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Author Topic: English is weird  (Read 97833 times)

Thrillho

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #700 on: 14 Jun 2017, 03:47 »

Put a comma after 'language.'
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #701 on: 14 Jun 2017, 04:41 »

Clever, but doesn't that turn it into a completely correct sentence fragment?
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #702 on: 14 Jun 2017, 05:53 »

Put a comma after 'language.'

A colon, surely, or possibly a question mark?

And yes, it's a fragment, but one for which it is not hard to construct a context in which it could be used meaningfully as an acceptable and idiomatic shorthand.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #703 on: 14 Jun 2017, 06:25 »

One word needs to be moved, is all.

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #704 on: 14 Jun 2017, 06:31 »

Fix the following sentence so it is completely correct:

The most common word in the English language is.

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"The" is the most common word in the English language.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #705 on: 14 Jun 2017, 06:34 »

Fix the following sentence so it is completely correct:

The most common word in the English language is.

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"is" - the most common word in the English language.
Nope.

"The" is the most common word in the English language.

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #706 on: 14 Jun 2017, 07:58 »

It depends on what the meaning of "is" is.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #707 on: 14 Jun 2017, 08:29 »

I don't, know if this has been raised in the topic previously, but a superb example of one sentence meaning as many things as there are words 'in' the sentence is:

"I didn't say I killed him."

Inflection can make that be taken seven different ways...

ETA: (if you count a flat intonation, I'd swither on that one having the same basic meaning as stressing the *didn't*)
« Last Edit: 14 Jun 2017, 09:20 by JoeCovenant »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #708 on: 14 Jun 2017, 11:21 »

"The most common word in the English language exists."

Actually, using that (somewhat obsolete but still used) sense of "is", it was a correct and complete sentence to start with.

It's very much a "garden path" sentence though, in that its structure misleads you into expecting a second argument for "is".
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #709 on: 14 Jun 2017, 14:25 »

"The most common word is in the English language."

Perhaps not true, but grammatically correct.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #710 on: 14 Jun 2017, 15:56 »

Beat me to it.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #713 on: 16 Aug 2017, 17:55 »

Why do 'oversee' and 'overlook' have such different meanings? And why is 'an oversight' something that has been overlooked?
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #714 on: 16 Aug 2017, 20:45 »

Looking something over and overlooking something are completely opposite.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #715 on: 17 Aug 2017, 01:59 »

Why do 'oversee' and 'overlook' have such different meanings? And why is 'an oversight' something that has been overlooked?

"Oversight" is actually used with both those senses; one can say "He has oversight of that project", for instance.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #716 on: 17 Aug 2017, 16:04 »

Then there's overview, which is a summary.

Yep, weird.
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LTK

Re: English is weird
« Reply #717 on: 17 Aug 2017, 16:56 »

I guess this is part of why they introduced Latin words into English, as 'supervise' does not mean 'a really strong pair of metal clamps'. But then, 'vice-' was also introduced from Latin, and for that you may wonder why 'vice-president' does not mean 'one who presides over moral faults'.
« Last Edit: 17 Aug 2017, 17:01 by LTK »
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #718 on: 18 Aug 2017, 01:37 »

Well, that would be because English - via old French - actually borrowed two Latin words, but writes them in the same way:
  • Vice, n.: moral fault, from vitium: defect, imperfection
  • vice-, : deputy, assistant; from vice, abl. of vicis: change, turn
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #719 on: 18 Aug 2017, 09:36 »

If a hand towel is meant for drying hands, then it's an ambitious project to attempt a beach towel.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #720 on: 18 Aug 2017, 21:56 »

You just reminded me of an awful joke I heard as a kid.

If tinsel is made out of tin, what do they make foghorns out of?
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #721 on: 19 Aug 2017, 17:10 »

If Nuns live in a Nunnery,, then what do Monks live in?



