John Gunning

Musings about language (split from Kasugayama scandal)

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On 19.10.2016 at 17:17, Akinomaki said:

Oitekaze-oyakata hopes the heya can be revived till next Haru basho.

 

Should of course be "by Haru" rather than "until Haru" but now I'm curious as I've seen this mistake a few times with German members of the forum. Is the same word used in German for "by" and "until" as it is in Japanese or are you just accidentally picking the wrong option when translating?

Edited by Jakusotsu
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8 hours ago, John Gunning said:

 

..... but now I'm curious as I've seen this mistake a few times with German members of the forum. Is the same word used in German for "by" and "until" as it is in Japanese or are you just accidentally picking the wrong option when translating?

the german word really is the same.....it is "bis".....there is no difference in using it for a certain date (by) or something happening (until)

and to be honest, i am not sure if our english-teacher knew the difference, because i do no think that i would be corrected for "untill haru basho" at school

Edited by Gernobono
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12 hours ago, John Gunning said:

Should of course be "by Haru" rather than "until Haru" but now I'm curious as I've seen this mistake a few times with German members of the forum. Is the same word used in German for "by" and "until" as it is in Japanese or are you just accidentally picking the wrong option when translating?

Actually I had intended to type "till the next Haru basho" and forgot to put in the article (and an imaginary continuation of the sentence, like "starts")- my posts are full of errors and omissions at first and I gradually work on them afterwards - every time I read it again, I find something. And if something is very similar in Japanese and German, but not in English, it may take me years to find the error. And BTW, I don't translate, I tell about what I learned from an article, else I might have picked the right one, which is just "by Haru".

18 hours ago, Akinomaki said:

Oitekaze-oyakata hopes the heya can be revived till the next Haru basho.

"by Haru basho" would seem rather odd to me - It would have to be: by the time of the next Haru basho - to feel OK with an event like this:

Germans will tend to avoid "by" when it not explicitly points to either time (by now) or place (by my side), because it sounds exactly like the German "bei" = at, with - that makes it sound odd when the event indicates both time and place.

Edited by Akinomaki

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Interesting stuff. Since we are on the topic I've heard when German speakers say "half seven" they mean 6:30 rather than the 7:30 it would mean to Hiberno-English speakers. Is that true? 

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15 minutes ago, John Gunning said:

Interesting stuff. Since we are on the topic I've heard when German speakers say "half seven" they mean 6:30 rather than the 7:30 it would mean to Hiberno-English speakers. Is that true? 

it is true

autrians also say quarter 7 for 6:15 and threequarter seven for 6:45 and to keep your mouth open they even say 5 to quarter 7 for 6:10

but that is just for austrians...germans say quarter to and quarter past

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8 minutes ago, Gernobono said:

it is true

autrians also say quarter 7 for 6:15 and threequarter seven for 6:45 and to keep your mouth open they even say 5 to quarter 7 for 6:10

but that is just for austrians...germans say quarter to and quarter past

It's also common in the East of Germany.

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25 minutes ago, John Gunning said:

Interesting stuff. Since we are on the topic I've heard when German speakers say "half seven" they mean 6:30 rather than the 7:30 it would mean to Hiberno-English speakers. Is that true? 

This is also the case in Dutch. Minutes are called "over" (past) when it is less than 30 minutes past the hour, and "voor" (before) the next hour when they are 30 minutes or more past the hour.

An English friend of mine was learning Dutch and had some fun at the expense of people asking him the time, saying things like "Two before thirteen past" etc. 

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2 hours ago, Gernobono said:

it is true

autrians also say quarter 7 for 6:15 and threequarter seven for 6:45 and to keep your mouth open they even say 5 to quarter 7 for 6:10

but that is just for austrians...germans say quarter to and quarter past

Not just austrians, we use that, too in Germany. But there are others who say quarter before 7 instead of threequarter 7.

@John GunningThis by/until thing is very confusing for us, because - Gernobono already explained - it is taught wrong, even in dictionaries. But that's way better than saying aluminum instead of aluminium, like the 'murian language-rapists. :-D

Edited by Benihana

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11 hours ago, Gernobono said:

the german word really is the same.....it is "bis".....there is no difference in using it for a certain date (by) or something happening (until)

and to be honest, i am not sure if our english-teacher knew the difference, because i do no think that i would be corrected for "untill haru basho" at school

I'm amazed that you guys speak and write such good English.

It's a low-German pidgin, bastardized by a myriad of other languages including Latin, Greek, French, Norse, Gaelic, Breton, Arabic, Hindi, Swahili and even Polari, with no regular grammar!

I love the fact the Benny and Bjorn wrote "...since many years I haven't seen a rifle in your hands" when most English people would've said "for many years", because it made perfect sense to them and most other non-native English speaking Europeans, and the context makes the meaning clear anyway.

