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Author Topic: English is weird  (Read 148965 times)

pwhodges

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1000 on: 16 Nov 2020, 12:54 »

I've spelt out the two separate etymologies of till and until as reported by the OED at some past point in this thread, I think.

EDIT: it seems not.  So:

Till: Old English (Northumbrian) til = Old Frisian til, Old Norse til; prob. from adverbial use of Germanic noun meaning "aim, goal" (cf till, verb)

Until: Old Norse und, = Old English und, Old Frisian und, Old Saxon und; Old Gothic untē. The later combination with till provides a duplicated meaning.
« Last Edit: 16 Nov 2020, 13:07 by pwhodges »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1001 on: 16 Nov 2020, 15:51 »

There's a subtle difference I think (and will, maybe till death---only 'til I learn otherwise, if I 'wil) as of ``to'' v ``unto,'' or ``in'' v ``into.'' Each latter, of these 3 cases, seems more perfective than it's former.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1002 on: 16 Nov 2020, 18:42 »

'Weird' is usually said to be from old english, because any other source is uncertain or unknown.  But old english, like modern english was a shapeshifting thief.  I'm fairly sure we originally got 'Weird' from an *earlier* theft of 'qwer' from German.

In Chaucer's time it was sometimes spelt 'wyrd' or 'werde'  and referred to someone's fate, or the meaning of their life, or to the events to come in the future, or for some event or transaction or even person that as a rule profoundly changed people.

I should think that wouldn't be a very bad thing to be called by people - depending, I suppose, on whether the changes associated with knowing me or etc were considered positive or negative. 

But then again, that's not really how we use it today.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1003 on: 16 Nov 2020, 19:16 »

'I' before 'E', except after 'C', unless it sounds like 'A' like in 'neighbor' or 'weigh'.

Or it's weird.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1004 on: 16 Nov 2020, 21:37 »

most languages absolutely don't have words like 'twelfths', and it's somewhat hard for people who don't to say.  English not only has it, but people often actually say all of the sounds in it.

The 'lfths' is more consonants in a row (even if two of them are 'th' and stand for one sound) than most languages will admit.  And some also find a word that opens with two consonants 'tw' difficult.

ESL speakers almost always wind up saying 'tweffs' os something like that. (to be fair, most native speakers as well, UNLESS the word has the sentence's emphasis.  In context nobody misunderstands, or even really notices, when people get it wrong).

The thing we use 'th' for is considered somewhat unusual among languages.  Many apparently don't have the sound at all, or use it far less if they do, and it's one of the  most frequent sounds in English.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1005 on: 16 Nov 2020, 22:02 »

Consonant clusters are fairly common in Germanic languages (e.g. Deutschland). The sounds represented by th also used to be more common in Germanic languages, but theyve been lost in almost all of them. As far as I know the only remaining ones with those sounds are English and Icelandic.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1006 on: 17 Nov 2020, 02:01 »

ESL speakers almost always wind up saying 'tweffs' or something like that.
The trick, I found, is to say it like ``twelths.'' Anytime I listen closely, I hear the ``f'' subsumed in the dental friction. Even stressed. Not listening closely, it sounds like it's just there.. It's not. Not that I've heard, at least.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1007 on: 17 Nov 2020, 03:44 »

'Weird' is usually said to be from old english, because any other source is uncertain or unknown.  But old english, like modern english was a shapeshifting thief.  I'm fairly sure we originally got 'Weird' from an *earlier* theft of 'qwer' from German.

Nitpick: When you talk about 'German' spoken centuries ago, it's usually a good idea to add the time-period you have in mind - or better still, the period-appropriate name. German and Dutch eg parted ways only about a millenium ago.

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« Last Edit: 17 Nov 2020, 05:10 by Case »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1008 on: 17 Nov 2020, 04:44 »

Limburgish has actually been recognised as a separate minority language in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, so there's that. Though it seems that for this language, it's only ratified by the Netherlands. Then again, I don't see Belgium recognising another language anytime soon - it's complicated enough as is.

