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Carol the Dabbler

The Language (and travel) Thread

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Oh god believe me....

Nobody wishes more than me that people here could actually speak/write their own language properly. 

I mean even in Wales, my Welsh tutor used to complain about lazy Welsh!

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Part of the problem is that spellcheckers don't flag the use of the wrong homophone (i.e., a word that sounds like the one you should have used).  Also, I tend to make that sort of mistake more often when I'm typing than when I'm writing (presumably because typing is a more "automatic" process -- I seem to have my own internal autocomplete).  So if I don't happen to notice what my fingers have done, there it is, proof that I am illiterate!  :D  And yes, I most certainly DO know the difference!  So please don't assume that people who post such errors don't know any better.  It may simply mean that they didn't proofread before posting.

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On ‎5‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 8:06 AM, Van Buren Supernova said:

I'm amazed it's very often that English speakers misuse they, their, they're and you, yours, your, you're.

I hope I've never made that blunder (see my disclaimer in bold above) but it's not that hard at all, is it?

For some reason, the one that constantly trips me up is they're, their. I know the difference, but I seem to have some mental block when I type or write them … I think at least half the time I use the wrong one. Which is why I don't rely on spell check ...

Whatever happened to grammar check? Seems like that would be a useful tool, but I never hear about it anymore. Too difficult to program one that's more helpful than annoying, maybe?

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4 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Whatever happened to grammar check? Seems like that would be a useful tool, but I never hear about it anymore. Too difficult to program one that's more helpful than annoying, maybe?

I'd love to have grammar check!

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I had it on one of my first PCs, it didn't do a bad job, except that it was a bit too formal for my taste. Would have been perfect if I'd been writing term papers!

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I work with teachers...

I am constantly correcting their grammar and spelling.

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4 hours ago, besleybean said:

I work with teachers...

I am constantly correcting their grammar and spelling.

You should try working with engineers.  :D

I know that I often use the wrong homonym, but like Arcadia, it's not because I don't know the difference.  It's because once I start typing a word, my subconscious takes over.  Anything that starts with "India" is likely to end up as "Indiana" or even "Indianapolis," for example, simply because I've already typed those names so often.  I generally catch the errors when I proofread, though -- I hope!

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16 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

You should try working with engineers.  :D

Or artists. :rolleyes:

16 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

I know that I often use the wrong homonym, but like Arcadia, it's not because I don't know the difference.  It's because once I start typing a word, my subconscious takes over.  Anything that starts with "India" is likely to end up as "Indiana" or even "Indianapolis," for example, simply because I've already typed those names so often.  I generally catch the errors when I proofread, though -- I hope!

It occurs to me that maybe the problem is not that people don't know how to spell or write … they don't know how to proofread! :D 

I automatically proof everything I write, I suspect because 1) I had teachers who pounced if I didn't get it exactly right and 2) I had a job that required it. (And I used to be better at it; I hate when I let things slip through, but I notice it's happening more often … arghhhh!)  But maybe not everyone has that experience? Some of the emails I get … I try not to be judgmental, but man, if I was grading them the way my Dad graded papers, I'd be handing out a lot of F's. But I still get the message, so who cares. :D 

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You're too kind.

No certainly some of the teachers I work with just have appalling grammar, bad spelling and their general kknowledge isn't so hot either!

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10 hours ago, Arcadia said:

It occurs to me that maybe the problem is not that people don't know how to spell or write … they don't know how to proofread! :D 

Oh, for sure!  I assume that a lot of people think their spellchecker takes the place of proofreading.  And it does of course -- but only up to a point.  Here lately, I even see the occasional homonym error in respected professional publications.

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1 hour ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Oh, for sure!  I assume that a lot of people think their spellchecker takes the place of proofreading.  And it does of course -- but only up to a point.  Here lately, I even see the occasional homonym error in respected professional publications.

Me too, and it drives me nutz. Don't editors care anymore? *sigh* :smile: 

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Could be the publishers (AKA the purse-strings) believe that proofreaders are no longer necessary (all they do is check your spelling, right?), and have cut those positions, possibly over the vigorous objections of the editors.

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We recently re-watched Cary Grant in Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House, then just today we watched an episode of Columbo with Ray Milland.  I was struck by the similarity of Milland's speech patterns to Grant's, so I looked them up and found that they were born pretty close together -- Grant in Bristol and Milland in far-southern Wales -- but I have no idea whether people from those two areas talk much alike (or for that matter, whether Grant and Milland even kept any trace of their original accents).

Can anybody enlighten me?

