Re: Singing bird (was: does my lang cover everything?)
|From:||Herman Miller <hmiller@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, April 30, 2006, 18:19|
>>Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:
>>Ages ago, I learned in school that it would rather have to be 'I heard
>>the bird sing' instead. The rule was that after verbs of perception,
>>the infinitive is used instead of the gerund. However, I often see
>>this rule violated by L1 speakers. How do you judge the correctness?
> In all my 60+ years speaking English as L1 and in all my academic
> experience leading to a B.A. in English, I never came across that
> rule. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, just that I never heard of it.
> I see (feel?) a differnce in the two phrases. Unfortunately, I can't
> put my finger (ear?) on it at the moment.
It seems related to aspect; "I heard the bird singing" has an
imperfective feel to it. Not quite the same as "I was hearing the bird
sing" (which I for some reason want to rephrase as "I was listening to
the bird sing"), but something related.
> BTW, does "I heard the bird singing" mean the same thing as "I heard
> the singing bird"?
In the first case you're hearing the singing, and in the second case
you're hearing the bird. Not much difference unless the sound you were
hearing in the second case wasn't the singing but some other sound the
In a lang like Minza, which doesn't have gerunds (but does have verbal
nouns), you'd have to say "I heard the singing of the bird".
Ykuǿnu miras nilat.
y-kuǿn-u mir-as-Ø nil-at
1sERG-hear-PERF sing-activity-ABS bird-GEN
while "I heard the singing bird" would be:
Ykuǿnu nil miryli.
y-kuǿn-u nil-Ø mir-yl-i
1sERG-hear-PERF bird-ABS sing-PART-ABS
with an active participle.