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If TJP were a family...

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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby Mike Cash » Wed 10.10.2007 4:02 am

two_heads_talking wrote:
chikara wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote:
... I was in class with my daugther the other day and the teacher says, "Don't worry about punctuation, spelling or grammar." ......

Shouldn't that be "said"? "Was" is past tense, "says" is present tense. ;)


see what happens when you are around a teacher that doesn't care about grammar? it rubs off way too easily.. (grin)


Subjunctive mood is probably the one thing I actually remember from high school grammar.

One thing I definitely did not pay attention to was the distinction between "who" and "that" as relative pronouns. I've always thought it should be "who" when referring to humans, but I hear "that" used so frequently (and by ostensibly educated people) that I have always had my doubts about the distinction.

I just googled up this from Wikipedia.
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby TheIrishSin » Wed 10.10.2007 8:16 am

Well if I was a reg.
Which I am not.
But if I was.

I would be the spoiled, pretty boy, whos so socially active, he ignores the rest of the family and gets caught up in other things.... probably a middle child

:D
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 10.10.2007 9:00 am

Mike Cash wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote:
chikara wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote:
... I was in class with my daugther the other day and the teacher says, "Don't worry about punctuation, spelling or grammar." ......

Shouldn't that be "said"? "Was" is past tense, "says" is present tense. ;)


see what happens when you are around a teacher that doesn't care about grammar? it rubs off way too easily.. (grin)


Subjunctive mood is probably the one thing I actually remember from high school grammar.

One thing I definitely did not pay attention to was the distinction between "who" and "that" as relative pronouns. I've always thought it should be "who" when referring to humans, but I hear "that" used so frequently (and by ostensibly educated people) that I have always had my doubts about the distinction.

I just googled up this from Wikipedia.


I remember in 4th grade a teacher correcting us to use who with persons.. then the next year a new teacher corrected us to use that. So, I learned that if one doesn't want to fail, it's easier to do what the teacher wants rather than argue with them when you are 10 years old. I believe with the "whole language" that is taught now, "that" is pretty much generic human and non-human alike. Of course that doesn't really explalin my missuse of it does it?
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby Mike Cash » Wed 10.10.2007 9:32 am

I'm not entirely sure you misused it. I came away from my quick visit to Wikipedia pretty much as confused as I was before I went there. I wasn't digging on you; I seriously have questions/doubts about that.
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby Mike Cash » Wed 10.10.2007 9:34 am

TheIrishSin wrote:
Well if I were a reg.
Which I am not.
But if I were.


The class just completed a lesson on the subjunctive mood. Please try to keep up.

We'll cover the topic of sentence fragments later.
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 10.10.2007 11:43 am

Mike Cash wrote:
I'm not entirely sure you misused it. I came away from my quick visit to Wikipedia pretty much as confused as I was before I went there. I wasn't digging on you; I seriously have questions/doubts about that.


I guess the good ol' days aren't the only things moving on. I checked the wiki article you linked and now I really do see the confusion. It almost seems as if two seperate people devised that article. With that said, though I always thought it funny as a kid of 10 that one teacher would teach one thing and the next year, another teacher would teach in direct opposition.

At first I would stand up and quote the other teacher. To which I would usually end up in the Principals office for "smarting off" or for "being flippant." After 3 or 4 of those trips I just found it easier to do as my teacher asked, and then figure it out on my own when I had the chance. Of course, later on, in college, I actually enjoyed being the "flippant" student. Especially when the teacher was incorrect.
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 10.10.2007 3:08 pm

The idea that "that" should not be used with people is a fairly recent idea that doesn't really accurately describe anyone's usage, educated or not. It seems to be one of those attempts to logicalize the language at the expense of stylistic choice and natural idiom.

It's interesting to compare Bible translations of Matthew 6:9 to see how this has varied over the years (this is from oldest to newest)

And thus ye shall pray, Our Father that art in heavens, hallowed be thy name (Wycliff)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (KJV)
Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name. (Amplified)
After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (ASV)
Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name (RSV)

It seems like there's a greater preference for "who" as you get into more modern translations (apparently for the KJV translators, "which" was a possibility, but that's hardly used nowadays).

