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Roger Hicks
06-27-2010, 07:14
...that English is a constantly evolving language, why on earth do so many people insert the unnecessary 'As' in front of 'much'? I even had an editor screw up my perfectly good English a while back by inserting this 'As'. It's a comparatively recent innovation. Anyone know when it started? Or why? And any bright ideas about how to stamp it out? I don't (particularly) mind others using what I see as a ghastly neologism, but I get really unhappy when editors try to reduce me to their level.

Cheers,

R.

David R Munson
06-27-2010, 07:18
...perhaps I've been writing student evaluations for too long already tonight, but can you provide an example? I'm not sure I follow.

Roger Hicks
06-27-2010, 07:34
Dear David,

For example:

Much as I like steak, I find that nowadays I can't eat a 20-oz fillet the way I used to

or

Much as I admire Obama's achievements, I can't help feeling that his failures are nearly as great.

'As much as I like steak' or 'as much as I admire Obama' are recent coinings: the 'as' was just never there until the last few years.

Cheers,

R.

David R Munson
06-27-2010, 07:36
Granted I'm young, but at least in America I swear the "as" has always been there as far as my lifetime is concerned. Interesting observation. I will strive to remove unnecessary instances of "as" from my language from this point on.

Roger Hicks
06-27-2010, 07:48
Dear David,

Yes, I suspect it's an American invention. But my wife (who is also American) reckons it didn't exist (or wasn't common enough to notice) when she moved to England and married me in 1982. Which makes you young enough to be our son... (I'm sure we'd all have noticed if you were).

Cheers,

R.

newspaperguy
06-27-2010, 07:55
As much as I hate to admit it Roger, David could be my grandson.

And... as much as I recall, at least in the newspaper venacular,
the AS has been in comon useage since the mid-1960s.

(And that's as much as I can contribute (?) :rolleyes:

ferider
06-27-2010, 08:02
As a non-native speaker, the "As" helps me distinguish the idiom from "So much as", which has different semantics (at least I thought so ...).

Bike Tourist
06-27-2010, 08:06
Roger, is that all you've got? How about "Where are you AT" instead of the correct "where are you"? Or people who list items as "firstly, secondly and thirdly"? Or all of organized sports — people who never met an adverb they liked — for instance, we played energetic (not energetically) and so forth. How about advertising? Those ad guys pick up on every slang word and popular language corruption extant and incorporate them into their message, all the better to "relate" to the consumer, I suppose.

Hey, don't get me started!

jmcd
06-27-2010, 08:06
I have heard it spoken "As much as" for as long as I can remember. I have thought of it as a contraction of "inasmuch as." Either sounds fine to my ear.

Rico
06-27-2010, 08:08
As much as possible, we have to accept the dynamic nature of English. :) Many of those changes are annoying, and reflect sheer ignorance. My current peeve is the word "troll" which has suddenly replaced "trawl", even in the New York Times. Next, fishermen will be plying the waves in their "trollers".

FrankS
06-27-2010, 08:08
You are correct Roger, English does evolve. Otherwise we would still be speaking Shakespearean-style, which while it is characterful, is a bit cumbersome.

;)

jonmanjiro
06-27-2010, 08:16
As much as possible, we have to accept the dynamic nature of English. :)

Yup. Basically what T.S. Eliot was saying in this excerpt below from "Little Gidding".
(http://www.tristan.icom43.net/quartets/gidding.html)
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice. (http://www.tristan.icom43.net/quartets/gidding.html)

gb hill
06-27-2010, 08:53
Roger, Dictionary.com is your friend. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/as I know it was used in the translation of the King James Bible of 1611. Apostle Paul said So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. Romans 1:15. It's been used a long time Roger.:)

kuzano
06-27-2010, 09:01
Irregardless of your point, and as much as I would like to agree, Amuricans will continue to obsequiously endeavor to murderize the English (Amurican variant, of course) language for the sake of the perpetuation of the Dick-shunary industry, and constant user revisions of Wickipedia.

Don't it jest git yur goat?

Renzsu
06-27-2010, 09:40
I never really thought about this, but Roger has a point.. there is a difference in meaning between 'as much as', which basically means to me you're talking about two things equal and 'much as', which for me could be replaced with 'although'.
I'm not a native speaker but I do try to get my grammar right :)

MickH
06-27-2010, 09:56
S'cuse me chipping-in here, but wasn't Shakespeare overruled by his editor when he wrote 'As Much As You Like It' ?

Roger Hicks
06-27-2010, 10:39
Roger, Dictionary.com is your friend. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/as I know it was used in the translation of the King James Bible of 1611. Apostle Paul said So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. Romans 1:15. It's been used a long time Roger.:)

Dear Greg,

That's a completely different meaning, as Fred pointed out. Consider the following sentences:

"Much as I admire him, I sometimes find him tedious"

and

"As much as I admire him, I sometimes find him tedious"

The former can be paraphrased, ""Though I admire him [with the implicaion that this is quite a bit, unless you're being ironic], I sometimes find him tedious".

The latter, if it means anything, might be paraphrased, "To the extent that I admire him [with the implication that it is not necessarily all that much], I also find him tedious".

The biblical quote is closer to the latter than the former, but different in meaning again: "As far as I am able, I shall..." or "To the best of my ability, I shall..."

Cheers,

R.

jesse1dog
06-27-2010, 12:03
As much as £1?
- another meaning?

jesse

Dave Wilkinson
06-27-2010, 12:54
You are correct Roger, English does evolve. Otherwise we would still be speaking Shakespearean-style, which while it is characterful, is a bit cumbersome.

;) some still are!....e.g. - " I have just gotten a new lens"....as opposed to "I have just got a new lens" .....perhaps I should have gone to the store to 'getten' it! :D

antiquark
06-27-2010, 13:33
"As much as I admire him, I sometimes find him tedious"


Yes, it should actually be:

"Muchly I admire him..."

Vince Lupo
06-27-2010, 13:44
Here is a short list of my English language pet peeves (more spoken that written):

The use of the word 'So' to begin a sentence (listen to NPR and you hear it a lot);

The dreaded frequent insertion of 'like';

You know - all those 'You know's';

The term 'at the end of the day'. That's a popular saying with pundits, military and business officials, and of course politicians. They never tell you what happens in the middle of the day, or at the beginning of the next day, just at the end of the day;

And of course -- who could forget um....um...UM!

johannielscom
06-27-2010, 15:23
http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/funny-pictures-cat-is-construction-worker.jpg


English is a constantly evolving language

:D:D

Jim-st
06-27-2010, 15:36
You're right, Roger, the "as much as I like..." construction is plain wrong.

The following constructions are correct:

"Much as I distrust algebraic exemplifications..."

and

"In as much as x < y, y > x"

In fact, inasmuch may even be a word in its own right.


So folks get confused.

But hey, if it works for some, and irritates others, what the heck?

Brian Sweeney
06-27-2010, 16:00
Someone needs to publish the Backus-Naur Form for English. that would clear up all of these problems.

^

|

Bad Syntax. Unrecognized case following "." operator.

It's not too clean for FORTRAN, but that one I can handle.

