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Non-native English speakers' emphatic method

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

Postby Stargzer » Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:38 am

dsteve54 wrote: ... So the entire crux of the issue might never be ultimately entertained, and the creator is just left dangling in the wake of a hijacked thread. ...


Off-topic? This board? Nous? Moi?

Semper!

:lol:

Be Prepared!
Regards//Larry

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Postby Perry » Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:21 pm

Sometimes I smile when I read someone's thread and the entire question or issue is bypassed in favor of some grammar discussion.


Actually, with us'ns the exact opposite is more likely. (I.e. the grammar discussion will be bypassed in favor of some good snappy reparté.) Long may it be so.
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Postby Slava » Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:42 pm

To resurrect this topic a bit, find a Brit and ask if those phrases sound right. When I was teaching English in Moscow, all the textbooks were 40-50-year old British English texts. I had to learn almost as much as my students.
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Postby sluggo » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:59 am

Resurrection is as welcome here as insurrection. Thanks Slava. Actually I'd never noticed this topic before, but in hindsight my impression is that whatever paucity of response was perceived may come perhaps from a lack of understanding of the question.

The phrases given at the outset don't sound at all unusual to these eyes. Is it the intonation question alone then? Difficult to convey in the printed word but a logical answer might be that cadence is a far more subtle level of language and, if such accents seem arbitrary, may simply be secondary to the learning of the phrase itself. And the speakers thereof would naturally tend to impart their own native language's aural inflections.

And where some specific phrase may seem overly universal, consider this................

:wink:
...I'd think similarly that it's more practical to learn single phrases for single ideas and move on to the next idea-phrase than to branch out to all its subtle variations. Until one achieves a deep fluency one will be severely limited in degree of expression in a second language- I could only imagine, but not execute, the challenge of translating this post into French, nuance and all.

Or put another way, a question of learning the words before the music.

As to "OK", it sounds like they're using it similarly to the Russian example (or Japanese hai), but I'd think all languages have some version. We in US English, confronted with a statement on which we may not want to venture an opinion or affirmation, will simply offer an audible grunt or low moan, if not stargzer's "ooooh". A noncommittal 'message received', assurance that we haven't entirely zoned out on their trifling babble (yet).

What do you think about this one?

(Sluggo awaits responses of 'ah', 'huh', 'hai', and if the starts align just right, 'oooooh')

Being a language board we may tend to fixate on -and celebrate- the vagaries of wordplay, both intentional and unintentional, but we laugh together at the type, not individually at the typist. In my experience no one has demonstrated this on the receiving end more gracefully than gailr, so I'm sure no nag is intended. It's a simple refreshment when the music takes an unexpected turn. The best music is, after all, composed by accident.
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Postby Slava » Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:53 pm

One difference in emphasis is especially noticeable in the past tenses. The Brits use "has" more than Americans.

For example, one modern textbook I was using had, as a way of demonstrating various tenses, a dog running through a park causing havoc. One of the pictures was of a boy, fallen off his bicycle, wailing, "That dog has bitten me!"

As an American English speaker, I'd say, "That dog bit me!" If I managed not to blaspheme, that is.

To use the "has," I would do something like this: Walking down the street, I see a dog ahead. I choose to cross the street because "that dog has bitten me before."
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Postby sluggo » Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:14 pm

Quite true, often used with contraction, e.g.
"The cat's eaten it." vs US "The cat ate it"
or in the nominative, "I've done it!" vs US "I did it!".

One of a million (milliard?) of the variations between two countries separated by only a common language.

This just in: Status of 13th US President soars as name is updated to Million Fillmore
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Postby Slava » Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:25 pm

sluggo wrote:One of a million (milliard?) of the variations between two countries separated by only a common language.


Isn't milliard what us Americans call a billion? It is in Russian, at least.

And, speaking of Americans, I used to use the word Merkins a lot. I don't anymore, now that I know that it has a real meaning. I don't understand the why of the item, but I do know it's not something I'd normally call myself.
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Postby sluggo » Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:15 am

Slava wrote:
sluggo wrote:... I used to use the word Merkins a lot. I don't anymore, now that I know that it has a real meaning. I don't understand the why of the item, but I do know it's not something I'd normally call myself.


I had to look this one up to see what this 'real meaning' might be. I understand now :lol:

I think it's all in the speling. I use Murkan or 'Murka.
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