Hendrik van Veldeke/Heinrich von Veldeke is just about at the moment where German and Dutch started to part ways - and as such is the foundation figure for German, Dutch, and Limburgish literature.
« Last Edit: 17 Nov 2020, 04:49 by Cornelius »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1009 on: 17 Nov 2020, 05:04 »

Limburgish has actually been recognised as a separate minority language in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, so there's that. Though it seems that for this language, it's only ratified by the Netherlands. Then again, I don't see Belgium recognising another language anytime soon - it's complicated enough as is.

What makes me a bit sad - the standardisation process that led to standard (high) German wasn't really neat and completely voluntary. IMO, it was very much part of the top-down effort to consolidate unification and didn't really cherish the richness of local varieties: I don't speak 'my' local dialect because my maternal Grandmother made a conscious decision not to teach it to her daughters, since she feared it would condemn them to being snubbed as lower caste. I have some fragments - my Granddad would say he'd go 'op dorp' ("(in-)to the village"), and he called the guy making rounds every odd week selling potatoes "de Erpelmann" (I've never seen those written out, so ... take the spelling with healthy doses of scepticism).

When I studied in the Netherlands, I didn't find Dutch that hard to acquire (especially compared to French ...), and was bemused by some of my fellow German students' reluctance to familiarize themselves with the language. I actually thought it snobbery back then - why did they rely on our Dutch hosts' generosity and skill to facilitate communication without at least making an effort for politeness' sake? Now I'm wondering whether I had an advantage growing up amongst people who still retained knowledge of a regional dialect more closely related to Dutch and Belgian dialects than some other German ones?

Edit: Amongst 'my' Bergish folk, it's still not uncommon to use some grammatical constructs that don't exist in standard German, but in standard Dutch (though, these days, they're sometimes used 'ironically' - the speaker signals awareness that it is not 'proper German' grammar) -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinelandic_regiolect (Especially the continuous aspect that is absent in standard German: Using 'am' or 'beim' in a way similar to the Dutch usage of 'aan het'  - Rhenish people will say 'Ich bin am Lesen' just like Dutchfolk will say 'Ik ben aan het lezen', whereas Standard German is 'Ich lese gerade')
« Last Edit: 17 Nov 2020, 06:01 by Case »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1010 on: 17 Nov 2020, 07:57 »

That sounds all too familiar here. What dialect I speak, is rather eclectic, due to not having learned at home, but later in life, in school. It's good to see the dialects in a bit of a renaissance, and taking a place in popular culture again.

Erpelman sounds and reads very familiar to me. Erpelschelder is what we call a potato peeling knife around here.

Rhenish people will say 'Ich bin am Lesen' just like Dutchfolk will say 'Ik ben aan het lezen', whereas Standard German is 'Ich lese gerade')[/size]

Ehm... Either I'm misremembering, or my German teacher dropped the ball on this in high school. :roll:
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1011 on: 17 Nov 2020, 09:51 »

Rhenish people will say 'Ich bin am Lesen' just like Dutchfolk will say 'Ik ben aan het lezen', whereas Standard German is 'Ich lese gerade')[/size]

Ehm... Either I'm misremembering, or my German teacher dropped the ball on this in high school. :roll:

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« Last Edit: 17 Nov 2020, 11:09 by Case »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1012 on: 17 Nov 2020, 13:37 »

German is as diverse as any language with 100 million native speakers. If you look at British Isles, you have several different countries with several variations of one language. And German is no different. Admittedly, Germany is by far the largest and most contributing country, but you have so much variation within. Even if you look at Austria, a country of mere 8.9 million inhabitants has several distinctive dialects. Not even including Western Austria, because that's more Swiss whatever than German 😜
The only reason why everyone thinks German is actually so uniform: we managed to agree to a common ground. Something most people can switch to, at least to a certain degree. Plus the clich of the meticulous, exact German.


