Common misuse of words, Part 2

yoyobon_gw

A recent Little Caesar's pizza commercial featuring it's double cheese stuffed crust states on the box cover : " extramostbestest"

I don't know which is more disgusting and disturbing, the visual of it's greasy cheese mess or the blatant dumbing down.

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msmeow

Yes, they also have a family posing for a picture and yelling '"Cheeeeese!" about 50 times in that commercial!

This morning a reporter on NPR said, "When me and my dad moved here..." Ugh.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

I suppose these errors will become acceptable and language skills will be in the proverbial handbasket.

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msmeow

I'm reading Eleanor Oliphant and twice now the author has used the phrase "cut the mustard." This is especially aggravating in this book, since Eleanor speaks much more eloquently than the average bear.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Donna, lol......well, she may be eloquent but she's riding on one flat tire !

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msmeow

I was just reading a news article about a guest assaulting a Disney employee and it said, "The woman was trespassed from Disney property." Is that right? I've never heard "trespassed" used that way before. I would have expected it to say she was removed from the property.

Donna

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phoebecaulfield

msmeow, some years ago I encountered this use of "trespass" and had to ask what it meant. I live in an apartment building where the building manager is an employee of a company--and that person was fired. A notice came around to all residents announcing that the manager (and his entire family) had been "trespassed" from the property. I was told that it meant that if the residents saw either the ex-manager or any member of his family on the premises, we should call the police. In your example, I suspect "trespassed" means that she was put under a similar prohibition. I'm not sure if it means that she was physically removed from the property.

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yoyobon_gw

trespass

  • intransitive verb

    To commit an unlawful injury to the person, property, or rights of another, with actual or implied force or violence, especially to enter onto another's land wrongfully.

  • intransitive verb

    To infringe on the privacy, time, or attention of another.

  • intransitive verb

    To commit an offense or a sin; transgress or err.

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annpanagain

Apparently this wording of trespass has been in use for a while, according to a "Behind the Dictionary" article I have just found on Google. It seems to be used instead of "banned'.


Trespassers will be trespassed by Neal Whitman.

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friedag

I found this at TheLaw.com:

"If a person is trespassed, he or she is no longer allowed to enter upon the property. If the person does enter upon the premises, or attempts to enter upon the premises, he or she is subject to arrest and further criminal prosecution.

Each and every time the person enters upon the premises it is a separate offense."

Evidently trespassed has a definition in legal parlance that is not usually included in dictionaries for general use outside law professions.

Annpan, yes, in this sense trespassed is synonymous with 'banned'.

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yoyobon_gw

Unless we are lawyers, I cannot imagine using that in conversation.

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msmeow

Thanks for all the insight into “trespassed”! I can’t imagine using it in conversation that way, either.

Donna

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colleenoz

While reading in bed last night, I was jarred a bit by the sentence, “The appliance of (bikini wax)...”

Surely this should be, “The application of...”

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astrokath

Donna, I'm interested to know why you think Eleanor wouldn't say 'cut the mustard'. It's something I say :)

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vee_new

Kath, I had been wondering about that. Maybe in the US it has some vulgar meaning about which we are unfamiliar!

And as for 'trespassed' is this a case of a new Americanism? I am unable to find any mention of it used in this sense in my very heavy Collins Dictionary.

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annpanagain

Vee, Trespassed a new Americanism? I don't think so. If you read the link I gave there seem to be roots in far distant places.

I have always understood that not being able to "cut the mustard" meant a lack of sexual prowess from a man, ie impotent. No idea where the saying comes from though!

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laceyvail 6A, WV

Yoyobon, not to be too picky, but your use of "it's" in your first post is incorrect. You want "its." "It's" always means "it is" or occasionally "it has." "Its" is the possessive form. (I know you probably know this and were writing too fast.)

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colleenoz

No, “cut the mustard” means “be fit for purpose”, or “be just the thing for [whatever]”.


Where “cut the mustard” came from

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friedag

“The appliance of (bikini wax)...”

Colleen, is the author of that sentence British? I ask because, like you, I would use 'application' but I've heard British friends use 'appliance' instead.

The three dictionaries I checked say appliance and application are synonyms, chiefly British. The following is from Oxford Dictionaries (online):

BRITISH

the action or process of bringing something into operation.

"the appliance of science could increase crop yields"


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colleenoz

As it turns out, Frieda, she is British. I guess that’s a usage that didn’t make it down under as I’ve never heard “appliance” used in that sense.

I still think it’s weird :-)

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msmeow

Kathy and Vee, I always thought the phrase was “cut the muster” and US Americans were too dumb to know that “mustard” was wrong. :).

Donna

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vee_new

From this morning's local paper discussing a book just published by a first-time writer " . . .the story is of a polar bear who travels over baron ground . . . " This was probably caused by my friend spellcheck.

We notice many similar mistakes in the papers caused by the writer/journalist relying on similar functions of his/her computer and not carrying out a final check.

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annpanagain

I hope the poor bear didn't get be"knighted" in his travels...

Boom Boom!!

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msmeow

Vee, that's pretty bad! I think people rely so much on spell check (and grammar check) that they never proofread anything any more. And I suspect staff proofreaders have been victims of budget cuts at a lot of newspapers.

