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Author Topic: English is weird  (Read 86567 times)

Cornelius

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #750 on: 12 Sep 2017, 02:06 »

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?

Well, it's also the linguistic division between Northern Dutch ("Dutch" Dutch) and Southern Dutch (Flemish, Limburgs, Zeeuws, Brabants). The difference between the two does not lie along national borders - not since 1843, at any rate.

Interestingly, the Limburg dialect has been recognised as a separate language in the Netherlands as well - which gives some subsidies from the EU - but not in Belgium. Belgium has anchored the three national languages - Dutch, French, and German - in law, whereas the Netherlands did not anchor their official language in law. Which makes things somewhat easier, recognising Friesian and Limburgian as separate languages. I admit, I forgot to mention the Friesians, a grievous oversight, for which I do apologise.

On the whole, we're alright calling it Dutch - we make the difference between Flemish and Hollands, which doesn't sit well with most of the Dutch. There's also the difference between the official, standardised language, and what is popularly spoken. If we take it to extremes, Flemish is only spoken in our two westernmost provinces, the north of France, and the south of Zeeland. I may have made it a bit more serious than I meant - yesterday was a long day.

What we call our countries has always been intertwined, really. For instance, this is the Leo Belgicus, a map of the Netherlands.
(click to show/hide)
Not to mention that the Germans claimed dibs on Deutsch - which shares the root for Dutch: theodisc - of the people. There was Diets, but that has been coopted by a certain cause in the '30s.

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.

You're looking for Merces - Reward. It's latin.
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JoeCovenant

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #751 on: 12 Sep 2017, 02:07 »


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

Depends how much you pay 'em!  :)
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Case

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #752 on: 12 Sep 2017, 04:14 »


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

Depends how much you pay 'em!  :)

Whereas you're shit out of luck trying to buy mercy from a soldier because they're already bought & sold ...  :-D

(No srsly, that's the meaning of the etymological root soldarius - 'someone having pay')

Not to mention that the Germans claimed dibs on Deutsch - which shares the root for Dutch: theodisc - of the people.

:parrot:

It also means 'speaking the language of the people', which is a concept I rather like, because it allows for integration by cultural appropriation (not to mention that it's pretty much a negation of the old 'blood & soil' definition of German ethnicity).

Hey! That's a good argument for our immigration/integration debate "Our ancient ancestors defined 'German' by language proficiency - back to the roots, baby!"  :-D
« Last Edit: 12 Sep 2017, 04:37 by Case »
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Case

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #753 on: 12 Sep 2017, 06:20 »

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.

Well, they are close relatives - and it's really German that is the oddball, not Dutch. Found a good explanation of the 'High-German consonant shift(s)' (there were three) that successively set German pronunciation apart from the other west-Germanic languages (e.g. English, Dutch, Frisian etc.). So yes, they all have a common root (west-Germanic) and standard German is kind of the outlier wrt. pronunciation. Not surprising that Dutch would sound more familiar to an English speaker.


English vocabulary is so different to the others because of the strong Latin & French influences - it's almost equal parts Germanic, French and Latin (and small change). There's even an ('artificial') 'Anglish' version (Germanic English w/o Romance loanwords) that comes much closer to how words are formed in German (and I guess many other west-Germanic languages, too).


P.S.: Does anybody else think that Frisian is 'basically Dutch'?

P.P.S. For non-Europeans: The high/low distinction is not a value-judgement, but refers to elevation above mean sea level or upstream/downstream (of the Rhine) - which is roughly synonymous with latitude - the 'low' dialects were spoken in the northern/northwestern regions closer to the coast, the 'high' ones in the southern regions closer to the Alps (e.g Bavaria). Very, very loosely related to what the Romans called 'Germania inferior/superior'.
« Last Edit: 12 Sep 2017, 07:14 by Case »
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Cornelius

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #754 on: 12 Sep 2017, 07:02 »

That does explain it.

As for Frisian, it does sound similar, and some of it you can understand - but some of it is fairly unintelligible.

