deird1: a chibi of Kitty from P&P, with text "what do you keep winking at me for?" (Kitty winking)
Okay. This has stumped me.

We have:
- one Surgeon General
- two Surgeons General
- one cup of tea
- two cups of tea
- The Surgeon General's cup of tea.
- The Surgeon General's cups of tea.

...when you have multiple Surgeons General, how do you do the possessive?

Is it:
- The Surgeons' General cups of tea?
- The Surgeons General's cups of tea?
- The Surgeons' Generals cups of tea?
...or what?
deird1: Rose, with text "I am the Bad Wolf" (Rose bad wolf)
So, I knew that ASL had a different alphabet to Auslan. (Our alphabet is two-handed; ASL is one-handed.)

What I hadn't realised until today was that they have different numbers as well.

I looked up the ASL alphabet today, and found this:

As an Auslan person, that bottom row looks to me like:
0, 1, 2, 8, 4, 5, 3 ...followed by words I don't know.

No larger point. I just find it interesting that counting can be so different in different countries.
deird1: Spike looking at Harmony, with text "you were meant for me; perhaps as punishment (Spike Harmony punishment)
Does everyone in non-Australia seriously call them twin beds?

Twin? Really?

Single/double works so well. Twin/double is more... aren't they the same? It sounds weird.

I'm rather confused.
deird1: Chiana, head on one side (Chiana)
...the really odd sensation of not realising that two things are the same thing.

This has happened to me before, many times. For instance: after decades of hearing Americans talk about Rice Krispies, I saw a box on a tv show, and suddenly realised that they were the same thing as Rice Bubbles. (I'd been picturing something more like Cornflakes, but made from rice.)

And, most recently, I watched an American show with the subtitles on. Which meant that, when "Tamara" came on screen, I could see that people were calling her "Tamara".

I have, apparently, spent years watching tv shows with people called Tamara.

The thing is, though, that in Australia, I'd say "ta-MAR-ah". In America, it seems to be "TAM-ra".

For years and years, I have seen character after character called Tamra, and never ever realised that it was actually just a different pronunciation of Tamara. And now I'm a bit weirded out.


Apr. 29th, 2015 08:06 am
deird1: Dawn looking at Spike, with text "badder than you" (Dawn badder than you)
My old computer having finally died, I've bought a new one. Behold, my ability to type a paragraph in less than half an hour!

The kidlet is doing well, and is semi-mobile. He's not crawling yet, but is moving enough to grab random objects before I've realised that he's now two metres away from where I left him.

I've decided that Elementary is the best show of all the shows - at least this week. Miles better than most Sherlock Holmes incarnations, at least, due to his wonderful ability to not be a total arse to everyone he encounters.

We're about to start a weekly, parent-friendly roleplaying group at our house. Haven't done this in nearly a decade, and now I suddenly have to create a session-long Firefly campaign out of thin air! Help!

I've ditched book 5 of my Latin course, and have raced back to book 1 to revise. Am now no longer feeling like a dunce, but instead marvelling at my ability to speak extremely basic Latin with such finesse.

...I totally have time to sign up for this year's Remix, right? Right?
deird1: puppet!Angel brooding, with text "brood brood brood brood brood brood brood brood brood" (PuppetAngel brood)
Okay. So, I went to hospital a few months ago.

Americans, as far as I can gather, would say that I went to the hospital.

Then, while I was in hospital (otherwise known as in the hospital), the husband came and visited me.

Talking about this with him yesterday, I mentioned that he'd "gone to the hospital". From an American standpoint, this seems like it would mean he'd been injured and was lying in a hospital bed. So... how would someone in America indicate that a person had physically gone to the hospital building, but wasn't a patient? Or do you have to spell it out like that?
deird1: Dawn raising an eyebrow, with text "srsly?" (Dawn srsly)
When I say everyone in Germany speaks English, I don't just mean they can pause, think "Okay. Going to change languages now.", and then start having a new conversation in a different language. I mean that they'll drop English into the middle of a German conversation.

