Jump to content

Syntax, The English language, and other grammatical stuff


Car Fax

Recommended Posts

This is a bit of a rant, but I've come across the word "loose" being used in place of "lose" multiple times this weak.

I'm not a grammar nazi, really, but I'm confused.

 

Lose, as in: "Careful! Don't lose your way!"

 

Loose, as in: "My shoelaces came undone because they were loose."

 

Unless i'm mistaken.

 

See, even though English is my first language, I took three years of Spanish, just because.

In Canada, it is mandatory for students to learn French, starting from grade 4 all the up to grade 9.

The only exception is if your parents don't want you to learn French for whatever reason, like if you speak Mandarin at home or something. 

 

The one thing that always frustrated me, and this can be applied to almost all languages, is conjugating the verb .

 

For example:

 

- I'm Running.

 

- I ran.

 

- I had ran.

 

- I'm going to run.

 

English by itself has a lot of weird rules that I forget on a daily basis, like double consonants on word ending with -ing, and using "An" when the word following it starts with a vowel (EX: "An Apple" as opposed to "A Apple").

 

Learning another language is tough, I get that, but learning the "special rules and conjugations" for them? Fuck, I think I barely passed third year Spanish...

 

tl;dr, I should have majored in English.

 

 

Link to comment

I started loving languages once when I was a boy and I saw an episode of "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles".

I saw the movies before, and a sentence (from a young lady to young Indiana) of the series got my attention: Learn languages, they are the power to travel the world.

 

Now I lived in 6 different countries and I (barely) speak 5 languages.

This sentence marked my life.

 

Link to comment

I started loving languages once when I was a boy and I saw an episode of "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles".

I saw the movies before, and a sentence (from a young lady to young Indiana) of the series got my attention: Learn languages, they are the power to travel the world.

 

Now I lived in 6 different countries and I (barely) speak 5 languages.

This sentence marked my life.

 

See, now that's that kind of stuff that always boggles my mind.

 

Learning several languages is already a pretty daunting task.

Remembering how to speak the language? That's on a whole other level.

 

I mean, how can you store that much information in your head?

All the rules, and little nuances of a language without just saying "Fuck it, I'll just learn two, or stick to my native tongue!"

Link to comment

"i had run"

 

As far as languages go, English is one of the stupidest. Somewhere along the way it lost its accusative noun forms which makes it less flexible and less clear. The only vestiges of it are in pronouns like "him, her, them, whom" and it looks like "whom" is on the way out too.

 

In any proper language the following is valid:

I killed him

I him killed

killed him I

him I killed

him killed I

 

But in English it doesn't work:

the baker killed the shopper

the shopper killed the baker

killed the shopper the baker

killed the baker the shopper

etc

 

Link to comment

"i had run"

 

As far as languages go, English is one of the stupidest. 

 

Bullshit.  Every language has its own fucked up nuances.  I took german in high school many moons ago and the damn gender nonsense nearly drove me insane.  The only thing I enjoyed about german was the cuss words.   :lol:  :lol:

 

As far as english being unclear, not so.  The english language is incredibly flexible and it is possible to say the same thing in often dozens of ways depending what audience you are trying to reach.  I'm not saying the english language is "superior" to others, it just isn't any worse.

 

Besides, in what other language can you say:  "Fuck the fucking fucker", and be grammatically correct?   :P

Link to comment

 

"i had run"

 

As far as languages go, English is one of the stupidest. 

 

Bullshit.  Every language has its own fucked up nuances.  I took german in high school many moons ago and the damn gender nonsense nearly drove me insane.  The only thing I enjoyed about german was the cuss words.   :lol:  :lol:

 

As far as english being unclear, not so.  The english language is incredibly flexible and it is possible to say the same thing in often dozens of ways depending what audience you are trying to reach.  I'm not saying the english language is "superior" to others, it just isn't any worse.

 

Besides, in what other language can you say:  "Fuck the fucking fucker", and be grammatically correct?   :P

 

German's not the only language with gender nonsense, Spanish and French have it as well (I did both in school, French was mandatory for 4 years.)

Link to comment

 

"i had run"

 

As far as languages go, English is one of the stupidest. 

 

Bullshit.  Every language has its own fucked up nuances.  I took german in high school many moons ago and the damn gender nonsense nearly drove me insane.  The only thing I enjoyed about german was the cuss words.   :lol:  :lol:

 

As far as english being unclear, not so.  The english language is incredibly flexible and it is possible to say the same thing in often dozens of ways depending what audience you are trying to reach.  I'm not saying the english language is "superior" to others, it just isn't any worse.

