About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

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About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by ppera »

Phrase 'pretends to be English' (I hope that interpret it correct) exist in some languages around. For those who don't know, it means actually pretending to not hear what is said for instance, or not responding. I'm curious in what languages it is present, at least in similar form.
Last edited by ppera on Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: About phrase 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by Desty »

ppera wrote:Phrase 'pretends to be English' (I hope that interpret it correct) exist in some languages around. For those who don't know, it means actually pretending to not hear what is said for instance, or not responding. I'm curious in what languages it is present, at least in similar form.
I've never heard the expression before, but it makes sense I suppose - a kind of English politeness (if I don't respond to a crazy statement, maybe it never happened).

Note that this kind of behaviour happens in lots of cultures though; consider in Japan, people walking over a corpse on the streets of Tokyo for 2 days before someone did anything, or that (annoying) comedian Tom Green standing in an underground train, asking loudly "does anyone like bananas? WHO LIKES BANANAS?" and EVERY other person in the carriage turned away from him silently (until one old guy turned to him and said "weee rike QUIET").

Here, if you said someone was pretending to be English, people would probably assume that you wore a white button shirt and jeans, gelled your hair, got drunk in a nightclub and started fights on the street outside ;)
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Re: About phrase 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by techie_alison »

When I here the word, 'phrase'....

For me it means,

A phrase is a bit like a quote, something that somebody said that has become enshrined as folklore. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." That's a phrase.

Tricky one Pera, I've never really thought about it before. A phrase is kind of a 'saying' that we all recognise. "Pot Calling The Kettle Black." We all know what the meanings of the phrase are.
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Re: About phrase 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by Desty »

techie_alison wrote:When I here the word, 'phrase'....

For me it means,

A phrase is a bit like a quote, something that somebody said that has become enshrined as folklore. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." That's a phrase.

Tricky one Pera, I've never really thought about it before. A phrase is kind of a 'saying' that we all recognise. "Pot Calling The Kettle Black." We all know what the meanings of the phrase are.
I think 'expression' is a slightly more appropriate word, then.
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Re: About phrase 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by ppera »

Right, I usually use word 'saying'. Don't know why wrote 'phrase'. Sorry.
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by MiggyMog »

In what context would this be used? Intrigued.

Just wondering if it's a kinda 'Brit abroad' type thing where if your 'English' is not understood you speak slowly and loudly to people instead of bothering to try & learn another Language when they can speak English better than a lot of us? :oops:
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by alexh »

As opposed to the Scot abroad who are renowned for saying "How much?!?!"
Last edited by alexh on Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by MiggyMog »

As opposed to the Scottish abroad who are renowned for saying "How much?!?!"
I thought Scotland was still part of Britain so not sure about being British as opposed to being Scottish?

I think given the current financial climate people should have been asking questions like "How much?" a little more often? :angel:

I haven't been abroad since 1998 right enough, heck haven't even been to England for 2 years to see my relatives, going to Spalding in May though:-)
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by techie_alison »

Oh Pera, one last thing...

Most of the English can't even speak English themselves. Well actually, yes, they CAN speak English very fluently. But it's in the written form where they fall down. The majority of people in the UK cannot spell, punctuate, and their use of the written language is extremely poor. They use the wrong words too, as they sound. There or their. Too or to. License or licence. Practise or Practice. Colour or Color. They're or there. Your or You're.

Then there's American English to further confuse matters.

For the most part you do do extremely well with your written English. It's just that now and then you can come across as extremely blunt and confrontational. Now that's not to say that the English don't do that, as you only need to visit any general public forum to see that they do. I think that you do very well personally. My English on the other hand is written as one long continuous flowery sentence with each word leading to the next. That's just my particular style. I love the written English language and how things can be expressed. My belief is that there is a word for EVERY situation. Words are wonderful. :D

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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by Desty »

techie_alison wrote:My English on the other hand is written as one long continuous flowery sentence with each word leading to the next. That's just my particular style. I love the written English language and how things can be expressed.
It's certainly nice to see people express themselves in their own characteristic way, especially if it's still reasonably succinct and comprehensible (e.g. not a four page long post by Simbo or Charles, where the end looks like the start, and they've signed their name somewhere in the middle) :P. The concise, precise wording of Ppera, Nyh et al. are good examples of this.
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by techie_alison »

Desty wrote:(e.g. not a four page long post by Simbo or Charles, where the end looks like the start, and they've signed their name somewhere in the middle)
PMSL. :lol:
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by Mug UK »

Not saying that I'm perfect but due to my job, I'm forever editing programmer's English into "real world" English so that it can be understood by a wider audience :)
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by Nyh »

techie_alison wrote:Oh Pera, one last thing...