 :claireface:
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #722 on: 19 Aug 2017, 17:16 »

(click to show/hide)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #723 on: 20 Aug 2017, 17:23 »

Well, that would be because English - via old French - actually borrowed two Latin words, but writes them in the same way:
  • Vice, n.: moral fault, from vitium: defect, imperfection
  • vice-, : deputy, assistant; from vice, abl. of vicis: change, turn
British Commonwealth spelling makes this even more confusing because what Americans would call a vise is spelled vice. So you could correctly write: "Was it a vice for him to squeeze the vice's head in a vice?"
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #724 on: 20 Aug 2017, 17:32 »

English language, go home. You are drunk.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #725 on: 20 Aug 2017, 21:34 »

You're using English to tell English to go home. Mixed message! Maybe you should say "Geh nach Hause, Englisch, du bist betrunken," or something. ;)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #726 on: 20 Aug 2017, 22:04 »

Saesneg, rydych chi'n feddw. Ewch adref!
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #727 on: 20 Aug 2017, 22:59 »

Aenglisc, thu bist gefordrencet.  Aciere haemsidh.

Oh, wait, that's English again...

Ingles, je si droenke. Goa noar hus.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #728 on: 21 Aug 2017, 00:48 »

Angielszczyzno, idźże do domu. Pijanaś.

(for the record: this is 100% grammatical Polish, but deliberately written in an understandable-but-somewhat-fancy-and-a-bit-old-fashioned way. Colloquial Polish is scary, but not THIS scary)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #729 on: 21 Aug 2017, 04:23 »

This is working out even better than I had hoped.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #730 on: 21 Aug 2017, 04:36 »

This is working out even better than I had hoped.

GETTAE!

(Scots can be quite succinct!)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #731 on: 21 Aug 2017, 06:28 »

This is working out even better than I had hoped.

GETTAE!

(Scots can be quite succinct!)

...I think you win.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #732 on: 21 Aug 2017, 07:06 »

You're using English to tell English to go home. Mixed message! Maybe you should say "Geh nach Hause, Englisch, du bist betrunken," or something. ;)

Ugh, fine.

Béarla, téigh abhaile. Tá tú ar meisce.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #733 on: 21 Aug 2017, 07:16 »

Ingles, je si droenke. Goa noar hus.

Incidentally, don't take this as Dutch; people might not understand you.

GETTAE!

(Scots can be quite succinct!)

May I suggest for German: Raus!
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #734 on: 21 Aug 2017, 07:26 »

Sithee ooam English lad tha's kaylied.

For those of a Yorkshire persuasion.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #735 on: 21 Aug 2017, 08:08 »

GETTAE!

(Scots can be quite succinct!)

May I suggest for German: Raus!

In Polish it's even shorter: Won!
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #736 on: 21 Aug 2017, 08:42 »

GETTAE!

(Scots can be quite succinct!)

May I suggest for German: Raus!

In Polish it's even shorter: Won!

Well...

There is also...

"A!"

(But that also needs the correct tone. Usaully barked!)
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Case

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #737 on: 09 Sep 2017, 08:54 »

Ingles, je si droenke. Goa noar hus.

Incidentally, don't take this as Dutch; people might not understand you.

I was wondering ... it seems to be some odd mix of French and Bavarian?

GETTAE! (Scots can be quite succinct!)
May I suggest for German: Raus!

Yup, the classic, packs a lot of acoustic punch (though it's strictly an indoors-cuss, meaning 'Get out!'). Tons of other possibilities & regional dialect version. My favourite: "Geh kacken!" ('Go (away) and defecate!').

Though I believe that 'Ga weg!' is a bit more ... authoritative ...  :evil:



I once saw a comedian compare English and Dutch for values of forcefulness whilst cussing people out: 'Ga weg!' ('Go away!' in Dutch) clearly tops 'Geh weg!' ('Go away!' in German), which is why Germans prefer 'Raus!', and both pack way more of an acoustic punch than either 'Go away!' or 'Piss off'.

Dutch has the additional benefit of an entire arsenal of fricatives & weird guttural sounds vaguely reminiscent of Arabic (*) - So while German's lustful 'edginess' is perfectly suited for barking orders, or practising your rock-scream (Exhibit A: Marius Müller Westernhagen, Sexy (1989)), Dutch makes up for its somewhat more rounded-, gentler auditorial profile with sounds that impress onto their unlucky target the mental image of several inches of retractable claws (or a little league bat liberally covered in broken glass, if you will.)

(*) Those can put the inexperienced German student of Dutch at risk of accidentally swallowing their tongue, or throwing up. It's accepted wisdom that the adult German student of Dutch, regardless of the effort they invest, will never completely get the pronunciation of words like 'Uit' right (can mean 'out(side)' or 'Exit').

