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masseya
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I am lothe to bring up such a topic as the english language on a bulliten board, it seems to provide a good example of why RMS is just going to have to deal. In the 1920 Presidential election, a man named Warren Harding did something that will probably make the top 100 in my future book entitled, "One Thousand and One Ways I Want You Should Butcher the King's English." He used the slogan "Return To Normalcy." Nomalcy wasn't a word at the time. In fact there was a perfectly good noun used to describe the state of being normal - normality. While normality was the correct word to use at the time, Harding didn't use it. This would anger anyone who took the english language seriously. Many would argue that the acceptance of the word "normalcy" as an actual word weakens the english language. I think it's kinda funny now and would laugh at those people, but it was still not technically correct at the time. Perhaps the acceptance of the word normalcy has lead (albeit through a long and strange path) to a possible inclusion of Will Smith's word "jiggy" into the Merriam-Webster Unabriged Dictionary.

Long story short: People will call it what they want to call it regardless of what RMS thinks.
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pizen
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tristam29 wrote:
Perhaps the acceptance of the word normalcy has lead (albeit through a long and strange path) to a possible inclusion of Will Smith's word "jiggy" into the Merriam-Webster Unabriged Dictionary.


It seems that English is more of an Open Source language while French seems to be more of a Closed Source language (no offense to any French people that might take offense or to people who might want to correct me). With English you can make any changes you like and if enough people like and use your changes then Webster might include it in the next version of the kerne...um...dictionary.
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pilla
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dictionaries have their own war -- the one which has more words win. Then, it doesn't surprise me when they put any new "word" even when they are just "temporary" slangs and won't last much longer.

pizen wrote:
Tristam29 wrote:
Perhaps the acceptance of the word normalcy has lead (albeit through a long and strange path) to a possible inclusion of Will Smith's word "jiggy" into the Merriam-Webster Unabriged Dictionary.


It seems that English is more of an Open Source language while French seems to be more of a Closed Source language (no offense to any French people that might take offense or to people who might want to correct me). With English you can make any changes you like and if enough people like and use your changes then Webster might include it in the next version of the kerne...um...dictionary.
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phong
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

English is cool because it can be manipulated and distorted wildly to convey extra meaning. Even if you make up words and mispronounce things in pretty strange ways people still know what you're talking about. It's really hell for non-native speakers though. On the Internet, you can see lots of non-native speakers apologizing for their bad English. Actually, more often than not, their English is pretty good - often better than the majority of Americans. Sometimes they have trouble explaining certain things because of a limited vocabulary, but the grammar is usually fine. They probably get the impression that their English is bad because they have so much trouble understanding the screwed up versions of English spoken by Yanks (and Brits and Aussies and Canucks too).

Of course, the constant mutation of English has some things that I'm not really very happy with. Some simplifications are fine and even good, but what is the deal with the death of adverbs? I always hear crap like "Warcraft runs real fast on that box", "grep works good for that sort of thing" or "my system is compiling really slow."

"Me speak stupid like caveman dude."

One thing I liked about German was that you could make up big compound words in grammatically legitimate ways. There was some word that meant something like "The polish used on the brass buttons of the formal suits of the captains of the boats owned by the such-and-such lake steamboat company." That was a silly example, but it was neat for technical words. You could make up one big word for something like "sawtooth automated carbide steal milling aparatus."
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klieber
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been told by kids currently still in junior high and/or high school that grammar is no longer taught in school. (I am not making this up, nor were they pulling my leg)

Something to do with it being "too hard" and assuming that students would pick it up in the normal course of conversation. Given the abysmal spelling that I see on these boards, not to mention the poor grammar, I have my own opinions about how well that theory works.

Just remember, folks -- another example of your tax dollars hard at work!

--kurt
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lanark
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with you, english-speaking-people, that the english language, as for it's (apparent) simplicity and structured nature, is very good for manipulation and build of new meanings, as one can learn with Joyce and Nabokov and Burgess and a lot of other english language writers; but I must say that Spanish, being a language [IMHO] more complex than the english, is pretty good also for that kind of manipulation and breeding, as is noticed by the bunch of slangs and local speakings that are disseminated all along Latin-America and Spain, sometimes to a point that spanish-speaking-people from different countries or even regions have difficulties to understand each other
I'm being a spanish speaking one, living in a great customized language-region, as is Buenos Aires, Argentina, have a very modificated spanish...
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pjp
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tests can be too hard as well... we need to get rid of them. I'm amazed at the extreme left these days.
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pizen
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the time, different English dialects are understandable. Some borderline cases are Yankees trying to understand Southerners (and vice versa...it's because the Yankees have an accent, not us :)) and anyone trying to understand the Scots (especially when they are drunk...but that's another issue). With other languages (most notably Chinese) different dialects are entirely different languages.

