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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 5:15 pm UTC
by Daimon
firechicago wrote:
Daimon wrote:I remember phrases like, "X does not a good Y make."

Where does this grammar come from?


It's a consciously archaic/poetic word order, based on an old translation of Aristotle: "One swallow does not a summer make." (Though the usage has become so common that I had to look up the phrase, and I doubt most people who use that form would know where it comes from.)


Have you seen it used with verbs other than "make"?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 8:52 pm UTC
by Monika
Daimon wrote:Where does this grammar come from? Secondly, take the sentence "The house that that dog lives in" You could change it to. "The house which that dog lives in.", but would that change its meaning?
(And completely ignore the fact that we could reword it to "The house in which that dog lives." in the first place)

It does not change the meaning. The most common phrasing would be "The house that dog lives in", i.e. dropping the relative pronoun.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 10:28 pm UTC
by Daimon
Monika wrote:
Daimon wrote:Where does this grammar come from? Secondly, take the sentence "The house that that dog lives in" You could change it to. "The house which that dog lives in.", but would that change its meaning?
(And completely ignore the fact that we could reword it to "The house in which that dog lives." in the first place)

It does not change the meaning. The most common phrasing would be "The house that dog lives in", i.e. dropping the relative pronoun.


I swear I would never hear that phrasing in any everyday life situation; it doesn`t even sound like it would belong. Wait, I just read it again, but put a different kind of....stress...on the word "that." Now it sounds more natural. Instea of how I originally read it, The house that (pause) dog lives in, it became something like The house (pause) that (pause) dog lives in.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:19 am UTC
by Makri
The intended reading is sort of "the house [pause] that dog lives in". "that" is the demonstrative, like "this". "the house this dog lives in". So no reason to put a pause between "that" and "dog" - unless you need it to contemplate whether to call the animal a dog or a cur. :mrgreen:

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:09 pm UTC
by Monika
Yesterday I was practicing auxiliaries and their substitutes with a 7th grader, i.e. this stuff:
dürfen - may/can, am/are/is allowed to
nicht dürfen - may not/can't/must not, am not/aren't/isn't allowed to
müssen - must, have/has to
nicht müssen - ..., don't/doesn't have to
können - can, am/are/is able to
nicht können - can't, am not/aren't/isn't able to
(I know now that there are about 200 ways a 7th grader can butcher these verb forms brutally.)

Now my questions:
* Is there a contraction of "may not"? "Mayn't"? I think there isn't.
* Is there a contraction of "must not"? "Mustn't"? I think there is, but somehow it doesn't seem to be used a lot? Is this correct? Why is that? I mean, English-speaking folks are very fond of contractions. Why not in this case?
* The students didn't learn a simple verb for "do[es]n't have to". One could use "need": "do[es]n't need to". What about "needn't"? I think I have heard that, too. But how can both things exist, "I don't need to do X" and "I needn't do X"? Is the second a dialect? Informal? Outdated? Besides expressing this with "not need" (and "not have to"), is there another way to say this? (Besides completely different constructions like "It's not necessary that I do X".)

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:03 pm UTC
by Makri
"may not" at least doesn't have a contraction that's widely used in contemporary English. If it does have one, it must be a dialectal form.
"mustn't" seems pretty commonplace to me.

"needn't" + plain infinitive is also perfectly normal and at least sufficiently formal to appear in scientific articles. So it's in no way dialectal or outdated.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:29 pm UTC
by eSOANEM
Monika wrote:Now my questions:
* Is there a contraction of "may not"? "Mayn't"? I think there isn't.
* Is there a contraction of "must not"? "Mustn't"? I think there is, but somehow it doesn't seem to be used a lot? Is this correct? Why is that? I mean, English-speaking folks are very fond of contractions. Why not in this case?
* The students didn't learn a simple verb for "do[es]n't have to". One could use "need": "do[es]n't need to". What about "needn't"? I think I have heard that, too. But how can both things exist, "I don't need to do X" and "I needn't do X"? Is the second a dialect? Informal? Outdated? Besides expressing this with "not need" (and "not have to"), is there another way to say this? (Besides completely different constructions like "It's not necessary that I do X".)


"mayn't" is an archaic form. You're very unlikely to come across it except as a deliberate archaism. But then, "may" itself is also on the way out with "can" taking up its uses.

"must not" contracts to "mustn't". I think you don't hear this so often because "have to" is used more often than "must" and so the equivalent of "musn't" is "have to not".