"Uit"

"Really good, just ... make the sound a little farther down your throat"

"AaaUiiitcchhh?"

"Almost ..."

"Arghhharrrgghhllll???"
« Last Edit: 09 Sep 2017, 09:23 by Case »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #738 on: 09 Sep 2017, 09:20 »

"The World’s Most Efficient Languages" (Yes, English is weird, but far from the bottom of the rabbit hole)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #739 on: 10 Sep 2017, 05:43 »

My brain has problems with Flemish. When I watch cycling videos with Flemish commentary, it tricks the English-language part of my brain into thinking that of it ought to be able to understand it, but of course it can't. It feels like... my needle is skipping on their record? Like the meaning is on "the tip of my tongue" (well, ear really), and just out of reach. I don't have this problem listening to German or Spanish or other languages I do not know.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #740 on: 10 Sep 2017, 06:13 »

My brain has problems with Flemish. When I watch cycling videos with Flemish commentary, it tricks the English-language part of my brain into thinking that of it ought to be able to understand it, but of course it can't. It feels like... my needle is skipping on their record? Like the meaning is on "the tip of my tongue" (well, ear really), and just out of reach. I don't have this problem listening to German or Spanish or other languages I do not know.

Even more annoying when you're hearing an interpreter's translation mixed on top of the original audio and happen to be fluent in both languages - feels like my 'ears going cross-eyed'.

Flemish theaters run English-language movies with the original audio track, and two subtitle-tracks (Dutch/Flemish and French). Drove me nuts, because I got acoustic info and visual info in my second, third and fourth language respectively, and my brain feels obligated not to miss any of it (*), which not only ruins the immersion, but is also stressful, since I can't read French that fast (more truthfully, I can 'decipher' French. Calling what I do 'reading' is a bit of a stretch).


(*) In the past, I had this 'training routine' where I used to watch English-language movies with the English audio instead of the dubbed German track (which is almost always offered) and the English subtitles as 'training wheels'. These days, I don't need the subtitles any more & find them distracting. Even more distracting is when the top row subtitles are in Dutch (which I can mostly read quite speedily), and the bottom row in French.
« Last Edit: 10 Sep 2017, 14:42 by Case »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #741 on: 10 Sep 2017, 10:47 »

Sigh.  English does in fact have a very forceful one-word command for that.  "Avaunt!" 

Unfortunately it hasn't been popular for a few centuries.  Now that it's no longer in people's immediate vocabulary, it can hardly be called forceful anymore; they're too busy trying to remember what it means.

Certain bits of English vocabulary make sense, if you think about the way words are related and then notice another word that may be a bit less popular. 

When I was younger, I was always amused that people who were reckless always wound up in wrecks.  But now I can see how it came about:  People who are reckless lack rectitude. 

Of course, then I think of some other people I know, and I have to go look and see if "fecktitude" was ever a word.  Maybe it should be.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #742 on: 10 Sep 2017, 11:54 »

(*) Those can put the inexperienced German student of Dutch at risk of accidentally swallowing their tongue, or throwing up. It's accepted wisdom that the adult German student of Dutch, regardless of the effort they invest, will never completely get the pronunciation of words like 'Uit' right (can mean 'out(side)' or 'Exit').

That reminds me of trying to teach my international student friends the pronunciation of 'uien', 'euro', 'eieren' and other arcane Dutch vowel combinations. The Spanish speakers picked it up with relative ease (meaning I only had to slowly break down the sound a handful of times), it took a lot of effort for English speakers and yes, it was basically impossible for German speakers. Saying "Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis" was considered a tongue-twister of epic proportion.

Also, if you want to tell someone to get out in even stronger terms, you have "Rot op", alternatively "Oprotten", and many verbs other than 'rot' can be substituted to reach the equivalent of 'fuck off', like 'tief' or 'flikker' which share that nice forceful F.
« Last Edit: 10 Sep 2017, 12:01 by LTK »
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #743 on: 10 Sep 2017, 12:52 »


That reminds me of trying to teach my international student friends the pronunciation of 'uien', 'euro', 'eieren' and other arcane Dutch vowel combinations. The Spanish speakers picked it up with relative ease (meaning I only had to slowly break down the sound a handful of times), it took a lot of effort for English speakers and yes, it was basically impossible for German speakers. Saying "Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis" was considered a tongue-twister of epic proportion.

