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Author Topic: English is weird  (Read 141902 times)

Tova

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #950 on: 26 Aug 2020, 10:20 »

I’ve got a weird question. I’m ... uh... I’m gunna go ahead and ask it.

Why are Americans so fond of this little mannerism? “I’m gunna go ahead and do something “ rather than simply “I’m gunna do something.” It seems especially popular on YouTube, but I’ve seen it elsewhere (including here).

There’s nothing wrong with it, but it seems redundant and a little odd to my ear.

I've been doing a lot of online learning (via skillshare and its ilk) and this phrase has gone from bemusing to painfully grating. I know, I know. I'm letting a trivial thing get to me, but when I'm listening to a set of instructions and every instruction in every course is prefaced with "... go ahead and..." .... UGGGHHHH.
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Morituri

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #951 on: 26 Aug 2020, 17:08 »

"Go ahead and" implies that the speaker's been thinking about it, or meaning to do it, or procrastinating about doing it, or considering alternatives to doing it, for some time before making the decision to actually do it.  It signifies making a decision rather than just having a plan.  It's used for decisions that *result* in having plans, so it may be a bit subtle.  When encountered in instructions, it implies that there are a lot of other things you might have done or might have thought you could do, and that this is the one you should decide to do, and that's ... it ranges from "more subtle" to "meaningless verbal tic."

It does grate on the ear.  It tends to be dialect rather than formal speech.  But in the usual case it's dialect that does legitimately signal meaning that formal speech usually doesn't.  In the case of instructions, it signifies considerably less meaning.

For example, "I'm going to go ahead and have that chair fixed" several months after it breaks, after having guests over and finding that there's not enough seating for them all.  As opposed to "I'm going to have that chair fixed" by way of explanation when loading it into the car on the day after it breaks.
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TorporChambre

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« Reply #952 on: 26 Aug 2020, 20:55 »

Only english of my language forgot it's second pronoun to second-person i.e. ``thou'' e.g. french ``vous,'' ``toi;'' german ``Sie,'' ``du;'' &c. It's peevish English can't say to company ``you'' and know I mean company than representer.
How to pronounce -on endings?
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Is there any rhyme or reason to why we pronounce -on endings in two different ways? Sometimes -on sounds like a short o as in marathon, hexagon, and neutron. But more often, the o sounds like a schwa as in carbon, watermelon, and abandon. Is it just a matter of what language the word was derived from?
Maybe mishearing but hexagonal has schwa, but carbonic not has schwa. Terrible fun.
« Last Edit: 26 Aug 2020, 21:07 by TorporChambre »
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cybersmurf

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #953 on: 31 Aug 2020, 15:05 »

Only english of my language forgot it's second pronoun to second-person i.e. ``thou'' e.g. french ``vous,'' ``toi;'' german ``Sie,'' ``du;'' &c. It's peevish English can't say to company ``you'' and know I mean company than representer.

I once wondered why calling someone by their first name was such a big deal. Missing said formality, English lacks a certain middle ground. In German I can call someone by first name, but still use the formal "Sie". That has become a rarity, but still is an option.
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Gyrre

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #954 on: 02 Sep 2020, 14:06 »

The classic usted/ustedes frustration, and the source of 'you all and y'all'.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #955 on: 02 Sep 2020, 14:16 »

I once wondered why calling someone by their first name was such a big deal. Missing said formality, English lacks a certain middle ground. In German I can call someone by first name, but still use the formal "Sie". That has become a rarity, but still is an option.

We've by and large gotten rid of the formality in most cases, and that's even true in US Spanish, where people I barely knew used the familiar form, and were obviously not trying to be insulting.
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Tova

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #956 on: 02 Sep 2020, 15:03 »

The schwa conversation has reminded me that Melbourne residents are so terribly keen to persuade visitors to pronounce the schwa in their city’s name, they refer to themselves as “Melburnites.”
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #957 on: 08 Sep 2020, 03:07 »

In German I can call someone by first name, but still use the formal "Sie". That has become a rarity, but still is an option.
While some people indeed do that, it sounds REALLY odd, as far as I can tell its not really propper German, and I'm also unaware this was ever common.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #958 on: 08 Sep 2020, 03:22 »

In German I can call someone by first name, but still use the formal "Sie". That has become a rarity, but still is an option.
While some people indeed do that, it sounds REALLY odd, as far as I can tell its not really propper German, and I'm also unaware this was ever common.

