The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Clemens » Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:52 pm

In fact you can hear sometimes: "Rettet dem Dativ" but genitve has also got problems: Instead of "während des Essens", most people now say "während dem Essen" - and there are several other examples for the genitive being substituted for another case... :)

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Emma_85 » Wed Sep 10, 2003 7:15 pm

That explains why my German teacher is a member of the 'Rettet den Dativ' and 'Rettet den Genitiv' Club. Think he's also a member of the 'Rettet die Deutsche Sprache', '... die Deutsche Literatur' and '...die Deutschlehrer vor Schülern, die kein Deutsch mehr können.' ;)
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Keesa » Wed Sep 10, 2003 10:50 pm

[quote author=William Annis link=board=6;threadid=612;start=30#5691 date=1063205347]<br />Hebrew certainly does have vowels. However, writing them is optional. <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Thanks for clearing me up! (And yes, klewlis, the only language with no vowels.) <br /><br />Thanks also for the site...it's neat! <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Puella Parva » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:07 am

English!! Most definately, I can't make heads or tails out of it, there's a rule for everything, and all rules are broken including that one!<br />A very strange language....
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Keesa » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:57 am

[quote author=Puella Parva link=board=6;threadid=612;start=30#5725 date=1063238821]<br />A very strange language....<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Our thoughts run parallel on this track. <br /><br />I see someone has finally selected French as the language with the most difficult grammar. For a while I thought it was going to go down in history as the easier grammar to learn! ;D It is the easiest, I think, much more so than any other language I've studied, except maybe Latin...Latin seems pretty easy so far.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by mingshey » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:40 am

Word play from a german magazine:<br /><br />der Tod des Todes<br />dem Tod den Tod<br /><br />reminds one of the spring ritual.<br /><br />(I think I got spending more time than studying greek these day. Got to harness myself, though actually I'm spending most of my spare time reading Frazer's Golden Bough I recently found out.<br />It describes the spring rituals of the world, in which people mimic a funeral of "death" represented by a dummy. And this reminded me of the word play above, which I read a decade ago.)<br />

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by mingshey » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:43 am

[quote author=mingshey link=board=6;threadid=612;start=45#5740 date=1063244431]<br />Word play from a german magazine:<br /><br />der Tod des Todes<br />dem Tod den Tod<br /><br />reminds one of the spring rituals.<br /><br />(I think I got spending more time than studying greek these days. Got to harness myself, though actually I'm spending most of my spare time reading Frazer's Golden Bough I recently found out.<br />It describes the spring rituals of the world, in which people mimic a funeral of "death" represented by a dummy. And this reminded me of the word play above, which I read a decade ago.)<br /><br />[/quote]

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Keesa » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:47 am

[quote author=Episcopus link=board=6;threadid=612;start=30#5692 date=1063209878]<br />Speaking of opinions and tastes, it is not a fact that Greek, Hebrew etc. is harder than Latin. In certain facets each language may differ however one can not say something that does not be an opinion ;)<br />[/quote]<br /><br />'Difficulty is in the mind of the beholder?' <br /><br />I can agree with that. It would seem to me that there would be many different factors that influence the relative difficulty of a language...your own native language, how many other languages you speak, even how interested you are in the language. (I"ve been studying Spanish off and on for three years now. Buenos dias. Adios. I can't even spell it... ;D) <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by vinobrien » Thu Sep 11, 2003 10:20 am

Greek, as the poll suggests, the real stinker. IT'S THE VERBS! Is there a completely regular verb anywhere? Did they really need that many moods? Why don't they ever use a finite verb? How come they omit so much which we have to interpolate to make it comprehensible? Why are there so many words? Why do I like it so much?<br /><br />Incidently, I made the same set of comments to my Hebrew teacher (rabbi, Cambridge and Jerusalem trained) about Hebrew (we were just starting the wonderful pe nun verbs) a few years back. Her answer was that she had never been able to read the Psalms no matter how hard she tried and she was pretty certain that no one understood them without a crib. Which makes me think, to what extent are our translations of the classics formed by received wisdom about their meaning rather than the text itself?
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Keesa » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:04 pm

She was pretty certain that no one understood them? Surely the people who wrote them understood them...
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by vinobrien » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:21 pm