Most of the English can't even speak English themselves.
One common language I'm afraid we'll never get.
Oh, why can't the English learn to set
A good example to people whose
English is painful to your ears?
The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears.
There even are places where English completely
disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years!
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
(From my Fair Lady)

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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by PaulB »

Hehe! Even My Fair Lady got it wrong. Scotch, should be Scots. Scotch is Scottish Whiskey.
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by AtariSince1989 »

PaulB wrote:Hehe! Even My Fair Lady got it wrong. Scotch, should be Scots. Scotch is Scottish Whiskey.
Scotch is the contraction of the word Scottish, used in 16th century. Even Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott used this term.

In modern days Scots was adopted as more correct or preferred, and Scotch became a word that is only used for things which can be bought. As a joke you can say that Scotch can be used only for things which can be bought, such as whisky, eggs and... politicians :D

So I guess that in old literature we'll find Scotch.

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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by AtariSince1989 »

ppera wrote:Phrase 'pretends to be English' (I hope that interpret it correct) exist in some languages around. For those who don't know, it means actually pretending to not hear what is said for instance, or not responding. I'm curious in what languages it is present, at least in similar form.
Replying to ppera; Spanish people use a very similar saying with the same meaning. "Hacerse el Sueco" could be translated as "pretends to be Swedish", and means that you don't pay attention, usually because you don't want to, like when your mother ask you to take out the rubbish, and you pretend that just not heard her... maybe because playing on your Atari? :D

If you're interested in international popular sayings, I know some :P

French use "Maison Espagnol", which means Spannish house, for chaotic situations, and Spanish use "Casa de putas", which means whore house, for the same.
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by PaulB »

AtariSince1989 wrote:
PaulB wrote:Hehe! Even My Fair Lady got it wrong. Scotch, should be Scots. Scotch is Scottish Whiskey.
Scotch is the contraction of the word Scottish, used in 16th century. Even Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott used this term.

In modern days Scots was adopted as more correct or preferred, and Scotch became a word that is only used for things which can be bought. As a joke you can say that Scotch can be used only for things which can be bought, such as whisky, eggs and... politicians :D

So I guess that in old literature we'll find Scotch.

Is like the Scottish terrier, that was first called Scotch terrier.
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by techie_alison »

How about 'An Historic' and 'A Hotel' if you want to get really confused. :D

As I understand it, the 'H' is silent, and the following letter takes precedence. 'An' is used with words starting with a vowel, 'An Otter,' 'An Apple' and alike.

So should we all be saying 'An Hotel?' :) "Oh look, there's an hotel."
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by AtariSince1989 »

lol, very difficult to say indeed.

What about "There is an hair in my soup" :P
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by insanity »

techie_alison wrote:How about 'An Historic' and 'A Hotel' if you want to get really confused. :D

As I understand it, the 'H' is silent, and the following letter takes precedence. 'An' is used with words starting with a vowel, 'An Otter,' 'An Apple' and alike.

