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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Il8                T/ie Loom of Language
noun other than the subject of the verb., it depends on how we answer
questions constructed by putting the subject and its verb in front of
(a) whom or what9 (b) to whom or to what The direct object which
answers (a) must have the accusative case-ending The indirect object
which answeis (b) must have the dative case-ending
A sentence which has a ducct and an indirect object is the bishop
gave the baboon a bun The bun answers the question the bishop gave
what? So it is the direct object The baboon answers the question the
bishop gave to whom? It is theieiore the indirect object The example
cited means exactly the same il we change the order of the two objects
and put to in Iront oi the baboon It then reads the bishop gave a bun
to the baboon When two nouns 01 pronouns follow the English verb,
we can always leave out the du cctive to by recourse to this trick, i e by
placing the word which otherwise follows to in front of the direct object
What we can achieve by an economical device of word-order applicable
in all circumstances, languages with the dative flexion express by using
the appropriate endings oi the noun, pronoun, adjective or article,
Two sentences in English, German, and Icelandic given below
illustrate this sort of pronoun pathology:
(a)  Fate gave htm to her m her hour of need
Das Gcschick gab ihn ihr in der Stunde ihrer Not (Geiman)
Orlogin g^iiu htmm hann i stund hcrrnar thurltar (Icelandic).
(b)  Fate gave her to htm in his hour of need
Das Gcschick gab sie ihm in der Stunde seiner Not (German).
Orlogin g&fu honum hana d stund han$ thuiltor (Icelandic).
If all nouns had the same dative ending attached to the plural and to
the singular forms> this would not be an obvious disadvantage. The
trouble with case-flcxion in Aryan languages,, a& with all other flexions,
is this. Even when they convey a common element of meaning (e.g.
plurality) they are not uniform In languages which have case-flexion,
the affixes denoting number and case fuse beyond recognition, and the
final result depends on the noun itself, Before we can use the Icelandic
dative equivalent of to the baboon or to the bishop, we have to know
which of four different dative singular and two different dative plural
case-endings to choose Thus teaching or learning tie language involves
classifying all the nouns in different declensions which exhibit the
singular and plural case-endings appropriate to each*
Latin and Russian have a fifth case respectively called the ablative
and instrumental? which may carry with it the meaning we express by
putting wth> as the dative may express putting to> in front of an English
noun; but Romans used the ablative and Russians use their iBStnimental