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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Bird*s-Eye View of Teutonic Grammar   273
the affixes in the accompanying table, though very much ahve, is not
native It has no precise Enghsh equivalent, recognizable as such From
about the twelfth century onwards German courtly poetry assimilated
many French verbs The infinitive ending -ler became Germanized as
-leren, and this terminal subsequently attached itself to native roots, as
in halbieten (halve) The stress on the suffix -ter- instead of on the root
labels it as an intruder It turns up later as -er- in Scandinavian, and in
Dutch it is -eer- It is very prolific In fact, it can tack itself on to almost
any current international root, as of scientific terms, e g telefonera
(Swed ), telefonere (Dan ), telefoneeren (Dutch), telefomeren (German)
German, but not Dutch, verbs of this class have past participles with-
out the ge- prefix, e g ich hdbe telegrafiert (I have telegraphed)
It is possible to avoid some eirors of sef-expression if our bird's-eye
view takes in some of the outstanding differences between English and
other Teutonic languages One of these, the disappearance of gram-
matical gender, and with it of adjectival concord, has been mentioned
more than once Several syntactical peculiarities of modern Enghsh
are also pitfalls for the beginner One common to Mayflower Enghsh
and to Enghsh in its present stage, is the identity of word-order in
different clauses of a complex sentence (pp 161 to 165) The moral of
this is to stick to simple sentences when possible, and to recognize the
conjunctions listed on p 161 as danger-signals when it is not con-
venient to do so The way to deal with some other outstanding syn-
tactical peculiarities of Anglo-Amencan when writing or speaking
German, Dutch, Swedish, or Danish has been suggested in Chapter IV
Express yourself in the idiom of the Pilgrim Fathers Three important
rules to recall are (a) inversion of the verb and its subject unless the
latter is the first word in a simple statement (p 154), (b) use of the
simple interrogative, eg what say you? (p 158), (c) use of the direct
negative, eg/ know not how (p 160)
In the same chapter we have met with four other characteristics of
Anglo-Amencan usage, and the student of any other Teutonic language
should recall them at this stage They are (a) the economy of Enghsh
particles, (6) the peculiar uses of the Enghsh -mg derivative as verb-
noun or with a helper (p 139) to signify present time and continued
action, (c) the disappearance of the distinction (p 149} between transi-
tive and intransitive verbs, (d) the transference of the indirect object to
the subject in passive constructions (p 150)
It is important to note the wide range of the two epithets all and
only We can use the former before a plural or before a singular noun,