Print

Print


Nancy Gish wrote:
>
> Dear Carrol,
>
> I'm confused.  Word order is syntax.  I am not clear on the antecedent for
> your "it."  Modern English is almost completely dependent on word order
> because we have lost the case endings to tell us what functions nouns
> have.  Old English, like modern German, had complicated inflections. Was
> that what you meant, or were you referring to Chinese--about which I know
> nothing?

We can mess around _some_ with word order in modern English (as Marcia
showed). I know nothing about Chinese either, but I think I remember
hearing that it was _completely_ (as opposed to "almost completely")
dependent upon word order. It might be pretty clumsy, but English does
allow us, for example, to say "hit I him," him hit I" et cet. My
understanding is that that would be impossible in Chinese

-- but unless someone on the list actually knows Chinese we aren't going
to find out. :-)

Carrol