From the sublime to the ridiculous

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, and is NON CH related - chat about the weather, or anything else that takes your fancy.

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sejintenej
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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by sejintenej » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:47 pm

NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote: I didn't know that footsach was decently translatable ! :oops:
There my be equivalents in other languages.
I would have expected something more like vuitsek but then I don't know double dutch. It's not decently translatable and neither is ta geule or filha da puta
NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote: The British Army had, and possibly still has, the habit of translating common English phrases into the local language -----
Tum lakri -- lakri tum ? (Urdu) -- you wood wood you ?
My favourite ----- Non venere il veccio acido con mio solare (Italian) --- don't come the old acid with me sunshine !
Any others ?
At CH we had a master - perhaps Mr Bourne - who had done time in India. He also knew a bit of Urdu so anyone in the lower 50% of the class could expect the word oouluu (that is what it sounded like and my PC does not have Sanscrit characters) - idiot / moron

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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:50 am

The Army used to describe people as "Going Doolali" --- and I have heared it since.

The Indian Army mental hospital was at a place called --- Dulali --- Spelling ?

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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by sejintenej » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:54 am

NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote:The Army used to describe people as "Going Doolali" --- and I have heared it since.
Phrase also used in South Africa with the same meaning.

That said, I haven't heard the Indian origin words 'amah' and 'tiffin' used for decades
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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by eucsgmrc » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:30 pm

NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote:The Indian Army mental hospital was at a place called --- Dulali --- Spelling ?
Deolali. That's the spelling on my father's army records. He was not there because he was loopy. Deolali was a major transit point, and almost every (army) body passed through there.

Wikipedia says "Deolali transit camp was a transit camp for British troops in Deolali, India, notorious for its unpleasant environment, boredom, and the psychological problems of soldiers that passed through it. Its name is the origin of the phrase "gone doolally" or "doolally tap", a phrase meaning to 'lose ones mind'. 'Tap' may refer to the Urdu word tap, meaning a malarial fever."

What I've heard is that if a unit had somebody who was too unbalanced to be useful, he would be sent to Deolali to await orders .... which might be a long time coming, and might or might not involve hospitalisation or return to Britain. Consequently, although almost everybody went to Deolali, nobody stayed there except the mentally disturbed.
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Do you write English?

Post by sejintenej » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:23 pm

I found the following posts by different people to a newsgroup:

Re: Engineers and English
Posted by: "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@yahoo.com
Date: Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:02 pm
Yup. When I was an undergrad business major at Iowa State in the '50s I had a 5th year Electrical Engineer (4 year curriculum) offer me $100 (big money back then) to take the senior English exam for him. It was required of all graduates, and he had flunked it NINE times already. I had to tell him I could not, simply because I was involved with debate and speech competitions, and was known by most of the English faculty by name. But I offered to tutor him. I had him write me the requisite 500 words and was amazed (astounded? flabbergasted?) when he handed me back 500 words in TWO sentences. His work was a blizzard of commas, a forest of semicolons, and was thoroughly muddled. When I finished with him I had separated him from his $100 and he passed the exam by being able to write a 7 word sentence with a capitol letter at the beginning and a period at the end.

.....................................

I've noticed before that many engineers have only a passing acquaintance
> with English Great example:
>
> This test procedure is a breakdown of the tests carried out on the
> device. It does not however bare any relation to the order in which the
> tests are carried out.
>
> Good to know that no uncles or aunts in religious organisations are to be
> rendered naked... ;-)

.............................................

My own problem at the moment is similar
My brain appears to have swapped 'There' and 'Their' round recently
I know which is which!
My fingers however, keep typing the other one!!
And it's both ways

How do you spell Alzheimers?

................................................

My Alma Mata has a saying, "Before I went to Georgia Tech, I couldn't
spell Ing-ga-near, now I are one."

Two hundred credit hours of science and engineering, three hours of
English to graduate.


(Despite his training the last author is a writer who seems more than capable of writing good English!)

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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:56 pm

I am currently working with an indian engineer who regularly corrects my english/strine. Now, his written and spoken english are remarkably good - all of his education was conducted in english - and much better than those of our esteemed (not) previous facility manager, who once confounded me by repeating that something would come to fructuation. I thought he was meaning fluctuation, but then couldn't make any sense of what he was saying. Until 'Oh, fruition. It will come to fruition'. BIG mistake, aged female scientist does not correct esteemed engineer - particularly when he is wrong.

