Print

Print


On 2009-01-06 Dirk Elzinga wrote:
> Unlike others who have posted, I think that--at least in 
> the case of the
> obligatory possessives--it is crucial to have a 
> disambiguating strategy,

Swedish has an obligatory reflexive possessive, so
there will always be a difference between

_Maria ska amma sin bebis_ (Her own)
and
_Maria ska amma hennes bebis_ (Someone elses)

whereas in English both of these normally become

_Mary will feed her baby_

Though I guess there is normally a difference of stress
in English: if the baby is Marys own _baby_ gets the main
stress and _feed_ the secondary,

_Mary will ,feed her 'baby_

but the other way around when the baby is not her own.

_Mary will 'feed her ,baby_

or even

_Mary will ,feed 'her baby (and not her own)

Interestingly Swedish can also say

_Maria ska amma sin egen bebis_
'Mary will feed her own baby, and not somebody elses'
or
'Mary will feed her own baby, but some other(s) will not'

and

_Maria ska amma hennes egen bebis_
'Mary will feed someono's baby, while that someone
(apparently) will feed some other baby/-ies'

which IIANM also could be disambiguated with stress in English:

_Mary will feed her 'own baby_
vs.
_Mary will feed 'her (own) baby_.

So it's actually the English writing system which
is deficient! :-)

/BP 8^)>
-- 
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
  à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
  ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
  c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)