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Spawned from Apostrophes...

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by cambrensis, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. cambrensis

    cambrensis Member

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    Welshman in England!
    Especially as Welsh does not have the letters j,k,q,v,x and z (26-6?) yet has 28 letters in its form of the Latin alphabet; my heart bleeds! :)

    It always amuses me to think that the Brothers Grimm spent many years working on Grimm's Law, when ten minutes looking at the mutations in the Celtic Language group would have solved the whole thing for them! (I'm referring to changes across languages such as pater>Vater>father ,etc.)

    A teacher of English I once worked with had lived in Wales for a few years and once said to me: "You don't have a word for "telephone" do you?" My reply, typically, was:
    "No we don't. Now that's something I've always wished to know, but keep forgetting to ask. What's the English word for telephone?" :rofl:
     
  2. Top Cat

    Top Cat Administrator Forum Volunteer

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    It has just crossed my mind I have been a bit disingenuous - its equally difficult to look things up in an English dictionary if you don't already know that, say, "philosophy" doesn't start with an "f".
     
  3. cambrensis

    cambrensis Member

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    True but it's a little wider than that. I used to get quite angry when I'd hear a teacher say to a child, "Why are you asking me? You have a dictionary in your desk - just look it up!"

    In one school I introduced what appeared to be a brilliant dictionary. It was not organised alphabetically, but on sylabe count and the first sound heard in the word (which took care of the f/ph problem); the new difficulty introduced was that not many youngsters can understand the concept of syllables, whatever you call them. It worked well with the brighter members of a class but was pretty grim with many.

    Different languages have different ways of attempting to deal with the problem; referring back to Welsh for example, the alphabet has two letters "f"...the western one is "ff" and the Greek one is "ph" (this sort of thing explains something I said in an earlier post). It's simple and logical and satisfies the academics, but is of no real practical use, especially as the linguistic difference is not always observed; for example "telephone", the correctly written English form, comes out as "teleffĂ´n". The English spelling reveals the Greek origin.
     
  4. Top Cat

    Top Cat Administrator Forum Volunteer

    trueCall Model:
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    I've never seen a dictionary like that, although its existence doesn't surprise me. I don't understand why even dim kids would have a problem with the concept of syllables, if you call them "sounds" (however inaccurate that might be) - but then they have to know the written symbol for any particular sound, and what order they come in, to be able to look it up.

    Can you recommend any particular reference books (or apps!) for a non-Welsh speaker (with no particular desire to study it in depth) to access the Welsh lexicon? In particular, I like to dissect place names. I do have an app (iPod Touch - ie iPhone) called WelshDict but it is not very satisfactory - it seems not to have quite basic words in it.

    I have had an idea for an alternative dictionary (English!) that would be of interest to word puzzlers, it may already exist for all I know, and that is to list words in alphabetical order with the letters in the word arranged alphabetically. Thus it would be very simple to discover that (taking a very simple example) "post" is an anagram of "stop", because they would both be listed under "opst" (along with tops, opts, pots, and any others you can think of).
     
  5. diabolo

    diabolo Maintainer Forum Volunteer

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    Things are definitely improving. I remember my 6-year-old coming home from school a few years back and explaining what a split digraph was.
     
  6. db1

    db1 Member

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    Well there are thesaurus, best known is Roget's including several online versions.

    There are such as Fowlers Modern English Usage.

    Word search dictionaries (and apps) for crosswords and scrabble exist.

    I know play.google.com has several english/welsh dictionaries and phrasebook apps, and if you widen this to other languages there will be thousands.

    That is quite a large (virtual) satchel for those of a linguistic bent. ;)

    Probably the dictionary that has done the most damage to the English language is Mirram Webster.

    That is really a dictionary for the American language. But then american is really a different language. :rasp:
     
  7. Top Cat

    Top Cat Administrator Forum Volunteer

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    One of my favourite books on usage and grammar is published by the University of Chicago (would you believe).
     
  8. Top Cat

    Top Cat Administrator Forum Volunteer

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    I think it still is. :pedant:
     
  9. cambrensis

    cambrensis Member

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    Sorry I'm late coming back into this; I've been muddling away with other things. Concerning the concept of syllable counting, it's fine so long as a child can actually count! It's surprising how many parents think Johnnie can count as he will recite the numbers from one to twenty in sequence, perfectly. However, give the child twenty objects to count and he will have reached twenty before he has passed the twelfth with his finger!

    Obviously you have major variations; but I can remember exploding during a staffroom session when one teacher, speaking volubly about the grammar of English invented the "superlactive"! She had meant "superlative", but obviously had difficulty reading the word...:cry:

    I'll do a check on apps TC...not certain about that one. Have thought of a possible source.
     
  10. Top Cat

    Top Cat Administrator Forum Volunteer

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    Pity it wasn't the "superlaxative".
     
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  11. db1

    db1 Member

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    or was it superlactate .. ( silly cow :bangin: )

    - pun intended ;)
     
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  12. cambrensis

    cambrensis Member

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    Much nicer than my thought which involved "lax" as a root! :whistle:

    Referring back to the Welsh element...I'm glad she was dealing only with English with three degrees (Radical, Comparative and Superlative). Welsh has an Equative form as well - You may refer to that as "Equacktive", duckie! :innocent:

    Humour aside what used really to annoy me about all this "in service training" stuff was the amount of public money being spent paying idiots to disseminate rubbish. I had great fun at the expense of one young favourite of the Ministry of Education who was chortling with glee at the discomfiture of some literary icon over some silly argument, declaring him to be a "busted flush in spades!" I asked whether he had special software for mixing metaphors! He, of clourse, had no idea what I was referring to in his utterance.
     

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