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Re: "Tagalog, it's got a Trigger System," She Said (was; QUESTION-New project)

From:Douglas Koller <laokou@...>
Date:Friday, February 19, 1999, 8:50
Matt Pearson wrote:

> There's nothing remotely strange or 'grammatically incorrect' about > this > construction at all. It even has a name among linguists: "Left > Dislocation"
> English, French, and Italian also have Right Dislocation: > > I love him, that man of mine > I've never met him before, that crazy brother of yours
> Somehow, these sound best to me when the right dislocated > element is introduced by a demonstrative like "that". It sounds > strange to say "I've never met him before, your brother", unless > "your brother" is being added as an afterthought.
This right dislocated afterthought (intentional or no) is a great way to ratchet up the fuzziness factor in a Japanese utterance: Sono hito ga imasen, ima (wa) [said in a lower, more level intonation]. has, for me, more of the flavor of: "He's not here just now." (so perhaps you'd like to call back in a few minutes) than: Sono hito ga ima imasen. "He's not here now." (cope). When I first moved to Taiwan with a severe case of Japanese on the brain, I continued to do this for a while, but it doesn't really work. Sounds more like you're trying to mash Chinese into English syntax. *Ta bu zai, xianzai. He's not here now. for Ta xianzai bu zai. As for:
> In Mandarin the latter form also occurs colloquially: > Neige Zhongguoren, ta buneng shuo Yingwen (That Chinese person, s/he > can't > speak English). It is sometimes emphatic, but occurs in some people's > speech with great regularity.
It depends on intonation and context, of course, but when I here this type of sentence, I usually expect an explicit or implicit "so..." on the way, either in the form of an explanation: Neige Zhongguoren, ta bu neng shuo Yingwen. That Chinese person doesn't speak English (so that's why s/he is so nervous around foreigners). or in the form of a major rank-out: Neige Zhongguoren, ta bu neng shuo Yingwen. That Chinese person doesn't speak English (so who the hell does s/he think s/he is thinking his/her English is so hot?). Kou