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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Modem Descendants of Latin           389
Here the correspondence ends It is not correct to use the French "present
participle" to translate the English -ing form when accompanied by the
auxiliary be, and we cannot use it to translate our -ing derivative when
the latter is an ordinary noun (spelling is difficult), or a verbal noun with
an object (spelling English words is difficult") For the last two French
usage corresponds to the alternative English infinitive construction, e g.
to spell (English words) is difficult  epeler (des mots anglais) est difficile
The Latin gerund and the Latin present participle had a different fate
in Spain and Portugal. The present participle, which ended in -an$3 -en$>
or -tens (nomin) ceased to be a part of the Spanish verb system Spanish
words which now end in -ante or -lente are, with few exceptions, simple ad-
jectives or nouns, e g dependiente (dependent), estudiante (student) The
form of the Latin gerund survives in the verbal suffix -ando (for the
regular verb of the first class), and -lendo (for all other regular and most
irregular verbs) The form of the verb which ends thus is never a pure
adjective or verbal noun (see p 139) It leans upon another verb and
remains invariant We can always translate it by the English -ing form,
though the converse is by no means true
Accompanied by e$tar3 as well as by ir (go), and ventr (come) it ex-
presses present, past, or future continuity (compare English he went on
talking) It may also qualify a verb, e g oia sonnendo (he listened smiling),
as also the subject or object of the verb, veo al muchacho jugando en la
plaza (I see the boy playing in the square) Though never an ordinary
adjective, Spaniards do use it as a verbal adjective with an object, e g
he rectbido la carta ammciando su partida (I have received the letter
announcing his departure)
Besides the regular verb estar there is another Spanish-Portuguese
equivalent of to be It is SER> a mixed verb, mainly descended from the
Latin esse> like the French fire, but partly derived from sedere (to sit)
The simple copula between two nouns is always a tense form of ser, as
is the copula which connects a noun to an attribute which is more or
less permanent or characteristic, e g in Spanish
mi hermano era pmtor      my brother was a painter
la senora es hermosa       =   the lady is beautiful
Occasionally ser turns up in passive constructions, eg el doctor
es respetado de todos (the doctor is respected by all), and the parti-
ciple then takes the gender and number terminals (-0, -a, -os> -as)
appropriate to the subject. Both participles are invariant in other
compound Spanish-Portuguese tense-forms, i e (a) HABER or TER
with the past participle (to signify perfected action), (b) ESTAR with
the present participle (to signify duration or continuing action).
Spaniards, like the French, avoid using passive constructions So the
choice of the right terminal rarely crops up at least in conversation