Future tense and psychological distance

When a verb refers to the future, some languages require explicit marking of that fact. A recent paper presents evidence that companies in countries using those languages are slow in reporting that their goodwill has lost value. The paper suggests that this is because speakers of those languages perceive the future as psychologically more distant…… Continue reading Future tense and psychological distance

Similarities and differences within Scandinavian languages

The Scandinavian languages are similar to each other, but also differ from each other. Here is an example that illustrates nicely some of the similarities and differences. I came across it in The Syntax of Icelandic, Höskuldur Thráinson (2007). Although Höskuldur Thráinson uses the example to make one specific point about word order, I use…… Continue reading Similarities and differences within Scandinavian languages

Language sketch: Danish, Swedish and Norwegian

Here is a summary of some things I learnt about the Mainland Scandinavian languages (Danish, Swedish and Norwegian) a couple of years ago, when I was carrying out a self-imposed language challenge. http://languagemiscellany.com/2021/09/scandinavian-challenge-how-did-it-go/   I am commenting here only on those 3 languages, not their relatives, the insular Scandinavian Languages (Icelandic and Faroese). For an…… Continue reading Language sketch: Danish, Swedish and Norwegian

Negating a verb using an auxiliary verb

English, like many other verbs, uses an invariable particle or adverb (not) to turn a positive verb into a negative verb. But Finnish does this differently, using an auxiliary verb for this task. Present tense In the present tense: a positive verb ends in a suffix showing the number (singular / plural) and person (1st…… Continue reading Negating a verb using an auxiliary verb

You need not understand

In English, auxiliary verbs (have and be) and modal verbs behave differently from all other verbs. For example, they combine differently with negatives, as shown in the following table for auxiliaries (have and be), a modal verb (can) and another verb (go). TypePositiveNegativeAux (have)You have goneYou have not goneAux (be)You are goingYou are not goingModalYou…… Continue reading You need not understand

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 27

Today I worked through chapter 8 of Norwegian in three months, covering: future tensereflexive verbsrelative pronounmore about comparisonsco-ordinating conjunctionsother words Future tense Ways of talking about the future: with the present tense of the main verb:Kommer di i morgen? (Are you coming tomorrow?)Noen mennesker tviler på at flyplassen noen gang blir ferdig(some people doubt that the…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 27

Scandinavian language challenge day 24

Today I worked through chapter 8 of Norwegian in three months, covering: pluperfectverbs conjugated with væreprepositionsdet erindefinite pronounsmore on numbersweatherother words Pluperfect The pluperfect is formed by combining the past tense of the auxiliary har with the past participle. Vi hadde vært på en fotballkamp(We had been to a football match) Verbs conjugated with være As…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 24

Scandinavian language challenge day 21

Today I worked through chapter 6 of Norwegian in three months, covering: perfect tensemodal auxiliary verbscomparison of adverbsmore about adverbsexpressions of timeother words Perfect tense The perfect tense is formed by using the auxiliary ha (have) with the past participle. For some verbs, the auxiliary være instead of ha (to be covered in chapter 7). Example:I…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 21

Scandinvian language challenge day 19

Today I worked through chapter 6 of Danish in three months, covering: telling the timepast tense: modal auxiliariesprepositionsother words Telling the time Danes use the 24 hour clock in writing. Havd er klokken / Hvor mange er klokken?den er (klokken) ét / klokken tretten (13.00)halv to / ét tredive (13.30) As in German, halv to is…… Continue reading Scandinvian language challenge day 19