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Re: Conlang T Shirt

From:Grandsire, C.A. <grandsir@...>
Date:Friday, October 29, 1999, 7:35
Gerald Koenig wrote:
> > >From: "Grandsire, C.A." " <grandsir@...>" > >Subject: Re: Conlang T-shirt > > Really, what is the semantics of "Your language goes here" in English? > > I imagine a situation where a host says to a guest, "Your coat goes in > this closet". Is it an imperative? I don't think so. It's like saying > "Your coat belongs in this closet". It's information about the way > things are done. Or a math teacher could say to a student, "The tens go > in the second column from the right." It is a convention. > It borders on an imperative but it doesn't seem to have the serious > consequences that the subjunctive requires. >
Then not only I stick to my interpretation, but you showed me I was right, because as for your example of the math teacher, in French the math teacher would typically say: "Ecrivez les dizaines a gauche des unites". In French the imperative can have simply a meaning of description, saying "the convention is this one" and inplying that you will have to stick to it, but not giving you any order. There are a lot of examples in French (especially in school) where explanations are given in the imperative form. It is not the semantics of the English sentence that count here, but the semantics of the French sentence. The sentence would really become an order (and wouldn't fit anymore) if it was added "s'il vous plai^t" after. But without it, it can mean simply an explanation. So the sentence "Mettez votre langue ici" seems to me the best one.
> Then again, I can imagine another situation where I am applying my > update sticker to my license plate and the instructions from the > California Motor Vehicle Department say "This sticker goes here" with a > diagram. It's an order, it has consequences. >
This was also one of the ways I saw it, and the first reason why I gave this translation first. But you showed me that even without any idea of order, the imperative could still be used.
> Well, anyway, my translation for NGL just begged the question by > simply calqueing the English, there's no attempt at interpretation. > Some languages may not allow that. >
The French calque seems for me too ackward, so except if Mathias has a better idea, I think Fabian should stick to my sentence "Mettez votre langue ici".
> "Your signature goes here" > > Jerry. >
-- Christophe Grandsire Philips Research Laboratories -- Building WB 145 Prof. Holstlaan 4 5656 AA Eindhoven The Netherlands Phone: +31-40-27-45006 E-mail: