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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Linguistics [Dec. 9th, 2001|11:18 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
At 10 I was crawling into bed when I remembered I had linguistics homework... which involved reading several chapters first.

I was kinda cranky about it at first, but I always end up enjoying it. Like this:
By contrast, whether is an interrogative Complementiser which can introduce finite and nonfinite Clauses alike; whereas if is an interrogative Complementiser which can only introduce finite Complement Clauses: cf.
  • I don't know [whether/if I should agree].
  • I don't know [whether/*if to agree]
And how German can start with Complementisers:
Ob Johanna den Wagen verkauft hat?
Whether Joan the car sold has
"Has Joan sold the car?"

Dass mir das nicht früher aufgefallen ist!
That me to no earlier struck is
"To think that it didn't strike me earlier!"
Fun stuff. If only I'd started doing both German and lingustics stuff earlier in college. There were a bunch of classes I took that I'm no more the better for. I wish I could've done fun stuff instead, and maybe double majored.

Anyway ... back to reading & homework. And then sleep! Have to wake up early tomorrow. Last Monday!

[User Picture]From: edmcbride
2001-12-09 11:31 pm (UTC)
Last Monday for me too!
(Reply) (Thread)
From: evan
2001-12-10 12:46 am (UTC)
I just wonder what the difference between

Ob Johanna den Wagen verkauft hat?


Hat Johanna den Wagen verkauft?

is... Calliste?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: calliste
2001-12-10 06:59 am (UTC)
It's really hard to think about your own language. But I'll still try.

The difference is that when you are asking Hat Johanna den Wagen verkauft?, it is simply asking whether she sold the car. When you ask Ob sie den Wagen verkauft hat?, it was clear from the beginning that she was gonna sell the car and now you're wondering if she has sold it yet.

But I guess you can also use it differently. You walk down to Johanna's house and don't see her car in the driveway and ask yourself Ob sie den Wagen verkauft hat?" ... when asking this question, you can also be almost sure of the answer.

Wow, this is tricky. So, the main point is as I said that you kind of knew the answer from the beginning (you still might be wrong, but you assume you know it).

Same with "Dass mir das vorher nicht eingefallen ist!". The person saying that will probably slap their forehead and curse themselves for not having seen the solution before, whereas "Das ist mir vorher nicht eingefallen.</i> just means that you didn't think of that before.
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[User Picture]From: calliste
2001-12-10 10:40 am (UTC)

more thoughts...

I guess a good way to translate this sentence to English would be:

I wonder whether Joan has sold the car?

We just leave the "I wonder" away.

([Ich frage mich,] ob Johanna das Auto verkauft hat?)

After having pondered it for a while, I would say that what I say above is still correct, and the sentence includes both an emphasis and a personal opinion, while Hat sie das Auto verkauft? is simply neutral, without an opinion manifested in it.
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