Posts Tagged ‘grammer’

That’s Why English is Hard to Learn

We’ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be pen?
The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.

 
And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
But I give a boot… would a pair be beet?
If one is a tooth, and a whole set is teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth?
If the singular is this, and the plural is these,
Why shouldn’t the plural of kiss be kese?
Then one may be that, and three be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose.
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
The masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim.
So our English, I think you will agree,
Is the trickiest language you ever did see.

 

Visit our Facebook page to read more interesting posts!

You can also follow me on Twitter.

 

Common Grammar Mistakes in Translation

There are certain words or phrases that most of the people use wrong. Spelling is also another issue considering such mistakes. For example, I always misspell “grammar” as “grammer”. I can only edit this mistake after proofreading. I do not know why, I am also confused when it comes to import and export 🙂 Whenever I work as an interpreter, I write these two words on post-its and put them somewhere close to me. I came across a good article explainingthe common grammar mistakes in translations. It is a column by JON GINGERICH, I want to thank him for this wonderful post. If you have more grammar mistakes in mind, please feel free to add 🙂

Who and Whom

This one opens a big can of worms. “Who” is a subjective — or nominative — pronoun, along with “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” and “they.” It’s used when the pronoun acts as the subject of a clause. “Whom” is an objective pronoun, along with “him,” “her,” “it”, “us,” and “them.”

Which and That

This is one of the most common mistakes out there, and understandably so. “That” is a restrictive pronoun. It’s vital to the noun to which it’s referring.  e.g., I don’t trust fruits and vegetables that aren’t organic. Here, I’m referring to all non-organic fruits or vegetables. In other words, I only trust fruits and vegetables that are organic. “Which” introduces a relative clause. It allows qualifiers that may not be essential. e.g., I recommend you eat only organic fruits and vegetables, which are available in area grocery stores.

Lay and Lie

This is the crown jewel of all grammatical errors. “Lay” is a transitive verb. It requires a direct subject and one or more objects. Its present tense is “lay” (e.g., I lay the pencil on the table) and its past tense is “laid” (e.g.,Yesterday I laid the pencil on the table). “Lie” is an intransitive verb. It needs no object. Its present tense is “lie” (e.g., The Andes mountains lie between Chile and Argentina) and its past tense is “lay” (e.g., The man lay waiting for an ambulance). The most common mistake occurs when the writer uses the past tense of the transitive “lay” (e.g., I laid on the bed) when he/she actually means the intransitive past tense of “lie” (e.g., I lay on the bed).

Moot

Contrary to common misuse, “moot” doesn’t imply something is superfluous. It means a subject is disputable or open to discussion.

Continual and Continuous

They’re similar, but there’s a difference. “Continual” means something that’s always occurring, with obvious lapses in time. “Continuous” means something continues without any stops or gaps in between.

Envy and Jealousy

The word “envy” implies a longing for someone else’s good fortunes. “Jealousy” is far more nefarious.

Nor

“Nor” expresses a negative condition. It literally means “and not.” You’re obligated to use the “nor” form if your sentence expresses a negative and follows it with another negative condition.

May and Might

“May” implies a possibility. “Might” implies far more uncertainty.

Whether and If

Many writers seem to assume that “whether” is interchangeable with “if.” It isn’t. “Whether” expresses a condition where there are two or more alternatives. “If” expresses a condition where there are no alternatives.

Fewer and Less

“Less” is reserved for hypothetical quantities. “Few” and “fewer” are for things you can quantify.

Farther and Further

The word “farther” implies a measurable distance. “Further” should be reserved for abstract lengths you can’t always measure.

Since and Because

“Since” refers to time. “Because” refers to causation.

Disinterested and Uninterested

Contrary to popular usage, these words aren’t synonymous. A “disinterested” person is someone who’s impartial. For example, a hedge fund manager might take interest in a headline regarding the performance of a popular stock, even if he’s never invested in it. He’s “disinterested,” i.e., he doesn’t seek to gain financially from the transaction he’s witnessed. Judges and referees are supposed to be “disinterested.” If the sentence you’re using implies someone who couldn’t care less, chances are you’ll want to use “uninterested.”