As far as "ich bin gerade am Lesen" is concerned: that kind of sentence is something I actively use, at least in spoken language. You made me realise although I might use that quite regularly, I've probably hardly ever used it in written form apart from direct speech.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1013 on: 17 Nov 2020, 14:19 »

As far as "ich bin gerade am Lesen" is concerned: that kind of sentence is something I actively use, at least in spoken language. You made me realise although I might use that quite regularly, I've probably hardly ever used it in written form apart from direct speech.

IDK, I just read that one wiki a while ago and realized only then that this is maybe not how all Germanophones would speak? "Ich lese gerade" or "Ich bin am Lesen" or "Ich bin gerade am Lesen" - all feel correct to me. The wiki sez that this is no longer a Rhenish-exclusive thing, that it has spread across most of Germany recently (and apparently Austria, too)

Then again, I figure there's so much weird shit you can do with German that a nabbed piece of Dutch grammar hardly stands out?



P.S.: How do Austrians feel about the 'Rechtschreibreform' and their northern cousins endlessly tinkering with it? Is it more "Ohey, good idea!" or "This is SO Piefke!"? (bcs, to be honest, it's totally Piefke ...)
« Last Edit: 17 Nov 2020, 15:04 by Case »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1014 on: 18 Nov 2020, 00:01 »

P.S.: How do Austrians feel about the 'Rechtschreibreform' and their northern cousins endlessly tinkering with it? Is it more "Ohey, good idea!" or "This is SO Piefke!"? (bcs, to be honest, it's totally Piefke ...)

Well, a lot of people thought it was confusing. And whenthey made some changes (so, now we're talking "Neue neue Rechtschreibung") it felt like they made some things clearer. It's not something I feel "oh, that's so German!", probably because I was too young when it happened.
I was born in '85, so I started out learning the old spelling, but switching somewhere... mid-education? The year I graduated was the year only the new rules were valid. Until then you were allowed to use either, as long as you stuck to one.


TL:DR of my thst entire conversation: if you think English was weird, you've never delved into the depths of any other language. Any language grown naturally has so many inconsistencies, it just makes them weird too. Just differently weird. looking at French numbers
English spelling rules are just so ancient switching to Cyrillic might be an easier task than a spelling reform.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1015 on: 18 Nov 2020, 00:17 »

At least the northern French dialects do it logically, with septante, octante, nonante, rather than soixante-dix, quatre-vingt, quatre-vingt-dix. Four score and ten?

Switching to Cyrillic is a nice idea, but English has the problem of the th-sound, which I don't believe is in there. But it could be more phonetic, like Вустер for Worcester.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1016 on: 18 Nov 2020, 04:18 »

English used to have letters for the sounds represented by 'th' (there are two sounds, one voiced and one voiceless; compare 'thin' and 'this'). The letters were thorn () and eth (). They're still present in Icelandic, though they've fallen out of use in English.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1017 on: 18 Nov 2020, 06:52 »

And the evolution and eventual decay of that letter led to the stereotypical Ye olde Englisshe.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1018 on: 18 Nov 2020, 08:19 »

A very old comic about a German attempting to pronounce 'th'. It's on the Wikipedia article about 'th'.
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Switching to Cyrillic is a nice idea, but English has the problem of the th-sound, which I don't believe is in there. But it could be more phonetic, like Вустер for Worcester.
I thought it'd be ``вустр.'' Russian orthography has some oddities. Whether a consonant is hard or soft depends on whether the following vowel is hard or soft.. except for ш, which is softened by a tail, and always uses soft vowels. It's really stupid, so a few writers are insisting on using only ш, inheriting the hardness or softness from the following vowel, like all other consonant characters do. Fewer writers would do away with the `soft sign,' and give every consonant a tailed version for softening. I think a good compromise would be to do both: add tails to consonants to soften, or the soft sign, or use soft vowels. Sure, it'll add more letters, but it'd simplify it generally: learn the base letters, and two simple ways to soften any letter (no, not a clickbait article title.. yet)
One problem with simply transcribing english cyrillicly, is that certain words are quite tight in our present orthography, but would be diluted in cyrillic. Consider, for example, the word ``I.'' Ай доунт кноу (unsurprisingly, this is how many russians, I've heard, pronounce `kn' words---it's a beautiful thing about english, that the words are spelled exactly how they sound.. -ed a long, long time ago---they're not wrong, you see: they're just insisting on the correct pronunciation) хау юл риакт ту ѳыс (compare Theodore Michaelovich Dostoevsky) сэнтэнс. But, as you see, ``you'' 'd be much tighter---which may affect the comparison of those two referents.
I think a more sophisticated reform could be much better, perhaps inspired by cyrrilic, involving whatever of the many wonderful letters the world has to offer. And I'd overhaul the grammar, too. And the vocabulary.. wait, now that's just inventing an idiotic dialect, or ``idiolect'' for short.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1020 on: 18 Nov 2020, 14:18 »