Almost lost the plot last week while discussing a risk assessment for the gas system in the lab. I asked whether, in the event of a catastrophic failure, it was correct to say that there was no danger of ingesting oxygen. Before I could explain what I meant I was sneeringly given a definition of 'ingest' by someone who does not have english as his first language, and makes me want to throw up when he sniffs, rather than evacuate the viscous and plentiful contents of his nasal passages into a handkerchief.

I am fast becoming a racist, and really do not like myself for it.

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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by Mid A 15 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:09 am

icomefromalanddownunder wrote:I am currently working with an indian engineer who regularly corrects my english/strine. Now, his written and spoken english are remarkably good - all of his education was conducted in english - and much better than those of our esteemed (not) previous facility manager, who once confounded me by repeating that something would come to fructuation. I thought he was meaning fluctuation, but then couldn't make any sense of what he was saying. Until 'Oh, fruition. It will come to fruition'. BIG mistake, aged female scientist does not correct esteemed engineer - particularly when he is wrong.

Almost lost the plot last week while discussing a risk assessment for the gas system in the lab. I asked whether, in the event of a catastrophic failure, it was correct to say that there was no danger of ingesting oxygen. Before I could explain what I meant I was sneeringly given a definition of 'ingest' by someone who does not have english as his first language, and makes me want to throw up when he sniffs, rather than evacuate the viscous and plentiful contents of his nasal passages into a handkerchief.

I am fast becoming a racist, and really do not like myself for it.
It's not racist to feel frustrated by a tosser you work with!

The fact that this particular tosser is Indian is by the by. I'm sure over your lifetime you've encountered Engish, Australian and other nationalities tossers too and felt exactly the same sense of frustration.
Ma A, Mid A 65 -72

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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by Katharine » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:36 am

icomefromalanddownunder wrote:I am fast becoming a racist, and really do not like myself for it.
No you are not becoming a racist, unless you start to think all Indians are like him. I had a similar situation when teaching in S London in the 80s. The girl I found most difficult to deal with was a black African, a very black girl, one of the darkest skinned I have ever taught - including my time in Ghana. I don't think it was anything to do with the skin colour just the personality and upbringing the child had had. (She also had a name which doesn't sound pleasant in English, poor child, so she may have reacted to years of teasing)
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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by sejintenej » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:43 am

icomefromalanddownunder wrote:I am currently working with an indian engineer who regularly corrects my english/strine. Now, his written and spoken english are remarkably good - all of his education was conducted in english - and much better than those of our esteemed (not) previous facility manager, who once confounded me by repeating that something would come to fructuation. I thought he was meaning fluctuation, but then couldn't make any sense of what he was saying. Until 'Oh, fruition. It will come to fruition'. BIG mistake, aged female scientist does not correct esteemed engineer - particularly when he is wrong..
I am starting (OK - at last) to wonder about the teaching of English grammar. Where I was brought up they imported an antiquated teacher from elsewhere, perhaps London, who tried to teach us grammar. Given that she was close to being unintelligible (being from oop there) it seems amazing that I even learned what a noun, adjective and verb are. (Rulers on knuckles help).
At CH, as far as I recall, there was minimal if any grammar tuition. OK so I recall mention of not splitting infinitives but they never told us what an infinitive is or whether one uses a felling axe, a chisel or a fruit knife to split it.
Only now, in my dotage, awaiting my appointment with the Supreme Examiner, I am learning all about introductory propositional phrases, comma after (depending on the number of words of such phrase). Makes me wonder what else I don't know and if the Almighty One will send me back to learn proper English and, given the quality of teachers, where can one learn?

As for the mentioned Indian, a person's background is not always indicative of their education. One of my top bosses, a Brazilian called Carlos, did his degree at Harvard so he spoke American with authority but when he switched into British English you immediately realised that you were in the presence of a master. His number two was pretty good but ........ let us say he was not the most popular person. Before meetings, the English staff would pick an obscure word from the dictionary of difficult words and use it, in context, in the meeting. Of course the number 2 simply didn't understand but we never ever caught Carlos out.

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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:16 am

My particular "Hates" in bad English, are Split Infinitives and Qualified Absolutes -- (And this from a Geography Dep !)

