This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Nuts and Bolts: quirky subjects.

While I'm on the subject of being quirky, then how about quirky subjects?

(It occurs to me that Quirky Subjects might be an alternative title for The Word Den, but it's also part of the Icelandic language.
Tarzan uses them, too.)

Me love Jane, Tarzan might say. This is, of course, perfectly correct Tarzanese, but it's not really correct English. A more conventionally educated Lord Greystoke might have said I love Jane. (Well, he might have done if an English Lord of the mid-twentieth century could have brought himself to admit to such a thing. Which, on the whole, I doubt.)

Anyway. Quirky subjects are all the rage in Icelandic. Someone might say:

Henni var kalt. This translates literally as Her was cold, but of course it actually means She was cold.
 
People are still arguing about why this happens. There are rather similar quirks in Russian, Bulgarian (na Ivan mu (se) xaresvat tezi momicheta, which means, more or less To Ivan likes these girls)
Rumanian, and German ( Mir ist kalt, which means me is cold) as well as in Latin, Old Swedish and Old English. But the grammarians are still arguing about whther these cases are truly quirky or just odd in some slightly different way.
 
As far as English is concerned, quirky subjects do seem to be limited to Tarzan and very small children.
 
Me eat cake!

There's no doubt what it means; though, is there?
 
Word To Use Today: me. Me has been an English word since before the Norman Conquest, and is related to the Latin word , which means more or less the same thing.
 
Me is also the internet domain name for Montenegro, the chemical Symbol for the Methyl group, and an abbrieviation for Maine; Marine, Mining or Mechanical Engineer; Methodist Episcopal; Middle English; and myalgic encephalopathy.
 
 
 
 
 

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