'I' before 'E', except after 'C', unless it sounds like 'A' like in 'neighbor' or 'weigh'.

Or it's weird.

Any foreign observer, or anyone named "Keith", if caffeinated enough to become feisty would make you receive notification that this rule is unscientific and bad for society. It's just a weird counterfeit of a rule.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1021 on: 18 Nov 2020, 14:29 »

If Stephen Fry wasn't shitting me, there are actually more exceptions than examples.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1022 on: 18 Nov 2020, 14:42 »

'I' before 'E', except after 'C', unless it sounds like 'A' like in 'neighbor' or 'weigh'.

Or it's weird.

Any foreign observer, or anyone named "Keith", if caffeinated enough to become feisty would make you receive notification that this rule is unscientific and bad for society. It's just a weird counterfeit of a rule.
Keith is weird.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1023 on: 18 Nov 2020, 21:31 »

If Stephen Fry wasn't shitting me, there are actually more exceptions than examples.

How's the quote go?
"English is the result of Norman man-at-arms attempting to pick up Saxon barmaids. And the result is no more legitimate."

Something like that.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1024 on: 18 Nov 2020, 23:00 »

Quote

I before e, except after c
Or when sounded as 'a' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh'
Unless the 'c' is part of a 'sh' sound as in 'glacier'
Or it appears in comparatives and superlatives like 'fancier'
And also except when the vowels are sounded as 'e' as in 'seize'
Or 'i' as in 'height'
Or also in '-ing' inflections ending in '-e' as in 'cueing'
Or in compound words as in 'albeit'
Or occasionally in technical words with strong etymological links to their parent languages as in 'cuneiform'
Or in other numerous and random exceptions such as 'science', 'forfeit', and 'weird'.


https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/i-before-e-except-after-c


I never liked those naff and archaic rhymey things teachers tried to make us memorise:

“Thirty days HATH September blah blah blah”
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1025 on: 19 Nov 2020, 05:35 »

Thirty days has September
April, June, and November
All the rest have thirty-one
Except February
which has two less thirty one.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1026 on: 19 Nov 2020, 08:25 »

Except February
which has two less thirty one.
Having passed algebra, I've never understood this.  How can a month have negative days in it?

Fortunately, none of my teachers ever insisted on us memorizing such nonsense, so I never did.  And now that my phone has an easily accessible calendar function, I literally never need to know, I can just look it up...   :lol:
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1027 on: 19 Nov 2020, 08:36 »

two less [than] thirty-one. (i.e. twenty-nine)

Which is only true one year in four (well, a little less if you consider century years).