Ronald M
06-27-2010, 16:30
Doesn `t bother me as muich as , "Yes, I already know it" like you are asking yourself a question and responding. Makes me teeth grate when I hear it.

Keith
06-27-2010, 16:41
There's no right or wrong here for me ... language is a living thing and it evolves from it's roots like it or not.

You can choose to speak the way you were taught and maintain your own personal language standards (my father has) or you can jump on the train and just go with it! :D

This thread is totally sick Roger ... much better than banging on about Leicas! :angel:

jonmanjiro
06-27-2010, 16:56
As much as I hate to say it :D
I have no trouble with "as much as" ;)

One that really irks me is "the below xxxx".
For example "the below statement is untrue". Grrrr :bang:

DNG
06-27-2010, 17:05
Good one.....

How about the word "Really"...
It has evolved in the last few years as follows:

"I really like this web-site"... Straight forward and the normal usage.

"You're turning out the lights? Really?, meaning a more negative tone, like, "Are you serious" or, "Are you for Real"?

semilog
06-27-2010, 17:14
For those of you who care about grammar and usage just a bit too much, David Foster Wallace's review (http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/DFW_present_tense.html) of Bryan Garner's Oxford Dictionary of Modern American Usage is a minor classic.

The sorts of people who feel that special blend of wincing despair and sneering superiority when they see EXPRESS LANE — 10 ITEMS OR LESS or hear dialogue used as a verb or realize that the founders of the Super 8 motel chain must surely have been ignorant of the meaning of suppurate. There are lots of epithets for people like this — Grammar Nazis, Usage Nerds, Syntax Snobs, the Language Police. The term I was raised with is SNOOT. The word might be slightly self-mocking, but those other terms are outright dysphemisms. A SNOOT can be defined as somebody who knows what dysphemism means and doesn't mind letting you know it.

Keith
06-27-2010, 17:18
I still think the best word ever invented is f**k ... it's so f**king versatile!

What the f**k?

I don't really give a f**k.

This camera is f**ked!

How the f**k are you? ... and hundreds more possibilities.

Whoever is responsible for this excellent word deserves a f**king medal!

:D

Rob-F
06-27-2010, 19:22
I don't like it when a word like 'oriented" gets turned into "orientated." I just don't like that extra "tate" being slipped in. Once you start slipping in extra syllables, where will it all end? "Orientatatated?" How about "Orientatatentatatatated?"

Want to get started on "Irregardless?" I've always believed it to be incorrect. I'd say it sounds positively unlearned. I saw in a dictionary, though, that although it has never met with public approval, it is nevertheless consistent with acceptable word construction principles, and means the same thing as the legal phrase "not withstanding to the contrary."

JohnTF
06-27-2010, 21:09
I would care to see the folks "reading" the news at least have a go through before the program, it is obvious they have never seen the copy before, or they are just woefully ignorant. Pattern follows with some political speeches.

And, the incorrect use of like in place of as. It grates on my ears, along with excessive reliance on contractions.

At times the language should be a bit more formal. If it is written, it should be a bit more formal, conversation, more relaxed is fine.

Much as I generally agree with Roger's use of language, I sense a difference in meaning between "as much as" and "much as" so I can see the use of either, depending on context and meaning intended. Should be the author's choice, editing should not change the connotation of the copy, unless there is a clear error.

Regards, John

JohnTF
06-27-2010, 21:15
Much as I like many things British, I can't stand the use of plural forms of verbs with singular entities, such as "Parliament are ...."

+1 also it is Math, not Maths. ;-) Collective nouns are singular, for the most part.

Kodak are bringing out a new film?

Roger Hicks
06-28-2010, 00:07
You are correct Roger, English does evolve. Otherwise we would still be speaking Shakespearean-style, which while it is characterful, is a bit cumbersome.

;)

Dear Frank,

Cumbersome? Not really. No more so than any other poetry or oratory. The grammar's the same. It's just that some of the words have changed.

@Jesse: there's nothing wrong with 'as much as', which is a perfectly legitimate construction. It just doesn't mean the same.

@Vince: I have always understood 'At the end of the day' to be of legal origin, referring to the 'day in court', which can of course take weeks.

@DNG: All my life, "Really?" has been used as a one-word response meaning, in many cases, "I am slightly surprised at that, but not very, as it merely confirms my suspicions." It may also mean (depending on the tone of voice -- think of Lady Bracknell and the handbag) a slighly milder version "How dare you!" The usage you quote is undoubtedly tiresome, especially when over-used, but seems to me a legitimate extension of the usage.

@Keith: ****ing right!

@Rob-F: also 'burglarized' instead of 'burgled'. And there are others.

@Patrick: indeed. There's a big difference between evolution and sloppy thinking reflected in sloppy speech. I know that it's no longer fashionable to believe in Sapir-Whorf, now that the 'time' example is discredited, but equally, I can't help thinking that the vast majority of people who can't write clearly are also unable to think clearly, and that by failng to take the time to arrange their thoughts on the page, they are reinforcing that inability. The German-derived American usage of 'dumb' (as 'stupid' -- not an English usage) is curiously apposite here.

@John: My spectacles is over there? So is my trousers? But not, "The French football team are a load of worthless primadonnas"? (Note that both 'team' and 'load' are apparent singulars). Maths is a contraction, not an abbreviation in the conventional form made by omitting the latter part of the word.

Cheers,

R.

SimonSawSunlight
06-28-2010, 00:38
much as 'much' is a proper english word, it really sounds stupid after a while if you say it over and over again. :D

much much much much much much much much much much much much

Vince Lupo
06-28-2010, 04:51
Want to get started on "Irregardless?" I've always believed it to be incorrect. I'd say it sounds positively unlearned. I saw in a dictionary, though, that although it has never met with public approval, it is nevertheless consistent with acceptable word construction principles, and means the same thing as the legal phrase "not withstanding to the contrary."

I remember a high school teacher of mine describing 'irregardless' as 'not regardless', which is 'regardless'.

funkpilz
06-28-2010, 07:23
Far as I know, it's been around forever. I'm not a native speaker, though.

Sparrow
06-28-2010, 07:37
I always thought disinformation was a deception by the misinformed.

And another thing I find annoying, is people starting a sentence with a conjunction

archive59
06-28-2010, 08:09
I still think the best word ever invented is f**k ... it's so f**king versatile!

What the f**k?

I don't really give a f**k.

This camera is f**ked!

How the f**k are you? ... and hundreds more possibilities.

Whoever is responsible for this excellent word deserves a f**king medal!

:D

Many years ago, when I was working for an aircraft manufacturer in Manchester (UK) I picked up the 'phone to be told, without any introduction, that the "f**king f**ker's f**ked". The most surprising thing was that I knew exactly what he meant.

JohnTF
06-28-2010, 08:10
You got me Roger, I was thinking of all the exceptions as soon as I posted-- still, "Illford are an interesting company in that they still offer coated film products?"

The flexibility of English is preferred to the French who have a committee that decided that certain parts found only in women are masculine as they are body parts which are all supposed to use the masculine "le".

