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English lessons - Page 5

post #61 of 119
Wow ernest, you are really pretty dedicated, what with all the writing down words, and committing them to memory and everything. I've got to say that I am impressed. And Fabienne gives some pretty good advice about slang. It's tough to pick up, there is a lot of it in common usage, even in professional settings, and misuses can come off embarassingly. Like the first time I tried to transliterate the word embarassing into Spanish. Ouch.
post #62 of 119
Yeah, I didn't want offend you, but that's what I meant: using idioms, as a foreigner, often results in ... misuse, especially when you learn a brand new one and feel a little giddy about it. I had lunch with a pretty eclectic group today, and here are some of the mistakes we joked about having made: An Italian to her American husband: I think it's time to mop the lawn. (And her husband to reply: Oh, I didn't realize it was dirty) A French woman in a baby store: I would like to buy a coffin. (couffin, in French, is a bassinet) A French woman in Germany: I need a rendez-vous with the doctor (rendez-vous is used in German, but it means a romantic meeting. You'd use the word "Termin" for a doctor's appointment.) An American at a French outdoor market: Il y a des preservatifs dedans ? (Literally: are there any condoms in that product?) Right off hand, I don't know what "To send to Coventry" means I would guess it is more British than American, without doing research.
post #63 of 119
Ernest, your english is sick, brah.
post #64 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Right off hand, I don't know what "To send to Coventry" means  I would guess it is more British than American, without doing research.
Yes, it is. It means to be let alone by people. I guess it is old fashioned. Coventry was a "jail" where people with illness where put in quarantine.
post #65 of 119
Good going: even though you do not speak English in a way that allows you to blend perfectly, you know details about grammar and expressions most anglophones would not have a clue about. Bravo. We all learn from each other.
post #66 of 119
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(Fabienne @ 18 Dec. 2004, 01:10) Right off hand, I don't know what "To send to Coventry" means I would guess it is more British than American, without doing research.
Yes, it is. It means to be let alone by people. I guess it is old fashioned. Coventry was a "jail" where people with illness where put in quarantine.
To be 'sent to Coventry' is to be shunned and not spoken to at all. It originates from St John's Church in Coventry, where troops loyal to the Royalist cause were imprisoned during the English Civil War. The local people were Parliamentarians and ignored the prisoners completely. Here's another: to be 'up the creek', i.e. to be in a hopeless situation. This comes from the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar near Portsmouth, our most important Naval base, in the late 18th century. When wounded or sick sailors were transferred off ships to the hospital, they were rowed up Haslar Creek in boats. Given the state of medicine in those days, many would not survive.
post #67 of 119
Poor Ernest: to confuse you further. Americans say: to be up a creek without a paddle. No explanation needed... I do like some of the expressions in the South. They remind of of the inventive expressions the Quebecois use. For example, "She was as nervous as a cat in a house full of rocking chairs." When I moved to America, I had to shed my British accent and discontinue the use of specifically British idioms, for I was often not understood. I often have to "translate" British to American and vice-versa at work. Same for French, depending on where it might be spoken.
post #68 of 119
Quote:
Poor Ernest: to confuse you further. Americans say: to be up a creek without a paddle. No explanation needed... I do like some of the expressions in the South. They remind of of the inventive expressions the Quebecois use. For example, "She was as nervous as a cat in a house full of rocking chairs." When I moved to America, I had to shed my British accent and discontinue the use of specifically British idioms, for I was often not understood. I often have to "translate" British to American and vice-versa at work. Same for French, depending on where it might be spoken.
I have had all manner of problems being understood in the US, often being asked if I was Australian. Others said they liked my accent - but I don't have an accent, because I am British - everyone else is foreign.
post #69 of 119
You probably wouldn't do a high five, and I certainly wouldn't, but let's call this a mental high five: I have a Parisian accent, and I am the norm. ... ... All of a sudden, it doesn't sound so exciting.
post #70 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
You probably wouldn't do a high five, and I certainly wouldn't, but let's call this a mental high five: I have a Parisian accent, and I am the norm.   ...   ...  All of a sudden, it doesn't sound so exciting.
Where is your picture?
post #71 of 119
what do you mean?
post #72 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
what do you mean?
you avatar on the left
post #73 of 119
dunno. I suspect it was too hauntingly disturbing. Or they are having server problems. Maybe I'll have to pick another one.
post #74 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
dunno.  I suspect it was too hauntingly disturbing.  Or they are having server problems.  Maybe I'll have to pick another one.
Is it you?
post #75 of 119
Quote:
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(Fabienne @ 22 Dec. 2004, 6:55) dunno.  I suspect it was too hauntingly disturbing.  Or they are having server problems.  Maybe I'll have to pick another one.
Is it you?
Yep. With our Christmas tree in the background. I'm a tad distorted by the Style Forum, but who isn't?
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