August 20th, 2008


"Spend Him $5"

My Chinese teacher, knowing I love and am studying linguistics, enjoys posing me questions to answer. Usually I'm pretty good right off the bat, but this one has me stumped. He just asked me this one, and it would bear me a little researching, but I thought someone else might know straightaway:

"Why can you say in English 'I will buy him 5 shirts', 'I will catch him 4 fish', but not 'I will spend him $5?" (i.e. I will buy 5 shirts for him, I will catch 4 fish for him, but not 'I will spend $5 for him')

My initial thought is somewhat situational, inasmuch as I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "I will spend ", but there's got to be a linguistic reason behind this... Any ideas?


#EDIT WITH AN UPDATE: I advised my instructor of the responses, and he now wants to know if there's any way for a non-native speaker to figure out these situations, aside from rote learning. He finds you all incredibly responsive and sincerely appreciates the answers, although translating "benefactive dative" into Mandarin to try to make sure he understands exactly what it is will take up some of his afternoon.

(crossposted to linguistics)

Correct pronunciation for a Portuguese phrase

Could someone phonetically spell the correct pronunciation for the phrase "Charamela Real"? The phrase means "Royal Chapel" and refers to a set of trumpet fanfare manuscripts from Libson during the 18th century. Someone from work hails from Brazil and they were telling me the first word would be said "Kara-meka" which seems odd. Any help or suggetions greatly appreciated!


Some Japanese questions

Alright.I've got three questions to ask:

1. What does it mean when a verb ends in ぬ? Does it make it negative?

2.Is there any difference between the copulas だ and ですbesides the latter being more formal? Can both be used in all the same situations?

3.Is there any difference between もしも, なら, and the -eba verb form?

Thanks a bunch for the help:)
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Freaking Out

Another entry about (Rioplatense) Spanish

This entry reminded me of a list of idioms in Rioplatense Spanish my sister and I put together right after a very exciting no sarcasm there, there's a reason why I'm in this community linguistics semester, and I thought maybe some of you might find it funny, I still laugh sometimes when I read it.

Of course it is not meant to be taken seriously. We were just having fun (cause yeah that's the kind of things we do for fun), so please take it lightly!
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