So should we all be saying 'An Hotel?' :) "Oh look, there's an hotel."
This might help you: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/a.html

Summary: "the sound, not the letter, is what matters." "Use an in place of a when it precedes a vowel sound, not just a vowel."
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by Desty »

AtariSince1989 wrote:Replying to ppera; Spanish people use a very similar saying with the same meaning. "Hacerse el Sueco" could be translated as "pretends to be Swedish", and means that you don't pay attention, usually because you don't want to, like when your mother ask you to take out the rubbish, and you pretend that just not heard her... maybe because playing on your Atari? :D
I'm so guilty of this :D
AtariSince1989 wrote:French use "Maison Espagnol", which means Spannish house, for chaotic situations, and Spanish use "Casa de putas", which means whore house, for the same.
So from this we can infer that French whorehouses are much more orderly and regular than Spanish ones? :P Or that they historically think Spaniards are a chaotic bunch (perhaps an impression given by the sound of the spoken language; I used to marvel at how anyone could understand the 300 words-per-minute Spanish newscaster on cable TV here, compared to the more measured French and German channels. I half expected her mouth to fall off).
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by MiggyMog »

(From my Fair Lady)
I stumbled accross this well known classic film on TV during christmas. As it contained such a chick-flick-esque title & I don't do theatre either I had avoided it like the plague up until then. Anyway the segment I watched was the bell speech lab type experiment with phonetics, fantastic! I had no Idea that would be in such an old film (Philistine I hear you cry!)

On Alison's point about written English, I agree that this occurs however the english can be anti-intuitive in many ways.Why should we have words that sound the same but are spelt differently? or plural forms whcih differ depending on the word?

I actually think it is quite funny that the kids are re-inventing the language via texting and the like. Language has evolved through history and is not about to stop because we are now the old farts who don't like change!
Hehe! Even My Fair Lady got it wrong. Scotch, should be Scots. Scotch is Scottish Whiskey.
My Dad used to go nuts when people said he was 'Scotch'. I suspected those 'scotch' eggs were not actually a Scottish invention for this reason, for one I had never heard of them until A guy from London I worked with introduced them to me, it turns out I was right, they were invented in London! (So that would explain it...) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotch_egg

Marcus Brigstocke commented on this reccently along with slagging us for not Knowing what the Sun is:-

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJEH9P0h ... re=related

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZO8vyPp ... re=related

:lol:
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by MiggyMog »

pretends to be English
After reading the other posts I think this is what I would call 'Rubber earing' or the scots slang 'Dingied', as in a rubber Dingy :-)

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dingy
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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by Nyh »

MiggyMog wrote:
(From my Fair Lady)
I stumbled accross this well known classic film on TV during christmas. As it contained such a chick-flick-esque title & I don't do theatre either I had avoided it like the plague up until then. Anyway the segment I watched was the bell speech lab type experiment with phonetics, fantastic! I had no Idea that would be in such an old film (Philistine I hear you cry!)
Personally I don't like the film. But I have seen the musical multiple times in the theater, both in English as in Dutch. A good live performance is far better as a the film.
MiggyMog wrote:On Alison's point about written English, I agree that this occurs however the english can be anti-intuitive in many ways.Why should we have words that sound the same but are spelt differently? or plural forms whcih differ depending on the word?

I actually think it is quite funny that the kids are re-inventing the language via texting and the like. Language has evolved through history and is not about to stop because we are now the old farts who don't like change!
You should read about George Bernard Shaw, who wrote the original play 'Pygmalion' on which the musical is based. He liked the English spelling to be changed into a more phonetic one. I agree the English spelling is terrible but I am really in doubt whether modernizing it is a good idea: It is not too hard to read the works of William Shakespeare in English, it is quite hard to read the works of Joost van den Vondel, a Dutch writer of the same time frame, it can be done but reading English from the same time frame is a lot easier.

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Re: About saying 'pretends to be English' :-)

Post by Desty »

MiggyMog wrote:I actually think it is quite funny that the kids are re-inventing the language via texting and the like. Language has evolved through history and is not about to stop because we are now the old farts who don't like change!
I don't think it would be fair to say txt-spk kids are 'evolving' the language, any more than that crazy frog ringtone has evolved music. :P

And on the subject of language changes, sometimes committee-style large changes have a powerful effect, like when the Chinese 'standardised' on Mandarin. As usual though, I'd say it's a case of "don't change it unless you have something good to change to" - especially not arbitrary, silly changes like in American spelling.
I do agree that English is a particularly extreme case of inconsistent spelling/pronounciation/etc, compared to the other languages I speak (especially Chinese, which is very systematic and logical, perhaps to an extent because it was reformed by an official committee).
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