Anxious

Unless you’re frightened of them, you shouldn’t say you’re “anxious to see your friends.

Different Than and Different From

This is a tough one. Words like “rather” and “faster” are comparative adjectives, and are used to show comparison with the preposition “than,” (e.g., greater than, less than, faster than, rather than). The adjective “different” is used to draw distinction. So, when “different” is followed by a  preposition, it should be “from,” similar to “separate from,” “distinct from,” or “away from.” e.g., My living situation in New York was different from home. There are rare cases where “different than” is appropriate, if “than” operates as a conjunction. e.g.,Development is different in New York than in Los Angeles. When in doubt, use “different from.”

Bring and Take

In order to employ proper usage of “bring” or “take,” the writer must know whether the object is being moved toward or away from the subject. If it is toward, use “bring.” If it is away, use “take.”

Impactful

It isn’t a word. “Impact” can be used as a noun (e.g., The impact of the crash was severe) or a transitive verb (e.g., The crash impacted my ability to walk or hold a job). “Impactful” is a made-up buzzword, colligated by the modern marketing industry in their endless attempts to decode the innumerable nuances of human behavior into a string of mindless metrics. Seriously, stop saying this.

Affect and Effect

Here’s a trick to help you remember: “Affect” is almost always a verb (e.g., Facebook affects people’s attention spans), and “effect” is almost always a noun (e.g., Facebook’s effects can also be positive).

Irony and Coincidence

“Irony” is the incongruity in a series of events between the expected results and the actual results. “Coincidence” is a series of events that appear planned when they’re actually accidental.

Nauseous

Undoubtedly the most common mistake I encounter. Contrary to almost ubiquitous misuse, to be “nauseous” doesn’t mean you’ve been sickened: it actually means you possess the ability to produce nausea in others. e.g., That week-old hot dog is nauseous. When you find yourself disgusted or made ill by a nauseating agent, you are actually “nauseated.” e.g., I was nauseated after falling into that dumpster behind the Planned Parenthood. Stop embarrassing yourself.

Click here to read more.

Visit our Facebook page for more posts about languages. By the way, it is quite popular nowadays :)

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Different Ways of Learning a Language Online

3-4 days ago, some one asked me on Linkedin if I know any good website where one can learn a language online. I sent her the links of my previous posts. I introduced you a couple of online learning tool before but after answering her question I got more curious and I came across this web site on internet: http://www.readwriteweb.com. Some time ago, they published a post about the online language software and websites. I checked all the websites they recommended; however, some of them are not working anymore. I have just pasted the recommendations of readwriteweb.com. I found some of them quite interesting and useful. If you want to learn a language online, I’m sure you will like one of the following links!

– Mango Languages: 12 different online language courses presented in conversational format with prices starting at free.

– Vocabulix: Free vocab building lessons in Spanish, German and English, as well as other languages, with a baked in social network.

– Pod NetworkSpanishpod – Frenchpod – Chinesepod – Free online lessons in three languages.

– BBC Languages: A host of language learning tools and self-contained online courses from the BBC.

– eLanguageSchool.net: Free lessons for learning 10 different languages online.

– LiveMocha: This site combines lessons, with an online community allowing you to practice speaking with native speakers, which dovetails nicely into the next set of sites.

– xLingo: A language exchange that lets users create and share flashcards with each other.

– Palabea: Reviews of language learning software in addition to an online language exchange.

– Interpals: A large language exchange from a popular penpal social network.

– Mixxer: A free language exchange using Skype built by Dickinson College.

– TT4You: A free global language exchange site.

– Language Buddy: A free language exchange with 115 supported languages.

– Convesation Exchange: Text and voice chat, email, or face-to-face meetings can bet set up via Language Buddy to improve your conversational skills.

– Lingozone: Build vocab skills by playing game of Word Ladder and Hangman, while making friends with whom to practice speaking.

– Language Exchange Network: Think Craigslist for language learning; this site has super-simple language exchange classified listings.

