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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

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The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are not available as e-books at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. However, I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

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The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Cloak of Challiver

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Yoda lives - in English

This post is really about substantive verbs, sometimes called "linking verbs". The verb “to be” is sometimes called The Substantive Verb, and some people just call it a substantive, not a verb at all. Be is not the only verb in this category, though. There are several others, notably become, feel, go, remain, stay, stand.

A substantive verb does not have an object. You can turn the sentence back-to-front, Yoda-like, and it will still have the same meaning, although it will probably read like something from a nineteenth century poem or novel if you do.

Look at these examples:
The air sits heavy in monsoon season: if we invert it we get “Heavy sits the air in monsoon season”


Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown: inverted: The head that wears a crown lies uneasy.

John became a doctor - A doctor John became

The grass remains dry - Dry remains the grass

She felt unhappy - Unhappy she felt

The woman went crazy - Crazy went the woman

The athlete will become a coach – A coach the athlete will become.

He remained a lawyer – A lawyer he remained

Mary stays at home – At home stays Mary

Bill stood still – Still stood Bill

These sound rather poetic, don’t they – or maybe rather like Yoda on a bad day – but we do sometimes use this form of expression, even in speech: for instance “He always wanted to be a farmer, and a farmer he became”.

7 comments:

Jo said...

I'd never really figured Yoda's speech until now, I see how it is achieved.

Satima Flavell said...

Funny thing is, in some languages - German, for instance - Yoda-ese would resemble a perfectly acceptable construction - and not just for substantives, but for all verbs.

Jo said...

Maybe that's why I had trouble learning German many years ago. Latin languages I can do, but not Teutonic.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Aha, Jo! "Latin languages I can do..." :-) Very nicely Yoda!

It does sound like poetry.

But Yoda really twists the sentences. "When nine hundred years old you are, so good you will not look."

Ouch! But I did like: "Do or do not - there is no try!" I use that one whenever someone irritates me with, "Well, I don't know, I'll try" and means "I have no intention of even trying." :-)

Satima Flavell said...

"Do or do not - there is no try!" I reckon I should stick that one on my computer so I see it every day!

Jo said...

I have often used that particular phrase, do or do not, so many people say they will try and do something which is really a stupid thing to say although we all do it. Didn’t realise I had used a classic Yoda phrase when I said Latin languages I can do.

Satima Flavell said...

Just goes to show, Jo, that the inverted substantive is not dead! We tend to use it for emphasis, as you did in your second comment.

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