Be confident that you're probably more right about English than we are!

 

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5 minutes ago, RabidJohn said:

I'm amazed that you guys speak and write such good English.

 

Some day, the Brits might even learn to speak it properly. B-)

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@mods: can we please have the language discussion as a separate thread in off-topic

20 minutes ago, RabidJohn said:

It's a low-German pidgin

Actually, in a recent (but apparently older) program on Konrad Duden, English was put into a group of high-German dialects, and only Dutch to low-German ones - now apparently not even that remains in there, though used all around the North and Baltic sea when the Hanse was still alive. And what was used in Japan to talk with foreigners till the re-opening of the country in the 19th century (an ancient Dutch) was said to be part of it - maybe now not even this remains.

 

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20 hours ago, orandashoho said:

This is also the case in Dutch. Minutes are called "over" (past) when it is less than 30 minutes past the hour, and "voor" (before) the next hour when they are 30 minutes or more past the hour.

An English friend of mine was learning Dutch and had some fun at the expense of people asking him the time, saying things like "Two before thirteen past" etc. 

I don't get what was so amusing to your English friend, because it's exactly the same in American English even if we form the two expressions differently. And we put the 30 minute mark on the other side of the line. So 9:40 can be said to be "twenty to ten" or "twenty of ten". Since we're not yet metric we're happy to divide things by halves, so the normal casual way to say 9:30 would be "half past 9", while 9:45 would be "quarter to ten".

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16 hours ago, RabidJohn said:

I love the fact the Benny and Bjorn wrote "...since many years I haven't seen a rifle in your hands" when most English people would've said "for many years", because it made perfect sense to them and most other non-native English speaking Europeans, and the context makes the meaning clear anyway.

It should be 'for many years'. 'Since' establishes the starting point and 'for' follows the timeline; hence 'since I was born', but 'for as long as I've lived'. Easy.

As for 'no regular grammar', there is no way we could make ourselves understood without grammar, but it's just as supple and subjective as vocabulary and inseparable from it. What seems like a lack of regularity is probably a neat bit of freedom. Wiggle room.

 

Edited by egparis18

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A gem of a thread! People who learn English (as opposed to being native speakers of English) tend to make choices that are affected by their mother tongue; it's called L1 interference in linguistics. It can be at any level: choice of words, grammatical structure, pronunciation etc. I always find it to be incredibly fascinating, because it teaches me something new about the syntax and use of other languages.

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Two words. Nucilar and axed, as in "I axed him if it was a nucilar attack but it wasn't" .

Very widespread in all walks of American life, although nucilar is prevalent in the south and axed is a New York thing.

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21 hours ago, Kintamayama said:

Two words. Nucilar and axed, as in "I axed him if it was a nucilar attack but it wasn't" .

Very widespread in all walks of American life, although nucilar is prevalent in the south and axed is a New York thing.

Don't you mean "Nuclear"?
A word thsat George W. Bush found difficult to pronounce, btw.

Edited by orandashoho

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Irregardless of what people might say about the matter, knowledge of the English language should not be taken for granite.

Edited by Asashosakari
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On 20/10/2016 at 17:55, Asojima said:

Some day, the Brits might even learn to speak it properly. B-)

When I speak in my natural dialect, which is native north Lincolnshire mixed with a bit of south and east Yorkshire from where I've worked, even people from the south of the UK struggle to understand me, and Americans just look mystified. If I were to write as I speak, tha wunt knoworraweronabout (i.e. you would not know what I was writing about).

I've played a lot of PC video games online, using VOIP software to talk with English speaking players from all over the western hemisphere. It was a bit weird at first, but I've found I make myself best understood by more or less mimicking the way the person I'm speaking to speaks English. Worked well when I was in India too. I've a work colleague who is always on the phone to France and he drops into a faux-French-accented English every time. Claimed to be unaware he was doing it, but it obviously works for him too.

Have I managed to off-topic an off-topic subject, I wonder? ;-)

Edited by RabidJohn

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The USA has no mandate for students to learn other languages. Other nations, especially those in Europe, require students to learn a second and even a third language. Most often, I guess because it's used so universally, that language is English. I am very surprised how well people whose native language is not English communicate so well in this forum. If I didn't know that Akinomaki came from Germany or that Gernobono was from Austria, I would have thought that they were born in America. Kintamayama's posts remind me of someone from the USA, not Israel. I am an American and their command of the English language is better than mine.  On the other hand, I will retract that statement if I learn that they were originally from the USA and moved to Germany, Austria, and Israel later on. :-)

I know others who came to America from foreign countries who also express themselves very clearly in English, both in speech and in writing. Although not being required to do so, I at one time learned basic Spanish and French. Unfortunately, that was long ago and I forgot most of what I had learned. 