'De kat krabt de krullen van de trap'  :laugh:

I think it's because German and Dutch are almost 'fraternal twins' - they are so similar that the similarity can be misleading. I was always worried about accidentally using 'false friends' ('verstopt' means 'hidden' ('versteckt' in German), but is almost identical to the German 'verstopft' (clogged)), or to speak 'Germenglutch' (German vocabulary, English Grammar, Dutch pronunciation), rather than proper Dutch. For me it was even easier (or more confusing, respectively) since I'm from the western part of Northrhine-Palatine, so I'd heard in regional dialects some of the Dutch peculiarities that are defunct in modern standard German (like the 'continuous aspect').

Like the 'g' in 'gaan' superficially sounds like a hybrid between the German 'ch' and 'r', and 'ij' in Nijmegen is close to the German 'ei' etc.etc., so you sometimes have to 'unlearn' the German sounds to make place for the Dutch ones - and just when you start thinking "Hey! This is hardly a foreign language, more like a dialect!", sounds like 'ui' or 'eie' sneak up from behind & try to strangle you.

German is more strongly inflected than Dutch, afaics (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niederl%C3%A4ndische_Sprache#Grammatik), which mostly makes Dutch grammar easier to learn for Germans than vice versa, IMO. What I found confusing at first: Dutch, like English, has a continuous aspect that was replaced by a different construction in standard German: 'Ik ben mijn handen aan het wasse' (I'm washing my hands) vs. "Ich wasche mir gerade die Hände" ('I am washing my hands (right now)'). However, this continuous aspect appears in several German regional dialects, especially regional Rhenish dialects in my native Northrhine-Palatine - "Ich ben/bin am Hände waschn" - and is sometimes used for comedic effect, or to mock people, and stuff like that sometimes felt weird at first, like 'Bad/Mock German'.

Weirdest word in the Dutch language: uitnodigen ('to invite (invite smb. in)') - to a German, it sounds like a combination of '(hin)aus' ('out (of)') and 'nötigen' ('to coerce'), so that one always gave me cognitive dissonance .... like 'You invite somebody in, so you can kick them out?'
« Last Edit: 10 Sep 2017, 14:47 by Case »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #744 on: 11 Sep 2017, 04:20 »

'English'... alright, I suppose...

I just wanted to let you know of a nice little idiosyncracy of the Dundonian dialect...
(As an exmple, phonetically the above sentence would be said.)
"Ehh jist waantid t'lit y'ken o a nice wee idiosincrisay o' the Dundonian dehehhlecct "

We're well know for our glottal stops and gutteral T's,  (Which is apparent when you realise you can say an entire sentence and use no vocalised consonant's at all... "Eh, eh e' i' a'!" (Yes, I ate it all!))

But something I love is the use of the word Ehh. (Like the E in PEN only slightly elongated)
This word has three meanings.... "I", "Eye", and "Yes" ("Ehh, ehh got sand in meh ehh!" ("Yes, I got sand in my eye!")

The first two uses "I" and "Eye" make immediate sense, being homophones.
But the "Yes..."?

Immediately it doesn't make any sense at all. "I" and "eye" and "Yes" are not remotely alike...
Until you realise what the SCOTS word for 'yes' is...

And you know what that is, aye?  :)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #745 on: 11 Sep 2017, 04:48 »

Weirdest word in the Dutch language: uitnodigen ('to invite (invite smb. in)') - to a German, it sounds like a combination of '(hin)aus' ('out (of)') and 'nötigen' ('to coerce'), so that one always gave me cognitive dissonance .... like 'You invite somebody in, so you can kick them out?'
Surprisingly, that's actually the etymological root of the word, being a contamination of 'uitnoden' and 'nodigen', both being derived from 'nood', which means requirement or need - see 'noodgeval', 'noodzaak' - and was probably used in the context of being summoned to the court, which is basically an invitation you can't refuse. Only, we no longer use the verb 'nodigen' so 'uitnodigen' lost its connotation of seriousness and came into general use.
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Case

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #746 on: 11 Sep 2017, 06:12 »

Weirdest word in the Dutch language: uitnodigen ('to invite (invite smb. in)') - to a German, it sounds like a combination of '(hin)aus' ('out (of)') and 'nötigen' ('to coerce'), so that one always gave me cognitive dissonance .... like 'You invite somebody in, so you can kick them out?'
Surprisingly, that's actually the etymological root of the word, being a contamination of 'uitnoden' and 'nodigen', both being derived from 'nood', which means requirement or need - see 'noodgeval', 'noodzaak' - and was probably used in the context of being summoned to the court, which is basically an invitation you can't refuse. Only, we no longer use the verb 'nodigen' so 'uitnodigen' lost its connotation of seriousness and came into general use.