Donna

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carolyn_ky

Budget cuts were responsible for the present quality of the editing of our paper. The latest is a comma, separated from its preceding word and standing all alone, appearing as the first "letter" of a new line of type. They have long been unable to hyphenate properly. I have little hope for the future of printing, although one bright spot in my life is that I've heard that cursive writing is making a reappearance in classrooms.

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yoyobon_gw

Sadly , cursive isn't making a reappearance where we live though right across the border in Pennsylvania it is taught starting in 3rd grade or sooner.

I just finished reading Cover The Butter ! which takes places in Wales and I assume written by a Welsh author. She continuously used the phrase " me and her " ( or something similar ) instead of " she and I ". Is this just a US thing ?

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colleenoz

No, “me and her” is ignorant everywhere but that doesn’t stop people :-/

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vee_new

yoyo, just 'looked up' the author of Cover the Butter and see she was born in Lancashire NW England but has moved about including to Wales and is now settled in Kansas City.

Re "me and her". Of course it is not correct but is she using it colloquially? Many people over here speak like this. "She and I" would sound quite strange to English ears . . . however accurate!

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yoyobon_gw

Vee, you make a good point. I felt when I read this throughout the book that perhaps it was because she was writing in the first person and the main character was a young girl in the beginning. However, she did maintain that throughout even as the character was older as the story progressed.

Perhaps that's Kansas City patois ! ( which reminds me of a tee shirt I saw which read ' "Kanthath Thity " ) .

The use of " me and her" or " Matilda and me" always sounds incorrect. The test is to use each with the verb separately.....i.e. " Matilda went....me went " .

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annpanagain

Yoyobon, that is all right if one is writing and has time to think but in conversation, not so easy to work out!

My D will often say "Mary and me" when she knows perfectly well it is wrong but it just slips out because that is what people, who also know better, say on TV and the radio.

Bad habits are catching!


I have been wondering how I can point out to a woman in a group I post to that she writes "effect" when she means "affect" without offending her. I managed to put the correct usage in a recent post and hopes she takes the hint!

Sadly people in this group can get upset by criticism and we have lost a couple already!

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yoyobon_gw

As in the book The Four Agreements, we must always remember that " it is not about you."


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vee_new

annpan, re effect and affect. It is probably better to let that one go otherwise people on the site will accuse you of being a smart arse. It's just not worth the hassle!

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annpanagain

Vee, I agree. I used the word correctly as an example. I have no desire to upset anyone.

Some of the posters on the site can be very touchy! We ran a "for fun" competition and one poster felt she had been cheated of points and flounced off!

Like I said, very touchy! There were no prizes...

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yoyobon_gw

Lol......it's what my grandson calls " game rage " ! Flouncers will be flouncers.

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donnamira

I recently gave up on a book where the author constantly used the objective case pronouns (me and her) instead of the correct nominative case. Drove me nuts.

Our paper had an article about people who refuse to use any of the Google products because of the data it gathers about you, calling them the "hearty few who are taking the ultimate step to keep their files and
online life safe from prying eyes: turning off Google entirely."
Unless I'm mistaken, that should be "hardy few." I thought, well, maybe spellcheck screwed it up. But then the erroneous phrase was used in the follow-on headline on the continuation page. And this was the Washington Post!!! I stopped reading the article. :)

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yoyobon_gw

There are no longer any copy editors, only journalists with poor grammar. Let's not forget the local newsman who wrote that a deer "ransacked " a restaurant.

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friedag

I wonder whether "the local newsman who wrote that a deer 'ransacked' a restaurant" recalled that there is a further definition of 'ransack' beyond the one most dictionaries give first: go hurriedly through (a place) stealing things and causing damage.

The second meaning given by Oxford Dictionaries (online) follows:

search through (a place or receptacle) to find something, especially in such a way as to cause disorder and damage.
"Hollywood ransacks the New York stage for actors"
synonyms:
rummage through · hunt through · search (through) · rake through · scour · rifle · look all around · go through · comb · scrabble around in · poke around in · rummage around in · hunt around in · explore · turn inside out · turn over

Similarly worded definitions for 'ransack' appear at the Merriam-Webster site and the Cambridge English Dictionary site.

Maybe the writer likes to anthropomorphize deer -- something, perhaps, his local readers are likely to understand intuitively. :-)




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annpanagain

I would have accepted ransack! Sometimes a word is tied to something the reader understands in a selective way. I wrote a letter for my supervisor urging his client to take a certain course of action but he guffawed at "urge" and said that was what jockeys did to horses! I had to reword it.

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colleenoz

I wouldn't have accepted "ransack". "Ransack" implies directed purpose which I truly do not believe the deer could have had.

Today's paper contained this "gem":

"... because of his alleged erratic and inexplicit behaviour..."

I can't help but feel the writer meant "inexplicable behaviour".

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annpanagain

Well, Colleen, he could have been trying to get out and was tossing stuff around to find the exit! That would be purposeful! :-)

Definitely it should be inexplicable behaviour. I gave up on taking The West long ago.

They started running a Modesty Blaise strip that was so old, she used a Laundromat!

That finished me! I was getting fed up with all the ads and little news anyway.

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colleenoz

I have a free online subscription so I can scroll through it fairly quickly. It's useful for local news and stuff about events etc which are on.

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friedag

"They started running a Modesty Blaise strip that was so old, she used a Laundromat!"

