[Ads-l] "substitute" woes

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Sep 17 13:02:40 EDT 2016

> On Sep 17, 2016, at 12:31 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 17, 2016 at 1:31 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>> It’s a confusing bit of phraseology
> Way off topic, but isn't this the way that it normally works in German?

Not sure which verb you're thinking of, but since an "ersatz" X is a substitute or replacement for X (in English as well as German), I assume "ersetzen" would be the verb in question.  But that begs the question (I think I'm using that in the "correct" way), since "ersetzen" gets translated as 'replace' rather than 'substitute', so if you're ersetz-ing Y for (durch) X, you're replacing Y with X or substituting X for Y.  German speakers, can you confirm?  (Chris?)


P.S.  Of course if you're an innovative "substitute" speaker--which if you're Wilson you're not--then you could gloss "ersetzen" as 'substitute'

> My
> opinion of German being akin to that of Mark Twain, I don't have any German
> books handy in which to look for examples, needless to say. Having
> something available from which to draw an example - "That would be too much
> like right," as we say in East Texas.
> -- 
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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