IE emphasis (was: Existential clauses)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 21:16|
I haven't been following the 'Existential clauses' thread very closely,
but I did spot John's reply to Carsten.
I don't know what the original sentence about the notary & the murderer
was (was it in French?), but I did notice what both Carsten & John said
On Monday, July 12, 2004, at 06:51 , John Cowan wrote:
> Carsten Becker scripsit:[snip]
>> Another disadvantage (here of IE langs): Emphasis is not
>> grammaticized/lexifyed/whatever-ized. Perhaps you meant "L'assassin,
>> c'*est* le notaire!" (It *is* the notary who is the killer.)
> In English it is grammaticized:
> The notary is the murderer.
> The murderer is the notary.
> mean essentially the same thing, but
In Welsh it's even more grammaticized, and....
Y notari yw'r llofrudd.
Y llofrudd yw'r notari.
...do _not_ mean the same thing.
> It's the notary who is the murderer.
> It's the murderer who is the notary.
> are distinct precisely in what is foreground and what is background.
Y notari yw'r llofrudd = It's the notary who is the murderer.
Y llofrudd yw'r notari = It's the murderer who is the notary.
(_yw_ /1w/ or /Iw/ has dialect variants 'ydyw' or 'ydy')
Unmarked sentences in Welsh begin with the finite verb. If some other part
of speech (in these examples, a noun) is fronted, it emphasizes the *focus*
of the sentence. (Welsh has focus fronting, not the topic fronting that
we find, e.g. in German).
In fact, if we have two _definite_ nouns joined by a copula in Welsh, then
one or the other must be emphasized. It is quite ungrammatical to have
something like: *Mae'r llofrudd yn yr notari.
The plain unmarked (i.e. without emphasis) sentences are:
either - Mae'r llofrudd yn notari
is the murderer PRED notary = The murderer is a notary
or - Mae'r notari'n llofrudd
is the notary PRED murderer = The notary is a murderer
'yn' is a particle marking the predicate.
The sentences with indefinite complements may also have emphasized forms,
Yr llofrudd sy'n notari = It's the murderer who's a notary
Yr notari sy'n llofrudd = Its the notary who's a murderer
Notari mae'r llofrudd = The murderer's a *notary*
Llofrudd mae'r notari = The notary's a *murderer*
Emphasis is grammaticalized a-plenty in Welsh - and not, you will have
noted, simply by word-order but also by choice of forms of "to be" :)
Both English & Welsh are IE languages. IME it's tempting fate to say
things like: "Another disadvantage (here of IE langs): Emphasis is not
The IE langs are so diffused and variant now, that practically any
generalization is more than likely find exceptions.
> (There is also a problem in that "notary" is not properly a translation
> of "notaire"; in the United States a notary is responsible only for the
> authenticity of the signatures to a document signed in his presence, and
> not at all for anything about its content; similarly, a notary can witness
> that someone appearing before him took an oath, but is not responsible
> for anything about the testimony.
Yep - much the same in the UK (probably why Welsh has simply 'notari' <--
Eng. 'notary' <-- Latin: notarius = a writer of shorthand [hence: a
secretary] <-- notae [fem.pl] = shorthand. Yep - they had shorthand way
back in Roman times :)
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760