January 31st, 2010

  • fynoda

Hyperbole question

Hi guys^^. I'm going to start a blog regarding traveling with food allergies. I'm wanting to use the hyperbole: "If this trip doesn't kill me..." as it's header because it's quite literal for some of us. What is more common to you? "If this trip doesn't kill me..."? "If I survive this.."? "If I live through this..."? Which hyperbole would you find most widely-understood/common? Feel free to state one I didn't list. Thank you!

A Dog-Question

I hope, this is the right place to ask this question.
Could please someone tell me, what the meaning of that sentence is? I'm confused, because I don't understand the connection between some "safety shoes" and a "dog". If it might help, this is a picture from somewhere in Boston.
Upd. It came out too small. It says: "Ouch! It shouldn't happen to a dog"

from a painting

Aesthetics of a Writing Script

What makes a script look good or not? I guess I like the generic look of the Latin alphabet simply because I'm accustomed to it, but what makes me view other scripts as being good-looking or not? For example, I find the Arabic script to be beautiful when it is completely written in cursive with no breaks, but I find words such as أدرس less appealing because the letters are farther apart. Then there are scripts like Inuktitut that I find completely unbalanced and, frankly, rather ugly, and some like the Cherokee syllabary where the letters look beautiful by themselves but lose their appeal when in large print, but look fine when the words are written in small font sizes.

Do any of you have similar feelings about the looks of scripts? How is this like or dislike for certain scripts developed?
  • joho07


I'm studying russian possessive pronouns, and I came upon some problems with "свой". Our teacher said that when the subject is the same as the possessor, you use "свой" instead of "мой, твой" or "его". So for example:

Я позвонил своим друзьям.
and not
Я позвонил моим друзьям.

edit: another example

Мы зададим своему профессору много вопросов.
Мы зададим нашему профессору много вопросов.

A friend, a native russian speaker, told me this is not so. Now I am confused. When do you use "свой"? Only in third person? Any information I can find, says that you can use "свой" in the way mentioned above, but the examples always only involve third person singular.

Спасибо за помощью.

Making normally intransitive verbs transitive

Not too long ago someone posted here asking about the transitive use of "disappear": to disappear someone is to kidnap or murder them without leaving a trace.

Someone else brought up a similar example in "volunteer": If you're volunteered for a job, you aren't doing it willingly even though you technically had a choice.

With both of these, there is an implication that things aren't what they appear to be. There also may be deceit involved. (If you disappear someone you want it to appear that they just vanished, cause unknown, rather than specifically be the victim of foul play. If you volunteer someone, the duty appears to be optional but really isn't?)

What I'm wondering is if you can think of any other examples in English where a normally intransitive verb is used transitively, and whether or not the transitive usage has similar meanings to the above.

I'm also curious about if other languages do this at all. Does your language have anything like this?

(I don't mean verbs that are commonly used as both transitive and intransitive. I mean ones where the intransitive use is so much more common that the transitive use will be quite marked.)

Variation question/How do you pronounce...

How do you pronounce "hurricane" (as in one of those big swirly air things that usually cause destruction)?
hɜrɪ.keɪn? (like "her-ih-kayn" ?)
hʌrɪ.keɪn? (like "hurr-a-cane" or even "hur-i-cane" ?)

Or something else entirely?
Is the beginning part of the word the same as how you pronounce "hurry?"

ETA: I'm mainly curious if you pronounce it like "her-" or "hur-" or something else.
Also, where are you from?

  • jaquez

English-related youtube gems?

Hi. I work as an English language assistant in a lycée in France. Occasionally I get asked to work with classes of post-high school kids (ages 18-19) who are in preparatory classes for higher education. So they have a good level of English. I get absolutely no suggestions of what to work on from their teacher, and the activities I do with the lycée kids are too easy.

Last month (I see them monthly), I showed them this video, which someone posted a while ago:

which led to discussion about speech habits / colloquialisms / trends / 'filler' words in English, and their equivalents in French. I then showed them another video from youtube of a woman speaking English in 21 different accents, and we discussed regional accents and how they perceived them, which ones they found easiest, which most difficult etc. Then I showed them a clip from Friends where Phoebe teaches Joey to speak French. This they found hilarious and we had a very interesting discussion on non-native speakers perceptions of a language.

What I'm asking is if anybody knows of any other interesting youtube videos which might entertain them AND lead to interesting debate. They have quite an advanced level - they're studying Romeo & Juliet... Speaking of which, if anyone has found anything (video or other) humorous or enlightening Shakespeare-related online, that'd also be useful!

Any help appreciated. I thought this'd be the place to ask. Thanks.