Now, we can all pick on the Canadians, who do not know which English to use, when they are not speaking archaic French.

My Canadian colleague arrived in the classroom and had the kids on the floor when she asked for the blackboard brushes, we had a bit of fun at her expense for about a year. Took that long to drop the "eh". ;-)

Always could tell her coming down the road, had an electric plug coming out the grill, we thought she had an early 70's electric car that had its extension cord gone missing.

Sadly, things will get worse, one of the side effects of the middle school movement is my friend is the last teacher in her middle school teaching English who has a degree in it, the current standards allowing anyone with a K-8 certificate to teach any subject in middle school. Often leaves the high school students a few years behind beginning a four year program-- bit hard to catch up by graduation.


It is OK to take notice of the differences, but all chiding should be in good spirit as I would hope.

My students used to take exception to my correction of their grammar, because it was not English class, I pointed out that education was not an "inoculation" that once you have it, you never need it again.

I really just wanted them to speak well some day when they had an interview, plus I was raised by two generations of teachers.

The media are making all on the net look as if they were English majors.

Regards, John

JohnTF
06-28-2010, 08:11
Many years ago, when I was working for an aircraft manufacturer in Manchester (UK) I picked up the 'phone to be told, without any introduction, that the "f**king f**ker's f**ked". The most surprising thing was that I knew exactly what he meant.

I was under the impression that those were German planes? ;-)

JohnTF
06-28-2010, 08:21
I remember a high school teacher of mine describing 'irregardless' as 'not regardless', which is 'regardless'.


Normally, something such as this would change slowly, if at all. It seemed this one was a real "Ah ha" moment for the majority -- even the media folks seem to have adapted very quickly.

I still do not understand how so many people who make witness statements to the TV folk cannot get verb and subject to agree? "I seen him---", I know we work on this in school early on and have never heard any of my students speak so poorly. Is it a code of some sort?

Now, if they would only speak well, like they should have learned-- sorry as they should have learned. ;-)

Regards, John

Sparrow
06-28-2010, 08:21
Ha ...........

oftheherd
06-28-2010, 08:38
Dear Greg,

That's a completely different meaning, as Fred pointed out. Consider the following sentences:

"Much as I admire him, I sometimes find him tedious"

and

"As much as I admire him, I sometimes find him tedious"

The former can be paraphrased, ""Though I admire him [with the implicaion that this is quite a bit, unless you're being ironic], I sometimes find him tedious".

The latter, if it means anything, might be paraphrased, "To the extent that I admire him [with the implication that it is not necessarily all that much], I also find him tedious".

The biblical quote is closer to the latter than the former, but different in meaning again: "As far as I am able, I shall..." or "To the best of my ability, I shall..."

Cheers,

R.

Well sir, it sounds as if you have answered your own original question. :D

j j
06-28-2010, 08:39
Many years ago, when I was working for an aircraft manufacturer in Manchester (UK) I picked up the 'phone to be told, without any introduction, that the "f**king f**ker's f**ked". The most surprising thing was that I knew exactly what he meant.

Sorry to be pedantic, but your colleague missed out a word there. The phrase should be: "f**king f**ker's f**king f**ked".

antiquark
06-28-2010, 08:42
Someone needs to publish the Backus-Naur Form for English. that would clear up all of these problems

I think it's a case of the "exceptions to the rule" gradually vanishing. Makes sense... why are there exceptions in the first place? Just get rid of them! It makes the language as a whole more logical.

Once we've got the grammar fixed, then we can continue on to pronunciation reform... I imagine a future where everyone pronounces "far" with an audible "r" at the end... :)

oftheherd
06-28-2010, 09:05
Much as I like many things British, I can't stand the use of plural forms of verbs with singular entities, such as "Parliament are ...."

Ask Oxford says:

http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutgrammar/oriented tells us that Although the expression 'a number' is strictly singular, the phrase 'a number of' is used with plural nouns (as what grammarians call a determiner). The verb should therefore be plural: 'A number of people are waiting for the bus'.

This is not the case with 'the number', which is still singular: 'The number of people here has increased since this morning.'

It also tells us that orientated is primarily British, oriented is primarily American. Who knew?

And lastly, on (as) much as:

much

• determiner & pronoun (more, most) 1 a large amount. 2 indicating that someone or something is a poor specimen: I’m not much of a gardener.

• adverb 1 to a great extent; a great deal. 2 for a large part of one’s time; often.

— PHRASES a bit much informal somewhat excessive or unreasonable. (as) much as even though. so much the better (or worse) that is even better (or worse). too much too difficult or exhausting to tolerate.

— ORIGIN Old English, related to MICKLE.

As much as anybody may care. :D

KenR
06-28-2010, 09:13
This has been one of the "funner" threads on RFF.

Peter Wijninga
06-28-2010, 09:21
As a non-native Engrish speaker, I can only say that the English language is so idiomatic that the table manners don't really matter. Cheers, P

Jamie123
06-28-2010, 09:23
I'm not a native English speaker so I'm not really bothered that much by these things. I did recently talk to the English assistant of a philosophy professor and he seemed to be really bothered by the misuse of 'refute' that seems to be common these days in the UK. 'Refute' which means 'showing something to be wrong' is apparently often used in the sense of 'reject' or 'refuse', i.e. just not accepting something to be right.

What really bothers me personally, though, is the (seemingly American) tendency of explaining everything by putting it in dialogue form.

JohnTF
06-28-2010, 10:36
Am I the only one who notices that the "t" in often is often more pronounced these days, and "aunt" is less likely to be confused with an insect?

The whole world is going to ----

Regards, John---

Though I expect soon the "h" in my name to make it soon all but unpronounceable. Perhaps we also need a "Society to Conserve Silent Consonants." Or in the case of "aunt", let sleeping vowels lie?

Roger Hicks
06-28-2010, 11:27
Sorry to be pedantic, but your colleague missed out a word there. The phrase should be: "f**king f**ker's f**king f**ked".

There is of course the famous WW2 story of the Dutch fighter ace telling spellbound schoolgirls the story of how he was fighting 'three Fokkers at once'. Cue much giggling until the headmistress pointed out that a Fokker was a German fighter aeroplane. His reply: "Quite so, madam, but these fokkers were Messerschmidts."

My mother (a schoolgirl during WW2) told me that story when I was in my 'teens.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
06-28-2010, 11:28
Am I the only one who notices that the "t" in often is often more pronounced these days, and "aunt" is less likely to be confused with an insect?

The whole world is going to ----

Regards, John---

Though I expect soon the "h" in my name to make it soon all but unpronounceable. Perhaps we also need a "Society to Conserve Silent Consonants." Or in the case of "aunt", let sleeping vowels lie?
Sehr geehrte Johannn,

'Ere, Jawn...

as my London chums say.

And don't forget bloody 'vunnerable' for 'vulnerable'.

Cheers,

R.

semilog
06-28-2010, 19:00
I still think the best word ever invented is f**k ... it's so f**king versatile!

It sure as * is.

Rob-F
06-29-2010, 05:20
I remember a high school teacher of mine describing 'irregardless' as 'not regardless', which is 'regardless'.

