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Author Topic: What it is 'n' what it ain't.  (Read 65744 times)
Rob C
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2013, 04:56:13 PM »
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Rob has been pedalling this line for as long as I've known him and every time I tell him it's a matter of context. Time and again I've said if his grand-daughter calls him granddad it's a term of endearment but if some punk spits it in his face it's anything but.

Words evolve, always have done. "Contemporary, nah.

Alright?





Scream!

There's no parallel in the argument, Keith. I am not yelling anything in anyone's face. In the instances I quoted I was either at home with the family watching the tv set or, in the case of the daughter and granddaughter, speaking quietly on the terrace at home. There was no implied insult, violence or anything of the kind your scenario indicates.

There is a world of difference in using a term in a general conversation and using it as insult; you can turn pretty much anything into an insult with tone if you have a mind to do so. It's what acting is all about. And that ¡s exactly what you have just stated yourself: context. Indeed, as well as intent.

As for the evolution of words: does that mean that bad use of language magically becomes correct use of language because of ignorance? Where there is real need for new vocabulary it arrives; there's no need to ruin perfectly good stuff to make way for the acceptance of error. That makes no sense at all; it's vandalism.

Rob C
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KLaban
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2013, 03:14:10 AM »
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Scream!

There's no parallel in the argument, Keith. I am not yelling anything in anyone's face. In the instances I quoted I was either at home with the family watching the tv set or, in the case of the daughter and granddaughter, speaking quietly on the terrace at home. There was no implied insult, violence or anything of the kind your scenario indicates.

Breath, Rob, breath, I wasn't accusing you of insult or violence, but merely pointing out that context matters.

As for the evolution of words: does that mean that bad use of language magically becomes correct use of language because of ignorance? Where there is real need for new vocabulary it arrives; there's no need to ruin perfectly good stuff to make way for the acceptance of error. That makes no sense at all; it's vandalism.

Thankfully stuff evolves, although I accept there are those who would prefer it didn't.

Off to watch 'One foot in the Grave'...
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opgr
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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2013, 04:12:33 AM »
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As for the evolution of words: does that mean that bad use of language magically becomes correct use of language because of ignorance?

Why not? Isn't that exactly how language works in the first place?

Why is it correct to abbreviate to "brits" and "pakis",
why is it not correct to abbreviate to "alright"?

I have less of a problem with redundancy as opposed to reduction.
The complexity of language imo is a reflection of our emotional development in society at large, as well as in the individual. A reduced vocabulary generally represents a reduced emotional awareness of the world around us. Even though the methods of communication and expression have grown exponentially for everyone, the goal behind those methods somehow seems very narrow, and results in, or perhaps even encourages, a very limiting emotional experience.

I always remember this one question someone asked me when I was a child: why is there a need for all these difficult words? I didn't know and didn't care back then. But as I have grown older, I understand the intricate differences between emotions much better, and now I understand the possible need to distinguish those emotions with different words.

Sometimes these intricate differences and complexity of emotions even transcends language and one has to resort to other means of expression to convey those emotions: poetry, music, art, etc…

See, there, I "bridged" it back to photography!
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Oscar Rysdyk
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Rob C
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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2013, 05:07:48 AM »
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Ocar,

“Why is it correct to abbreviate to "brits" and "pakis",
why is it not correct to abbreviate to "alright"?”

The basic thing is this: Brit and Paki are not sound, legitimate words, they are abbreviations and live in the neighbourhood of slang expression. There is a huge difference between colloquial and written language, and one of the basics of education is to teach/learn awareness of such differences.

“Alright” is something else: it is absolutely the product of ignorance, an expression of the user’s lack of knowledge of the correct word. This is seen from the fact that whilst it sounds as if the person is using the correct word, the ignorance is displayed in the writing, the user being utterly unaware of the error.

In a sense, it becomes the same thing as the written confusion between there and their: when someone is speaking, context (pace Keith) makes it clear which word is intended, and hence meaning comes through. However, when someone employs the incorrect one in a written medium, it yells out basic ignorance of English. Which does the writer no good service.

