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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Does anyone know the origin of the english word fiend? And is it perhaps related to the german Feind (enemy, pronounced find)?
    My handy bookmarked etymology website says:

    fiend
    O.E. feond "enemy, foe," originally prp. of feogan "to hate," from P.Gmc. *fijæjan (cf. O.Fris. fiand "enemy," O.S. fiond, M.D. viant, Du. vijand "enemy," O.N. fjandi, O.H.G. fiant, Goth. fijands), from PIE root *pe(i)- "to blame, revile" (cf. Goth. faian "to blame;" see passion).

    As spelling suggests, it was originally the opposite of friend, but the word began to be used in O.E. for "Satan" (as the "enemy of mankind"), which shifted its sense to "diabolical person" (early 13c.). The old sense of the word devolved to foe, then to the imported word enemy. For spelling with -ie- see field. Meaning "devotee (of whatever is indicated)," e.g. dope fiend, is from 1865.
    Last edited by Goosefeather; 2012-07-16 at 04:48 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #242
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    I see. I didn't guess that the connection would lie in Satan.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Any words that people with other native languages can't pronounce?
    In Germany, we have great fun with making people say anything with "ü". French and Turks have no problem, almost everyone else does.
    We have great fun getting Germans to say certain Swiss German words, like Chuchichäschtli* or anything containing the double vowels you don't have, like üä, uä or ue.


    *Different "ch" sound from any used in German. Much deeper in the throat, more rasping.
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  4. - Top - End - #244
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Does anyone know the origin of the english word fiend? And is it perhaps related to the german Feind (enemy, pronounced find)?
    Also chech out dictionary.com. Has a handy etymology section for most words.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Fiend

    Scroll down to Origin, I won't copy and paste as it would lose the formatting.

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  5. - Top - End - #245
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    I prefer to use etymonline, though if I am not at my computer I make use of my paperback etymological dictionary.
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    ^ Etymonline is aces.

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  7. - Top - End - #247
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    We have great fun getting Germans to say certain Swiss German words, like Chuchichäschtli* or anything containing the double vowels you don't have, like üä, uä or ue.


    *Different "ch" sound from any used in German. Much deeper in the throat, more rasping.
    It's pronounced Kr-kr-kr-li.

  8. - Top - End - #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    What is it with the word "squirrel"? I've even seen english people and americans having a good laugh with German visitors and guests by asking them to say that word.

    And of course, it's very funny. There's no way to say it correctly.
    Like Massachusetts.
    "Skwerl" or maybe "skwerrel". Where the "e" is pronounced like it is in "er" (as in "tinker", "blubber", "faster", etc).

    "Mass a chew, sis." (A grammatically valid command, though not one that makes any sense. Also, the "sis" is a lot more abrupt when actually saying the state name.)

    At least those are the pronunciations I'm familiar with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    "Skwerl" or maybe "skwerrel". Where the "e" is pronounced like it is in "er" (as in "tinker", "blubber", "faster", etc).
    That's not how I pronounce it--I've always pronounced the word "skwirrel".

  10. - Top - End - #250
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    Heh. I'm not sure that you're not joking, but in case you're not, obvious question: How do you pronounce "skwirrel"? How are you saying the "i" and "e" there?

    (Another way to put the first pronunciation I mentioned is that it rhymes with "whirl", "twirl", "girl", "hurl", and so on.)
    Last edited by Devils_Advocate; 2012-07-19 at 07:37 PM.
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    Rhyming with Harry Potter's Professor Quirrell, of course!

  12. - Top - End - #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    How are you saying the "i" and "e" there?
    Short vowels in both cases, so i as in tin and e as in red. And no, I'm not joking, why would you think I was?

    EDIT: Scratch that, thinking about it a bit more, I think I pronounce the "e" more akin to u--so skwirrul. Yeah, that sounds a bit more reasonable, I guess that might be what confused you!
    Last edited by factotum; 2012-07-20 at 02:24 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Heh. I'm not sure that you're not joking, but in case you're not, obvious question: How do you pronounce "skwirrel"? How are you saying the "i" and "e" there?

