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jayles the unwoven

Joined: June 3, 2014
Comments posted: 201
Votes received: 106

No user description provided.

Questions Submitted

Salutations in letters

November 20, 2016

Are proverbs dying?

June 30, 2014


June 24, 2014

Recent Comments

One must strive to imitate the language of the Bronte sisters and others of that ilk. Using a dialect is more likely to be credible.
Use the "thou" forms instead of "you" when addressing one family member or lover.
Use modals like shall, may, will instead of some continuous forms:
eg Will she come? <==Is she coming?
Here comes the carriage <== The carriage is coming

Be wary of familiarity : inside lower class families yes; servant to master never

jayles the unwoven December 17, 2014, 8:57pm

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Just to explain the meaning of the grammatical term "relative clause":

As you may know, Santa is spending this Xmas down-under visiting relatives, leaving the prezzie handout to DHL. Unfortunately it's been very wet down-under (despite being mid-summer), and Santa with his family (all those little subordinate Clauses) have been cooped up in a beach-bach with his relative Clauses, and all the wet and bedaggled reindeer, all suffering from cabin-fever listening to endless downpours and gales outside. Some of the little Clauses have in fact become quite insubordinate and objectionable (Santa calls them 'object Clauses'). Mrs Santa has been trying to organize indoor games and activities to keep everyone amused: Santa calls her a 'co-ordinating Claus', whilst he himself is of course the main Claus

jayles the unwoven December 17, 2014, 9:05am

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Well this whole thing started because of the MacDonalds ad "I'm loving it", which to me is borderline - not something I would say.

What surprises me is that 'have/has been wanting' has declined so much lately

jayles the unwoven December 17, 2014, 7:42am

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"Because back in the 1840s, around 80 percent of people living in Wales were Welsh speakers, many of them spoke no English at all. Fast forward to the recent 2011 census and that number has dropped to below 20 percent."
as stated in :

Not sure whether this is well-founded or not, but if so could account for the late rise in continuous forms

jayles the unwoven December 17, 2014, 7:33am

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My next question would be: how much did the post-1847 drive to teach English to Welsh children in schools contribute to the much-more-widespread use of continuous/progressive forms?
Did these forms become more common in 1800's because of grammarians' influences, the crossover from Welsh or upper-class affectation with over-politeness?

Either way it seems that the true Englishness of today's widespread use of continuous forms is questionable

jayles the unwoven December 17, 2014, 7:26am

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Do the above really chart the rise of continuous forms in English?
Do they really show a decline in the use of straight modals (esp shall) in favour of continuous?
Did the form "will be coming" really begin as just a Victorian affectation?

jayles the unwoven December 16, 2014, 5:40pm

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"deviation" + "railway" shows up quite easily on Google

jayles the unwoven December 12, 2014, 6:10pm

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I never understood why the French for 'detour' is 'deviation' on all the roadworks

jayles the unwoven December 11, 2014, 1:09pm

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So what did they use in Middle English for "decide"?
"Choose" is not quite the same thing.
"betake" seems little used in books (after 1500)

"slit" (cf schliessen, entschliessen) does not seem to be used in this meaning in OE

jayles the unwoven December 7, 2014, 1:43pm

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One of the odd grammatical things about modern English is the way we use : want.
Eg: I want her to come

Oddly, if one puts this phrase into Ngrams it does not show up before 1804

I had hitherto assumed that this usage started in the Middle Ages, but perhaps it was much later

This structure differs from both French and German (Je veux qu'elle aille: Ich will dass sie komme): the French phrase comes up on Google, but not the German one

So the questions are:
When did this structure with "want" come into use?
What did people say instead of it before then ?

Is the real Germanic way : She should/must/has to come ??

jayles the unwoven December 2, 2014, 10:33pm

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No need to cloud the meaning with "pedophile" when foot-lover would do instead.

jayles the unwoven December 2, 2014, 2:52pm

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"God is watching on from a (safe) distance"

beati pacifici

jayles the unwoven December 1, 2014, 5:04pm

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@HS Given our diverse genetic genes, and the otherness of our upbringing and sundry experiences, and the on-flow on our mindset and thinking, it is hardly likely we shall see eye to eye on this. To look upon this thread as the upshot of a harmless (or perhaps mindless) eccentricity might be your best bet to restore your mind-frith.

Whether or nay it be pointless, is of course a matter of standpoint.

So you did not get the beckon to become an extra for Lord of the Rings? No wish to act the Orc or Gandalf?

jayles the unwoven November 24, 2014, 9:07pm

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oops 'vendor' instead of 'seller'

jayles the unwoven November 24, 2014, 1:03pm

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@HS Why is this thread here?
Well it has lead me to consider the roots of modern English; to become much more aware of the influences on modern English lexis; the 'snob' value of using 'rapidly' instead of 'fast', 'quick', 'speedy', to be more aware of those older-rooted words that still exist in dialects and in the dictionary.

If one wades through all the guff, it is a treatise about lexis and style and what is the effect on "register" in modern English, and how acceptable some of the older, less common words are in modern English. Curiously, in the IELTS (International English Testing System), one gets extra marks for using "less common" lexis correctly and in context; however I doubt they mean archaic words, but rather more academic and latin-rooted words.

Sometimes one comes across new coinages like "go-forward" as a noun instead of "progress"; abd perhaps this mirrors the demise of Latin-learning at school, and a step in some areas toward a more straightforward forthright English style.

At any rate, in my view it is a wonderful exercise to try writing English which avoids latin-rooted words wherever it can be done/ wherever it is feasible/wherever it is viable. Equally using Norman-French-rooted words like 'feasible' wherever do-able makes one more aware of the everyday business register in modern English. If one cannot do this one might be unaware of the on-flow from word-choice in terms of informal/business/academic register. Knowing when to use 'invoice' instead of 'bill', 'purchase' instead of 'buy', 'vendor' instead of 'buyer' is very much a deal of modern English and in reading this thread one cannot sidestep the moot point.

That said, many Latin-rooted words cannot be easily sidestepped in today's English, and that is the end-point of this thread. Stick to words in the dictionary if you wish to be understood. Be wary of out-of-date words unless you are writing a historical novel or something.

But don't mark "hearty greetings" wrong at the end of a letter or email, mark it as "seldom used today" as it was quite okay four hundred years ago. It is no more wrong than Chaucer was in his day. Cherchez le mot just!

jayles the unwoven November 24, 2014, 1:01pm

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My understanding is that Arabic is usually written without vowels, rthr lk ths.

jayles the unwoven October 19, 2014, 2:30pm

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'Wer' still survives in 'world':

world (n.)
Old English woruld, worold "human existence, the affairs of life," also "a long period of time," also "the human race, mankind, humanity," a word peculiar to Germanic languages (cognates: Old Saxon werold, Old Frisian warld, Dutch wereld, Old Norse verold, Old High German weralt, German Welt), with a literal sense of "age of man," from Proto-Germanic *wer "man" (Old English wer, still in werewolf; see virile) + *ald "age" (see old).

cf etymonline

jayles the unwoven October 19, 2014, 2:25pm

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Bewildered by English mores (or hating the class system), in the early seventies I took a PanAm flight from Heathrow, never to return to Blighty - apart from a brief sojurn there in the early nineties.
So my instincts about Am vs Brit English are often somewhat dated. It all depends on what context one hears or reads them first.

jayles the unwoven September 27, 2014, 3:03pm

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