IIRC, that wasn't uncommon until recently as a way to imply social hierarchy - eg. with bosses addressing their underlings. Look for some movies from the 50s and 60s, where some character tells their secretary "Frau Ursuala, bitte schreiben Sie".
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #959 on: 08 Sep 2020, 05:10 »

In German I can call someone by first name, but still use the formal "Sie". That has become a rarity, but still is an option.
While some people indeed do that, it sounds REALLY odd, as far as I can tell its not really propper German, and I'm also unaware this was ever common.

IIRC, that wasn't uncommon until recently as a way to imply social hierarchy - eg. with bosses addressing their underlings. Look for some movies from the 50s and 60s, where some character tells their secretary "Frau Ursuala, bitte schreiben Sie".


DARN MILLENNIALS ARE DESTROYING HIERARCHIES!

But seriously. All the companies I've worked for were either too small for much of a hierarchy, so big that you didn't really have had anything to do with the "higher ups", or had really flat hierarchies.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #960 on: 08 Sep 2020, 06:38 »

IIRC, that wasn't uncommon until recently as a way to imply social hierarchy - eg. with bosses addressing their underlings. Look for some movies from the 50s and 60s, where some character tells their secretary "Frau Ursuala, bitte schreiben Sie".
Hmm. Okay.

Yes conversations between bosses and underlings are strange. I have to know the first name of everybody at my company in order to talk to fellow workers, but the last name of everybody to talk to my boss about them.

Still, "Ursuala" isnt a first name I ever came across. Do you mean "Ursula" ?

And yes, admittedly I basically never watch german movies. General rule of thumb, they suck. I mean, there are a few exceptions, like the really old ones, such as "Metropolis", before the nazireich, when Germany still actually made important movies. And there is of course "Das Boot". And some other stuff, like Otto or Dieter Hallervorden, or some of the stuff of Til Schweiger.

Cant think of anything from the 1960s that I've ever watched though.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #961 on: 08 Sep 2020, 21:58 »

Still, "Ursuala" isnt a first name I ever came across. Do you mean "Ursula" ?

No, that'd be her younger sister who works as a receptionist at the Cape Diem Lodge in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Tova

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #962 on: 17 Sep 2020, 22:40 »

I've decided that I prefer the term 'schmaltz' over 'saccharine' to refer to something that is excessively sentimental but that I also have a soft spot for in spite of that, purely because the latter refers to artificial sweetener (which is awful), whereas the former refers to chicken or goose fat (which is awesome*).

* In moderation as part of a balanced diet.
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Torlek

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #963 on: 18 Sep 2020, 16:54 »

I've always interpreted "saccharine" as something artificially sentimental or having a forced sentimentality to the point of being cloying. Something "schmaltzy" is more...I guess honest is the best term. It still makes your roll your eyes, but it means well (like an overbearing aunt or grandmother).
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #964 on: 19 Sep 2020, 21:18 »

At first I thought the CAPTCHA on this forum was asking "3 > 5?" rather than "5 + 3?" So my first try was "No", but obviously I figured it out.
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Morituri

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #965 on: 20 Sep 2020, 20:43 »

Why do people call the Republicans the "GOP"?  There's not a single "grand" thing about them.

But there is one remarkable characteristic that stands out:  We could call them the "OWP" because every last one of their senators are Old White People.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #966 on: 20 Sep 2020, 20:47 »

Geriatric Old Protestants?
Groaning Old Portraits?
Gravely Old Pigeons?
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #967 on: 20 Sep 2020, 22:48 »

Government Of Putin
Greedy Old Pædophiles
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #968 on: 21 Sep 2020, 01:27 »

Not to be confused with the GPO.
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