    (Another way to put the first pronunciation I mentioned is that it rhymes with "whirl", "twirl", "girl", "hurl", and so on.)
    I'd say i as in "swirl" and the e as in the english ending "le". (Which is spoken "el". English is weird!" )

  14. - Top - End - #254
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    I am perplexed at the debate over pronunciation of "squirrel". I have always pronounced it exactly the same as the corresponding sound in "quick" and it's never occurred to me to do anything else. Nor can I recall ever having heard anyone else pronounce it differently. Is it a combination of sounds that non-English speakers find difficult, or is it one of those words that's different in the American dialect?
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  15. - Top - End - #255
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    the difficulty is that German people never use the muscle groups in your tongue that you need to make the right sound. We hear how english speakers say it, but we can't replicate the sound.

    Does anyone happen to know the etymology of the japanese "ningen". It's written Person + Space, so is it actually closer to "humanity" than "humans"?
    I just made the realization that I have learned the meaning of both parts of the japanese name ningyo for mermaids since I first learned that name. And as usually, it sounds only poetic when you don't know any Japanese, because it's plain person fish.
    Though that did make me wonder about the normal term for humans and what -gen means.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-07-21 at 12:32 PM.

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    I consider myself to be a descriptivist, but I personally prefer to use "whom" whenever I can, although it was taught to me as "never used now except for to whom it may concern", I think it feels more right.

    And if people keep using it, then it stays.

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    I'm not sure about the etymology (although one might note that the "space" kanji in question is also used as a counter of sorts for intervals, so there could be a similar origin here: time -> hours, year -> years, person -> people), but as far as I know, in usage, "ningen" is closer to "human" than "humanity." You'd use it when speaking of individuals, human traits, "being human," etc. When speaking of "humanity" as a whole, I believe "jinrui" (written person + kind) would be closer, or "ningensei" (the sei being nature) if speaking of the more philisophical meaning of humanity.
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    Hey, this looks like a fun thread

    But why "v" is transcribed as "b" even though Japanese has exactly the sound as "w" is beyond me. (The english "w" is weird.)
    It's because Japanese b can a stop or a fricative, like Spanish b/v.

    Stuff on German spelling
    Z as /ts/ is pretty common - Italian has it, it's the origin of z in Spanish, Mandarin pinyin...

    Squirrel - most of us Americans don't even have a "real" vowel. Skwrl. Or we stick a very short one in before the L, skwr-uhl. Rural is even more fun, Rr-rl. I think we have a habit of hearing the vowel even when there isn't one, I had fun once trying to convince someone there's no u sound in church.

    American R is loads of fun. Mine has rounded lips, almost as much as w. It's pulled farther back in the mouth, with the whole body of the tongue bunched up and tensed. The middle of the tongue is grooved, but not quite a strongly as sh. And the walls of the throat are constricted as well. Except that only describes it at the beginning of a word - elsewhere it loses the rounded lips and some of the tenseness of the tongue. After the vowels of car or air, basically the only thing left is the bunching (car) or the retraction of the tongue (air). And on top of that, that's specific to me or maybe my dialect - I know Americans who the entire sound is in the back of their mouth, without the tip of the tongue doing anything - almost a Spanish or Greek g with the throat constricted as well. It shouldn't be a wonder that people who don't speak English as a first language have trouble with it.
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  19. - Top - End - #259
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    I have now decided that in my head squirrel sounds like "skål" which we all know is scandinavian for "yaaay, beer, let's have some!"

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    Just got a little book that looks like it will be great fun to read. It's called The Story of English in 100 Words. I'll let you know how it is after I finish.
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    I was just reading on the local dialect from my home (wedged between Angeln and Old Saxony) and reading it is actually quite different from hearing and speaking it.
    Ever wondered what a "hawker" has to do with selling stuff? It hasn't anything to do with hawks, but related to hökern, which we still have as our word for "haggling". When you read it, it's faily obvious and I only had to check if my assumption was correct (which it is).
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-07-24 at 11:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I was just reading on the local dialect from my home (wedged between Angeln and Old Saxony) and reading it is actually quite different from hearing and speaking it.
    Ever wondered what a "hawker" has to do with selling stuff? It hasn't anything to do with hawks, but related to hökern, which we still have as our word for "haggling". When you read it, it's faily obvious and I only had to check if my assumption was correct (which it is).
    I just love finding little connections like that. Especially since I study both french and english, and I had realized that French culture had an enormous written effect on English long before learning about the Norman Invasion. Plus, Turkish also has many loanwords from French(due to the Young Turks, mostly) that make me facepalm everyday due to spelling differences.
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  23. - Top - End - #263
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    After a few years of French in school (at which I suck completely), I realized that English really is mostly a hybrid of Low German and French. Or more precisely, Old Low German and Old French.

