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  1. - Top - End - #391
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    Yeah, for some reason there are a few random things that are often referred to as female.
    In most cases, I think it's because they, well, contain things. If not the obvious vulgarism, then it can be a more romanticized "within Mother's arms" kind of a thing; women in general are more associated with intimacy, nurturing and shelter.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    In my university, they get around the issue by using "Studierende", "people who are studying, because unlike "Studenten/Studentinnen", it's not gendered.

    Then there's the issue of people who don't HAVE a gender, or have both, or things like that. It get's... difficult, and I dislike the "gender gap"
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    Black/African American/Whatever:
    In a vain attempt to be PC, I've heard numerous people called "African American" when they are black French or native African or something else. When "that person" isn't enough specificity, I simply refer to them as black.

    Also, calling someone just French or Nigerian or whatever is nice in theory, but it falls into the same category as saying "I don't see color" (at least, it does so in English). It sounds nice, and what you probably mean is that you don't have negative connotations to people of a certain race/ethnicity. But throwing everyone into the same category is just another form of discrimination, the erasure of person's history and a personal or cultural struggle. So be sure you don't do it when a person's identity as X is something likely important to them, which happens to be the case for American blacks on the whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    English manged to get rid of gramatical gender. And I really want to know how they did it!
    Germanic languages have a history of dropping unstressed syllables. One of the primary ways of distinguishing gender for them is unique case suffixes, and since they're suffixes on initial-stressed words, they're prone to dropping off. Happened in German as well, gender isn't determined by/doesn't determine which case ending a noun takes. Any little inconsistencies would be covered up by generalizing one form of the word. I'd guess the loss on grammatical words (that, what, etc) is a combination of gender no longer playing much importance, and "too much" language contact - single word forms generalized across the entire inflection by learners, but especially non-native learners. It's happened in other Indo-European languages as well - Romance and Celtic lost neuter gender, the former through word-final reduction like Germanic (I haven't run across what happened with modern Celtic languages, but I'd guess the same).

    In German, gender has almost zero value of information. If you have complex sentence in which the subject and the object are of different gender, there is a small help when it comes to determining to which one something in another part of the sentence refers to.
    Except for standardized language and national education, I'd expect gender to drop out of use for exactly this reason as it did in English. (Or very unexpectedly, strengthen gender by forming new suffixes taken from the article endings, dropping the first consonant of the article and attaching it as a prefix, etc).
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by lsfreak View Post
    Germanic languages have a history of dropping unstressed syllables. One of the primary ways of distinguishing gender for them is unique case suffixes, and since they're suffixes on initial-stressed words, they're prone to dropping off.
    Ha, I think I know what you're talking about.

    Where I am from, the ending is rarely pronounced carefully. Gehen is pronounced gehn (walking - walkin') and Bäcker is Bägga. There's some audible atropying going on.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Ha, I think I know what you're talking about.

    Where I am from, the ending is rarely pronounced carefully. Gehen is pronounced gehn (walking - walkin') and Bäcker is Bägga. There's some audible atropying going on.
    Many, though certainly not all, words in English that have a final silent e originally had it pronounced, just like in German. It dropped out in Middle English times.

    You can see a clear line of reduction between bindanan (Proto-Germanic) to binden (German) and bind (English), or spinganan-springen-spring, or drankijanan-traenken-drench. A casual glance at a conjugation table shows that if not most than many Proto-Germanic verbs were 4 syllables long, which are regularly reduced to two syllables in German, and a single syllable in English.
    Last edited by lsfreak; 2012-09-03 at 01:29 PM.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Maybe this has something to do with the disappearance of the genitive case that is currently in process in the german language. Genitive case articles are usually longer than those of the other three cases.

    who? - the man
    wer? - der Mann
    wessen ? - des Mannes <-- (that's the genetive case)
    wem? - dem Mann
    wen? - den Mann

    And I think many Germans would agree that the genetive case doesn't roll of the tongue like the others and therefore gets a bit stilted.
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  7. - Top - End - #397
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    "Wem sein" is not exactly shorter than "wessen", though.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Ha, I think I know what you're talking about.

    Where I am from, the ending is rarely pronounced carefully. Gehen is pronounced gehn (walking - walkin') and Bäcker is Bägga. There's some audible atropying going on.
    hey, southerner's do that too! Nearly all southerners drop g's from the end of gerunds (walkin', drivin', movin', etc). Depending on the dialect, most either add or remove r's as well (My grandpa, for instance, talks about the "Saluder River", while my grandma will call the same place the "Saluda Riva'").