– MyLanguageExchange: One of the oldest online language exchanges (this site was a Yahoo! Internet Life pick in 2001), it claims over 1 million members speaking 115 different languages.

 

Visit the website.

Visit our Facebook page for more posts about languages.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

And The Last Part of British Slang…

Hello friends! This is the last part of our British Slang article. Thanks for your contributions and beautiful comments. I guess some of our friends took me wrong and they said these are not true. However, some other British friend said they are true 🙂 In my opinion, the slang differes from city to city and from generation to generation. Anyway, I just found an article which was quite interesting for me and I wanted to share it with you. As I have told you before, I am not British and I did not personally write the article. I am just a messanger :)) Here is the last part. Enjoy!

Splash out – If you splash out on something – it means you throw your senses out the window, get out your credit card and spend far too much money. You might splash out on a new car or even on a good meal.

Squidgy – A chocolate cream cake would be squidgey. It means to be soft and, well, squidgey!

Squiffy – This means you are feeling a little drunk. Some people also use it to mean that something has gone wrong.

Stone the crows – This is an old expression with the same meaning as “cor blimey“.

Stonking – This weird word means huge. You might say “what a stonking great burger” if you were in an American burger joint.

Strop – If someone is sulking or being particularly miserable you would say they are being stroppy or that they have a strop on. I heard an old man on the train tell his wife to stop being a stroppy cow.

Suss – If you heard someone saying they had you sussed they would mean that they had you figured out! If you were going to suss out something it would mean the same thing.

Swotting – Swotting means to study hard, the same as cram does. Before exams we used to swot, not that it made any difference to some of us. If you swotted all the time, you would be called a swot – which is not a term of endearment!

Ta – We said “ta” as kids in Liverpool for years before we even knew it was short for thanks.

Taking the biscuit – If something really takes the biscuit, it means it out-does everything else and cannot be bettered. Some places in America they said takes the cake.

Taking the mickey – See taking the piss. Variations include “taking the mick” and “taking the Michael”.

Taking the piss – One of the things Americans find hardest about the Brits is our sense of humour. It is obviously different and is mainly based on irony, sarcasm and an in-built desire to “take the piss”. This has nothing to do with urine, but simply means making fun of someone.

Tara – Pronounced “churar”, this is another word for cheerio or goodbye. Cilla Black, ascouse TV presenter has probably done most to promote the use of this word as she says it all the time on her programmes.

Throw a spanner in the works – This is an expression that means to wreck something.

Tickety-boo – If something is going well with no problems we would say it is tickety-boo.

Tidy – Apart from the obvious meaning of neat, tidy also means that a woman is a looker or attractive.

Toodle pip – This is an old expression meaning goodbye. However, I only hear it when Americans are doing impressions of Brits as it has fallen into disuse, along with steam trains and gas lights.

Tosser – This is another word for wanker and has exactly the same meaning and shares the same hand signal. Unfortunately my house in Texas was in Tossa Lane, which was a problem when telling older members of the family where to write to me!

Totty – If a chap is out looking for totty, he is looking for a nice girl to chat up. There is an Italian football player called Totti – which is pronounced the same. It’s really funny hearing the commentators when he gets the ball saying “it’s Totty for Italy”. It sounds like some beautiful Italian girlies have invaded the pitch.

TTFN – Short for “ta ta for now”. Which in turn means goodbye! Said by older folks and one Radio Two DJ in particular.

Twat – Another word used to insult someone who has upset you. Also means the same as fanny but is less acceptable in front of your grandmother, as this refers to parts of the female anatomy. Another use for the same word is to twat something, which would be to hit it hard. Get it right or I’ll twat you over the head!

Twee – Twee is a word you would generally hear older people say. It means dainty or quaint. A bit like the way you chaps think of England I suppose.

Twit – You twit! Not so rude as calling someone an idiot but it amounts to the same thing. Remember Monty Python’s “Twit of the Year” competition? Other versions include “nitwit”.