So, the teacher was saying that "regardless" and "not regardless" mean the same thing? Or what? I found this confusing.

F456
07-26-2010, 16:03
Add these dislikes to the AS:

ANTICIPATE used to mean 'look forward to' when it means 'forestall'; ON taking over from other prepositions in all sorts of ways - 'one on one' springs to mind - it used to be 'one to one'; additional OF, as in 'off of' and 'outside of'; FOR FREE for the perfectly good 'free'; and DOUBLE CHECK when nothing has yet been checked for the first time.

One other thing: why do most British English speakers insist on writing -ISE instead of the classically correct -IZE as in the Authorized Bible? It's not that -IZE is American; in fact -ISE is French. Is it true that the -ISE tendency came about because some journalists couldn't differentiate between words such as PRACTISE and the rest such as ORGANIZE, AUTHORIZE? So the Times decreed their style would be -ISE... The OED holds out for -IZE but hardly anyone follows their practice.

Sorry: just a late night rant!

F456
07-26-2010, 16:11
Thinking of how words take on new meanings I remember this exchange in a late colleague's cookery (Food Technology?) class. She wasn't up on the idiom...

Teacher, in response to rowdy behaviour in class:
"Form 6, I am very very sad."

Pupil:
"Yeah, you're right there, ma'am."

Paul_C
07-26-2010, 16:28
I
Want to get started on "Irregardless?"

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/irregardless.html (<-- a terrific site, btw)

Though one of my biggest peeves is "loose" where "lose" is intended.

Or that annoying survivalist guy on TV saying "slippy" instead of "slippery."

Pablito
07-26-2010, 17:40
Ya gotta love, "...it was 7:00 a.m. in the morning..."

Paul_C
07-26-2010, 17:49
oh, also - on speaking Shakespearean, etc.: http://xkcd.com/771/

Spavinaw
07-26-2010, 19:12
Conversation in the UK:
First person, "Ford are introducing a new model."
Second person, "Yes, they are".
Conversation in the USA:
First person, "Ford is introducing a new model".
Second person, "Yes, they are".
The British version seems more consistent, but I've never heard a negative comment on the American version. Something to think about.

paulfish4570
07-26-2010, 19:35
The use of a plural pronoun such as "they" when the meaning clearly should be a singular form drives me to distraction. I consider it a gutless refusal to properly use "he" as the general singular pronoun for a human being of either gender, so some imagined "she" will not get her feelings hurt.
Aarrggh!

flip
07-26-2010, 19:44
Collocations are habit forming. While "Much as..." is rare, "...as much as..." is common. The grammatical intent is different, of course.

My feeling is that in the grand scheme of poor English, that ranks as a pet peeve. Why not slay the dragon: overuse and misuse of "like."

Vince Lupo
07-27-2010, 00:15
My new favourite word is REFUDIATE, as recently coined by Sarah Palin. Seems to be a combination of REPUDIATE and REFUTE. I think she's trying to channel George Bush....

Brian Sweeney
07-27-2010, 01:47
"OR" is confusing. In spoken language, it is an exclusive or. As a logic gate, it is an inclusive or.

The "Either" in the sentance gets dropped.

"Choose A or B" should be "Choose either A or B".

If you ask me "choose a black M9 or a chrome M9", my answer will be "Okay". If you ask me "Choose either a black M9 or a chrome M9", I will have to decide.

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 02:23
"OR" is confusing. In spoken language, it is an exclusive or. As a logic gate, it is an inclusive or.

The "Either" in the sentance gets dropped.

"Choose A or B" should be "Choose either A or B".

If you ask me "choose a black M9 or a chrome M9", my answer will be "Okay". If you ask me "Choose either a black M9 or a chrome M9", I will have to decide.
Dear Brian,

Then there is In re Blackwell's trusts, which turns on whether 'or' should be read conjunctively or disjunctively. The testator left his fortune to be applied 'to such charitable or benevolent purposes as the trustees shall in their absolute discretion think fit' (this is all from memory, almost 40 years ago, so it may not be word for word).

If 'or' is read disjunctively -- that the causes may be charitable (but not necessarily benevolent - unlikely) OR benevolent (but not legally charitable, which is quite possible) -- then it's not a charitable bequest. If it's read conjunctively -- that 'benevolent' is merely another way of saying 'charitable', with the object of throwing some light on the sort of charitable purposes -- then it was.

In the end, the lawyers got all the money anyway...

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 02:31
Collocations are habit forming. While "Much as..." is rare, "...as much as..." is common. The grammatical intent is different, of course.

My feeling is that in the grand scheme of poor English, that ranks as a pet peeve. Why not slay the dragon: overuse and misuse of "like."

It's a pet peeve because when a sub-editor screws up my English, I get REALLY peeved. Few if any editors take as much care over their English as I do, and if there are differences of opinion, mine should triumph. They are there to correct things that are plain wrong. Yes, I make mistakes -- we all do, especially typos -- but when someone 'corrects' the grammar (and changes the sense) of something I've written, because of some indefensible prejudice they picked up from a semi-literate third grade teacher, it really annoys me.

Cheers,

R.

Ducky
07-27-2010, 04:45
we aint seen nutin yet. wate til the txtrs start hvng some influnce on the language. when 'as much as' becomes ama, we r in big trubl.

F456
07-27-2010, 05:38
You made me laugh. Reminds me: I wouldn't be the first to think LOL stood for 'Lots of love' till a teenager put me straight!

Tom

F456
07-27-2010, 05:49
A pupil questioned my English when I started a sentence with 'because'. Apparently somebody who taught her had decided this was ungrammatical: I suppose the reason was that some people start a sentence with a subordinate clause but never get round to having a main clause to hang it on.

And I ended a sentence with a preposition.

And I started two sentences with 'and'.

Just try explaining to anyone why 'between you and I' is wrong. A whole generation or more exists that has the impression the word 'me' is inadmissible at all times when the word 'and' is at hand.

Fused participles, anyone?

I forgot this is the Rangefinder Forum; I should be on the Desiccated Pedants' Forum. Forums or Fora?..... .....

Tom

F456
07-27-2010, 05:55
Ya gotta love, "...it was 7:00 a.m. in the morning..."

Well, at the end of the day we all have to get up in the morning.

John Major, British Prime Minister sometime in the 80s/90s, really mixed his metaphors - something along these lines:

'There is a tide going out which we must grasp with both hands and build upon.'

Tom

F456
07-27-2010, 06:04
Conversation in the UK:
First person, "Ford are introducing a new model."
Second person, "Yes, they are".
Conversation in the USA:
First person, "Ford is introducing a new model".
Second person, "Yes, they are".
The British version seems more consistent, but I've never heard a negative comment on the American version. Something to think about.

What do you think about 'they' used for 'he or she'?

'If anybody is feeling ill, they should see the doctor.'

And what about 'none'? None of us is right; none of us are right? We say 'a lot of people are doing it', but logically it should be 'a lot of people is doing it'. Anyway, a lot of people nowadays are saying 'there IS' with a plural subject: for example, 'there is loads of lenses in that shop window'.