She wasn't quite old enough to have asked King David.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by klewlis » Thu Sep 11, 2003 2:23 pm

[quote author=vinobrien link=board=6;threadid=612;start=45#5770 date=1063275613]<br />Which makes me think, to what extent are our translations of the classics formed by received wisdom about their meaning rather than the text itself?<br />[/quote]<br /><br /><br />All translation includes interpretation, which includes received wisdom. The key is being careful to use the right amounts of each. :)

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Episcopus » Thu Sep 11, 2003 7:34 pm

O Keesa...<br /><br />Ah it seems that I did subconsciously know the German genitive then! It's the really der der des der des der simple one :)<br /><br />Easier than dative ;)<br /><br />But German genitive is still evil! See people, those evil -es/s in some nouns added! voyez!
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Keesa » Fri Sep 12, 2003 11:52 am

[quote author=Episcopus link=board=6;threadid=612;start=45#5830 date=1063308893]<br />Ah it seems that I did subconsciously know the German genitive then! It's the really der der des der des der simple one :)<br />[/quote]<br /><br />It sounds like scanning a line of poetry! da-da-DA da-DA-da. ;D<br /><br />And I didn't mean she should have asked David; I just meant that he, at least, would have been able to understand them. (I assume.) ;)<br /><br />Keesa
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Bert » Sun Sep 14, 2003 1:09 am

I'm voting Greek.<br />I have had two years of German and two years of French in school. (Also four years of English as a foreign language).<br />Greek is definitely more difficult.<br />Several people vote English as the most difficult.<br />Couldn't be.<br />Just look at how well the Text kit members from non-English speaking countries write their posts.<br />I did find the English pronunciation difficult.<br />Just pronounce the diphthong 'ou' in though, tough, through and thought.<br />

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Carola » Mon Sep 15, 2003 12:17 am

[quote author=Bert de Haan link=board=6;threadid=612;start=45#5990 date=1063501789]<br />Several people vote English as the most difficult.<br />Couldn't be.<br />Just look at how well the Text kit members from non-English speaking countries write their posts.<br />I did find the English pronunciation difficult.<br />Just pronounce the diphthong 'ou' in though, tough, through and thought.<br /><br />[/quote]<br /><br />This can be a little misleading as English has become an international common language. You can speak English in a simplified way, ignoring a lot of the grammar, and still be understood. I think you have to view English as 2 languages, International English and English as spoken by native English speakers (or perhaps that should be about 50 languages, as spoken in America, Australia, West Indies, UK, Canada & so on!) We'll leave out the pronunciation of some words, which defies logic (lead & lead, won and one.......... ??? )
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by klewlis » Mon Sep 15, 2003 1:02 am

I like all the quirks in the english language! It gives it character!<br /><br />And will confuse linguists for centuries to come!<br /><br /><br />(i think my canadian roots are showing ;)

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by mingshey » Mon Sep 15, 2003 2:16 am

[quote author=Bert de Haan link=board=6;threadid=612;start=45#5990 date=1063501789]<br /><br />I did find the English pronunciation difficult.<br />Just pronounce the diphthong 'ou' in though, tough, through and thought.<br /><br />[/quote]<br /><br />Check out the euro-english for this. (Er, maybe you already have.)

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by benissimus » Mon Sep 15, 2003 2:25 am

It looks like Russian and German had a head-on collision.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by bingley » Mon Sep 15, 2003 3:21 am

But if we simplified English spelling, we would miss out on gems like this:<br /><br />http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/tough.html

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by klewlis » Mon Sep 15, 2003 4:39 am

love it!

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Keesa » Tue Sep 16, 2003 11:41 am

Oh, what a darling little poem! I love it!
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Episcopus » Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:00 pm

Ok let's compare difficulty with just a random possessive adj: <br /><br />English: my <br />French: mon M, ma F, mes PL *mon before vowel irrspc. of gender<br />German: mein M, meine F, mein N (plus all dat, acc, gen inflections with prepositions etc)<br />Latin: meus, mea, meum plus all inflections as 1st/2nd dec adj. Voc Mi<br /><br />To compare the languages is funny and just look at English! <br /><br />
Last edited by Episcopus on Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by klewlis » Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:06 pm

