Linguistic pet peeves

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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Sumelic » Mon 15 Aug 2016, 08:26

HoskhMatriarch wrote: SAE was invented to talk about European natlangs
I see. I had forgotten this, but in any case that's still natlangs, collectively. As I said, it seems to me quite odd to refer to any single European natlang as "SAE"; it's like the hypothetical "average family" with 2.4 kids or whatever. Nobody is the average family. No one language "is SAE"... although I guess people probably just use that as shorthand for "has SAE features." I agree that it's baffling to say Spanish and German "are not actually SAE"; I've never heard anyone say this. Obviously they're part of the sprachbund, so they have a number of SAE features, even if they may also have some non-SAE features. It seems like French does actually have each of the major SAE features listed in this article, but so does German.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by clawgrip » Mon 15 Aug 2016, 08:55

HoskhMatriarch wrote:OK, but as I said, the way people use it makes it sound like it's inherently disparaging, especially seeing as there's no Standard Average [insert other region]. Getting Western European linguists analyzing languages from outside Western Europe to not think every language is actually English/French/German *ahem*Chomsky is one thing, but the other uses are something else (especially the ridiculous conlang uses: "Oh, it's a French relex, how horrible. Nuxálk relex? Now that's awesome!" I don't want to see any relexes, even a relex of the most obscure languages you can imagine, unless someone is trying to make a relex for some reason).
I think it comes down to frequency, more than anything else. On forums like this, the majority of us are native speakers of European languages, so SAE is old hat to us. But because the majority of us come from an SAE background, most of our first and second and so on attempts at conlangs are likely to incorporate numerous SAE features. Until we learn differently, our thinking starts out similar to those old-timey philologists I mentioned previously whom Whorf was addressing when he invented the term. So when people come along saying "Look at my new language!" and it is just another SAE relex, then people are uninterested because they've seen it a hundred times. But if someone makes a Hopi or Nuxálk relex, this is something less often encountered (plus, people are less likely to be able to even identify it as such). It's the same as why people complain about Romlangs all the time. No matter how intricately and skillfully they're crafted, we're just so used to seeing them that it's that much harder to find something to catch our interest.

I'm sure that if the languages of Europe were all Iroquoian and Na-Dene and Salish and so forth, but European culture were otherwise identical to how it is now, we still would have the term SAE, it would just have a radically different list of features. We'd all be complaining "not another Salishalang!"
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by gach » Mon 15 Aug 2016, 21:25

There's nothing against starting to use a term like "Standard South-East Asian" if you feel the need to give a name for the collection of shared linguistic features within that area, for example. The template for the term is clear, so any linguistically savvy audience should guess exactly what you mean with it without having to be explicitly informed about it.

Different academic sub-fields naturally develop different terminological traditions and so there doesn't have to be any terribly deep meaning behind SAE being the only "Standard Average area" term in common use.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Frislander » Mon 15 Aug 2016, 21:39

Can I just have my little moan about prescriptivism here? One thing I hate is when so-called "armchair linguists" or "armchair grammarians" say that because of linguistics "anything goes". I'm sure all of us here are aware that this is bollocks (pardon my French), but I just want to make it clear why this is the case. Linguistics focuses on what people actually say: "Me English good" doesn't suddenly because grammatical just because linguists allow for variation between (groups of) speakers. Linguists describe the grammar of a language based on how real people use it, and don't just make stuff up, like armchair pedants, and indeed all too many of the general populace, do.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Creyeditor » Mon 15 Aug 2016, 22:38

A linguistic pet peeve of mine, is the use of 'armchair linguist' in ways that I don't understand [;)]
I am okay with people assuming generative linguists can never be field linguists (although it is not true) and I am okay with calling them 'armchair', but there are many other uses that I just don't get.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by k1234567890y » Sun 28 Aug 2016, 12:44

being able to speak a language, or multiple languages, does not mean you are a linguist, just like being able to walk does not mean you know the physiology of legs well.

Also, maybe this is not a linguistic pet peeves, or at least a linguistic pet peeves of mine, and it might be a norm to correct the grammar and usage of words in this forum, as this forum focuses on something professional and language-related, but when you go to other forums, or in more informal online social occasions, don't try to correct the English of others, correcting English grammar(or the grammar of any other language) outside of places like CBB or ZBB can make you look like a grammar NAZI, and some people like my good friend Tay Ayase(Tay綾瀬) just hate grammar NAZIs a lot.
Creyeditor wrote:A linguistic pet peeve of mine, is the use of 'armchair linguist' in ways that I don't understand [;)]
I am okay with people assuming generative linguists can never be field linguists (although it is not true) and I am okay with calling them 'armchair', but there are many other uses that I just don't get.
you are a professional linguist, Creyeditor? OuO
clawgrip wrote: Complaining about stress placement I get, but this is a bit too nitpicky I think. This is just a natural function of English pronunciation (in many accents, anyway).

