Looking for a good resource on irregular word order patterns in English
Thread poster: Mikhail Kropotov

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 05:44
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
May 26, 2005

Hi all,

I am interested in learning as much as I can about irregular yet acceptable word order patterns in English. One example of this would be: "Being a native speaker does not a good translator make". Another one: "Had he searched on Google, he might have found all the help he needed on his own."

I would highly appreciate any links to relevant Internet resources, as well as general advice! Thank you!

Best,
Mike

[Edited at 2005-05-26 10:02]


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Natalia Elo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:44
Member (2004)
English to Russian
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Suggestion May 26, 2005

Dear Mike,

You might want to post the request on Corpora List: http://torvald.aksis.uib.no/corpora/

Cheers
Natalia


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xxxsergey
Local time: 03:44
Russian to English
+ ...
those are both examples of 'fronting', the 2nd being an auxiliary one. May 26, 2005

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:
I am interested in learning as much as I can about irregular yet acceptable word order patterns in English. One example of this would be: "Being a native speaker does not a good translator make". Another one: "Had he searched on Google, he might have found all the help he needed on his own."


the words you need to enter on google are 'fronting, english grammar'
should you wish to find all the help on your own, that is

look! what i have found
http://www.ugr.es/~ftsaez/theme.pdf


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:44
German to English
+ ...
Your examples May 26, 2005

Your first example:

The SOV word order, is, I think, Old (or Early Middle) English or derivations or imitations thereof.

But read also:

http://infosys.gsid.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~takizawa/ICCG3Takizawa.html

Your second example is acceptable Modern English:

Conditional clauses (especially unreal) may have subject-operator inversion without a conjunction -

Had I known, I might not have gone.

(Quirk and Greenbaum)


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:44
German to English
irregular word order May 26, 2005

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

I am interested in learning as much as I can about irregular yet acceptable word order patterns in English. One example of this would be: "Being a native speaker does not a good translator make". Another one: "Had he searched on Google, he might have found all the help he needed on his own."

I would highly appreciate any links to relevant Internet resources, as well as general advice! Thank you!


Hi Mike, here's an interesting and helpful article on "inversions":

http://www.bartleby.com/116/303.html

And this is a good summary of the topic:

From "Grammar as Style," Virginia Tufte:

Inversion
We approach an English sentence with certain expectations, conditioned by our long acquaintance with the kernel patterns. We come expecting a subject first, or soon, and next – only then – a predicate. Though we hardly notice this order every time we meet it, we do tend to notice anything that is radically out of place. If we come upon a question, an exclamation, an imperative, we readily exchange our normal expectations for a new set, with which we are also quite familiar. This is automatic. What remains to be sampled are those many other kinds of inversions that are not tied closely to special meaning or tone, yet are often confronted in every sort of prose. In reading, we may actually fail to note the dislocation. This might well happen, for instance, in the rare case where an inversion actually clarifies.


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
"Practical English Usage" May 26, 2005

Practical English Usage by Michael Swan. This book has clear, complete explanations and examples that answer almost any question that English learners might have about English usage. Even though I am a native English speaker, I find this book to be a valuable resource for helping English learners, and for helping me understand why we can say something "this" way and not "that" way.

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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 05:44
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
References galore! Thank you! May 26, 2005

Thank you, Sergey, Kim and Robert. Learning a lot I am, and it's only the beginning!
Thank you, Natalia. After I've educated myself a little more, I will delve into the depths of the subject
Thank you, GoodWords. Once I get my hands on the book, there will be no stopping me


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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:44
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Yoda-speak May 26, 2005

Mikhail, see the Star Wars trilogies and listen to Yoda talk (without the dubbing of course) you also could. He (it?) in inversions talks. You learn a lot certainly will!

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Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 20:44
English
To structure text properly in writing necessary it is May 26, 2005

Legitimate reasons for varying the word pattern are to add emphasis to the sentence, and to create a desired tone in the writing. Any variation from the usual SVO order has to be carefully evaluated, because overuse makes the text sound like it was written by Yoda.


"Being a native speaker does not a good translator make".

To me, this is acceptable English, using the inversion to give it a slightly archaic and humorous tone.


"Had he searched on Google, he might have found all the help he needed on his own."

I don't consider this to be an irregular word pattern. It is a very common pattern that lets us omit the understood "if" and emphasize his folly for not searching. Imagine it spoken, emphasis on the "had" in an exasperated tone of voice.


If he had searched on Google = had he searched on Google


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Natalia Elo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:44
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Yoda May 27, 2005

Hi Marcus,

Marcus Malabad wrote:

Mikhail, see the Star Wars trilogies and listen to Yoda talk (without the dubbing of course) you also could. He (it?) in inversions talks. You learn a lot certainly will!




This is funny. I remember one of our teachers in the uni said Yoda would be a nightmare for simultaneous interpreter.

He also called us sometimes Yodas.


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