Is this American?

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Jamie*On
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Is this American?

Postby Jamie*On » 2005-10-28, 19:17

I found this in "The Great Beyond: Higher Dimensions, Parallel Universes, and the Extraordinary Search for a Theory of Everything" by Paul Halpern:

A field provides a map of the amount and direction of force per particle at given points throughout space. It indicates where certain forces act stronger or weaker on particles.


I would have said "more strongly or more weakly". Is that American?

There is also:

Klein was devastated at first. After recovered from the shock, he decided to publish his work anyway, emphasizing a novel interpretation of the fifth dimension with the contxt of quantum theory.


I would have said "After he recovered from the shock..." or "Recovered from the shock..."

So are they mistakes or Americanisms?

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Re: Is this American?

Postby Rom » 2005-10-28, 19:21

"After recovered from the shock"

That's a typo.

"It indicates where certain forces act stronger or weaker on particles."

That sounds all right to me.

"more strongly or more weakly"
That sounds very funny to me. When I was in Italy I heard someone say something like that, and I almost started laughing. It's funny because it's not an expression I would ever use, and it reminds me of the word "sickly" e.g. "He is very sickly.", which sounds very old fashioned. Only elderly people still say that. (It means when someone is weak, and in poor health) The only time I would say "strongly" is in this context: "He was strongly opposed to it."

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Re: Is this American?

Postby Gormur » 2005-10-28, 20:12

Rom wrote:"more strongly or more weakly"


I've heard it in Canada. It's British English.

it reminds me of the word "sickly"


Why? "Sickly" is an adjective, not a comparative.

"He is very sickly.", which sounds very old fashioned. Only elderly people still say that.


I say it and I'm far from being sickly or elderly (and on that note, I don't say "elderly" but "old people" or "old folks"). I think it's more used in certain dialects than others or simply used in remote instances, i.e. - that guy looks sickly (in poor health, beat-up, malnutrient, deathly pale, in bad physical condition, etc). Is there really another word that could replace "sickly"? :?

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Postby Jamie*On » 2005-10-28, 22:06

"more strongly or more weakly"
That sounds very funny to me.


They teach us not to use adjectives with "more" when you should use an adverb (to describe the way in which something is done) in school.

"Certain forces act stronger" would be marked wrong in a British school, it's "more strongly" it's like:

"You dance bad" should be "you dance badly" (it's the way in which something is done).

And "sickly" is a totally normal word. We also say "peaky" if someone looks ill, or "poorly" if someone is ill, or "sickly" if food tastes really too sweet.

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Postby Kirk » 2005-10-28, 22:32

Jamie*On wrote:
"more strongly or more weakly"
That sounds very funny to me.


They teach us not to use adjectives with "more" when you should use an adverb (to describe the way in which something is done) in school.

"Certain forces act stronger" would be marked wrong in a British school, it's "more strongly" it's like:


We also learn that as a formal-writing rule (the one about comparatives being used as adjectives getting the "-ly" ending) and I adhere to it in my formal writing. However, I don't often use it in normal speech as it's mostly a prescriptivistic rule out of touch with how people talk here.

Jamie*On wrote:"You dance bad" should be "you dance badly" (it's the way in which something is done).


That's a different case than the one above, as it's not a comparative being used as an adjective. In North American English the adjectival suffix "-ly" is more likely to occur in spoken informal speech in a non-comparative context than a comparative one such as the one you listed above. Still, there is some variation here and many (including me) wouldn't apply "-ly" in "you dance bad(ly)" in informal speech, especially for very common forms.

Jamie*On wrote:And "sickly" is a totally normal word.


I use the word "sickly" not in an adverbial sense but in an adjectival one. Thus, I would say "he's a sickly man" (implies he's always sick, weak). It's not a horribly common word (but that could also be because I don't know many sickly people) but it doesn't sound too weird to me either.
Last edited by Kirk on 2005-10-28, 23:07, edited 1 time in total.
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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

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Postby Stan » 2005-10-28, 23:03

I would say "stronger or weaker"
if I was President,
I'd get elected on Friday
assassinated on Saturday
buried on Sunday

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Re: Is this American?