Two finger salute – When you see a Brit stick up two fingers at you in a V shape, he may be ordering two of something (if his palms are toward you). The other way around and it’s an insult along the lines of your one finger salute. Which, by the way, is very popular here now too!

U – A letter used far more in British. It is in words like colour, favour, labour etc. I think this is why UK keyboards have 102 characters on them instead of your 101, or is it because they have a pound sign on them?

Uni – Short for university, we would say we went to uni like you would say you went to school. School here is just for kids.

Waffle – To waffle means to talk on and on about nothing. It is not something you eat. Americans often think that Brits waffle on about the weather. The truth of course is that our news reports last 60-120 seconds and the weather man is not hyped up to be some kind of superstar as he is on the TV in the US. If you want to see an example of real waffle watch the weather channel in Texas where there is nothing to talk about other than it is hot and will remain so for the next 6 months. Another example is the ladies who waffle on about anything on the Home Shopping Network. They would probably be classed as professional wafflers!

Wangle – Some people have all the luck. I know some people that can wangle anything; upgrades on planes, better rooms in hotels. You know what I mean.

Wank – This is the verb to describe the action a wanker participates in.

Watcha – Simply means Hi. Also short for “what do you” as in “watcha think of that”?

Waz – On average, it seems that for every pint of lager you need to go for a waz twice! A complete waste of time in a serious drinking session.

Well – Well can be used to accentuate other words. for example someone might be “well hard” to mean he is a real man, as opposed to just “hard“. Something really good might be “well good”. Or if you were really really pleased with something you might be “well chuffed”. Grammatically it’s appalling but people say it anyway.

Welly – If you “give it welly”, it means you are trying harder or giving it the boot. An example would be when accelerating away from lights, you would give it welly to beat the guy in the mustang convertible in the lane next to you. Welly is also short forwellington boots, which are like your galoshes.

Whinge – Whingers are not popular in any circumstance. To whinge is to whine. We all know someone who likes to whinge about everything.

Wind up – This has a couple of meanings. If something you do is a “wind up” it means you are making fun of someone. However it you are “wound up” it means you are annoyed.

Wobbler – To “throw a wobbly” or to “throw a wobbler” means to have a tantrum. Normally happens when you tell your kids they can’t have an ice cream or that it’s time for bed.

Wonky – If something is shaky or unstable you might say it is wonky. For example I changed my chair in a restaurant recently because I had a wonky one.

Write to – When visiting the US one can’t help noticing that you write each other. You don’t “write to” each other. Here it would be grammatically incorrect to say “write me” and you would be made to write it out 100 times until you got it right.

Yakking – This means talking incessantly – not that I know anyone who does that now!

Yonks – “Blimey, I haven’t heard from you for yonks”. If you heard someone say that it would mean that they had not seen you for ages!

Zonked – If someone is zonked or “zonked out” it means they are totally knackered or you might say exhausted. When a baby has drunk so much milk, his eyes roll into the back of his head, it would be fair to say he was zonked!

Thanks for VousDeux for this precious information. This is all I know about the author. You can reach his/her posts on StumbleUpon by clicking here. If you come across this book, please give me the link so that I can buy! :)

Visit our Facebook page for more posts about languages.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

For the first part, click here.

For the second part, click here.

For the third part, click here.

Does Your Language Sound Weird?

Three years ago, I went to the US with a cultural exchange programme. I spent my whole summer there so it was my first time to stay abroad for such a long time. In the same house, we were eight people: four students from Russia, three students from China and me from Turkey 🙂 It was very awkward because I had no one to chat to in Turkish. One day, after a telephone call to my parents, one of my Russian friends said “I always hear many -s sounds when you speak Turkish”. Until that moment, I had not paid attention to this issue at all. I had not thought how Turkish sounded to a foreigner 🙂 Now, whenever I make a friend from a new country, I ask how my language sounds. They all answer differently though 🙂 Recently, I came across a short article highlighting a similar question: how a foreigner sees your language. The author says “You just speak” because it is your native language but you do not know how it sounds or how hard it is to learn. I want to thank Silvia for publishing this on lexiophiles.com. Here is the article. You can visit this website to read more:

Have you ever thought that your language could seem strange to a foreigner?
When you are in your own country you don’t really care about your language,you speak it and that’s it. The important thing is to communicate a message, in a plain or in a more refined way.

