February 2nd, 2009

Is this a common blending?

I have a co-worker who is from England, although I forgot which part, but it's a smaller city. He has an expression that he uses that I could not figure out for a long time, but then one day I heard him say it distinctly: "most probably". Usually, though, he blends the phrase together so it sounds something like "muchrably". He uses this almost exclusively instead of "probably" and uses it extremely often.

Has anyone ever heard this before?
Jay -  ting bu dong
  • alirose

Spanish help

I just started taking Spanish and have yet to get a satisfactory answer as to when to use the "to be" verb ser and when to use estar. People keep saying ser is more "permanent" but my 501 Spanish Verbs books has the example sentence: Ese hombre está muerto (that man is dead) and that seems rather permanent to me. Is there any good rule to use, or is this one of those things you just sort of have to get a feel for as you get to know the language better? Thanks!

Composition expressions

Hello, I need your help again! This time it's about compositions in English. I don't really have problems writing them, but sometimes I lack those useful expressions. Maybe you know a site where I can find them? Or maybe you're able to help me? I need as manz expressions as I can get in the following categories:

a) To provide a thesis or a subject I will talk about (like: "Nowadays, it is fairly common/popular...", "Recently, it has become popular for... to.../we might observe an interesting phenomenon of..." - I have some ideas here)
b) To tell people I will talk about advantages AND disadvantages ("That phenomenon has both advantages and disadvantages" seems lame)
c) To start the first argument ("first of all", "it is easy to notice"... anything more?)
d) To present other arguments that follow the first one, additions ("Moreover", "What is more", "In the same way", "Then", "...after all"?)
e) To present a contrary ("However", "On the other hand", "Although", "On the contrary"...)
f) Conclusion ("As a conclusion"?)

Also, there must be some smart words that I can use to express:
1. cause (other than "because"), 2. consequence ("so", "therefore"?), 3. aim, 4. concession ("even if", "even though", "although"...),5. hypothese ("if", "in a case that", "under the circumstance that"?), 6. explanation and giving examples ("in other words", "for example", "for instance"?), 7. alternative ("either ... or ...", "neither ... nor ..." are the standards)

Ouff. Sorry for making you waste your time, but I've searched on the Net and found almost nothing! Thanks for help.

(x-posted to foreignlanguage and linguaphiles)

help me with my conlang

I've been playing with an idea for a while, of a language that superficially resembles another, while being (somewhat? completely? mostly?) unintelligible to speakers of that other language. It was inspired by the lame "construct additional pylons" stage of language learning where your grammar is balls but your vocabulary is worse, and you'd be 10x better if you just knew a few more words, so basically this hypothetical language would be the reverse of that situation.

Since I speak English, I thought I'd make a new language with the working name of Super English (suggestions welcome). I'm working by these principles:

- The vocabulary should be totally English, I plan to revive a few defunct words/prefixes/suffixes/mix and match word parts that didn't go together before, but in the end everything should be recognisably Modern English
- Definitions for nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs should remain the same, and other words shouldn't drift too far from their original meaning
- As far as grammar goes, I'm thinking something heavily analytical just because English doesn't really have a whole lot of inflectional bits to work with and inventing them would go against the spirit of the language
- The main goal is to push the grammar as far away from English as possible, practicality/realism isn't really an issue since it's a fake language-thought experiment and no one's ever going to speak it anyway

So far I've got a bunch of ideas floating around in my head I may or may not use, like reappropriating prepositions for aspect markers, but I'm sure there's a bunch of cool concepts out there I haven't even heard of, and that's why I'm here. Any thoughts or suggestions? I'd love to hear them! =D We could even work on this together.

Spanish short forms for numbers

So, I learned (as I'm sure most people do) in school that the year 1997 in Spanish is mil novecientos noventa y siete. And I learned along the way, as I'm sure most people do, that this is often shortened to just el [año] noventa y siete because let's face it, ten syllables is a lot.

However, I've recently heard two alternate shortened forms, both from Mexicans (I am 100% sure I heard correctly):
mil nueve noventa y siete
mil nos noventa y siete

Has anyone else ever heard these? Are the same or other shortened forms used in other countries? Do parallel forms exist for earlier centuries, or only for the 1900s?

Are there other languages which would most "correctly" read out the whole year, but have shortened forms? How acceptable are they? (Casual speech only? Formal speech? Writing?)

Freedom of thought?

Making "speech errors" in your L2/3/4/etc.

So I felt super-awesome when I realized that I had somehow learned "donne-moi-z'en" and "donnez-moi-z'en" instead of "donne-m'en" and "donnez-m'en". I hadn't even realized (I suppose because it never comes up in upper-division French classes) that this is nonstandard French, but all the kids I babysit for looked at me crazy when I asked them if they would ever say "donne-m'en." And no joke, I can't really figure out why the first two sound right, even though I took a class that covered the topic...

To that end, what are your favorite nonstandard constructions that you've picked up subconsciously or intentionally, in any language?