 

Besides, in what other language can you say:  "Fuck the fucking fucker", and be grammatically correct?   :P

 

 

Once you get used to the gender of a word, you don't even think about it. Though I know where you are coming from, while learning French I had the same issue, because the gender is different for certain words. While I really like English as a spoken language and its sound, it is a nightmare to write based on pronounciation. In German you have more or less concise rules on the pronunciation of letters that vary only in very rare circumstances. In English the same letter or combination of letters can sound completely different.

Btw, "Fick den fickenden Ficker" would be the grammatically correct form in German (if one were to translate it literally). 

Link to comment

I forgot Spanish and French had the gender crap too.   :(

 

I had a choice of taking any of the three in high school and ended up picking german.  I did it purely based on german sounding like you were always pissed off.  It fit my mood in high school perfectly.  Klinge ich wütend?    :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

 

 

Of course, looking at things from a non-english speaking perspective.....I'm sure folks wonder why in the flying hell we have or need a thesaurus.   :s

Link to comment

Speaking a language so that people understand you is a thing. Knowing the grammar rules and write it correctly is completely on another plan. I agree there are so many rules that learning many languages properly should be really really hard. Especially if you don't use them regularly, you tend to forget things (we're not so young anymore). But I'm pretty sure you can communicate with people even if you don't know properly the grammar rules. I can easily realize this when I read forums in my language and 99% of the posts of my compatriots are full of mistakes... ;)

 

In general I think you have more difficulty everytime you get in touch with a language which has a different origin, from a different group (Romance, Baltic, Germanic, Slavic...), it's when the grammar changes drastically.

Link to comment

Duh.. gender in English is already nightmare to me.

Not exactly talking about some words having gender like in Latin... what bugs me is that personal pronouns have gender. Like,

 

I gave Greg some money. (-> from here you'll probably have to use pronoun, otherwise repeating subject may sound a bit weird)

I gave him more money.

 

Well why we can't just say "I gave that person more money"? Or simply "I gave Greg more money" again? In the internet this is a problem unless we already know Greg's gender. In modern Korean, third person singular pronoun is a neuter word, and old Japanese too (before Meiji restoration). In fact just about every word is neuter. Anyways they had to create corresponding new words to translate 'she'.

 

But on the other hand, it's a big advantage that English doesn't have honorific forms. In Korea you always have 7 choices of saying the same thing depending on how polite you want to be and how superior the person you're talking with. That's horrible.

Link to comment

French and German actually have one honorific form. Though it's much less complicated. If someone is older or in a "higher" position than you, you use 3. person plural in German or 2. in French. If you talk to a King, Queen or Noble, you technically use 2. person plural in German too, but since we don't have royalty, that is not used anymore.

 

IIRC English used to have honorifics too ("thou" instead of singular you).

 

But yes, sentences like "I gave Greg a lot of money" can become a lot more complicated in other languages, if you have to differentiate between cases (Whom did I give a lot of money to?) and appropriate gender-specific pronouns.

 

Repeating the subject in successive sentences is technically not wrong, but like you say, it sounds weird and is usually regarded as bad style in written form. In your example "that person" would theoretically work too. Though if you refer to an English-speaking (or German-speaking person for that matter) as "that person" ("diese Person"), you'd probably not make a lot of friends, since it's somewhat rude to refer to someone as just "that person", at least in everyday conversation. It's more commonly used by people that don't want to utter someone's name. That's probably more of a cultural, instead of a linguistic problem though.

 

Which brings me to these weird apostrophes in English. Is it "...don't want to utter someone's name" or "...don't want to utter someones' name"?  :lol: I never get those straight.

Link to comment

French and German actually have one honorific form. Though it's much less complicated. If someone is older or in a "higher" position than you, you use 3. person plural in German or 2. in French. If you talk to a King, Queen or Noble, you technically use 2. person plural in German too, but since we don't have royalty, that is not used anymore.

 

IIRC English used to have honorifics too ("thou" instead of singular you).

 

But yes, sentences like "I gave Greg a lot of money" can become a lot more complicated in other languages, if you have to differentiate between cases (Whom did I give a lot of money to?) and appropriate gender-specific pronouns.

 

Repeating the subject in successive sentences is technically not wrong, but like you say, it sounds weird and is usually regarded as bad style in written form. In your example "that person" would theoretically work too. Though if you refer to an English-speaking (or German-speaking person for that matter) as "that person" ("diese Person"), you'd probably not make a lot of friends, since it's somewhat rude to refer to someone as just "that person", at least in everyday conversation. It's more commonly used by people that don't want to utter someone's name. That's probably more of a cultural, instead of a linguistic problem though.