I like your example.<br /><br />However, in many other cases the sheer number of things to memorize doesn't necessarily make a language more difficult. For example, in Greek it at first seems tedious to learn 24 versions of the definite article, where english only has one and latin has none... but once you know those 24 articles, they are *extremely* helpful in everything else you do in the language, and take away much of the ambiguity of languages without articles :)

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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Post by Episcopus » Tue Sep 16, 2003 6:20 pm

You make good point ;) but personally I love Latin's lack of definite article; I find myself writing English without one too.<br /><br />Certainly though a language is more challenging in a certain way if there are more parts to memorize: Ancient Greek and its dual thing if I have the right language!<br /><br />Yes...it is nice to have the ablative of cause without having to right because of unless you want causã + gen (i.e eius)<br /><br />
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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:59 am

I voted Greek. Not that I know too much about Latin or German grammar, mind you.

I consider English to be the most grammatically simple language on the list. After all, it's the only language without the whole gender baggage where apples are feminine and computers are masculine and maidens are neuter, or whatever crazy distinctions those other Indo-European languages make (I believe Persian/Farsi is the other Indo-European language which has forsaken the baggage as well). The word order is (usually) SVO, whereas in French its sometimes SVO and sometimes SOV, and Latin and Greek have their case systems (I love them, but I think English is easier) which complicates word order.

I could go into further examples (in addition to Epi's wonderful "my" example), but I think I've made my point.

By some accident of fate, I did get a good education in English grammar in school. Public school in California no less. That background helped a lot when I started studying foreign languages.

My mother speaks Hebrew as her native language. She has studied English, French, and Arabic. She considers English to have by far the easiest grammar, though it's the most difficult to pronounce. It is interesting to note that though Arabic is the closest to her native language, it was the only one so difficult it made her give up.

I love Ancient Greek, and I love that it's difficult. It it weren't diffcult, I wouldn't have as good an excuse to luxuriate over its grammar points, and it would not be nearly as fascinating.

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Post by psilord » Tue Oct 25, 2005 5:52 am

English is easy eh?

Once you get the get to get the get of get, then the get will get going on getting the true meaning of get. Upon getting wind of the forms of get, the get will get even with you and then you'll get it while getting together with the get. Then, while your goat is being gotten, getting through it will get the get even with you and once you get to the end and get around it, you'll get at the get with more insidious forms of get. Finally in your machinations you get ahead of the get and he gets it but good.

*snicker*

:)

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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Tue Oct 25, 2005 6:08 am

"Just pronounce the diphthong 'ou' in though, tough, through and thought."

Those aren't diphthongs, except for the ou in though. A diphthong is two vowel sounds in one syllable, regardless of the number of vowels used to spell it. (I has a diphthong, and beau doesn't have a triphthong, but a diphthong.)

All languages are easy; not the case with all learning methods.

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Post by Episcopus » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:09 pm

I indeed shy away from chinese and others of the orient.

Since Greek and French are on the list, I was speaking to the french student in school and she gave me a very odd look when I told her who the maths teacher was. "Il est le prof le gras avec les cheveux les chatains"

:shock:
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Post by Kopio » Tue Oct 25, 2005 5:42 pm

Since Hebrew isn't on the list....I voted for Greek. Hebrew has continued to give me fits though, and make me feel as if the two years I took of it were merely enough to confuse me on a much higher level :?

What little Latin I have studied seems to be very friendly in light of Greek.

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:50 am

psilord wrote:English is easy eh?

Once you get the get to get the get of get, then the get will get going on getting the true meaning of get.
I get what you mean about get. Get is the verb which you get when you got to get a verb you can't get out of you head but has got to be more specific than "to do."

Here's a list of all the uses of get I can think of off hand

"Get the bread loaf."
"Get over here."
"I don't get how to solve this problem."
"She's got talent."
"I have got to go/I gotta go."
"I must get going."
"Get drunk."
"Get out."
"Athena is Zeus' get."

Get is an idiomatic issue more than a grammatical issue, to the extent they can be separated.

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Post by psilord » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:41 am

get means far more than "to do"! 18 definitions (with subdefinitions) of the verb, plus a lot of idiomatic usages.

It is an amazing little word.

