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OT: German particles (was Re: OT: German Imperatives)

From:Paul Bennett <paul.w.bennett@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 9:04
On Tue, 15 May 2007 19:24:58 -0400, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>

> Further, you could use 'small particles' ('ja', 'doch', 'denn', 'mal', > ... I don't know the correct term, but they are common in German (and > Dutch)) to make it more colloquial: > > Kommen Sie bitte mal her! > Kommen Sie mal bitte her! > Bitte kommen Sie mal her! > ... > > (mal ~ 'for once'?) > > Kommen Sie doch bitte mal her! > ... > > (doch ~ 'I think it would be a good idea if...'??) > > Different story, but these 'small particles' are hard to translate -- > sometimes you just don't translate them, and sometimes you use a > totally different structure in English. Unfortunately, I've never > seen a paper on them. It would be interesting.
I produced not a paper by any means but a short description of a few of them. Tangentially, that last sentence was impossible to punctuate. A pausal "ellipsis" and a comma seem to be best suited, but they don't quite give the exact sense I was aiming for. Having dug out my short description, I find it was even shorter than I recall ... Their meanings are hard to succinctly express in English. Eben and doch both imply an emphasis of the truthfullness of the associated verb. They can sometimes be translated as "whether you like it or not" and "despite what you may think" respectively. Schon is fairly well translated by "indeed" as an affirmative, actually. Likewise mal, now I think about it further: both meanings of "momentarily" each cover the two meanings of mal fairly well. However, intertwined with the "for a brief time" meaning is also a sort of "simply"/"only" sense that it might be well to not overlook. Ja (aside from meaning "yes") also prefixes a "reminder" phrase -- something the speaker believes the listener already knows. I'd say it most closely mirrors "it bears pointing out" or "it bears repeating". ... which is probably insufficient for non-German speakers, and annoyingly not quite right for German speakers -- see also "'I think it would be a good idea if...'", which was seriously not on my "doch" radar. The description was as part of a proposal to import a batch of them wholesale into English, since they're damned tasty. In the context of this list, it also raises the question of whether to phoneme-map them into English, or derive correct cognates from their Germanic sources. Wikipedia, by the way, considers them attitudinal adverbs (IIRC), which would seem to more or less sum them up. ObConlang, and AFMCL, I plan on having such a class in Finlaesk, when I get around to it. Also, I've started work on the Celtic-koine-substrate-with-a-Latin-superstrate-with-an-ON-superstrate-on-top "Hibernian" language from the same AU. Right now, I'm just wrangling phonemes, and branding a few of them with graphemes. Paul -- Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client:


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>