Christophe Grandsire <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> >In all of the above sentences:
> >
> >    'The book is on the table.'
> >    'The book is new.'
> >    'This is a new book.'
> >
> >I would analyse 'is' as the copula.  It it was not in the first
> >sentence, then that sentence would be highly mystical to me:
> >'That book does its being on the table!' :-)
> You forget the second full verb use of "to be": verb of position. It's
> *not* a copula in the first sentence (a test is that the copula can be
> replaced by verbs like "seem", as in: "the book is new" -> "the book seems
> new". But you can't have: "the book is on the table" -> *"the book seems on
> the table".

Is that so?  Ok, then.

My excuse: I don't have any intuition on how to use 'seem' as a copula
and would, therefore, always use 'to be' with it. :-) And on the other
hand, I would judge your last sentence to be grammatical. :-) Probably
because German allows 'scheinen' without 'sein' in that sentence
although is sounds a bit poetical.

> German which doesn't use "sein" for position and prefers to use true
> position verbs like "stehen", "liegen" or "sitzen" (or so I have learned.

That is not true, 'sein' is used for position, too.  *But* I would
argue that it is still a *copula* in German, using your own test:

  Das Buch ist auf dem Tisch.
  the book is  on  the table

  Das Buch scheint auf dem Tisch.
  the book seems   on  the table

  Das Buch scheint auf dem Tisch zu sein.
  the book seems   on  the table to be

All ok.  It should be noted that I think the problem of the second
sentence sounding a bit poetical is that 'scheinen' loses its copula

  Das Buch ist rot.
  the book is  red

  Das Buch scheint rot.
  the bool seems   red

  Das Buch scheint rot zu sein.
  the bool seems   red to be

All ok, to and the same feeling of poetic use with the second sentence.

More overt is the copula 'bleiben' (to keep/stay):

  Das Buch bleibt auf dem Tisch.
 *Das Buch bleibt auf dem Tisch (zu) sein.

And another copula, 'werden' is totally impossible here.

Complicated.  Summarising, in German 'sein' is a copula in that 'on
the table' sentence.

Long excuse for my not speaking English well. :-)

> Maybe it's actually allowed to use "sein" for position, I don't know).

Hmm, I could not decide which is preferred, but 'sein' is definitely

Same questions concerning Finnish:

   Kadulla   on yksi koira.
   street-on is a    dog.

   Olen soumalainen.
   I-am finnish.

   Katu   on punainen.
   street is red.

Are these all copula uses in Finnisch?  And is the following a good

  ?Minš olen.

Or is 'olla' exclusively a copula in Finnish?  What is 'I think,
therefore I am' in Finnish?  (I'm collecting that one.)


Wo3 si1 gu4 wo3 zai4.
Naneun ssaenggakhanda.  Koro naneun chonjaehanda.
Jo jes kel lw hw jo.