Code: Select all

 1 get vb  \(')get; often git, without stress, when a 
        heavily stressed syllable follows, as in "get up"\ 
        got \(')gat\; got; got.ten \'gat-*n\; get.ting
    [ME geten, fr. ON geta to get, beget; akin to OE 
        bigietan to beget, L prehendere to seize, grasp, Gk 
        chandanein to hold, contain]
    vt
      1  a : to gain possession of
         b : EARN
      2  a : to obtain or receive by way of benefit or profit
         b : to achieve as a result of military activity
      3 : to obtain by concession or entreaty
      4  a : to seek out and obtain [hoped to ~ dinner at the 
             inn]
         b : FETCH
      5 : BEGET
      6  a : to succeed in bringing or conveying
         b : to cause to move [~ him out of the house]
         c : to cause to be in a certain position or condition 
             [got his feet wet]
         d : to make ready : PREPARE
      7  a : SEIZE
         b : OVERCOME
         c : to have an emotional effect on
         d : PUZZLE
         e : IRRITATE
         f : to take vengeance on; specif : 
             KILL
         g : HIT
      8  a : to be subjected to [got a bad fall]
         b : to receive by way of punishment
         c : to suffer a specified injury to
      9  a : MEMORIZE
         b : to find out by calculation
         c : HEAR
         d : UNDERSTAND
     10 : PRESUADE, INDUCE
     11  a : HAVE -- used in the present perfect tense form 
             with present meaning [I've got no money]
         b : to have as an obligation or necessity -- used in the 
             present perfect tense form with present meaning [he has 
             got to come]
     12 : to establish communication with
     13 : to put out in baseball
    vi
      1  a : to succeed in coming or going [~ to the city]
         b : to reach a certain condition [got to sleep after 
             midnight]
      2 : to acquire wealth
      3 : to be able : CONTRIVE
      4 : BECOME [got married last week]
      5 : to leave immediately [told them to ~]
    syn GET, OBTAIN, PROCURE, SECURE, 
        ACQUIRE, GAIN, WIN, EARN mean to come 
        into possession of. GET is a very general term and may or may 
        not imply effort or initiative; OBTAIN suggests the attainment 
        of something sought for with some expenditure of time and effort; 
        PROCURE implies effort in obtaining something for oneself or 
        for another; SECURE implies difficulty in obtaining and 
        keeping in possession or under one's control; ACQUIRE often 
        suggests an addition to what is already possessed; GAIN adds 
        to OBTAIN the implication of struggle and usu. of material 
        value in the thing obtained; WIN adds to GAIN the 
        suggestion of favoring qualities or circumstances playing a part in 
        the gaining; EARN implies a correspondence between the effort 
        and what one gets by effort
    get after  
    vi
      : to pursue with exhortation, reprimand, or attack
    get ahead  
    vi
      : to achieve success
    get around  
    vi
      1 : to get the better of : CIRCUMVENT
      2 : EVADE
    get at  
    vi
      1 : to reach effectively
      2 : to influence corruptly : BRIBE
      3 : to turn one's attention to
      4 : to try to prove or make clear [what is he getting 
          at]
    get away with  
    vi
      : to perform without suffering unpleasant consequences
    get even  
    vi
      : to get revenge
    get even with  
    vi
      : to repay in kind
    get it  
    vi
      : to receive a scolding or punishment
    get on  
    vi
      : to produce an unfortunate effect on : UPSET
    get one's goat  
    vi
      : to make one angry or annoyed
    get over  
    vi
      1  a : OVERCOME, SURMOUNT
         b : to recover from
      2 : to move or travel across
    get somewhere  
    vi
      : to be successful
    get there  
    vi
      : to be successful
    get through  
    vi
      1 : to reach the end of : COMPLETE
      2 : to while away
    get to  
    vi
      1 : BEGIN
      2 : to have an effect on : INFLUENCE
    get together  
    vi
      1 : to bring together : ACCUMULATE
      2 : to come together : ASSEMBLE
      3 : to reach agreement
    get wind of  
    vi
      : to become aware of
 2 get n  \'get\
      1  a : something begotten :
            (1) : OFFSPRING
            (2) : the entire progeny of a male animal
         b : LINEAGE
      2 : a difficult return of a shot in a game

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Post by Bert » Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:58 pm

psilord wrote:English is easy eh?