Annpan, 'laundromat' is still used in North America to mean an establishment with coin-operated washing machines and dryers for public use. What is the more modern term used now in Australia? I remember when I lived in the UK the same sort of facility was called a 'launderette' or 'laundrette' (I forget which spelling was more common).

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annpanagain

Colleen, how did you get that free subscription? I can see it would be handy!

Friedag, my objection to the use of a laundromat in that strip was because Modesty had a modern penthouse which I presumed to have a laundry room rather than having to use a commercial building. I felt that the strip was so dated and she had been killed off in the books long ago.

Having to buy very expensive heart tablets for my dog was another reason why I decided to cancel the newspaper. A pension only goes so far! My neighbours took it so if there was something I needed to check on, I could borrow theirs.

I have checked out the business phone book and these facilities for self-service washing are called Laundromats, Laundrettes and Laundrobars here. Most people have their own washing machines in a wet area of the dwelling, often a dedicated room.

Common ones are found in holiday places but even caravans have built-in washing machines these days.

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colleenoz

Apparently The West offers free subscriptions to students at tertiary institutions, and DH was doing his Masters at ECU.

On the laundrette front, while our city unit (where DH lives on weekdays for work) has a full size laundry (built in the early 80s, before everything in units shrank), but we haven't bothered to get a washer for it as DH brings his laundry home on weekends and he wouldn't have the time to use it anyway. If I go down to stay for a while, I use the local laundrette.

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astrokath

While I don't agree with the deer ransacking, my first definition of the verb is the one about searching and making a mess in the process.

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annpanagain

Colleen, you are so right about home units shrinking. I was thinking of downsizing from a house and took a look at a block of units nearby. After I walked through the adjoining rooms, with no corridor, I asked the agent where the rest of the unit was!

Few places now seem to have an entrance hall, which I like. I don't want callers to come straight into the main room.

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vee_new

Friends in Australia. Does a unit mean a flat or an apartment? It seems such an impersonal word. In the UK we refer to units when talking about storage space to rent or maybe smallish office accommodation . . . but maybe your 'spaces' are no bigger than that!

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annpanagain

A unit is a self-contained dwelling and can be in a small cluster or in a large building.

It can have any number of rooms and an outdoor area which can vary from a balcony, personal or shared garden, carport or a car parking space and sometimes a shared laundry room.

This name is a rather broad definition. Some developers like to call the places Villas to sound more upmarket!

I was moved from my rented one-bedroom unit in my retirement village when it was renovated and put on the market for $A 250.000 and some are really expensive and are sold for millions, particularly if they have a good view of the river or ocean.

We bought a two bedroom one with a river view around 1986 for $A60.000 and sold it a year later for $A72.000. It would be worth a lot now but I decided I wanted a house again.

If you want to check current listings in the market at present, go to the REIWA (Real Estate Institute of Western Australia) for some descriptions and prices.

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astrokath

I have always considered a unit to be a non-freestanding dwelling which is owned by the occupier, while a flat was the same thing but rented.

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annpanagain

Kath, not here in my retirement village. I am in a unit rented from the Management.

The people in the owned units/villas also pay a monthly maintenance fee to cover repairs, gardening etc.

The whole unit thing is complicated with Managements and Body Corporates having authority over the building. I didn't like being an owner as I still had to get permission for all kinds of things from the Committee. I wanted out and sold up as soon as I could.

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yoyobon_gw

Condo ownership always confounds me. My MIL purchased an oceanfront condo in a building right on the ocean on an island off the coast of Florida and paid quite a bit for it many years ago. In addition to "owning it " she paid close to $12,000 / year for fees, taxes etc to the Condo Association. When there were major repairs or improvements to the building the owners were charged additional fees to cover it. There were also many rules regarding use of your unit , renting it to others had to be for at least 3 months at a time. In the event that your Association fees were not paid, the Association could assume ownership of your unit. ( the one that cost you a big price ). After observing how condo ownership worked for her I decided that I would never want to purchase one.

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annpanagain

Yoyobon, I dissuaded my son from buying a unit in a retirement village as it doesn't suit everyone and wouldn't fit his life-style. He had liked the idea of "lock up and go" though. It meant he could go on holiday knowing that the place was being looked after.

Some residents here want to sell for various reasons, like the maintenance fees always escalating, but there are no buyers interested at present. There is a downturn and people who might buy to downsize can't sell their homes.

There is also the problem of a majority vote. Three of four owners wanted to have the swimming pool at their place filled in and turned into a garden but the fourth resident wanted to keep it for her children. She lost the motion and now has to pay a quarter for something she doesn't want.

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yoyobon_gw

And, there is the problem of having to live with all kinds of people....many that aren't always enjoyable and others who are simply intolerable.

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msmeow

Here are two more: apparently nobody can say "texted" - I am constantly hearing "I text my son" or "my friend text me". And I often see something has "peaked" someone's interest (or even "peeked").

Gah! :)

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Gah ! indeed. As always, I will put the blame squarely on the supposition that these people are not avid readers. If they were, they would know how these words are spelled and used. Perhaps in the "texting world " they can create any word or spelling that works for them.

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yoyobon_gw

Here are two for the books......

- Watching the weather girl on Good Morning America talking about the conditions in CA and observing that the mudslides are " a whole nother threat".