The thing is, it’s so simple to get these things right that refusal to so do seems quite perverse. Why? New rebels without a cause?

There’s a huge conflict between your line that I quoted above and the rest of your post, where you rightly explain the need for, and value of correct use of words. I don’t quite grasp how you can manage, comfortably, to straddle both camps.

Having written my current views on the matter, I have to say that as a teenager I though myself capable of living in two different worlds at once. In school, I would communicate using the best language that I knew, but out of school it was all American teen-slang, with thru rather than through carrying an imagined load of added value. As I aged I realised that was a mistake: incorrect is usually, well, just incorrect.

Rob C

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opgr
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« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2013, 06:07:52 AM »
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I don’t quite grasp how you can manage, comfortably, to straddle both camps.

Because to me "alright" signifies redundancy as it doesn't particularly change the meaning. I presume that words like "already" and "always" have gone through a similar change. With the increased speed of communication, it is obviously preferable to remove redundancy first, before sacrificing meaning.

However, I do get your point about it not being slang, and I would certainly frown upon any teacher trying to defend the new spelling, even when notified of the error.

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Oscar Rysdyk
theimagingfactory
Bryan Conner
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« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2013, 06:18:06 AM »
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Rob, the meanings haven't been altered; the problem is growing ignorance of the meanings. We're dealing with generations who are "laying on the couch." What they're laying isn't clear. These are the same people who think the past tense of "sink" is "sunk." (I even saw that one in the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago.) It's the same bunch who believe it makes sense to say: "It begs the question, 'who done it?'" Several generations are involved because a couple generations back teachers joined the crowd, and it's been going on for a long time. When I was on active duty as a unit commander I'd have to review effectiveness reports written by the officers working for me. Again and again I'd run across the phrase: "The enormity of what this man has done. . ." or its equivalent. I'd suggest they look up the meaning of the word and see if that's really the word they want to use. I'd get blank stares.

It's going to get worse before it gets better.

Maybe you need to correct the Oxford University Press. The Oxford Dictionary states that both sank snd sunk are the past forms of sink.   http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/sink
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Jaffy
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« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2013, 06:59:24 AM »
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"It sank"
"It was sunk"

"four candles please"!
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2013, 07:00:19 AM »
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Rob, the meanings haven't been altered; the problem is growing ignorance of the meanings. We're dealing with generations who ...
I just read Bill Brysons "Made in America", a fascinating read on how US English diverged from proper English (and how the language spoken and written in the UK today occasionally has diverged even more), and with it a lot of US history. Especially interesting for one whose English is just a second language.

Language seems to constantly evolve, borrow, break down, re-form in such a way that those who speak it at any time and place tries to make it "work" for them. If the distinction between "sink" and "sunk" serves no apparent purpose for those who use them, it is only to expect that they will merge over time, no matter what gray-haired academics might think.

-h
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Rob C
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« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2013, 07:59:14 AM »
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"It sank"
"It was sunk"


"four candles please"!



Past tense v. past participle, maybe? Anyway, the two uses are distinct and not interchangeable.


Rob C
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2013, 09:09:32 AM »
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Past tense v. past participle, maybe? Anyway, the two uses are distinct and not interchangeable.


Rob C

In modern English (whatever that is) sank is past simple and sunk is the past participle.  But historically both sank and sunk are past simple.  The Oxford Dictionary I linked above give an example: the boat sank   and    the boat sunk.   Language is a wonderful thing!  Languages are always changing and morphing.  What is incorrect today may be accepted as being correct in the future.  It surely has happened in the past...many times.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2013, 09:13:52 AM »
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My personal pet peeve, which appears often in the LuLa forum, is the use of the verb "loose" when the writer means "lose." Adding an extra "o" surely doesn't simplify the word, and since the two words have entirely different meanings in English, their misuse does nothing to improve communication.

[/rant]
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
Bryan Conner
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« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2013, 09:23:23 AM »
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My personal pet peeve, which appears often in the LuLa forum, is the use of the verb "loose" when the writer means "lose." Adding an extra "o" surely doesn't simplify the word, and since the two words have entirely different meanings in English, their misuse does nothing to improve communication.

