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English Language - words, meanings and context


Intoscience
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Usage is context dependent. It’s arrogant and willfully oblivious to how language and culture themselves evolve to call it is a misuse due merely to differing from how physicists use it.

2 hours ago, mistermack said:

The most abominable use of English by Americans is their use of the word "energy".

12 minutes ago, mistermack said:

It really makes me wince when people misuse energy, I'm pretty sure it originated in the US. Probably in the hippy era.

 

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9 minutes ago, iNow said:

Usage is context dependent. It’s arrogant and willfully oblivious to how language and culture themselves evolve to call it is a misuse due merely to differing from how physicists use it.

It's the sheer lack of education in an obviously intelligent man that makes me wince.

Another americanism from the hippy era is "vibrations" , often used in a similar context. 

Mind you, it's not just America. The English were talking about an "air" of confidence years ago. 

Although, on second thought's, that's probably down to the French.  "De bon air"  Debonair. 

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7 minutes ago, mistermack said:

It's the sheer lack of education in an obviously intelligent man that makes me wince.

 

Citation?

(Did I use that word correctly?)

On another note, why does a lack of education make you wince? Does it apply to children? Those for whom education is not an option?

People wincing at the lack of education of other people is what makes me wince.

 

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1 minute ago, zapatos said:

People wincing at the lack of education of other people is what makes me wince.

You seem to be defending these unknown people against some sort of attack, Sir Galahad.  I'm just saying it's sad that people don't get a better education. Not blaming them. I just find it a waste of potential. 

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1 hour ago, mistermack said:

I'm just saying it's sad that people don't get a better education. Not blaming them. I just find it a waste of potential. 

In this, I completely agree. Knowing the meaning of words, being able to understand what they are being told, might save a great many ignorant people from mistakes they make due to misunderstanding, misconstruction and deliberately misleading information. Poor language skills in the general population make the populist sloganeer's and propagandist's work easy. Before that sinister application, it made the advertising hack's work easy. Firm grasp of language is half the way to critical thinking; applied logic is the other half. 

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Posted (edited)

Where I originate from the use of slang was very extensive and in that area a language all on its own. So much so that anyone who is not from the area, or very familiar with it, will really struggle to understand/interpret what is being said. Interestingly though, for the past few decades this slang is slowly being filtered out and now most (mainly the younger generation) no longer use it, perhaps just a few lingering words and phrases. 

When I'm in discussion with an older person who was born and still lives in the area we talk to each other in this slang. But with the younger generation I tend to revert back to mostly standard English. 

Like mistermack I do often find myself wincing at the incorrect use of words. I by no means speak "The Queens English", but when I hear double negatives, or the one phrase that irritates me is when people say "he borrowed me his..." I find myself frowning. 

Thanks for all your responses, I find the subject very interesting.

Edited by Intoscience
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4 hours ago, zapatos said:

Citation?

(Did I use that word correctly?)

On another note, why does a lack of education make you wince? Does it apply to children? Those for whom education is not an option?

People wincing at the lack of education of other people is what makes me wince.

 

It's snobbery. 

 

24 minutes ago, Intoscience said:

Where I originate from the use of slang was very extensive and in that area a language all on its own. So much so that anyone who is not from the area, or very familiar with it, will really struggle to understand/interpret what is being said. Interestingly though, for the past few decades this slang is slowly being filtered out and now most (mainly the younger generation) no longer use it, perhaps just a few lingering words and phrases. 

When I'm in discussion with an older person who was born and still lives in the area we talk to each other in this slang. But with the younger generation I tend to revert back to mostly standard English. 

Like mistermack I do often find myself wincing at the incorrect use of words. I by no means speak "The Queens English", but when I hear double negatives, or the one phrase that irritates me is when people say "he borrowed me his..." I find myself frowning. 

Thanks for all your responses, I find the subject very interesting.

My favourite is "More bigger". Generally, I accept people are as they are... c'est la vie. Language constantly evolves, so correct usage is period-sensitive.

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10 hours ago, Peterkin said:

That's only two meanings: donkey, in fact, was slang (through a complicated process of illogic) for the animal called an ass, of Latin derivation. The silly person is a metaphorical donkey.

Ars is Old English for buttocks and the association comes about through similarity of sound.; the anus is 20th century addition, because ass wasn't crude enough.  An 'attractive young woman" is a euphemism for tits&ass, which refers directly to the only female body parts in which the speaker is interested.  

Pass is French from Latin, meaning 'walk by' or 'go by'; all other uses I know are derived from that meaning: passage, passport, pass-through, passive, give a pass to, pass the ball, pass over,  pass the time.

Since you like latin/french derivations and asses here is what the french ass herder said about the difference between the words etre and suivre.

Je ne suis pas ce que je suis, si je suis ce que je suis, je ne suis pas ce que je suis.

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2 hours ago, StringJunky said:

It's snobbery. 

Disagree. I think them people what gets it wrong should have been learned to talk scientific. 

What usually makes me wince with "scientific" words like energy and vibrations is that people are often in bullshit mode when they throw them in to the conversation, thinking that it actually makes them sound more educated, when it's really having the opposite effect. It's the failed attempt at bullshit that is cringeworthy.

 

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1 minute ago, mistermack said:

Disagree. I think them people what gets it wrong should have been learned to talk scientific. 