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SJiRQ0H.jpg

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On 7/13/2019 at 4:48 AM, Caya said:

SJiRQ0H.jpg

In addition to using "the Oxford comma" (which was just a normal comma when I was in school), I try to arrange the items so as to avoid ambiguity.  If I had written the first example above, it would presumably be phrased as "... Kris Kristofferson, Robert Duvall, and Merle Haggard's two ex-wives."

I do, however, find myself using less punctuation than I used to (those two commas around "however" are getting kinda optional, I think).  I don't go by "the rules" so much as I try for clarity, and if commas don't add anything to the clarity -- i.e., if someone would just naturally read the sentence the same way with or without them -- then I'll often omit them.

The apostrophe also seems to be disappearing, especially in pluralized symbols such as "the 1920s" or "spelled with two Rs," and in company names such as Walgreens (founded by Charles Walgreen) and Menards (founded by John Menard).  I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the spelling difference between "its" and "it's" disappear soon, among all but the most pedantic writers, simply because the meaning is almost always clear from context.

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I'm afraid all those apostrophes emigrated to Germany. They are everywhere where they shouldn't - in plurals and possessive genitives.

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46 minutes ago, J.P. said:

I'm afraid all those apostrophes emigrated to Germany. They are everywhere where they shouldn't - in plurals and possessive genitives.

In things written in the German language, you mean?  Or are you talking about the way English is used in Germany?

Unfortunately the usages you mention are also common here.  For example, one often sees signs on mailboxes and by driveways identifying the owners of the property as "The Smith's" or "The Brown's."  I see the plural apostrophe used far less often for common nouns, though, so I suspect its use with proper nouns is a carryover from its use in pluralizing symbols.  After all, a family with the surname Fox is not technically "the Foxes," and the technically-correct "Foxs" doesn't look right, so in that sort of case I can certainly sympathize with the use of "Fox's."  If I were writing it, though, I'd probably chicken out and put "the Fox family."

I had to look up "genitive" (it's been a while since I studied Latin).  We call it possessive in English, and it does use apostrophes for nouns, but not for pronouns -- yet one often sees people writing "her's" and "their's" with the superfluous apostrophe.  (Don't believe I've ever seen "hi's" though.  :D )  I did once see a roadside establishment called (according to the professionally-made sign out front) "Jone's Truck Stop," but that sort of nonsense is pretty rare.

 

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It's like this in German, basically:

ZsWmpvS.jpg

(gehört means belongs to)

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12 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

In things written in the German language, you mean?  Or are you talking about the way English is used in Germany?

Unfortunately the usages you mention are also common here.  For example, one often sees signs on mailboxes and by driveways identifying the owners of the property as "The Smith's" or "The Brown's."  I see the plural apostrophe used far less often for common nouns, though, so I suspect its use with proper nouns is a carryover from its use in pluralizing symbols.  After all, a family with the surname Fox is not technically "the Foxes," and the technically-correct "Foxs" doesn't look right, so in that sort of case I can certainly sympathize with the use of "Fox's."  If I were writing it, though, I'd probably chicken out and put "the Fox family."

I had to look up "genitive" (it's been a while since I studied Latin).  We call it possessive in English, and it does use apostrophes for nouns, but not for pronouns -- yet one often sees people writing "her's" and "their's" with the superfluous apostrophe.  (Don't believe I've ever seen "hi's" though.  :D )  I did once see a roadside establishment called (according to the professionally-made sign out front) "Jone's Truck Stop," but that sort of nonsense is pretty rare.

 

It would be correct though if the owner was actually called "Jone", wouldn't it? 

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6 hours ago, T.o.b.y said:

It would be correct though if the owner was actually called "Jone", wouldn't it?

True.  But I seriously doubt that was the case, since "Jones" is a very common surname, and I've never heard the name "Jone."

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1 hour ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

True.  But I seriously doubt that was the case, since "Jones" is a very common surname, and I've never heard the name "Jone."

Yeah, I didn't think it was likely either. 😄

Just making sure I still understand the apostrophe rules. 

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I meant the possessive form of nouns. They are similar to English but without apostrophes. Which doesn't prevent some people from using them anyway.  The same for plurals.

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On 10/3/2019 at 4:27 PM, Caya said:

It's like this in German, basically:

ZsWmpvS.jpg

(gehört means belongs to)

 

8 hours ago, J.P. said:

I meant the possessive form of nouns. They are similar to English but without apostrophes.

I know next to nothing about German grammar.  What about the second line in Caya's post -- is that one of those tricky little exceptions that every language seems to have?

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4 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

 

I know next to nothing about German grammar.  What about the second line in Caya's post -- is that one of those tricky little exceptions that every language seems to have?

No, "Andreas" is a man's name, the male version of "Andrea". 

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