Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thoughts for a Thursday... little things

And, probably not the little things you're thinking of.

I'm thinking little things called prepositions.

While studying@ old dead languages (Old English & Old Norse)* I discovered that their prepositions were quite fluid. One little preposition could mean at or on or by, etc...

And that really screws with your concept of the action.

Consider these shoes...

Now, the very pretty one on the left is one of the pair I was wearing AT work yesterday. While the one of the right - plain, sensible - is one of the pair I was wearing TO and FROM work. See - makes sense.

When translating some saga or other - we needed the help of our lecturer to picture the scene. Well, it's not every day you find out that cows often grazed ON the roof of a house#.

So, I say - take care of those little prepositions and enjoy the knowledge they provide in those few letters.

@ I say 'studied' - not learned. Trust me, did enough to pass - and forgotten most of it now. I didn't even consider any living language.
* I also studied Latin - but it didn't seem to have the same problem with prepositions - or I don't remember it.
# It's like the first thing we translated... about the birth of Sleipnir, Odin's horse, in the Gylfaginning - when it says about Loki: he bore a foal. It was grey and had eight legs. Come on, that's pretty odd, and makes you question your skills!

1 comment:

  1. Near the subject of prepositions, it's good to be clear at your meaning. If you indicate location in using prepositions, such as 'the cow jumped below the moon', you have a chance to convey precise meaning in front of what you are saying, although some descriptions go right away from my head. If using prepositions before explaining function, such as 'two different shoes at work makes going to and fro about as hard possible, near to impossible.' I stand behind my point, both now and out of the present.


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