My Word!

Discussion in 'Zealot Archives' started by logicman, May 27, 2008.

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  1. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    I must have missed that one. I just checked it out at wikipedia - I think I'll have to get a copy. Thanks:thumb:

    Some fun with law and language (written by a 100% genuine lawyer):
    lawhaha Universe's Best Product Warning Label

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    O'Brother is one of my favourites... and not just for the train. Great music too!

  3. CSXect

    CSXect Member

    Logic Man here in the USA we get some BBC shows on PBS(public broadcasting) We also get one from Canada called Red Green show very funny show:thumb:

    How is this for maximum confusion East and West NorthEast Broadway, these are real street names on street signs they look like this W Northeast Broadway and E Northeast Broadwaysign1

    Oh how about this Harassment some say it like Ha rass ment others say it like hair is ment:confused:
  4. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    We know a song about that, don't we, boys and girls?

    "You say ter-may-toe
    and I say toe-mah-toe,
    you say po-tay-toe
    and I say po-tah-toe ..."

    My friend here just reminded me that the most confusing spelling of all in English is O-U-G-H.

    A tough in 'The Plough' in Slough sloughed off his coat. He coughed roughly, which annoyed the sourdough from Poughkeepsie. "Enough!" he cried, cease and desist or I'll hit you with a bough and throw you in the lough.

  5. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Actually the journalists are probably correct on this one. :)

    The problem is that North Americans sometimes use adjectives (e.g. "important") in situations where we should use adverbs (e.g. "importantly"). For instance, Americans might say "That deer ran really quick!" when we should say "That deer ran really quickly."
  6. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    I need some help with British English! :)

    US English: "elevator" / UK English: "lift"
    US: "escalator" / UK: ???

    US: "cookie" / UK: "biscuit"
    US: "biscuit", "bun", "roll" / UK: ???
    US: "cracker" / UK: ??? (is it "crisp", or is that just for potato "chip"?)

    US: "dishwashing detergent" / UK: "washing up liquid"
    US: "laundry detergent" / UK: ???

  7. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Just because someone uses a verb, it doesn't mean they mustn't modify it with an adjective.

    For example it is perfectly grammatical, and preferred by most Americans of my acquantance to say:
    "That deer tasted great!"
  8. CSXect

    CSXect Member

    US: "French Fries"/ UK Chips

    Knock up has two different meanings one for here in the US and one in the UK:eek: be sure to know the difference and where you are at before using the term:twisted:
  9. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Sorry, I missed this. I guess you posted whilst I was typing my last post.

    US: "escalator" / UK: ??? >> escalator.

    US: "biscuit", "bun", "roll" / UK: ??? >>> same words, also bap and buttie (northern)

    US: "cracker" / UK: ??? (is it "crisp", or is that just for potato "chip"?)
    The same word - cracker. Crisps are extremely thin fried potato slices, usually factory made these days from potato powder, starch, floor-sweepings, w.h.y.

    US: "laundry detergent" / UK: ???
    should, strictly speaking, be detergent, but most commonly called 'soap powder' or 'washing powder'. ('washing' here = noun: laundry, clothing.)

  10. ScratchyAngel

    ScratchyAngel Member

    Most of the time when referring to a part of the body as a noun we like our Germanic words (finger, tooth, mouth, tongue, lip, gut, heart, lung, brain, eye, skull, and so on), but when it comes time to use an adjective we have no lungal or fingeral, but use our Latin friends (digital, dental, oral, lingual, labial, abdominal, cardiac, pulmonary, cerebral, optic, cranial et cetera). I'm sure there are exceptions, and the reason probably lies in using adjectives more from the good doctors who once upon a time did their learnin' in Latin, but I think one time we made out a list of over 50 such pairs. Latinate nouns seem to be findable (cranium), but it's very hard to come up with a Germanic adjective for a body part.
  11. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    The influx of latin terms into English, imho, has less to do with the Roman conquest of Britain, more to do with religion. Literacy was at one time the exclusive domain of monks and clergy - everyone else, even the nobles, employed scribes. The religious communities, of course, used latin.