I believe that like many European countries, American students should be required to learn another language but that the choice of language should be theirs. I live in Los Angeles which has a huge Latino population, so that language probably would be Spanish. On the other hand, that choice could be Japanese or another language as well.

What annoys me immensely is that many Americans speak English, the one language the they supposedly know, very badly. 

>Irregardless of what people might say about the matter, knowledge of the English language should not be taken for granite.

Although that comment was meant to be humorous, I have heard many people use those expressions and it pains me when I do. I recently listened to someone in a high elected office say that something, "Had went very well". George W. Bush's use of the word "nucular"or however it's spelled drove me crazy. Many Americans don't know the difference between "your" and "you're", "their" and "there", and "its" and "it's". Those words may be acceptable when spoken but when written, they look terrible.

However, that doesn't mean that rules of grammar should always be followed. Winston Churchill supposedly once said, "This is the sort of thing I won't put up with". Since one should never technically end a sentence with a preposition such as "with", he (or whoever really did say it) was accused by purists of using extremely poor grammar. The story goes that this person agreed that his use of words was in poor taste and he made a correction. He changed his comment to, "This is the sort of thing up with which I will not put". That seemed to have silenced the critics.

To those of you who contribute very understandable  comments to this forum and whose native language is not English, I have the following words to say. You have my admiration. Keep doing it. You sound great!

 

 

Edited by sekitori
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12 hours ago, orandashoho said:

Don't you mean "Nucular"?
A word thsat George W. Bush found difficult to pronounce, btw.

Yes, that too.

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3 hours ago, Asashosakari said:

Irregardless of what people might say about the matter, knowledge of the English language should not be taken for granite.

I should of thought about that myself..Your really putting it out their.

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33 minutes ago, sekitori said:

 Kintamayama's posts remind me of someone from the USA, not Israel. I am an American and their command of the English language is better than mine.  On the other hand, I will retract that statement if I learn that they were originally from the USA and moved to Germany, Austria, and Israel later on. :-)

 

 

I grew up in Tokyo and went to ASIJ, the American school. But I left for Israel when I was 13. Does that count?

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23 minutes ago, Kintamayama said:

I grew up in Tokyo and went to ASIJ, the American school. But I left for Israel when I was 13. Does that count?

If your native language does happen to be English, you no longer will make my "most admired foreign posters" list. Only those who have learned English as a second language will count. It appears that your primary language could very well be English and therefore, in your case, as much as it bothers me to do so, I will have to retract my previous statement. If my assumption is incorrect and your primary language is Japanese or Hebrew or something else, please correct me. But no matter where you learned it, your knowledge of the English language is still a hell of a lot better than mine. :-(

Edited by sekitori
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The US doesn't mandate foreign language instruction because the people hate the government putting restrictions on them, and they don't see why anyone should bother to learn the language that's spoken by inferior people in inferior places.  English is practically a requirement to get any sort of hospitality job in a tourist area anywhere near the US, and may be becoming such a requirement in much of the rest of the world.  I personally though didn't like the one time that I went to Europe and I felt ashamed I couldn't speak the native languages there (I hadn't really thought about it before I went, as I was going with a tour group).  It's one of the reasons that I doubt I'll ever visit Japan; I couldn't bring myself to do it unless I knew Japanese extremely well, but learning it well enough for my tastes is probably impossible without actually living there.

Really though, everyone in high school is expected to start to study a foreign language.  If you graduate from college you probably have a decent grasp of one (although I took Latin, which helps only a little at understanding Romance languages).  But if you then never use it another day of your life, you'll never really learn it well enough - and Americans just have no reason to bother.

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4 hours ago, Gurowake said:

The US doesn't mandate foreign language instruction because the people hate the government putting restrictions on them, and they don't see why anyone should bother to learn the language that's spoken by inferior people in inferior places. 

Not exactly. The Federal government actually has no power at all to mandate anything relating to education, as it's not among the government's constitutionally enumerated powers. Regulation of education has therefore always been left up to the states. The Feds can occasionally impose standards of one sort or another by tying compliance to Federal funding, but states are always free to reject the standards by turning down the money. Common admission requirements for tertiary education are much more influential.

And fact is, there's very little practical need for any language but English in the US. Here you can travel over 2500 miles from one side of the country to the other and chances are you'll never run into anyone who speaks anything else, outside of small ethnic communities. In Europe you'd have a hard time traveling 1/5 that distance without crossing at least one linguistic border.

I used to be reasonably fluent in French -- fluent enough to read Asterix untranslated, anyway -- but in over 35 years since the last time I spoke it, I've had zero need for it. Now I have very little left.

Edited by Kuroyama

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