    The further you get to the coast, typically the more of the word is getting dropped - they have the famous southern "drawl" as opposed to the "twang" of the hills.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForzaFiori View Post
    hey, southerner's do that too! Nearly all southerners drop g's from the end of gerunds (walkin', drivin', movin', etc). Depending on the dialect, most either add or remove r's as well (My grandpa, for instance, talks about the "Saluder River", while my grandma will call the same place the "Saluda Riva'").

    The further you get to the coast, typically the more of the word is getting dropped - they have the famous southern "drawl" as opposed to the "twang" of the hills.
    The r-dropping is the same kind of thing as Yora's talking about in part, but "g-dropping" is different. There's two different endings, the present participle and the gerund. They merged from -ende and -inge in Middle English to the modern -ing. G-dropping was pretty much mandatory in standard speech for a while. Most Americans have this at some level in their speech, but it's highly dependent on the context they're speaking in. What Yora's talkin' about is actually dropping syllables I think, gehen to gehn, just comparing them to English walking and walkin'.
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    Default My 3rd Grade English teacher was Mexican, if I remember correctly.

    I know that this is off-topic from gender, German, and other ge-words, but something that has always hurt my brain is when people mix up its and it's, especially in advertisements.

    Unfortunately, I have seen it wrong so many times, that I am beginning to doubt my memory of my 3rd Grade English teacher.

    It's means "It is"
    and
    Its means "Belongs to it",
    right? If I'm not, that means my memory is completely off and I would like to be corrected.

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    Default Re: My 3rd Grade English teacher was Mexican, if I remember correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mahonri Violist View Post
    I know that this is off-topic from gender, German, and other ge-words, but something that has always hurt my brain is when people mix up its and it's, especially in advertisements.

    Unfortunately, I have seen it wrong so many times, that I am beginning to doubt my memory of my 3rd Grade English teacher.

    It's means "It is"
    and
    Its means "Belongs to it",
    right? If I'm not, that means my memory is completely off and I would like to be corrected.
    You've got the right of it.

    No worries.
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    Default Re: My 3rd Grade English teacher was Mexican, if I remember correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mahonri Violist View Post
    I know that this is off-topic from gender, German, and other ge-words, but something that has always hurt my brain is when people mix up its and it's, especially in advertisements.

    Unfortunately, I have seen it wrong so many times, that I am beginning to doubt my memory of my 3rd Grade English teacher.

    It's means "It is"
    and
    Its means "Belongs to it",
    right? If I'm not, that means my memory is completely off and I would like to be corrected.
    That is indeed correct.

    I think the confusion partly stems from the way that the apostrophe is used in some contexts to denote possession. You'd say "the sheep's wool" so shortening to "it's wool" seems logical even though it's incorrect.

    Of course, apostrophes are poorly understood anyway. See the infamous "greengrocer's apostrophe", used to indicate plurals. Even more messy now as I've seen some style guides that specifically indicate using an apostrophe for plurals is ok so long as the item in question is an initialism (so CD's, DVD's etc.) which IMO just makes matters worse.

    In fact, understanding of apostrophes in the UK is now so poor that some organisations are starting to eliminate their use entirely (often local councils with responsibility for road signs and the like), which seems pretty stupid to me and not likely to help at all, but lowest common denominator is always a factor.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    At some point a large enough bunch of idiots got the idea that it's okay to form the possessive with an appostrophe. And somehow people went along with it.
    In Peter's pen, the appostrophe does not replace any skipped letter. Peters pen should be the only thing that is correct. But somehow it seems to have become the standard.

    Applying the same to its and you get it's strange spelling.

    Edit: Apparently, it originally was -es which later got changed to -'s, but since then the e has completely disappeared from spoken language, making the apostrphe redundant. However, it still hangs around. Hopefully it's going to disappear as english becomes more of a global language where people learn it as a second language and use it using rules instead of traditions they grew up with.

    My English teacher always said it's stupid and bad.

    Funny note: In German the e is still there.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    At some point a large enough bunch of idiots got the idea that it's okay to form the possessive with an appostrophe. And somehow people went along with it.
    In Peter's pen, the appostrophe does not replace any skipped letter. Peters pen should be the only thing that is correct. But somehow it seems to have become the standard.

    Applying the same to its and you get it's strange spelling.

    Edit: Apparently, it originally was -es which later got changed to -'s, but since then the e has completely disappeared from spoken language, making the apostrphe redundant. However, it still hangs around. Hopefully it's going to disappear as english becomes more of a global language where people learn it as a second language and use it using rules instead of traditions they grew up with.

    My English teacher always said it's stupid and bad.

    Funny note: In German the e is still there.
    Thing is, aside from periphrasis with the preposition 'of', it's our only way of marking the genitive. Removing the apostrophe might remove confusion over the difference between writing the genitive and the plural (of most nouns), but I feel like it wouldn't aid reading the difference between the genitive and plural.