This especially comes into play around teenagers. If something here is being marketed to teenagers, it will inevitably be written in English. There's a church near here that has a cafe with "Welcome To The Jesus Zone!" written on the outside - and even if the term "Jesus Zone" didn't give it away, you'd still be able to tell it was aimed at youth just because it's in English.

Ads are also like this. You'll see posters that are mostly written in German, except for a few words proving how awesome our product is, because English slogans are the best, yo.

I was finding this interesting, but didn't really have a concrete example to discuss until today.

(This ad is so cool.)

Now that I'm in Germany, all the pre-video ads are for German products. So they're mostly in German. This one, though, is in English - with German subtitles.

So I watch the groovy Brits do their awesome ad, and I watch the German subtitles doing their German thing... and then, suddenly, it hits 55 seconds... AND THE SUBTITLES ARE IN ENGLISH.


They have German subtitles right up until the last line, which is subtitled as: "Oh yes. It's good to be bad." IN ENGLISH. No, I'm not kidding.

Because we want our slogan to be cool. So it's got to be in English, because that's cool. So our subtitles need to be in English, because otherwise, they'll think the cool English slogan could be said in German, and that just wouldn't be cool.

I think I now understand what it was like to be French a couple of centuries ago.
deird1: Rapunzel, hanging just above the ground, afraid to touch down (Rapunzel nearly to the ground)
There are a few differences between being a non-(good)-English speaker in an English-speaking country, and a non-(good)-German speaker in a German-speaking country.

The Good

Germans correct you.

If you're talking in halting English, an English speaker will listen intently, pick up on approximately what you're trying to say, and nod understandingly. Polite, but not terribly conducive to improving your language skills.

In Germany, on the other hand, if you make an error, the person you're talking to will correct you the moment you make it. Very helpful.

(It also means that, if I want to, I can abruptly inform the Germans that their English is crap and I'm going to edit their writing so it makes sense - and no-one will find this rude.)

The Bad

Many native English speakers don't really speak anything else. Because of this, if they're talking to someone who's not good at the language, they'll dumb it down to kid-level.

German, though, isn't as flexible a language as English; it's harder to dumb down. And most Germans speak very good English. So, if you're having trouble keeping it... they'll switch to English. Nice, considerate, and makes it almost impossible to practise your German.

The Ugly Actually Rather Helpful

German is way easier to spell.

This means that it's ridiculously easy for me to look up unknown words in the dictionary and find out what they mean. Honestly, in English, I don't know how people cope.
deird1: a fictional creature called an Alot, being hugged by someone, with text "I care about this alot" (Alot)
Am currently experiencing a bout of nausea. Every time that I go to say that I feel nauseous, Josie Gellar frowns at me and says "Nauseated. You feel nauseated." and I hastily amend my grammar.
deird1: Giles studying (Giles studying)
It took me years to realise that Lily Aldrin being a kindergarten teacher meant she was teaching prep kids rather than 3 year olds.

And I only realised two days ago that, when Daphne Moon calls herself a physical therapist, she really means she's a physio - which means she's much more educated than I thought she was.
deird1: Anya looking stern (Anya glasses)
Was enjoying my Latin, and feeling very accomplished about how far I'd gotten.

Now, I'm up to basic Latin poetry, and am feeling rather like setting myself on fire.

Seriously, this stuff is horrifying.

Like this one, from Martial:
aethera contingit nova nostri principis aula;
clarius in toto sol videt orbe nihil.
haec, Auguste, tamen, quae vertice sidera pulsat,
par domus est caelo sed minor est domino.

You see, the Latin poets, being interested in fun languagey things; and being aware that their mother tongue could be put in a blender, reassembled at random, and still technically make sense; proceeded to do just that.

No, Latin word order is not like our word order. But yes, it usually actually has something that could, technically, be called "order". This, though?

Let's put the poem in English, and see what happens.
Heaven touches new our prince's palace;
more splendid in whole sun sees earth nothing.
This, Augustus, though, which the peak of the stars hits,
equal house is to sky but lesser is than master.

The main culprits being these ones:
Heaven touches new our prince's palace;
more splendid in whole sun sees earth nothing.
This, Augustus, though, which the peak of the stars hits,
equal house is to sky but lesser is than master.

