Things you just don't get

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by tiecollector, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Kid Nickels

    Kid Nickels Senior member

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    The difference that I believe Liam is trying to point out is that although English does have specific (and sometimes weird) grouping words (such as bales of hay, sheets of paper, murder of crows) they are not mandatory most of the time. You can just say "one pen" in English, but in Mandarin you need the classifier "yi zhi bi" (one of pen), "two fish", "liang tiao yu" (two of fish) etc. But it also shifts toward our usage with measures that are familiar such as "yi bei shui" (one cup (of) water) or "san ge ping pijiu" (3 bottles (of) beer). Anyway, all languages have their idiosyncrasies I guess so....
     


  2. Liam O

    Liam O Senior member

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    First section: it really only makes sense if you're familiar with mandarin. I know just about enough japanese words to order food.

    Second, these are functions of a few really cool (boring) phenomena. Stop reading here if you're not a massive nerd.

    with regard to the vowel change and pluralization, certain words come from different languages at different times into english, and are subject to different rules.

    Mouse, an old word of saxon origin, is subject to the germanic ablaut, where the vowel in the root changes as a function of (now defunct) case endings. Only certain vowel sounds are affected by the ablaut (it literally comes down to vowels that are uncomfortable to say after each-other), hence a lot of the seemingly arbitrary rules, which are also dependent on the gender of the noun, as the case endings tend to be different based on grammatical gender, which is why some nouns don't have pluralization with an "s" (eg man/men, woman/women etc).

    Depending on the provenance being west germanic or ingvaeonic, certain sounds are not subject to the ablaut because the parent languages have different case endings, and therefore different ablauts. Also, some loanwords come in after the norman conquest, or only come in as a root from the parent language (like a lot of old norse loaners, moose, for one) and as such were inflected based on anglo-saxon rules or not at all, depending on when they were borrowed.

    ...

    the verb issue is a bit different. simpler words like pronouns, definite and indefinite articles and helping verbs are some of the few words in modern english that actually preserve inflection. the is/are//was/were chains are simplified and missing a lot of the originals. basically there are three separate chains in OE. "be" is an irregular that only appears in the infinitive, and may share a derivation with the preposition "by" although the etymology would preceed the written record.


    Is/are/was/were are all etymologically derived from the conjugations of wesan, which based on a combination of verners law, a tendency to drop initial w's in certain germanic dialects, and the ablaut rules renders an initial proposed chain that would correspons wisi, waere, wesan, waeron corresponding to the four listed, and appear in the OE corpus most often as is/es, waere, waes/waeson and waeron depending on context and regional orthographical tendencies.

    Will and won't are kinda funny. Will is from OE Willan, which appears in the past tense as woldan. the corresponding OE negations were "ne willan" and "ne woldan" FPS repsective to the previous, the contractions in use in OE were "nelle" and "nolde" which were dropped in middle english, being replaced with contractions of will not and would not in Early modern english as willn't (now out of modern usage) and "won't" which absorbed the meaning of the former, though in that instance the tense is inherently incorrect, except in a subjunctive case or mood.
     


  3. Kid Nickels

    Kid Nickels Senior member

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    ^ so if I found that interesting I'm a massive nerd eh? :lol: that reminds me of words such as sheriff which came from a mutation of shire reeve in OE. Liam if you haven't read The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester I think you'll find it extremely enjoyable. It's one of my favorites!
     


  4. Liam O

    Liam O Senior member

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    Buying it on amazon tomorrow. TYVM.
     


  5. Liam O

    Liam O Senior member

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    also dumb question, how do i change my sig? techtarded over here...
     


  6. StephenHero

    StephenHero Black Floridian

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    I'm getting in a weird habit of ordering things from Amazon that I could just walk a couple blocks to get. Stuff like laundry detergent or almonds. I don't know why I do it, but it feels more satisfying.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012


  7. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    dude i order so much stuff on amazon i could easily get at a walmart like caffeine pills, tooth brushes, dishwashing soap, etc. i just find it nicer to be able to sort through items by reviews and make an informed decision upon other people's thoughts instead of being paralyzed at the prospect of choosing between what are essentially the same items with different names on them. i also find that a lot of good quality household items aren't sold in megastores like proraso shaving cream, jetz scrub (dishwashing sponge), or mega omega fish oil pills (fish oil pills with a ton more epa, dha).

    also getting packages is like christmas in may


    Liam go to your profile and scroll all the way down
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012


  8. StephenHero

    StephenHero Black Floridian

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    I've ordered Porasso and caffeine pills from there too.
     


  9. Kid Nickels

    Kid Nickels Senior member

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    this is something I don't get. after living in Taipei for over three years I got very accustomed to my local Matsusei (Japanese) grocery store. Although literally one-tenth the size of the local Ralph's, I could find everything quickly and easily and there really wasn't anything I "missed" from back home or couldn't get if I really wanted at CitySuper or Jason's (a couple more "upscale" grocers). Last time I attempted to "find" something normal I'm besieged by 100's of the same thing. 30 kinds of relish (don't we just have some f'g dill relish?), 50 different brands of the same mustard, an entire f'g aisle about 25 yards long of crackers. it is pretty ridiculous... I loathe going to the grocery store now :nodding:
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012


  10. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    yeah. which is why the internet is great. you can read reviews and figure out which one is the best. otherwise you'd have to try them all
     


  11. Neo_Version 7

    Neo_Version 7 Senior member

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    Reading Kid Nickels and Liam O discussing linguistics is hilarious. It's like watching 2nd graders talk about their favourite Power Ranger.
     


  12. StephenHero

    StephenHero Black Floridian

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    Why am I following Taco Bell on Twitter?
     


  13. imatlas

    imatlas Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    Go away, kid, you bother me.
     


  14. Kid Nickels

    Kid Nickels Senior member

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    your idiocy knows no bounds... you should contact Stephen Hawking... an absolute black hole of intelligence has not been know to exist... until now. Congratulations Neo.
     


  15. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    It's great that companies would never pay someone to write up reviews on all their products and put them on amazon, because otherwise this method is inherently much less reliable. Some of them are surprisingly good, too, which is the biggest kicker. haha.
     


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