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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Word Order in Telugu vis a vis English Questions

I often notice a mistake like the one I saw today on a language website:  "What remote is called in Telugu?"

Without getting into the answer (which, I suspect, is, no need to translate, just use the English word!) , a comment on the question itself:  There's an important variation to note regarding the order of words when asking a who/what/when/where/why question in English.  *An appropriate form of the verb 'to be' (is, am, are, was, were) in the sentence should immediately follow the question word.

Ex:  What is your name?  NOT  What your name is?
       What is 'remote' called in Telugu?  NOT What 'remote' is called in Telugu.?

I think this mistake arises because these words would be at the very end of the sentence, or simply omitted, in the Telugu language.  But they* are expected, in English.  Or does the mistake follow on an English rule not to 'split infinitives...' 
Whatever the cause, the error causes a 'blip' in the flow of the language whether you leave them* out, or put them in at unexpected places!

I hope this helps!   ;-) 

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