Thirty days has September
April, June, and November
All the rest have thirty-one
Except February
Which is all fucked up.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1028 on: 19 Nov 2020, 09:18 »

The version I know runs:

Thirty days has September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting February alone
Which has but twenty-eight days clear,
Or twenty-nine in each leap year.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1029 on: 19 Nov 2020, 09:50 »

That ei/ie mnemonic is a rule of thumb. As for days per month, a there's handy mnemonic, that doesn't care whether you've lost your thumb to the descriptivist mob (but does that you have all 4 fingers): knuckles being long months, and valleys between being short months, starting at one end, proceeding towards, and recycling at, the last, resetting at year-end---assuming you know, of course, the first short month's idiosyncrasies, and the long/short month lengths---knowing the length of a month, is as easy as counting; comma being recycle, semicolon being year-end: long short long short long short long, long short long short long; Of course, other calendars exist* The convoluted mnemonic should end ``save february, having two less'' (than.. depends on leapyearness)





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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1030 on: 19 Nov 2020, 11:04 »

Thirty days hath September,
All the rest, I can't remember.
Why bother me with this at all
When there is a calendar upon the wall.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1031 on: 19 Nov 2020, 14:09 »

My ex pointed out to me that mnemonics take many forms and that I have inevitably used them, but the ones that are about memorising the order of something but swap the words out - the ones for the orders of the planets, say - never worked for me. Like, I am already trying to remember the order of what may as well be some random shit, why would replacing it with other even less related shit help?

It obviously works for some people but I never got it.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1032 on: 20 Nov 2020, 06:50 »

Mnemonics based on word-swapping (or swapping out anything) work if it's a striking mental image to you. "You" being the key component. It has to be personal and tailor-made for your way of thinking, otherwise it's near-useless.

Side note, not really related, but tangential and (I feel) fascinating: people who remember long sequences of numbers competitively associate an image with each number of 00 through 99 (and if they're really good, for each number of 000 through 999). So for example, you can memorize "25" as being a carrot, and "41" as being a table (or whatever), which allows you to remember 2541 as a carrot laying on a table. I'm oversimplifying, but from what I've heard, it's a common technique.

I once read an article explaining that it essentially shifts the legwork from remembering a long sequence of numbers in the moment to spending a considerable amount of time *once* to learn a hundred (or a thousand) images. The initial investment of time and effort pays off in that when you're supposed to remember a 30-digit number, now you don't have to remember 30 characters that don't mean anything, but instead 15 consecutive images that you can build a scene out of, which is meaningful and weird enough that it's not meaningless data.

Back to the topic: using other people's mnemonic systems is BS and you should never do it. You should come up with your *own* mnemonics that strike an emotional note for you, that are funny to you or associated with something that makes sense to you, personally. The trick is not to replace one meaningless memorisation with another. The trick is to come up with something that you can't help but remember.

I have a very good memory, I feel, but part of it is coming up with ridiculous stuff (usually involving a lot of vulgar and scatological phrasing and imagery) that sticks in my memory. It can work for anyone*, you just have to come up with your own brand of weird/funny/memorable/striking stuff. And that will HEAVILY vary from person to person.

* - the "sticking in memory" part, not the "scatological" part. The latter is just me being weird.
« Last Edit: 20 Nov 2020, 06:55 by oddtail »
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1033 on: 20 Nov 2020, 07:55 »

I use lots of mnemonic systems.  However, the problem is that I soon forget that there's anything I'm trying to remember!
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1034 on: 20 Nov 2020, 08:19 »

The first time I ever set up KDE, I had created keybinds for pretty much everything.  Of course, the ones I didn't use every day were soon forgotten, and it was actually faster to rely on the GUI than look through a cheat-sheet.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1035 on: 20 Nov 2020, 08:28 »

Like the epithet "spider biter" - It's a phrase that, once heard, sticks in my memory.  So it could be a mnemonic, if only there were a way to attach it to something I want to remember? 

(used as a slur/epithet against members of a nonhuman species in a dream.... because my brain goes there, I guess.)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1036 on: 20 Nov 2020, 09:23 »

'I' before 'E', except after 'C', unless it sounds like 'A' like in 'neighbor' or 'weigh'.

Or it's weird.

Any foreign observer, or anyone named "Keith", if caffeinated enough to become feisty would make you receive notification that this rule is unscientific and bad for society. It's just a weird counterfeit of a rule.

I have seen Anglophones make the mistake of swapping 'ie' and 'ei' in their spelling of some words, and always wondered why that is an issue? Now I learn there's even a mnemonic for it?


