that option because that is what other languages do.


That is far from the truth. It is not I that go on about Latin, French, Hebrew, and other languages here. On the contrary, I think it is very unwise to try to judge what is correct in English according to languages that are not even Germanic. The second most important characteristic of English is its Germanicness, the first being its Englishness. Since Latin, French, Greek, and Hebrew, (and thousands of other languages you may name) are neither Germanic dialects nor stages of the English language, I find very little weight or relevance in any argument that suggests because something is done in one of those languages that it is either somehow correct in English or justifies something that is incorrect in English.


What English does have a strong tradition of is preserving distinctions in pronouns and demonstratives that have been lost for centuries. We haven't marked case on anything but pronouns for centuries, and that is the problem. We preserved hence, whence, thither, whither and hither long after those distinctions had been lost for everything else.


What are you talking about? There are still distinctions of the genitive case as well. But even if there weren't any distinctions of case, they would still have the case. "It is..." is a nominative case position, no matter what you put after it. Only the smallest minority of words require a special form that indicates the nominative as distinct from the accusative/dative, but that is too hard to respect? You are free to use thousand and thousands of other words that have no such distinction with ignorance toward the distinction. That is not enough, but you need to use the only small few that have the distinction ignorantly of that distinction too?
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Benedarius » Sun May 31, 2009 2:54 pm

Essorant wrote:That doesn't remove at least a thousand years of evidence where copula with pronouns in the nominative was the stationary feature in the English. Furthermore, you are treating the grammatical principle (that is, copula + nominatives) as if it is somehow confined into this area of ado. But that is not true. The principle is everywhere the verb "be" is used in English. "The truth" in "It is the truth" doesn't have any special form or inflection, but any one with learning in grammar knows that it is the nominative case, not accusative or dative. How do they know that? They know that because that is the way "be" works in English.

The language of 1000 years ago is totally different. It's barely (I would say not at all) comprehensible to modern English speakers. I don't think that you can draw any conclusions from that.

My point about other languages, is that prescriptivist grammar is influenced by other languages, or other stages in the development of a language. They are not relevant to modern English. I'm not a pure descriptivist, there are somethings that I think are just wrong, but this cannot be one of them.

Grammar is used to describe a language. But how is language passed on? By repetition. We hear how our parents speak and we imitate them. What we pick up from them, what they repeatedly say over and over and over again, painfully slowly, correcting us all the time, is what defines what is correct and incorrect. There is no "great tradition" in language, just see how diverse PIE became. Whether or not Anglo-saxons used the nominative case after the cupola is of no relevance to the language I'm typing in right now. What matters is what would the average English speaker say, with dialect and register has to be taken into account.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Essorant » Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:49 pm

Modus.irrealis,

It's just part of the general trend of English becoming more analytic, so just like the dative "me" took over for the accusative "mec", it's now taking over for the nominative. The distinction between "I" and "me" in English, unlike the distinction between "ego" and "me", carries no information. It's just clutter from a previous state of the language, and things like "it is me" just represent a process to make English more regular and more efficient.



No. It is part of the trend of people being more and more careless and then trying to justify their carelessness with the notion that knowledge of the past doesn't matter and that everything in the present is subjective. You can make the same argument for anything that has distinction, from genitives, to thirdperson's singular presents, to the different forms of "be", to the use of the dental to show past tense, to strong forms of strong verbs, etc. The loss of earlier or other distinctions (such as mec) doesn't justify recklessly allowing the loss of any or all remaining distinctions in English. The nadder of forgetfulness bote off many parts of the language already, but that doesn't mean we should help it bite off even more. Do you wish to help the decaying of a painting, or part of a church that is crumbling, crumble more? Or make endangered species, more endangered? I doubt it. What is the occasion then to wish to let our language be given wholly to the weather and watch the weather blow away any distinctions we have left? Furthermore it seems hypocrisy if you will respect such a multitude of distinctions that are in languages such as Latin and Greek, and then turn around and can't even respect the small few that are remaining in English.



I'd ask you, what benefit is there to keeping the distinction between "I" and "me" in modern English?



