Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-27, 17:17

pittmirg wrote:Subjunctive-wise, the Germanic tongues are but a faint reverberance after all while the Romance ones are the very heart of darkness...

Eh, the subjunctive is very healthy in German. Even in the dialects, where they can't be bothered with all the irregularities, their solution is to use a periphrastic construction (i.e subj. of tun + INF.) rather than dispense with the mood altogether.

On the other hand, the subjunctive is all but dead in Cajun French. About the only exception is the fixed expression il faut (que) and then only for a half-dozen verbs or so. Even in this case, many speakers substitute the indicative, e.g. Il faut j'sus/sois là à deux heures "I have to be there at two."
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby JackFrost » 2014-07-27, 19:18

"Après que" doesn't always have a clear indicative meaning since it can be futuristic as well. Example: "après que je sois allé chez moi, je souperai" ("after I will have come home, I will have supper"). Technically, we cannot be fully certain about the future, so there is a bit of doubt, hence the subjunctive. And I suppose, with the analogy of "avant que", that's how the use of subjunctive for "après que" has become a trend that it's even used for actions that are completed in the past. So, "après que je sois allé chez moi" can be either "après que je serai allé chez moi" or "après que je suis allé chez moi" or "après que j'étais allé chez moi". We get the temporal clue from the main clause (future or past/present perfect), so there's little room for ambiguity as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby lazyaficionado » 2014-07-28, 8:41

linguoboy wrote:
pittmirg wrote:Subjunctive-wise, the Germanic tongues are but a faint reverberance after all while the Romance ones are the very heart of darkness...

Eh, the subjunctive is very healthy in German. Even in the dialects, where they can't be bothered with all the irregularities, their solution is to use a periphrastic construction (i.e subj. of tun + INF.) rather than dispense with the mood altogether.

Well, which subjunctive are you refferring to?

I may be mislead here but my German book said that Konjunktiv I was used only in formal texts, in colloquial speech being replaced by Konjunktiv II which in its turn is often realised as werden + inf. It's not technically dying out but well, not quite healthy too.

Is this not the case?

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-28, 15:39

lazyaficionado wrote:[I may be mislead here but my German book said that Konjunktiv I was used only in formal texts, in colloquial speech being replaced by Konjunktiv II which in its turn is often realised as werden + inf. It's not technically dying out but well, not quite healthy too.

I'm not sure how you conclude that it's "not quite healthy" simply because it's more likely to be expressed periphrastically. The preterite is also frequently expressed periphrastically in German. (In many southern varieties, it doesn't exist at all.) Does that mean it is "not quite healthy" either?
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby lazyaficionado » 2014-07-28, 16:55

linguoboy wrote:Does that mean it is "not quite healthy" either?

Yep. Also I don't understand your, eh, being ironic about the term "healthy", which was yours.
And I'm not saying that a certain function isn't healthy; only a means, and there of course are other means to realise the function. I hope I made things clearer.

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-28, 17:00

lazyaficionado wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Does that mean it is "not quite healthy" either?

Yep.

Seriously? You really think that there is any serious chance that German-speakers will give up on the distinction between past and non-past in the foreseeable future?
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby lazyaficionado » 2014-07-28, 17:06

linguoboy wrote:
lazyaficionado wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Does that mean it is "not quite healthy" either?

Yep.

Seriously? You really think that there is any serious chance that German-speakers will give up on the distinction between past and non-past in the foreseeable future?

Who was implying that? Germans express their past with the perfect, and we were talking about the damn preterite.

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-28, 17:17

Okay, I see we have a terminology confusion. In English, "preterite" can mean simply "past tense" without indicating a particular form, as Preterit does in German. It was a poor choice of words. So let's try this again:

1. In modern German, Konjunktiv I is largely restricted to formal contexts. So is the Preterit, for most speakers.
2. When a subjunctive form is called for, most speakers prefer a periphrastic expression consisting of the Konjunktiv II of the auxiliary werden plus infinitive. (In dialects, often Konjunktiv II of tun + INF.) When a past tense form is called for, most speakers prefer a periphrastic expression consisting of the auxiliary haben plus past participle.

Do you see the parallel I'm drawing? The periphrastic Perfekt has largely displaced the synthetic Preterit, yet the underlying distinction--past vs non-past--is still inarguably secure. Similarly, the fact that a periphrastic subjunctive is in the process of displacing synthetic forms (Konjunktiv I & II) does not suggest to me that the distinction between indicative and subjunctive is in jeopardy.

Does that sound like a reasonable conjecture? Why or why not?
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby lazyaficionado » 2014-07-28, 17:47

Alright, sorry about the confusion. I can see what are you trying to say. In fact I never denied it. Surely the distinction between the "real" (i.e. indicative) and the "non-real" (subjunctive) remains. I was referring to merely a grammatical forms called Konjunktiv in German. You don't seem to have any objections to them being not preferred to be used, do you?

