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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

362                The Loom of Laiigitage
say luvez du lait (drink milk), j'ai achete de lafanne (I have bought
flour);, est-ce que vous avez des poires? (have you pears ?), and even
abstractly, il me temoigne de Yamitie (he shows me friendship) This
article partitif is a trade-mark of modem French The habit goes back
to late Latin It occurs in the Vulgate and tallies with the idiom of
the Mayflower Bible, e g catelh edunt de mias = the dogs eat of the
crumbs (Matt, 15., 27) The partitive article may even be prefaced by
a preposition, as in je le mange avec du vinaigre (I eat it with vinegar)
The French de is used alone, i e without the definite article:
(a) after beaucoup (much, many), pen (little, few), pas (no), plus (more),
trop (too much, too many), e g je n'ai pas de monnaie (I have no
money), fat trop de tempi (I have too much time)*
(&) if the noun is preceded by an adjective, e g fai vu de belles maisons
(I have seen some nice houses).
The second of the two rules is generally ignored in colloquial French.
The partitive article occurs also in Italian, e g dammi del vino It is
NOT compulsory Spanish and Portuguese usually do without it, but
have a peculiar plural equivalent for some,, not comparable to that of
other European languages The indefinite article has a plural form, e g .
SPANISH                          PORTUGUESE
a boofc                un libra                       um hvro
some books        unos libros                  uns hvros
a letter              una cart a                   uma can a
some letters       unas cartas                 umas cartas
THE ROMANCE PERSONAL PRONOUN
Our tables of personal pronouns (pp 331,332, and 363) and posses-
sives (p 369) do not give equivalents for IT or ITS The reason is that
Romance nouns are either masculine or feminine. What is given as the
French, Spanish, or Italian equivalent for SHE is the subject pronoun
which takes the place of a female human being, a female domestic
animal and any group, inanimate object, or abstraction placed in
the feminine gender class Analogous remarks apply to any other
pionoun of the third person Equivalents of he, him, hts stand for
pronouns which replace a masculine noun, equivalents for she, her, hers
for pronouns which replace a feminine noun, and what is listed as the
equivalent of he 01 htm, she or hei would correspond to our it, when the
latter refers to anything sexless
The pronoun of Romance, as of other European languages, has been
more resistant to flesional decay than the noun, and choice of the