Monday, October 20, 2003

Warning: non-scientific, unresearched musing ahead. (continued from a previous ramble months ago.)

I will boldly split infinitives wherever and whenever I freakin' wish !

English infinitives are phrases, not words, and thus provide more flexibility.

It's only natural that we like to hug our descriptions as close as possible to the roots of messages we convey.

Case and point:
Let us look at one of Latin's hallmarks : the flexible way that an individual can easily and arbitrarily re-arrange words in a sentence - with the proper suffixes and modifiers, it is often possible to reverse the order of words, and not just in simple phrases. (At the moment, of course, I am forced to call this "common knowledge" since I do not speak Latin, nor can I (currently) immediately provide proof of this claim.)

Another relative of more closely associating the gist of a message with the corresponding description appears to be the method of building verb phrases ontop of each other with different verb forms: while a common feature in many languages, its functionality extends past the scope of this discussion, but will also suffice to show what we mean by "mixing verb forms" -- i.e. "It is necessary that you do this..." or "I'm thinking of doing this" or "I'm asking you to consider this..." and the popular "going to" modifier for present and near-future tenses, as in "I'm going to watch the movies." and "I'm going to jog today." Both are also shining examples of complexity that, while syntactically redundant, provide more description which is commonly consistent with the expected times of action, based on that person's notion of time. If you don't believe it, analyze it yourself -- think about what you're really trying to convey the next time you say, "I'm thinking about goin' to the ..." , "I'm gonna go to the ..." , and "I'm going to the ..." For many people, those three sentences may give the impression of completely different time ranges.

Back to the main idea, consider the more pertinent example below:

I will boldly split infinitives wherever and whenever I dare to do so !

While ugly in structure, the example shows that English has constructs akin to the splitting of infinitives,(although what I wanted to show was that many other languages have familiar constructs, but once again, I don't have supporting data, although we may certainly assume it to be true ... but we can assume any truths or falsehoods we wish.) and though most of these constructs do not provide duplicate functionality, they are similar enough to provide insight and provoke more questions.


Warning : the above is an opinionated and completely un-researched ordering of semi-coherent ramblings .
Why did I even bother typing it, then ? (and, more to the point: how is that different from any of my other entries? :-D ) Because it's a topic that interests me, to the point that I might pursue further, in the not-so-near future. In the meantime I'll save this lil' ramble as a nice starting point, from which I can look at once I come full circle to see how far my bookworm investigations have driven me.