On Tue, 19 Oct 2004 19:10:46 -0400, Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> So what about "Ich habe nicht Auto", sans article?  In English,
> "I don't have car" sounds telegraphic or uneducated, but I don't know
> about German.

"Ich habe nicht Auto" sounds very wrong to me -- like something a
stereotypical foreigner might say, perhaps, but of the kind "throw a
bunch of content words in a sentence without regard for grammar". I
wouldn't even call it "telegraphic" -- it's closer to "Me no have car"
in English, I'd say, than "I don't have car" (which simply sounds as
if the speaker is, say, Russian, or another language that doesn't use
indefinite articles).

> Most other languages seem to do without anything where
> English puts the indefinite article.

German does do away with the indefinite articles in some cases, though
- e.g. "Mein Mann ist Arzt", lit. "My husband is doctor", or "Ich
möchte Lehrer werden, wenn ich groß bin" ("I want to become teacher
when I grow up").

Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]>
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