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Re: Grammar - Can

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 16:37
Yitzik wrote:
> Ho! McGuffey calls many questions on my side too. Sometimes I fail to > understand the precise meaning of short sentences. E.g. "The dog ran". > Does > it mean the same as "The dog was running to and fro"? Or is it "The dog > has > run away"? It's difficult to figure out without additional time > markers....
> Or what does the phrase "See the man!" mean? I've got at least two > variants > of interpretation: "Behold, here is that man!" or "Have a look at that > man!" >
Your questions are justified. I haven't yet delved into the McGuffey material, so can't say if e.g. "The dog ran" occurs in some clarifying context. By itself it seems to mean only "the dog performed an act of running". Perhaps the problem has to do with "run" as a verb of motion, implying dynamic/ongoing action, as opposed to "the dog sat/died" where we don't have the same ambiguity. Is the same sentence in Russian equally indistinct? In Spanish of course you have the problem of "corría" vs. "currió". "See the man!" to me is also quite odd; although many generations of Americans have learned reading from a similar series of books (See Spot run! et al.), I've never heard, nor used, "see" as an imperative in such a construction. It would be "Look at...!" Again, how does the literal translation in Russian sound? Spanish "¡Ve/vea al hombre!" strikes my non-native ear as equally unlikely.


Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...>
Ph. D. <phild@...>