Jim Wood

Month: December, 2012

Sentence of the day

Today’s sentence of the day was uttered by my aunt, who was talking with my mother and my other aunt about a time when they were looking for a grocery store while traveling:

There was no grocery store to be had.

This one wins just for being a great example of passivized have, and for being related to those fascinating accusative subject constructions in Icelandic:

Þar   er enga orkugjafa               að hafa
there is no    energy.source.acc to have

nema  brennisteinsvetnið. (source)
except hydrogen.sulfide

‘There is no energy source to be had there other than hydrogen sulfide.’

And a good time was had by all. :-)

Sentence of the day

The sentence of the day is the following, found at the database at http://mim.hi.is:

Það er nú    eitt  af því  góða  við      jólin           að
that is now one of the good  about Christmas that

þá    er  daginn            farinn         að   lengja      aftur : )
then is  day.the.m.acc gone.m.acc to   lengthen again

‘Now that’s one good thing about Christmas, then the day starts getting longer again.’

This one wins today’s competition not only for being seasonally appropriate, but for showing the unambiguous subject position of the accusative (between the auxiliary and the participle), for being one of those lovely weather/fate-type accusatives, and, most importantly, for conditioning gender/case agreement on the participle, like a nice and well-behaved structural accusative (cf. discussion of variation in early work by Avery Andrews, if I remember right). For all these reasons, this is the sentence of the day.

Un- and by-phrases

My brother yesterday said something which was a nice example of a by-phrase with an un- prefixed verbal participle. (He was just talking, not making any point about language or anything like that.)

This area was basically untouched by the hurricane

Un- can look pretty “clausal” sometimes.

Sentence of the day

Can one post a “sentence of the day” without posting one every day? At any rate, here is the sentence of the day, since it involves (1)  ‘get’ (under the ‘manage’ reading, I assume?), (2) -anlegur ‘-able’, and (3) stylistic fronting:

Við         breytum því           sem     breytanlegt er
we.nom  change    that.dat   which  changeable  is

en  sættum     okkur       við    það   sem     við fáum ekki breytt.
but reconcile  ourselves  with  that  which  we get    not  changed

‘We change what is changeable but accept what we can’t change.’