Again, "needn't" is an archaic form albeit much less so than "mayn't" with "don't need to" being the more common form now. As for how both can co-exist, it's because, despite having syntax determined by word order rather than morphology, English still has some constructions with fairly free word order; this is one of those occasions.

As for other expressions, "it's not necessary to/that" is correct although would probably be used less commonly except in an instruction.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:12 pm UTC
by Makri
As for how both can co-exist, it's because, despite having syntax determined by word order rather than morphology, English still has some constructions with fairly free word order; this is one of those occasions.


The "need" in "needn't" has a different syntax from the one in "don't need to". It takes a plain infinitive instead of a to-infinitive, and it can only appear with negation (and, somewhat archaically, in yes/no-questions).

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:49 pm UTC
by skullturf
"Mustn't" and "needn't" would be perfectly understood by me. "I mustn't eat cheese" means "I am required to avoid cheese", and "I needn't eat cheese" means "I am not required to eat cheese".

It's possible that "mustn't" and "needn't" are slightly more common in some regions and less common in others. I don't think I say or write them very often myself. But I strongly suspect that they would be very widely understood, even by people like me who are more likely to use the non-contracted forms "must not" and "need not". (And in fact, for "need not", I think in everyday use, I would be more likely to say or write some variation of "don't have to", although I understand "need not" perfectly well. I also use "need not" in academic writing reasonably often.)

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:08 am UTC
by PM 2Ring
"Mustn't" and "needn't" are both used in my speech community; I guess "mustn't" is a little more common. "Mayn't" is certainly rare, but I do know people who like to use it for its archaic effect. Another word in this category is "oughtn't". At a guess, I'd say it's about as common as "needn't".

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:54 pm UTC
by Cathode Ray Sunshine
The arms of House Martell display the sun and spear, the Dornishman's two favourite weapons, but of the two, the sun is the more deadly


In that quote above, would it be correct to instead say "but of the two, the sun is (the) deadlier"? Sometimes I get confused because instead of getting [adjective]+er I see [more] + [adjective]

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:02 am UTC
by Iulus Cofield
Both are correct. Only some adjectives can become comparative by adding the er suffix, but generally any adjective can become comparative by adding more before it. Good is the only adjective I can think of off the top of my head that never uses more.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:01 am UTC
by PM 2Ring
Iulus Cofield wrote:Both are correct. Only some adjectives can become comparative by adding the er suffix, but generally any adjective can become comparative by adding more before it. Good is the only adjective I can think of off the top of my head that never uses more.


How about "bad"? :)

The adjectives that become comparative by adding the "er" suffix are all short, only one or two syllables. Yes, "more" can be used with short adjectives, but it does sound a bit weird (or at least, child-like) to use "more" with a one syllable adjective or with a two syllable adjective that normally uses the "er" suffix. I guess the two syllable adjectives are the tricky ones - you just have to learn which ones commonly take "more" and which ones don't. An example of a two syllable adjective that sounds weird with the "er" suffix is "frantic".

This Enchanted Learning page on adjectives has some good info on comparatives and superlatives, including a list of adjectives with irregular or confusing comparative /superlative forms.

Of course, some writers will bend the rules for effect. Eg., Lewis Carrol has Alice saying "Curiouser and curiouser!".

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:30 pm UTC
by Monika
Cathode Ray Sunshine wrote:
The arms of House Martell display the sun and spear, the Dornishman's two favourite weapons, but of the two, the sun is the more deadly


In that quote above, would it be correct to instead say "but of the two, the sun is (the) deadlier"? Sometimes I get confused because instead of getting [adjective]+er I see [more] + [adjective]

Well, according to what I learned in English class (in 1992):
One-syllable adjectives form the comparative with +er, e.g. dumb and dumber.
Two-syllable adjectives that end in -y also form the comparative with +er, additionally the y changes to i, e.g. funny and funnier.
Two-syllable adjectives that do not end in -y and three-or-more-syllable adjectives form the comparative with more, e.g. more dangerous.

So, according to our English books, the above quote uses the incorrect form "more deadly" and it should have been "deadlier".

I guess these rules are not superstrict or they are in flux. Especially in North America in spoken English they don't even append -ly to the adverbs most of the time anymore. So I can imagine that also the use of "+er/more" for forming the comparative of the middle-length adjectives is used in whatever way sounds nicest to the speaker, and maybe some time in the not-so-far future forming the comparative with "more" for two-syllable-adjectives-ending-in-y will dominate forming it with +er in that area of the Anglophone world.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:43 pm UTC
by Makri
So I can imagine that also the use of "+er/more" for forming the comparative of the middle-length adjectives is used in whatever way sounds nicest to the speaker


You know, that's a tautology. ;)

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:47 pm UTC
by skullturf
Monika wrote:So, according to our English books, the above quote uses the incorrect form "more deadly" and it should have been "deadlier".


