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Phrase confused
Posted: 26 April 2007 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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It is instructive to read critics like Dryden and Johnson when speaking of Chaucer. They have an immense respect for him, as the father of English verse, but there is also condescension, that Chaucer was somehow limited by the ‘roughness’ and impurity of the English language of his time. From this barbaric beginning the English language supposedly rose to an acme of perfection, as embodied in Augustans such as Addison and Pope, whose polished prose and verse represented the ‘gold-standard’ of English. Pressures arose for an English ‘Academy’ on the lines of the French one, to preserve the ‘purity’ of the English language. Fortunately, no such Academy ever arose, and though it was soon the lament of some (Swift not least among them) that the language was in decline, corrupted by modern ‘barbarisms’, scholars began gradually to accept that languages do not rise or fall towards or away from some level of perfection, they simply change. Logic and ‘common sense’ have nothing to do with it, usage alone is king. (Witness the constant, and vain, efforts of the French Academy to banish Anglo-Saxon ‘corruptions’ from the language of Corneille and Racine.)

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Posted: 26 April 2007 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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aldiboronti -

Anglicization of foreign words was the common principle in the English language until quite recently. To have pronounced the word in the French manner would have sounded affected.

This is an excellent point.  Look at the way in which we pronounce the Byronic “Don Juan” still, as that’s the way it works in the verse.  Even today, we tend to be rather selective in which words or names we choose to pronounce in the original.  Somewhere along the way we’ve chosen to go with Beijing over Peking, but does any Anglo say Paree (Paris) without sounding affected?  Reminds me also of the way that TV news announcers used to love saying Nicaragua with an outrageous Spanish accent, simply because it made them sound worldly, but would then utter Los Angeles in conventionally unmannered English.  Common usage generally wins the day in the long run.  Does this mean that I should start saying ‘nucular’ rather than nuclear?

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Fregt mikh bekheyrem!
~ Shmegege

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Posted: 26 April 2007 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Beijing and Peking are the results of two different transliteration systems, Pinyin v. Wade-Giles. Neither represents native pronunciation exactly, although Pinyin (Beijing) is generally considered to be somewhat more accurate than Wade-Giles. Peiping was also a commonly found transliteration.

Los Angeles is a better example of pronunciation of a name that has thoroughly been absorbed into English changing back towards the pronunciation in the original language. Sixty years ago, it was common for Anglos to pronounce it with a hard g, as in angle.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Pei-p’ing (Beiping) was an alternate name of the city known as Beijing today. Different characters (jing ~ ping), different pronunciation. Also, Peking is a pre-Wade-Giles transliteration; it would be Peiching in the W-G.

[ Edited: 26 April 2007 06:59 AM by jheem ]
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Posted: 26 April 2007 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Los Angeles is a better example of pronunciation of a name that has thoroughly been absorbed into English changing back towards the pronunciation in the original language.

Not sure what you mean, unless you’re aware of a wave of English-speakers saying “loss AHNG-khe-les.” Surely “Anjeles” and “Anggeles” are just two different anglicizations; neither remotely resembles the Spanish pronunciation.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 12:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Los Angeles is a better example of pronunciation of a name that has thoroughly been absorbed into English changing back towards the pronunciation in the original language. Sixty years ago, it was common for Anglos to pronounce it with a hard g, as in angle.

I grew up in San Diego in the ‘60s-’70s. At that time, of course, Los Angeles seemed a million miles away except for the rich kids who had family up there or went there for the weekends. My high school history teacher, Mr. Daley, an unabashedly self-confessed conservative, pronounced it Loss Ang-geleez, albeit with some self-conscious irony I suspect. It spoke to me of mid-western Anglo-centrism and a wonderful sense that all was right with the world. Back then it was the standard pronunciation depending on who you were and where you came from.

But us kids did pronounce it Loss Anjeless. It’s a problem. Whenever I’ve seen a child’s sad, crudely printed “Lost Parakeet” sign on telephone poles I’ve wondered what the immigrants understand by “Los Para Ketes”.

Aldi:

It is instructive to read critics ...

Wow!

[ Edited: 27 April 2007 12:56 AM by foolscap ]
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Posted: 27 April 2007 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Harking back to mysterry’s last post, we’re all familiar with the phenomenon that any posting complaining about someone else’s misuse of English (whether a criticism of a specific person, or just a general jeremiad about the decline of standards) will almost invariably contain errors that are (or should be) equally or more embarassing than those the critic is decrying.  Do we have a specific name for this?  Is it “Wilton’s law”, or anything along those lines?

[ Edited: 27 April 2007 07:32 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 27 April 2007 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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This is very frustrating—I know I’ve seen discussions of this, probably at Language Log, but I can’t seem to find any of them.  While I continue my search, here’s a vaguely related topic: Why are so many linguistic corrections incorrect?

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Posted: 27 April 2007 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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This site calls it Murphy’s Law of Finger-Pointing, and a commenter here refers to it as “that Law of Internet Dynamics” (implictly one of many).  Those names suck.

OK, this is better: this Language Log entry by Mark Liberman calls it “the Iron Law of Nitpicking”, citing Zeno at Halfway There, who summarizes it as “You are never more likely to make a grammatical error than when correcting someone else’s grammar.”

“The Iron Law of Nitpicking.” That’s a name for it that I can live with.

Reading further in Liberman’s post (I initially thought the survey box marked the end of the piece), I see that he traces the concept back further:

Jed Hartman ("Words & Stuff”, April 20, 1999): “Any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one eror”.
Perchprism/Skitt: (alt.usage.english, April 26, 1999): “Any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself” or “The likelihood of an error in a post is directly proportional to the embarrassment it will cause the poster”.
Erin McKean: (Verbatim Magazine, Summer 1999) “Any correction of the speech or writing of others will contain at least one grammatical, spelling, or typographical error.”

Even Ambrose Bierce made a similar observation: [W]riters all, both great and small, are habitual sinners against the light; and their accuser is cheerfully aware that his own work will supply (as in making this book it has supplied) many “awful examples”...

Given the apparent difficulty of establishing priority, it’s probably best not to name it for a specific person.  “The Iron Law of Nitpicking” it shall be.

So let it be written, so let it be done.  ;)

[ Edited: 27 April 2007 04:45 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 27 April 2007 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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To further the cause of picking nit, you’ve an errant apostrophe in the penultimate paragraph.

:-D

In light of the Dr’s response, the post has been edited to insert shit-eating grin.

[ Edited: 27 April 2007 04:16 PM by Thews McHeftigan ]
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Posted: 27 April 2007 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Shows what the knowledge that one’s wife is waiting impatiently in the parking lot while one rushes to complete a posting can do.  Thank you, itz’ fix’t n’ow.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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I knew I remembered it from the Log!  Thanks for saving me from further searching.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 05:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Back to the original question:

It is hard to pronouce “think coming” clearly enough to make it clear that the word you are using is “think”, unless the effort is affected with an almost unnatural pause between “think/thing” and “coming”. It is a problem that can not be solved, so we all have to get used to the fact that both usages are correct.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 05:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Also, people do say “You’re gonna get what’s coming!” Sounds more like a ‘thing’ than a ‘think’.

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Posted: 28 April 2007 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Without wishing to go round the roundabout yet another time, may I humbly suggest that “You’re gonna get what’s coming!” derives from the “thing” usage which, ahem, derives from the “think” usage.
Alternatively, to give the sleeping dog a kick, may I, slightly less humbly, ask if there is any antiquity to the version “If you thought that, you’ve got another thought coming”.

runs away quickly and shuts the door

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