2015-02-03 13:34 GMT-02:00 Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <[log in to unmask]

> On 3 February 2015 at 16:04, James Campbell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > My lack of linguistics training is showing again as I attempt to write
> the
> > definitive grammar of Jameld. Here's the thing: there are certain
> > expressions that, in English, have the speaker as the subject, but in
> some
> > other languages the speaker (agent??) is the object. For instance:
> >
> > EN: I'm sorry.
> >
> > NL: Het spijt me. (lit. It sorrows me)
> >
> > EN: I like the book.
> >
> > IT: Mi piace il libro./Il libro mi piace. (lit. The book pleases me)
> >
> > I'm at a loss for the right terminology for this phenomenon: agent
> > switching? Polarity reversal? Maybe I'm just looking at it from a too
> > Anglocentric viewpoint.
> >
> >
> Actually, as you showed above even in English there is at least one pair of
> verbs whose main difference is the "polarity": "to like" vs. "to please"
> :). As with Spanish "gustar"

BTW, the Portuguese cognate "gostar" is used like English "to like", with
the difference that "gostar" requires the preposition "de" ("of"):

EN: I like chocolate.
SP: Me gusta el chocolate.
PT: Eu gosto de chocolate.

But Portuguese also have the verb "agradar" meaning "to please":

EN: Chocolate pleases me.
PT: Chocolate me agrada.

Até mais!


> or French "plaire", I think people would have
> less difficulties with these verbs if they were correctly translated as "to
> please" rather than doing contortions to make them fit the "to like"
> pattern.
> > How would one describe these verbs, spijten and piacere?
> >
> >
> Very good question. And given that Moten is full of verbs like that (most
> verbs of mental activities in Moten are like that for instance), I should
> have a way to describe it :).
> But to be honest, they are just *verbs*, i.e. they are not special in the
> languages where they are used. They are not anomalous, irregular, or
> anything. The only thing that puts them apart from other verbs is that they
> happen to have a different argument structure than the most common
> equivalent verbs in English. So when I describe those types of verbs as
> they appear in Moten, I usually just say that they are like their English
> equivalents in meaning, but with a "different argument orientation". I
> don't know if there's a linguistic way to describe them, but this one works
> for me.
> Another way I use to describe them is simply to gloss them with passive
> forms in English. It makes the argument orientation clear from the get go
> :).
> By the way, here are a few examples of such verbs in Moten:
> - _jelojmaj_: "to be thought of by" (i.e. "to think");
> - _jelojmastu|l_: "to be remembered by" (i.e. "to remember");
> - _iteo|l_: "to please, to be liked by";
> - _idibaj_: "to be considered by, to be believed by, to be thought by"
> (i.e. "to think", when stating an opinion);
> There are more, but those are the most common ones :).
> --
> Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
> President of the Language Creation Society (
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