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-28, 18:17

lazyaficionado wrote:Alright, sorry about the confusion. I can see what are you trying to say. In fact I never denied it. Surely the distinction between the "real" (i.e. indicative) and the "non-real" (subjunctive) remains. I was referring to merely a grammatical forms called Konjunktiv in German. You don't seem to have any objections to them being not preferred to be used, do you?

As long as you recognise that most auxiliaries (including modals) are an exception. Hätte, wäre, möchte--none of these forms are disappearing anytime soon.
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-28, 19:03

Is it bad that I've always thought the German subjunctive was more like the Romance conditional than it was like the Romance subjunctive? :para:

Does that question make any sense? :lol:

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-28, 19:35

vijayjohn wrote:Is it bad that I've always thought the German subjunctive was more like the Romance conditional than it was like the Romance subjunctive?

Nope. "Subjunctive" is really a misnomer for Germanic irrealis forms in general--nowhere more so than in English.
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby kevin » 2014-07-28, 20:16

linguoboy wrote:Do you see the parallel I'm drawing? The periphrastic Perfekt has largely displaced the synthetic Preterit, yet the underlying distinction--past vs non-past--is still inarguably secure. Similarly, the fact that a periphrastic subjunctive is in the process of displacing synthetic forms (Konjunktiv I & II) does not suggest to me that the distinction between indicative and subjunctive is in jeopardy.

Not sure if you're not aware of the usual German term or whether it's just an accidental inconsistence, but when you use German words for Perfekt and Konjunktiv, you should probably call it Präteritum, too. :)

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-28, 21:15

kevin wrote:Not sure if you're not aware of the usual German term or whether it's just an accidental inconsistence

Inferenz durch Katalanisch.
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-28, 23:30

linguoboy wrote:Inferenz durch Katalanisch.

I think I thought you said Interferenz, but then I saw that you said Inferenz. Does that mean that you saw the Catalan and inferred from that what the German term was?

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-29, 0:42

vijayjohn wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Inferenz durch Katalanisch.

I think I thought you said Interferenz, but then I saw that you said Inferenz. Does that mean that you saw the Catalan and inferred from that what the German term was?

*SEUFZ*

I'm going to stop typing now and go for a nice walk instead.
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby Koko » 2014-08-06, 19:18

I tend to be somewhat descriptivist:

1) double contractions, like linguoboy's "wouldn't've"
2) "me and X" and I, too, use the disjunct pronouns
3) I joke about caring about the distinction between can and may, but really, I could care less.
4) As shown in "3" I prefer the positive form of "I couldn't care less." Honestly, I prefer not to use it at all, but sometimes I will.
5) Shown in "4," I have my own rules for when things should be outside the quotations: parentheses and other brackets should only be outside unless they are part of the quote. All other punctuation should be inside. I find if it is outside, it is quite ugly and odd to look at. I assume it's okay, seeing that I've handed assignments in to my English teacher, who was quite strict, without having any corrections or comments on it. If anything, he would've been the one to tell me to stop doing it and actually achieve that goal of making me stop.

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby Koko » 2014-08-06, 19:25

linguoboy wrote:
Marah wrote:You mean that both "The time machine, which looked like a telephone booth, concerned Bill and Ted." and
"The time machine that looked like a telephone booth concerned Bill and Ted."

meant the same thing to you before hearing about the rule?

No, because in one case the relative clause is set off by commas and in the other it isn't.

Do "Let's eat, Grandma!" and "Let's eat Grandma!" mean the same thing to you?

I didn't know of that rule, either. Without looking it up, I can already tell it is just no.

"The time machine, that looked like a telephone booth, concerned Bill and Ted."

So, linguo, are the first and my corrected sentence the same to you? (As they are to me)

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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-08-06, 21:06

Koko wrote:"The time machine, that looked like a telephone booth, concerned Bill and Ted."

So, linguo, are the first and my corrected sentence the same to you? (As they are to me)

This is jarring. The relative pronoun that always introduces restrictive clauses in my dialect so the "corrected version" looks to me like an instance where word choice and punctuation are at cross purposes.
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Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby TeneReef » 2014-08-06, 22:13

Youngfun wrote:Italian must be the only language in the world where schools teach more rules than official grammars (Accademia della Crusca and important grammars/dictionaries). Or rather, invents rules that don't exist.

As a consecuence, it's the only language in the world where most speakers are more prescriptivists than grammars. :lol:


Nah, it's the same for Norwegian Bokmål,
you see Norwegians telling learners of Norwegian (and left wing Norwegians) things like:
husa, kvinna, blei, aleine, åssen etc. are not Bokmål.

The only authority to say what Bokmål is and what it is not is
Norwegian language council (Språkrådet) and their normative dictionary of Bokmål (Bokmålsorboka):
http://www.nob-ordbok.uio.no/perl/ordbo ... ok=bokmaal

Queen Sonja, Aftenposten , Riksmålsforbundet , Norwegian Academy and Norsk ordbok (Riksmål) are not authority on Bokmål, contrary to what many Norwegians think.
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