- Commercial for Zero Water calls it " funner water ".


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msmeow

"Whole nother" is a southern thing. :) "Funner" is just weird.

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yoyobon_gw


"whole nother" is not for a professional who should know to use " another".

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carolyn_ky

Around here, it seems that fun has now become an adjective.

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phoebecaulfield

Here as well, and it's been one for quite a while. "We had a fun time" is very common. Or: "Looking for a fun way to celebrate a birthday?" I don't understand the need for this usage. There are many other time-honored adjectives that will do a far better job of conveying the meaning.

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yoyobon_gw

Given a choice, I would prefer " fun " used as an adjective over "funner" used in any context.

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carolyn_ky

I agree with that, Yoyo.

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yoyobon_gw

Another problem I hear frequently is the softer "e" used in event and eventually which sound like " UH-vent" and " UH-ventually" instead of " EE-vent" and " EE-ventually". The old rule that the E in "the" is long before a word beginning with a vowel .....as in thEE or thUH...also seems to be ignored. Perhaps all these nuances of pronunciation have perished along with face-to-face and phone conversations .

New York State has no longer mandated teaching cursive, something that will be forever stuck in my craw. I think I'll have my gravestone carved in script !

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msmeow

Oh, no....I just heard an NPR story about “sharenting” (posting pictures of your kids on social media). Please don’t let this term become common!

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

The freakish fake words fall like rain .

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carolyn_ky

Kentucky has reinstated cursive writing in schools. One for our side!

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yoyobon_gw

Even Pennsylvania, our neighbor, teaches cursive. Shame on NY

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annpanagain

I am confused! Cursive writing appears to be what was called "Running writing" when I learned to write about seventy-five years ago, after block letters. I use it to write in my diary every night.

How else do children write if they don't write in this way?

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vee_new

Annpan, we used to call it joined up writing!

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annpanagain

Vee, oh, yes! That too! I developed a small way of writing to fit in Airgrams to send back home, ten letters to the inch. I have to upsize them for normal writing and my signature.

I suppose I could have typed them but my mother liked to see handwritten personal correspondance.

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astrokath

Ann, most young people write in lower case writing, and in fact my husband who is 61 has rarely used cursive in his adult life.

I‘m interested that people here and among my Facebook friends are upset that cursive isn’t taught. I think as long as your writing is legible, it doesn’t matter how you write.

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yoyobon_gw

All those who never learned cursive/script writing print. Usually the older kids develop a personalized type of printing style , but it is printing none the less. I suppose they feel that cursive is outdated and any serious writing they will do will be done on the computer. I recently asked my 22 year old college graduate granddaughter if she knew how to write in cursive and she claimed that she did but chose to print. Then she demonstrated how she'd write her name as a signature. It was an abysmal result which was basically unreadable and scrawled. *sigh* I have tried to cajole my 10 year old grandson into letting me teach him cursive, but he refuses....backed by his stubborn dad who claims it's a dinosaur skill no longer relevant. *grrrrr*

When I taught I found that only a very few students knew how to write in cursive and generally those students were the ones who excelled in everything academic and had a very different ethic regarding education.

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annpanagain

I am so amazed about the cursive writing debate! It never occurred to me that it wasn't generally used.

I have been looking up websites about it and the feeling that cursive writing is past it! Even "Good riddance" is on some.

Is this just a US thing or becoming general world wide?

One link said it is a good thing for the brain, however.

Is lower case print faster to handwrite than beautiful easily-flowing cursive?

Everyone I know in my age group writes in cursive but I don't know about the younger generation.

My Great-grandchildren never write to me anyway! Like most of the family, communication is by phone or email.

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yoyobon_gw

Anna, theoretically cursive is faster and easier to write than printing because of the flow. I read that the reason New York stopped teaching cursive in the lower grades was because the State Regents ( who are now disregarded and their Regents exam will be discontinued after having been the gold standard for any course excellence in high school) decided to stop requiring an essay to be written during the Regents exams.

Does anyone recall the fad of teaching phonetic spelling ? That quickly was discontinued after they discovered that those students who learned to spell phonetically became very poor readers ( no surprise).

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carolyn_ky

And then there was the year my daughter had Base 8 math, using 8 rather than 10 as the base. It nearly killed me trying to help her. I understand the kids were being taught why 10 is used as our base, and maybe doing a grading period of it, but she spent a whole school year that way.

Ann, when my mother was teaching first grade, she called the printing first graders did "manuscript" writing, but they went on to cursive in second grade. My question to those who think it is passe is how on earth will they ever do research on early documents, much less become a postmaster who couldn't deliver the mail from us old fogies.

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woodnymph2_gw

Good points, Carolyn. I agree with you. I love doing cursive as it flows forth from my pen in a smoothe manner. I have never enjoyed printing. I spent years working in historical societies and libraries and needed to know how to decipher handwriting from the 1600's on. Luckily, I was used to my late grandfather's cursive script from the 1800's. He had an elegant and artistic penmanship.

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msmeow

I'm left handed and cursive has always been awkward for me. I'd be fine if I could write backwards from right to left! :)


Donna

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phoebecaulfield

I'm one of the old fogies who had to learn cursive and printing in school. I always wrote in cursive until eyesight and hand dexterity problems came along. To make my handwriting more readable, I switched to making block capitals. The US post office seems to be trying hard to get everyone on board with block capitals (as well as with no punctuation) anyway. Its Website shows you how to do an address label in that style, for instance. Making block capitals takes more time, and that strikes me as one very good reason for keeping cursive in our lives: it's simply faster.