    The advance of literacy was via grammar schools, but the grammar was latin. English made giant leaps as a fully-fledged national language only through the agency of the best writers in English - Chaucer, Tyndale, Shakespeare. By that time, latin forms had supplanted most of the older 'English' (i.e. saxon/nordic/germanic) words.

    I think you might find some "English" adjectives in 'Beowolf', but you would have to use a specialist dictionary.

    Latin has, in fact, so dominated the academic perception of English grammar, that even today, people talk about 'split infinitives'. For my money, quite unlike Latin, English doesn't have verb infinitives. For example, 'to go' may be read as 'to' >>> a pointer to a verb or placename, 'go' a verb.

    There you go. On a linguistic/academic forum that theory should start a 4-week flame war. Ah, well. stercus accidit.:mrgreen:

  12. ScratchyAngel

    ScratchyAngel Member


    Yeah, I've actually done all the Old Norse, Gawain Poet, et al. in a past life as a Renaissance / Medieval English grad student. I just think it's interesting how stubborn the Germanic is for our body parts, and how it's totally missing for adjectives. Now, away from the body we get a better mix :)

    I do wonder about train related. I guess we use cars here, but wagons there is nice and German. Of course Railroad is a perfect marriage of the two.

    We shouldn't be in danger of a flame war if we heed your signature :p
  13. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    The thing about 'American' versus 'British' English that has me laughing my socks off is the insistence of some self-styled language experts over here that some particular word is an 'americanism' - hence a bad thing - a despoiler of the 'purity' of our language.

    This completely overlooks the simple fact that it is British usage that has changed, whilst American English has retained many British useages and spellings from the days of the founding fathers.

    You most definitely do 'discern my drift', scratchy.:mrgreen:

    The name, logicman, fairly obviously comes from my taste for formal logic and the logic of language.

    The avatar is a 'kiddy-colored' version of Mayan 'ix', a written syllable.
  14. ScratchyAngel

    ScratchyAngel Member

    Of course, if you know Peter Ramus, you know how times have changed.

    My chair always suspected there was a bad department meeting on St Bartholomew's and that it was faculty not Catholics that did him in ;)
  15. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    I'm not farmiliar with Peter Ramus, but on a brief reading of the wiki article, I can see how the faculty might well have been motivated, or might have been well-motivated.:mrgreen: (How to win friends - NOT!)

    All I know about Saint Bart's is that it's a hospital.:rolleyes:

    I'm more into this guy's class of mathematical logic, and into set theory, and their applications to word classification.

  16. CSXect

    CSXect Member


    WOW you guys are getting too brainy for me:mrgreen:

    I wanted to know how to spell technician so I went to DeVry now I are onesign1 that is a little DeVry Grad humor:twisted: Class of 90 and Class of 06 associates of electronics and B.S. of technical management:thumb:
  17. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Of course, it depends on what word it's modifying, the noun or the verb!

    In my example, "quickly" modifies "run", so an adverb should be used. In your example, "great" modifies "deer" - not "taste" - so an adjective is the correct choice. ;)

    An example of "great" modifying "taste" might be "That deer tasted greatly of garlic" - although in this case, "great" itself can be an adjective or adverb, e.g. "My new John Deere runs great!" :D

    In some parts of the US (especially in the South, where American English is closer to "The King's"), you might hear "That deer ran quick-like." Any idea which is older, "-like" or the familiar adverb ending "-ly"?

    Thank you for the clarifications of UK English! :thumb:
  18. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Fascinating! Great illustration of competing influences on English! Thanks!
  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    a few late comments

    I had an English boss who took his Canadian bride to stay with his parents. She managed not to choke too hard when his mother said "Your sister says she's getting a really good screw."

    German for body parts? Then why is the removal of the uterus called a hysterectomy? :cry:

    Haven't read Beowulf yet. None of my retirement projects are making any progress.
  20. ScratchyAngel

    ScratchyAngel Member

    Yeah, when we get medical we go Latin for both like esophagus or uterus, but we usually have the good old throat or womb still around, just no wombcutoution or throatish.
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