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A strange question about English

英語を勉強している方のためのフォーラムです。練習のために英語の文章を投稿してもかまわなく、英語の文法・語彙に関する質問をしてもけっこうです。

Re: A strange question about English

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 10.20.2009 3:59 pm

NileCat wrote:Then, take a look at the miso-soup. 御御御付け. There are three 御s. Politeness × Politeness × Politeness
Well...you know? Redundancy sometimes can be a kind of art in Japanese.


There's also おごうさま(御御様) as a word for 奥さん or お嬢様 but I think the word is obsolete.

There are examples of triple honorifics in classical Japanese, such as this sentence from Genji (Myoubu has just come back from visiting Kiritsubo's mother, and sees the Emperor is still awake):
命婦は、「まだ大殿籠もらせたまはざりける」と、あはれに見たてまつる。

大殿籠もる is an honorific verb for "sleep", which is put in the honorific causative form, then the honorific たまふ suffix is added to that to form a triple honorific.

Back to an earlier post (not Nilecat):
In proper English, all of those elements need to indicate the plural idea for it to make sense.


As Becki indicated, my point was that redundancy is built into the grammatical apparatus of English (and other languages as well), so the idea that redundancy is bad goes against the nature of language itself.

The purpose of small particles like "on" is often useful to narrow down the meaning of a word that has multiple possible meanings. For instance, you can see from these random sentences I just pulled from google news that "continue" cannot be replaced with "continue on" in all instances (even if the reverse replacement can be done):
"Iran will continue its uranium enrichment."
"Pakistanis Continue to Flee South Waziristan"
"We continue to both grow and invest in our business"
"Big Isle police continue search for missing woman"
Now, it's true that strictly speaking, the "to" is never necessary because the meaning of "continue" can be determined from context without it, but in speech, where you can't go back and review what was just said easily, redundancies like that can help the hearer get the message.
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Re: A strange question about English

Postby NileCat » Tue 10.20.2009 5:33 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:命婦は、「まだ大殿籠もらせたまはざりける」と、あはれに見たてまつる。

ありがとう、クリス!
おかげで今、何年か振りに源氏物語を少し読んだら I found it いとをかし。でも英語が心なしか簡単に見えてきた! :D
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Re: A strange question about English

Postby Infidel » Tue 10.20.2009 7:35 pm

NileCat wrote:(御耳)


ahh. Gomi!

Get the trash out of your ears!
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
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Re: A strange question about English

Postby ヴェンリメル » Tue 10.20.2009 8:44 pm

I'll argue a difference in the "group" issue. A group might "have" five students, but actually "be" 10 people. It depends on how you think about it. Similarly, That group of ten people are walking. (If your focus is that there are ten people.)That group of ten people is walking. (If your focus is the singular group.)

Honestly, I think I get strange looks from people because I use words most people don't bother considering. I use these words, though, because they can more clearly present an idea. The frustration happens when people aren't aware of the words I use. In this sense, I can understand a point of view where I'm bringing something unwanted into people's lives. I'm disappointed by this viewpoint a little bit like how someone without legs might view those with functioning legs doing little or nothing with them. There's this beautiful art of expression at your ... in front of your lips, I guess... and it has such potential to enrich your life. (Plus a thesis I intend to write about the universal application of linguistic communication, in any form.) The more words you keep in your vocabulary, the better you're likely to use the ones you know and use most often.

Yudansan, I think you're correct with one difference. You've put together all those ideas with "continue" in the middle of the sentence. Most of the time, "on" is added when "continue" is at the end. You can remake all those sentences so that this happens.

I will, however, rephrase what I'd said about redundancies and the examples to "minor redundancies". Which doesn't make literal sense, really. My big problem with redundancy (in general) is that it makes the message longer without making it more detailed. Taking redundant to mean "something that restates an idea with no difference", "small, little box" is a silly thing to say, but I hear my rommate say things like that all the time. "Might possibly" is another; and there are more. (See that? I just said something redundant. Redundancy bugs me. I can't help it.)

I'll stop on that thought, though and retract, altogether, the examples I gave, in the first place, to explain redundancy, as I've just properly recognised that those aren't redundancies, at all. With "continue on", I think it's more like you've dropped the rest of a phrase. That wold actually be almost the opposite of redundant and merely go against something we were taught about English in grade school and that is that prepositions begin phrases and that you should never end a sentence with one.

I did say, though, that things like "take a shower" have become accepted and that I only usually say "bathe" in its place. I'm feeling a little battered by disagreements, but that might just be a personal issue.

I also keep forgetting to mention an observation about English prepositions. When I first began to understand the concept of Japanese particles, it seemed to me that the two served about the same function. In English there are a number of places where prepositions (though not, at all, proper English) have been appearing at the ends of phrases, in similar places (speaking of the words they modify).
ここに何も見つけられませんな。
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Re: A strange question about English

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 10.20.2009 8:48 pm

ヴェンリメル wrote:I'm feeling a little battered by disagreements, but that might just be a personal issue.


Honestly the only reason I felt the need to respond is that you insulted people who say things like "continue on". If you had just expressed it as a personal preference I probably wouldn't have responded at all.

that things like "take a shower" have become accepted


Dickens used "take a bath" in 1837; obviously showers are a more recent invention but the idiom is long established.
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Re: A strange question about English

Postby ヴェンリメル » Tue 10.20.2009 9:17 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Honestly the only reason I felt the need to respond is that you insulted people who say things like "continue on". If you had just expressed it as a personal preference I probably wouldn't have responded at all.
From that, I deduce that I'm becoming opinionated and need to work on that.
ありがとうございます

that things like "take a shower" have become accepted
Dickens used "take a bath" in 1837; obviously showers are a more recent invention but the idiom is long established.
lol Well, I didn't think it was a development within my lifetime. Many years of my life went by before I recognised it didn't actually make sense. It quickly became the easiest example of such things (just to other English speakers; was long before I started learning how different other languages were).
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Re: A strange question about English

Postby Sairana » Tue 10.20.2009 9:46 pm

ヴェンリメル wrote:Many years of my life went by before I recognised it didn't actually make sense.


Is there a linguistic explanation as to why "take a bath" does not make sense, or did you just decide this based on the most commonly used meaning of "take"?
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Re: A strange question about English

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 10.20.2009 9:59 pm

It's an open question whether something makes sense or not -- the OED gives 94 definitions for "take", and the meaning that is used in "take a bath", which is originally used in "take the air" or "take food", has the first citation in the 13th century. To me, it's meaningless to say that the phrase doesn't make sense since every native speaker understands the phrase and it has such a long history. To me, when a word has been used a certain way for over 700 years, it has that meaning even if it doesn't necessarily match up with other meanings of the word (although this one is clearly connected).

(The OED's definition is "To receive into one's body by one's own act; to eat or drink, to swallow (food, drink, medicine, opium, etc.); to inhale (snuff, tobacco-smoke, etc.)." and "To expose oneself to (air) so as to inhale it or get the physical benefit of it; chiefly in phr. to take the air, to walk out in the open air (now rare or arch.): see AIR n. 5. So to take a bath, to bathe, esp. in a place or vessel prepared for the purpose.")

ヴェンリメル shouldn't feel bad, I'm not criticizing too harshly, just giving an aspiring linguist some linguistic information. :)
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