Doing work and playing roles in Italian

Several constructions in Italian use the verb fare (‘do’, ‘make’). Two of these constructions look very similar on the surface but syntactically they behave in very different ways. A short book Fare: Elementi di sintassi, by Nunzio La Fauci and Ignazio M Mirto (2003) analyses them. Here are 2 examples: (1) Adamo fa il medicoAdam…… Continue reading Doing work and playing roles in Italian

The passive in 2 Bantu languages

In an earlier post, I explained 3 features of the passive construction, focusing on English. This post summarises how 2 Bantu languages (Swahili and Chichewa) implement those 3 features. It also mentions the stative, a construction that is somewhat similar. Background: Bantu languages The Bantu group of languages has many members, spoken in the southern…… Continue reading The passive in 2 Bantu languages

What is the passive?

In English and many other languages, many verbs may be in either an active form or a passive form. Most descriptions of the passive treat the active as a more basic form, with the passive derived from it. The easiest way—perhaps the only way—to describe active or passive is by the relationship between them: the…… Continue reading What is the passive?

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

Perfect tense: lifetime effects

The perfect tense in English reports past events that continue to have an effect in the present. This leads to some interesting effects that are sometimes called lifetime ‘effects’. This name is used because whether a sentence is acceptable (felicitous) depends on whether it relates to a person or subject that still exists. For example,…… Continue reading Perfect tense: lifetime effects

Scandinavian language challenge day 37

Today I worked through the last chapter (chapter 12) of Danish in three months, covering: more verbs ending in sverbs used as adjectives and as nounsword formationother words The chapter also comments briefly on punctuation and on writing letters (ie correpondence) in Danish. More verbs ending in s Some verbs occur only in the passive -s…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 37

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 33

Today I worked through chapter 10 of Norwegian in three months, covering: passivepresent participlecompound wordsmore about prepositions other words Passive The passive is formed using the auxiliary bli and the past participle. The agent of the action need not be mentioned, but if mentioned it is preceded by the preposition av (meaning by). Huset blir maltHuset…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 33

Scandinavian language challenge day 31

Today I worked through chapter 10 of Danish in three months, covering: passiveimpersonal formsmore on prepositionsother words Passive One version of the passive is formed by replacing the -r ending on the present tense with -s, or by adding -s to the past tense: at behandlesvi behandlesjeg behandledes to be treatedwe are treatedI was treated Den…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 31