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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Syntax—The Traffic Rules of Language    163
The rules for a simple statement apply to the principal clause
of a complex sentence, i.e. (a) the present or past tense-form of
a simple or helper verb comes immediately after the German or
Dutch subject, when the latter is the first word m the sentence; (6)
when another word precedes the subject the simple tense-form of the
Dutch or German verb precedes its subject; (c) the infinitive or parti-
ciple which goes with tie helper verb always goes to the end of the
sentence., (</) if there are two helpers (e.g. / should have come),
the second helper (infinitive form) follows the infinitive (p 287)
The rules for placing the German or Dutch verb in a subordinate
clause are'
(a) when the verb is simple, it is the last word,
(6) the helper also comes at the end immediately after the participle
or infinitive which goes with it
The following models illustrate both rules
English word-order                       German-Dutch word-order
After I had heard it yesterday,          After I it yesterday heard had
I forgot it again.                              forgot I it again
When I have seen it, I shall           When I it seen have, shall I it
remember it                                    remember
It is just as well to bear in mind the fact that conjunctions, especially
subordinate conjunctions, are late arrivals in the history of a language
Many living people get on without them Though they give emphasis
to the logical lay-out of a sequence of statements, they cannot do much
to clarify what the content does not itself disclose In short, we can
save ourselves endless trouble with a foreign language if we cultivate
the habit of using simple sentences (see p 173) in our own We can
short-circuit the embarrassment of changing the pattern of word order,
if that is necessary, and we can steer clear of the troublesome choice of
correct case-form for the link pronoun of a relative clause Habitual
use of the latter adds to the difficulties of learning a new language
and leads to a congested style of writing in the one we customarily
It goes without saying that the use of a different pattern for different
clauses of a complex sentence adds to the difficulties of learning a
language without making the meaning more dear. That it is also a
disadvantage for those who are brought up to speak German, is^clear
if we compare the following examples which show how an English-