A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

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Daimon
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A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby Daimon » Tue May 28, 2013 9:43 am UTC

Whilst writing something a few days ago, I was writing "and come into life", but decided to change that to "and into life come". It certainly has a different, more pronounced effect than the first sentence, and I don't find it too rare to find phrasing such as this, but I'm wondering if it's at all grammatically correct and from where it originates.

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby eSOANEM » Tue May 28, 2013 1:22 pm UTC

I'd say it needed commas either side of the "into life" in order to be grammatical. It sounds pretty archaic to me though. I'd certainly be surprised if I saw it.
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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby Derek » Tue May 28, 2013 2:25 pm UTC

Unless your character is Yoda, I wouldn't do it. It's a form that is basically only encountered in poetry (to fit meter or rhyme), and even then usually feels forced.

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby firechicago » Tue May 28, 2013 6:48 pm UTC

Even the original phrase seems strange and clunky to my ears. Are you quite sure you didn't mean to use the idiomatic phrase "come to life" to describe a nonliving thing that becomes living?

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby eSOANEM » Tue May 28, 2013 7:48 pm UTC

That's a good point. It's also worth noting that English has a particularly weird sort of fixed word order (in that it can seem quite free at times, but this usually has to be accompanied by adding a load of particles and/or conjugating verbs differently). Out of interest (I'm guessing you're not a native speaker), what's your first language?
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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby Daimon » Tue May 28, 2013 10:05 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:That's a good point. It's also worth noting that English has a particularly weird sort of fixed word order (in that it can seem quite free at times, but this usually has to be accompanied by adding a load of particles and/or conjugating verbs differently). Out of interest (I'm guessing you're not a native speaker), what's your first language?


Well, if I can somewhat remember the original sentence, it would've been something like, "And so the effect can into life come." rather than "The effect can come into life." I don't know much about German, but I'm pretty sure they had something to do with putting verbs at the end of a phrase when you have a preposition, but I'm not too sure about that. I thought that might be the original cause.

Also, my native language is English; I don't know why, but a lot of people ask me if that's the case. Maybe my English skill has deteriorated. (The fact I have to use it everyday all day notwithstanding)

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby eSOANEM » Tue May 28, 2013 10:37 pm UTC

That sentence is not at all easy for me to understand in either form. I would strongly recommend rephrasing it completely.

The main reason I asked about your native language is because both this sentence and your posts sound a bit odd in the sort of way I usually associate with non-native speakers. I then saw your location and sig and thought it was quite likely English wasn't your native language. It's possible you speak with quite a distinct ideo/dialect instead though.
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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby Daimon » Wed May 29, 2013 12:22 pm UTC

I don't know how my phrasing could be sounding a bit odd; maybe Japanese has actually affected the way I think.

If I would write another example of what I was trying to say in the opening post, it would change a sentence (with no context) such as

"Will you write to my mother?" to "Will you to my mother write?" (Maybe the second example should be written, "Will you, to my mother, write?")

I'm not sure where I get phrasing like this, but I remember seeing it occasionally - though I probably couldn't find an example right now.

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby eSOANEM » Wed May 29, 2013 3:46 pm UTC

Yeah, the commas are definitely necessary and even then it is an archaic/poetic usage. It wouldn't seem out of place in Tolkein's dialogue which out to be a clue that it doesn't sound like natural modern English :D

It's possible that it's a Japanese influence, I don't know anything really about Japanese grammar so can't judge. The most obvious examples to me (from your last post) are in the second line:

"If I would write" sounds weird to me because it's using a conditional for the condition as well as for what follows. I would use "If I wrote" or "If I were to write" (although I am aware that the latter is unusual generally and is because the subjunctive is unusually common in my dialect and that I, in particular, use it far more often than is common for speakers even of my dialect).

The other was "it would change a sentence" where the verb choice seems weird. I'd use "become" or maybe add a "to" before "a" but that still sounds a bit weird.

I don't know, just something I noticed (and found interesting) about your ideolect. Do you mind if I ask where you're originally from/what your native dialect is?
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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby Daimon » Wed May 29, 2013 8:27 pm UTC

My native dialect, though I don't consider any dialect found in America as one (because it seems normal), would probably be Southern United States. I don't know if Texas counts - it's more like Northern Mexico.

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby eSOANEM » Thu May 30, 2013 12:17 am UTC

Interesting. I'd have thought there wouldn't be significant differences in syntax between that and my dialect (RP) and any differences there were I'd expect to be due to the influence of Mexican Spanish however, apart from the slightly freer word order, none of the 'odd phrasings' seem particularly Spanish to me. Interesting indeed.
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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby Daimon » Thu May 30, 2013 5:22 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Interesting. I'd have thought there wouldn't be significant differences in syntax between that and my dialect (RP) and any differences there were I'd expect to be due to the influence of Mexican Spanish however, apart from the slightly freer word order, none of the 'odd phrasings' seem particularly Spanish to me. Interesting indeed.


I don't think any of it comes from Spanish, actually - I would have to know the language in detail and speak it on a frequent basis for it to have an effect on the way I write. The comment about being Northern Mexico was just poking fun at the ratio of hispanic to white in this part of the country. At any rate, when I write(type), I do so without a filtre - so that what comes out of my head is, in actuality, 100% unfiltered, unedited thought. Maybe it's because "our" minds are so scattered most of the time that my text comes out this way.

Or something; I don't even know.

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby eSOANEM » Thu May 30, 2013 5:30 pm UTC

Daimon wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:Interesting. I'd have thought there wouldn't be significant differences in syntax between that and my dialect (RP) and any differences there were I'd expect to be due to the influence of Mexican Spanish however, apart from the slightly freer word order, none of the 'odd phrasings' seem particularly Spanish to me. Interesting indeed.


I don't think any of it comes from Spanish, actually - I would have to know the language in detail and speak it on a frequent basis for it to have an effect on the way I write. The comment about being Northern Mexico was just poking fun at the ratio of hispanic to white in this part of the country. At any rate, when I write(type), I do so without a filtre - so that what comes out of my head is, in actuality, 100% unfiltered, unedited thought. Maybe it's because "our" minds are so scattered most of the time that my text comes out this way.

Or something; I don't even know.


No, it could definitely influence your language without you speaking Spanish yourself. Languages in close proximity tend to borrow words and sometimes structures as well so it's entirely reasonable to think that some Texan dialects could have been influenced by Spanish.

On the other hand, it could just as easily be because posts come out more like a stream of consciousness than something written by hand (because typing is faster and so can keep up with the thoughts coming out of one's head).
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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby Daimon » Thu May 30, 2013 6:35 pm UTC

It's not that typing has kept up with my stream of consciousness; but that typing has become the stream itself.

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby Derek » Thu May 30, 2013 9:58 pm UTC

"If I would write, then such and such would happen" sounds fine to me, btw. From North Carolina.

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby XTCamus » Thu May 30, 2013 11:50 pm UTC

This is a manner of speaking of which I am somewhat familiar. Exactly which circumstances are or aren't the most natural sounding I can't quite say. Of this much I am sure.

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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby gmalivuk » Fri May 31, 2013 1:37 am UTC

It's not an uncommon construction, to be sure, but it is ungrammatical in standard formal American English.
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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:01 pm UTC

"If I would" is entirely alien to me, but "if you would" isn't. It's still weird, but I have seen people use it.
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Re: A certain "backwards" phrasing in English

Postby zenten » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:00 pm UTC

I think it needs to be "and into life comes" to be correct.


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