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[Poll #1607753]

(This question brought to you by reading a discussion on a webforum.)
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Realised there's something about Other Englishs that I don't know:

If I'm walking down the street, and suddenly need to attract the attention of a random stranger, then I call out

"Hey, mate..."

"Mate", of course, is rather Australian.

So I was wondering: what do other people call total strangers when they need to start a conversation?
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Because I get wildly curious about unimportant matters such as punctuation.

[Poll #1573612]

Questions? Comments?
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I’ve been corrected in the comments to my last post for pluralising “Mary-Sue” incorrectly.

And while part of me wants to wave my editing course in people’s faces and go “I know better than anyone! Hah!” and another part of me wants to change it so that people won’t think I am bad at punctuation, I thought it might be more interesting to make a post about it – because I’m obsessed with language, and find this stuff far too fascinating.

plural names )

So: was I right? Or wrong? Or should I have done something completely different?
Tell me in the comments!
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From my editing textbook, in a brief explanation of metric units:

"One millipicture is a quantity of art equivalent in value to one word."

It confused me – and then it made me laugh.
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Whenever I see you guys talk about "rooting for someone", I start snickering - much in the fashion of a teenage boy.

"Rooting"? Over here, it's the crudest way you could possibly discuss having sex.

Feel free to keep saying it (after all, it's a perfectly legitimate word for you guys) but please be aware of the effect it's having on Aussies...
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My book on Latin has a section on Latin names. Which sounds very serious and sensible in Latin, but much more weird and wacky when you think about how it would work in English.

Latin Names in English

So, there's a man called John Smith. Or, actually, Smith.
His family and friends call him "John", but to the rest of the world he is simply Smith. And that's how he'll introduce himself: "Hi, I'm Smith. Call me Smith."

Of course, being a family name, it's precisely the same name as his dad, his brother, and several of his cousins. Which is mostly fine. But gets confusing once the family's been around for a while and suddenly there are 500 men called Smith in town.

So, to make things clearer, each branch of the Smith family will take a clan name, named after a characteristic of their branch's leader.
Our Smith is now called Smith Bignose, and his cousin is Smith Badtemper.

Smith, by the way, has daughters. Three of them.
Their names are Big Smitha Bignose, Little Smitha Bignose, and Smitha Bignose the Third.

...and that's when I burst into hysterical laughter and had to put the book down.
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I recently realised something about writing different dialects.

You see, I’m an Aussie. My English is (sort of) a mixture of British English and American English – with a lot of Australian slang thrown in. It makes me a pretty reasonable Britpicker for American writers, and also a pretty good Ameripicker for British writers. But there’s one area I’m not very qualified to handle: swearing.

elaboration, with some minor swearing )
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Just saw a LOLcat that said (and I quote):

Shakespeare Kitteh dost not approve of thou foul grammar

My eyes! My eyes! *weeps for humanity*

Okay people. Here's the thing:

I ---> Thou
Me ---> Thee
My ---> Thy
Mine ---> Thine

See how that works? (It even rhymes and everything.)
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(That's 108 for you Celsius-challenged folks.)


I have sweat dripping down my face. EWW.

(In other news, I bought myself a book of fairytales... in Latin. How cool.)
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A NOUN that owns something...
...uses an apostrophe.

Such as:
- the dog's bone
- the house's chimney
- the newspaper's typeface

The same holds true for proper nouns:
- Megan's cup
- Tom's ears

And for abstract nouns:
- love's desire
- envy's true nature

A PRONOUN that owns something...
...doesn't use an apostrophe.

Such as:
- his hands
- her passion for music
- its colour
- whose book?

If a PRONOUN has an apostrophe...'s a contraction.

It's means "it is". Who's means "who is".

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Do you ever find, when reading something, that there are phrases which make perfect sense, really, but still sound completely strange in context?

For instance:
"The man's hand was arrested before it had grasped the telephone receiver. He drew it back..."

That sounds relatively normal.
But when it's:
"The policeman's hand was arrested..."

Suddenly it sounds very odd.

This is from a Georgette Heyer murder mystery I've been re-reading.

A murder mystery in which, as it happens, two people are killed by having their heads beaten in with a blunt object.
Which also makes a later metaphor sound strangely un-metaphorical. Look:

"He went into a small private office, and once more spread his notes on the case before him, and cudgelled his brain over them."

Of course, it's really just a metaphorical way of describing how frustrating he was finding the case - but, given the brain-cudgelling murders that keep happening, it's very noticeable...
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...when there's a news report in which they mention someone doing a breathalyser test, and the Big Important Newscaster says in her Big Important Announcer Voice that this particular person was "breatho'd".

Had dinner this evening at a restaurant with a brick wall - and across the bricks, people had written comments in texta about how much they loved the restaurant, and what their favourite dishes were, and so forth. It was quite fun.
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1) One of my friends just came over with a long-stemmed rose and a card, to say "thanks for being such a good friend".
He's just lovely sometimes...

2) You know, if you watched Farscape season 1, without looking closely at the screen the whole way through, you'd miss so much stuff about Crichton and Aeryn's relationship - because it's all so entirely visual, and yet barely mentioned at all.

I just watched a scene full of shippy wonderfulness - but from the dialogue, you'd think they were having a completely mundane conversation about random everyday life.

3) [ profile] curiouswombat, you've got me learning Sindarin. I'm already trying to learn French, and Latin, and other non-fictional languages. I don't have time for this one too, dammit!
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I love reading the subject lines of spam. Especially when it's badly spelled.

I just got an email promising to divulge The Truth About Sexual Hypnoskis!

Now my brain is trying to decide how Hypnoskis would work, and how they'd affect your skiing...
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It's rather fascinating beta-reading for a non-native speaker.

Partially because I have to think about language a lot more - and why we say "also" or "too" and what the difference is, and when we'd use "may" instead of "might", and how on earth to explain the difference between "checking on" someone and "checking up on" them.

But it's also quite interesting having to analyse the way different people talk, and how words that work for one of them really wouldn't be used by another one...

confideyness )


Mar. 5th, 2009 12:09 pm
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My lovely Quicksilver is currently getting a much-needed carwash.

...or in other words, I drove her out of the garage, and parked her in the driveway instead, and the rain is now doing its stuff.

We have rain!
Probably not much, really, but it's incredibly nice to see it.

It did, however, kill my plans of walking down to Southbank and getting a healthy lunch. Fast-food for me today, from the closest shop I could find.

In other news, after 15 years of drinking Sunkist and a lifetime of seeing it in cans and bottles right next to the Coke, I only figured out today that the name is supposed to remind you of "sun-kissed". *facepalm*
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1) It's really nice to look through old jewellery, discover something you'd completely forgotten about, and realise that it just happens to go perfectly with all your outfits...

2) I filled in an internet survey today that, among other things, asked about people's political views. ("Are you a: Conservative, b: Liberal, c: Socialist, d: Anarchist, etc...")
Annoyingly, the first letter of the answers were all capitalised (as demonstrated above), so I almost got very confused.
In Australia, you see, there is an enormous difference between a liberal and a Liberal. Politically, they're polar opposites.

3) There is no way Tara would beat Gwen Raiden in a showdown, no matter what blogging comic book geeks might think.

4) You really do feel quite ridiculous having a two-year-old run up to you in a crowded restaurant and announce "I did a WEE!" at the top of his lungs, and having to respond with delighted enthusiasm while ignoring all the odd looks from other customers.

5) Frasier really is an enormously fun show.


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