Translateless prepositions

By | 2006-07-02

This morning I was thinking about prepositions. In Spanish there is a closed list, a short list, of prepositions. There are 20 of them (and in fact 2 of them are archaic), so it’s a small number, and you usually have to learn them by heart at school. While trying to wake up, my mind was playing on this issue, and I just found a literacy idea: use every preposition aiming “to you”, like a romantic poem. It was something like this (in Spanish):

“Preposiciones contigo”

Me gustaría ir a ti, estar ante ti, dormir bajo ti,
soñar con ti, jugar contra ti, saber de ti,
partir desde ti, vivir durante ti, pensar en ti,
colarme entre ti, correr hacia ti, hasta ti,
luchar para ti, por ti, actuar según ti,
enfadarme sin ti, volar sobre ti, e ir tras ti.

The problem arises if you want to make something similar in English, because there are a lot of different prepositions, so this “game of words” it’s not possible. You can’t learn it by heart at school, can you? This long list caused me some headaches in the past, 2 years ago, while I was researching on information retrieval using syntactic analyzers. We had to categorize them (time prepositions, position prepositions, an so on) to process the information in a better way. But when we thought we have the complete list, a new preposition arrived to our system and it was always a surprise: there are lots of them! 🙂

Anyway I may write something in English, developing the previous idea, but in another way. It can be interesting (at least to practise the correct use of prepositions). Hmmm, I have to think about it.