Grammar question for Carol or Trumpt...

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  • Reply 41 of 49
    staphbabystaphbaby Posts: 353member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Carol A

    Yeah. That's the British rule.



    I guess Americans think the end mark looks silly hanging out there by itself: His name is "Paul".



    A 'period' floating in mid-air, all lonely and alienated, so to speak.




    You're right ? it is more æsthetically pleasing in the American style.



    Mind you, I think the diæresis is æsthetically pleasing e.g. naïve, coëducation, etc. I think I may be a dinosaur on this one.



    Quote:

    What *REALLY* is annoying, Stephen,







    OMG! Someone who can spell my name correctly on the first attempt! Yay!



    You wouldn't believe how many people automatically assume that it's either spelt "Steven", or worse, see the "ph", think "My word, what a freaky spelling ? I know, it must be that freaky European spelling!", and spell it "Stephan" (which is just wrong on all counts so far as I can see).



    Quote:

    is what our (American) dictionaries do these days. They list the actual spelling of a word first; and then they include what 'used' to be the 'incorrect' spelling of the word - essentially saying, "Oh, what the hell. That version works for us." I find this situation constantly, and it makes me want to jump up and down in fury!!!



    Examples: benefitting, also benefiting; mosquitoes, also mosquitos



    The result is that no matter which spelling one uses, 'someone' will think it is incorrect. Geez!!!




    Actually, lately I've been using the full OED, because the ANU has a subscription to the online version? which gives the ultimate in context, right down to middle English versions.



    This doesn't really bother me that much? I have something of a romantic respect for the diversity of spellings before Johnson imposed his iron hand on the English language.



    Anyway, back to the examples (and I know this is missing the point): you spell mosquitos "mosquitoes"? Isn't that a bit redundant?



    Quote:

    Now that it's summer and I have some time, maybe I'll investigate the 'reasons' for some of these mysteries. heh. Surely there *must* be 'reasons'? Yes? No?



    It's probably just descriptive linguistics rather than prescriptive. I would broadly support this: it makes more sense with a living language.



    Quote:

    I *do* like the fact that we Americans tossed out (what to us are) useless affectations, such as doubling the "l's" in words like "travelling"; or including the "u's" in words like "colour" and "behaviour".



    As for the "u" in colour, valour, etc. ? that's partly a pronunciation thing: given that we British/?Strine pronounce the second syllable as "ah", an "or" sound is somewhat misleading. Indeed the New Zealanders are probably more of an "uh" sound. Mind you, if you made their spelling truly phonetic, chips would be spelt "chups", and so on.



    I've often wondered whether the spellings of words such as "valor", "honor" etc. are actually just romantic throwbacks to the spelling of the Latin words: honor, -is; valor, -is etc.



    Quote:

    Okay. Now that I have you here, I have a bone to pick wrt collective nouns and singular/plural verbs.



    The British say:



    "The team HAVE arrived."



    "The teams have arrived."



    This *REALLY* bothers me!!!!



    Americans say:



    "The team HAS arrived."



    "The teams HAVE arrived."





    So, whaddaya think? Don't you agree that the American version makes more sense?




    I don't even know if we Australians have a hard and fast rule on this. I think we'd generally lean towards the American way, which makes more linguistic sense anyway.



    Mind you, if you've ever heard the way real British people on the street speak (or Australians, or Americans), you probably realise that this is the least of your worries.



    Quote:

    Edit: Oh, and speaking of 'old-fashioned', I smile every time my British friends say "whilst". I think it's sweet...and quaint.



    Noooooo! It lives! It lives!!! Forsooth.



    I bet you enjoyed my spelts then. Despite the ambiguity with a kind of cheap wheat.
  • Reply 42 of 49
    carol acarol a Posts: 1,043member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by staphbaby

    I have something of a romantic respect for the diversity of spellings before Johnson imposed his iron hand on the English language.



    I feel the same way. I also have an affection for the way my students spell - such charming creativity and total innocence of the actual spelling strictures of the English language.



    Mosquitos/mosquitoes: as you said, it's all a crock.



    Quote:

    chips would be spelt "chups"



    Yeah, I got a kick out of "spelt". heh

    Quote:

    I don't even know if we Australians have a hard and fast rule on this. I think we'd generally lean towards the American way, which makes more linguistic sense anyway.