A new, and infuriating, example, has appeared among the innumerable advertisements for Perfume, at this time of year -------
"Very Irresistable" ----- either it is -- or it ain't !

As to the split infinitives, they are so common on the BBC, that I wonder if the "Powers that be" are equally illiterate !!

I wonder if English, as now taught at CH, is still as strict --- or am I an ageing Dinosaur ? :oops:

Can someone enlighten me ?

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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:21 pm

I don't remember being taught english grammer, and became aware of the split infinitive courtesy of Captain Kirk.

I, too, react to qualified absolutes. Interesting that they are becoming common in the UK: I had assumed that it was another Australian quirk.

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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by sejintenej » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:34 pm

icomefromalanddownunder wrote:I, too, react to qualified absolutes. Interesting that they are becoming common in the UK: I had assumed that it was another Australian quirk.
Thanks for that, Caroline. Your post made me think of all those ill- or undereducated enemies of society locked in the bowels of a rocking pinnace braving and fearing nature's angers en route across the tumultuous Southern Ocean to a land of pain, suffering, and sweaty labour, uttering outpourings unheard of and incomprehensible in a ladies' withdrawing room near Berkley Square. Generation after generation strived to assimilate the utterings of those poor lost souls into something vaguely intelligible called Strine (or should it be Stryne?) so that it could be exported and inflicted as punishing revenge on those who had expelled their ancestors to such a dry flooded hot and cold target of typhoons and dust storms.

Reason found me and compelled to look up an old friend who, amazingly, has an entry in Wikipedia (and not even thanks to the US military). That led me to the entry about his ancestor whose diary I have read. This 16 year old, son of farm labourers, jumped ship in Southwark in 1812 and was put ashore in Brazil. There he learned the language, learned to read and write, translated Moliere, became a doctor, surgeon and city councilor. The surprising point (to me) is that his handwritten diary, written in 1830 (the part I read), is in exactly the same language as is used today and was easier to read than many current offerings.
It's good to look up old acquaintences - thanks, Caroline.

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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by Jo » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:52 am

NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote:My particular "Hates" in bad English, are Split Infinitives and Qualified Absolutes -- (And this from a Geography Dep !)

A new, and infuriating, example, has appeared among the innumerable advertisements for Perfume, at this time of year -------
"Very Irresistable" ----- either it is -- or it ain't !

As to the split infinitives, they are so common on the BBC, that I wonder if the "Powers that be" are equally illiterate !!

I wonder if English, as now taught at CH, is still as strict --- or am I an ageing Dinosaur ? :oops:

Can someone enlighten me ?
You need to be a bit careful about split infinitives - there is a body of fairly well-informed linguistic opinion that the objection to them is a modern affectation without any historical justification. Sometimes it sounds so stilted (and actually alters the meaning slightly) to use them, that I take great pleasure in NOT doing so, and if it offends "purists", so much the better :lol:

One thing I have learned over the years, as someone with an interest in languages (degree in French and having learned a number of other languages) and having discussed at length with other linguists, is that whatever your particular obsession is, and however correctly you think you speak English, someone will have an even more obscure obsession than yours. They will likely as not be secretly and smugly sneering at your inaccuracies. I have come round to the opinion that, whilst I dislike lazy and incomprehensible English, I also get impatient about linguistic correctness p*ssing contests and wonder if some people don't have better things to occupy their time. Language evolves, otherwise we'd all be speaking proto-Indo-European.
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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by eucsgmrc » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:59 am

NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote:My particular "Hates" in bad English, are Split Infinitives and Qualified Absolutes
Well, very few absolutes are really so absolute that they can't be qualified. For instance:

A is the tallest man in the world since records began. He's clearly unique.

B is the tallest woman in the world since records began. She's also the only person ever to win a Nobel prize, an Olympic gold medal and the national lottery in the same year. She's clearly more unique than A.

Oh no she's not.

Oh yes she is. It takes only one man to grow very tall to displace A from his uniqueness, but B would still be unique even if another woman were to grow very tall.

Still, as a point of style rather than mathematics, I think qualified absolutes usually sound a bit careless or silly.
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Re: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:50 am

Neither of these is "Unique" --- think about it -----Either condition could, again, appear. this would involve the loss of "Uniqueness" which I imagine is impossible.-----otherwise in ain't unique !


Anyway -- I AM an old dinosaur -- and I don't care , and will continue with my predjudices-- so there !! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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