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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:28 am 
Avisaru
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Travis B. wrote:
Jacqui wrote:
Dampantingaya wrote:
Skomakar'n wrote:
Snaka wrote:
Also, str-. That must be hell.

Nah. Icelandic and Swedish dialects have strj-.

You're overgeneralizing here. German has /ʃtr/ and /ʃpr/ too, and for speakers of Germanic languages this probably doesn't seem so difficult or unusual.
And Pennsylvania Dutch has /ʃtr/ and /ʃpr/ too.

Muttersprache > Muderschprooch.

Just gettin' that out there.

Umm, Pennsylvania Dutch is just yet another bunch of High German dialects, and there are High German dialects that are far further from Standard German than it is...
It's still germanic....


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:11 am 
Sumerul
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I feel like I run into a lot of nonnative English speakers from very different L1's who want to say "How do you call ____" when they mean "What do you call ___". It makes me wonder if there's some variety of English where the former is acceptable and that's what all the nonnative speakers are learning (unacceptable for asking about what a particular thing is named; "How do you call ___" is acceptable if you're asking about the manner in which you summon something, probably an animal of some sort - "How do you call sheep?" "I use this special sheep whistle").

Also nonnative speakers regularly suck at using determiners properly, so I guess those are hard too. I would also imagine that the past tense forms of strong verbs are a bitch to learn because I sat down recently and tried to think of any generalizations that worked for a large majority of them and I couldn't think of any. The lists I've seen of irregularly-inflected English verbs have about 180 different verbs and that's a lot of things to memorize individually, especially when there are patterns almost but not quite there. Maybe foreign learners of English have found a better way to memorize the different types of past tense vowel changes than I did, though, I don't think most nonnative speakers I've met have had problems with that particular aspect of English grammar.

A native Japanese speaker told me once that the thing she had a hard time with was learning the 4 or so different uses of have + VERB, although I forget how she explained what those four uses as taught to her were .

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:09 am 
Sumerul
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con quesa wrote:
A native Japanese speaker told me once that the thing she had a hard time with was learning the 4 or so different uses of have + VERB, although I forget how she explained what those four uses as taught to her were .

I would imagine they'd be:

1. Perfect tense: I have done it
2. Deontic ("have to" = "must"): I have to do this
3. Causative: to have something done
4. Not entirely sure what the fourth one would be, but it might be something like I have twelve things to do today.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:36 am 
Visanom
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con quesa wrote:
"How do you call ____" when they mean "What do you call ___". It makes me wonder if there's some variety of English where the former is acceptable and that's what all the nonnative speakers are learning


I don't know where those non-natives come from, but at least in Dutch, German and French, the respective word for "how" is used ("hoe", "wie", "comment"), so I guess it's not that uncommon. Note that in at least those three languages, "to call" are (at least) two verbs, one for "naming" and one for "calling out". So that "how do you name" mean "what do you call", and "how do you call" means, well, just that.

Note that although in English with the verb "to call" there's a difference between "what" and "how", "how" in general doesn't refer to manner per se. A sentence like "how do you drive to X?" is, afaik, perfectly good English, and is clearly meant to ask "what directions does one need to take to X" rather than provoke the answer "by driving recklessly".

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I would also imagine that the past tense forms of strong verbs are a bitch to learn


Not at all. There's only a handful, and the ones you're likely to need are also the ones heard/read often. Yes, it takes some memorization, but it's not like, say, German plurals or Polish declensions, or French gender or whatever.

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though, I don't think most nonnative speakers I've met have had problems with that particular aspect of English grammar.


Well, that's why. It's simply something to learn by heart, and that's it. There's no tricky semantic/pragmatic issues, nor are there any rules except "use that word instead of the regular".


JAL


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:35 am 
Avisaru
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I didn't find strong verbs difficult to learn at all.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:47 pm 
Smeric
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Viktor77 wrote:
finlay wrote:
French has savoir and connaître – evidently it shows up all over the place, at least in IE. I wonder why we lost it... I can't truly see any use for the distinction, at any rate.


Romance languages have it, Germanic languages have it, Slavic languages have it, so I don't know, English is just stupid, no surprise. I actually rather like the distinction myself.


Farsi has it too:

shenaakhtan - to recognize, be acquainted with
daanestan - to know

in khibun o mi duni? - "Do you know what is on this street?"
in khibun o mi shnaasi? - "Do you recognize this street (from before)?"

Hasan aaghaa o mi dunam - "I know Mr Hasan's character."
Hasan aaghaa o mi shnaasam - "I am acquainted with Mr Hasan."

Please note my examples are in colloquial Farsi.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:54 pm 
Smeric
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Welsh has it, too, although 'nabod' is used for people and places solely, whilst with other things it seems to have a slightly different meaning:

'Wyt ti'n nabod Sion?' - Do you know Sion?
'Wyt ti'n nabod Caerdydd?' - Do you know Cardiff?
'Wyt ti'n nabod y ffordd i Gaerdydd?' - Do you know the road to Cardiff?