 

Which brings me to these weird apostrophes in English. Is it "...don't want to utter someone's name" or "...don't want to utter someones' name"?  :lol: I never get those straight.

I find those apostrophes fairly simple, the apostrophe for something like don't or aren't is because they're contractions of do not and are not just missing the o of not. then there's the apostrophe in front of the s in something like Steve's car or Bob's house where the 's denotes that the item belongs to someone. If the apostrophe is after the s it means that the item belongs to to the plural of something.

Link to comment

That's why I stated "Speaking a language so that people understand you is a thing. Knowing the grammar rules and write it correctly is completely on another plan"... I'm sure if you continue to repeat Greg, or you call it "that person", everyone understands you. They can misunderstand the tone, prolly, but not the sense itself. But I'm not sure if it would be considered "technically correct" because it's a repetition. We have specific rules in grammar about repetitions, even auto-correction of Microsoft Word for example marks them as wrong...

By the way we have honorific forms too, 3rd person, once we had 2 plural too which went lost with Modern Age (woah), around '60-'70... but hey, movomo spoke about SEVEN degrees of honorific forms, this is somewhat amazing...

Link to comment

Just for fun:

 

Gender based languages: French, Spanish, Italian, ..

Declination based language: German, Latin, Russian, ..

 

And then some weird thing that I know only in Italian:

 

Piccolo = Small

Piccol-etto = Pretty small

Piccol-ino = Little small

Piccol-uccio = Cute little small

 

probably other languages have something similar.

 

About the "I gave Greg ...", also if it normal in spoken English, it is missing the preposition "to"

Some languages have soft rules on prepositions (like English)

For some are mandatory (almost all Latin-based languages)

For declination based languages (e.g. Russian) you add "something at the end of the word" to identify if it is "From Greg", "To Greg", "By Greg", etc.

 

 

 

Link to comment

Piccolo = Small

Piccol-etto = Pretty small

Piccol-ino = Little small

Piccol-uccio = Cute little small

Sometimes I notice something similar in english too, like dog-doggie, or some people putting -ish at the end of some words

Link to comment

Diminutives, yes: Doggy, Peachy, etc.

Often done by jut adding an -y at the end, but English is the language of exceptions.

 

The "apropos" form -ish, used when it is "sort of" thing, probably exists in other languages too.

In Italian you can use the -oso. But it is not a hard rule.

 

Link to comment

Damn, I forgot about "gender rules" as well.

 

With Spanish and French, it's usually as simple as just adding an "e" or "a" at the end of a word.

But once again, you have special cases, or "gender neutral words" that don't follow the normal rules.

 

For example, if the Subject/Noun is feminine, then all verbs/adverbs/adjectives have to be feminine as well, when referring to it.

It's something that, at least for me, is hard to forget (and I had a teacher who took marks off your work if you used the incorrect gender for words).

 

Also, we were learning the South American Spanish, so we didn't use "Vosotros" when conjugating verbs.

IIRC, Vosotros is used when addressing "You", as in a group of people. EX. You [guys] need to work together.

Link to comment

This is a bit of a rant, but I've come across the word "loose" being used in place of "lose" multiple times this weak.

I'm not a grammar nazi, really, but I'm confused.

tl;dr, I should have majored in English.

 

*cough*

 

weak, as in: "This weak rope will not hold me!"

 

week, as in: "Gorngrimm has waited all week to be a smartass!"

 

(Nah, just teasing you, typos can happen, I know that ;) )

Link to comment

 

This is a bit of a rant, but I've come across the word "loose" being used in place of "lose" multiple times this weak.

I'm not a grammar nazi, really, but I'm confused.

tl;dr, I should have majored in English.

 

*cough*

 

weak, as in: "This weak rope will not hold me!"

 

week, as in: "Gorngrimm has waited all week to be a smartass!"

 

(Nah, just teasing you, typos can happen, I know that ;) )

 

 

No worries.

 

On the internet, I'm less worried.

But when I write my thesis? I'm going to pull my hair out if I make a single spelling mistake.

 

Hell, back in highschool, when I was writing an opinion piece for "To Kill a Mocking Bird", I actually asked my teacher for an extension of the due date, because I wanted to properly proofread my work.

 

Flowers for Algernon was my favourite book.

Not even The Crucible or Lord of the Flies came close in terms of "I can't wait to turn the page, and see what happens next!"

Link to comment

*snip*

 

I guess it's always easier, if you learn a language as a kid. But that sure are a lot of different variations. Are there any rules on how to determine who is a formal/informal high or low conversation partner? Or is it flexible, depending on how nice you want to be?

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...