Oh well, got that off my chest. Off of?

Tom

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 06:08
A pupil questioned my English when I started a sentence with 'because'. Apparently somebody who taught her had decided this was ungrammatical: I suppose the reason was that some people start a sentence with a subordinate clause but never get round to having a main clause to hang it on. . . . I forgot this is the Rangefinder Forum; I should be on the Desiccated Pedants' Forum. Forums or Fora?..... .....

Tom
Dear Tom,

At least one of my teachers had an irrational dislike of the word 'got'. We were told that "Have you one?" was a better form than "Have you got one."

This is patent twaddle -- you no doubt recall Henry Reed's poem, "Naming of Parts", with 'the piling swivel, which in your case you have not got' -- and besides, anyone who loves and studies language knows there there are all kinds of rhetorical tricks that are regarded as 'wrong' by those wot can't read and write too good. This includes distressingly many teachers.

Cheers,

R.

F456
07-27-2010, 06:34
Dear Tom,

At least one of my teachers had an irrational dislike of the word 'got'. We were told that "Have you one?" was a better form than "Have you got one."

This is patent twaddle -- you no doubt recall Henry Reed's poem, "Naming of Parts", with 'the piling swivel, which in your case you have not got' -- and besides, anyone who loves and studies language knows there there are all kinds of rhetorical tricks that are regarded as 'wrong' by those wot can't read and write too good. This includes distressingly many teachers.

Cheers,

R.

Dear Roger,
It's a funny business being a teacher. I sometimes worry what permanent damage I may have inflicted on a pupil simply because I was having a bad day, was trying to be funny and failed - wotevah. For a time the old 'can v may' pedantry occupied me every time someone asked if (whether?) they could go to the loo. I can't decide whether the point is worth making or if it's just desiccated pedantry. Probably the latter. But no-one will dare say it is definitely the latter, so i go on labouring the point.

Actually I have come round to preferring American English. I have a feeling it is more consistent in terms of spelling and, more generally, the Americans aren't so quick to jettison their history and systems as we are. Even those Britons that still use Fahrenheit for temperature tend to switch to Centigrade at the lower end. If I say 'it's about 70 today', most people know what I mean, but in the January cold spell I told a friend it was 28 degrees. She looked at me with great pity: I was clearly troubled in my mind. I wonder how your teacher with Invisible Got Fetish would have reacted to your saying 'gotten'.

You've given me an idea: I'm going to speak American English without the accent (without - only because I'm bad at accents) and use American spelling. It's mostly what we used to use anyway, and why shouldn't 'vapour', 'odour' etc be spelt 'vapor', 'odor' over this side of the ocean? After all, the verbs are 'vaporize, deodorize' without the u. Can't remember whether we write 'discoloration' or 'discolouration', but the point remains: the American style is more consistent.

And I can try out that brilliant word REFUDIATE.

Cheers,
Tom

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 07:04
You've given me an idea: I'm going to speak American English without the accent (without - only because I'm bad at accents) and use American spelling. It's mostly what we used to use anyway, and why shouldn't 'vapour', 'odour' etc be spelt 'vapor', 'odor' over this side of the ocean? After all, the verbs are 'vaporize, deodorize' without the u. Can't remember whether we write 'discoloration' or 'discolouration', but the point remains: the American style is more consistent.

And I can try out that brilliant word REFUDIATE.

Cheers,
Tom

Dear Tom,

Yes, but not "medieval" and the American pronunciation "m'deeval" instead of "mediaeval" and "meddy-eval", and I'm not keen on missing out the 'i' in the pronunciations "fertle" and "missle". Indeed, you can't distinguish in American speech between "missile" (guided) and "missal" (ecclesiastical).

On the other hand, aluminum/aluminium is defensible either way: stannum, cuprum, plumbum, hydrargyrum, etc., vs. chromium, potassium, niobium and the rest.

I always liked the description of spelling as practised by Ms. Anathema Device (Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman): "not so much appalling as three hundred years too late." Thus, why "succeed" but not "succede"? Terrible things, dictionaries, imposing unwarrant'd uniforme spellynge.

Cheers,

R.

Paul Luscher
07-27-2010, 07:22
Why is it acceptable to say "same exact...?" I was told, when I was young, that this was bad grammar and a redundancy. Yet this phrase is used all the time by radio and TV commentators.

Another example of the "dumbing down" of our culture?

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 07:30
Dear Paul,

I'd argue that 'same' is more general than 'exact same' which is a contraction of 'exactly the same'. Thus, "It's the same thing" = "It's not worth worrying about the differences" while "It's the exact same thing" = "You cannot make any meaningful distinctions" or even "There are no distinctions to be made." But I've never heard it the other way around, "same exact".

Cheers,

R

antiquark
07-27-2010, 07:44
Sort of like "great big elephant" or "tiny little baby."

Those are redundancies. "Tiny little" can be replaced more efficiently by either "tiny" or "little."

Of course, when referring to tiny little babies, the paramount thing should be linguistic efficiency!

However, we all speak of tiny little babies. Let he cast the first stone who has not talked of tiny little babies!

To conclude: the English language is more than just a collection of grammar rules!

pevelg
07-27-2010, 08:31
I cannot believe that I just read this entire thread.

Sparrow
07-27-2010, 08:31
One thing I find annoying; is when people get pedantic about spellings, but I have to agree with Tom, above, that American english should not be misunderestimated for it's flexibility

paulfish4570
07-27-2010, 08:54
Here is an example of the grating misuse of the plural possessive pronoun "their," taken from a major news website this morning:

"A student has a right to express their point of view in and out of class without fear or censorship or expulsion," French said.

It is quite clear in the story and in a photo that the student in question is a young woman. But instead of "a student has a right to express HER point of view," the reader gets the gutless, non-gender, incorrect "their" from the man being quoted.

antiquark
07-27-2010, 09:07
It is quite clear in the story and in a photo that the student in question is a young woman. But instead of "a student has a right to express HER point of view," the reader gets the gutless, non-gender, incorrect "their" from the man being quoted.

I think it's because the man was making a general comment that would apply to all students, male and female.

At one time, you would say "a student has a right to express HIS point of view." The "his" would refer to both men and women. That may have been traditional, but it failed simple logic, because women are not men.

Then for a while people would say "a student has a right to express his or her opinion." That may be an accurate way of describing things, but the text would be cluttered with clumsy "he or she's" and "his or her's".

Now I see people alternate between "he" and "she" in the text. EG, one paragraph might refer to "he", then the next paragraph might refer to "she." Still, that seems a little awkward, because you're often referring to both genders simultaneously.

