Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

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Taurenzine
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Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by Taurenzine » Thu 11 Jan 2018, 21:42

So I've been into language nerds for like the past year and a half and that's given me enough time to understand a lot more about linguistics than most people. I'm not saying that I'm particularly good at it, but its still not common that people understand linguistics because they think its good, usually they wanna be a language teacher, not a linguistics teacher. But whatever.

Out of the necessity for a language credit in school, I decided to take Spanish. I thought it would be a lot more linguistic, but one thing that I've noticed in language classes, including Spanish and English is that they like to explain things in their own way, and they like to cut corners, without showing the full picture. I've talked to my teacher about teaching Spanish in a more universally linguistic way rather than a Spanish specific way, even just asking for him to explain linguistic terms that he's mentioned, and he usually just says that "the terms are complicated, so its best if you just learn how to use them and get used to them"

Let me tell you, I really despise that logic.

Soo off to the internet I go, with the question to define using universal linguistics that which was failed to be explained using stupid rules, the prepositions 'Para' and 'Por'. I've read a couple of things about it, and the biggest things that I can take for it are these:

1) This preposition marks multiple different noun cases, not just one, and it depends on the situation.*
(Some people get angry at me when I say that adpositions mark noun cases, but am I wrong? Noun cases aren't the morphology that a noun goes through to change its purpose in a sentence, Noun cases are just the purpose of a noun in a sentence, and if that can be changed without changing the noun itself, its still noun case)

2) Para marks something similar to the causative case, along with others that I haven't Identified yet.

3) Por marks something similar to the benefactive case, along with others that I haven't Identified yet.


I'm pretty sure that I butchered the identification of these prepositions (probably because the only thing I said was that it was similar to something else), but that's why I'm asking you guys. I guess I basically just want a list of the cases that Para represents along with a list of the cases that por represents, and I want an explanation of the similarities between the cases within each list I guess. But that's if you have the time and motivation to do so.... so yeah.


I usually make mistakes when I write stuff like this so pls call me out on it, I should learn to fix them
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Ser
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by Ser » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 08:20

Out of the necessity for a language credit in school, I decided to take Spanish. I thought it would be a lot more linguistic, but one thing that I've noticed in language classes, including Spanish and English is that they like to explain things in their own way, and they like to cut corners, without showing the full picture.
Cutting corners is the reasonable thing to do though, because it's an introductory class. It'd be overwhelming to actually list every common use of every word.
1) This preposition marks multiple different noun cases, not just one, and it depends on the situation.*
(Some people get angry at me when I say that adpositions mark noun cases, but am I wrong? Noun cases aren't the morphology that a noun goes through to change its purpose in a sentence, Noun cases are just the purpose of a noun in a sentence, and if that can be changed without changing the noun itself, its still noun case)
Certainly, there are people who agree with you within linguistics and like to use the word "case" this way, and they go and say that e.g. the Spanish personal a marks "the accusative case" when the referent is human (i.e. it marks human direct objects), but I don't think any detailed, reference grammar does this. I have mostly seen it in passing remarks within articles about something else...

Note that you'll certainly run out of names of these cases anyway. What's the name for the case of being the second element of a multiplication, for example? There's no name for that, and yet:
  • Cuatro por cuatro es dieciséis.
    Four times four equals sixteen.
Also, adpositions have lots and lots, loads and loads, of disparate finicky uses, sometimes determined within the lexicon so not corresponding to any particular case. For example, Spanish acabar takes a verbal infinitive complement linked with the preposition por.
  • Acabé por llorar mi desgracia.
    I ended up crying about my misfortune.
2) Para marks something similar to the causative case, along with others that I haven't Identified yet.
No, it doesn't. Although you perhaps have the (causal-)final case in mind, if "case" the way you define it can be applied to verbal infinitives.
3) Por marks something similar to the benefactive case, along with others that I haven't Identified yet.
I guess.
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 14:19

Taurenzine wrote:
Thu 11 Jan 2018, 21:42

(Some people get angry at me when I say that adpositions mark noun cases, but am I wrong? Noun cases aren't the morphology that a noun goes through to change its purpose in a sentence, Noun cases are just the purpose of a noun in a sentence, and if that can be changed without changing the noun itself, its still noun case)
See, you go on about wanting proper universal linguistics, and then you refuse to accept linguistic definitions of words.

