A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Arc de Triomphe

Post 15041

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

In another thread - "What's good about English?" - there are several non-Brits or at least some non-native-English-speakers asking, in what appears to be a mildly resentful manner, why it is that English is, or is becoming, the 'dominant' whirled language.

A couple of our better English speakers are at pains there to point out that the reasons are not entirely economic or the residue of colonialism but rather the great flexibility and variance English provides.

Beyond that I tried to suggest that the very complexities of English (that make it so frustrating and difficult for non-native-speakers to learn our language) are in fact a great mental exercise that keeps the English mind alive and livelier than most. I said:

"
The ambiguities of meaning (in English) are actually a source of intellectual stimulation, a mental exercise that has hardened the wit of the hardwired Anglophone.

Take the three letters "FET" for example which appear as the first syllable and apparent root of:

fete - a party, festival, feast
fetid - a bad smell
fetus - an unborn child
fetish - an obsessive neurosis
feta - a cheese
fetter - hindrance, restriction

You could go crazy or at least grow cal-louses on your barn-ankles before you ever figured out why some English roots are so twisted. I blame the soil.
"

After which a couple of people asked, 'Yeah but what's so great about English?' once again proving I still haven't learned not to answer a simple question by posing a more difficult one.

smiley - cheers
~jwf~



Arc de Triomphe

Post 15042

turvy (Fetch me my trousers Geoffrey...)

Are all the examples you give English words to start with.

Feta - Greek
Fetus - Latin and in my day spelt Fœtus
Fetid - not sure but again used to be spelt Fœtid
Féte - French

I would support the view that English dominance is due to business and economic forces and add the interweb to the mix.

I also think that English is good at absorbing words and even phrases from other languages with no trouble due to it's flexibility

t.


Arc de Triomphe

Post 15043

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

>> English is good at absorbing words and even phrases from other languages...<<

smiley - cheers
C'est vraiment!
peace
~jwf~


Arc de Triomphe

Post 15044

kuzushi


C'est vraiment quoi?


Arc de Triomphe

Post 15045

Gnomon - time to move on

C'est vraiment bien a absorber les mots et les phrases des autres langues.


Arc de Triomphe

Post 15046

KB

And that's why nobody needs to translate it! It comes pre-translated.


Arc de Triomphe

Post 15047

turvy (Fetch me my trousers Geoffrey...)

Exactement mon ami!smiley - biggrin

t.


Freerice

Post 15048

Wand'rin star

A couple of times a week I proudly get up to 60 while donating several thousand grains (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go to freerice dot com)I have discovered a snag. One word I always got right means "a quarter moulding" - a dowel divided into four, used as a trim. A couple of weeks ago I needed that word, talking about trim on a kitchen unit, and couldn't recall it. I have spent double my usual time on site and still haven't found it. This makes nonsense of the claim that it increases vocabulary ("I knew that"), so I need some help.smiley - starsmiley - star


Freerice

Post 15049

Gnomon - time to move on

I know the piece of wood you are describing but don't know the name for it.


Freerice

Post 15050

Rod

Quadrant moulding?


Freerice

Post 15051

Cheerful Dragon

Would it be a dado?

My dictionary defines 'dado' as 'the lower part of a wall when visually distinct from the upper part'. However, I've seen 'dado' used for the piece of wood (usually) that is used to divide the two parts of the wall.


Freerice

Post 15052

Gnomon - time to move on

I think Irish builders would call it a "quarter round".


Freerice

Post 15053

Rudest Elf


Hoovooloo would know: http://www.bartleby.com/61/imagepages/A4ovolo.htmlsmiley - winkeye

If not, I'm sure you'll find it here: http://www.fine-woodworking-for-your-home.com/architecturaldictionary.html#O

smiley - reindeer


Freerice

Post 15054

Cheerful Dragon

Thanks for the link to the architectural dictionary. I now know what a 'newel post' is. I was told that I couldn't have the stairlift I wanted because the rail would stick out 18 inches from the newel post. I wasn't sure if that was the post at the top or the bottom of the stairs. Now I know it's at the bottom.smiley - tasmiley - cheers


Freerice

Post 15055

Wand'rin star

The lovely architectural dictionary doesn't list it, but it looks as though quadrant is the term I'm looking for. Thanx smiley - starsmiley - star


Freerice

Post 15056

Gnomon - time to move on

My automatic response to a query like this is to ask my father-in-law. Sadly, he died over a year ago.smiley - sadface


Freerice

Post 15057

Wand'rin star

My own father, alas longer gone, would also have known. Now was he an amateur woodworker, joiner, carpenter or cabinetmaker? My former neighbour - a lovely Irishman - was a professional chippie. Neither of them ever unertook undertaking, but the local undertaker in North Lincs also made my beautiful sash window replacements.
"What's good about English?" sets of words like that of subtle differences. Or there's the set I use for my students. "Define and differentiate the following: kind, friendly, amiable, amicable" smiley - starsmiley - star


Freerice

Post 15058

turvy (Fetch me my trousers Geoffrey...)

Oh the shame of it.

I got to 1680 grains and was offered the word Gnomon!!





I got it wrong...




smiley - wah
t.


Freerice

Post 15059

turvy (Fetch me my trousers Geoffrey...)

2000 grains.

t.


Freerice

Post 15060

kuzushi


Yes, just been looking at your website. It's good.
Very good, actually.

http://freerice.com/index.php


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