Sunday, December 11, 2011

Funny Word Order in a Poster Advertising a Study on Word Order

I like linguistics, although I don't know much about about it. (Much of what I know comes from reading Language Log, which should be on your blogroll.)

A few weeks ago I was at McMaster University, and I saw this poster advertising for participants in a study about word order:

Mastering the correct word order in English often seems one of the hardest tasks for German and French speakers. French mathematicians, for example, often write things like "We study here the case x > 2" instead of "Here we study the case x > 2".

The funny thing is the bizarre word order in the sign itself! Maybe it was deliberate, but I still found it amusing.

In case you can't read the text, here it is:

We are seeking German language speakers from Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein or Germany for a linguistic study on the relation between word order and articles currently living in the Hamilton area...

I had to read it three or four times before I realized they were seeking German language speakers currently living in the Hamilton area.


flounder99 said...

I was going to sign up but my name is not "A", "An", or "The".

Anonymous said...

Nice. I guess that's because word order is almost unimportant in German, unlike in English, where it can change the meaning of a sentence completely.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

The Awful German Language
by Mark Twain

Anonymous said...

Language Log is pretty good but there are too many (for my taste) posts on Chinese. And the frequent policy of not allowing comments bugs me.

Anonymous said...

Difficult it is, to speak as in English, a teacher of German, for. Maybe they were using Yoda-ich!


KeithB said...

you made it to LL:

(And this one allows comments!)