pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
[personal profile] pne

I thought of a gap in English: it has no preposition corresponding to German “an”+accusative.

In some cases, what is one preposition in German with dative or accusative (for position vs. movement) is the same preposition in English (The cat is under the table vs. The cat runs under the table; The bird is over the table vs. The bird flies over the table) or is differentiated with -to for the movement version (The ball is in the box vs. The ball falls into the box; The pen is on the table vs. The pen falls onto the table).

But for “at”, there’s only the “position” meaning, and there’s no “movement” variant.

For example, in German, you could say, “Schieb den Karton an die Wand”; in English, you’d need a circumlocution such as “Push the cardboard box all the way to the wall” or “right up to the wall”. “Push it at the wall” wouldn’t have the same meaning, and there’s no *“Push it atto the wall” or *“Push it to at the wall”.

There is “to”, but it’s more similar to German “zu” or Esperanto “al” rather than to German “an” or Esperanto “ĝis” with their connotation of touching at the end.

Date: Wednesday, 20 August 2014 22:43 (UTC)
ewx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ewx
'push the box against the wall'?

Date: Tuesday, 26 May 2015 18:36 (UTC)
birke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] birke
"Push it up to the wall" is how I would usually express your example.

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pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
Philip Newton

June 2015

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