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yoyobon_gw

Phoebe....welcome to the OF kvetch klotch !! We all bemoan the loss of the old skills and ways :0)

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carolyn_ky

Oh, I do like OF kvetch klotch! I'm glad I'm a member.

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astrokath

I disagree with the idea that cursive needs to be taught so old writing can be read. I learnt cursive, and still write with a form of it, but I find it very difficult to read things penned much before about the 1940s, as the style was quite different. Those who need to read it will learn, much as some historians can read writing from the 15th century that most of us cannot decipher, and some people can read Latin, but most of us cannot.

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vee_new

Re reading/deciphering documents from 'early times' While researching parish records I find the ones from the eighteenth and nineteenth century fairly easy to read but those of the seventeenth are more difficult as the 'hand' used then was often Italic. Anything before that is usually in clerks Latin for which one needs special knowledge.

We call the writing of Georgian/Victorian times copper plate which without the extra flourishes produces a flowing style which is easy to read and a pleasure to look at.

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msmeow

Phoebe, I think the block letters are needed for postal scanners. Very little mail is actually handled by humans these days, except for putting it in your mailbox.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Talk Radio this morning : " It's the over arching theme......." Isn't that supposed to be ARCING ?

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phoebecaulfield

You're absolutely right, msmeow, and I'm on board with it because I do see that it makes sense for the post office to insist on a uniform, readable system for addresses, which can be confusing, to put it mildly.

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phoebecaulfield

yoyobon, "overarching" is actually the word. "Overarcing" may be a word too but I can't recall ever hearing it, and the spelling of it makes it

a word that would often be mispronounced unless there were a "k" after the c--??

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yoyobon_gw

Thanks Phoebe !

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colleenoz

Just read a news article which reminded me of one of my pet peeves of crime reporting, the liberal use of the word "alleged".

I guess the media (print, TV and radio) are trying to avoid potential law suits when they fudge with the word "alleged", but they go nuts with it and use it when it's not appropriate or accurate.

The article in question refers to a man who has been arrested following the random shooting of a camper in New Zealand. The arrested man is referred to as "the alleged killer" etc, which is correct. But the article also refers to "the alleged attack", "the alleged murder", "the alleged shooting" and so on, which is not. Unless bullets suddenly materialised in the body of the dead man, there is nothing "alleged" about the attack/shooting/murder- it happened.

This has become very common across all forms of the media and it drives me crazy!

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phoebecaulfield

I have a special dislike for verbs made from nouns when there are other perfectly good verbs that would do. Transitioning, privileging, partnering, and gifting come to mind.

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yoyobon_gw

and.....re-gifting ( is that hyphenated ? )

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yoyobon_gw

Okay.......can of worms being opened ......I wish that when I call to speak to a customer representative for a company or utility that I can speak to a person whose first language is English. I have studied many languages and speak several so I'm not completely clueless, yet I find it almost impossible to understand most of the foreign representatives who seem to work for these companies. It is most frustrating.


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vee_new

colleen re alleged I'm not a lawyer but think that the alleged murder might be correct as the crime might be considered to be, for eg, manslaughter and the newspaper will need to cover itself. Of course I am presuming the law is the same in NZ, Aus as the UK.

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vee_new

Yoyo, I would be treading on very dodgy ground over here (however worm-filled) if I attempted to comment on your comment!

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annpanagain

Yoyo, I rather like "regifting" with or without a hyphen, both the word and the idea. It sums up the practice beautifully.


The advice for regifting is...

Check for any cards left in with the item.

Change the wrapping paper.

Make sure there is no mistake with who gave it to you in the first place or someone might recognise it

.

Oh, scrub all that! Buy a new gift and donate the unwanted item to a charity shop. That is really much simpler!

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yoyobon_gw

.....and less stressful !

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phoebecaulfield

Or just be frank and let the person know, as in: "My sister-in-law hardly knows me and sometimes sends me nice gifts that I simply I simply can't use. Would you be interested in this bracelet by any chance? I'd be happy if someone could use it."


About wanting to get people on the phone (when calling for tech support, for instance) whose first language is English--I've known many people whose first language isn't English but their English is quite understandable. I don't think it's that their first language isn't English that's the problem with calls where the caller isn't intelligible. It's that the company hiring them has low standards and hires people who haven't had adequate training to do the job. They haven't mastered the language well enough to do their job..

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woodnymph2_gw

Going one further re unintelligible phone calls: just as irritating, I find, are native English speakers who speak too rapidly, swallow their words, or talk so low that I have to ask for a repeat. As for speaking rapidly, one positive for me here is that Southerners tend to speak more slowly than most other Americans. On the other hand, once in a while, I get a speaker with a drawl or "Gullah" accent.

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colleenoz

I think younger people tend to speak faster these days as well. I worked with a young woman who I constantly had to ask to repeat what she’d said, because to me it all came out in an unintelligible buzz.

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yoyobon_gw

I had an experience recently with a fast talker who was working in the local drugstore pharmacy and had rattled off something I was supposed to understand. I said " I'm sorry, could you speak slower and repeat that ?" She glared at me and snapped: " THIS is the way I speak."