On another topic, one thing that bothers me involves English education in Japan. There are a lot of books and materials about learning English, and of course a lot of these are written by Japanese people who do not speak English quite as naturally as they think they do, so sometimes what they teach is a bit off. This bugs me, but it's kind of unavoidable.

What really bothers me is when people making educational materials purposely distort English in attempt to make it easier, essentially by creating a type of easier English that doesn't exist. This is common in materials for teaching English to younger children, who haven't yet endured the barrage of English grammar in junior and senior high school.

I see things like "A cat is on the chair," where they specifically avoid using the more natural "There is a cat on the chair" because the "there is" structure is a more advanced grammatical structure that hasn't been taught yet. Just teach "there is" before doing prepositions, or do them at the same time!

Also, there is one 5-minute short television program on NHK every Saturday that involves some cartoon characters who absolutely never use contractions when they talk. It's extremely unnatural and I hate listening to it. Things like "I am hungry." "Have some candy." "It is good!". Probably some old, stupid people thought it would be best to teach the actual words before they learn how to contract them, rather than teaching them how people speak and later explaining the meaning. It's characteristic of the overwhelming reading-and grammar-focused English education that leaves communication as an afterthought.

This type of thing really bugs me.
I think schools in Japan, and in East Asian in general, originally taught students the formal and written form of English, and only tried to change in recent years; however, there's really a gap between spoken English and formal, written English.

and I think you are right, at least in trying to teach people to comprehend spoken English; however, to really master spoken English, you still need to live in a place where virtually everyone speaks English like my good friend Tay Ayase(Tay綾瀬) does now.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Lao Kou » Sun 28 Aug 2016, 13:48

k1234567890y wrote:however, to really master spoken English, you still need to live in a place where virtually everyone speaks English like my good friend Tay Ayase(Tay綾瀬) does now.
[peeve]That would require everyone in a place where virtually everyone speaks English not accosting your friend Tay Ayase(Tay綾瀬) to practice their spoken Chinese at all times, having menus in Chinese handed only to them in an English-speaking restaurant, and presuming that the English-speaking friend next to them is the "translator" and speaking right over/through them ("Why that's only natural. How can they possibly know by looking at you that you speak English?").[/peeve]
Last edited by Lao Kou on Sun 28 Aug 2016, 14:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by k1234567890y » Sun 28 Aug 2016, 14:36

Lao Kou wrote:
k1234567890y wrote:however, to really master spoken English, you still need to live in a place where virtually everyone speaks English like my good friend Tay Ayase(Tay綾瀬) does now.
That would require everyone in a place where virtually everyone speaks English not accosting your friend Tay Ayase(Tay綾瀬) to practice their spoken Chinese at all times, having menus in Chinese handed only to them in an English-speaking restaurant, and presuming that the English-speaking friend next to them is the "translator" and speaking right over/through them ("Why that's only natural. How can they possibly know by looking at you that you speak English?").
hmm...

btw, Tay is a Japanese girl that lives currently in United States...
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Lao Kou » Sun 28 Aug 2016, 16:02

k1234567890y wrote:
Lao Kou wrote:
k1234567890y wrote:however, to really master spoken English, you still need to live in a place where virtually everyone speaks English like my good friend Tay Ayase(Tay綾瀬) does now.
That would require everyone in a place where virtually everyone speaks English not accosting your friend Tay Ayase(Tay綾瀬) to practice their spoken Chinese at all times, having menus in Chinese handed only to them in an English-speaking restaurant, and presuming that the English-speaking friend next to them is the "translator" and speaking right over/through them ("Why that's only natural. How can they possibly know by looking at you that you speak English?").
hmm... btw, Tay is a Japanese girl that lives currently in United States...
Okay,
Spoiler:
swap out Chinese for Japanese:

That would require everyone in a place where virtually everyone speaks English not accosting your friend Tay to practice their spoken Japanese at all times, having menus in Japanese handed only to her in an English-speaking restaurant, and presuming that the English-speaking friend next to her is the "translator" and speaking right over/through her ("Why that's only natural. How can they possibly know by looking at you that you speak English?").

Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but as I remember, the Japanese were a little less flying-brick-in-the-face about this (to your face).
Apologies for being a bit "techy". Some days it just rolls off your back; some days it's like being poked with a lye-dipped stick.

