>Rebus Speak

>Do you think the irregular English verbs ´lie´ and ´lay´ are easy to juggle with for Danish students? Oh, you have never thought about that – but as a language teacher, I have! Quite a lot. And my very best advice?

1) Whenever possible – use other verbs.
2) Remember that quite often when Danes use the verb ´ligge´ (which corresponds to ´lie´ – sometimes, that is), English-speakers regard the situation in quite a different light.

Part one of this very useful language lesson will give you a useful and varied range of verbs in a number of sentences where it is at least possible to apply the Danish verb ´ligge´. Once in a while, they DO use lie/lay, however (in which case it is advisably to use them correctly).

I. Ian Rankin, Fleshmarket Close

a) A bag of sugar sat on the worktop next to the sink, a spoon sticking out of it.
b) A toothbrush sat by the sink, but no toothpaste.
c) Detective Constable Colin Tibbett arrived at work next morning to find that someone had placed a toy locomotive on his mouse pad.
d) He´d sneaked a dead dog out of the lab and sat it in his bath.
e) Magazines were stacked on the linoleum floors.
f) The bag was lifted on to a trolley.
g) Rebus shook his head again, watching the body being loaded into the van.
h) He nodded towards a white carrier bag lying on the floor.
i) There was another skeleton there.
j) Certainly they were here before the concrete was laid.
k) The infant had been re-covered by Siobhan´s own jacket, which she´d placed over the remains with the utmost care.
l) Davidson placed a hand on Rebus´s shoulder.
m) There was a small pile of books in front of her.
n) Mag laid a curse on this country.
o) Rebus put them on the back seat beside the other toys.
p) Rebus got out to help her stash her things in the car.
q) Rebus pocketed the tape.

Part two: English-speakers do not have their houses lying around, anyway:

II. Huset ligger slet ikke …
a) There was just the one discreet sex shop in the street.
b) The empty flat was on the first floor.
c) Knoxland was a housing scheme on the western edge of Edinburgh.
d) Gayfield Square was on the periphery of the elegant New Town.
e) What shops there were had resorted to metal grilles on windows and doors.
f) His club was called The Hallion and was a five-minute walk away.

And if you should want to read the novel now, I have at least achieved someting.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in for fun, Ian Rankin, Scottish. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to >Rebus Speak

  1. Lauren says:

    >I’ve read other Rebus novels, but not that one. (Given that I live in Edinburgh, I probably should make the effort one day.)However, your sentences made me smile. In the past I’ve worked full time as an English teacher, and I’m very familiar with bizarre verb usages. I suspect the situation with ‘ligge’ in Danish might be similar to ‘liegen’ in German – and now that I’m teaching the latter language I spend half my time asking my students NOT to use creative versions when ‘Das Haus liegt an der Ecke’ is actually correct…and the other half asking them not to translate the sentence back as ‘The house lies”!

  2. Dorte H says:

    >Hi Lauren. I think I have read a handful of Rankin´s books and I particularly liked this one. You are quite right about liegen and ligge so our house ´ligger´ in Denmark :). Historically, it is the same verb as ´lie´ even though you do not use it nearly as much as our ´ligge´. I think my students could see that this work sheet was quite useful, by the way.

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