But in the last one, it's more like 'know the road really well', or alternatively 'recognise.' In other languages, don't the equivalents of 'nabod' tend to take pretty much all nominal objects, whilst 'savoir' etc tend to take subordinate clauses instead?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:10 pm 
Smeric
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con quesa wrote:
I would also imagine that the past tense forms of strong verbs are a bitch to learn because I sat down recently and tried to think of any generalizations that worked for a large majority of them and I couldn't think of any.


Do you know how many English speakers have trouble with past tense forms of strong verbs? I don't even know how many different people (including me) that I've heard use "incorrect" forms of verbs (anything from saying the past form instead of the perfect form, e.g. "I have sang", to inventing new forms, such as drag > drug


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:21 pm 
Smeric
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Chibi wrote:
con quesa wrote:
I would also imagine that the past tense forms of strong verbs are a bitch to learn because I sat down recently and tried to think of any generalizations that worked for a large majority of them and I couldn't think of any.


Do you know how many English speakers have trouble with past tense forms of strong verbs? I don't even know how many different people (including me) that I've heard use "incorrect" forms of verbs (anything from saying the past form instead of the perfect form, e.g. "I have sang", to inventing new forms, such as drag > drug


Me too, I've sometimes not been able to remember forms of words - I once forgot what the past of 'sought' was, for example. This is sometimes because individuals' dialects have simplified them and they're not familiar with the written prescriptive equivalents, but the root cause of the simplification is probably because of their complexity in the first place, so.

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tà yi póbo tsùtsùr ciivà dè!

short texts in Cuhbi

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:33 pm 
Visanom
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Chibi wrote:
Do you know how many English speakers have trouble with past tense forms of strong verbs?


I'm missing a "native" here. I'm an English speaker as well, but no native. On the other hand, I don't often have problems with strong verbs (nor in my native Dutch).


JAL


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:36 pm 
Smeric
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jal wrote:
Perhaps you thought so because it was German, not Dutch, that was ridiculed in the comic?

Probably. When I saw kennen (which I do know), that probably sealed it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:37 pm 
Šriftom
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jal wrote:
Chibi wrote:
Do you know how many English speakers have trouble with past tense forms of strong verbs?


I'm missing a "native" here. I'm an English speaker as well, but no native. On the other hand, I don't often have problems with strong verbs (nor in my native Dutch).

As I mentioned before, actual English varieties, as actually spoken, have a great amount of internal variation in strong verb forms and irregular weak verb forms that is not reflected in literary Standard English. Even though I might be wrong about this, Dutch and German varieties as a whole seem to have far less internal variation in these forms, even if individual varieties vary greatly from Standard Dutch or standard German.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:48 pm 
Smeric
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FinalZera wrote:
Also, is that supposed to be a rope around Britain's neck in the 4th panel?
It's a gold throne.

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The merger is between /8/ and /9/, merging into /8/. Seeing as they're just one number apart, that's not too strange.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:41 pm 
Smeric
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Something I forgot to note: for most second generation Iranian immigrants here in Los Angeles the distinction between daanan/shenaakhtan is lost, with daanan used for both "to be acquainted with, to recognize"/"to know." This is presumably under the influence of English.

YngNghymru wrote:
Me too, I've sometimes not been able to remember forms of words - I once forgot what the past of 'sought' was, for example. This is sometimes because individuals' dialects have simplified them and they're not familiar with the written prescriptive equivalents, but the root cause of the simplification is probably because of their complexity in the first place, so.


Is to seek really a strong verb? I thought the vowel alternation was due to umlaut not ablaut. Sought is just the unmutated form + aspiration of /k/ + the weak past marker -t/-d. No doubt, it's irregular, but is it a strong verb?


Last edited by prickly pear on Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:43 pm 
Šriftom
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prickly pear wrote:
YngNghymru wrote:
Me too, I've sometimes not been able to remember forms of words - I once forgot what the past of 'sought' was, for example. This is sometimes because individuals' dialects have simplified them and they're not familiar with the written prescriptive equivalents, but the root cause of the simplification is probably because of their complexity in the first place, so.


Is to seek really a strong verb? I thought the vowel alternation was due to umlaut not ablaut. Sought is just the unmutated form + aspiration of /k/ + the weak past marker -t/-d. No doubt, it's irregular, but is it a strong verb?


No, it is an irregular weak verb. It is just that many people use "strong verb" in English to refer to all irregular verbs, despite that there are actually a good few commonly-used verbs that are weak but irregular.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:56 pm 
Smeric
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Sorry, yes. It's not a strong verb unless you use 'strong' to refer to all verbs that involve sound change/irregularity. I MEANT that I sometimes have problems with highly irregular past participles. If we're talking simply about strong verbs, though, I actually have pretty much no problems - I use 'sang' and 'sung' correctly in speech, for example.

Offhand - is 'hanged' a weakened version of an original strong verb (presumably one that went hang/hung/hung or one of those funny mixed ones that went hang/hanged/hung), or is 'hung' from analogy with 'sung' or some other equivalent?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:03 pm 
Smeric
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"Hangian" was weak in Old English, so I'd go with the latter. According to Etymonline, "Hung emerged as pp. 16c. in northern England dial."

