Questions about Dutch sentences

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Re: Questions about Dutch sentences

Postby smallwhite » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:28 am

What alternatives does the writer have? I think the usual alternative is:

... en zo verliest de machtige ijskap massa, waar het ooit deel van uitmaakte.

but it is confusing in this case as "waar xxx" seems to go with "massa" if you word it this way.

In English, I usually see this:
The girl who is pretty laughs.

But once in a long while I see this:
The girl laughs, who is pretty.

Which wouldn't work so well in this case:
The girls kicks her brother, who is pretty.
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Re: Questions about Dutch sentences

Postby tommus » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:39 am

smallwhite wrote:What alternatives does the writer have?

When Dutch word order is different, especially when verbs are forced to the end of a sentence, or because of the reversal of the subject-verb order, it sometimes produces separated words and phrases that are somewhat difficult to mentally connect. I agree that, in this case, there wasn't much choice but to use a comma to try to rescue the correct meaning. I guess my main point was that it was unusual, in that the Dutch use so few commas.
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Re: Questions about Dutch sentences

Postby tarvos » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:32 pm

tommus wrote:Een groot deel van dat smeltwater weet zijn weg te vinden naar de oceaan en zo verliest de machtige ijskap waar het ooit deel van uitmaakte, massa.

Source: article

A large part of that melt water is able to find its way to the ocean and so the mighty ice cap of which it was once a part loses mass.

Because of the required word order and the extended subject (de machtige ijskap waar het ooit deel van uitmaakte), "massa" gets pushed to the end of the sentence. The comma then appears to help set massa off from the long subject. However, I think this is the first time I have ever seen a comma in Dutch used in this somewhat awkward way. Is this unusual? The Dutch generally don't like using commas.

it's also a nice way to render emphasis.
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