October 15th, 2009

  • vero_ir

thesis abstract

 Hello there linguaphiles, 

Could you please check if everything is ok with my thesis abstract? Please tell me if there are any grammatically incorrect sentences or if anything is not clear. Thanks.


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chinese verb tenses please =)

The concept of past imperfect and perfect seemed very difficult for Taiwanese students to grasp today; I'd like to know:

1. how would I express past tenses in Mandarin? Is there a difference in saying 'i was doing, singing, (VERB) + ing' and saying that 'i (VERB) + ed,' like I worked, I sang, I ate?

2. Does Mandarin also have progressive tenses, distinguishing between 'I eat' and 'I am eating'?
Similarly in the past, for 'I was sleeping'?

3. I've heard so many times that 'Chinese doesn't have verb tenses' But how can this be; surely in any language one should be able to express a difference among past, present and future at the very least, right?

4. Finally, is there a way to express the future in Chinese or is it all contextual?

Thanks so much everyone!
liz lemon

(no subject)

I had a great seminar today where we had to go through pieces of foreign writing and find words we didn't recognise at all, as coming from any foreseeable root, and give them a definition.  This is now making me think, for every phrase that I want to say that is made up of lots of words.  The one that is troubling me most, because it seems like there should be a succinct way of saying it, is "someone who likes to make someone else jealous".  I'm not talking necessarily about a woman who leads men on (or indeed vice versa), although that could be included under the definition, but I was just wondering if such a word existed.

There's a wonderful book my friend told me about but that I don't own called The Meaning of Tingo which gives you examples of lovely words which can be used in place of long-fangled expressions, like for example "iktsuarpok" which means "to go outside often to see if someone is coming" in Inuit.  I suppose we could use the word "check" but there's something nice about what they're checking for being included in the word.  The reviews on amazon aren't that great; they claim that a lot of the words and phrases are obscure or mistranslated, but it's a bit of fun, as most of these vocab lists and grammar guidelines tend to be!

Maybe this would be a good opportunity if you know any words like this to post them?  And any feedback on the jealous-maker query will be much appreciated :)
lacks sexual intrigue

German pronunciation + a vs. ɑ in English

I wish to sing "the Sparrows and the Nightingales" at karaoke, and I am wondering how to properly pronounce its German line "Wo ist der Führer der mich führt/ Ich warte immer noch". From my hearing him sing the line, and from a cursory look at the Wikipedia's IPA for German, I've come up with [vɔ ɪst deɐ fyʁɐ deɐ mɪç fyʁt/ ɪç veɐtə ɪmeɐ nɔx]. Corrections please?

Secondly, when I first started learning IPA, I had it hammered into me that the /a/ in /father/ was properly written [ɑ], not [a], and the beatings would commence if you failed to adhere to this. But I have noticed online that frequently IPA spellings of English words with this sound are given as [a]. Not just places like Wikipedia, but online articles and essays by reputable people, and university websites, etc. Is this just laziness because "a" can be typed with one keystroke whereas "ɑ" requires some kind of wrangling? Or is there a dialect of English that uses [a]?
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