You are talking about the semantic role (function, whatever) of nouns. This is entirely different from case, which is a syntactic category. It's probably useful to say that case doesn't require morphology - that it may be indicated by word order, say - but it's not useful to equate case (a category within the grammar of a language) with role (a semantic property external to the grammar). The same role may be fulfilled by different cases even within one language*, and the same case may indicate several different roles, even within one language**.

*for instance: the third-person female referents in "she ate the hippopotamus" and in "the hippopotamus was eaten by her" have the same role in each instance, but different case.
**for instance, the third-person female referents in "she ate the hippopotamus" and "she was eaten by the hippopotamus" have the same case, but different roles.
I guess I basically just want a list of the cases that Para represents along with a list of the cases that por represents, and I want an explanation of the similarities between the cases within each list I guess.
Prepositions do not usually represent cases. Prepositions generally have very complicated uses; it would not be possible, for instance to 'list the cases' that "to" or "on" "represents".

More fundamentally, it is very unwise to imagine that there is some language-independent list of cases, that you could tick off. Cases are categories within a language. While they may be named in similar ways to indicate similarities, the "causative case" in one language will not be the same (in terms of usage) as the "causative case" in another language.

In this case, if you insist that "para" and "por" represent cases, it's obvious what those cases are. "Para" represents the para-case, and "por" represents the por-case.
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Taurenzine
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by Taurenzine » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 14:33

*Sigh*

So basically It's just not possible? fair enough... it makes sense in its own way, its a natural language after all...

*Sigh*

But thank you for the information about how case is syntactic and how case isn't what I think it is, because now I have an actual reason to agree with you. I have no formal education in Linguistics, so the only way I learn is just by doing and realizing that I'm doing it wrong :)

Now I know that semantic role is different from case :D
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by Xonen » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 17:27

Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 14:19
You are talking about the semantic role (function, whatever) of nouns. This is entirely different from case, which is a syntactic category. It's probably useful to say that case doesn't require morphology - that it may be indicated by word order, say
I suppose that might make sense in some languages, but in the ones I'm familiar with, case is usually considered a primarily morphological category - and treating it as a syntactic one would probably cause confusion. For instance, in Estonian, a noun in the genitive case can syntactically be either an object or an attribute (might not be entirely idiomatic, as I haven't discussed people eating hippos or people-eating hippos in Estonian for a while... but the principle should be sound):

ta sõi jõehobu
3SG eat.PST.3SG hippopotamus.GEN
'she ate the hippopotamus'

ta jäi jõehobu toiduks
3SG become.PST.3SG hippopotamus.GEN food.TRA
'she became hippo food'
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 23:16

Xonen wrote:
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 17:27
Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 14:19
You are talking about the semantic role (function, whatever) of nouns. This is entirely different from case, which is a syntactic category. It's probably useful to say that case doesn't require morphology - that it may be indicated by word order, say
I suppose that might make sense in some languages, but in the ones I'm familiar with, case is usually considered a primarily morphological category - and treating it as a syntactic one would probably cause confusion. For instance, in Estonian, a noun in the genitive case can syntactically be either an object or an attribute (might not be entirely idiomatic, as I haven't discussed people eating hippos or people-eating hippos in Estonian for a while... but the principle should be sound):

ta sõi jõehobu
3SG eat.PST.3SG hippopotamus.GEN
'she ate the hippopotamus'

ta jäi jõehobu toiduks
3SG become.PST.3SG hippopotamus.GEN food.TRA
'she became hippo food'
Oh, sorry, I meant 'syntactic' in a sense that included the syntax of bound morphemes - the sense in which case usage occurs in 'syntax' chapters, while 'morphology' chapters just have the, you know, mechanics of word alteration, as it were.
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by gach » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 17:06

Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 23:16
Oh, sorry, I meant 'syntactic' in a sense that included the syntax of bound morphemes - the sense in which case usage occurs in 'syntax' chapters, while 'morphology' chapters just have the, you know, mechanics of word alteration, as it were.
The point is that the categories of syntactic function aren't always the most natural way of describing case. The same Estonian pattern of object cases exists also in Finnish; the case of singular telic objects coincides with the genitive singular (näe-n koira-n, see-SG1 dog-OBJ1, "I see a dog" ~ koira-n korva, dog-GEN ear, "dog's ear") and the case of plural telic objects with the nominative plural (näe-n koira-t see-SG1 dog-OBJ2, "I see the dogs" ~ koira-t näke-vät dog-PL see-PL3, "dogs see"), while personal pronouns have their very own forms resembling the nominative plural but unrelated to the pronominal plurals (näe-n sinu-t see-SG1 you.SG-OBJ3, "I see you" ~ te, you.PL). Now, in many occasions it is convenient to gloss at least some of the object cases as accusatives, but it's quite questionable that a syntactic oriented approach, where all the object cases are forms of the accusative (OBJ1 = OBJ2 = OBJ3 = ACC), should be the primary analysis of this system instead of identifying the cases with their morphological counterparts (OBJ1 = GEN, OBJ2 = NOM.PL, and OBJ3 = PRON.ACC). The issue isn't whether one of these analysis levels wouldn't be possible in the language but which one of them is the more powerful one for describing the actual grammar.