Okaaaay...........

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phoebecaulfield

Rudeness is part of the picture now. It's almost fashionable.

People under about 50 tend to have picked up on a certain style of speaking that I've had trouble getting used to even though I've been exposed to it for decades now. They pepper their speech with "ya know" and "like" and make quite a few hand gestures and have certain facial expressions that you have to catch and understand if you're to grasp what their meaning is. They seem to assume that people can read their minds, and so they don't have to put forth much effort into articulating their communication clearly.

But what I've just said is just the grousing of someone whose hearing is diminishing with age, and they seem to understand one another. Or maybe they just think they do.

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yoyobon_gw

I prefer to blame the ubiquitous texting for destroying actual communication skills.

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yoyobon_gw

Here's something else irritating that has become popular : " man up " , "squad up " .......and I suppose any other kind of " up " you wish to create to berate or encourage ( in a lesser way ) someone.

Perhaps I can circulate " woman up" ( whatever that would entail ) , or " book club up" (when someone isn't adding to the discussion sufficiently which in my case would no doubt be due to the fact that I never read the assignment ! ).

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phoebecaulfield

I've heard "lawyer up" several times.

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friedag

I recently heard "parent up" used to encourage parents to take responsibility for the behavior of their offspring.

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msmeow

Yes, but "lawyer up" doesn't mean the same thing as the others, such as "man up." "Man up" means act like a man (or more like a man) where "lawyer up" means to hire one.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Then there are the other combos with 'up" : fill up, step up, cheer up, speak up, etc.

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phoebecaulfield

Fill up, step up, cheer up, speak up, etc., don't trouble me. It's the use of a word that is traditionally a noun as a verb, in combination with "up," that seems awkward and unnecessary to me. Granted, "man" has a very common use as a verb, as in "The shipping department is manned by 10 capable staff members," but that isn't the usage meant in "man up."

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yoyobon_gw

"man up " in my understanding is pejorative.

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phoebecaulfield

Yes--it strongly suggests cowardice or maybe laziness.

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friedag

My impression of "parent up" is pejorative in the same sense as "man up." The speaker seems to be indicating that parents, who do not control their children's behavior or do not teach them proper conduct, are failing in their duties. I suppose it might be a gentler, more nuanced way of expressing disapproval. But if it ever catches on, I imagine it will cause more bristling over than appreciation of the advice. I had never heard it before, but it seems to follow the same pattern of the other phrases ending in "up" that Yoyobon listed in her first post on the subject.

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friedag

Phoebe above mentioned gestures and facial expressions that accompany particular words and phrases that some speakers expect to be readily understood by their listeners. My trouble is that I often don't pick up or don't understand these nonverbal signals. Does this happen to you -- occasionally or often when you try to communicate with someone face to face? Maybe it has something to do with my age (69), because I am most confused by body language of people half my age or younger.


Currently there is an ad running to promote a TV series Game of Thrones. I have not watched any of the episodes and don't know the characters or the plot, but some of the clips are very interesting to me because they feature nonverbal signaling, I think. In one a woman says, "I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms. And I will." She doesn't exclaim the "I will" enough to require an exclamation mark in a written version. Instead the actor raises her chin in what I interpret is a smug, arrogant, condescending expression (it's very good acting). I've seen similar 'chin thrusts' rather often in the last several years and when I see it, I figure I'm dealing with people who are full of themselves. Is that the right interpretation?


What are other gestures that either go well with the words said or might even contradict them? Does this ever perplex or annoy you? Those of you who have studied body language or perhaps have had acting lessons can provide insight.

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yoyobon_gw

Friedag, I think that the use of any " up" word is found more in the younger generations. They have found a concise and powerful way of being judgmental within their "realm" :0)

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annpanagain

Friedag, I would see a chin thrust as a sign of determination and the lowering to be submissive.

I used hand and body gestures at drama school and still do, when describing things or indicating emotions.

For good examples of this art, allied to facial expressions, think of silent movies. Although somewhat exaggerated, those actors could put a lot across without saying much!

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phoebecaulfield

I agree that hand gestures and body language can add much to communication--but I do have problems figuring out what a person is trying to say if the hand gestures aren't something I understand--or perhaps they've gone by me too fast for me to be aware of them. For instance, the "air quotes" that have become popular--It's easy to miss them but they're often important to the meaning of what a person is saying.

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yoyobon_gw

Scarlett O'Hara used both the chin thrust and the chin "tuck" . The tuck was a form of flirting and the thrust was obstinate .

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friedag

Annpan, I can see the chin thrust indicating determination without necessarily being smug or arrogant. I suppose I got that impression of the latter because my own experience with 'chin thrusters' has nearly always involved rather pushy people intent on getting their own way -- the devil to anyone who doesn't comply with their wishes.

However, it would probably be clearer if I knew something about the story and characters of Game of Thrones as it probably has a lot to do with context. Another character calls this woman who intends to rule the Seven Kingdoms "Your Grace," but there's a tone to the words of honor and respect that might mean she (the character) is just saying it because it is expected of her and not that she really means it. I could watch the program for better understanding, but I don't really like Epic Fantasy and probably couldn't get into it.

As for Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara: she knew all the tricks, didn't she? What an actor she was!

