Why is the past tense in Russian so odd?

The past tense of verbs in Russian looks very odd. It marks the gender and number of the verb’s subject, but does not mark whether the subject is 1st person (I / we), 2nd person (you) or 3rd person (she / he / it / they). In this respect, the Russian past tense differs from…… Continue reading Why is the past tense in Russian so odd?

Passive in Japanese

This post looks at the passive in Japanese. In earlier posts, I: explained 3 features of the passive construction, focusing on English https://languagemiscellany.com/2022/03/what-is-the-passivelooked at how 2 Bantu languages (Swahili and Chichewa) implement those 3 features. https://languagemiscellany.com/2022/04/the-passive-in-2-bantu-languages Background: passive In my earlier post, I explained that the passive construction: deletes or demotes the subject of the…… Continue reading Passive in Japanese

German and English Academic Usage and academic translation

I have just started reading German and English Academic Usage and Academic Translation (2021), by Dirk Siepmann. This starts with an exercise of translating a short passage of German academic text. It is only one paragraph, though quite a long one: Seit Mitte der 1980er Jahre hat Michel Espagne sukzessive das Themenfeld des interkulturellen Transfers…… Continue reading German and English Academic Usage and academic translation

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

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

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 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 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

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