Update: 2012-11-24 06:13 AM +0630


TIL Grammar Glossary


Compiled by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ), from various sources. Prepared for students of TIL Computing and Language Center, Yangon, Myanmar. Not for sale.

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Grammar Glossary - B

• Babu English • balanced sentence • base form • belief • bilingual dictionary • body • bookmark • brainstorming • branching • browser

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Babu English

See • pretentious writing .

From www.xrefer.com
The most pretentious form of writing is perhaps the Babu English (also Baboo English) -- from www.xrefer.com.
     "[Late 19c: from babu, a mode of address and reference in several Indo-Aryan languages, including Hindi, for officials working for rajahs, landlords, etc. It became a generic term during the British Raj for Hindu and especially Bengali officials and clerks working in English, and was often disparaging]. A variety of South Asian English* used by middle-level bureaucrats and associated with a flowery, extremely deferential, and indirect style of writing and speaking. It has attracted the attention of scholars for over a century (see Hobson-Jobson, 1886, p.44) and provided entertainment in such works as Babu Jabberjee, BA, by Thomas Anstey Guthrie (Dent, 1898), -- Honoured Sir -- from Babujee by Cecil Hunt (Allan, 1931), and Babuji Writes Home: Being a New Edition of 'Honoured Sir' with Many Additional Letters (Allan, 1935). The following excerpt is representative:
     " 'Sir, Being in much need and suffering many privations I have after long time come to the determination to trouble your bounteous goodness. To my sorrow I have not the good friendships with many people hence my slow rate of progression and destitute state. Here on earth who have I but thee, and there is Our Father in heaven, needless to say that unless your milk of human kindness is showered on my sad state no other hope is left in this world (from Baboo English; or Our Mother-tongue as our Aryan brethren understand it; Amusing specimens of Composition and Style, or English as written by Her Majesty's Indian subjects, collected and edited by T.W.J.: Calcutta: H.P. Kent & Co., no date: late 19c. '
     " Kipling, in his novel Kim (1901), has a Bengali character named Hurree Babu, who on one one occasion observes: ' I am of opeenion it is not your old gentleman's precise releegion, but rather sub-variant of same. I have contributed rejected notes to Asiatic Quarterly Review on these subjects.' The classic parody of Babu English is to be found in G.V. Desani's All About H. Hatterr (1948). See Hobson-Jobson, Indian English, Indo-English [Asia Variety]. B.B.K., T.McA." -- The Oxford Companion to the English Language, © Tom McArthur 1992.

[* UKT: Note the meanings of  the following highlighted words. "South Asia" and "South-East Asia." "South Asia" is another term for the subcontinent of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh -- former India before partition in the late 1940s. "South-East Asia" is the group of countries in Indochina peninsula: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,  Malaysia,  Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.]

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balanced sentence 

From LBB :
A sentence consisting of two clauses with parallel constructions:

Do as I say, not as I do.
Befriend all animals; exploit none.

Their balance makes such sentences highly emphatic. (See pp. 423–24.)

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base form 

From UseE :
The Base Form is the same as the Infinitive form, without 'to'; 'Come', 'See' etc.

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From LBH :
A conviction based on morality, values, or faith. Statements of belief often serve as assumptions and sometimes as evidence, but they are not arguable and so cannot serve as the thesis in an argument. (See pp. 144–45.)

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bilingual dictionary 

From UseE :
A bilingual dictionary gives words in two languages. Each language is grouped alphabetically in separate halves of the book, with translations into the other language.

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From LBH :
In a piece of writing, the large central part where ideas supporting the thesis are presented and developed.
See also • conclusion • introduction.

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From LBH :
In Internet use, an electronic address you save for later reference. (See p. 656.)

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From LBH :
A technique for generating ideas about a topic: concentrating on the topic for a fixed time (say, fifteen minutes), you list every idea and detail that comes to mind. (See pp. 24–25.)

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From: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-final 080621

In linguistics, branching is the general tendency towards a given order of words within sentences and smaller grammatical units within sentences (such as subordinate propositions, prepositional phrases, etc.). Such ordering and nesting of phrases can be represented as a tree where branches can be divided into other minor branches, which may also branch in turn.