But imagine that a person is trying to learn your language and tells you what he thinks about it. The things he could say might be regarding these points:

– Pronunciation: is there a rule in your language to understand how to pronounce the words (e.g. accents)?

– Sentence structure: what about the position of subject, verb and object in a sentence?

– Gender: how can you understand if a word is a masculine or a feminine one?

– And most important, how about exception to rules?

It is much easier to pay attention to these “details” when you are learning a new language.

On the other hand when you were learning your language at the primary school you did and had to pay attention to grammar, pronunciation and so on. But years go by, and once you can speak correctly and without thinking – about the structure of the sentences, grammar etc. – in your language it is not a problem any more. So you never think again about how difficult it was to learn it.

On the contrary, your foreign friend who is learning your language does think about all this stuff, and you are surprised by the fact that it’s so natural for you to speak it without concentrating on it…while for him it is not! But if you see the thing from his point of view, is it really clear (without knowing it before) how to pronounce a word, or write a sentence in a correct way? Is there a precise rule for this?

Visit our Facebook page for more posts about languages.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Have You Ever Thought about How We Form the Idioms/Phrases?

In a conversation, we do not realize how much-and how- we make use of idioms and phrases. Recently, I have deciphered a speech into text. The man used so many idioms and phrases that I am surprised. Later on, I have begun to pay attention to my speech as far as I can. We really use them a lot 🙂 I also realized that our ancestors attributed some meanings to the body parts. One of their favorites is “the eye”. Yes, we have tens of phrases related to the eye at some point. I tried to find the most popular ones, but you can always add more!

 Blink of an eye:   If something happens in the blink of an eye, it happens nearly instantaneously, with hardly enough time to notice it. “The pickpocket disappeared in the blink of an eye.”

Catch somebody’s  eye: If someone catches your eye, you find them attractive. “The pretty girl near the door caught his eye.”

Clap/lay/set eyes on someone: If you clap eyes on someone or something, you look at or see them. “I’ve heard of him but I’ve never clapped eyes on him.”

More than meets the eye: When something (or someone) is more complicated, difficult or interesting that it appears, it is said that there is more than meets the eye. “He said he simply sold his shares, but I think there’s more to it than meets the eye.”

See eye to eye with someone: To see eye to eye with somebody means that you agree with them.

Turn a blind eye to something: If you turn a blind eye to something, you ignore it intentionally.

The apple of your eye: If somebody is the apple of your eye, this means that you like them  very much. “My grandson is the apple of my eye”.

The eye of the storm: A person or organization who is in the eye of the storm is deeply involved in a difficult situation which affects a lot of people. “The minister was often in the eye of the storm during the debate on the war in Iraq.”

Eagle eyes: Someone who has eagle eyes sees or notices things more easily than others. “Tony will help us find it – he’s got eagle eyes!”

Eyes in the back of one’s head: To say that someone has eyes in the back of their head means that they are very observant and notice everything happening around them. “You need eyes in the back of your head to look after young children.”

Feast one’s eyes on something: If you feast your eyes on something, you are delighted and gratified by what you see. “As he drove along the coast, he feasted his eyes on the beautiful scenery.”

Eyes like a hawk: If you’ve got eyes like a hawk, you’ve got good eyesight and notice every detail. “Of course Dad will notice the scratch on his car – he’s got eyes like a hawk!  ”

Half an eye: If you have or keep half an eye on something, you watch something without giving it your full attention. “She kept half en eye on the tv screen while she was preparing dinner.”

In one’s mind’s eye: If you can visualise something, or see an image of it in your mind, you see it in your mind’s eye. “I can see the village in my mind’s eye but I can’t remember the name.”

In the twinkling of an eye: This expression means ‘very fast’ or ‘instantaneously’. “Public opinion can change in the twinkling of an eye.”

