English thread. Why not?

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Naniyue
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Naniyue »

Well, at least I can visit England or Australia without having to learn a whole new language, just some subtleties. And British comedy is da BEST!
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Gez »

Naniyue wrote:Well, at least I can visit England or Australia without having to learn a whole new language, just some subtleties.
Yes that's a perk of imperialism and colonialism.
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Reactor
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Reactor »

Another interesting word is "compound". Exactly what can it mean in regards of a couple of buildings or a military base and such? Mostly this word is used in context of chemistry.
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Gez »

com- is a Latin root meaning "with" or "together". Generally, the "com-" and "co-" prefixes in English words are there to express the idea of things being or working together. Examples: communication, combustible, colleague, cooperation.
-pound comes from Latin "ponere", meaning "to put". So, "compound" (just like "component") is something that is put together. The idea is that the compound is the whole, while the components are the parts: you put together the components to make the compound. And the fact of putting together the components into the compound is the composition.

Now here's the part where it becomes funnier: the use of "compound" to designate a set of enclosed buildings (such as a military base) originates not from Latin or French, but from Malay. Turns out that there is a Malay word for "village" that is phonetically roughly similar to compound: kampung. This word arrived in English through either Portuguese or Dutch, since Portugal, the Netherlands, and the UK all had colonies in that area of the world -- sometimes the same colony. Since it sounded roughly the same and the meaning was somewhat compatible, it was merged into "compound".

And for this reason, you can consider that "compound" is itself a compound, since its meaning has a Latin component and a Malay component!
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Reactor »

Thank you :) that was certainly a very useful explaination. I like to use the word "compound" a lot in games, yet, I wasn't really sure what does it mean, what am I using it at.

Another question, this one is a bit tougher. I heard countless times when English people want to show contempt and scorn verbally, they use the "sch" prefix at a word. For instance the South Park episode "Rainforest - schmainforest". Can you tell me more about this rule and how to use it? Perhaps an English language webpage which elaborates on this...thing? It puzzles me for years now.
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Gez »

It's actually a Yiddish thing that was adopted in American English.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shm-reduplication
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Caligari87
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Caligari87 »

Well that was a fascinating read. Today I learned something entirely new.

8-)
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Ravick
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Ravick »

Uh... kind of a dumb question, I admit, but... "Hexen" requires the article "a" or "an"? Lets say, If I'd say that I've played a/an Hexen mod, what would be the correct form?
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Graf Zahl »

'a'.
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Rachael
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Rachael »

To use an a/an depends on what the next word starts with, when spoken (not as written). If it starts with a consonant you use "a" and if you use a vowel it's "an".
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Gez »

It entirely depends on whether or not you drop the 'h' in "Hexen". Since it's a German word originally, you shouldn't drop it, so "a Hexen mod".

(You can dodge the problem entirely by saying "a mod for Hexen".)
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Reactor »

Wow, Gez, you never cease to amaze me! I knew you're extremely skillful in modding, but I'd never expect you to know the answer for linguistic questions! This is something which was never mentioned either in secondary school or in university, even though it's a somewhat important part of everyday speech.
So it appears this phenomenon goes by the name "shm-reduplication" and even has its own set of phonetic rules! This was exactly what I was lookin' for!

Is it true that collective notions have no plural forms whatsoever? Like politics, graphics, infantry, poultry? I noticed that some games do give'em plural forms, but I highly suspect they're grammatically incorrect.
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Gez »

Politics and graphics are already in the plural. For them, it's the singular form that doesn't exist.

Infantry is a collective noun. It designates the entire group of foot soldiers in an army, no matter how many of them there are. You can, however, talk about infantries if you are talking about several armies -- for example, you could talk about a joint exercise by the French and British infantries; that means "by the French infantry and by the British infantry", each infantry remains singular.

Poultry is a mass noun, a very similar notion to the collective noun. There's again a plural form only if you're talking about different types of fowl -- poultries would not designate several chicken, but several different breeds of chickens, or perhaps of other fowls (duck, goose, quail, etc.). You've got the same thing going on with fish/fishes -- "several fishes" is only correct if you're talking about types of fish, rather than about specific fish.
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Reactor »

So, collective and mass nouns are actually different? This was also something totally new for me. In Hungarian, there is one term for both, so it was pretty misleading when I tried to explain it to my apprentices. Uh, sorta like pol-correct language and legalese.
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Ravick
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Re: English thread. Why not?

Post by Ravick »

Thanks, pals. As I've heard people saying both "Exen" and "Rexen", I was not sure.

__

Also, now, FINALLY, fish/fishes use makes sense to me. As in Portuguese we also don't differentiate mass and collective nouns, it was weird to me.

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