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:38 pm 
Osän
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YngNghymru wrote:
Sorry, yes. It's not a strong verb unless you use 'strong' to refer to all verbs that involve sound change/irregularity. I MEANT that I sometimes have problems with highly irregular past participles. If we're talking simply about strong verbs, though, I actually have pretty much no problems - I use 'sang' and 'sung' correctly in speech, for example.

Offhand - is 'hanged' a weakened version of an original strong verb (presumably one that went hang/hung/hung or one of those funny mixed ones that went hang/hanged/hung), or is 'hung' from analogy with 'sung' or some other equivalent?

Hanged is a derivative of a noun, which is why it's 'weak'. I wouldn't necessarily recommend him in general, but Steven Pinker did do a pretty good job of explaining this, I think in "Words and Rules" – the other famous one is "flied out", a term from baseball that derives from "fly-ball", which is also called, simply, a "fly". Fly-balled out was similarly shortened to flied out – and it's not flew out because it's nothing to do with the act of flying.

So hanged, I think, came from a noun like "a hang", although we'd now called it "a hanging". It is an odd one though because it still makes sense to say that you are just "hanging" someone in the original sense of the verb.

(disclaimer: could be wrong here)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:47 pm 
Osän
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Russian also asks "How is it called?"


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:53 am 
Avisaru
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finlay wrote:
American English is the variety with the largest number of speakers, so they're actually more likely to learn that. There doesn't seem to be a pattern apart from who one's been taught by. The other thing is that there's far, far more American telly in Europe than British telly.... and many pick up their accents from that.


Hmm, I always have to speak "British" with Europeans speaking English as a second laguage when I'm conversing in English with them:

Me: Are you here on vacation?
European: I'm sorry.
Me: I apologize. Are you on holiday?
European: Ah, yes, holiday!

This was especially bad with Germans with whom I felt more comfortable speaking German than trying to remember to use British expressions.

Then I was the only person in my Spanish class who understood what a queue was when our instructor, a native of Spain, used that word instead of the more American line.

Though to be honest all of the above people were older than me and newer instruction may favor American English to a higher degree.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:20 am 
Smeric
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It's always been my impression - solely from hearing non-natives speak English on things like Eurovision - that there's more of an emphasis on American English these days, but it might just be that the American vowel structure is easier to get the hang of/comes more naturally to Europeans. :P

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:06 am 
Smeric
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YngNghymru wrote:
It's always been my impression - solely from hearing non-natives speak English on things like Eurovision - that there's more of an emphasis on American English these days, but it might just be that the American vowel structure is easier to get the hang of/comes more naturally to Europeans. :P
When I was in France, most of the texts were British English (some were Scots, when you are advanced enough...). The prevalent view was that if the French have to learn English, it should be the English they hate, not the English everyone hates.

My Frenchies had a real problem with the /ɔ:/ in <law>, and pronounced it as "low".

/i:/ vs /ɪ/ also proved problematic, "there's a bitch on the beach" would inevitably come out as "there's a beach on the beach". Few of them had a problem with <th> sounds; they were taught with the "stick your tongue out" technique.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:59 am 
Visanom
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YngNghymru wrote:
It's always been my impression - solely from hearing non-natives speak English on things like Eurovision - that there's more of an emphasis on American English these days, but it might just be that the American vowel structure is easier to get the hang of/comes more naturally to Europeans.


It depends on where you live in Europe, I think. In Western Europe, the emphasis may be more on British English than in Eastern Europe. And don't forget that about half (ok, slight exaggeration) of the Eurovision countries are not even in Europe (Israel, Armenia, I think even Georgia etc.).

But it is at least generaly held (by people in my surrounding) that GenAm is easier to pronounce for most EFL learners than BrE, although I am not aware of any studies actually showing that. For me it is, at least.


JAL


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:47 am 
Avisaru
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jal wrote:
And don't forget that about half (ok, slight exaggeration) of the Eurovision countries are not even in Europe (Israel, Armenia, I think even Georgia etc.).
JAL


Not to mention Azerbaijan, Morocco, and now (I heard), Qatar also wants to join in the party.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:14 am 
Sumerul
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jal wrote:
YngNghymru wrote:
It's always been my impression - solely from hearing non-natives speak English on things like Eurovision - that there's more of an emphasis on American English these days, but it might just be that the American vowel structure is easier to get the hang of/comes more naturally to Europeans.


It depends on where you live in Europe, I think. In Western Europe, the emphasis may be more on British English than in Eastern Europe. And don't forget that about half (ok, slight exaggeration) of the Eurovision countries are not even in Europe (Israel, Armenia, I think even Georgia etc.).

But it is at least generaly held (by people in my surrounding) that GenAm is easier to pronounce for most EFL learners than BrE, although I am not aware of any studies actually showing that. For me it is, at least.


JAL

At what age did you begin to learn English? I quickly fall back to my "native" (since I started learning English as such an early age, and have had it around me my entire life, even though I'm actually not native), British (weird British) accent when trying to imitate American English.


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