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?

Fronted adverbials

Periodically, a debate breaks out in the British press about whether schools in England teach too much English grammar or too little English grammar. The trigger for the latest outpouring was an academic study suggesting that teaching grammar does not improve children’s writing. For some commentators, the phrase ‘fronted adverbials’ now exemplifies excessive focus on…… Continue reading Fronted adverbials

Existential Perfect in Hungarian

Hungarian uses only stress and a change in word order to express a meaning sometimes called the existential perfect. This meaning refers to an event that occurred at least once in the past or will occur at least once in the future. The number of times the event occurred (or will occur) is indefinite). Background:…… Continue reading Existential Perfect in Hungarian

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 30

Today I worked through chapter 9 of Norwegian in three months, covering: more about conjunctionsmore about word orderconditional that clausesother words More about conjunctions Conjunctions—time: da (when)når (when)idet (As)mens (while) før (before)etterat (after)siden (since)inntil (until) Da expresses what happen once in the past (den gang: da). Når expresses what usually happens, what used to happen or…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 30

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 28

Today I worked through chapter 9 of Danish in three months, covering: relative pronounsword order: more complex typespolitenessother words Relative pronouns The relative pronoun som (who, which, that) is used for both singular and plural, subject and object. When the relative pronoun is the subject, it can be replaced by der. When the relative pronoun is the object,…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 28

Scandinavian language challenge day 20

Today I worked through chapter 6 of Swedish in three months, covering: conjunctionsword order in subordinate clausesmore about word order in main clausesperfect and pluperfect tensesirregular verbsother words Conjunctions Co-ordinating conjunctions link main clauses together. Common examples: ellerförmen orbeforebut utanochså afterandso Eller is used in a common form of tag question:Han har två bilar, eller hur.He…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 20

Scandinavian language challenge day 18

Today I worked through chapter 5 of Norwegian in three months, covering: the past tense of weak verbs and strong verbsadverbsword orderordinal numbers Past tense: weak verbs Most weak verbs form the past tense by adding the suffix -et or -te to the stem. (Verbs with a stem ending in -ll, -mm or -nn drop the…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 18

Scandinavian language challenge day 14

Today I worked through chapter 4 of Swedish in three months, covering: weak and strong verbsimperfect tense of weak and irregular verbsreflexive verbsadjectives: definitive formspolite requestsword order: adverbsother words Weak and strong verbs As in other Germanic languages, weak verbs form their past tenses by adding a suffix and strong verbs form them by changing a…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 14