I don't think I need to justify trying to respect and preserve the language or try to name benefits as a reason why we should not abuse the language by abusing the distinctions it still has or letting them go to naught. But needless as it is, I will anyway. If you are looking for a benefit to persuade, the distinction itself is one part of the benefit. The point that it preserves a native part of the language, past and present, is another part. And the point that people may actually need to think sometimes somewhat about which form to use and why it is used instead of just ignorantly using one form everywhere, is another part.


Really? You think using a non-nominative form with the copula is a mistake but you have no problem using the past participle of the intransitive verb with the transitive verb "have"? What's the object of "have"? "I have come" on the fact of it is pure nonsense -- what could it mean? At least it's easy to see the development of "I have read the book" from "I have the book read" but what could lead to "I have come" other than a false understanding of the role of "have" in such constructions?


The object of have in "I have come" is probably an implied "myself": "I have (myself) come". But overall, I agree that it is much awkwarder than "I am come". But since "I have come" sounds more modern, people use it more. They wouldn't want people to think they actually had some attention to the past which might inspire them to say "I am come" instead.



But I don't see how logic has anything to do with it -- it's just a matter of usage.


Using object-case forms in the nominative case is not usage, but reckless abusage.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:17 pm

Essorant wrote:No. It is part of the trend of people being more and more careless and then trying to justify their carelessness with the notion that knowledge of the past doesn't matter and that everything in the present is subjective. You can make the same argument for anything that has distinction, from genitives, to thirdperson's singular presents, to the different forms of "be", to the use of the dental to show past tense, to strong forms of strong verbs, etc. The loss of earlier or other distinctions (such as mec) doesn't justify recklessly allowing the loss of any or all remaining distinctions in English. The nadder of forgetfulness bote off many parts of the language already, but that doesn't mean we should help it bite off even more. Do you wish to help the decaying of a painting, or part of a church that is crumbling, crumble more? Or make endangered species, more endangered? I doubt it. What is the occasion then to wish to let our language be given wholly to the weather and watch the weather blow away any distinctions we have left? Furthermore it seems hypocrisy if you will respect such a multitude of distinctions that are in languages such as Latin and Greek, and then turn around and can't even respect the small few that are remaining in English.

You're confusing making distinctions with having those distinctions be made through inflections. Even where "me" is used where you would like "I" and "I" is used where you would like "me", English still strictly distinguishes between subject, subject complement, direct object, and the various other grammatical relations. It just uses other means, primarily word order or periphrasis, as with the passive voice.

About decaying, your argument doesn't work for me because I don't see any analogy between a language and a work of art or a building. By your standard, all languages are now little more than rubble of the once pristine original language. But they're not.

And English doesn't have a genitive case anymore, even though this is rarely recognized for some reason. You can't say "the Queen of England's palace" in a language with a genitive case -- it would have to be "the Queen's of England palace".

I don't think I need to justify trying to respect and preserve the language or try to name benefits as a reason why we should not abuse the language by abusing the distinctions it still has or letting them go to naught. But needless as it is, I will anyway. If you are looking for a benefit to persuade, the distinction itself is one part of the benefit. The point that it preserves a native part of the language, past and present, is another part. And the point that people may actually need to think sometimes somewhat about which form to use and why it is used instead of just ignorantly using one form everywhere, is another part.

But there is no distinction -- that's the point. Whether you use "I" or "me" is completely determined by context and therefore the distinction bears no information. Is there anything in English like the contrast between "ego timeo" and "me timeo", where only the choice of "ego" or "me" changes the meaning of a sentence? "You" for example is never ambiguous in English. And people don't think about how they talk -- they just talk -- and even if they had to think, they could just as well think about the word order and think about how the word's placement tells you what grammatical function it satisfies. I understand you like conservatism in language. That's fine, it's largely a matter of taste. I don't get where you're getting this idea that usage different than the one you like is abuse and incorrect, especially when you don't say the same about your own usage when it differs from traditional usage. You don't speak like Chaucer, so I don't get why you don't think that you're abusing the English langauge.

The object of have in "I have come" is probably an implied "myself": "I have (myself) come". But overall, I agree that it is much awkwarder than "I am come". But since "I have come" sounds more modern, people use it more. They wouldn't want people to think they actually had some attention to the past which might inspire them to say "I am come" instead.