Using my favorite mastertexts.com site for 18th and 19th century novels, here are a number of literary examples of "that" used with people:

"I do not think myself secure, but I hope I have not been in company with any person that there has been any danger in." (Defoe)
"There is little to choose between a person that ruins her pupils by neglect, and one that corrupts them by her example." (Anne Bronte)
"...his eyes set and looking like a person that was dying." (Mark Twain)
"You're the person that Mr. Leach hath spoken to me of, I presume." (Thackeray)
"Do you know a person that passes by the name of Wily Will..." (Scott)
"They may easily get her from Portsmouth to town by the coach, under the care of any creditable person that may chance to be going." (Jane Austen)
"...who was the most illustrious person that ever was known and all of whose relations were a sort of royal family." (Dickens)
"...if you should come to England next year, I expect to be the first person that you inform of it." (Henry James)

To me, the issue of who vs. that is much more stylistic than grammatical. Thackeray's example above is especially interesting because "that" is standing in for "whom" instead of "who".

As for the subjunctive, English doesn't really have a subjunctive mood (in the grammatical sense), except for that one odd holdover of using "were" instead of "was". It's not very surprising to see people using "was" instead, since it seems to fit more logically with the way the rest of the language is used -- why should singular pronouns take a verb with a plural number in that construction? Other languages like Latin had completely separate conjugations for the subjunctive. It's definitely something that people should pay close attention to in writing (particularly formal writing).
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Wed 10.10.2007 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby clay » Wed 10.10.2007 3:37 pm

This is a great thread - entertaining and educational, as it were.

I guess all the human family members are taken. I'd like to be the cat who is feed and petted often while wondering if it should be 'pet' instead of 'petted' in the simple past tense.
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 10.10.2007 3:44 pm

or fed instead of feed? lol :o
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby Hatori » Wed 10.10.2007 5:05 pm

clay, in a way, I'd think you would be our "Big-Dog-Daddy" like that song from Toby Keith... LOL

Oh yeah, I had this dream the other day that you were practically stalking me along with THT and tanuki by sending me mail and random things from Japan. I don't understand why the three of you! Then there was Mike smoking a cigar in my house somewhere with my dad... I don't want to get too far into the details because we're supposed to be talking about our TJP family... :D
我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby clay » Wed 10.10.2007 5:34 pm

or fed instead of feed? lol


:D I thought I re-read that twice...
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby Tspoonami » Wed 10.10.2007 6:11 pm

clay wrote:
I thought I re-read that twice...

Wouldn't this mean that you read it three times? On another tangent: if you are a cat that is also feed, can't you only be eaten once?

I have no idea where I fit into this whole family thing... Maybe I'm the illegitimate child of the mother of the crazy uncle's nephew's father's brother's sister's cousin's niece.
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby Hatori » Wed 10.10.2007 7:27 pm

Tspoonami wrote:
I have no idea where I fit into this whole family thing... Maybe I'm the illegitimate child of the mother of the crazy uncle's nephew's father's brother's sister's cousin's niece.


You can be my father's, mother's, roomate's in college, third cousin's twice removed child! :)
Last edited by Hatori on Wed 10.10.2007 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby chikara » Wed 10.10.2007 7:39 pm

Mike Cash wrote:
Subjunctive mood is probably the one thing I actually remember from high school grammar.

One thing I definitely did not pay attention to was the distinction between "who" and "that" as relative pronouns. I've always thought it should be "who" when referring to humans, but I hear "that" used so frequently (and by ostensibly educated people) that I have always had my doubts about the distinction.

I just googled up this from Wikipedia.

I'm with you Mike-san. I also always use "who" as the relative pronoun when referring to humans. I had assumed that people who use "that" simply hadn't learnt to speak proper (sic).

Not all modern syntacticians agree that that is a relative pronoun

If I was (were? :)) a modern syntactician I'd be in that camp.
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RE: If TJP were a family...

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 10.10.2007 8:17 pm

"that" used to be the only relative pronoun available, but then it disappeared in favor of "which". Then "that" started to resurface along with "who" used as a relative pronoun -- this was about the point the grammarians started coming in and trying to make logical divisions out of the pronouns. The distinction between "that" and "which" is a 20th-century one that still is hardly ever followed consistently in any level or type of writing. I'm not sure about "that" vs. "who" though. Random House Unabridged says that "that" is fine for animate referents.

Sometimes I just can't see using "who" instead of "that", i.e.:

"Our primary teacher is Mr. Smith, who is the kind of teacher _____ people hate, but learn a lot from."

"that" sounds a lot better stylistically there than "who".
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