Word of the Day

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"To have" to express existence

A few languages use the equivalent of "to have" (ima, ma, ter) to express existence. Among them are Macedonian and Bulgarian.: (MA)во паркот има многу луѓе (vo parkot ima mnogu lugje), (BU)в паркa има много хора (v parka ima mnogo khora) (There are many people in the park.) The same exists in Polish, but only when the verb is negated: W parku jest wielu ludzi (There are many people in the park.). W parku nie ma wielu ludzi. (There are not many people in the park.) A non-Slavic language that uses the verb "to have" is Brazilian Portuguese, where the verb ter (to have) oftentimes replaces the "proper" verb haver (there to be) in these situations: No parque tem muita gente (Instead of the proper: No parque há muita gente.) It should be noted too that haver comes from Latin habere, which means to have! In classic Latin the verb sum, esse (to be) was used in such situations, just as the verb "to be" is used in other Slavic languages, among them Czech, Russian, Slovak and Polish (but not always, as noted above). It is also noteworthy that languages that use the verb "to have" to express existence use it in the singular only, including Brazilian Portuguese, but I've also encountered a plural verb due to hypercorrection. In my opinion, if you want to speak properly, use the verb "haver" then. Instead of Tiveram muitos acidentes o ano passado, an attempt at hypercorrection and IMHO not idiomatic at all, use in speech Teve muitos acidentes o ano passado or, if you want to "talk posh" :) Houve muitos acidentes o ano passado. The funny thing is that the verb haver is sometimes found in the plural, both in Portuguese and Spanish, maybe more in the latter, however, it should only be in the singular according to grammar books: (PT) Houve, not houveram, muitos acidentes o ano passado. (SP)Hubo, not hubieron, muchos accidentes el año pasado. (There were many accidents last year.) The opposite, the use of the singular, is sometimes heard in English: There was many accidents last year. The thing just goes on and on across languages.

1 comment:

Comentador said...

Interessante =)