Make those word-pairs actually sit together, rather than at opposite ends of the sentence, and it'd be fine. But no, that wouldn't be fancy and poetical, would it? Much better to drive Mez to despair by being untranslateable...

BRB. Ripping Latin books to shreds while sobbing.


Nov. 19th, 2012 03:27 pm
deird1: Faith looking thoughtful, with text "deep thought" (Faith thought)
So – spelling ríform.
Wyl y am mostlí in févor of éh words spelling matching thí wéh it saunds, my mén ríaksion tú thí possibiliti of spelling ríform is… wel, dred.

Mehnlí this is bikoz y ríli don’t wont tú lern éh hol nu spelling sistem. But also… y lyk aur wírd and komplicéted spelling, and how strénj it is. Y lyk bíing ébl to sí orl thí words that ar klírli from Jerman, or Latin, or Old Inglish, and hau thér spelling stil riflekts that. It’s word gíkery at its fynest – and y don’t wont tú giv that up.

(Interestingli, aur komplicéted words sím tú bí spelled much mor akkuratli than aur simpul wuns. Hau od.)
deird1: Fred reading a book (Fred book)
Have taken a break from Latin, to look at Old English.

It's wonderful. And so Englishy. Half the words sound like I'm just talking in a funny accent - and then you add "ish" and "ness" to the ends of everything.

Look at this, for instance:

"Eala ge cild, hu licaþ eow þeos spræc?"
"Wel heo us licaþ; ac þearle deoplice þu spricst and ofer ure mæþ. Ac sprec wiþ us æfter urum andgiete, þat we mægen understandan þa þing þe þu spricst."
"Ic ascige eow, 'For hwy leornige ge swa geornlice?'"
"For-þæm we nyllaþ beon swa-swa stunt nietenu, þe nan þing nyton buton gærs and wæter."
"Hwæt wille ge þonne beon?"
"We willaþ wise beon."

Incomprehensible, no?
But if I write it like this...

"Eala ye child, how likath you these sprech?"
"Well heo us likath; ac thearle deeplish thou spricst and over our math. Ac sprech with us after ourum andgiete, that we mayen understandan tha thing thet thou spricst."
"Ich askey you, 'For why learny ye so yearnlish?'"
"For-them we nillath being so-so stunt nietenu, thet no thing nyton but gars and water."
"What wille ye thonne being?"
"We willath wise being."

It's sort of like a weird mix between English, German, and weird sing-songy gibberish.

So, anyway, my new program for teaching hypothetical students lots of languages goes like this:
- English (which they should know anyway, because my hypothetical students are native speakers)
- Auslan (because sign language is awesome and gets them into a mindset of language being very weird and adaptable)
- Old English (to get a good grasp of our origins, and to learn the whole nominative-accusative-genitive-dative thing)
- ...from Old English they can then branch off into Germanic languages - as for example German
- Latin (to get a good grasp of the rest of our origins, and to add in all the extra cases like ablative)
- ...from Latin they can then branch off into Romance languages, like French


For those interested, a full translation would go something like this:
"So, you children, how do you like this language?"
"We do like it a lot; but you're speaking very deeply and beyond our understanding. But speak with us at our level, that we may understand the things you're saying."
"I ask you, why are you so eager to learn?"
"So we won't be stupid like animals, that know nothing but grass and water."
"What will you be then?"
"We will be wise."
deird1: Fred reading a book (Fred book)

It's Latin for "I learn".

Which means that, every time I pick up my Latin textbook, I'm disco-ing! Hurrah!

*dances, disco-style*
deird1: a fictional creature called an Alot, being hugged by someone, with text "I care about this alot" (Alot)
...and, once again, my colleagues are using complicated words in an attempt to sound professional.

This time it's "whom". Which would be slightly weird even if they were using it correctly. As it is, they're using it in entirely the wrong place, and moving from "slightly weird" to "utterly ridiculous".

Brief revision:

If they're what the sentence is about...
I/thou/he/she/we/you/they/who went to the beach yesterday.

