April 23rd, 2007

suburban domme

(no subject)

What are the rules governing "shall" and "will" in your dialect? I'm English and currently living in Ireland, where "shall" is almost never used.

"Shall" is most frequently used in my dialect to make offers or to suggest something. If I want to offer someone a cup of tea, I say, "Shall I put the kettle on?" If my (Irish) girlfriend wants to offer someone a cup of tea, she says, "Will I put the kettle on?" I'm now used to this usage, but to begin with it sounded as though she was asking me to place a bet: "Will I put the kettle on? Or won't I? Go on, guess!"

In a conversation in the pub the other day, one of the Irish people present said that she'd read that the difference between "shall" and "will" in English English was exemplified in the difference between accidental drowning and suicide, 'Accidental drowing is "No-one will save me! I shall drown!" Suicide is "No-one shall save me! I will drown!"' Two English and one Welsh person started laughing at this, whilst the four Irish people all just looked baffled.

I can't work out whether "shall" is performing the same function in all three of these examples, or whether they are different usages. In "no-one shall save me! I will drown!" "shall" is a command: the speaker declaring their intent not to be saved. In "no-one will save me! I shall drown!" the speaker is predicting an event that they do not wish to occur, but which is inevitable. In "shall I...?" the speaker is asking a question about a future event that presumably involves some degree of volition - hence why "will I ... ?" sounds so bizarrely passive to me.

Anyone got any clearer rules that covers those three instances?

American accent quiz

One reason I'm posting - under a cut - my spurious results to an American accent quiz which says I'm from New York (I'm in NZ) is so that anyone who is interested can also take it. It's based on whether you say certain pairs of words like "cot" and "caught" the same way or differently and seems pretty accurate so far for Americans on my flist.

The second reason is for the explanations of the results they give, with maps. I remember a discussion a while back about "pen/pin"; you can find the distribution of how people say them there. :-)

[Edit] The writer of the quiz commented on this post and would welcome any feedback on: tomkun83 at hotmail dot com. In particular they would like advice on a better way to express the question about i sounds in the south (see their comment).

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Hungarian copula

I've been learning Hungarian in anticipation of being in Budapest for a month or so later this year. I'm not finding it bad at all, my brain seems to like finno-ugric languages. There's something I'm curious about though, a particular feature of when the verb van-to be is used as the copula. (please excuse lack of unlauts - my work computer is bloody useless)

So you can write:
En magas vagyok - I am tall - with the pronoun and the verb
Magas vagyok - I am tall - with just the verb
Oe magas - he is tall - just the pronoun without the verb, like Russian

but not, in normal usage
oe magas van - he is tall - with the pronoun and the verb
magas van - he is tall - with just the verb

I can't find much out besides the fact that that is how you do things in Hungarian. Has is always been done that way? If not when did only using the pronoun with no verb come in for the 3rd person? Did people ever use this construction for other grammatical persons in the past? Is there any particular reason for it only being the 3rd person, or is it just one of those unexplainable quirks?
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(no subject)

I know that for direct blood family members, in italian, you can say mio zio, mia nonna instead of il mio zio and la mia nonna.
I'm curious, because my book doesn't cover it and my teacher hasn't answered me, does this exception follow for husband and wife? Can I say mio marito or tua moglie or do I need the definite article?


Hi to all!
May be somebody knows what is this beautiful thing (it is made from tiny paper and seems to be hand-painted) 


and also may be you can help me to translate this (it must be connected to the image above 

(the images are clickable)

 Many thanks!!!!!!