[/rant]


This is one of my pet peeves too.  Why don't people make the same mistake with choose and chose?
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2013, 09:51:29 AM »
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This is one of my pet peeves too.  Why don't people make the same mistake with choose and chose?
Well, I for one chose not to.

And I still choose not to.   Cheesy
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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Rob C
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« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2013, 12:04:51 PM »
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Well, I for one chose not to.

And I still choose not to.   Cheesy



Helps illustrate the problem I mentioned earlier about people who can use the word that sounds correct but have no idea how to spell it.

Did Eric chews not to choose, I wonder?

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #34 on: February 17, 2013, 12:59:57 PM »
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Maybe you need to correct the Oxford University Press. The Oxford Dictionary states that both sank snd sunk are the past forms of sink.   http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/sink

Right Bryan, they're past "forms," but one's simple past tense and the other's past perfect. There's a difference. Yesterday it sank (action was going on). Now it's sunk (action complete. no more action).

Now it's true that the Brits may have a different approach, but in the U.S. using past perfect for simple past tense is flat wrong. Reason I know is that my mom was a high school English teacher. But of course that was in the days when English teachers knew the difference.
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2013, 12:25:51 AM »
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Right Bryan, they're past "forms," but one's simple past tense and the other's past perfect. There's a difference. Yesterday it sank (action was going on). Now it's sunk (action complete. no more action).

Now it's true that the Brits may have a different approach, but in the U.S. using past perfect for simple past tense is flat wrong. Reason I know is that my mom was a high school English teacher. But of course that was in the days when English teachers knew the difference.

In your sentence "Yesterday it sank", sankis a verb.  In your sentence "Now it's sunk", the verb is is and sunk is an adjective not a verb.  I am an English teacher now and I know the difference.  Grin
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kencameron
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« Reply #36 on: February 18, 2013, 12:59:20 AM »
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  In your sentence "Now it's sunk", the verb is is and sunk is an adjective not a verb. 
So would it be wrong to say "it has sunk" as one might  say "has exploded", and if one did say that would "sunk" and "exploded" be adjectives? I would think of  "has exploded" and "has sunk" as forms of the verb as I would think of "will explode" or indeed "will have exploded" or "will have sunk". But then, I am an English major, and so I like to complicate things.
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MarkH2
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« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2013, 01:07:54 AM »
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My personal pet peeve ...
[/rant]


Which raises -- not begs -- the question, what is your pet (language misuse) peeve?  Surely "begs the question" in place of "raises the question."  The former is a logical fallacy in which the speaker assumes the truth of a premise by simple assertion.
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2013, 01:23:39 AM »
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So would it be wrong to say "it has sunk" as one might  say "has exploded", and if one did say that would "sunk" and "exploded" be adjectives?

Your two examples are in the present perfect tense...as I am sure you know.  Therefore, sunk and exploded are not adjectives, they are past participles.  Is sunk would be present simple and sunk would be an adjective.


I would think of  "has exploded" and "has sunk" as forms of the verb as I would think of "will explode" or indeed "will have exploded" or "will have sunk". But then, I am an English major, and so I like to complicate things.

Correct.


  "Has exploded" and "has sunk" are present perfect, and sunk and exploded are past participles, not adjectives.  Therefore all are correct.
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Rob C
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« Reply #39 on: February 18, 2013, 04:26:20 AM »
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Which raises -- not begs -- the question, what is your pet (language misuse) peeve?  Surely "begs the question" in place of "raises the question."  The former is a logical fallacy in which the speaker assumes the truth of a premise by simple assertion.





Those I don't like, but can easily forgive (if I'm not hungry at the time); another one that really bugs me is the split infinitve: it's so damned simple to avoid.

Oddly, it doesn't offend me in colloquial usage at all, if only because my own head is far slower in conversation than in other forms of communication, and so I can't really curse others where I find that I do the same thing...

;-)

Rob C
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