Though, to be honest, the main argument for it being a language on its own, is a long written tradition, and independent standardisation. That's where Flemish, for instance, differs. The main standardisation of Dutch happened with the translation of the Statenbijbel, which was done by a committee that sought expressly to balance the different variants to have a translation that's accessible to all. The standardisation of Flemish - such as it is - only got off in the nineteenth century, notably with Guido Gezelle as a fierce proponent. As French, at the time, was the main language of the top layers of society, however, it was a doomed effort. Hence, no recognition as a language in its own right.

I've often heard it said that a language is just a dialect with an army. There's some truth in there.
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JoeCovenant

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #755 on: 12 Sep 2017, 08:27 »


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

Depends how much you pay 'em!  :)

Whereas you're shit out of luck trying to buy mercy from a soldier because they're already bought & sold ...  :-D

(No srsly, that's the meaning of the etymological root soldarius - 'someone having pay')

Not to mention that the Germans claimed dibs on Deutsch - which shares the root for Dutch: theodisc - of the people.

:parrot:

It also means 'speaking the language of the people', which is a concept I rather like, because it allows for integration by cultural appropriation (not to mention that it's pretty much a negation of the old 'blood & soil' definition of German ethnicity).

Hey! That's a good argument for our immigration/integration debate "Our ancient ancestors defined 'German' by language proficiency - back to the roots, baby!"  :-D

Pshaww!!

What kind of Mercenary doesn't look to be paid TWICE for the same job??

"He paid you a million?"
"Yeah"
"Do you have the money?"
"I'm not crazy."
"Good, Good... I'll give you another two million to kill *them*"
"Three..."
"What? Are you..."

>click<

"Okay! Okay! Three!"
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #756 on: 12 Sep 2017, 09:35 »

On the whole, we're alright calling it Dutch - we make the difference between Flemish and Hollands, which doesn't sit well with most of the Dutch. There's also the difference between the official, standardised language, and what is popularly spoken. If we take it to extremes, Flemish is only spoken in our two westernmost provinces, the north of France, and the south of Zeeland.

The West Germanic Dutch Language Family Tree

  Dutch - Protestant Dutch
  Flemish - Catholic Dutch
  Frisian - Middle Eastern Dutch
  Low German - Eastern Dutch
  German - Office Dutch
  English - Romance Dutch/Trader Dutch
  Scots - Highlander Dutch
  Luxembourgish - Mercantile Dutch
  Yiddish - Yidutch
  Bavarian Mundart - Alpine Dutch

 :mrgreen:
« Last Edit: 12 Sep 2017, 09:45 by Case »
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pwhodges

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #757 on: 12 Sep 2017, 10:07 »

There's even an ('artificial') 'Anglish' version (Germanic English w/o Romance loanwords)

The composer Percy Grainger attempted to write with no romance-derived words at all - what he called "blue-eyed English".  E.g.:

Quote from: Percy Grainger
[...] it is wrong for a tone-write {composer} to put his puzzle-wifty {complicated} scores within  the reach of know-nothing-y {ignorant} keyed-hammer-string {piano} players. [...] Allowing keyed-hammer-string dish-ups {arrangements} of my tone works {compositions} (which, in their as-first-was {original} forms were always a-chance-for-all-y {democratic}, & always group-minded) has wrecked my whole job-path {career} as a tone-wright. [...] So Roger and mother (for all their well-wishingness to me) did me an ill turn in planning the forth-printment {publication} of my tone-works.

His scores use, instead of the standard Italian terms, words and phrases like: "louden lots", "soften bit by bit", "violently wrenched", "harped" {arpeggio} "lower notes of woggle {tremolo} well to the fore", "easygoingly but very clingingly", "very rhythmic and jimp {neat, graceful}", "wayward in time" {rubato}, "hold back slightly".
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #758 on: 12 Sep 2017, 14:02 »

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #759 on: 12 Sep 2017, 15:41 »

The difference is that Percy Grainger's was the style he affected for most of his life, not just for a humorous article.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #760 on: 12 Sep 2017, 16:46 »

(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)
I don't know really. The cycling events I'm watching are being held in Belgium, and I know the commentary is not in French, so I suppose I assumed it was in Flemish (in some cases the video I'm watching says so), but I don't know if I would be able actually to distinguish between Flemish and Dutch.

