Just checking-in.

Oops, it’s been a while since I posted here – mea culpa and all that. In my defence I have actually been getting on with some data collection for my MA, which isn’t anywhere near as boring as it might sound – well not to fellow language nerds anyway.

I am investigating the Dative Alternation; which, in a nutshell, is why we can say

I gave John a coffee

or

I gave a coffee to John

Do these different ways of arranging the sentence give the meaning some slightly different nuances? Do we consciously decide which we are going to use, and if so, why do we make those choices? Would we ever say

You gave an idea to me?

rather than

You gave me an idea?

From my own instinctive feeling and initial research I would say not – but why not? Anyway, back to the data collection which, hopefully, might give me some clues. In the meantime – I found this fascinating article which I thought you might like to read too:-

https://daily.jstor.org/when-language-can-cure-what-ails-you/

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Linguistic Landlubber :(

9780751554151

 

Well, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been to the Isles of Dogs and was really hoping to take a trip to La Gomera to find out more about their whistling language. They developed this, apparently, to communicate across the deep valleys of the mountainous terrain. There was the possibility of taking a ferry from Tenerife to La Gomera with an included talk about the language [and lunch with wine 🙂 ] but…it was also very windy. My sea-legs are notoriously wobbly; they tremble at a slight ripple on the sea’s surface -and some of the waves were nearly 6 inches high!!!!! Sadly, for this intrepid linguist, the fascination of the trip wasn’t enough to overcome the dread of seasickness, so I went to the Hard Rock cafe instead.

By way of an apology [and to maybe inspire myself to try again next time I visit the Canaries] I did find this really interesting article on the BBC website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20953138

Whilst busily lying by the pool instead, I did read a brilliant book called ‘I Let You Go’*     which I picked up in the hotel’s library. However, it was a North American edition and it got my brain ticking…..

The book is set in England and Wales, it involves a lot of British police procedure and other such content but I was amazed that, in order to publish it in North America, they must have employed somebody to go through it changing colour to colorgot to  gottengrey to gray and so on. I had to ask myself ‘Why?’. I have read many US books, published in Britain, where the American spellings and grammar have been retained – it gives, IMHO, an American ‘flavour’ to the book, it reminds me I am reading a novel set in another country – in much the same way the Monsieur Pamplemousse books I mentioned recently are full of French terms.

Having thought about all this, I decided that the only reason I could deduce for the changing of British English to US English is…..

We are clever enough to accept the grammatical and spelling differences whereby they can’t cope!

Or maybe you know better? I’d love to hear from you if you can shed light on the subject.

* https://www.waterstones.com/book/i-let-you-go/clare-mackintosh/9780751554151

PS, while waiting at the airport to come home again, my heart was broken! Apparently I had JUST MISSED [by about 2 minutes] bumping into Brian May and Anita Dobson. Having loved Queen, and adored Brian May, for over 40 years I’m sure you can share my distress. Mind you, they did have one of Marc Bolan’s jackets at the Hard Rock. Small consolation but still quite awesome. [They also, of course, serve the most amazing food – might have to visit their Amsterdam branch next month!]