Once you get the get to get the get of get, then the get will get going on getting the true meaning of get. Upon getting wind of the forms of get, the get will get even with you and then you'll get it while getting together with the get. Then, while your goat is being gotten, getting through it will get the get even with you and once you get to the end and get around it, you'll get at the get with more insidious forms of get. Finally in your machinations you get ahead of the get and he gets it but good.

*snicker*

:)
Is this actually a reasonably correct sentence?

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Post by psilord » Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:24 am

Bert wrote:
psilord wrote:English is easy eh?

Once you get the get to get the get of get, then the get will get going on getting the true meaning of get. Upon getting wind of the forms of get, the get will get even with you and then you'll get it while getting together with the get. Then, while your goat is being gotten, getting through it will get the get even with you and once you get to the end and get around it, you'll get at the get with more insidious forms of get. Finally in your machinations you get ahead of the get and he gets it but good.

*snicker*

:)
Is this actually a reasonably correct sentence?
Yeah, that is pretty much a correct sentence. If I messed with it a bit, I could probably stuff in a few more uses of the word get and clean up the little story it tells to not be redundant in a place.

It basically means:

Once you help the child obtain basic understanding of the meaning of get, then the child will begin making progress on realization of the true meaning of get. Upon realizing the many forms of get, the child will take revenge on you and you'll be sorry when you next meet with the child. Then upon completion of the suffering the child has placed upon you, you will again be his equal and gleefully force understanding of the more insidious forms of get upon the child. Finally in your machinations you will outsmart the child and he will deeply feel sorry.

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Post by Laurent » Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:33 pm

Hum? English grammatically harder than French? Hum...! As Episcopus said, possessive adjectives, in English, are very easy. Don't forget to consider the following though:
- Verb tenses (two really different ones in English (the other ones are just combinations), at least fifteen different ones in French).
- Past participles (many francophone folks won't ever understand how to write those in their lives...).
- Gender (none in English, a specific one for every word in French, and sometimes, hard to know).
- Etc.

However, I can't say anything about Greek and German. :S

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Post by Bert » Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:09 am

psilord wrote:
Bert wrote: Is this actually a reasonably correct sentence?
Yeah, that is pretty much a correct sentence. If I messed with it a bit, I could probably stuff in a few more uses of the word get and clean up the little story it tells to not be redundant in a place.

It basically means:

Once you help the child obtain basic understanding of the meaning of get, then the child will begin making progress on realization of the true meaning of get. Upon realizing the many forms of get, the child will take revenge on you and you'll be sorry when you next meet with the child. Then upon completion of the suffering the child has placed upon you, you will again be his equal and gleefully force understanding of the more insidious forms of get upon the child. Finally in your machinations you will outsmart the child and he will deeply feel sorry.
Amazing but I can see it now. Shouldn't 'goat' be 'goad'?

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Post by psilord » Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:51 am

Bert wrote:Amazing but I can see it now. Shouldn't 'goat' be 'goad'?
Nope, "get one's goat" means to "to become annoyed or angry". :) Oddly enough, it is actually in the definition I posted. I hadn't known it was there til I looked just now... I just figured it was a common enough english slang that people would have heard of it.

Michaelyus
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Post by Michaelyus » Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:47 pm

Are we talking about the grammar or the plurality of meanings here?

I don't think that the using of auxiliary verbs really complicates a language. Besides, nuances in grammatical construction can achieve desired effects. Something the English Literature exams don't really test you on...

Chinese... as a native speaker of Mandarin, but one that has drifted very far (I am not as literate as I ought to be), Chinese's difficulty lies in its syntax. If one searches for any irregularity in Chinese verbs, it could only be "you3" to have, which is negated by "mei3" rather than "bu3" which does that for every other verb. In Cantonese Chinese I believe the counterparts are "jau5/jau6" which actually changes form and becomes "mou5" instead having a preceeding negative "bat1" or "m4/ng4".

Classical Arabic...is this the language most Muslims learn to study the Qur'an? Is the Qur'an the premier example of this literature? Was it highly literary (unlike the Vulgate or even the New Testament itself)? I am totally ignorant of it (although I glanced through an appendix from a "Teach Yourself Arbic book" listing some variously incomprehensible forms. Is the jussive form mentioned a subjunctive or not?)
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