Postby ZombiekE » 2005-10-28, 23:24

Jamie*On wrote:
I would have said "more strongly or more weakly".


Me too. Whether this is American or not, I heard something on TV today from somebody from Venezuela that was similar to this.
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Postby Jamie*On » 2005-10-29, 12:44

The thing is, this is a serious book - I was shocked to see that!

:shock:

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Postby Kirk » 2005-10-29, 21:06

Jamie*On wrote:The thing is, this is a serious book - I was shocked to see that!

:shock:


Right, as I said before, usage of "-ly" with comparatives as adverbs is so rare that it may only show up in the most formal of writing, and even then maybe not, as it's a largely unnatural thing for speakers here. I've seen such things all the time in formal writing all the time without "-ly" usage in comparative adverbs :)
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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks

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Postby allemaalmeezinge » 2005-10-29, 21:30

I, until I started with Spanish, haven't really had a clue of in what positions an adverb should be placed in such sense. When speaking or writing English I then just translated from German (We don't use adverbs in this sense, we do also say "You dance good" [Du tanzt gut]) As I have seen this in English films and heard from English speaking people in the net, too, I never thought that this would be wrong. Somehow English lessons haven't been that !!well!! (;)) for me apparently :D

But then, when I started learning Spanish, I learned about adverbs and how to place them. I wasn't aware of them completely up to this poínt. But from that on I try to place them correctly in English, too, and I think it sounds more elegant :roll: :oops:

I remember my English teacher asking me in 10th grade what would be wrong with the quote "I'm good" (Which was how Tituba responded on the question how are you in "The Crucible", which we were reading) And I didn't see any fault at all, 'cause I was so used to even natives saying this. But then she told it was wrong, because it wasn't an adverb. This is the first event I remember getting me aware of such adverbs ^^

My teacher said she (Tituba: "Im good") spoke wrong English. I know I found that very odd then. Even now, I completely find it logical that if it is not said in reality by a group that for those it is not wrong, indeed. But I try to use the adverbs now ^^

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Postby Kirk » 2005-10-29, 21:37

yabba wrote:I, until I started with Spanish, haven't really had a clue of in what positions an adverb should be placed in such sense. When speaking or writing English I then just translated from German (We don't use adverbs in this sense, we do also say "You dance good" [Du tanzt gut]) As I have seen this in English films and heard from English speaking people in the net, too, I never thought that this would be wrong. Somehow English lessons haven't been that !!well!! (;)) for me apparently :D

But then, when I started learning Spanish, I learned about adverbs and how to place them. I wasn't aware of them completely up to this poínt. But from that on I try to place them correctly in English, too, and I think it sounds more elegant :roll: :oops:

I remember my English teacher asking me in 10th grade what would be wrong with the quote "I'm good" (Which was how Tituba responded on the question how are you in "The Crucible", which we were reading) And I didn't see any fault at all, 'cause I was so used to even natives saying this. But then she told it was wrong, because it wasn't an adverb. This is the first event I remember getting me aware of such adverbs ^^

My teacher said she (Tituba: "Im good") spoke wrong English. I know I found that very odd then. Even now, I completely find it logical that if it is not said in reality by a group that for those it is not wrong, indeed. But I try to use the adverbs now ^^


Haha! Isn't it absolutely ridiculous to claim that a native speaker (even a fictional one like in this book, since she does speak like some natives) could actually be wrong? Simply unfathomable. I'm a native speaker of English and consider myself relatively well-educated (if that's even relevant) and use "good" as an adverb all the time in normal speech :)
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Postby allemaalmeezinge » 2005-10-29, 21:41

If I would have had all that knowledge about prescriptivism back then I would have told my teacher ! :twisted:

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Postby Kirk » 2005-10-29, 21:45

yabba wrote:If I would have had all that knowledge about prescriptivism back then I would have told my teacher ! :twisted:


Hehe, and she probably wouldn't've liked it, at all ;) Prescriptivists usually don't like being shown their cherished notions they've spent so much energy "defending" are based on nothing but fluff :) The ones that do appreciate being told this usually experience such a revelation they become linguists. Kind of happened to me ;)
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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks

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Postby allemaalmeezinge » 2005-10-29, 21:51

As I got to know about that, I was very fascinated, too. And just then I became aware of how limited and restricted my view on such things had been before. About thinking that somebody could say what language were, ignoring how it really is.

