kaigou: please hold. all muses are busy, but your inspiration is important to us. (3 all muses are busy)
[personal profile] kaigou
Like askerian, who bestowed this gem of wisdom upon me this evening:
English cheats because it comes in little chopped-up bits that you can reassemble just about any possible way (and some that really shouldn't be but why not.) English is flexible and comes with interchangeable pieces, like someone wearing belts around their thigh, sunglasses as a hairband, and colored socks on their hands as funny gloves because it's fashionable and even if it doesn't catch on it's fun right now and so long as people know what it's saying then it's all good. French is a dowager countess with petticoats and a corset, and god forgive you if you dress her up wrong, because she won't.

I swear, I'm gonna frame that paragraph.

And for the other bit of trivia this even, from [personal profile] hl, about what I thought was a typo... but wasn't. Instead, it's a very cool adaptation of the language:
[Invitad@ is] to get around to referring to the person as male or female. In Spanish male is neutral, except it doesn't work so well (mostly like in English -- except that in Spanish you've to refer to gender in a lot of places), so in some net places, specially if the writing isn't formal, the '@' is used to get around that. It's because the male ending of the phrase would require an 'o', and the female one an 'a', and the '@' looks like an 'o' with an 'a' inside. It's like writing invitado/a except slightly prettier and slightly shorter...

I love what humans do with language.

And another one, this time from German:
The AutorInnen / AutorIn is a shorthand for saying Autoren and Autorinnen [male author and female author]. The capital i in the middle means that it is supposed to stand for both forms. It *looks* like a generic femininum with the i (which usually you can recognize the femals version of the word by) capitalized, but is specifically meant to include males, too. It's just a stylistic form that not everyone is fond of (it's a bit leftist/feminist. also, possibly "out"). But I think for the purpose of keeping the lines as short as possible it would be preferrable to always saying "Male and Female Authors".

One of the most fascinating aspects of language, especially in gendered languages, is how people have figured out ways to adapt those gendered forms into a world where we're starting to incorporate -- explicitly incorporate, that is -- both men and women. Just like the old English argument over whether "him" and "he" really is inclusive for "her" and "she", or how saying "the world of man" is supposed to automatically include women, even if the message becomes that only men are worth mentioning and women are an afterthought... the ways we take language and poke here and pull there to make it start changing to reflect new priorities, sheesh, I could go on about man's human linguistic inventiveness all day.

Date: 13 Feb 2011 04:34 am (UTC)
nagasvoice: lj default (Default)
From: [personal profile] nagasvoice
That wonderful description of English resembles Western dress as interpreted on Asian ball-jointed dolls created in China to specifications from Korean companies, whose sculptors and artists were taught in older Japanese company workshops.
Let's just say belts on your thighs and funny gloves are *exactly* how tees and tanks and jeans are getting interpreted in Japanese Harajuku-style for these dolls. It's pretty amusing. It's even more awesome when you are having conversations about these items with folks from Poland and Russia who have adapted them in their own very cool ways. There are days I lurve the interwaebz.
Edited Date: 13 Feb 2011 07:16 am (UTC)

Date: 13 Feb 2011 09:17 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whatistigerbalm
Interesting! That is not at all how I feel about English.

(And thank you for fixing the year/age thing in your poll - went swimmingly this time!)

Date: 13 Feb 2011 09:38 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whatistigerbalm
It's phrasal verbs that make me give English and its supposed wackiness the stinkeye because they look like A World of Infinite Possibilities, Woo Woo! what with all the cute thigh belts and sunglass hairbands and what not, but in reality they don't allow for errors at all because any mistake can cause disproportionately vast misunderstandings, as I learn time and again in conversations with my native English speaking spouse.

Date: 13 Feb 2011 03:44 pm (UTC)
leorising: (english lurks)
From: [personal profile] leorising
English is trick bidness, but fun for native speakers. askerian's definition is a gem.

I love the @ sign use in Spanish, too: elegant and inventive.

Humans are such clever monkeys.

Date: 14 Feb 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
silmaril: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silmaril
The first quote: ...So English is a JRPG character. Much now becomes clear. In a manner of speaking.

(I love it for that.)

The second: I've been seeing Latin@ around as a gender-neutral way of referring to Latin people, as well.

I join you in your love.

Date: 15 Feb 2011 06:15 am (UTC)
rodo: chuck on a roof in winter (Default)
From: [personal profile] rodo
I went too experimental with the gender, didn't I? There are many different ways to solve this in German, and no matter which one you choose, someone is going to hate you for it. _innen is too unreadable and internet, Innen is too stuffy and formal, mentioning both is too lengthy and overly policially correct and switching back and forth all the time is too confusing.

Yeah, Germans are very inventive when it comes to their language, but unfortunately they're also very passionate about it, which means you get factions of people arguing the correct gender of "Nutella" or "Ketchup", the participle of "downloaded" and what meanings words really have. And then of course there are the two orthographies at war and the questions of how to pronounce /ch/ at the beginning of a word. These discussions can go on for hours, and they never lead to a result, but they're very useful in making you identify with the region you grew up in.

I've heard Austrians and the Swiss have a more relaxed approach.

Date: 15 Feb 2011 06:43 am (UTC)
rodo: chuck on a roof in winter (Default)
From: [personal profile] rodo
I'll never understand the "leave the word as it is" faction. I'll gleefully put a plural to Japanese words, after all, we're already adapting it to fit into our alphabeth and the fetishism of Latin plurals is just ridiculous.

As far as loanwords go: Handy! Don't get confused when Germans call their mobile phones that. It really is our word for it. And we stole it from English, where it doesn't even mean that.

Date: 15 Feb 2011 07:11 am (UTC)
rodo: chuck on a roof in winter (Default)
From: [personal profile] rodo
I thought "cell phone" was supposed to be a compound noun. Like the German "Telefonzelle" (literally a phone cell) - which means "phone booth".

Date: 15 Feb 2011 08:33 am (UTC)
rodo: chuck on a roof in winter (Default)
From: [personal profile] rodo
I think I was just talking English and you replied with Chinese. *is confused and way too tired*

Are you looking for 電話 (note to self: relearn basic Japanese vocabulary). Because telephone is electric + conversation/talk in Japanese. (I also love Japanese compounds. They're so versatile. And if you want to really show of you can use Katakana instead of Furigana to insert a foreign term.) Movie was 映画 reflected + pictures in Japanese. My Chinese co-students were often confused because some words were the same while others very much weren't.

Regarding the "kawaii" imitation - partial substitution, maybe, if I understand the Wiki page right. A loan translation, maybe?