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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: June 24th, 2008, 7:35 pm 
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42317 wrote:
Could someone explain the following sentence to me, please (from the FUNNY thread):

"A closed mouth gathers no foot."

What's that supposed to mean?

It means think before you speak. It's the opposite of "Putting your foot in your mouth" which means you've said something stupid and you should keep your mouth closed.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: June 24th, 2008, 7:46 pm 
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Oh, interesting, thanks. I heard that phrase about putting a foot in one's mouth before but I didn't know it was actually an idiom, a fixed phrase.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: June 24th, 2008, 7:50 pm 
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42317 wrote:
Oh, interesting, thanks. I heard that phrase about putting a foot in one's mouth before but I didn't know it was actually an idiom, a fixed phrase.

No problemo. I haven't heard it put that way before either. I had to ask my mom what that phrase means.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: June 28th, 2008, 7:35 pm 
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Is "fair game" an ambiguous term?

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: June 28th, 2008, 9:02 pm 
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42317 wrote:
Is "fair game" an ambiguous term?

It means that something is equally accessible by any legitimate participant or in other words it's up for grabs.

If you're having trouble with slang, try Urban Dictionary. It's very useful. I use it whenever I hear someone says some slang that I'm not familiar of.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: June 29th, 2008, 9:07 pm 
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Gojira wrote:
42317 wrote:
Is "fair game" an ambiguous term?
It means that something is equally accessible by any legitimate participant or in other words it's up for grabs.

That would be the definition that I had in mind.
Because the day before yesterday I saw a girl wearing a jeans jacket that read "fair game" and I couldn't help laughing at her because obviously someone thought "fair game" = "fair match/contest/play".
It reminded me of Hayashibara Megumi's "You gotta check me out" picture, but would have been funnier (or more interesting) if the girl had been 16yo - instead of not even 6. :cry:

Oh, and thanks for the dictionary. :D

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: June 29th, 2008, 10:18 pm 
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42317 wrote:
Because the day before yesterday I saw a girl wearing a jeans jacket that read "fair game" and I couldn't help laughing at her because obviously someone thought "fair game" = "fair match/contest/play".
It reminded me of Hayashibara Megumi's "You gotta check me out" picture, but would have been funnier (or more interesting) if the girl had been 16yo - instead of not even 6. :cry:

Oh, and thanks for the dictionary. :D

Lawlz.
You're welcome, 42317. :D

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: August 2nd, 2008, 12:38 pm 
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I found another interesting word in the English Language:

sweepstake

Just to clarify, I know what it means. But why - and that's the question I have for you - is it so similar to this term:

broomstick

Completely different in meaning, but still so close in their components.

broom-stick and sweep-stake.

Really interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: August 20th, 2008, 6:28 am 
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How about this one:

How come the term "to swear" is ambiguous? Any idea?

"Do you swear?"
"Yes, I do."
"But you shouldn't, it's not nice."

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: August 20th, 2008, 1:55 pm 
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we do it for the jokes. just for the jokes!




what i find more strange is that you make it seem as if it is only an english phenomena.
the reasons i could think of would be different dialects, languages, and slang create multiple definitions for the same word.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: August 20th, 2008, 3:15 pm 
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dbd_addict wrote:
what i find more strange is that you make it seem as if it is only an english phenomena.

So you think I'm stupid... :D
I've been studying English linguistics. It would actually be strange for me to ask about any other languages, and I know only general things about English dialects, slang, and jargon. But I do know enough about languages in general to realize that OF COURSE ambiguity is a phenomenon in every language and I am sure that every single one of Earth's about 50.000 languages has notable quirks. That doesn't make the question "At what point did the meanings come apart?" less interesting.

But, really, it wouldn't make sense to inquire about other languages, would it?
English is our lingua franca here, so everybody can contribute a thought.
I am the only one who speaks Japanese.
Bloodfairy is the only one except me who speaks German. I could give you some input about the terms "schon" and "schön" ("already" and "beautiful"), which, 500 years ago, had the same meaning, but who cares? Or are there German linguists in the vicinity? Nope, guess not.
I speak neither Chinese, nor Spanish, nor whatever language you guys use at home, except English. Okay, I can comprehend written Dutch, but that's neglectable I think.

I anybody else misunderstood the nature of my posts I apologize for not being clear enough.
And I wanna be honest: I'm often less interested in the one, correct answer (if it exists), but more in the variety of ideas that you might offer. It helps seeing things from different angles.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: August 20th, 2008, 4:07 pm 
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yeah, i guess i do not really understand your questioning. if you were interested in the etymology you can just look it up, so i figured that is not the reason for asking.

ie. swear
O.E. swerian "take an oath" (class VI strong verb; past tense swor, pp. sworen), from P.Gmc. *swarjanan, from root *swar- (cf. O.S. swerian, O.N. sverja, Dan. sverge, O.Fris. swera, M.Du. swaren, O.H.G. swerien, Ger. schwören, Goth. swaren "to swear"), from PIE base *swer- "to speak, say" (cf. O.C.S. svara "quarrel"). Also related to the second element in answer. The secondary sense of "use bad language" (c.1430) developed from the notion of "invoke sacred names." Swear-word is Amer.Eng. colloquial from 1883. Swear off "desist as with a vow" is from 1898.

and your example of sweepstakes and broomstick being similar...
you know that there are multiple meanings for words so i thought you were just joking around!

sweepstakes
"prize won in a race or contest," 1773, from M.E. swepestake "one who sweeps or wins all the stakes in a game" (1495, as the name of one of the King's ships), from swepen "sweep" + stake (v).

broom
O.E. brom the common flowering shrub whose twigs were tied together to make a tool for sweeping, from P.Gmc. *bræmaz "thorny bush" (cf. Du. braam, Ger. Brombeere "blackberry"), from PIE base *bh(e)rem- "to project, a point." Both the flowers and sweeping with broom twigs were traditionally considered unlucky in May (Suffolk, Sussex, Wiltshire, etc.). The witch's flying broomstick was originally also many other objects (pitchfork, trough, bowl), but the broomstick became the popular image via engravings from a famous Lancashire witch trial of 1612.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: August 20th, 2008, 7:45 pm 
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Thank you, Smithers, for your informative but boring answer. :lol:
Of course I could take the effort and look it up, but doing it that way is like stepping up to a good looking woman and read her name from her passport instead of asking her to tell you. 8)
As I said I am often (mostly I guess) more interested in the communicative act and intuitive ponderings.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: August 21st, 2008, 4:08 am 
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you are welcome!

welcome
well come
drinking reservoir co me
drinking reservoir company me

you accompany me to the drinking reservoir!

let us get a drink!

QED


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 Post subject: Re: The "Learning English" Thread
PostPosted: August 22nd, 2008, 5:30 am 
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dbd_addict wrote:
you are welcome!
welcome
well come
drinking reservoir co me
drinking reservoir company me
you accompany me to the drinking reservoir!
let us get a drink!
QED

You are a dictionary reader who is kinda nuts.
:D

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