A linguist's business is not to say how language should be but to observe and analyse the actual reality :)

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Postby Kirk » 2005-10-29, 22:35

yabba wrote:A linguist's business is not to say how language should be but to observe and analyse the actual reality :)


Yup :) And I wish more of that would be emphasized in language-learning classes instead of teaching everyone to memorize laborious rules no one uses and speak like formal books. I'm ok with learning a standard when learning a language but I refuse to be taught a language to speak like a book. Red alarms always go off in my head in language classes when professors decry a certain native usage as "incorrect"--especially when I hear them do the exact same thing without realizing it a few minutes later! :lol:

However, my current German class seems to be going well in that regard--my professors (both native speakers of German but from different regions) both have pretty realistic attitudes about language. My main professor commented that the other one (the teaching assisant, a native speaker from Hamburg) had used a form which we had learned was technically "incorrect," but then she went on to say that whatever she said is fine (she is a native speaker after all)--I really appreciated that!
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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks

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Postby ZombiekE » 2005-10-29, 23:41

"I don't speak strangely, you do!" This sentence made me laugh when I read it here.

Hehe. Dunno, I think it depends on what you're focusing on. If one of my students here said "I dance good" I guess I would correct her, not because I hadn't understood her or I had thought it was SOOO WRONG, but because when she were to take some exams she might find someone picky :D

I think it's the same thing with "la/lo/le" pronouns in Spanish. I hear that wrong here every day. We all understand each other, so I suppose I'd teach my students the rule but also let them know that in some dialects some pronouns are changed and it's not a big deal in spoken speech.
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Postby Gormur » 2005-10-30, 0:35

Kirk wrote:
yabba wrote:A linguist's business is not to say how language should be but to observe and analyse the actual reality :)


Yup :) And I wish more of that would be emphasized in language-learning classes instead of teaching everyone to memorize laborious rules no one uses and speak like formal books.


I agree to an extent, but you can't entirely dismiss "presriptivism" as illogical as it is also based on actual speech habits. I myself would say things like "I'm doing well" because I grew up hearing that and it sounds natural to me. It doesn't have anything to do with prescriptivism or me being pretentious. I don't consciously follow some set standard of rules when I speak (like some people do here), but I do say things like "I lay down for a few hrs cause I was exhausted" and "I laid down the bow". Of course there are a few case usages I do use only in formal situations, but this is mainly with regards to choice words that may have a better ring to them in a given situation.

RE the sentence "he dances bad", in all honesty it sounds to me like something used in a Southern dialect rather than in something I would normally hear around here or in California. I would probably avoid the construction all together, actually, so maybe that's why it sounds a bit awkward to my ear; "he can't dance" sounds more regular or common. How he dances is implied, so no adjective is needed. That would be "informal" for me. Otherwise it'd be "he dances poorly" or "he's not good to dance" (yeah, this is the crazy English of North Dakotans; no doubt a direct translation from Norwegian - han er ikke god til å danse).

PS - Of course, there are often several dialects and sociolects even within one given area, so my viewpoint may be a bit narrow in that I haven't systematically studied nor encountered even half the dialects (and sociolects) of So California...

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Postby jonathan » 2005-10-30, 5:13

Chiming in from TX: I would say "he dances poorly" in regards to that last message.
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Postby TheSchnitzel04 » 2005-11-12, 3:08

I, personally, wouldn't say "he dances good." I would say "he dances well." Plus, I would say "act strong or weak."

"He's a good dancer."
"He dances well."

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Postby MikeL » 2005-11-14, 3:23

Ah, adjectives vs. adverbs. Another can of worms... How about this:

He acts strong.
He acts strongly.

Worth preserving the distinction??


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