April 4th, 2009

English words that are reduandant

Hello hello linguaphiles,

I've been teaching English jr high school and high school students at a cram school recently.  Since I'm not a specialist, I've already hit the wall. (;_;)

There were two very basic questions when teaching.


1) My 10th grade student said she doesn't understand the last part of "with her"; why it was added to the passage.

Mary was wise enough to take an umbrella with her.

"Take an umbrella" is already explained that she is with her umbrella but why English has to add the words "with her".  I couldn't give her a reasonable reply.

If I would translate this into Japanese word for word,  メリーは傘を(彼女と一緒に)持ってゆくほどに賢かった。"with her" should be omitted when translating because it is better, but in Japanese school, every single word should be translated into Japanese, otherwise, teacher will deduct some points from her score. Therefore, even it looks strange we should always repeat the same thing if there is an English word written there.  Do you have any advice for this?


2) Two friends were out together in the forest.

She didn't understand why there is a word "out".  It is already known that they were in the forest which is "out"….but what does the "out" refer to?  Ummm…


Sorry if I am asking you something dumb.

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  • n_true

Proofreading a linguistics paper?

Dear native speakers of English,

I just finished a term paper in linguistics about Demonstrative Pronouns in Tsez, which I planned to hand in tomorrow. I consider my English as "quite good", but I'm not perfect, as my native language is German. Unfortunately the guy who promised me to proofread it is not available anymore, so I'm asking here...

Could someone proofread my text? It's about 15 pages of text (but there are a lot of tables and charts, so...), maybe even quite interesting (Tsez, whoo!) and I really only need the grammar and spelling and punctuation checked in general. Comments about the content are appreciated as well, of course.
I'd have to send the file as a PDF document. So it'd be best to use the comment and highlight function there.

Any volunteer? Please?
being cool
  • jinx

Mystery language!

Hey folks,

I can't make head or tail of this poem:

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At least, I think it's a poem because of the apparent stanzas. Some syllables almost remind me of certain German dialects, but I'm extraordinarily confused by the fact that most of the words begin with the letter "i."

Is there anyone out there who can solve this mystery?

ETA: Answered - wow, you guys are fast!

last name pronunciation

hi -

i've decided to figure out how to pronounce my last name. i've never really heard anyone say it aloud and i'm not in contact with my father nor his family. i am assuming it's polish, as i have nothing to go by other than the spelling (brzoznowski). my best guesses have ended up with [bʐɔz.'nov.ski] (it's been ages since i took a linguistics course, so please forgive me if i botched the transcription format).

so, once i figure out how it's probably transcribed, is there a website that can take IPA symbols and read them off as a word? i can't seem to make the "bʐ" sound without struggling.

  • viata

Thinking alike

In English there's a saying "great minds think alike". The Russian equivalent goes "у дураков мысли сходятся", i.e. "stupid people think alike".

Are there any similar sayings in other languages? Who thinks alike according to them?