THEORY: appositions in lists (was: Re: THEORY: Ergativity and polypersonalism)
|From:||René Uittenbogaard <ruittenb@...>|
|Date:||Friday, January 21, 2005, 1:00|
Tristan McLeay wrote:
>>> English might say '... with John, the butcher; Jack, the tailer;
>>> Sally; the greengrocer and the Prime Minister' (five people),
Rene Uittenbogaard wrote:
>> That's brilliant! I'll start using the semicolon in Dutch for this
>> purpose from now on.
> What a delightful response! I love it. You might like to know that
> a comma before the "and" in the chain seems to be becoming more de
Thanks! I didn't know any good way to disambiguate "with John, the
butcher, Jack, the tailer, Sally, etc." in Dutch. That's why the
semicolon struck me as a great idea. Plus, I was in a good mood :)
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 Sally.
(this doesn't sound as bad.)
I'm quite unsure. 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.
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.
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 ;)