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Old 09-11-2007, 11:38 AM   #16
NatCh
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The terminal "s" isn't all that good an indicator, though, Nate. Consider Adidas for example.

The nice thing about speaking Texan is that nobody knows when your grammar is out of kilter -- even other Texans just assume it's some sort of colorful colloquialism.
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:45 PM   #17
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Have iRex given you any indication of when you're likely to get your iLiad, Martin?

amazon.co.uk don't sell eBooks at all, AFAIK.
Funny -- this was how I automatically knew HarryT was a Brit.
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:40 PM   #18
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English

I can't pass up the obvious quotation by Shaw: "England and America are two countries separated by a common language".
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:58 PM   #19
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My favorite is: "English is a language in which the rules exist for the sole purpose of giving identity to the exceptions."
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:18 PM   #20
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My favorite:

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.

James Nicholl
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:23 PM   #21
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I like that one too. I can't remember where I ran across it though ... it was in a book somewhere, maybe?
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
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The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.

James Nicholl
Mr. Nicholl said it on some alt.news.group back in 1990. It has been mis-attributed to a number of famous dead people, but no evidence of the quote predates 1990.

You have probably seen it in a lot of places. My favorite is in the novel Hell's Gate, where it was used without attribution to describe a fictional language.

Last edited by Nate the great; 09-11-2007 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:30 PM   #23
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Ah, that would explain it. I'm really thinking I've seen it in a book, because I seem to recall putting the book down and laughing over it a good few minutes. Followed by trying to read it to my wife (the English Prof.), and not having much luck for fits of snickering.
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:45 PM   #24
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Prescriptivists vs Descriptivists

Prescriptivists think the language belongs to them, or a least they hold it hostage for "purity"; Descriptivists know that the language belongs to the people who use it and are delighted by its fluxuations. A good writer knows the conventions of his language and how to use them. A great writer knows the conventions of his language and how to break them--a sort of literate terrorist.

I try hard to write good, occasionally (read rarely) I write well--but never great. Now, could someone tell me why my stylus doesn't work on my Sony Reader?
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:00 PM   #25
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... could someone tell me why my stylus doesn't work on my Sony Reader?
It's 'cause you're not holding your mouth right.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:22 PM   #26
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My favorite quote on the subject up to this point was H. Beam Piper, remarking (paraphrased) that English was a result of Norman guards trying to make dates with Saxon barmaids, and about as legitimate as the usual outcome of such an alliance.

But that Nicholl quote is making me reconsider.
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:06 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Oh, Why Not? View Post
Prescriptivists vs Descriptivists

Prescriptivists think the language belongs to them, or a least they hold it hostage for "purity"; Descriptivists know that the language belongs to the people who use it and are delighted by its fluxuations. A good writer knows the conventions of his language and how to use them. A great writer knows the conventions of his language and how to break them--a sort of literate terrorist.
Although that is absolutely true, there is no variant of English that I'm aware of in which it's considered "legitimate" to use "it's" as a possessive pronoun, which was the original issue at state.

It just completely and utterly baffles me why so many people get this wrong. How difficult is it to remember that "it's" means "it is", and "its" means "belonging to it"? This is not "rocket science"!
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:27 AM   #28
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You're all wrong. Dutch is a way better language than English or American.

That reminds me of when I was teaching English in Sth Korea. I was teaching them countries and language names and such and I asked them what people in England speak. The answer from my students: "American".

Mwuuhaahaaa.
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:45 AM   #29
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Someone I heard of gave up trying to learn English when they saw the following statement written down...

We sow seeds, but we also sew seams, so it seems.
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:57 AM   #30
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I like this:

Though the tough cough, and the hiccoughs plough him through.
-Robert Heinlein


Two of the spellings have changed.
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