(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Modern Descendants of Latin           387
(b) when our be connects a noun with an accidental or temporary
attribute, but never when be precedes a roun complement, e g
la senora estd enferma = the lady is ill.
Italians often use stare as the equivalent of our verb to be, e g :
come sta?    =     how are you?
sto bene      =      I am well
A third use ofestar or of its Italian equivalent stare, involves a unique
and agreeably familiar construction, peculiar to Spanish, Portuguese,
and Italian on the one hand and to Anglo-American on the other It is a
helper equivalent to be in expressions which imply duration, e g *
English:           he is waiting        we were working
Portuguese:   }•                               estavamos trabalhando.
Spanish^       j        «»i»cir*nuu       estabamos trabajando
Italian •           sta aspettando      stavamo lavorando.
It is not correct to couple the French verb etre with a present parti-
ciple such as mangeant or travatllant* To emphasize continuity or dura-
tion^ French people can use the idiomatic expression etre en train de (to
be in the process oŁ% as in je suis en train de manger (I am busy eating),
or if the past is involved, the imperfect tense forrc^ e.g. elle pleurait
quandje suis arrive (she was crying when I arrived). Customarily there
is no distinction between transitory (elle danse mamtenant = she is
dancing now) and habitual (elle danse hen = she dances well) action in
French. Only the context tells us when elle parle au canon means she
is talking to the canary or she talks to the canary
What is sometimes called the present participle of a Spanish or Portu-
guese verb (e g. trabajando) is not historically equivalent to the present
participle of a French verb Latin had two verb forms corresponding to
the single English one ending in -ing One, the gerund^ corresponds to the
use of the -ing form as the name of a process (we learn by teaching), the
other, the present participle^ was a verbal adjective (she died smiling)
Only the latter left a descendant in French, always with the suffix -ant
(chantant, vendanr, fimssant). This French -am derivative is equivalent to
the English -ing derivative in three of six ways in which the latter is
used:
(a)  as an ordinary adjective, eg de Veau courante (running water);
(b)  as a verbal adjective, i e. an adjective with an object following it,
eg   cet arbre dominant le paysage (this tree dominating the
scenery),
(c)  in adverbial phrases, eg  Fidee m'est venue en parlant (the idea
came to me while talking)