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Arguing in German

  Tags: Conlang | German
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17 messages over 3 pages: 13  Next >>
Christine
Diglot
Groupie
Germany
Joined 5491 days ago

41 posts - 47 votes
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Japanese, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 9 of 17
02 February 2007 at 2:02am | IP Logged 
CaitO'Ceallaigh wrote:
Random example from a Radio DW learning German page:

Diese Fläche könnte man für den Anbau nachwachsender Rohstoffe nutzen.

I am referring to könnte... nutzen.

You could stop after "can use" in English and get the gist. In the German sentence, you'd have to read the whole thing before you'd know that you can use the direct object.


In this case, I suppose most people will be able to predict the verb (or at least a related word or even a synonym) as soon as they hear "könnte man für".
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Marc Frisch
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 5530 days ago

1001 posts - 1169 votes 
Speaks: German*, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Italian
Studies: Persian, Tamil

 
 Message 10 of 17
02 February 2007 at 1:56pm | IP Logged 
CaitO'Ceallaigh wrote:
Random example from a Radio DW learning German page:

Diese Fläche könnte man für den Anbau nachwachsender Rohstoffe nutzen.

I am referring to könnte... nutzen.

You could stop after "can use" in English and get the gist. In the German sentence, you'd have to read the whole thing before you'd know that you can use the direct object.


Ok, in English your example would be something like:
'This area could be used for the cultivation of ...'

Can you really guess the end of the sentence at this point? I don't know, but it doesn't seem any easier than guessing the end of the German sentence. You seem to presume that the principal information in a sentence is given by the verb, but is that is not necessarily the case:
'I [...] to the cinema yesterday.'
contains more information than
'I went to the [...] yesterday.'

By the way, German verbs usually appear very early in the sentence (at the second position). Only in subordinate clauses the verb comes at the end and those are by definition not indispensable. (And in the past perfect tense the past participle comes at the end...)

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sumabeast
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5791 days ago

212 posts - 220 votes 
Speaks: English*, Arabic (Written)

 
 Message 11 of 17
02 February 2007 at 3:19pm | IP Logged 
the question that could be asked here is:

why is there not a single language that has all the best or preferred grammatical features of other languages all rolled up into one?

If you could design a con-lang like that what would it have?

mine:
no gender other than natural
singular, dual and plural number
subject case
object case
2nd object case
free word order
diminutives
no subject pronouns, that'd be built into the verb
no possessive pronouns, built into the noun

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Tike
Triglot
Newbie
Germany
Joined 5359 days ago

18 posts - 25 votes
Speaks: German*, Russian, English
Studies: French, Czech

 
 Message 12 of 17
14 February 2007 at 11:52am | IP Logged 
frenkeld wrote:
Kato Lomb, a known Hungarian polyglot, mentions in her book that she had run into occasional problems with the word order in German sentences in her work as an interpreter.

From what I remember, she says that an interpreter cannot wait until the whole sentence is spoken before translating, and with the German sentence structure she'd run into situations at conferences when she was not sure which way the statement would go until the sentence has been spoken in its entirety.

This does not, however, seem to pose problems for Germans in their daily lives. :)



For interpreters this is indeed a bit of a problem, as I know from hours in the booth ... But it isn't usually as difficult as one might imagine, because you are in fact able to foresee the verb quite often - or at least the general direction. This is why at the beginning it is easier to interpret into a foreign language: you anticipate what will be said in German and have time to plan the sentence in English.

I wouldn't say that this feature of German is a problem of understanding. It may, however, be one of speaking! One does sometimes catch oneself or other people having forgotten the second half of the word in mid-sentence, just because they had to stuff in as much additional information as possible (I don't exclude myself from this ;-)). Can be quite funny sometimes ;-) - maybe someone remembers an example?

Edited by Tike on 14 February 2007 at 12:03pm

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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 5462 days ago

9753 posts - 15778 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 13 of 17
14 February 2007 at 2:27pm | IP Logged 
sumabeast wrote:
the question that could be asked here is:

why is there not a single language that has all the best or preferred grammatical features of other languages all rolled up into one?

