LINGUIST List 2.340

Wednesday, 10 July 1991

Disc: Weather subjects, Impersonal verbs

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Directory

  1. Eirikur Rognvaldsson, weather verbs
  2. bert peeters, weather verbs in Dutch
  3. Koenraad De Smedt, impersonal verbs - Dutch
  4. Stephen G. Rowley, Impersonal Verbs: Scottish Gaelic

Message 1: weather verbs

Date: Sat, 6 Jul 91 13:24:07 GMT
From: Eirikur Rognvaldsson <eirikur%rhi.hi.isRICEVM1.RICE.EDU>
Subject: weather verbs
In his reply to Gisbert Fanselow's question about the possibility of having
different subject with weather verbs, Hoeskuldur Thrainsson points out that
in Icelandic, one can either have the regular dummy "thadh" 'it, there' or
"hann" 'he'. As Hoeskuldur mentions,
 > There is a slight difference in style at least between the regular
 > expletive and this weather-he, the latter being somewhat more
 > colloquial. But the syntactic difference is very clear.
I might add that for some speakers at least, there seems to be some difference
in meaning or use between these two possibilities - somewhat similar to the
difference between the use of "es" and "das" in impersonal constructions that
Gisbert reports for German. That is, a sentence like (1) would be more neutral
than (2), the latter expressing "negative feelings about the weather".
	(1) Thadh er faridh adh rigna
	 it is started to rain
	 'It's raining'
	(2) Hann er farinn adh rigna
	 he is started to rain
	 'Oh, sh*t, it's raining again!'
One might perhaps say that when the rain (snow, etc) bothers people, they need
someone to get angry with. By using the personal pronoun "hann" 'he' instead
of "thadh", they make up an enemy (God?).
However, I must emphasize that the difference in meaning is not clear; (1) can
also have a negative meaning, and (2) can be a neutral statement. But insofar
as there is any difference, "hann" is more negative than "thadh" in weather
constructions.
Eirikur Roegnvaldsson (eirikurrhi.hi.is)
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Message 2: weather verbs in Dutch

Date: Mon, 8 Jul 91 13:34:30 +1000
From: bert peeters <peeters%tasman.cc.utas.edu.auRICEVM1.RICE.EDU>
Subject: weather verbs in Dutch
A rejoinder to Koenraad De Smedt who claims that Dutch has a system similar
to German in that HET and DAT can alternate (both being translations for
English 'it' as in 'it rains', but the latter being emphatic).
It seems to me that De Smedt is talking about Dutch dialects here rather
than about the standard. The use of DAT is absolutely impossible in the
standard language (ABN = Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands).
Bert Peeters <peeterstasman.cc.utas.edu.au>
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Message 3: impersonal verbs - Dutch

Date: Mon, 8 Jul 91 14:59 MET
From: Koenraad De Smedt <DESMEDT%NICI.KUN.NLRICEVM1.RICE.EDU>
Subject: impersonal verbs - Dutch
Koen Versmissen and others pointed out to me that my claim about DAT
(that) as an alternative for HET (it) as subject of impersonal verbs in
Dutch is not standard. The phenomenon does occur, but is confined to
(some?) Flemish dialects. In addition, it seems to be marked as
informal.
Koenraad de Smedt
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Message 4: Impersonal Verbs: Scottish Gaelic

Date: Mon, 8 Jul 91 17:50 EDT
From: Stephen G. Rowley <sgrzermatt.lcs.mit.edu>
Subject: Impersonal Verbs: Scottish Gaelic
 Date: Fri, 5 Jul 91 13:34:22 GMT
 From: hoskirhi.hi.is (Hoskuldur Thrainsson)
 Subject: weather subjects
 Gisbert Fanselow asked about the possibility of having different
 subjects with weather verbs - such as an expletive subject vs. a
 demonstrative pronoun as in his German examples. - In Icelandic [...]
In Scottish Gaelic, one can say, rather impersonally:
Tha an t-uisge ann an diugh.
Is the water in it today.
... or "It is raining today." This holds for other kinds of weather,
not just rain.
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