Ladino and English/Contrastive Grammar

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Sentence Analysis of Relevant Sentences

Sentence 1

El mirava en el cielo y en la estrellería: He was looking at heaven and at the stars

^El<prn><pers><p3><m><sg><nom>/Prpers<prn><subj><p3><m><sg>$ ^mirar<v><iv><pii><p1><sg>/look<vblex><pii><p1><sg>$ ^en<pr>/at<pr>/on<pr>/in<pr>$ ^el<det><def><m><sg>/the<det><def><sp>$ ^cielo<n><m><sg>/heavens<n><sg>$ ^y<cnjcoo>/and<cnjcoo>$ ^en<pr>/at<pr>/on<pr>/in<pr>$ ^el<det><def><f><sg>/the<det><def><sp>$ ^estrellería<n><f><sg>/stars<n><sg>$^.<sent>/.<sent>$

This shows that some nouns that don't have determiners in English have determiners in Ladino, like the 'heavens' translation of cielo.

It also shows that nouns and determiners in Ladino has grammatical gender, which they don't in English. (Adjectives are also gendered in Ladino, but not in English, but that doesn't appear in this sentence.)

Sentence 2

No me mires: Don't look at me

^No<adv>/Not<adv>$ ^me<prn><pers><p1><sg><pro>/prpers<prn><obj><p1><mf><sg>$ ^mirar<v><iv><prs><p2><sg>/look<vblex><prs><p2><sg>$^.<sent>/.<sent>$

There are a number of differences between English and Ladino in this sentence.

For one, the phrase 'look at me' is changed to 'me mires'. Mires would translate as 'you look', and me would translate as 'at me', so the order is switched from 'at me you look' to 'you look at me'.

Other Grammar

The Ladino sentences I selected were generally similar in structure to their translations in English, so there are other grammatical differences between Ladino and English that weren't represented. For one, adjectives in Ladino come after the noun, not before: 'los djudios sefardim' translates as 'Sephardic Jews.' This is also an example of determiners existing in Ladino and not in English.

Lad-Eng Tests

  • Nouns without Determiners
    • el cielo/el syelo - heaven
    • la Espanya - Spain
  • Grammatical Gender
    • la estrellería - the stars
    • la lingua - the language
  • Reflexive Verb Order
    • Me mires - you look at me
    • Te pario - (she) gave birth to you
    • Te dio - (she) gave you
  • Adjective Order
    • los djudios sefardim - Sephardic Jews
    • una luz santa - a holy light