Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Another Sentence

Hi guys, here's a sentence that actually would've appeared as part of a Linguistics course description in next semester's catalog, except I caught it and fixed it up on the sly (shhh!). My eventual solution was to cut it entirely, but here it is:

"Of the other varieties, Caviteno (and perhaps Ternateno), spoken on Luzon south of Manila, in the areas of Cavite and Ternate, still have some life, although they are certainly endangered."

After I finished tripping over all commas, my first question was, “The other varieties of what?” Languages? Dialects? Jargons? It's not stated here, and I wasn't able to glean it by context from surrounding sentences. “Spoken on Luzon south of Manila” needs a comma in the middle of it, since I'm pretty sure that “south of Manila” is in apposition to “Luzon.” Also, the way the sentence is written, I think “have” and “they are” should really be “has” and “it is.” I'm pretty sure that “Ternateno,” being parenthetical, doesn't actually count as a compound subject; the subject is the singular “Caviteno,” as opposed to the plural “Caviteno and Ternateno.” I can't actually find a rule about parenthetical stuffs to back me up here, so if anyone knows, please post a comment!

If I had to rewrite it, it would look like this:

Of the other dialects, Caviteno and (perhaps) Ternateno—both spoken on Luzon, south of Manila, in Cavite and Ternate respectively—still have some life, although they are certainly endangered.

I tried to keep the changes minimal, but I hope it reads a bit more smoothly now.


ceruleanjen said...

You have the power to delete sentences from the catalog? :o I envy you. hehehe :D

I consulted my Pocket Style Manual, but it didn't say anything about what is grammatically correct in a parenthetical statement. It just says parentheses are used to encolse supplemental material, minor digressions, and afterthoughts. :P I actually don't know how to properly use paratheses (believe it or not)... haha, although that one I did on purpose instead of using a comma. :P

ceruleanjen said...

*parentheses :p

Mitchell H. said...

Nah, my boss just asked me to proofread our department's course descrips, so I edited this one and a few others that I thought were awkward. =P

And I'm pretty sure you just used parentheses properly there!