‘Similar to’ in starting a sentence

Over the last 10 years or so, I have seen more and more sentences starting with the phrase Similar to. These sentences often say something like: Similar to A, B does X. Here is a slightly abbreviated version of a recent example I saw in The Times [of London]. Similar to much of myalgic encephalomyelitis…… Continue reading ‘Similar to’ in starting a sentence

Are Mandarin adjectives just a type of verb?

In Mandarin, adjectives behave like verbs in some respects. As a result, some analysts suggest that adjectives are just a subset of verbs in Mandarin. This post summarises evidence that adjectives are in fact separate from verbs. The evidence comes from Chinese Syntax, by C-T James Huang, Y-H Audrey Li and Yafei Li (2009). The…… Continue reading Are Mandarin adjectives just a type of verb?

What are retrospective breaches?

Language is the least important casualty of our current political crisis, but it is a casualty nonetheless. In December, London’s Metropolitan Police foolishly suggested that their policy is not to routinely investigate ‘retrospective’ breaches of the law. I’m not qualified to discuss the legal, constitutional and ethical rights and wrongs of this notion. But linguistically…… Continue reading What are retrospective breaches?

Half baked

If an idea isn’t really thought through and doesn’t make sense, we call it half-baked. So if an idea is completely half-baked, how baked is it? More than 50%? Less than 50%? Exactly 50%?

Scandinavian language challenge day 38

Today I worked through the last chapter (chapter 12) of Swedish in three months, covering: ‘either .. or’, ‘neither … nor’, ‘both … and”all and ‘whole’ the impersonal pronoun ‘man’ adjectives without a nounhow to translate some common English verbsspellingother words ‘either .. or’, ‘neither … nor’, ‘both … and’ Antingen … eller = either ……… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 38

Scandinavian language challenge day 35

Today I worked through chapter 11 of Swedish in three months, covering: transitive and intransitive verbscreating verbs from adjectivepast participle as adjective passiveother words Transitive and intransitive verbs Pairs of related transitive and intransitive verbs: Transitivebränna (2) (burn)dränka (2) (drown)röka (2) (smoke)väcka (2) (wake)lämna (1) (leave)kyla (2) (chilll)ställa (2) (put, stand)lägga (4) (put, lay) Intransitivebrinna (4)…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 35

Scandinavian language challenge day 29

Today I worked through chapter 9 of Swedish in three months, covering: indefinite and negative pronouns and adjectivesformation of adverbscomparative and superlativeinfinitive with and without attother words Indefinite and negative pronouns and adjectives The following are both pronouns and adjectives: någon (neuter: något, plural: några): something, someone, some, anything, anyone, anyingen (inget, inga): nothing, no-one, no…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 29

Scandinavian language challenge day 22

Today I worked through chapter 7 of Danish in three months, covering: possessive pronounsadjectives: comparative and superlativeimpersonal pronounother words Possessive pronouns min / mit / minedin / dit / dineDereshanshendesdensdets vor / vort / vorejeresDeresderesderesderesderes As in Swedish and Norwegian, the form sin / sint / sine is used in stead of hans / hendes /…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 22

Scandinavian language challenge day 15

Today I worked through chapter 4 of Norwegian in three months, covering: possessive adjectivesadjective endings: exceptionsadjectives: comparativeobject forms of personal pronounstimeother words Possessive adjectives min / mitt / minedin / ditt / dineDereshanshennesdens / detssin / sitt /sinevår / vårt / vårederesderessin / sitt / sine myyour (familiar)your (formal)hisheritshis / her its ownouryourtheirtheir own The possessive…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 15

Scandinavian language challenge day 11

Today I worked through the third chapter of Swedish in three months, covering: possessivecommands and requestsmodal auxiliary verbsadjectives: indefinite suffixesit: common and neuter formsnumbers above 20other words Possessives Nouns add the suffix -s to form the possessive (genitive). Example: Sveriges huvedstad (Sweden’s capital). A definite article may be added to the possessor (first noun) but…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 11