I guess another situation where trying to stick to strictly syntactically defined cases can cause unnecessary complications is the analysis of quirky case. Maybe someone else can provide input on these.
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by Xonen » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 19:24

gach wrote:
Sun 14 Jan 2018, 17:06
Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 23:16
Oh, sorry, I meant 'syntactic' in a sense that included the syntax of bound morphemes - the sense in which case usage occurs in 'syntax' chapters, while 'morphology' chapters just have the, you know, mechanics of word alteration, as it were.
The point is that the categories of syntactic function aren't always the most natural way of describing case. The same Estonian pattern of object cases exists also in Finnish; the case of singular telic objects coincides with the genitive singular (näe-n koira-n, see-SG1 dog-OBJ1, "I see a dog" ~ koira-n korva, dog-GEN ear, "dog's ear") and the case of plural telic objects with the nominative plural (näe-n koira-t see-SG1 dog-OBJ2, "I see the dogs" ~ koira-t näke-vät dog-PL see-PL3, "dogs see"), while personal pronouns have their very own forms resembling the nominative plural but unrelated to the pronominal plurals (näe-n sinu-t see-SG1 you.SG-OBJ3, "I see you" ~ te, you.PL). Now, in many occasions it is convenient to gloss at least some of the object cases as accusatives, but it's quite questionable that a syntactic oriented approach, where all the object cases are forms of the accusative (OBJ1 = OBJ2 = OBJ3 = ACC), should be the primary analysis of this system instead of identifying the cases with their morphological counterparts (OBJ1 = GEN, OBJ2 = NOM.PL, and OBJ3 = PRON.ACC). The issue isn't whether one of these analysis levels wouldn't be possible in the language but which one of them is the more powerful one for describing the actual grammar.

I guess another situation where trying to stick to strictly syntactically defined cases can cause unnecessary complications is the analysis of quirky case. Maybe someone else can provide input on these.
Personally, I do think it makes sense to analyze Finnish as having an accusative case, which just happens to be identical to the genitive in the singular and to the nominative in the plural, with only the personal pronouns having it as a completely distinct form. In the same way as, say, Russian or Latin aren't analyzed as using the genitive singular as a plural form on first-declension nouns (or the nominative plural as a possessive), but rather as those two forms simply being identical.*

So yes, I do think that syntax plays a role in determining what counts as a case and how to distinguish cases from one another when the morphological forms leave room for ambiguity. But mostly, there also needs to be a morphological distinction of some sort at least somewhere, because otherwise, you'd need to analyze every single form that has more than one use (i.e. pretty much all of them) as more than one case. Which, as far as I can tell, would essentially mean that all languages on the planet would have an arbitrarily large number of cases.

*) Now, the same argument would probably apply, at least partially, to Estonian as well, but I wanted to keep things simple here, so I just went by the "official" analysis. A better example might be the North Saami "genitive-accusative", which actually works exactly like the Estonian genitive but also in the plural. But there the name might seem to imply that it's somehow two cases combined into one form, and again, I wanted to keep things simple and thus not to have to start explaining away someone else's choice of terminology.
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by Salmoneus » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 19:30

gach: I'm sorry, I don't see the relevence. Obviously, case syncretism and the like is commonplace. But this does not change the fact that these cases are being used to identify particular functions of words within the sentence (ie have syntactic import). Quirky case and the like are still rule-governed. Indeed, quirky case may be the best illustration of the fact that case is syntactic rather than semantic: syntax requires certain cases to be used even when this this counterintuitive if we assume each case to have a semantic "meaning". Likewise, the fact that a case may have multiple realisations, and that the same realisation may indicate more than one case, demonstrates that case is not purely a morphological category in the narrow sense.