Languages typically construct phrases with a head (or nucleus) and zero or more dependents (modifiers). For example, in English a noun phrase can be constructed as follows:

• noun (e.g. "people")
• article + noun (e.g., "the man")
• numeral + noun (e.g., "ten geographers")
• article + adjective + noun (e.g., "the beautiful trees")
• noun phrase + 's + noun (e.g., "the woman's eyes")
• article + noun + relative clause (e.g., "the house that the crane demolished")
• etc.

In a noun phrase, the head is the main noun, and the dependents are the article, the adjective, the numeral, the genitive (-'s) noun and the relative clause.

There are also verb phrases, prepositional phrases, etc. In every case, the constituents are placed in a given order, which is more or less fixed according to the language in question. Also in some cases, the dependents can in turn be the heads of inner phrases (as in "the black cat's paws", "an awfully messy room", etc.).

Branching is typically ordered. In English, an article can usually only be added to a bare noun by placing it before the noun. An adjective can usually only be added to an article-noun phrase between the article and the noun, whereas a relative clause can only be added after the noun. The direct object of a sentence is usually found after the verb, while the subject comes before the verb.

UKT: A simple sentence in English has the form SVO (subject-verb-object). E.g. Dog bites man. This should be compared to Burmese-Myanmar SOV: {hkwι:ka. lu-ko keik-thζΡ}. -- 080621

The rules exemplified above constitute the branching tendency of the language, which can be predominantly left-branching or right-branching.

Left-branching languages, such as Turkish, Japanese, Tamil, and Basque tend to place dependents before heads. Adjectives precede nouns, direct objects come before verbs, and there are postpositions. In less formal terminology, this ordering is called head-last.

UKT: The above English sentence of the form SVO (subject-verb-object) can be expanded into: Vicious dog bites short man. This should be compared to Burmese-Myanmar : {hkwι-hso:ka. lu-pu.ko keik-thζΡ}. -- 080621


http://www.let.rug.nl/~zwart/docs/lin2005.pdf 080621
The sample used for this survey is a 162 language variety sample, intended to obtain with minimal means maximal coverage of the morphosyntactic variation across the world's languages. The data are taken from published reference grammars. The sample includes the following languages, listed alphabetically ...: Breton, Burmese, ... Cantonese, ... Dutch, ... Japanese, ... Portuguese, ... Russian, ... Tamil.

[I am concluding from this article that Burmese is a head-final language.]


An example from Basque:

• [1]Hillary Clinton [2]izan da, [3]inkestek [4]aurreikusten zutenaren [5]kontra, [6]New Hampshireko (AEB) [7]primarioetan [8]boto-emaile [9]demokrata [10]gehien [11]bereganatu duen [12]hautagaia. [1]

• [1]Hillary Clinton [2]was [12]the candidate who [11]got [10]the most [9]Democratic [8]voters [7]in the primaries [6]of New Hampshire (USA), [5]contrary [4]to what was forecast in the [3]polls.

Right-branching languages, such as Spanish, Arabic and Khmer, tend to place dependents after heads. Adjectives follow nouns, direct objects follow verbs, and adpositions are prepositional. This is also known as head-first order.

For most languages, the main branching tendency is just a tendency and it often shows exceptions. Spanish, for example, while overwhelmingly right-branching, puts numerals before nouns and, in certain cases, objects before verbs. Languages like English and German, though regarded as right-branching because verbs precede direct objects and there are prepositions, place adjectives and numerals before their nouns. Japanese and most other languages of northeastern Asia and the Indian subcontinent, on the other hand, are practically a model for rigidly left-branching languages. The Mon-Khmer and Austronesian languages of southeast Asia and many African languages come close to rigidly right-branching, with numerals as well as adjectives following their nouns and degree words like "very", "too", "extremely", "quite" following the adjectives they modify.

Wikipedia references
• Haspelmath, Martin; Dryer, Matthew S.; Gil, David and Comrie, Bernard (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures; pp . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-19-925591-1
• Comrie, Bernard; Language universals and linguistic typology : syntax and morphology (2nd edition): published 1989 by Basil Blackwell, Oxford, England. ISBN 0631129715

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From LBH :
A computer program that makes it possible to search the World Wide Web. (See p. 198.)

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End of TIL file