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 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?

How many cases are there in Hungarian and Finnish?

The Uralic languages are well known for having a large number of grammatical cases. The two Uralic languages with the most speakers are Hungarian and Finnish. Finnish has 15 cases and Hungarian has between 17 and 27 grammatical cases, depending on how some items are analysed. In contrast, looking only at some examples in languages…… Continue reading How many cases are there in Hungarian and Finnish?

Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian

I have just read a paper describing 16 differences between Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian. The description was in a paper that looked for the border between language varieties separated by each difference. The paper also looked at whether those borders match national borders and how close the varieties are to each other. The authors…… Continue reading Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian

Excited for

I’ve recently heard my daughter asking her children whether they are excited for things, for example about something that will be happening at school or about a friend’s forthcoming party. That usage sounds odd to my dinosaur ears. I would say I’m: excited about an event or thingexcited for a person I had a quick…… Continue reading Excited for

Scandinavian language challenge day 39

Today I worked through the last chapter (chapter 12) of Norwegian in three months, covering: more about prepositionspast participle used as an adjectivecolloquial speechgreetings and congratulationsother words More about prepositions Some verbs and adjectives with av (by): le av (laught at); lide av (suffer from); stolt av (be proud of) Some verbs and adjectives with over:…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 39

Scandinavian language challenge day 36

Today I worked through chapter 11 of Norwegian in three months, covering: more expressions of timein order to more about ‘det’ verbs of position other words More expressions of time Prepositions: for … siden (ago): for fjorten dager siden (a fortnight ago)om (in, for [yet]):om en ukes tid (in a week)først om tre dager (not for…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 36

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

Scandinavian language challenge day 26

Today I worked through chapter 8 of Swedish in three months, covering: numbers: ordinaltimeprepositions relating to timeletter writingother words Numbers: ordinal förste (1st)andra (2nd)tredje (3rd)fjärde (4th)femte (5th)sjätte (6th) sjunde (7th)åttonde (8th)nionde (9th)tionde (10th)elfte (11th)tolfte (12th) trettonde (13th) etctjugonde (20th):tjugoförste (21st)hundrade (100th)tusende (1,000th)miljonte (millionth) The ordinal numbers do not inflect for gender. Time Veckodag (-en, -ar, day…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 26