If you could design a con-lang like that what would it have?

mine:
no gender other than natural
singular, dual and plural number
subject case
object case
2nd object case
free word order
diminutives
no subject pronouns, that'd be built into the verb
no possessive pronouns, built into the noun
mine:
-gender that can be understood from the endings, which are however not the boring a for female and o/er/us for male.... smth like: i for female, u for male
-all the lovely Finnish cases with the same endings for all nouns, no matter which gender they have...ok perhaps not all the cases or no one would learn this language :oD nominative, genitive, partitive, essive, translative and the place cases only, without distinction of inside and outside cases... and also abessive, now that's enough. of course the usage of the cases would be as logical as in Finnish
-consonant gradation mwahahahahaha to compensate the cases that have been left out >:) ok the little illogical bit of it in Finnish would be changed, k would always change to j, not sometimes to j, sometimes to v and sometimes disappear.
-verb conjugation, adding a plural marker t after the singular ending, the endings themselves consist of the ending taken from Finnish and of the vowel which shows the gender, similar to the past tense in Russian... if I didn't explain clearly enough: let's take the Finnish verb rakastaa (love) and make it the first word of my conlang. in Finnish the conjugation goes like: rakastan, rakastat, rakastaa, rakastamme, rakastatte, rakastavat. in my conlang it would be rakastanu, rakastatu, rakastau, rakastanut, rakastatut, rakastaut (for male)... oops the endings of the 1st plural and 2nd plural seem to be the same as of the participle :D ok participles may take some other ending... like l+i or u depending on the gender, just as it used to be in Russian :D
-the 5 infinitives taken from *surprise!!* Finnish. the poor learner wouldn't however have to guess when does he have to use the simple infinitve and when the 3rd infinitive illative, there would be some rule for it which I haven't made up yet :D
-enough grammar already, so no tenses and no modes:P word order however relatively free, just the time adverbs would come first to denote tense and after them come words like please, I wish etc to denote mode. there would be adverbs like someday-in-the-past and someday-in-the-future used to denote tense when more precise time is not important or not necessary
-and this interesting language would be written in Devanagari :o)

never thought it can be that exciting to think about conlangs... I was going to just write down the features mine would and wouldn't have!

EDIT: just realized vowel harmony would be broken because of the gender (specifically because of the male gender..and no wonder, men always ruin everything!:P). to save the vowel harmony, the male ending will be either u or y depending on the vowels row.

Edited by Serpent on 14 February 2007 at 3:09pm

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CaitO'Ceallaigh
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
katiekelly.wordpress
Joined 5722 days ago

795 posts - 829 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Russian
Studies: Czech, German

 
 Message 14 of 17
14 February 2007 at 5:34pm | IP Logged 
Tike wrote:
I wouldn't say that this feature of German is a problem of understanding. It may, however, be one of speaking! One does sometimes catch oneself or other people having forgotten the second half of the word in mid-sentence, just because they had to stuff in as much additional information as possible (I don't exclude myself from this ;-)). Can be quite funny sometimes ;-) - maybe someone remembers an example?


Yes, yes, this is EXACTLY what I was wondering about.
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frenkeld
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5808 days ago

2042 posts - 2719 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: German

 
 Message 15 of 17
14 February 2007 at 6:16pm | IP Logged 
Tike wrote:
For interpreters this is indeed a bit of a problem, as I know from hours in the booth ... But it isn't usually as difficult as one might imagine, because you are in fact able to foresee the verb quite often - or at least the general direction.


I recall she also mentioned that since "nicht" can often end up near the end of a long sentence, if the speaker is "tricky", one may sometimes not be able to guess whether he is for or against what he has introduced in the first half of a sentence until he is nearly done with the whole sentence. (Perhaps the Cold War era political conferences in the Eastern block where especially "tricky" in this regard.)



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Al
Diglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 5370 days ago

30 posts - 39 votes
Speaks: English*, German

 
 Message 16 of 17
15 February 2007 at 6:33pm | IP Logged 
This kind of thing is used most often in formal writing such as one would find in a newspaper. You don't hear it as much in casual speech.


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