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astrokath

Frieda, the GOT thing is difficult. The woman in question is very determined to rule, and like most people who covet power, she firmly believes she deserves it. Is that arrogant? Maybe, although she has overcome a lot to get to where she is, including being married off and being the mother of three dragons (don't ask). She is also at a disadvantage being a woman in a medieval-type setting where men generally have the power. Some of the people around her believe she should rule and respect her, and she certainly looked like the best hope of destroying the evil characters, using her dragons. Overall, I'd say it was determination and the need to convince her allies of her position, rather than arrogance.

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woodnymph2_gw

I watched all of Game of Thrones (loved it, by the way!) except the very last series. I agree with Astrokath that in the case of this female character it was more a matter of determination than arrogance. In a male world, she had a tough time standing up for what she believed to be fair and just.

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yoyobon_gw

AH-mediately , without the soft i

There are other words which begin with the soft i that are also said with the AH or EE by those who choose not to pronounce words as they are intended .

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friedag

by those who choose not to pronounce words as they are intended . [emphasis mine]

Intended by whom, Yoyobon? :-)

If you like etymology, you might enjoy navigating through the thicket of pronunciation changes of the 'in' prefix. English pronunciations were probably influenced first and most through Old French and Middle French. The French adapted their pronunciation from Latin, of course. The French sound is perhaps most familiar in words such as envelope, enclave, entrepot (before English got hold of 'en'). That's probably where the /AH/ you noted came from. In Latin itself the pronunciation changed at least a couple of times before the Greek /i/ was incorporated into Latin. Interestingly, the Latin 'in' changed to 'im' before some consonant combinations that proved difficult to pronounce for many speakers.

The /EE/ pronunciation you mention is possibly from the traditional way of saying the i-vowel sound in Latin and its daughter Romance languages. That sound is the long 'e'.

I use the short 'i' sound to pronounce the first syllable of immediately and also usually other 'im' prefix words. As an American, of course, I have been influenced most by the compilers of the American English pronunciation guides (the most common standard). In this case Americans agree with the British (standard) pronunciation, usually but not always. Some American dialects -- as well as some British dialects and other Anglophone dialects -- use the /AH/ and /EE/ pronunciations. They are not wrong -- just different. It's nothing to worry about because any of the pronunciations can be understood and aren't dangerous in the way inflammable has proven to be. :-)

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colleenoz

A police sergeant here was quoted in a news article about a riot, that it was dangerous to impossible for 18 police to quell a fight between 150 “emotive” participants.

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yoyobon_gw

Friedag, let's just say that most Americans don't refer to Old French , Latin, or PigLatin for their pronunciations. The example I cited is a result of sloppiness pure and simple.

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friedag

Yoyobon, perhaps we are coming at your observation of the pronunciation of the word immediately from the differing views of a prescriptivist for and a descriptivist of language.

I like the statements of linguist and author John McWhorter:

'Any language is always and forever on its way to changing into a new one, with many of the sounds, word meanings, and sentence patterns we process as "sloppy" and "incorrect" being the very things that will constitute the "proper" language of the future.

Because a language changes in different random directions among different groups, any language is actually a bundle of dialects, none of which can be seen as degraded language because they all arise from the same process of gradual, unstoppable change.

Because there are so many languages in the world and so many bilingual people, language mixture is a natural and inevitable part of how languages have changed, now change, and will change -- and not just today . . .' Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of a "Pure" Standard English

Samuel Johnson wanted to write a prescriptive dictionary, but after ten years of researching, compiling, editing and finally getting his dictionary published, he admitted that as soon as the printing ended it was outdated.

I think it's fun to note the many, many changes in English just in my lifetime, as well as all the changes that came before. It's always a good topic for discussion, I think.




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vee_new

yoyo and Frieda I can't join in with your pronunciation discussion as, over here, we all speak so sloppily!

Here's an eg of lack of punctuation in a sentence from my 'bedside' read

I met my husband who died when I was eighteen.

As there was no forewarning/context about this strange comment it left me totally perplexed.

At first I thought the writer must have been very young when she meet the man she went on to marry. Even with a comma after 'died' I feel it is a very over-casual way of writing.

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yoyobon_gw

In a news article this morning it was suggested that communication is evolving due to the younger generation's reliance on texting. They are creating new words and abbreviated forms of words to fit texting limitations. I would say communication is decomposing.

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annpanagain

Yoyo, perhaps transforming?

I have just been watching a TV doco about Chaucer and imagine his reaction to seeing a modern version of The Canterbury Tales. He would deplore the spelling of his words, no doubt!

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yoyobon_gw

It would be interesting to recreate a portion of Chaucer using the current texting vocab and abbreviations. Here is the beginning of the Miller's Tale rewritten in today's English:

Whan that the Knyght had thus his tale ytoold,
When the Knight had thus told his tale,
3110 In al the route nas ther yong ne oold
In all the company there was no one young nor old
3111 That he ne seyde it was a noble storie
Who did not say it was a noble story
3112 And worthy for to drawen to memorie,
And worthy to draw into memory,

Texted ? : N worthy 2 draw N 2 memory.


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friedag

Vee, is your example a sentence or a sentence fragment? If there is no context, it is perplexing indeed. It has to be missing a clause or two because it makes absolutely no sense as it stands. I am assuming it must be some sort of informal writing -- what sort?