If your textbooks said that, then (in my judgment as a native speaker) they were overstating things.

Here are some examples of usages that sound fine to me:

"This scorpion is more deadly than that one"

"This dog is more furry than that one"

"This pencil is more pointy than that one"

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:07 pm UTC
by ElWanderer
Monika wrote:So, according to our English books, the above quote uses the incorrect form "more deadly" and it should have been "deadlier".

"The female of the species is more deadly than the male"

This is deadly. This is deadlier than that. This is the deadliest weapon. This is more deadly than that. This is the most deadly weapon. All sound fine to me. I actually thought the Kipling poem used "deadlier" until I'd said it several times over, then looked it up to be sure. Okay, full disclosure, I got to Kipling via the 1996 Space song of the same name.

The suggestion of this random link I found is to use "er" for single syllable words, "more" for 3+ syllable words and note that usage varies for words with 2 syllables. Even that probably has counter-examples. I could imagine people occasionally using "more thick" or even "more dumb" instead of "thicker" or "dumber", but never "more big" instead of "bigger". On the other hand, it may be quite hard to find a long word with a lot of syllables that can take an "er" on the end without sounding "wrong".

Monika wrote:So I can imagine that also the use of "+er/more" for forming the comparative of the middle-length adjectives is used in whatever way sounds nicest to the speaker

"Curiouser and curiouser!" (though Lewis Carroll notes immediately afterwards that Alice had forgotten proper grammar when she said this, you may occasionally find someone using this form as an exclamation)

Personally I'd say "sounds the nicest" or "sounds nicer" there instead of "sounds nicest", but that may just be me.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:13 pm UTC
by Makri
The Kipling quote, however, is special in that it is from a poem where "more deadly" is necessary for metric reasons because "deadlier" wouldn't work. And the grammar of poems if famously different. The question, therefore, is how it sounds to speakers: is it recognizably strange and will, for them, have to be explained by poetic license, or does it sound unremarkable?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:54 pm UTC
by bigglesworth
Monika wrote:So, according to our English books, the above quote uses the incorrect form "more deadly" and it should have been "deadlier".
As I understand it, it's not so much that the first two categories can't use 'more', it's that they don't have to whereas the third category has to.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:34 pm UTC
by Monika
bigglesworth wrote:
Monika wrote:So, according to our English books, the above quote uses the incorrect form "more deadly" and it should have been "deadlier".
As I understand it, it's not so much that the first two categories can't use 'more', it's that they don't have to whereas the third category has to.

You would not say "more big", "more small", "more fast", "more soft", would you?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:21 pm UTC
by speising
Hi, german (austrian) speaker here!

Reading this thread, i get the impression that we get a much more formal english education than the native speakers, ie., with prussic pedantry, we have to have rules for everything, where you just say "use whatever sound best" :)

Question: do you think Shakespeare, Kipling & co. are actually valid examples of english usage? I'd guess that there are freedoms in poetry we can't use in prose.

That's why we never read ol' Will in school.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:56 pm UTC
by Derek
speising wrote:Reading this thread, i get the impression that we get a much more formal english education than the native speakers, ie., with prussic pedantry, we have to have rules for everything, where you just say "use whatever sound best" :)

Absolutely. I learned more about English grammar in Latin class than I did from any English class. I suspect you didn't learn German as formally as a German student in the US or Britain would either. You learn your native language when you're very young and then know it by heart. There are a few pedantic points that may get mentioned in school, but you never have to formally learn the language like you do when you're studying a second language.

Question: do you think Shakespeare, Kipling & co. are actually valid examples of english usage? I'd guess that there are freedoms in poetry we can't use in prose.

That's why we never read ol' Will in school.

Yes, with the caveats of poetic license and that Shakespeare is a few hundred years out of date.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:04 am UTC
by PM 2Ring
"use whatever sounds best"

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:30 pm UTC
by Monika
Derek wrote:I suspect you didn't learn German as formally as a German student in the US or Britain would either. You learn your native language when you're very young and then know it by heart. There are a few pedantic points that may get mentioned in school, but you never have to formally learn the language like you do when you're studying a second language.

