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YAGGT (was Re: Juvenile fooleries (was Re: Neanderthal and PIE (Long!)))

From:Lars Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Friday, October 17, 2008, 9:12
2008/10/16 Eugene Oh <un.doing@...>
> Christophe's post contained the clause "battling gods was not considered > unusual", which made me a little confused for a while: since when did it > become standard fare for humans to challenge the preeminence of deities? > Then it struck me, after approximately 5 milliseconds. It also reminded me > of the other thread about participles. I gave it a brief thought, and don't > think Latin, Greek or any of the Romance languages have such an ambiguity. > Neither do Chinese, Japanese or Korean. Does German? Or is English is only > language with such a muddle?
In English, the present participle has merged with two different verbal nouns. Compare German "die Lesung", "das Lesen", "lesende". Adding to the ambiguity in English, the verbal noun sense has gained the ability to take an object; in other Germanic languages, the object must be demoted to an oblique. IIRC, "battling gods" would be either "das Kämpfen gegen Götter" or "kämpfende Götter" in German, although I don't think the first form is much used. ("Gegen Götter zu kämpfen" sounds better, using the infinitive that just happens to have the same form). Also, "kämpfen" cannot be transitive in German, slightly skewing this example; in the transitive case, you get "das Lesen von Bücher" and "Bücher zu lesen," for instance. -- Lars


Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>