I've often heard it said that a language is just a dialect with an army. There's some truth in there.
Certainly the distinction is often more cultural and political than linguistic. It is common, for example, to refer to Cantonese, Shanghainese, Mandarin, Hakka, Hokkien etc. as "dialects" of Chinese, when they are as mutually incomprehensible as English, French, German etc., which are all accorded the status of "languages". There are two reasons for this, I think. One is that written Chinese is basically the same for all the "dialects", but the other is the deeply-rooted cultural belief that "there is only one China". Ever since the unification of China in 221BCE, and however imperfectly this belief has conformed with reality, Chinese people have believed that China was one nation, and they were all one people, so it followed that they had one language, and that variations were dialects.

However, the languages spoken by some ethnic-minority peoples in China (Russian, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur, Kazakh etc.) are called languages, not dialects, reflecting the "ethnic-essentialist" view of Chinese identity held by both most foreigners and most Chinese people. :-(

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Cornelius

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #761 on: 13 Sep 2017, 00:17 »

If it's on tv, it's most likely an approximation of the standard language, though with a Flemish accent - much depends on the commentator, really. Thge past few decades have seen the development of an intermediate form between dialects and standard Dutch.


  Scots - Highlander Dutch
 

About that: http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/2014/05/09/the-flemish-influence-on-scottish-language/
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JoeCovenant

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #762 on: 13 Sep 2017, 03:29 »

On the whole, we're alright calling it Dutch - we make the difference between Flemish and Hollands, which doesn't sit well with most of the Dutch. There's also the difference between the official, standardised language, and what is popularly spoken. If we take it to extremes, Flemish is only spoken in our two westernmost provinces, the north of France, and the south of Zeeland.

The West Germanic Dutch Language Family Tree

  Dutch - Protestant Dutch
  Flemish - Catholic Dutch
  Frisian - Middle Eastern Dutch
  Low German - Eastern Dutch
  German - Office Dutch
  English - Romance Dutch/Trader Dutch
  Scots - Highlander Dutch
  Luxembourgish - Mercantile Dutch
  Yiddish - Yidutch
  Bavarian Mundart - Alpine Dutch

 :mrgreen:

 You forgot one:

  Jamaican - Pass the Dutchie
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Covenant
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #763 on: 04 Oct 2017, 10:59 »

Today I learned that 'yep' and 'nope' are words that were put into writing after it became popular to pronounce 'yes' and 'no' with an unfinished 'p'. So instead of saying 'no', the speaker cuts the 'o' short by closing their mouth, adding a gesture of finality. [Source] Imagine:

"Do you want to adopt a cat?"

- "No." = I am not receptive to that idea.
- "Nope." = That is completely out of the question.

In recent times, the same linguistic process has created 'welp' out of 'well', using that same tone of finality mixed with a generous dose of sarcasm.

"I need to get to the shop before it closes."
"It closed half an hour ago."
"Welp. Nevermind."

Interesting, then, that this use was described as early as 1946!

Quote
If the speaker is American, and will observe himself when he utters well as a sign of dismissal of some discussion or activity (as in 'Well'-pause-'what do we do next?'), he will often discover that he has used welp, with unfinished p. Like other actions, this gesture of finality may become a mannerism. At a recent graduation one of the officiating deans managed it conspicuously, on turning to go backstage, as from a job dutifully done, after having recited his list of candidates.
« Last Edit: 04 Oct 2017, 11:05 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 #764 on: 05 Oct 2017, 03:01 »

'welp'


Can I just take this opportunity to say..

I fecking HATE Welp/Whelp.
Hate it.
REALLY hate it.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #765 on: 05 Oct 2017, 06:05 »

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JoeCovenant

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #766 on: 05 Oct 2017, 06:22 »

whelp

I prefer to think of that as the "Simon van der Stel"

 :clairedoge:
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #767 on: 08 Oct 2017, 14:41 »

I fecking HATE Welp/Whelp.
What is wrong with you? Whelps are adorable:
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #768 on: 09 Oct 2017, 12:13 »

This weekend.  Both a past tense and future tense phrase.