What usually makes me wince with "scientific" words like energy and vibrations is that people are often in bullshit mode when they throw them in to the conversation, thinking that it actually makes them sound more educated, when it's really having the opposite effect. It's the failed attempt at bullshit that is cringeworthy.

 

Well in the example I just gave I had my own mother down as a snob for using "amn't" and not "aren 't" when I expect   you know it is fairly commonly used  in Ireland, where she was brought up.

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25 minutes ago, geordief said:

Well in the example I just gave I had my own mother down as a snob for using "amn't" and not "aren 't" when I expect   you know it is fairly commonly used  in Ireland, where she was brought up.

My own family in Ireland used to say "amn't" but my mother and father, who came over to the UK to live, would say aren't, so they changed, even though they kept their accent. 

I think in Ireland now it's the older people who might say amn't, and the younger ones rarely do, so maybe the nation is turning snobbish.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, mistermack said:

My own family in Ireland used to say "amn't" but my mother and father, who came over to the UK to live, would say aren't, so they changed, even though they kept their accent. 

I think in Ireland now it's the older people who might say amn't, and the younger ones rarely do, so maybe the nation is turning snobbish.

That is the risk , that  we end up making class judgements on whole categories of people

 

 

The French  tried to keep Englishisms  out of the language top down (le weekend,le pc etc) but Plastic Bertrand wasn't paying attention (a Belgian anyway)

"It's  not today que le ciel tombera sur ma tête"

 

https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/plastic-bertrand-6921.php

 

 

Edited by geordief
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8 hours ago, mistermack said:

You seem to be defending these unknown people against some sort of attack, Sir Galahad.  I'm just saying it's sad that people don't get a better education. Not blaming them. I just find it a waste of potential. 

And contemporary language is essential for that; you can teach people with out of date books/language but the meaning gets lost to easily; so we end up teaching intelligent people that it's OK to kill/hate/belittle those that you consider have wasted potential.

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4 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

so we end up teaching intelligent people that it's OK to kill/hate/belittle those that you consider have wasted potential.

                      😄    Speak for yourself !

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One more bit of modern american language that grinds my gears is the pronunciation of "pre". As in "perdict"  "pervail"  "pertend"  and "percise" etc etc.
It's only come in in the last twenty years really. Even Barak Obama, in older footage, will say pre-dict, but nowadays, he says perdict. (mostly). 
It comes across to me that it's the American yearning for the cowboy or pioneering lifestyle.
Pernouncing it "per" is more homespun. They really want to be Paw Clampett.  
Obama obviously knows the word is predict, but he doesn't want to sound like a fancy Chicago Lawyer (which he is) so he has adopted the "per" pronunciation so as not to sound pertentious. To my English ears it IS pertentious, but it's not, to American ears. 
 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, mistermack said:

One more bit of modern american language that grinds my gears is the pronunciation of "pre". As in "perdict"  "pervail"  "pertend"  and "percise" etc etc.
It's only come in in the last twenty years really. Even Barak Obama, in older footage, will say pre-dict, but nowadays, he says perdict. (mostly). 
It comes across to me that it's the American yearning for the cowboy or pioneering lifestyle.
Pernouncing it "per" is more homespun. They really want to be Paw Clampett.  
Obama obviously knows the word is predict, but he doesn't want to sound like a fancy Chicago Lawyer (which he is) so he has adopted the "per" pronunciation so as not to sound pertentious. To my English ears it IS pertentious, but it's not, to American ears. 
 

Perhaps you need to live in America to appreciate the subtleties... 

Edited by dimreepr
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1 minute ago, dimreepr said:

Perhaps you need to live in America to appreciate the subtleties...

Back when I lived in America, nobody pronounced it per. But that was fifty years ago. 

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38 minutes ago, mistermack said:

One more bit of modern american language that grinds my gears is the pronunciation of "pre". As in "perdict"  "pervail"  "pertend"  and "percise" etc etc.
It's only come in in the last twenty years really. Even Barak Obama, in older footage, will say pre-dict, but nowadays, he says perdict. (mostly). 
It comes across to me that it's the American yearning for the cowboy or pioneering lifestyle.
Pernouncing it "per" is more homespun. They really want to be Paw Clampett.  
Obama obviously knows the word is predict, but he doesn't want to sound like a fancy Chicago Lawyer (which he is) so he has adopted the "per" pronunciation so as not to sound pertentious. To my English ears it IS pertentious, but it's not, to American ears. 
 

I learned that some 50  years ago when being taught ancient Greek.It was a characteristic of the many regional dialects  at that time to change the position of the "r" to after from before the vowel. (from the standard language we were taught)

 

I assume this  prolly continues across other languages across the ages and I include it in my   own familial

 dialect now and then as a bit of fun.

So a tried and tested feature of the natural evolution  of language. 

 

Try not to be a dinosaur.It may not be a successful strategy :)

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10 hours ago, mistermack said:

It's the sheer lack of education in an obviously intelligent man that makes me wince.

But alas, 'twas my education which allowed me to accurately call out to you the manner in which your conclusion is misguided and remind you how language is not static but instead evolves with local usage and culture itself. 

The funny part? I share your distaste of people using the word "energy" in some of the ways we hear it used, but our own distaste doesn't ipso facto make it "incorrect" or somehow "wrong."

Be sure your own lessons are without flaw before trying to "school me" again, please. 

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