Ah! Thanks! Nötigen/Nötigung (to coerce/coercion) is still used in German (with a respective article in the criminal code) - and has the same root: 'Not' ('distress'), with similar derivates (noodgeval - Notfall - Emergency; noodzak - Notwendigkeit - necessity).

The German 'einladen' (to invite smb.) is probably derived from 'ein' (in) and 'laden' (to load smth. into smth.) - which, admittedly, also doesn't sound like it has much to do with the free will of the invitee (sounds more like an announcement that you'll be loaded into a place at a certain date?  :-\).

So, the Dutch host sends a royal summons, while their German counterpart doesn't bother with all the tedious mind-games & coercion and merely informs you where you will be at a certain time in the future, for your own convenience, should you happen to prefer coming of your own free will.  :-D

My brain has problems with Flemish. When I watch cycling videos with Flemish commentary, it tricks the English-language part of my brain into thinking that of it ought to be able to understand it, but of course it can't. It feels like... my needle is skipping on their record? Like the meaning is on "the tip of my tongue" (well, ear really), and just out of reach. I don't have this problem listening to German or Spanish or other languages I do not know.

From a German POV, Dutch does 'sound' a little bit like German (dialect) with English influences. I guess that part of what makes Dutch sound familiar to you, while you perceive German as genuinely foreign is the "2nd Germanic consonant shift" that other west-Germanic languages, like Dutch and English, didn't adopt. So it'd make sense that the Dutch pronunciation of consonants appears more familiar to you than the German one.

Dutch also uses the same Gerund as English (-ing), but only for female verbs (Yes, verbs have a grammatical gender in proper languages).

(P.S.: Do you mean Flemish or Dutch? - Flemish is more of a Dutch dialect really, but ... I've always made the distinction in order to not appear rude to Belgians)
« Last Edit: 11 Sep 2017, 07:14 by Case »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #747 on: 11 Sep 2017, 07:46 »

(P.S.: Do you mean Flemish or Dutch? - Flemish is more of a Dutch dialect really, but ... I've always made the distinction in order to not appear rude to Belgians)

Please do note that in effect Dutch is, in this case meant to mean the language of the entirety of the Low Countries, rather than what is now the Netherlands. Also note that Flemish has been a major influence in the development of the Dutch standard language.

I guess that about makes it clear what side the Moerdijk I'm from.  :roll:
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Case

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #748 on: 11 Sep 2017, 09:26 »

Please do note that in effect Dutch is, in this case meant to mean the language of the entirety of the Low Countries, rather than what is now the Netherlands.

Ok, so ... how do you guys want your language(s) to be referred to? I've always thought that referring to Flemish as simply Dutch was rude to Flemish Belgians? (The fact that the Netherlands have already claimed dibs on 'nether lands' doesn't make it less confusing, I guess ... :wink:)

And I guess that the Frisians might have an opinion on Dutch being the language of 'the lower countries' (whelp, they also have an opinion about being German ...).  :laugh:

I guess that about makes it clear what side the Moerdijk I'm from.  :roll:

Apologies for my ignorance, but ... not so much? German wiki about the municipality Moerdijk says that 'boven Moerdijk' means protestant Netherlands, whereas 'beneden Moerdijk' means catholic Netherlands (Brabant, Limburg). But ... both are in the Netherlands, not in Belgium?
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #749 on: 11 Sep 2017, 09:51 »

You wouldn't guess that "mercy"  and "mercenary" are related, but they are.

The link, of course is 'Mercari' or money. (Latin?  Italian?)  A down-and-out on the corner asks for money (mercy) and an itenerant soldier (mercenary) fights for money.

But one should not expect mercy from a mercenary.  That's just not how it works.
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