Look someone in the eyes: If you look someone in the eye, or eyes, you look at them directly so as to convince them that you are telling the truth, even though you may be lying.

Eyes wide open: If you do something with your eyes open, you are fully aware of what you are doing. “I took on the job with my eyes wide open, so I’m not complaining.”

A sight for sore eyes: This expression refers to a person or thing you are happy to see. “Sam! You’re a sight for sore eyes!  Haven’t seen you in a long time.”

Raise eyebrows: If you raise your eyebrows at something, you show surprise or disapproval by the expression on your face. “When the boss arrived in jeans, there were a lot of raised eyebrows.”

Spit in someone’s eye: If you spit in someone’s eye, you treat that person with disrespect or contempt. “You father raised you as best he could. Don’t start spitting in his eye.”

Not bat an eyelid: To say that somebody does not bat an eyelid means that they do not seem shocked or surprised, nor are they nervous or worried. They show no emotion.

Thank you learn-english-today.com for this wonderful compilation.

Join us on Facebook for more posts about languages.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Translation and the Human Rights in Africa

Last year, I published a video about “Translators Without Borders”. As most of you know, this organization brings the voluntary translators together and tries to provide important translations to those who are in need. Africa is one of those regions. A recent study shows that with translation, we can save lifes and protect human rights in Africa. This makes sense because if you have the translation, the knowledge of different practices in the world (this may be medical, human rights etc.), you can better compare and defend your rights with concrete proofs in your hand. No need to get too far. 10% of world’s population lives in Africa and there are 2000 different languages. These languages are also needed to be translated. When they do not understand each other, they cannot contribute to politics together, they do not recognize their own legal rights, they cannot prevent the conflicts that arise from misunderstandings. Here is the article from the web site of Common Sense Advisory. Thanks author for highlighting the study of Translators Without Borders.

“Translation is critical for addressing information inequalities in Africa. But could translation also improve economic development, health, human rights, and safety of the citizens of Africa? Findings from a new study reveal that the answer is “yes.”

A new study conducted by Common Sense Advisory on behalf of Translators without Borders finds that translation is critical for the public health, political stability, and social wellbeing of African nations. The report surveyed 364 translators for African languages in 49 countries representing a total of 269 different language combinations. The results are detailed in a new report, “The Need for Translation in Africa,” which is available as a free download at:http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com/Portals/0/downloads/Africa.pdf.

“We already knew that translation for Africa was severely lacking,” comments Lori Thicke, founder of Translators without Borders. “This report clearly shows that the need for translation is so striking that, for the sake of African citizens, it simply can no longer be ignored.”

“63.07% of respondents said greater access to translated information could have prevented the death of someone in their family or circle of friends,” explains Tahar Bouhafs, CEO of Common Sense Advisory. “This is clear proof that translation can save lives in Africa, and that the time to address this need is now.”

Africa is home to nearly 1 billion people, or roughly 10% of the world’s population. The African continent also boasts 2,000 languages spread across six major language families. Some of them – such as Amharic, Berber, Hausa, Igbo, Oromo, Swahili, and Yoruba – are used by tens of millions of people. At least 242 African languages are used in the mass media, a minimum of 63 are used in judicial systems and no fewer than 56 are used in public administration.

Key datapoints from “The Need for Translation in Africa” include:

  • 97.14% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help individuals in Africa understand their legal rights.
  • 95.85% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help protect human rights in Africa.
  • 94.92% of respondents said greater access to translated information would have a positive impact on the collective health of people in Africa.
  • 94.87% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help Africans in times of emergency or natural disasters.
  • 91.96% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help people in Africa contribute to the political process.
  • 88.78% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help prevent international, civil, ethnic, or communal conflict in Africa.
  • 63.07% of respondents said greater access to translated information could have prevented the loss of life of Africans in their family or circle of friends.

The report is available at: http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com/Portals/0/downloads/Africa.pdf. ”

 

Visit our Facebook page for more news about translation and languages.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

%d bloggers like this: