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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Bird*s-Eye View of Teutonic Grammar   275
Teutonic verbs include several confusing clusters of near synonyms
At one time all Teutonic dialects had a verb/ora ozfaran, meaning to
go or to travel It survives in set English expiessions such as farewell
or "to go far and fare worse " The word ford comes from the same root
Otherwise go and its Dutch equivalent gaan have taken over its func-
tions The Scandinavian equivalent of go is more fastidious We can
use the Swedish gd when a human being goes on foot or when a train or
other vehicle goes, but when we speak of going in a train or other
vehicle the right verb is far a Analogous remarks apply to Danish, and
to the use of the German verbs gehen andfahren, but German usage is
now less exacting
Another cluster corresponds to place, set or lay, for all of which we
can usually substitute put The choice of the right word for put is per-
plexing in other Teutonic languages, especially in German It there-
fore calls for explanation We have three English words for bodily
orientation, all Teutonic stand, sit, he A bottle stands on the table if
upright or lies if fallen, and we set, i e make sit, a flag on a pole German
preserves these distinctions meticulously in the corresponding causative
verb forms stellen (Swed stalla), setzen (Swed satta), Ugen (Swed
laggd) corresponding to stehen, sitzen, hegen (Swed std, sitta, hgga)
for stand, sit, he They are not interchangeable though each equivalent
to put. The intransitive forms in all Teutonic languages are strong,
the causative weak
German is more exacting than its sister languages in another way
We can combine put with a variety of directives German demands
separate derivative verbs, e g aufsetzen (einen Hut) = to put on (a hat),
anziehen (einen Rock) = to put on (a coat), uwbmden (eine Schurze)
= to put on (an apron) It is important to remember that the English
verb make has a wider range than its dictionary equivalent in other
Teutonic languages Making in the sense of compelling is specifically
English For the correct word see compel orfoice
To complete our bird's-eye view, we have now to ask how the several
members of the Teutomc group differ from and resemble one another.
For this purpose we may draw a line across the map of Europe corre-
sponding roughly with the fifty-fifth parallel of latitude. North of it, the
Teutonic group is represented by Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish and
Danish, south by Dutch (including Flemish), and High German This
line now splits the Teutonic gioup into two natural clans with highly
characteristic grammatical features