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Re: The difficulties of judging a language which you don't speak natively (wa...

From:Doug Dee <amateurlinguist@...>
Date:Sunday, May 30, 2004, 17:59
In a message dated 5/30/2004 12:19:18 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
uaxuctum@YAHOO.ES [responding to John Cowan] writes:

>>I'm not a hispanophone, but it seems to me that this foregrounds "the >>inside of the cellar" in a way that the use of "into" in the English >>does not.
>I used "al interior de" merely to contradict his claim that you >cannot convey this information explicitly so as to avoid any other >conceivable interpretation.
I do not think the author intended to make that claim. When he says "sentences like the following cannot be adequately rendered in Spanish . . . Nothing similar can be expressed in Spanish" I think part of what he means by "adequately" and "similar" is that the goal is not merely to express exactly the same propositional content, but also to preserve which items are backgrounded vs. foregrounded. The author would presumably say that your sentence ["El hombre bajó de vuelta corriendo al interior del sótano"] foregrounds "the inside of the cellar" (as John Cowan suggested above) and/or that it foregrounds the manner of movement (running) -- since that's what he said about one of his own examples that used the form "corriendo." I really don't think the author intended to make the claim you're objecting to. Doug