A beautiful song sung the singer. / reversed word order

russian80

Senior Member
Russian
Do you often hear in everyday life the inverted word order that can be often seen in poetry? Can many people properly say "A beautiful song sung the singer." so that it would be instantly understood in the right way?
 
  • S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    Freedom to vary the usual subject - verb - object syntax order of English is a part of 'poetic license'. No, you don't see it much in other contexts, although most speakers could figure out what is meant if they try.
     

    russian80

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Freedom to vary the usual subject - verb - object syntax order of English is a part of 'poetic license'. No, you don't see it much in other contexts, although most speakers could figure out what is meant if they try.
    Will most native speakers of English actually try (how hard is it, by the way?) and figure out what this sentence is supposed to mean if it is said with a foreign accent and without it? What kind of native speakers will not be able to figure out the intended meaning? How many are they?
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    Well, most English speakers are exposed to a lot of verse, whether in the bible or in song lyrics, and they can figure those out easily enough. I think that anyone who wants to will work it out quite easily. Those that don't probably didn't even try. There are always people who refuse to try to understand a foreigner.
     

    russian80

    Senior Member
    Russian
    If they found it in prose. In a poem it would pass without comment.
    What about the acceptability of
    A beautiful song was singing the singer.
    A beautiful song has sung the singer.


    compared with the acceptability of
    A beautiful song sang the singer.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The problem is, if you're reading it for poetic word order, you could also read it for poetic meaning, and take it as intended to be an inverted meaning too: the song (subject) sang the singer (object). The tense makes no difference. The song manifested itself in the singer, or caused the singer to sing or be a singer. Poetry is full of things that don't make literal sense.
     

    russian80

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The problem is, if you're reading it for poetic word order, you could also read it for poetic meaning, and take it as intended to be an inverted meaning too: the song (subject) sang the singer (object). The tense makes no difference.
    These are two very important points. Thanks a lot!
     
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