    The other thing is, people learning English already are using rules. The apostrophe signaling the genitive case in nouns is one of those rules. I really don't see where stupid and bad even enter into it.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    I agree with SaintRidley there. The rules for using apostrophes to indicate possession are actually pretty clear, and unlike most rules of English grammar, have barely any exceptions (it being one, can't think of any others off the top of my head). You should be wishing the *rest* of the English language was like that, not wishing for the removal of one of the few logical and consistent parts of it!

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    I also concur. The rules on apostrophes are really very easy to learn and they have some of the fewest exceptions of any rules of English grammar. It'd be a shame to lose them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    I also concur. The rules on apostrophes are really very easy to learn and they have some of the fewest exceptions of any rules of English grammar. It'd be a shame to lose them.
    Technically not grammar. That's one of my biggest pet peeves about self-appointed grammar nazis, they often fly off on something calling it "grammar" when it's spelling or punctuation that they're talking about.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    It kind of falls within the purview of all three. The apostrophe is a punctuation mark, although its context means it's often really a diacritic, and those are generally considered to be spelling. However, what causes confusion is usually whether or not an apostrophe is needed at all. This is (in most cases) governed by the rules on possessives and plurals, which fall under the heading of grammar.

    So... shall we call this one a draw?
    Last edited by Aedilred; 2012-09-05 at 08:31 PM.
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    there has been a long and estabilished traditions for Chinese people to take on a western name, especially for when they have contact with the western world, be it for personal or professional reasons..
    but. mrs Wang.. why did you have to choose the name Wanda?
    seriously..Wanda Wang.. I've met her!
    that's clearly a superhero's secret identity
    Last edited by dehro; 2012-09-07 at 08:47 AM.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    So, now that I'm actually TAKING my linguistics course, this thread is even MORE relevant to my interests.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by dehro View Post
    there has been a long and estabilished traditions for Chinese people to take on a western name, especially for when they have contact with the western world, be it for personal or professional reasons..
    but. mrs Wang.. why did you have to choose the name Wanda?
    seriously..Wanda Wang.. I've met her!
    that's clearly a superhero's secret identity
    Normally because their Chinese name has absolutely no equivalent in English and what English name they like usually sounds perfectly fine to them in Chinese.

    In my experience, it's done more by Hong Kong people, who have a history of dealing with English folk who can't pronounce things.
    Most mainland Chinese I find, tend to stay with their Chinese names.

    ---

    New question: the piece of computer gear that operates as both a modem and a switch and probably how a large number of people are connected to the internet these days - is it a 'row-ter' or 'roo-ter'?

    A quick google check indicates that the latter pronunciation is correct as a 'row-ter' is a woodworking tool, but notes that the root verb 'route' is pronounced both ways in the US, but only one (the latter) way in Britain.

    Australians aside (where the slang 'to root' has sexual connotations), how do you pronounce it?

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    "row-ter". That's the way everyone I know pronounces it, including internet technicians.
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    Router rhymes with doubter (Iowa) - /raʊter/ [ɻæʊɾɚ]
    EDIT: Transcriptions

    This is (in most cases) governed by the spelling rules on possessives and plurals, which fall under the heading of grammar.
    Added. That's my problem. It has to do with the written. They're pronounced identically, so the choice of its/it's, you're/your, their/they're/there, is a choice about how to write it. The rules for grammar itself have to do with phonemes and morphemes, not graphemes and punctuation.
    Last edited by lsfreak; 2012-09-07 at 09:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    In Germany, where it's also called rooter, it's pronounced root-er, like root. But then again, what do the Germans know about English pronounciation?
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    is it spelled "rooter" as well, or is it spelled "router" like in English?
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    "router" rhymes with "route" not with "root" in my circles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll View Post
    "router" rhymes with "route" not with "root" in my circles.
    In most parts of the UK, "route" and "root" are pronounced the same way, so the distinction is moot over here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lsfreak View Post
    Router rhymes with doubter (Iowa) - /raʊter/ [ɻæʊɾɚ]
    I'm willing to bet that Iowans actually say /raʊder/. Most Americans voice a "t" between two vowels and turn /t/ into /d/.

    And now you can't unhear it.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    It's spelled Router, as far as I know. But pronounced root-er. Sorry for the confusion.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    It's... complicated where I grew up (small town in central Illinois).

    A computer networking device is /raʊdr/ pretty exclusively.

    A road with "route" in the name is generally /raʊt/ when talking about local roads, but others switch to /rut/ - e.g. one could take IL Route (/raʊt/) 10 to Route (/rut/) 66.

    In my family, a generalized path (as in a travel itinerary) would be /raʊt/, but there seems to be free variation there as I know other people who use /rut/ most of the time.
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