Re: THEORY: appositions in lists (was: Re: THEORY: Ergativity and polypersonalism)
|From:||Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>|
|Date:||Friday, January 21, 2005, 7:27|
On 21 Jan 2005, at 12.00 pm, René Uittenbogaard wrote:
> Tristan McLeay wrote:
> > Is Dutch in the habit of following the French model? I supposed most
> > Germanic languages would've done like English... The French way has
> > way too many words to be anything but unglamorously repetititive.
> I don't really know how I usually disambiguate the appositions.
> Maybe I unknowingly use the French model. Let me see how they sound:
> Ik vertrok met John, de slager, Jack, de kleermaker, Sally, de
> groenteman en de minister-president. (ambiguous: how many people?)
> Ik vertrok met John, de slager; Jack, de kleermaker; Sally; de
> groenteman en de minister-president. (looks ok, although the
> punctuation may not be in agreement with formal rules)
> Ik vertrok met John, de slager, met Jack, de kleermaker, met Sally,
> met de groenteman en met de minister-president. (ugly: too
> Ik vertrok met John, de slager, met Jack, de kleermaker, en met
> (this doesn't sound as bad.)
> I'm quite unsure.
Perhaps Dutch would prefer a wholly different method, as:
I left with the butcher John, the tailor Jack, Sally, the
the Prime Minister.
I left with John and Jack---the butcher and tailor---Sally, the
and the Prime Minister.
> I'm guessing I'd only use the French model if it
> doesn't require too many repetitions. Otherwise, I'd try to
> disambiguate/elaborate in another way.
> The solution using the semicolons is simply the most concise one.
> Although this leaves us with the problem of:
> Ik vertrok met John, de slager; Jack, de kleermaker; en Sally.
> In Dutch, many people already frown on having a comma before "en".
> A semicolon makes matters worse.
Well, a semicolon isn't usually used there in English, either; it's a
comma or nothing (but here we need another comma to close off the
apposition, and two commas are condensed into one, so the nothing
option and the comma option end up looking the same):
I left with John, the butcher; Jack, the tailor, and Sally.
> How about:
> Ik vertrok met John (de slager), Jack (de kleermaker) en Sally.
> Ik vertrok met John (de slager), Jack (de kleermaker), Sally, de
> groenteman en de minister-president.
> I guess this one is best. I'd pronounce the parenthesized parts at
> a lower voice and/or lower pitch; a short pause between the list
> elements helps the listener to find out exactly how many people there
> are in the list.
> Can English do the same? e.g.
Well, when I was saying it punctuated my way, there would be enough
indication through other less easily described changes in pitch and
pauses to disambiguate the individual list-items, but if using brackets
what you describe would indeed happen.
Your bracket-method could only work if you'd introduced the butcher and
tailor, and now chose to give them names; the semicolon method would
work when you introduced a couple of Johns and a couple of Jacks and
you were talking clarifying which John and Jack you meant or if you
just wanted to emphasise that they were butcher and tailor. Also, the
bracket-method probably would only be found in informal/unedited
writing, whereas the other method is more acceptable elsewhere.
> I left with John (the butcher), Jack (the tailor), Sally, the
> greengrocer, and the Prime Minister.
> Well, this has been another fruitful dig through my Dutch mind ;)
But now we've all discovered there's something more to consider in our
conlangs! Argh! Whatever shall we do!?