Fox hunting in Canada. And other exercises in English Language.
A reasonable person may ask is the topic relating to the actions of a humans [or humans] or alternatively the fox. What is the opinion of said le renard, I hear you ask?
 
What is the opinion of a person who hears a NSW 'Public Servant' state:
 
A:'some of this data [not these data] are anonomised and I appreciate the fact that the people [?] expect us to de - anonymise it [not these].
 
B: Allegations were made, yes. We are currently checking just who the alligator is......
 
[Conclusion: Our Victoria Police are better educated than NSW Police].
I suggest that the title Fox hunting in Canada  needs no explanation; it relates to humans hunting foxes. This observation is not as apparent to a non - English speaking native. A person whose primary language is not ours. The problem is disambiguation ; an open problem concerned with identifying which sense of a word is used in the heading.
 
In English, our reliance on the single words ‘a’  ‘an’ and ‘the’  confuse a foreigner even further. With many European languages, any noun has a gender. These are referred to as noun cases, or nominative cases; often two, as with the Latin languages [French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romansh and so on] with three in German. Der  Mann, die Frau, das Kind. [A man a woman a child]. When referring to nouns in a sentence, the gender of the noun carries forward to the noun in its other cases: accusative, genitive, dative.
 
The nominative case is used for sentence subjects, the accusative for direct objects, the dative  for indirect objects and genitive expresses possession. The adjectives ‘agree’ with the case. The dative case also serves the purpose to dismiss ambiguity:
 
In English ‘In the restaurant’ instead of clarifying if we meant ‘into the ……’. Many non – English languages use the dative case to specify direction. Into the restaurant  versus in the restaurant, for instance. Speaking of which, there is a side issue here. [Not that we may not go to one]. No, our forbears in their wisdom made rules, first in the early 14th Century by Dante Alighieri if your were 'Italian' per se.
 
The much misused it's [NOT its the pronoun] is an Rule from the 16th Century allowing one  form only: it is. Given we all agree about the Plague of The Errant Apostrophe, witness sic: Car's banana's chair's.... ad nauseam, the fundamentalists of 'Cancel Culture' - whoever made that up - will be horrified [with any luck] to learn that:
 
The apostrophe as in / Sue's house / banana's price or bananas' [plural] actually meant .... wait for it ... Sue [HIS] house / banana [HIS] price. Worse, German, Italian etcetera - see previously - assign a gender to every noun: A table is masculine, a pizza is feminine and a car is neuter. There are some 'rules'; Europeans still use Mr. Mrs. Miss. by the way.
 
There is a famous example of this tortuous grammar to be found, as Chris would know:
 
The Ministry for the district office of the controller of traffic regulation ….
 
Das Ministerium für das Bezirksamt des für die Vekehrsregulierung Verantwortlichen innerhalb der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
 
Believe it or not there is no ambiguity as to who is doing what to whom if you are German. Therefore, it would be easier to determine that the fox in Canada is headed for the high jump if it is not alert.
 
Speaking of which, the Romans  did influence grammar in their Known World. I attest that the majority of non – Swiss believe that they [The Swiss] have three official languages: German French and Italian. Well four, Romansh. Official since 1938 and spoken by residents of the Canton of Graubünden. This area abuts north – eastern Italy and is 'related' to Romanian and some Slavic languages. The Romans did get around.
 
If the Normans had not lost the language battle to English [which was the argot  of the conquered English] we would not have these difficulties. Mind you, I am convinced that ‘Avance Australie juste’  does not have quite the same sonnette  to it. And we'd be speaking foolent Fronch.
Sponsors