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A least one case where Danish is easier to disambiguate than English January 13, 2007

Posted by globalizer in Danish, Language, Localization, Translation.

In connection with my review of the Danish version of Netvibes I mentioned how noun phrases consisting of more than one noun are constructed by concatenating the nouns into one word – and how violating that rule can result in completely altering the meaning of the phrase.

Today Language Log conveniently demonstrates how for phrases like “basil leaves” or “fruit flies” there is no way to indicate which meaning you intend in English (are “leaves” and “flies” verbs or nouns?); while in Danish every single one of the two-word noun phrases would simply be written in one word (assuming you use the standard rules), leaving no room for doubt.


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