"I Love You"

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KireGoTI
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"I Love You"

Postby KireGoTI » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:29 am UTC

Second post. I suppose this sort of thing goes here. I'd have liked to have eeked it into "serious business," but it is just a silly question.

Consider the phrase "I love you." Saying the action of love in this context (not just the sentence) were a binary operation, which would be the operator, out of the three words in the phrase?

My choice would be for "you" to be acting on "I" and "love," simply because that's the way I feel about it.

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Pit
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Re: "I Love You"

Postby Pit » Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:54 pm UTC

Well to take it from a very literary standpoint, I is the acting noun (subject), love is the action, and you is the noun being acted upon (object). Simply since I is doing the action, the I acts with love upon the you.

Thus, the I acts upon the you, because it is a sentence and not a binary operation.

I've always felt the sentence I love you is too hard to break down. Even looking up at my explanation, I feel it is inadequate.
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nightlina
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Re: "I Love You"

Postby nightlina » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:23 pm UTC

Compare it to 'I want you' 'I need you' 'I hate you' 'I trust you'...

'love' or whatever the central word is, is definitely the action...

Perhaps this question should be in the language sub-forum? Or am I misinterpreting the OP?
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Masily box
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Re: "I Love You"

Postby Masily box » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:12 am UTC

This certainly seems like it belongs in the linguistics subforum. (Agreed and moved. -L)

It's actually an interesting issue. It's been about four years since I've really done much with linguistics, but if you'll tolerate out of date info (and ideas from generative grammar):

Linguists have noticed that nouns can fill different conceptual roles (called "theta roles") required by a verb. The basic roles are the "thing that does something" (agent) and the "thing that has something done to it" (theme). They also refer to the th-role "experiencer" for the person who "sees" (or "hears," "fears," etc.) something. It seems to me that, in "I love you," it probably is accurate that "I" am an "experiencer," not an agent.

A language like English tends to treat its agents and experiencers as being grammatically the same, but I know for sure that there are some that don't. The only reference I can find after ~2 minutes of searching is this, but I'm sure there's plenty that's been written on it:

"Although many languages treat experiencers just like initiators of actions, as in English I hit the man and I saw the man, there are also many languages that distinguish them. In Lak, for instance, the dative case is used for the subject of a verb of perception, whereas the ergative is the usual case for the subject of a transitive verb. [...] Causative constructions again sometimes evince a distinction between experiencer and non-experiencer causee. In French, for instance, the causee in the causitive of a transitive verb can usually be expressed either by a noun phrase in the dative (preposition à) or by the use of the preposition par 'by':

J'ai fait manger les gâteaux à/par Paul.
'I made Paul eat the cakes.'

Where the verb expressing the result is one of perception, however, the experiencer-causee can only stand in the dative:

J'ai fait voir les gâteaux à/*par Paul.
I made Paul see the cakes."
(the asterisk denotes that using the word "par" there is ungrammatical)

Bernard Comrie, Language Universals & Linguistic Typology, 2nd ed. Chicago: U Chicago Press, 1989. page 61


It also seems to crop up in split-ergative languages. Basically, if a language has a way to show how much agency the subject of a verb has, the language usually shows that experiencers have less agency than regular agents.

So, basically, your intuition makes a lot of sense.

[Edit: actually, on second read of your post, I don't think I understand what you mean. "You" maps ("I", "love") onto what?]

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Pit
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Re: "I Love You"

Postby Pit » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:22 am UTC

I don't think he meant linguistically. I just interpreted it as such.
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Fryie
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Re: "I Love You"

Postby Fryie » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:04 am UTC

Even in a language as closely related as German, there are constructions where experiencers are in the dative case, such as:
mir gefällt das
I.dat please this
'I like this.'

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keeneal
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Re: "I Love You"

Postby keeneal » Tue May 05, 2009 6:22 am UTC

Fryie wrote:Even in a language as closely related as German, there are constructions where experiencers are in the dative case, such as:
mir gefällt das
I.dat please this
'I like this.'


I always parsed this as "this pleases me" or "I am pleased by this", and "Ich mag das" (I.nom like this) as "I like this". Am I wrong?
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Fryie
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Re: "I Love You"

Postby Fryie » Fri May 08, 2009 1:50 am UTC

Literally yes - but it translates to "I like it".


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