I love Chaucer! I possibly could make some sense out of the 14th-century words and sentence structure, but the modern version sure helps me. I am guessing that Chaucer wrote about the time the Great Vowel Shift was getting underway and English spelling certainly hadn't been standardized yet.

Yoyobon, maybe you can decode this for me:

Texted ? : N worthy 2 draw N 2 memory.

My experience with texting is minimal.

ETA: Never mind, Yoyo. I "got it" as soon as I submitted the original post. :-)

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vee_new

Frieda, the 'sentence I quoted was quite free standing The writer had mentioned her husband briefly in an earlier chapter but I was still puzzled.

Actually you might enjoy the premise of the book Time Song: Searching for Doggerland by Julia Blackburn about the lost area off the East coast of England, that drowned when the sea levels rose after the ice age and now part of the shallow area in the N Sea/English Channel known as the Dogger Bank. Many animal remains and human artifacts are being trawled up in fishermen's nets and along the cliff edges where ancient rivers once flowed towards what is now Norway.

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woodnymph2_gw

Vee, the Doggerland book sounds fascinating!

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astrokath

We're currently in the US and I've ordered coffee a couple of times in places where they ask your name to write on the order. Now I know that even at home, Kath is quite a difficult name to get, so the first time I said 'Kate'. No problems. But the next time it came with 'Kite' on the label, and today I said 'Kath' and it had 'Keth' LOL!

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carolyn_ky

Hah, Kath. It's our wonderful sense of individuality at work.

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yoyobon_gw

Kathy, perhaps you need to say " Phaedra" next time and see what happens. When asked to fill out my age on any form that is not absolutely official, I write down 50+. Good enough :0)

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msmeow

Kath, where are you in the US? Just curious...

Yesterday our local weather lady said it was going to be "mostly partly cloudy". At least it wasn't the "extramostbestest" weather forecast!

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Donna...nooooo ! She said that on air ? egads.

Our local weather people have a chart that tells us what to wear or bring with us today . Then they read it to us : " Today you'll need a light jacket and sunglasses. Be sure to bring along your umbrella in case of some surprise showers !" As I have always suspected, idiots abound and are reproducing.

Bon....... on southernmost border of NY

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astrokath

Donna, we had a few days in NYC, to Philadelphia for a week and now back in NYC. Weather is quite nice although a bit too humid for my taste.


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vee_new

We very frequently hear/read in newspapers and TV reports usually from the police or sports commentators " so and so fell to the floor/ hit the floor " when talking about an activity that happened outside. They seem unaware that the floor refers to a surface within a building and they should be using the word ground for the outside space where the robber was caught or the player was brought down in a tackle.

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msmeow

LOL, Vee!

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colleenoz

Yes, vee, that drives me nuts!

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astrokath

I have a Southern friend (US) who uses the phrase 'sit in the floor'. I thought it was a mistake at first but she says it's local usage.

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msmeow

Kath, a lot of people here say they “stood on line” where I would say “stood in line”. I had a coworker fro Guatemala who often said “in” when she really meant “on” because the Spanish word en is used for both.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Kath......that's why most transplants from the north have to send their children to private schools !

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woodnymph2_gw

I am increasingly irritated by the usage in America of "wallah" or "walla" when the person is trying to say "voila", which is a legitimate French term. Maybe it's because I lived a year in France and respect the language and people. If you are going to use a foreign term, at least try to spell it correctly instead of guessing.

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yoyobon_gw

and add "chow" ( ciao ) to that list.

My MIL used to say " lah-zag-nah" ( lasagne) and " oh joe " ( au jus ) and although she never once ever traveled to England , would always say " paste-ah" instead of " pah-stah" ( like the actual Italian ).

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colleenoz

English people don't say "paste-ah" either. They say "passt-ah"

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yoyobon_gw

Colleen, you're right ! That is how she pronounced it .

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phoebecaulfield

I'm probably fighting a losing battle on this one but I'm annoyed by "lahn-zhe-ray" for lingerie.

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msmeow

Mary, I think a lot of Americans don’t know the word is “voila”. They’re just repeating what they think they’ve heard.

My grandmother was from rural Georgia and had very little formal education. She called dachshunds “dash hounds” and pronounced Don Quixote phonetically. :)

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

phoebe.....how would you pronounce lingerie ....because I think I'd annoy you !

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phoebecaulfield

I'd say it with -REE the last syllable. The first syllable is so often Anglicized that English-speakers probably can't be expected to get the French version letter-perfect but the "in" in lingerie should be more like the "in" in the French "vin" when pronounced correctly. If it were pronounced lahn-zhe-RAY, it would be spelled differently, with the first syllable being lan-. My main quibble is with the last syllable, but it's a lost cause. I've heard lahn-zhe-RAY all too often.

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colleenoz

msmeow, I rarely hear an Australian pronounce "dachshund" correctly; it's almost _always_ "dash hound". Or they avoid it altogether and say "sausage dog".

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annpanagain

I avoid saying lingerie, it sounds a bit precious unless I am in a very upmarket boutique, and usually refer to "undies" or a specific item as I have a mental picture of something fluttery in chiffon, so not me!

When I was in France my French penfriend was asking me if I knew about someone called Donkey-Shart, it was only when she pointed at a picture of the man tilting at a windmill that it clicked...

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