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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

154                The Loom of Language

The grammaiian's subject is the pci^on ui thin^ which answers the
question formed by putting who or what in front oi the verb n an ordinary
statement In tius way we get the subject oi cub cljusc i»< tin following
sent^rce from n CbarUM

Peoples oi all trades end c«ilunys> forthwith cetue work un'ii the above
document A the <avv oi the land

First Clause   Who cease wurk? Peoples of all trader arhi culling*
Second Clau.e   What is the L'Wr* 77;; \ dwitrflent

The <&r£cf (^w* is the answer to thf* question foiniui bv putting whot
which or what in fxoru of the verb and the subject behind it We get the
indirect object by putting r<? tvhow, or /<? wto, in the turne position To
get the two objects oi the statement I may haw told you fhw joke once too
often, we therefore ask

What may I futva tuld?       'IHJS JOKV (Dncu Oh jet 0*

To wtttwt may I have told this jttLr? .      YOU fln'Urou Object)

The general rule for an ordinary Anglo-American statement is that
the subject precedes the verb. The same rule also applies to French^
Spanish? or Italian In the Celtic languages, the subject comes after the
verb, and in Teutonic languages it comes before the verb of a simple
statement only when no other word precedes either of them. In Ger-
man, Danish, Swedish, ox Dutch, the subject of a sentence which
begins with an expression * such us two yean ago comes immediately
after a simple verb, or immediately after the helper of a compound
verb Thus the Teutonic word«order is illustrated by the following:

Two years ago lett a mine explosion      (lelt)      fifty families
fatherless. '—        '
This inversion is very common in Bible Bnghsh, e.g, then came he to
the ship. It survives m a few contempoiary English idioms such as here
comes the postman^ there goes the tramy seldom do such im)er$ton& occur in
our language^ the Wellsian came the dawny and the inevitable pop goes
the weasel. The Anglo-American student of a Teutonic language will
find it helpful to recall the pious idiom of the Pilgrim fathers
In English and ixi Scandinavian languages the object, whether direct
or indirect, comes after" (a) the main verb> (6) the subject. The rules
for placing the object of a sentence in German or Dutch and m the
Romance languages are different Separate rules apply to the position
of verb and object in simple Dutch or German statements and in
complex sentences made up of two or more statements connected