August 31st, 2010

narry twirl

(no subject)

 I'm taking a Modern Greek class and we've just learned to drop the final "s" on male names. My professor mentioned that this is always the case when a person is introducing themselves and that if there was time he would go over it but he did not. I was curious so I tried to google it to find out the reasoning but all I found was a forum where someone said it happens but not to ask why. 

So can anyone explain to me why the "s" is dropped from the end of male names?
  • tisoi

Post Miss Universe controversy

Background (tl;dr): The Miss Universe pageant was held last week. Filipinos were excited that Miss Philippines, Venus Raj, made it as a finalist, but were dismayed that she made it to 5th place. People placed the blame on her answer to a question posed by William Baldwin; maybe Austronesian-style reduplication doesn't really translate well to an American audience. Or perhaps, it was the question itself, but I digress.

In any case, many, including myself, have thought that perhaps Miss Philippines should have answered in Tagalog, or better yet in her native Bikol. This is despite the fact that she, like many Filipinos, are educated in English from late elementary school and beyond.

One of the people who agreed with this was actress Gloria Diaz, the Miss Philippines who won Miss Universe in 1969. But the way she expressed this opinion has been the cause for unnecessary outrage among members of the Cebuano (also called Visayan/Bisaya) ethnic group. (Cebuano/Visayan/Bisaya is also the name for the language)

The interview is in the clip. The English portion is :27-1:04. But the relevant portion starts at :54.

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She says "kasi (because), when you think about a Cebuana, can hardly speak English, and of course Tagalog, so maybe she should answer in Bisaya."

The way I interpret this is that she's saying that if there is a Cebuana contestant who cannot express herself adequately in English, then she should have the right to Cebuano-English interpreter. But the outrage stems from people interpreting it as Cebuanos do not speak English & Tagalog well, so they will need an interpreter. In the Philppines, a good command of English & Tagalog have prestige and are linked to higher education and intelligence, so they took this as a slap to the face.

So, to my point. Maybe I'm biased. So I thought I'd ask native and near-native speakers of English here.

How do you interpret what she said? I know, it's an awkward sentence. But do you think it's reasonable to conclude that she's generalizing about Cebuanos and their lack of proficiency in English? Or could it go both ways? I can see how people can misinterpret that, but I know what she means and she has clarified what she meant.

Oddly enough, I think this whole fiasco reinforces Gloria Diaz's point that interpreters are needed. Not only for her, but people who are outraged over this.
yelllow, summer

BBC Radio 4 Broadcast "Is it worthwhile learning another language?"

Interesting points raised, particularly about the place of languages within the English school system as well as age old stereotypes about which languages is easier than the other that made me want to bang my head on the table. Not sure you can get BBC iPlayer outside of the UK and obviously most people on this community probably aren't in the UK, but I figured some people on here might be interested in it if they can access it.

Is it worthwhile learning another language?

(no subject)

Dear friends,
Could you help me to translate or at least paraphrase the sentence: "Go on - spoll yourself".
I came across the phrase in one of the handouts for students, but I can find the meaning of the verb
"to spoll" in any dictionary.
Maybe this is a misprint?

Anyway, thank you beforehand.

A question for nonEnglish speakers

A typhoon is heading to the country I work in. I know to count the seconds in between lightening and thunder and divide by five to know how many miles away a storm is, by three to know how many kilometers. And typically counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 out loud is going to go faster than one full second, so I was taught to count "one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four.." because it takes closer to one full second to say Mississippi. Locomotive or elephant could work, I was wondering what words in your language you use, if you have something similar, and what does the word mean in English.