(In my first language, 'ie' and 'ei' are two very different sounds - not to mention that the German 'i' sounds roughly like the English 'e'. On top of that, the German 'ie' sounds (roughly) like the 'ei' in 'Keith', whereas the German 'ei' more closely resembles the 'ei' in 'feisty'. Guess my brain just gave up on trying to work of off similarities and learned each of the English phonemes separately)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1037 on: 20 Nov 2020, 09:52 »

Trying to actually understand the English language is like reading from the Necronomicon.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1038 on: 20 Nov 2020, 10:03 »

Distinct pronunciations of ei and ie in English (as I pronounce it):

ei: ceiling, height, eight, leisure, heir.
ie: believe, die, friend, sieve, quiet, soldier, view.

Note the first two can be spelt either way (in the right places!)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1039 on: 21 Nov 2020, 04:11 »

I guess someone has to go there (again?): The Chaos. Yes, that poem about pronunciation. But this site has the whole thing with audio files, so you can hear what it is correctly.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1040 on: 21 Nov 2020, 13:18 »

Terpsichore doesn't rhyme with trickery.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1041 on: 22 Nov 2020, 07:21 »

Terpsichore doesn't rhyme with trickery.

What does it rhyme with, then?
And as far as my experience with english and non-english names goes, it is quite possible that it does. But as English is not a native language of mine, I'll never have a way to know exactly.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1042 on: 22 Nov 2020, 07:56 »

Terpsichore doesn't rhyme with trickery.

They rhyme when I say them.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1043 on: 22 Nov 2020, 09:38 »

Turp-sih-core.

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1044 on: 22 Nov 2020, 11:51 »

Terpsichore (/tərpˈsɪkəriː/; Τερψιχόρη)
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1045 on: 22 Nov 2020, 17:16 »

Turp-sih-core.

Ah.  I see the problem.  Thing is we stole that one from Greek, and we definitely aren't the only people using that name, or retelling her story, and students of literature from across a dozen languages are familiar with the same spelling and pronunciation we use, so if we ever attempted to regularize either, the response from everybody in the world would have been 'YOU GOT IT WRONG.' Where most of the time, ordinary words, etc. they really don't much care how we spell them.   Or, if they do care, I'm sure they curse our ancestors.

Noah Webster is to blame for most of the consistency in English spelling (in the sense that before his dictionary and 'standard spellings' it was even worse).  He faced the unenviable task of settling on consistent conventions for spelling words in a language having ten to thirteen vowels depending on your dialect, using an alphabet that has only five.  I believe that 'silent e' at the end of a word signifying a different sound for an earlier vowel, is his invention for example.

Anyway, I think of Noah Webster here because if a word sounded exactly like what you're thinking of?  That's probably how Webster would have spelled it.  You can tell it's not one of his because a lone 'e' at the end of the word is NOT silent.  He got rid of those in his standardization because they would have interfered with his silent-e convention. 

Noah Webster was alive at what may have been the very last opportunity to settle on a set of related spelling conventions for entire large groups of words.  Spelling before that time was pretty much optional, in that people would pretty much spell everything any way they liked and there wasn't enough agreement on any single spelling of anything to call any of the other spellings wrong.  But his dictionary got traction in a way no dictionary had before.  It was taken up and used by newspaper publishers who dictated that everybody writing for them should use the same spellings of things for the sake of consistency.  And after a while, we wound up with the idea that there is such a thing as a wrong spelling - basically, any spelling we can't find in the dictionary. 
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1046 on: 22 Nov 2020, 17:27 »

Honestly we'd probably have done better adopting the umlaut from German.  It gives them a nice way to keep track of some extra vowel sounds, and it doesn't seem like too much trouble.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1047 on: 23 Nov 2020, 03:14 »

Honestly we'd probably have done better adopting the umlaut from German.  It gives them a nice way to keep track of some extra vowel sounds, and it doesn't seem like too much trouble.

Not to be nitpicky or something, what you mean is called Diaeresis.
And yes, it would be quite helpful.

