The awful German or New Yorker language

In Language Log, Mark Liberman and Chris Potts have been discussing this kind of sentence in the New Yorker:

“I would hope that, based on the President’s judicial nominations so far, you will see him appoint Justices more in line with a conservative judicial philosophy,” Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel to the American Center for Law and Justice, an advocacy group funded the Reverend Pat Robertson, says.
(Jeffrey Toobin. Advice and dissent. The New Yorker, May 26, 2003 (p. 48, column 1))

The peculiarity is the use of ‘Jay Sekulow … says’, rather than ‘says Jay Sekulow’.

In the latest entry, Liberman compares the distance between subject and verb here with that mocked by Mark Twain in ‘The Awful German Language’. He thinks (and I tend to agree) it causes more trouble for the reader than the German pattern does.

Here’s an example from Mark Twain:

“But when he, upon the street, the (in-satin-and-silk-covered-now-very-unconstrained-after-the-newest-fashioned-dressed) government counselor’s wife met,” etc., etc. [1]
1. Wenn er aber auf der Strasse der in Sammt und Seide gehüllten jetzt sehr ungenirt nach der neusten Mode gekleideten Regierungsräthin begegnet.
That is from The Old Mamselle’s Secret, by Mrs. Marlitt. And that sentence is constructed upon the most approved German model. You observe how far that verb is from the reader’s base of operations; well, in a German newspaper they put their verb away over on the next page; and I have heard that sometimes after stringing along the exciting preliminaries and parentheses for a column or two, they get in a hurry and have to go to press without getting to the verb at all. Of course, then, the reader is left in a very exhausted and ignorant state.

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