    I am always interested and surprised to see how much you guys retain of the British influence in so many ways. You'd think we'd have more than we do; but I guess the differences in our histories have a greater impact than one might expect.

    Quote:

    Mind you, if you've ever heard the way real British people on the street speak (or Australians, or Americans), you probably realise that this is the least of your worries.



    I was in London for four days once, and hardly met anyone who actually spoke English!



    Quote:

    Noooooo! It lives! It lives!!! Forsooth.



    I bet you enjoyed my spelts then. Despite the ambiguity with a kind of cheap wheat.



    Yeah, I did. And what about 'smelt' - a kind of fish, or the past tense of smell?



    Okay. One more thing about British English. Just what's the deal with this:



    "I was sat on a chair in front of the pub when I saw her walk by."



    Why don't they say "I was sitting on a chair"? Is 'I was sat' some sort of hang-over from lower-class street English?



    It's fun asking you about this stuff.
  • Reply 43 of 49
    staphbabystaphbaby Posts: 353member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Carol A

    I feel the same way. I also have an affection for the way my students spell - such charming creativity and total innocence of the actual spelling strictures of the English language.



    Maybe we should just revise English spelling to actually make sense? Hmm...



    Quote:

    I am always interested and surprised to see how much you guys retain of the British influence in so many ways. You'd think we'd have more than we do; but I guess the differences in our histories have a greater impact than one might expect.



    A surprising amount actually. It probably helps that generally when we're taught the canonically correct usage at school, it's invariably the British usage.



    Not to mention the fact that within the last 50 years, probably 30% of our population are first-generation immigrants from England, Scotland or Ireland. At least. I suspect the Australian dialect is still settling down a bit ? we're still taking very large amounts of immigration for our population, and the accent is definitely on the move.



    Quote:

    I was in London for four days once, and hardly met anyone who actually spoke English!



    You must have hung out in more exciting places than me! Mind you, there were 1 or 2 people who were a little difficult to understand sometimes. Living in the East End will do that for you.



    Quote:

    Yeah, I did. And what about 'smelt' - a kind of fish, or the past tense of smell?



    It can mean a kind of fish?



    Quote:

    Okay. One more thing about British English. Just what's the deal with this:



    "I was sat on a chair in front of the pub when I saw her walk by."



    Why don't they say "I was sitting on a chair"? Is 'I was sat' some sort of hang-over from lower-class street English?



    It's fun asking you about this stuff.




    It's more of a dialectical usage ? you hear it all over England, but not in the Queen's English. I suspect, since I've seen it a great deal in Middle English, that it was originally the correct way to express things, but was usurped by the imposition of Latin/French grammar structures onto the language. It'd take a better linguist than me to sort it out though.



    It does make sense though ? a perfect passive participle, which is kind of what this is, is descriptive of the state of affairs before the new thing happened. This may relate to that fucking aspect thing, which I've never had fully explained to me? if only I'd done ancient Greek.



    It's not a usage I, or most Australians (except first-generation immigrants) would use very often, though. My old boss (originally Liverpudlian, immigrated in her early teens) used to use it all the time, as well as never using the plural of "is"
  • Reply 44 of 49
    agent302agent302 Posts: 974member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by staphbaby

    That sig imbues me with an overwhelming desire to cross my legs.



    ScottiB: "is" is intransitive, and thus has no direct object, but at least in my understanding, it can associate multiple subjects: "I am the village whipping-boy" is one example ? it can be written the other way around without affecting meaning or syntax.




    But the inverse would be "The village whipping-boy is I", which while technically acceptable, is a passive sentence. So, stylistically, the verb "to be" preferably should only be used one way.
  • Reply 45 of 49
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by agent302

    But the inverse would be "The village whipping-boy is I", which while technically acceptable, is a passive sentence. So, stylistically, the verb "to be" preferably should only be used one way.



    Is that actually a passive construction? Wouldn't the passive form of it be something like "I was made/considered/regarded as/thought to be/otherwise verbed the village whipping-boy"?
  • Reply 46 of 49
    agent302agent302 Posts: 974member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by midwinter

    Is that actually a passive construction? Wouldn't the passive form of it be something like "I was made/considered/regarded as/thought to be/otherwise verbed the village whipping-boy"?



    Yeah, probably. I just usually attempt to write things in the most active sense possible to avoid confusion.
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