Now the usage of "their" to refer to "him and her" is getting popular, which is fine by me... it solves the problem in a more elegant way than the aforementioned methods do.

kevin m
07-27-2010, 09:51
much as 'much' is a proper english word, it really sounds stupid after a while if you say it over and over again. :D

much much much much much much much much much much much much

Hah! There are quite a few words like that. Normal at first utterance, weirder the more you say them. "Maybe" is another one. :)

paulfish4570
07-27-2010, 09:54
Noooooooooooooooooooooo! It is not elegant! It is bad grammar!
And I have a cure for this sickness: write/speak around it. If Mr. French is being inclusive, all he has to do is a slight reframe: "Students have the right ..." With that structure, it is utterly clear he is speaking about a right for all students, including the young lady in question.
I fought reporters' poor grammar for more than 30 years. I never let one get away with such usage ...

ampguy
07-27-2010, 10:07
These euphemisms/utterances exist in Canadian English, as well as Japanese (so da nee, nee!, naruhodo nee, so desu ka? ahh, so da na ...)

kevin m
07-27-2010, 10:11
Sort of like "great big elephant" or "tiny little baby."

Those are redundancies. "Tiny little" can be replaced more efficiently by either "tiny" or "little."

Of course, when referring to tiny little babies, the paramount thing should be linguistic efficiency!

However, we all speak of tiny little babies. Let he cast the first stone who has not talked of tiny little babies!

To conclude: the English language is more than just a collection of grammar rules!

Thank God for that! Or, more colloquially: True 'dat! "Tiny little baby" just sounds better than "little baby."

Brings to mind one of my favorite short stories, Tobias Wolff's "Bullet in the Brain." The narrator has been shot and is dying, and this is the last thought that goes through his brain:

This is what he remembered. Heat. A baseball field. Yellow grass, the whirr of insects, himself
leaning against a tree as the boys of the neighborhood gather for a pickup game. He looks on as the
others argue the relative genius of Mantle and Mays. They have been worrying this subject all
summer, and it has become tedious to Anders: an oppression, like the heat.

Then the last two boys arrive, Coyle and a cousin of his from Mississippi. Anders has never met
Coyle’s cousin before and will never see him again. He says hi with the rest but takes no further
notice of him until they’ve chosen sides and some asks the cousin what position he wants to play.
“Shortstop,” the boy says. “Short’s the best position they is.” Anders turns and looks at him. He
wants to hear Coyle’s cousin repeat what he’s just said, but he knows better than to ask. The others
will think he’s being a jerk, ragging the kid for his grammar. But that isn’t it, not at all – it’s that
Anders is strangely roused, elated, by those final two words, their pure unexpectedness and their
music. He takes the field in a trance, repeating them to himself.

The bullet is already in the brain; it won’t be outrun forever, or charmed to a halt. In the end it will
do its work and leave the troubled skull behind, dragging its comet’s tail of memory and hope and
talent and love into the marble hall of commerce. That can’t be helped. But for now Anders can
still make time. Time for the shadows to lengthen on the grass, time for the tethered dog to bark at
the flying ball, time for the boy in right field to smack his sweat-blackened mitt and softly chant,
They is, they is, they is.


We need grammar to make sense, but sometimes we need to break those rules to make something more than that. :)

(Here's the link to the whole short story: https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ro/www/LiteratureandMedicineInitiative/20080304/bullet.pdf)

antiquark
07-27-2010, 10:35
Noooooooooooooooooooooo! It is not elegant! It is bad grammar!
And I have a cure for this sickness: write/speak around it.

That's a tough way to fix the problem. It's not always obvious how to reframe the sentence to get it to work without "his or her." For example, fixing some of these search results (http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22his+or+her%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=) isn't really obvious.

My solution is to help the English language evolve by throwing in a "their" whenever a "his or her" would be more correct. I'm even teaching the new rule to my kids!

The English language is democratic in that way. If enough people talk or write in an unconventional way, then it will eventually become the rule. Long live democratic languages!

anu L ogy
07-27-2010, 10:53
This is an interesting concept, Roger. Its one that I've thought about too, but I think I am on the other side of the fence on this. Robert M. Pirsig expressed an idea that:

it doesnt really matter if something is gramatically correct - its the idea behind the words that counts. Its not the language thats beautiful, but the concept behind the language.

Something like that. I more or less agree with what he expressed. But, as you said, "...english is an evolving language..." - so is my thought process, and a week from now - a year from now - a decade from now - I will probably feel different about the subject.

Jim

Sparrow
07-27-2010, 11:11
Well, at the end of the day we all have to get up in the morning.

John Major, British Prime Minister sometime in the 80s/90s, really mixed his metaphors - something along these lines:

'There is a tide going out which we must grasp with both hands and build upon.'

Tom

Oh, yes. Dear old, grey, John did have, a, not inconsiderable talent, for mixing his metaphors; punctuation, however, was, conversely, one of his stronger points.

However, I do feel the use of Grasp and John Major in consecutive sentences is inappropriate, given subsequent revelations

Roger; just reread Naming of Parts which lead me to High Flight, both from my O level year iirc, thanks

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 11:20
This is an interesting concept, Roger. Its one that I've thought about too, but I think I am on the other side of the fence on this. Robert M. Pirsig expressed an idea that:

it doesnt really matter if something is gramatically correct - its the idea behind the words that counts. Its not the language thats beautiful, but the concept behind the language.

Something like that. I more or less agree with what he expressed. But, as you said, "...english is an evolving language..." - so is my thought process, and a week from now - a year from now - a decade from now - I will probably feel different about the subject.

Jim

Dear Jim,

I don't think we necessarily disagree about everything. Part of the point is that "Much as..." and "As much as..." don't actually mean the same.

Also, the language often does matter. Compare the Authorized Version and the Good News Bible. An atheist can admire the language of the Authorized Version, whether he agrees with the sentiments or not. But you have to be a rabid believer to put up with the clunking infelicities of the Good News Bible.

Or think of some of the great speeches of the 19th and 20th centuries: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Churchill's "the Few" speech or "Blood, toil, tears and sweat," Nehru's "Midnight's Children," Ronnie's "Tear Down The Wall." It's not hard to translate them into plodding management-speak.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 11:28
Oh, yes. Dear old, grey, John did have, a, not inconsiderable talent, for mixing his metaphors; punctuation, however, was, conversely, one of his stronger points.

However, I do feel the use of Grasp and John Major in consecutive sentences is inappropriate, given subsequent revelations

Roger; just reread Naming of Parts which lead me to High Flight, both from my O level year iirc, thanks
Dear Stewart,

Ah, yes. What's grey and smells of curry? Or Currie? (Obscene joke accessible only to those with a good knowledge of British politics).

Cheers,

R.

paulfish4570
07-27-2010, 11:45
Without common rules of grammar, we end up with vernaculars and dialects impossible for all who supposedly speak/read a common language to understand one another from one region to the next.
Example: I cannot understand spoken Cockney dialect. But if the speaker knows rudimentary grammar, I at least can understand his written message.
Another example: I cannot follow the spoken dialect of American inner-city teenagers. But I understand - usually - what they write because of the rules of grammar.
We need the rules for normal, day-to-day communication. We may break the rules when we write dialect for a short story - or speak among our cliques ...