"We went to the beach this weekend."
"We're going to the beach this weekend."

Last weekend being used to refer to the weekend prior to the weekend that just happened is also sometimes heard where I'm from.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #769 on: 09 Oct 2017, 14:30 »

I would suggest that "this weekend" means the nearest, whether past or future; and that it's inadvisable to use the phrase on Wednesdays because of ambiguity.  As a result "last weekend" and "next weekend" mean the nearest which isn't "this weekend" - though that's getting less reliable.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #770 on: 09 Oct 2017, 20:51 »

Honestly, I just make sure I include context to make it clear. "What did you do this weekend?"/"What are you doing this weekend?"
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #771 on: 10 Oct 2017, 03:13 »

Chaos, mister madness. Chaos.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #772 on: 10 Oct 2017, 13:33 »

It is practically impossible to use this weekend without some element of context that would render an absolute indicator redundant.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #773 on: 10 Oct 2017, 16:16 »

Either way, Tova is right. Chaos is inevitable.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #774 on: 11 Oct 2017, 15:31 »

Not if the Vorlons can help it
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #775 on: 20 Nov 2017, 07:36 »

Why are valiant, radiant and deviant not pronounced like reliant, compliant and giant?

Also I just realised that 'laboratory' is derived from the word 'labor', just like 'oratory' is derived from 'orate'.
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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 #776 on: 20 Nov 2017, 09:18 »

Why are valiant, radiant and deviant not pronounced like reliant, compliant and giant?

Also I just realised that 'laboratory' is derived from the word 'labor', just like 'oratory' is derived from 'orate'.

In the same way that "Masturbatory" is derived from "Conservatives"   :-D
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #777 on: 20 Nov 2017, 09:54 »

...

I want a 'dislike' button.
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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 #778 on: 20 Nov 2017, 10:20 »


The word "gumption" was originally Norse "gaumr" meaning "attention" or "pay attention" depending on whether used as a noun or verb.  It was adopted into Scottish dialect by 1719 as "gumpt", with the meanings of "sense, shrewdness and practical understanding,"  and at the same time into middle english as "gome" with roughly the same meaning as it had in the Norse. 

"Gumption" meaning initiative is found in mainstream English from 1819, and "Gumptious" as a description of a person with gumption is recorded occasionally from 1823 to 1932 but never seems to have caught on.

I want to know whether this has anything to do with Forrest Gump's patronym.

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #779 on: 20 Nov 2017, 10:39 »

Having done some important linguistic research, I have discovered that the buffalo sentence can also be done with cocks.

i.e. Cocks cocks, Cocks cocks cocks, cocks Cocks cocks. That's a completely valid sentence.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #780 on: 20 Nov 2017, 11:18 »

Is it? Shouldn't cocks five and six just be 'cock'?
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #781 on: 20 Nov 2017, 12:39 »

I think in this instance cock and cocks have the same meaning so are interchangeable.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #782 on: 20 Nov 2017, 23:59 »

In that case, I don't understand. Which meanings of cocks does it use?
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #783 on: 21 Nov 2017, 00:35 »

To tilt in a particular direction. I.e. he cocks his hat to the side.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #784 on: 21 Nov 2017, 12:57 »

But they cock their head to the side, hence your sentence, I think, is ungrammatical.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #785 on: 21 Nov 2017, 14:02 »

No, I suggesting cocks from Cocks are tilted by other cocks from Cocks.

The placement of the verb in the sentence structure is important to whether an appended s is appropriate though.
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Cornelius

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #786 on: 21 Nov 2017, 15:33 »

Is it, now? It's my understanding that in the present tense, as, I believe, you used, only the 3rd person singular differs from the infinitive form, regardless of position in the phrase. I'm afraid I'll have to agree with Tova.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #787 on: 23 Feb 2018, 20:26 »

Nothing is better than eternal happiness, and a ham sandwich is better than nothing.