<Last night I sat through a Japanese language program on Singapore television about "Wow! Off-the-beaten-path places foreigners go in (Tokyo and environs) that even we Japanese don't know about!" That's cute for about ten minutes, then it begins to look like "Look at the dancing bear." for the full hour. ("Why is this pack of foreigners standing here in Shinjuku? Let's ask (in embarrassingly bad English to emphasize that communicating with foreigners is zany)!" My skin began to crawl; my (Chinese) boyfriend found it "informative" (but then, there wasn't a segment on wacky Chinese tourists (I imagine the argument bei him would've changed tack [>:)] ), though wacky Burmese were included).>

I really wish we didn't have to pay for the sins of our colonial fathers in this pass-agg way for generations, but what can you do? (other than bitch [;)] )
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by clawgrip » Mon 29 Aug 2016, 00:00

There are a lot of shows on Japanese TV which are entertaining on the surface but have an annoying vibe of superiority. Either look how much better Japan is than other countries, look how great a tourist spot Japan is, or look how great this Japanese person is for going to another country and helping the locals/thriving despite the odds. Rarely do TV shows demonstrate where Japan is lacking and in need of improvement.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by k1234567890y » Mon 29 Aug 2016, 02:20

some languages are superior, more expressive or less redundant; while other languages are inferior, less expressive or more redundant.
clawgrip wrote:There are a lot of shows on Japanese TV which are entertaining on the surface but have an annoying vibe of superiority. Either look how much better Japan is than other countries, look how great a tourist spot Japan is, or look how great this Japanese person is for going to another country and helping the locals/thriving despite the odds. Rarely do TV shows demonstrate where Japan is lacking and in need of improvement.
O.O how ethnocentric they are... D:
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Lao Kou » Mon 29 Aug 2016, 02:59

clawgrip wrote:<stuff>
Thanks for the confirmation. [:)] Living in a somewhat remote, generally expat-free corner of Suzhou (which I by and large enjoy), one can sometimes feel like a woman in the doctor's office getting the "it's all in your mind, dear" treatment.
k1234567890y wrote:O.O how ethnocentric they are... D:
China, cough. Taiwan, cough. (五千年的历史... justifies any claim about anything)

Mind, I'm not trying to suggest that this doesn't exist elsewhere (Hell, I just came back from the States in the throes of an election cycle [O.O] ). It would just be nice to hear someone, anyone (beyond 外国人, 'cause what do they know?), acknowledge that it exists here, and postulate that it's not necessarily a positive force in the national or cultural interest.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by k1234567890y » Mon 29 Aug 2016, 03:53

Lao Kou wrote:China, cough. Taiwan, cough. (五千年的历史... justifies any claim about anything)
you are right...there are full of Chinese-speaking people claiming that Chinese is superior than English...
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by clawgrip » Mon 29 Aug 2016, 04:11

The annoying thing about shows like the ones I mentioned is that they can be legitimately entertaining. The Japanese person whothrows away his comfortable life and moves to Cambodia and uses his money to grow food and build schools for local children is truly worthy of respect, and Japan does have very convenient and advanced tech and methods of doing things and whatnot, and interesting tourist places, and some of these tourists have interesting stories. It's just the constant need to reassure themselves that Japan is indeed great can get annoying after a while. But I fear this is a cultural, rather than linguistic pet peeve.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Lao Kou » Mon 29 Aug 2016, 04:50

clawgrip wrote:But I fear this is a cultural, rather than linguistic pet peeve.
Yes, I agree with all of the above. But thanks for the chance to vent. [:)]
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Lao Kou » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 17:53

Elsewhere, clawgrip wrote:Simplified Chinese should be in the linguistic pet peeves thread.
Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve!

Thanks, I feel much better. [B)]
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by GrandPiano » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 20:43

Simplified characters aren't that bad...
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by clawgrip » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 00:41

Lao Kou wrote:We all know which ones are the right ones anyway. [>:)]
Japanese simplified characters, of course. Where you can find the coexistence of 検 and 瞼! 経 and 脛! 浅 and 箋! 闇 and 鬨! And where family names don't need to be simplified, so you have 広崎 and 廣崎, 沢口 and 澤口, 浜田 and 濱田, etc. Not to mention stuff like 島/嶋/嶌.

Where sharyō is 車両 unless you want to write it 車輌 or 車輛.

But really, whoever it was that thought that it was a good idea to simplify triple repetition via an X made out of dots is a genius (渋, 摂, 塁, etc.)
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Lao Kou » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 02:08

clawgrip wrote:Japanese simplified characters, of course.
Oddly, not the answer I had in mind. [;)]
Not to mention stuff like 島/嶋/嶌.
See, I love this sort of thing. Mind, I get horribly disapproving looks when I do this: 鵞 (you make an extra long stroke out of the 戈, it looks awesome [B)] )
Where sharyō is 車両
[cross] in so many ways.
車輌
better
or 車輛
best [B)]
But really, whoever it was that thought that it was a good idea to simplify triple repetition via an X made out of dots is a genius (渋, 摂, 塁, etc.)
Genius though s/he may be, I find those especially jarring.

Peeving can be fun, but in the end all it means is that Sino-/Nipponophilia comes at a price. [:)]
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by clawgrip » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 02:26

I'm joking about the dot X. It's weird. I'm just used to it.

Also 車両 is better than using 干 for 幹, because 輌 doesn't really occur in any other words (or not common ones, at least), so it's pretty much a one-off thing.
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