Bike Tourist
07-27-2010, 12:02
I had my say earlier but I can't resist another one:

Advertising copywriters, who think up things to say about food on television in order to make you want to eat one of those things, have fallen into another trap. They all are compelled to use the word decadent. Anything that tastes good is suddenly decadent. Chocolate is decadent. Seafood is decadent. I suppose if they were selling me an apple that it, too, would be decadent. Here are some definitions:

Main Entry: 1dec·a·dent
Pronunciation: \ˈde-kə-dənt also di-ˈkā-\
Function: adjective
Etymology: back-formation from decadence
Date: 1837

1 : marked by decay or decline
2 : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the decadents
3 : characterized by or appealing to self-indulgence <decadent pleasures>

Obviously, they have over-used the the third case and totally neglected the first two.

My suggestion to the advertising people is to bypass the euphemisms and call their products what they are — not decadent but poisonous!

Matus
07-27-2010, 12:02
I do not remember a thread that I have enjoyed so much as this one in a long time.

Anyhow - being a non native English speaker, but working in an international environment (physics) I started to wonder, whether all those misuses, mistakes and inconsistencies have been introduced by us - non native speakers.

At least in high energy physics in Europe (Germany) in an international lab (GSI) the English is the main language, but as there are very few native English speakers and with the rest having very different level of knowledge - the language can easily be steered away from its original form.

A few examples:
- plural form of 'index' written as 'indexes' (even in our software!) - fortunately not always.
- 'chisquare' (square of the greek letter 'chi') pronounced as spanish 'x' instead of 'k'
- past tense of the verb 'fit' written as 'fitted' (in the meaning of approximating a discrete distribution with a mathematical function)
- pronouncing the word 'determined' as '***mined'
- screwing up the more complex sentences just because simple ones are not cool enough ...

I do feel bad for that and I apologize for screwing up your language. I know I do ...

Still - to my opinion the ENglish language suffers from its apparent simplicity - in other words to reach the level sufficient for basic communication is rather easy, but learning all the necessary exceptions and idioms is not.

So, dear native English speakers here at RFF, bear with us non natives. We do our best as much as we can :)

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 12:07
I had my say earlier but I can't resist another one:

Advertising copywriters, who think up things to say about food on television in order to make you want to eat one of those things, have fallen into another trap. They all are compelled to use the word decadent. Anything that tastes good is suddenly decadent. Chocolate is decadent. Seafood is decadent. I suppose if they were selling me an apple that it, too, would be decadent. Here are some definitions:

Main Entry: 1dec·a·dent
Pronunciation: \ˈde-kə-dənt also di-ˈkā-\
Function: adjective
Etymology: back-formation from decadence
Date: 1837

1 : marked by decay or decline
2 : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the decadents
3 : characterized by or appealing to self-indulgence <decadent pleasures>

Obviously, they have over-used the the third case and totally neglected the first two.

My suggestion to the advertising people is to bypass the euphemisms and call their products what they are — not decadent but poisonous!
Dear Dick,

And of course:

4: Having ten teeth

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 12:10
I do not remember a thread that I have enjoyed so much as this one in a long time.

Anyhow - being a non native English speaker, but working in an international environment (physics) I started to wonder, whether all those misuses, mistakes and inconsistencies have been introduced by us - non native speakers.

At least in high energy physics in Europe (Germany) in an international lab (GSI) the English is the main language, but as there are very few native English speakers and with the rest having very different level of knowledge - the language can easily be steered away from its original form.

A few examples:
- plural form of 'index' written as 'indexes' (even in our software!) - fortunately not always.
- 'chisquare' (square of the greek letter 'chi') pronounced as spanish 'x' instead of 'k'
- past tense of the verb 'fit' written as 'fitted' (in the meaning of approximating a discrete distribution with a mathematical function)
- pronouncing the word 'determined' as '***mined'
- screwing up the more complex sentences just because simple ones are not cool enough ...

I do feel bad for that and I apologize for screwing up your language. I know I do ...

Still - to my opinion the ENglish language suffers from its apparent simplicity - in other words to reach the level sufficient for basic communication is rather easy, but learning all the necessary exceptions and idioms is not.

So, dear native English speakers here at RFF, bear with us non natives. We do our best as much as we can :)

All good points. My favourite from an Englishman trying to return the compliment, in the process of complaining to a waiter about tardy service: "Ich bin hier seit 10 minuten. Warum bin ich nicht ein wurst?"

Cheers,

R.

Bike Tourist
07-27-2010, 12:19
Dear Dick,

And of course:

4: Having ten teeth

Cheers,

R.

See what I mean, Roger? RFF is so educational!

Vince Lupo
07-27-2010, 12:46
Perhaps those of you who are from the UK can enlighten me on the word 'aluminium' vs the American 'aluminum'. How did the 'i' get dropped? Or, how did it get shoved in there where it's not supposed to be?!

ampguy
07-27-2010, 12:51
I remember talking to a UK friend and they asked something like if I recycled my "alumininium" cans, and I said "What??" When I finally figured out what they were referring to, I thought they must still use steel cans and the term was very new for them :p

Perhaps those of you who are from the UK can enlighten me on the word 'aluminium' vs the American 'aluminum'. How did the 'i' get dropped? Or, how did it get shoved in there where it's not supposed to be?!

tritiated
07-27-2010, 12:59
I like cake as much as I like ale.
Much as I like this thread, I grow tired of it due the lack of beautiful pictures of gear.

Sparrow
07-27-2010, 13:08
I remember talking to a UK friend and they asked something like if I recycled my "alumininium" cans, and I said "What??" When I finally figured out what they were referring to, I thought they must still use steel cans and the term was very new for them :p

Yep, it were the same when I asked my hostess if I could help her wash-up :rolleyes:

Sparrow
07-27-2010, 13:20
I do not remember a thread that I have enjoyed so much as this one in a long time.

Anyhow - being a non native English speaker, but working in an international environment (physics) I started to wonder, whether all those misuses, mistakes and inconsistencies have been introduced by us - non native speakers.

At least in high energy physics in Europe (Germany) in an international lab (GSI) the English is the main language, but as there are very few native English speakers and with the rest having very different level of knowledge - the language can easily be steered away from its original form.

A few examples:
- plural form of 'index' written as 'indexes' (even in our software!) - fortunately not always.
- 'chisquare' (square of the greek letter 'chi') pronounced as spanish 'x' instead of 'k'
- past tense of the verb 'fit' written as 'fitted' (in the meaning of approximating a discrete distribution with a mathematical function)
- pronouncing the word 'determined' as '***mined'
- screwing up the more complex sentences just because simple ones are not cool enough ...

I do feel bad for that and I apologize for screwing up your language. I know I do ...

Still - to my opinion the ENglish language suffers from its apparent simplicity - in other words to reach the level sufficient for basic communication is rather easy, but learning all the necessary exceptions and idioms is not.

So, dear native English speakers here at RFF, bear with us non natives. We do our best as much as we can :)

Good heavens no! As a youth I grew-up in a northern mill town, the grammatical idioms I observed at school were completely different to those in my home neighbourhood and both differ from that which we use, here, on the interweb these days ... if English has a repository it's with you, the non-native speakers I would contend

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 23:22
Perhaps those of you who are from the UK can enlighten me on the word 'aluminium' vs the American 'aluminum'. How did the 'i' get dropped? Or, how did it get shoved in there where it's not supposed to be?!
Dear Vince,

Sir Humphrey Davy (who first isolated it from alum in 1812) originally called it 'Alumium', then 'Aluminum' then 'Aluminium'. See also post 80.

