Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Standard Average European

From:Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 7, 2008, 11:08
Selon ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>:

> > Actually, I'd still like to hear from our native speaker, as to whether (1) > it's permissible to front both the Subj. and the Obj., and (2) does the > ordering matter? and (2a) if not, can it be non-ambiguous? My non-native > feeling, like yours, is that the first fronted element is the subject > (topic) in this case (both 3d person). Obviously, in "le bandit, il m'a vu" > bandit is the subj. OTOH in "le bandit, je l'ai vu" it's the Object. >
As I said, it's only possible to front a single element as topic. The remainder of the sentence doesn't have a completely free word order (in particular, the only other thing that can appear before the verbal complex, besides the topic, seems to be the subject phrase. This influences for instance the positioning of unincorporated adverbs, which when not topicalised can only appear after the verbal complex, something quite different from Written French). Verbal agreement handles a lot of cases, but this doesn't make the word order completely free.
> Prevli started off with a similar problem: > la:ter zehen COP BANDIT > see-past [3subj-3obj] cop(subj.) bandit(obj.)-- OK because of V PRO S O word > order > > And la:ter zehen is "he saw him/her" But-- > > la:ter zehen bandit could then have meant either "he saw the bandit" or > "the bandit saw him" > We fixed it by introducing an object marker: la:ter zehen _a_ bandit, which > can only mean "he saw the bandit"; and la:ter zehen bandit only "the bandit > saw him". >
Spoken French doesn't fix the ambiguity. It needs to be handled by context and/or rephrasing.
> > > >I'm curious: what on earth is "y a bon"? > Well, literally, "there has good", I suppose reduced from "il y a bon" > (still poor French) presumably the way some ad writer thought les pauvres > Africains spoke. Mind, I'm recalling this from 50 years > ago...........hélas. >
Actually it was not invented by the ad writer, but was a common meme in France, until not so long ago. Presumably some French-based creole uses such a structure, and the racist French mind concluded that all coloured people spoke French that way. See for instance how African people were pictured in French and Belgian comic books from the 50's and 60's (Tintin included. Some early albums are downright racist and colonialist). -- Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets. It takes a straight mind to create a twisted conlang.