One suburban US police department has "Annual Mass Killing Training", which I can see three possible meanings for.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #788 on: 08 Mar 2018, 12:42 »

I didn't know this, but it makes sense - and it does make that "Annual Mass Killing Training" thing sound weird:



(The argument would be that it would be more appropriate to say "Mass-Killing Annual Training" than anything else, but...)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #789 on: 08 Mar 2018, 15:08 »

I didn't know this, but it makes sense - and it does make that "Annual Mass Killing Training" thing sound weird:

(The argument would be that it would be more appropriate to say "Mass-Killing Annual Training" than anything else, but...)

Hmmmh - "jährliches massentötungs-training" 'merely' sounds very, very weird, but "massentötung jährliches training" sounds like you forgot a semicolon, or suffered a stroke.

Germans would probably solve the problem in the usual time-honoured fashion - creating a compound-noun. Our police's term for active shooter situations is Amoklage (Amok-situation), and the respective drills for police forces are called Amoklageübung(en) (Amok-situation-training).

German schools train 'Notfallübungen' (Emergency-drills) for other emergencies that involve elaborate evacuation planning, like fire-drills, but apparently, most deliberately don't do school-shooting-drills involving students - there are pre-recorded announcements with situational advice (lock doors, get under tables, mute phones etc.) that can be triggered by teachers, but only the staff know the tone, or the message. There's also no special term for such an activity.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #790 on: 13 Jun 2018, 08:55 »

weird mussing that I felt belonged here:

"Your welcome." Shouldn't that have been you're welcome as in "you are welcome?" Was it always bastardized in modern English or does it have a deeper meaning like your (possessive) welcome is needed? On that note, shouldn't welcome be past tense in that phrase since you responding to a thank you of something you did? "You're welcomed."
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #791 on: 13 Jun 2018, 08:58 »

I don't know anyone who writes it as "your welcome". It's pretty simple, if one person says "Thank you for the help/dinner/your time" the other responds "You are welcome (to it)", just like you could say "You are welcome to help yourself from the fridge."
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #792 on: 13 Jun 2018, 09:05 »

Maybe its a regional thing but I see it all the time and it just bothers me.  :venonat:
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #793 on: 13 Jun 2018, 09:34 »

It would bother me too, but then I think about how people say "bye-bye", which is "goodbye" abbreviated and then doubled, which itself is bastardised from "god b'w'ye" which is short for "god be with you" and I realise we are powerless against the forces of entropy eventually removing all grammatical sense from the English language.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #794 on: 13 Jun 2018, 10:44 »

Quote from: Anthony Buckeridge, Jennings Goes to School
"Of course not," said Venables. "His name's Temple, and his initials are C.A.T. so naturally we call him Dog.""

"But you didn't call him Dog; you called him Bod."

"Give me a change to get a word in," said Venables. "I haven't finished yet. It's a bit of a sweat calling him Dog, so we call him Dogsbody for short."

"But it isn't short, " protested Jennings. "Dogsbody's much longer than Dog."

"Okay, then, it needs shortening. Bod short for Body, and Dogsbody short for Dog. Really!" Venables shook his head sadly. "You new oiks are dim at picking things up."
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #795 on: 13 Jun 2018, 16:33 »

I saw a comic about this years ago. 

Possibly the most abbreviated and bastardized phrase in modern English is "I am going to."  Example:
I am going to go to the store.
I'm gonna go to the store
Ommina go to the store. 

It only makes sense if you say it out loud, but it'll probably be acceptable in print eventually. 
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #796 on: 13 Jun 2018, 17:58 »

Maybe its a regional thing but I see it all the time and it just bothers me.  :venonat:
I mean, people use "your" when they should say "you're" all the time, wouldn't this just be an example of that?
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #797 on: 13 Jun 2018, 21:22 »

The apostrophe is oft gotten wrong. So much so that I suppose a future version of English will lack it.

We did pretty much the same thing to all those weird marks a lot of people decorate their vowels with, after all.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #798 on: 14 Jun 2018, 03:44 »

Did English really ever use those?
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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 #799 on: 14 Jun 2018, 04:36 »

No, never.  There was a while that people liked to use the diaeresis, as in coöperate or naïve for instance, but that's pretty much dead I think.  The occasional use of an accent in loan words, such as cliché, is about the biggest such intrusion.  We've always preferred our pronunciation to be a guessing game, it seems...  :evil:
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