Indeed, you yourself use the phrase "object case", identifying cases by their syntactic function. Whether any given language has only one object case or may have several is not relevent to whether it has case (as a syntactic category). Of course, whether you call a case "accusative" or not is arbitrary.
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by gach » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 20:39

Salmoneus wrote:
Sun 14 Jan 2018, 19:30
Quirky case and the like are still rule-governed.
And, of course, it never was about that but instead about what we understand the term "case" to stand for. We've given here just some documented examples of situations where the syntactic and morphological case categories don't exactly coincide and where it's quite reasonable to base your model of them partly on morphological over syntactic data.
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Re: Spanish Por Para issue. Help!

Post by Lambuzhao » Mon 15 Jan 2018, 15:31

Ser wrote:
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 08:20
Out of the necessity for a language credit in school, I decided to take Spanish. I thought it would be a lot more linguistic, but one thing that I've noticed in language classes, including Spanish and English is that they like to explain things in their own way, and they like to cut corners, without showing the full picture.
Cutting corners is the reasonable thing to do though, because it's an introductory class. It'd be overwhelming to actually list every common use of every word.
1) This preposition marks multiple different noun cases, not just one, and it depends on the situation.*
(Some people get angry at me when I say that adpositions mark noun cases, but am I wrong? Noun cases aren't the morphology that a noun goes through to change its purpose in a sentence, Noun cases are just the purpose of a noun in a sentence, and if that can be changed without changing the noun itself, its still noun case)
Certainly, there are people who agree with you within linguistics and like to use the word "case" this way, and they go and say that e.g. the Spanish personal a marks "the accusative case" when the referent is human (i.e. it marks human direct objects), but I don't think any detailed, reference grammar does this. I have mostly seen it in passing remarks within articles about something else...

Note that you'll certainly run out of names of these cases anyway. What's the name for the case of being the second element of a multiplication, for example? There's no name for that, and yet:
  • Cuatro por cuatro es dieciséis.
    Four times four equals sixteen.
Also, adpositions have lots and lots, loads and loads, of disparate finicky uses, sometimes determined within the lexicon so not corresponding to any particular case. For example, Spanish acabar takes a verbal infinitive complement linked with the preposition por.
  • Acabé por llorar mi desgracia.
    I ended up crying about my misfortune.
2) Para marks something similar to the causative case, along with others that I haven't Identified yet.
No, it doesn't. Although you perhaps have the (causal-)final case in mind, if "case" the way you define it can be applied to verbal infinitives.
3) Por marks something similar to the benefactive case, along with others that I haven't Identified yet.
I guess.
Talking to points in no particular order

First, if we're taking a stroll down that fork in the road, /por/ used to show 'times' would be an example of MULTIPLICATIVE CASE (MLTP), that is, if Spanish nouns declined for a Multiplicative Case.

1.33rd, the phrase acabar por could be a Gallicism, a calque of the :fre: phrase finir par+ INF. A moderator on the discussion forum on Wordreference suggests this.


Second,

@J@ (i.e. ojo 'Nota Bene')
[->] 'due to/because of' works for /por/ in a number of pinches.

Third,

Regarding the distinction between the two of these grammatical dioscouroi,

You learn them as they come. I did in :per:.
[:|]

Maybe, just maaaaaybeeeee, with my prior knowledge of :lat:, for example, I was analyzing which :lat: case the Spanish use of /por/ or /para/ came from, and why it's /por/ instead of /para/, and what :lat: /pro/ and /per/ and Vulg :lat: /pro ad/ have got to do with it all (¿?)...

Why there are expressions like 'por siempre' and 'para siempre' side by side quacking like pretty much the same duck (¿?)(¿?)

Don't even get me started with Antiguo Castellano, and the whole 'por que/ para que ' rigmarole, among other things por -v- para, or por/pora/par (⸘‽).

:roll:

Frankly, you learn them as they come.
[->] Which see:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CcmIwtRW4AI7qVy.jpg

If you want to, you can figure out which case each of the common uses on this list would be. IMHO looks like each PRP requires several cases, and not just one umbrella case, tho an avuncular lang like Ancient :grc: has a gazillion uses for its Swiss-Army Dative Case, and the :lat: Ablative is even moar Swisser+Armier, and you don't even have to cross the Rubicon para la Helvetia.

Fact of the matter is, tho, Spanish abandoned substantival cases a long, long time ago.

I mean, unless you were going to make some kind of :esp: :con: which steam-punked case-endings all over again ( or a whole new bunch of new ones)…
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