    Here's another one: The english word "tide" also exist in low german as "tied", where it also has the meaning of "time". In modern Standard German, the term is "Gezeiten", which is also based on "times".
    And if you live at the North Sea, you know the tides are always exactly "on time".

    In older literature, you sometimes have "swarty sailors", wchich simply means "black". I think modern english is the only Germanic language that uses "black" instead of a variation of "swart". Black appears to be derived from "burnt", which also happens to be of Germanic origin and not from French.

    In English "should" and "shall" have a slight difference, that is apparently not even clear to native speakers, one being an obligation and the other an assumption. The low German "schall" (snd Ger. "soll") does not make a difference.

  24. - Top - End - #264
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    In English "should" and "shall" have a slight difference, that is apparently not even clear to native speakers, one being an obligation and the other an assumption. The low German "schall" (snd Ger. "soll") does not make a difference.
    I think the confusion, at least here in the States, is also between "shall" and "will."
    Should is an action that is correct or is better to be done
    Must is generally an assumption ("He must be outside") but can be an obligation ("He must go outside"), though have to is more common (but can also have a sense of necessity, not just obligation) [And as an interesting aside, there's a lexical split in the negative: mustn't is always a commandobligation, but must not is assumption]
    Will is future-tense or intent.
    Shall is... ? We just don't use it much, at least where I'm from in the Midwest. "I shall go to the store" versus "I will go to the store," shall might be stronger or more immediate. But only time I can think of that I'd expect to here it is in the Ten Commandments ("Thou shalt not...") or another command directly referencing that form. Any other time we replace it with one of the others, I'm not sure I'd even recognize a correct versus incorrect usage as I'm just used to "translating" it into a different modal.
    Last edited by lsfreak; 2012-07-24 at 04:31 PM.
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    BlackDragon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    In older literature, you sometimes have "swarty sailors", wchich simply means "black". I think modern english is the only Germanic language that uses "black" instead of a variation of "swart".
    "Swarthy" is definitely a valid English word, and it means pretty much what you'd expect it to--it's not particularly commonly used these days, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    "Swarthy" is definitely a valid English word, and it means pretty much what you'd expect it to--it's not particularly commonly used these days, though.
    To be honest, until now I've always thought it was a synonym for, I dunno, something along the lines of "broad-shouldered".

    No idea why. But it's so unused nowadays that I totally didn't even know what it meant until Yora posted that.
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    Well, factotum probably speaks English English.
    Quote Originally Posted by lsfreak View Post
    I think the confusion, at least here in the States, is also between "shall" and "will."
    In German, sollen works for everything.

    It is expected to rain. (It shall rain.)
    He said you are ordered to clean it up. (He said you shall clean it up.)
    I have come to fix the drain. (I shall fix drain.)
    Do you want me to visit on Monday? (Shall I come over on monday?)
    You are not allowed to play here. (You shall not play here.)

    And in low german, there's even the expression This shall you know as the opening sentence for an explaination in reply to a question. In that case, there isn't any degree of certainty, since the explaination will follow immediately and it's more like "Okay, listen closely".
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-07-25 at 10:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Swarthy always connoted "foreign" to me as well, mostly because I've only seen it used in fantasy and adventure novels to describe exotic foreigners' (usually sailors) skin.

    I also thought that "will" and "shall" were pretty much the same thing, with "shall" being really formal and antiquated. Wiktionary says that "shall" is about one fourth as common relative to "will" in North America as in the UK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I was just reading on the local dialect from my home (wedged between Angeln and Old Saxony) and reading it is actually quite different from hearing and speaking it.
    Ever wondered what a "hawker" has to do with selling stuff? It hasn't anything to do with hawks, but related to hökern, which we still have as our word for "haggling". When you read it, it's faily obvious and I only had to check if my assumption was correct (which it is).
    Have you never heard of a merchant hawking their wares? It's not that obscure a term.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dps View Post
    Have you never heard of a merchant hawking their wares? It's not that obscure a term.
    Aye, but "hawking your wares" has more to do with yelling out what you got and making yourself known that you have these things for these prices in a busy market square than actually haggling.
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