The "myself" there would just be a pronoun going with "I", just like in "I came myself", where it's certainly not the object of "came."
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Benedarius » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:27 pm

Inflection is not necessary to signify distinctions, in fact, there are almost purely analytical languages, Chinese springs to mind. I do not have any less expressive power than the Anglo-saxon that used case-endings, I simply have it through different means, as modus.irrealis pointed out.

Dutch is your native language isn't it? Do you use the genitive definite articles?

EDIT: Sorry, I confused you with someone else. But the point still stands, all languages change, it's part of their nature, it's not just English and it certainly isn't a lack of education. We do not live in a diglossic society, or at least, the differences between formal written language and their normal dialect for most people are slight, simply using more and more subclauses, and maybe slightly different vocabulary. And language change isn't purely fusional to analytical, I cannot find the cycles of change that language undergoes right at this moment in time, but a language in its course will cycle from inflectional, agglutinating and isolating and every stage in between. Agglutinating suffixes might combine to form inflections, might be dropped in favour of syntax.

Why do you single out language? Do you dress and behave exactly as your parents do? Most certainly not. Do you expect your children to dress and behave exactly as you do? Do you expect the culture of your parents and your children to be the same? Most certainly not. So why then, do you expect them to speak an identical language? Words change in meaning (nice), new words are added to a language, older ones fall out of use (read Shakespeare, Chaucer, or go further back). Phonological change happens, the great Vowel Shift is a reality.

But even that said, I don't understand why you are willing to accept so much change, both linguistically and otherwise, and yet think that English speakers are "ignorant" to not use the nominative after "to be". Why can you accept that "thou art" has fallen out of use? Our noun system is totally different, as indeed are the nouns we use, yet you think we should be influenced by the case that followed the copula in that language. Does that not seem totally and utterly inconsistent to you, besides being illogical?
Last edited by Benedarius on Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Benedarius
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Bert » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:14 pm

Benedarius wrote:Inflection is not necessary to signify distinctions, in fact, there are almost purely analytical languages, Chinese springs to mind. I do not have any less expressive power than the Anglo-saxon that used case-endings, I simply have it through different means, as modus.irrealis pointed out.

Dutch is your native language isn't it? Do you use the genitive definite articles?

I don't know to whom this is addressed but because Dutch is my native tongue as well, I will give a short answer. The genitive article is seldom used but it does still exist in some formal situations and in standard expressions.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Benedarius » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:38 pm

Bert wrote:
Benedarius wrote:Inflection is not necessary to signify distinctions, in fact, there are almost purely analytical languages, Chinese springs to mind. I do not have any less expressive power than the Anglo-saxon that used case-endings, I simply have it through different means, as modus.irrealis pointed out.

Dutch is your native language isn't it? Do you use the genitive definite articles?

I don't know to whom this is addressed but because Dutch is my native tongue as well, I will give a short answer. The genitive article is seldom used but it does still exist in some formal situations and in standard expressions.

I confused you with Essorant, and have since edited my post. I wanted to use Dutchespecially, knowing that there was a Dutch speaker who I thought was Essorant, and because to my knowledge of the language, which is slight, it has changed dramatically in writing in the last century, losing a lot of its case system.
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Re: Question about English Grammar

Postby Bert » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:07 am

Benedarius wrote:
Bert wrote:
Benedarius wrote:Inflection is not necessary to signify distinctions, in fact, there are almost purely analytical languages, Chinese springs to mind. I do not have any less expressive power than the Anglo-saxon that used case-endings, I simply have it through different means, as modus.irrealis pointed out.

Dutch is your native language isn't it? Do you use the genitive definite articles?

I don't know to whom this is addressed but because Dutch is my native tongue as well, I will give a short answer. The genitive article is seldom used but it does still exist in some formal situations and in standard expressions.

I confused you with Essorant, and have since edited my post. I wanted to use Dutchespecially, knowing that there was a Dutch speaker who I thought was Essorant, and because to my knowledge of the language, which is slight, it has changed dramatically in writing in the last century, losing a lot of its case system.

You are absolutely correct. Accusative and dative are only present yet in some contractions and stock phases. Genitive occurs somewhat more. Reading a book of say 75 years ago you still see a lot of the case endings for nouns and the article.
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