German only uses the Umlaut, but not the diaeresis, so purely from written language we can't say whether "ue" is pronounced separately ("u"), as "". For reference: if you can't write or display Umlauts, German uses the non-umlaut letter with an e behind it.
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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1048 on: 23 Nov 2020, 08:56 »

Turp-sih-core.
[snip]

At first I misread Terpsichore as terpischore like it rhymed with harpischord - Nope! I've been misreading - and mispronouncing - harpsichord, too, since I first learned it - I've known it for a few years, and this is the first time I'm writing it... wow I feel dumb (not really, we all must learn sometime... hopefully I'll learn sooner than later, but what I can I do to help it? Alot, but that's getting off topic.)
Honestly, I think that standardized spelling is one of the weirdest things about written languages generally. Not per se, but as a social phenomenon. I think it would be much more interesting if everybody spelled their words however they liked, so long as it could be recognized as the sound of the spoken word. That doesn't deal with homophones, but we seem to manage to discern which one was meant in speech, so at least, if we write how we speak, we won't have that problem any more than we do in speech. I think it's a limitation of the past, of physical typesetting, to have only five-and-some-halfs vowel signs, that computers can deal with - sure, there's only so many keys we can add to a keyboard before it's cumbersome, but we can use some sort of composition of characters that the computer can translate to the appropriate end sign, or how Chinese input systems let one type so many different glyphs with so few keys. At the least, it would make reading more immediately fun, trying e.g. to if I can discern authors by their preferred spellings. And writing can be more fun, too, letting different characters signified by different preferred spellings. We could still have some sort of standard spelling, for stuff like official paperwork with corporations, but it should feel like something unnecessarily stiff, rather than the opposite of diverse spellings feeling sloppy.

Honestly we'd probably have done better adopting the umlaut from German.  It gives them a nice way to keep track of some extra vowel sounds, and it doesn't seem like too much trouble.

Not to be nitpicky or something, what you mean is called Diaeresis.
And yes, it would be quite helpful.

German only uses the Umlaut, but not the diaeresis, so purely from written language we can't say whether "ue" is pronounced separately ("u"), as "". For reference: if you can't write or display Umlauts, German uses the non-umlaut letter with an e behind it.

No, I think Morituri did mean umlaut, as in meaning a sound-shift. That's how I read the "extra vowels" bit, anyway - extra vowels in the language, rather than extra vowels next to each other in a word. It's the same mark, which in English is primarily meaning diaeresis, e.g. noone looks like it sounds like noon, instead of no-one, but none would clear it up, if QWERTY let diacritics by default - I don't really feel like figuring out how to do it, so I bookmarked some wiktionary's letter variants pages, though i don't really use it that much anyway... it's nice to have around just-in-case. Neither is very popular, it seems, in English. I think both could be useful, but they can't be the same mark, then. I don't that will ever happen in English, though, because the only thing we seem to be good for is tangling other language's features into our own - we're not too big on making our own words or grammar or whatnot.

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Re: English is weird
« Reply #1049 on: 24 Nov 2020, 11:30 »

Honestly we'd probably have done better adopting the umlaut from German.  It gives them a nice way to keep track of some extra vowel sounds, and it doesn't seem like too much trouble.

Not to be nitpicky or something, what you mean is called Diaeresis.
And yes, it would be quite helpful.

German only uses the Umlaut, but not the diaeresis, so purely from written language we can't say whether "ue" is pronounced separately ("u"), as "". For reference: if you can't write or display Umlauts, German uses the non-umlaut letter with an e behind it.

My grandmother's sister had a German sewing machine where, instead of an umlaut there was a small "e" on top of the "U". I don't think I remember the brand name, though. It evolved from two lines above the vowel in handwriting.

I don't know about the origin of the diaeresis in French orthography. EDIT: oh right, it's from Greek; don't know when it was adopted in French, it's probably complicated probably around the c/ol split.
« Last Edit: 24 Nov 2020, 11:54 by zmeiat_joro »
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