If they're a less important bit of the sentence...
My dog, who was very upset about being given a bath, bit me/thee/him/her/us/you/them/whom.

If they own something...
This is my/thy/his/her/our/your/their/whose cake.

If they own something, but... um... the owner is mentioned after the other bit? Or something? *still gets confused by this* But, anyway...
This rocket launcher is mine/thine/his/hers/ours/yours/theirs/whose.

The useful thing with this is that, if you know one of them, you can do all the others. So, if you know that you could put "me" in the sentence, you should go with "him" instead of "he"...

Why don't they teach this in school anymore?
deird1: Faith and Wesley, with text "rogue demon hunters" (Faith Wesley rogue demon hunters)
I've been trying to learn Indonesian. It's really, really hard.

I wasn't expecting this. Indonesian's supposed to be comparatively easy - but out of all the languages I've learnt, this is by far the trickiest. Why, you ask? It's the vocab.

The thing is, I'm used to European languages (Sindarin and Auslan being the only non-European languages I've ever really paid attention to). In which...
Apple is Apfel.
Mother is mater.
Intelligent is intelligent.
Bed is Bett.

Even the words that aren't that simple tend to be understandable - like, in Latin, "fur", "ebrius", and "canes" become really easy to remember once you link them to "furtive", "inebriated", and "canine".

Indonesian, on the other hand, while having some of the simplest grammar I've ever encountered, has a vocabulary like nothing I've experienced before. I can understand the concepts - but I can't remember a single sentence.

Apparently I'm really good at weird grammars, as long as I recognise the words...
deird1: Dawn raising an eyebrow, with text "srsly?" (Dawn srsly)
I have a book on Latin, called Amo, Amas, Amat, and All That. It's a fun and informative look at Latin, and how to speak it. Very enjoyable read.

That is, until the end, when the author starts shaking his fist at all those damn kids on his lawn, and yelling "Back in my day..."

His main argument seems to be:
1) Latin is wonderfully complex and technically challenging (ie: hard).
2) The Cambridge Latin Course makes Latin NOT hard.
3) This means that exams are no longer challenging.
4) The CLC is ruining our nation's Latin, by teaching through cutesy stories rather than good old fashioned grammar tables.

(I especially liked the part when he claimed that the CLC never teaches you about accusatives, or even mentions them.

Attention, grumpy author! Get CLC Book 1. Open to page 21. Note the thorough explanation of accusatives. Now stop talking.)

Now, I am just as inclined as the next snob to bemoan the sad lack of education among modern youth, what with their rock music, and their strange haircuts, and their lack of good old fashioned misery... but I'm not convinced teaching a language through sample conversations is actually responsible for dumbing down the populace. It is, after all, exactly the way that every other foreign language is being taught right now - and there's a reason for that. It works.

Hey, author? Repeat after me: FUN IS NOT AUTOMATICALLY BAD.
deird1: Lilah having just beheaded Linwood, with text "promoted" (Lilah promotion)
* Yes, I'm aware this is incorrect. That's kinda my point.

First day of Job #2, and guess which of my skills are being used the most?

Editing? Nope. So far, it's just made me wince several times while reading through dreadful powerplant documents.

Engineering? Not really. It's helping me to understand the powerplant documents, but they're not all that tricky, so it's not like I'm having to delve deeply into my memory of uni lectures.

My self-taught French?

...yes. The language I am hopeless at, didn't mention on my CV, can't understand on tv shows, and have completely ignored for the last year or two is, right now, my number one MOST USEFUL SKILL in the workplace.

(So far, I have chatted to the company's French teacher, translated some job references for the HR department, and given fast-language-learning tips to someone who needs to be semi-fluent by October.)
deird1: Anya looking stern (Anya glasses)
Dear shopping centre:
There is, to my knowledge, no such thing as a "ladie". Therefore, there should not be a selection of shops for "ladie's".

Dear tv newsreader:
I'm having trouble believing that you're about to interview "a couple who have literally been to hell and back".

Dear random internet person:
There is a big difference between "Providing school students, from children to young adults..." and "Providing children to young adults..."


deird1: lilac flowers, with text "how do they rise up" (Default)

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