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#23119 - 03/16/01 12:45 PM Hyphenated adjectives revisited
Rapunzel Offline

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 328
Loc: Eastern Pennsylvania
While shopping at Home Depot with my parents the other day, I noticed a package that was printed in three languages. In part, it read:

Instrucciones fáciles de seguir/ Instructions faciles à suivre/ Easy-to-follow Instructions

So here's my question: Is English the only language in which hyphens are used to create adjectives?
I realize we've had similar discussions before (like the Hyphenated Modifiers from @#$% thread) but I don't recall talking about the language factor.

#23120 - 03/16/01 03:01 PM Re: Hyphenated adjectives revisited
garynamy Offline

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 20
Loc: Maryland
Well, this only connects tangentially, but Germans are notorious for building formidable nouns as massive compound words, with no hyphens at all, like "geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung" for speed limit.

I think they may do the same thing with verbs, but alas, German 101 was a long time ago....gs

#23121 - 03/16/01 03:43 PM Re: Hyphenated adjectives revisited
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Well, we get the ability to create adjectives out of nouns from our Germanic side. In the Romance languages, you can't do that. The illustration you cite above, Rapunzel, supposes that (i.e., "instructions that are easy to follow").

But I'll stop here and wait for our resident German experts to weigh in.

#23122 - 03/16/01 04:12 PM Re: Hyphenated adjectives revisited
Bobyoungbalt Offline

Registered: 11/22/00
Posts: 1289
Germanic vs. Romance adjective-making tendencies

As is well known, and has been mentioned, German makes use of the agglutinative method, which makes for some really monstrous outcomes, at least in our view. It has certainly been made fun of often enough by various comedians who have an intellectual audience. But the Romance language method, which mostly consists of spreading out the various qualities or concepts, can also make some monstrosities. You get these strings of xxxx de xxxxx de xxxxx de xxxx which are more annoying than anything else, at least to English speakers. French is the worst for this, being the language that has to say, "Qu'est-ce que c'est que cela?" for "What's that?"

English seems to take a sort of middle course between the two methods, which figures, since the language is a Germanic base fused with a bastard French dialect, with some Latin and Old Norse tossed in.

#23123 - 03/17/01 06:11 PM Re: Hyphenated adjectives revisited
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
C'est quoi ça? OR Qu’est-ce que c’est? = What’s that?

Qu'est-ce que c'est que cela? = What is that thing there?

#23124 - 03/17/01 07:54 PM Re: Hyphenated adjectives revisited
Capital Kiwi Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Northamptonshire, England
C'est quoi ça?

While not a great French scholar despite six years of it at school, I do remember being told that the above way of saying "What's that?" is peremptory or angry, like a mother pointing a mess made by a child.

Is this another myth I can throw on the pile of rubbish taught to me?

The idiot also known as Capfka ...

#23125 - 03/17/01 08:17 PM Re: Hyphenated adjectives revisited
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
Cap. I can't really speak for the French from France but here in Québec c'est quoi ça is the usual method of asking what's that. It is not peremptory or angry, but it is considered "common speak" that most highbrow teachers want to eliminate.

When we say qu'est-ce c'est it is just like saying "what is that" without the contraction of "what is" into what's. It is usually said when we are minding our Ps and Qs.


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