And klieber, I appologize for all my spelling mistakes.
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rac
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This discussion was spun out from Gentoo GNU/Linux, because I wanted to play too, and three moderators in an off-topic discussion in an on-the-wall thread can cause phpBB to crash.
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pilla
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's OK -- don't pollute my thread :twisted:

BTW, I'm amazed with the American language now I'm living in the USA.... Sometimes, it is pretty hard to understand what some local people say (for example, in a McDonalds'). They use some contractions and sounds that ain't no easy to understand if ya're not American, dude 8)

rac wrote:
This discussion was spun out from Gentoo GNU/Linux, because I wanted to play too, and three moderators in an off-topic discussion in an on-the-wall thread can cause phpBB to crash.
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pjp
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something like: "Ain't got none."?
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pilla
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even worse! Sometimes they use slang, speak very fast and not loud enough. And then, when you ask them to say it again, they say it in exactly the same way!

kanuslupus wrote:
Something like: "Ain't got none."?
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Curious
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2002 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
I have been told by kids currently still in junior high and/or high school that grammar is no longer taught in school. (I am not making this up, nor were they pulling my leg)


I am 22. I went through all forms of public school education in my country, including advanced english in high school and a science degree with honours.

I have never been taught grammar at any level of my schooling, formally or otherwise. The actual meanings of the words 'noun' and 'verb' were unknown to me until around my 12th or so birthday. There was a lot of time spent in early education learning to spell, yes, but no teaching material related to structure.

It was never argued to me that this was because it's too hard, but instead:

klieber wrote:
assuming that students would pick it up in the normal course of conversation.


This naturalist approach to language currently rules the roost in the public schools of Australia, although formal grammar might still be taught in the more prestigious religious / private schools ( many of which are called, incidently, 'grammar schools' ).

Out of interest, does my grammar stick out as unschooled? It's hard to tell "from the inside" as it were.

-- Curious
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Curious
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2002 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
Tests can be too hard as well... we need to get rid of them. I'm amazed at the extreme left these days.


Speaking as a former left-wing 'hard liner', this attitude towards education has never been a 'policy' of the political left - at least not in my contact with it. Not all of the left-wing is about smoothing the path down to suit the lowest common denominator. [1]

Curiously, in this country at least, the left is extremely vocal about trying to keep people in education, trying to keep schools open and well funded, etc. I am not sure if this is, however, but a curiousity of this part of the world.

-- Curious

[1] Except in matters of opinion, whereby acceptance of one leftist meme implies dogmatic and automatic acceptance of all future leftist ideas and policies TBA.
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phong
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2002 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
I have been told by kids currently still in junior high and/or high school that grammar is no longer taught in school. (I am not making this up, nor were they pulling my leg)

I'm only 25, and my brother is 23. I know quite a few others who are a few years younger, and we all got the full compliment of grammar education, including sentence diagrams. "English" is still on the list of classes taught there. However, we went to a public school that's probably well above the American average. About 60% of students took a foreign language for multiple years in high school, including regular offerings of French, German, Spanish and Russian. Latin and Japanese were available sometimes (if there was enough interest). There were lots of AP classes available and were well taken advantage of by all the smart kids (I got close to a year's worth of AP college credits).
Curious wrote:
Out of interest, does my grammar stick out as unschooled? It's hard to tell "from the inside" as it were.

Nope. Then again, my grammar could be better. My Mom was an English teacher, so I've gotten in the habit of correcting MYSELF on occasion.
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carambola5
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2002 5:31 am    Post subject: Infuckingcredible Reply with quote

phong wrote:
English is cool because it can be manipulated and distorted wildly to convey extra meaning. Even if you make up words and mispronounce things in pretty strange ways people still know what you're talking about.
Absofuckinglutely.

--pardon my fr...er... english

[edit]Adding citation. Because we're supposeda do that in English class.
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bleakcabal
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2002 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Altough french is a deep complex rythmic and musical language that is perfect for prose and poetry... it's hella hard to learn !

My first language is french, I have had french grammar classes since 1st grade all the way to College. Altough I also had english classes all thoses years and we did at least some grammar every year, most of these english classes were more about playing word guessing games than actually about learning english :)

I did manage on my own to learn english at a better level than most of the other children in my classes during my highschool years by reading a lot of english books.

Anyway, what I want to say is that even tough we must pass through so much grammar classes, I often have the impression that I make less gramatical and spelling errors in english than in french. I also feel I have a better mastery of english vocabulary.

In french, while taking a lot time to write properly and correct myself as best as I can with the help of a grammar, dictionary and besherelle ( a verb dictionary ) I still make about 20-50 errors per 900 words !

The grammar is so complicated sometimes it doesn't make sense ! An unformal rule of french grammar is that EVERY grammar rule has AT LEAST 1 execption...

I don't think I will ever see the day when they can drop off gramar class in french school and let poeple learn it on their own from conversation :)
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lx
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tristam29 wrote:
Many would argue that the acceptance of the word "normalcy" as an actual word weakens the english language. I think it's kinda funny now and would laugh at those people, but it was still not technically correct at the time. Perhaps the acceptance of the word normalcy has lead (albeit through a long and strange path) to a possible inclusion of Will Smith's word "jiggy" into the Merriam-Webster Unabriged Dictionary.

Long story short: People will call it what they want to call it regardless of what RMS thinks.


Dictionaries are a reflection of the language at a certain time, language is a dynamic thing, old english isn't the same as new. Although words come and go, some widly used words make it into the dictionary.

In dutch lately we have much used english computer terms in the dictionary, and I think anually some words are added that are derived from a mispronounciation / slang that the majority of people take over. If the major part of the dutch people use the word it should be in a dictionary, even if it's wrong.

Ps. I never heard of the word normalcy, and in my ears it sounds plain stupid and it didn't occur to me it got something to do with normality.

Cya lX.
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