Cheers,

R.

Vince Lupo
07-28-2010, 00:24
Thanks for the history lesson, Roger. As a Canadian, I didn't seem to adopt that spelling or pronunciation for aluminum, but I still stick my U's in whenever I can (labour, neighbour, etc), though I've been living in the U.S for 16 years. And I insist on calling napkins 'serviettes'!

_mark__
07-28-2010, 02:31
If I spoke a second or third language as well as many on this forum then I would be a happy man!

Roger Hicks
07-28-2010, 03:08
Thanks for the history lesson, Roger. As a Canadian, I didn't seem to adopt that spelling or pronunciation for aluminum, but I still stick my U's in whenever I can (labour, neighbour, etc), though I've been living in the U.S for 16 years. And I insist on calling napkins 'serviettes'!

Dear Vince,

In England, 'serviette' is regarded as 'non-U' as compared with 'napkin'. 'U' and 'Non-U' is a fantastically complicated system of class indicators devised by one of the Mitfords, as unsavoury a bunch of upper-class loonies as ever you could hope not to meet. I think it stands for 'Upper Class', or it might be 'Us', but I'm not sure: I never could get on with much that any Mitford wrote. Anyway, the 'done thing' in the UK is to call 'em 'napkins'.

This is an excellent reminder that dialects vary not only regionally but also by class. It's also more socially acceptable in the UK to say "Sorry?" or some such, when you don't hear someone, rather than "Pardon?"

Weird.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
07-28-2010, 03:09
If I spoke a second or third language as well as many on this forum then I would be a happy man!

Ich auch/moi aussi!

Cheers,

R.

Vince Lupo
07-28-2010, 04:03
Dear Vince,

In England, 'serviette' is regarded as 'non-U' as compared with 'napkin'. '

R.

Must be the French Canadian influence then...

Roger Hicks
07-28-2010, 05:05
Must be the French Canadian influence then...

Sacred blue, my old! It must be that it is!

Cheers,

R.

Sparrow
07-28-2010, 05:32
Oh oui, l'effet de la Nouvelle-France ...

Sparrow
07-28-2010, 05:34
I got yelled at on the street in London by a guy in a natty suit for saying "Excuse me" after he ran into me. He turned around, a few seconds and fifteen feet past, and screamed: "SORRY! say SORRY!"

Later found out that "excuse me" is apparently what you say if you pass gas, not when some pompous ass runs you over on the sidewalk.

fart, arse and pavement? :)

PS chap and smart suit

Ben Z
07-28-2010, 09:38
Since Comcast switched us to digital cable I've been watching a lot of BBCA, so I've been getting a crash course in UK-isms. What's interesting to me (as an undergrad linguistics major, long, long ago) is how I comprehend the different words and expressions totally through context. By contrast I'm sure it'd take at least a couple near-head-on collisions before I'd figure out driving on the left :D

As for the "as much as" question, I don't think I've ever heard "much as" in daily conversation, because it "sounds funny" to my ear, and my recollection goes back to the Eisenhower administration.

What I see as a prime example of syntactic evolution in my lifetime is the prepositional phrase. When I was in school we were taught never to end a sentence with a preposition. Nowadays whenever I read what was formerly a "proper" construction it sounds almost pretentious. (eg. "the camera with which I took these photos" as opposed to "the camera I took these photos with.")

ampguy
07-28-2010, 09:48
we watch MI5, kind of a UK budget based version of 24. I've noticed that the way they talk is about 180 degrees from the BBC - they are uttering short slang without prepositions, often one word utterances, and relying on the visuals for the meanings.

Where the BBC (world news) no matter how trivial the subject, goes into great details and almost puts you to sleep. The BBC still mis-pronounces a lot of non UK names and places, but it is still recognizable.

Roger Hicks
07-28-2010, 11:08
Since Comcast switched us to digital cable I've been watching a lot of BBCA, so I've been getting a crash course in UK-isms. What's interesting to me (as an undergrad linguistics major, long, long ago) is how I comprehend the different words and expressions totally through context. By contrast I'm sure it'd take at least a couple near-head-on collisions before I'd figure out driving on the left :D

As for the "as much as" question, I don't think I've ever heard "much as" in daily conversation, because it "sounds funny" to my ear, and my recollection goes back to the Eisenhower administration.

What I see as a prime example of syntactic evolution in my lifetime is the prepositional phrase. When I was in school we were taught never to end a sentence with a preposition. Nowadays whenever I read what was formerly a "proper" construction it sounds almost pretentious. (eg. "the camera with which I took these photos" as opposed to "the camera I took these photos with.")

Yes, but you don't speak English. You speak American, which is a different language.

Remember also Churchill's attack on needless pedantry: "This is the sort of English up with which I will not put."

Cheers,

R.

Sparrow
07-28-2010, 11:25
Yes, but you don't speak English. You speak American, which is a different language.

Remember also Churchill's attack on needless pedantry: "This is the sort of English up with which I will not put."

Cheers,

R.

Enoch Powell would translate his speeches into Latin then back into English to ensure the grammar was correct.

Which would cause one to question his sanity if nothing else did.

Ben Z
07-28-2010, 12:28
Yes, but you don't speak English. You speak American, which is a different language.

Remember also Churchill's attack on needless pedantry: "This is the sort of English up with which I will not put."

Cheers,

R.

Keeping in mind Mr. Churchill's admonition, nonetheless, per the science of Linguistics, Standard (Midwestern) American doesn't even quite qualify as a dialect of English, let alone a different language :p Rrural Scottish and Irish, American Urban (Ebonics), Jamaican, London East-end...those are examples of bona-fide English dialects. Dutch, German, Frisian...those are examples of distinct languages related to English.

BTW, my favorite Churchill anecdote is the one where he calls some woman ugly at a dinner party and she tells him he's drunk, to which he replies "That's true, but I'll be sober tomorrow... and you'll still be ugly." :D

antiquark
07-28-2010, 12:38
Here's an example of English as a different language (Trinidadian):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAw0_wiDcd8

Roger Hicks
07-28-2010, 12:49
A language is a dialect with an army and a navy...

Cheers,

R.

Sparrow
07-28-2010, 13:00
Keeping in mind Mr. Churchill's admonition, nonetheless, per the science of Linguistics, Standard (Midwestern) American doesn't even quite qualify as a dialect of English, let alone a different language :p Rrural Scottish and Irish, American Urban (Ebonics), Jamaican, London East-end...those are examples of bona-fide English dialects. Dutch, German, Frisian...those are examples of distinct languages related to English.

BTW, my favorite Churchill anecdote is the one where he calls some woman ugly at a dinner party and she tells him he's drunk, to which he replies "That's true, but I'll be sober tomorrow... and you'll still be ugly." :D

I believe it was actually in the Chamber of the House, and as he was a gentleman he said "yes madam I am; and you are ugly ... in the morning I shall be sober .." it was Nancy Astor I think