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  • hardie karges 3:39 pm on September 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ENGLISH, grammar,   

    English Language on the Half-Shell; Season to Taste… 

    Image result for english language funny pics

    Those of us who study foreign languages often delight and frustrate ourselves with some of the absurdities of other languages, without ever looking objectively at those of our own. I mean: famous are the spelling absurdities of the English language as well we all know, easily seen in the incongruities of such similarly spelled words as, “Bough coughs dough enough; nought ploughs rough slough tough.”

    But those spelling quirks are but the tip of the iceberg, ramming the sides of the Titanic until sinking. The absurdities go much deeper and fundamental. “Used to” is a commonly accepted and full-fledged auxiliary verb to denote past tense in uses such as, “I used to go to ballgames,” in fact an ‘imperfect tense’ implying past continuous action, more than just once. But where did such a use come from? What exactly did you use to go to these games—time? It’s ridiculous, BUT… if you say it often enough, then it makes sense, even long after the original context has long since changed.

    How come? Now that’s a good phrase, sometimes shortened into the single word, “Why?” But “how come” certainly has a folksy feel, now, doesn’t it? “Kind of” and “sort of” are good ones, two of a kind, that must have started off as a very specific idiomatic expression featuring categorizing nouns that eventually came into general adverbially use. That’s pretty likely, I’d say, considering the general shortage of adverbs, “pretty” itself being one of the more common loaners for this purpose, an adjective drafted into service and converted.

    The incongruities go still deeper, though, right into the small selections of auxiliary verbs in common use, and ever more important as verbal conjugations have lost favor. Variations on the verb “to have” are most prominent, of course, in their use for the perfect tenses, and make general sense to indicate completed actions, as do “will” and “go” to indicate future actions, the former a common noun if little used nowadays as a stand-alone verb, the latter used in many languages in its many equivalents for the same purpose.

    But what about “might” and “must” as auxiliary verbs? The former is a strange noun to draft into service as auxiliary verb, until you consider the role of ‘poder’ in Spanish, both noun and fully inflected verb in common use, a role “might” might have played before “can” and “may” came into common use. “Must” is a strange verb, though, so no wonder it’s falling into misuse.

    Maybe my favorite English-language conundrum, though, is the word “business”, the act of being otherwise occupied, somehow transformed into the roles of trade and commerce, “busy-ness”, likely originating more in the sense of “occupation” or “profession”, strange enough word meanings, themselves, if you stop to think about them, which I do. Do you?

    But what I really want to know is: How come Ed Koch got a splotch on his crotch, but the brothers Koch can’t even get a smoke from a bloke? I guess it depends who you know… I can’t figure this language out! (But I’m trying)…

     
  • hardie karges 12:49 pm on August 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ENGLISH, homophone, , vocabulary   

    Homophobes, Homophones, homo sapiens non sapiens… 

    If I simply avoid using the words ‘there’, ‘their’, and ‘they’re’, for fear of mixing them up, even though I know the correct usage, but always prone to a slip of the pen, glitch of the keyboard, mishmash of the motor neurons, or total breakdown of the autonomic nervous system; I mean: it’s not like I’m mixing disgust with discussed or I whored while hoarding the horde much less gamboled while I gambled, or did anything mean that I really didn’t mean in the meantime…

    I rather like them, in fact, homophones that is, if properly based on creativity while I baste the turkey in some debased state or otherwise in come pat a bull overt oh fence because I all most eight a hole brownie instead of the whole in the donut; I just don’t won’t to get a case of gilt when I new all along which won was write and the udder was miss taken, just an ax a dental sir come stance of berth and no like of incite on my part…

    I mean don’t ewe ever get stoned and right you’re fool head off, then go back and reed it just to find that its total gibberish? I don’t wont THAT. I’ve all ways herd that ewe knead sum thing to right about be four ewe even start the pro cess, but now I’m knot sew shoo-er. Sum thymes the best righting has knot won thing to dew with the subject madder at awl, but rather with the things ewe cum up with wile thin king about sum thin else, given the lye to the old ad age about no inn you’re subject. May be aisle just sir render and you’s core rect English. But that doesn’t make me a homophobe, does it?

     
  • hardie karges 4:11 am on December 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ENGLISH, ,   

    People put other people down in order to puff themselves up, 

    and so does language. The great English vowel shift in the 15th century made sure that leaning ‘proper’ English would be a trial by fire and that only the fittest would survive. With French no longer the language of government and pretentiousness, the upper classes had no quick easy way to prove they were better than the smiths, bakers, millers, carpenters, and Joneses. So they formed their own dialect of English. Only they knew the code. Long I’s became long E’s, long E’s became long A’s, and short and long vowels separated entirely, rendering the concept largely meaningless, though still taught, at least as of my tenure. In reality, a system of dual pronunciation for each vowel was adopted, similar to the Khmer system of ‘registers’. It was complicated, but easier than learning Latin, now that French was out of favor, never to be united with England regardless of who’s the reigning monarch. Latin came in vogue at the same time, but more as a language of writing, than of speech. Spoken Latin had long since become Italian and other bastard mutations, much of the changes from classical Latin occurring even before the Empire fell.

     
  • hardie karges 6:57 am on December 11, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ENGLISH, ,   

    I think there’s a direct relationship between the amount of English 

    a foreign language absorbs, and the ability of that foreign culture to speak correct English. No country wants to speak English more than Thailand, no country absorbs and ‘localizes’ English more than Thailand, and ultimately no country speaks it worse. There’s got to be some causal connection, right? Certainly Thailand’s ‘fun, fun, fun’ attitude toward life creates obstacles for the serious study of any subject, including English. How can you learn anything if everything’s a joke? The average street vendor in Tijuana speaks better than the average Ph.D. in Thailand. Of course, they are at opposite ends of the linguistic spectrum, with only vague connections via the ancient Sanskrit-Greek relationship, yet still they rank lower (by their own measure) than ‘neighbor countries’, which include such basket cases as Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. They speak almost with envy of their neighbors who got lucky enough to be colonized by England or America, in the case of Philippines. They judge one another by how well that person speaks English, as if anyone were qualified to judge, and to fill a Thai sentence with English ‘buzz words’ is the ultimate in ‘cool’, whether by a politician, rock star, or TV personality, no matter whether anyone understands or not. It’s mind-boggling.

     
  • hardie karges 11:01 am on July 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ENGLISH, ,   

    THAI LANGUAGE 

    Thailand enters the modern world with multiple role models, as the cultural DNA of language readily shows, like not-so-parfait with American English on top as the current business-role model. Below that is Indian Sanskrit in its own and Khmerized forms as the religious and pre-modern model, corresponding to the French/Latin influence in English. Deeper still is the Chinese and Thai tribal past, the racial and linguistic underpinnings of the entire race, overlaid on a Mon pre-history, analogous to the Anglo-Saxon and later Danish incursions on a Celtic/Pictish sub-strata. Somehow it all gets mixed and mashed into a fairly uniform system of pronunciation that is recognizably Thai regardless of the origin. For a modern newcomer to the stew, sometimes the hardest part of learning the language is learning how to correctly mispronounce English. I wonder if Indians feel the same way about the manipulation of Sanskrit into forms unrecognizable. I’m sure that French feel the same way about English, but that probably says more about them than language considering what they themselves did to Latin. I know it’s hard to learn the language of a people that you don’t especially like. That’s for sure.

     
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