We learned German grammar (mother language) as formally as e.g. English grammar (first foreign language) in East Germany. I heard West Germans are not taught that formally, but I am not sure if it's true (I only went to school in the west in years 11-13, at which time no spelling and grammar is taught anymore).
We did not formally learn basic German spelling rules, like about when to double consonants (which we do a lot). This is learned by practice in the first four years. Only the rules about capitalization (pretty complex) and commas (also pretty complex) are taught as formal rules in years 5-8 (yes we need that long to learn capitalization and comma rules - did I mention they are complex?).

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:43 pm UTC
by bigglesworth
speising wrote:where you just say "use whatever sound best"
Well there's a point to be made here that "whatever sounds best" might be very different from a native English speaker to a native German speaker! :) Which is why this thread is here I suppose.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:52 pm UTC
by poxic
Biggles is correct. I got pretty far into learning a second language (university degree in French lang/lit), which was just far enough to learn that "what sounds right" is hella unreliable for a non-native speaker.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:34 pm UTC
by UniqueScreenname
There probably was already discussion of this, but I'm not searching through all 5 pages. Shouldn't the title be "English as She is Spoken", with an "n"? It reads so wrong otherwise.

Edit: nevermind, found the post explaining it.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:17 pm UTC
by poxic

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:33 pm UTC
by Monika
"I talk how I want" vs. "I talk like I want" - is one wrong and one correct? If both are correct (which is my feeling) then is one preferred/more common than the other?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:36 pm UTC
by bigglesworth
I wouldn't comfortably say either of those phrases.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:39 pm UTC
by Monika
Well duh, what would you say?!

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:45 pm UTC
by bigglesworth
I had to think about it :)

Hmm. "I speak as I please", I guess.

But when speaking in a working class register, "I talk how I want" does sound right, now that I've thought about it.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:49 pm UTC
by ElWanderer
bigglesworth wrote:I had to think about it :)

Hmm. "I speak as I please", I guess.

But when speaking in a working class register, "I talk how I want" does sound right, now that I've thought about it.

Yeah. Slightly posher would be "I'll talk how I want to talk" or similar (perhaps in response to someone suggesting "you can't say that!").

I could also imagine a much posher "I'll speak as I'm spoken to" if someone complains you're using harsh language and/or tone, if you feel the other person was first to offend.

Those have the context of someone complaining about the way you talk. It does sound odd to say something like "I talk the way I want to" out of the blue. Monika, is there a specific context in mind?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:44 pm UTC
by skullturf
Both "I talk how I want" and "I talk like I want" sound reasonably natural to this native speaker as far as informal spoken language goes.

"I talk how I want" sounds a little more natural to me.

"I talk the way I want to" sounds pretty natural to me as well, and "I talk how I want to" sounds pretty natural too.

(I was born and raised in Western Canada where I lived into my 30s, and I now live on the east coast of the US. I grew up with one Canadian parent and one British parent.)

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:18 pm UTC
by Daimon
.................

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:57 pm UTC
by tildes
Monika wrote:"I talk how I want" vs. "I talk like I want" - is one wrong and one correct? If both are correct (which is my feeling) then is one preferred/more common than the other?

General American here, I would say something like "I speak as I wish."

"I talk how I want" sounds very improper to me, but I'm told my own speech is over-proper. Like I want sounds better, but not much.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:13 pm UTC
by Monika
ElWanderer wrote:Those have the context of someone complaining about the way you talk. It does sound odd to say something like "I talk the way I want to" out of the blue. Monika, is there a specific context in mind?

The context is:
"irregardless: linguists would say "It is non-standard". Normal people would say "It is wrong". Other normal people who like to use it would say "I talk how|like|as(?) I want"."

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:32 pm UTC
by Daimon
.................

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:44 pm UTC
by Iulus Cofield
tildes wrote:
Monika wrote:"I talk how I want" vs. "I talk like I want" - is one wrong and one correct? If both are correct (which is my feeling) then is one preferred/more common than the other?

General American here, I would say something like "I speak as I wish."

"I talk how I want" sounds very improper to me, but I'm told my own speech is over-proper. Like I want sounds better, but not much.


"I speak as I wish" sounds very formal to me. Like, tea party with crumpets formal.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:45 pm UTC
by speising
Monika wrote:
ElWanderer wrote:Those have the context of someone complaining about the way you talk. It does sound odd to say something like "I talk the way I want to" out of the blue. Monika, is there a specific context in mind?

The context is:
"irregardless: linguists would say "It is non-standard". Normal people would say "It is wrong". Other normal people who like to use it would say "I talk how|like|as(?) I want"."


Ima talkin how i damn well please.