olast   Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:08 pm GMT
Amongst the languages you know which is the most interesting grammar and why?
I'm mainly interested in grammar when I learn a new language....
Impersonated   Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:12 pm GMT
What would interesting grammar mean? I think it's important to understand the structure of a language to get an idea about how the people think.

I'm not crazy about grammar for the sake of grammar. It's a tool for explaining things to others and for understanding the language itself.

But to return to your question...

In Japanese, the passive is used a lot. I don't like to use the passive in English because I feel like I am wimping out on taking responsibility. I understand in some other languages, the passive is used a lot as well. "The cup broke on me." instead of "I was careless and broke the cup."

It's probably important to know things like this about grammar and just accept this as part of the culture instead of thinking the person was dishonest about how the cup came to be broken. These kind of things are interesting to me in relation to grammar.
olasz   Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:43 pm GMT
Most linguists are very interested in grammar: morphology, syntax, verb system, cases, articles, prepositions etc and they usually compare several languages in order to analyse similarities and differences. This is my hobby and I'd like to share this passion with somebody else. We are in a forum about languages, aren't we? For instance, I'm not interested at all in those "silly" threads about the most useful and widespread languages in the world. Tastes differ
Impersonated sometimes   Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:14 pm GMT
I agree about the silly threads, but I can't discuss Tangut verbs, for example. I imagine that there are people out there who can discuss polypersonal languages like Basque and Inuktitut where, I understand, the subjects and the objects of the verb may be contained in one word along with the conjugations. That is probably what some people would describe as "interesting", but just a guess.

I don't know if people like that come to Antimoon now. If they see the stupid threads, I imagine they FLEE Antimoon.
Rahela   Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:25 pm GMT
Hebrew is quite a "weird" language at the first glance, grammatically. As anything you spend enough time with, the "weirdness" wears off after a while, but even then when thinking about it you see some definitely unusual things.

For example, Hebrew has literally different ways of speaking for men and for women, and different verb forms depending on who speaks to whom (there are 4 possibilities of constructing a sentence "I love you", depending on whether: a) woman speaks to man; b) man speaks to woman; c) woman speaks to woman; d) man speaks to man).

Another weird feature is, for example, the way you 'modify' a noun to express you possess it - so "my name" is 'shmi', "your name" is 'shimha' (if 'you' in the question is male) or "shmeh" (if 'you' in the question is female), and so on.

And the most important - its verbal system in general is a mess and probably a paradise for any linguist, but to me it only caused troubles :-P
Shrey   Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:31 am GMT
I would say the slavic group of languages are grammatically rich and a favorite group for linguists to master (apart from German, Hungarian and Finnish).
mallorqui   Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:58 pm GMT
Why should be German more interesting, for instance, than Spanish for a linguist? Spanish verbal system is much more conservative and relevant than the GErman one.

Cases are not all in linguistics. As a matter of fact English is not interesting at all....