Friday, June 6, 2014

When Latin's word order drives you batty

Latin's got a well deserved reputation among English speakers for having a complex word order. I can't argue that it isn't complex from an English point of view. But I'm going to throw out this bit of English song. (If you know the source, fine. But no Google if you don't!)
You can fix this fixer-upper
Up with a little bit of love!
What's going on with the verb fix up? It's been split up with the determiner phrase this fixer-upper, which in turn is derived from the verb it is splitting. 

To make the matter more tangled, there are patients in -er. For example: My wife is a keeper. But keep is hardly a phrasal verb. In deverbal agent in -er, like bricklayer, there's only one -er added to indicate that the word is a noun. But fixer-upper? Both morphemes in fix up get the -er.

English, what's wrong with you? How could you put linguistically complex stuff like this in a kids' movie like Frozen