Print

Print


I've never been exactly active on this list and
the last time I sent a reply must've been a year
ago (I've been reading carefully, though), but
this caught my attention.

Even though language prescriptivists are pretty
adamant about the distinction of "kas" (what) and
"kurš" (who) in Latvian, in actual every day
conversation "kas" is used with both animate and
inanimate nouns.

Kas tas ir? - What is that?
Kas to izdarīja? - Who did this?


Similarly, "kurš" can be used in with inanimate
nouns, meaning "which / that".
Šī ir tā māja, kura nodega - This is the house
that burnt down.
Viņš ir tas, kurš to nodedzināja - He is the one
who burnt it.

In many places, both "kas" and "kurš" are pretty
much interchangable, though there are certain
places where "kurš" sounds better to my ear. Can't
come up with an example on the spot, but they
aren't all that uncommon.


Toms DB

P.S. I should really change my e-mail. 

Citējot Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones
<[log in to unmask]> :
>  Hi,
>  
>  Are there any languages in which there is only
one word covering both "who"
>  and "what"?
>  
>  Thanks,
>  
>  Jeff