Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

1394042444589

Comments

  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    Golden Key, ‘look you’.

    MMM
  • Hmmm...I think the wildest chant at my school's playground was:
    Cinderella,
    Dressed in yella
    Went downstairs
    To meet her fella.
    How many kisses
    Did she get?

    (counting up from there)

    It was a jump-rope rhyme.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Perhaps it's from an unpublished Shakespearean play?

    King {rising from throne and bellowing}: "Look you, jumpers!

    Welsh King, is he then?

    Which bit of that signals Welsh, please?
    @Golden Key "Look you" is what stage Welsh people are supposed to say in a Welsh accent, the Welsh equivalent of "Och-Aye" and "Begorrah".
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    And of course not actually used by anyone.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited February 3
    Was Hamlet Welsh when he said, "This most excellent canopy, the air, look you"?
  • Enoch wrote: »
    "Look you" is what stage Welsh people are supposed to say in a Welsh accent, the Welsh equivalent of "Och-Aye" and "Begorrah".
    I’m now hearing it in the voice of Ruth Madoc in Hi De Hi.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited February 3
    mousethief wrote: »
    Was Hamlet Welsh when he said, "This most excellent canopy, the air, look you"?

    No, he was reflecting a sentence construction that's common in a lot of European languages but that English has dispensed with.

    Hamlet is of course Danish and I'm pretty sure you could say this in Danish.
  • What has English dispensed with? "Look you"? We've just dropped off the "you" -- it's hardly a loss of an idiom.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited February 3
    mousethief wrote: »
    What has English dispensed with? "Look you"? We've just dropped off the "you" -- it's hardly a loss of an idiom.

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    EDIT: Also, I don't think you could modernise Hamlet's sentence just by dropping the word "you". Having "look" at the end there feels very weird. You need to put the "look" command at the front. Look at this most excellent canopy, the air.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited February 3
    Gucken Sie.

    *look you
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Of course, English has also stupidly lost the ability to distinguish singular "you" and plural "you".

    The "Sie" reminded me. Because German, Danish and English (and probably all the Germanic languages?) all had the same idea of using a plural word to be polite to an individual.

    German still does this. Danes seemed to have stopped bothering a couple of generations ago and are informal with everyone. And English got stuck perpetually in formal mode a few centuries ago.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    Of course, English has also stupidly lost the ability to distinguish singular "you" and plural "you".

    The "Sie" reminded me. Because German, Danish and English (and probably all the Germanic languages?) all had the same idea of using a plural word to be polite to an individual.

    German still does this. Danes seemed to have stopped bothering a couple of generations ago and are informal with everyone. And English got stuck perpetually in formal mode a few centuries ago.

    Then English, perversely, wrongly decided the singular form was the polite form, and ended up creating Bible (and service) translations which use "thou" for God and "you" for everybody else.
  • Re "look you":

    I knew nothing of any Welsh reference or stereotype. I was only referring to a phrase from the Bard. And my made-up king wasn't of any particular nationality, ethnicity, nor realm. Just a grumpy king, possibly with a headache, who was of a time to use "look you" to get the attention of an annoying, dancing crowd.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    Of course, English has also stupidly lost the ability to distinguish singular "you" and plural "you".

    The "Sie" reminded me. Because German, Danish and English (and probably all the Germanic languages?) all had the same idea of using a plural word to be polite to an individual.

    German still does this. Danes seemed to have stopped bothering a couple of generations ago and are informal with everyone. And English got stuck perpetually in formal mode a few centuries ago.

    Then English, perversely, wrongly decided the singular form was the polite form, and ended up creating Bible (and service) translations which use "thou" for God and "you" for everybody else.

    Yup.
  • Hamlet is well known as a Celtic miscellany. There is the Irishman who accompanies the prince on his abortive attempt to kill the king. In distress of mind Hamlet comments, "I could do it now, Pat, while he is praying".
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

    I can only presume that's poetry because it's frankly incomprehensible.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    orfeo wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

    I can only presume that's poetry because it's frankly incomprehensible.

    A singularly poignant one at that. Though it has to be said that Hopkins is on a fairly far out branch of anyone's linguistic tree.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    Of course, English has also stupidly lost the ability to distinguish singular "you" and plural "you".

    The "Sie" reminded me. Because German, Danish and English (and probably all the Germanic languages?) all had the same idea of using a plural word to be polite to an individual.

    German still does this. Danes seemed to have stopped bothering a couple of generations ago and are informal with everyone. And English got stuck perpetually in formal mode a few centuries ago.

    Then English, perversely, wrongly decided the singular form was the polite form, and ended up creating Bible (and service) translations which use "thou" for God and "you" for everybody else.
    Not quite.

    Most modern western European languages, only use the 2nd personal singular for addressing close family etc in some way. French does. I'm told Welsh does. Early modern English, as in the seventeenth century did. 'Thou' when it was still in general use, rather than only found in dialects, was used much the same way as 'tu' or 'du'. They are, though, equally likely to use the 2nd person singular for addressing God. This is not something that was new with English bible translations.

    Why, I don't know.

    However, in koiné Greek this doesn't appear to have been the case. It seems to use the 2nd person singular for addressing one person, whether an equal, an inferior, a superior or God, and the 2nd person plural for addressing more than one person.

    I don't know whether colloquial late Latin followed koiné or was more like subsequent western European languages. Can anyone oblige?

    I've heard, but this may have been a joke, that in some parts of the US Southern States, it is more respectful to address a single important person, a state governor, say, as 'yall'.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

    I can only presume that's poetry because it's frankly incomprehensible.

    Very beautiful poetry and not, I would have said, that hard to understand: "Can you, with your young fresh thoughts, care as much about leaves as you do about human beings?" (Now some Hopkins really is tricky!)
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    orfeo wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

    I can only presume that's poetry because it's frankly incomprehensible.

    Very beautiful poetry and not, I would have said, that hard to understand: "Can you, with your young fresh thoughts, care as much about leaves as you do about human beings?" (Now some Hopkins really is tricky!)

    It foxed me. I didn't link "can you" with "care" at all.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    edited February 3
    Re: thou/you for close family - on the island of Westray in Orkney, where my grandmother came from, some people still address one another as "thou" - pronounced "thoo": "Tommy, would thou pass the salt?".

    I'm inclined to think it's a throwback from Norse/Scandinavian languages, as in đu in Icelandic, but I'm open to correction.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Piglet wrote: »
    Re: thou/you for close family - on the island of Westray in Orkney, where my grandmother came from, some people still address one another as "thou" - pronounced "thoo": "Tommy, would thou pass the salt?".

    I'm inclined to think it's a throwback from Norse/Scandinavian languages, as in đu in Icelandic, but I'm open to correction.
    Could be, but doesn't need to be. That's almost OK as seventeenth century English, when it would have been 'wouldst thou'. In dialect further south and more recent, 'wǝdsta pass ǝt salt'.

  • orfeo wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

    I can only presume that's poetry because it's frankly incomprehensible.

    Very beautiful poetry and not, I would have said, that hard to understand: "Can you, with your young fresh thoughts, care as much about leaves as you do about human beings?" (Now some Hopkins really is tricky!)

    It's downright fucking Yoda.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Most modern western European languages, only use the 2nd personal singular for addressing close family etc in some way. French does. I'm told Welsh does. Early modern English, as in the seventeenth century did. 'Thou' when it was still in general use, rather than only found in dialects, was used much the same way as 'tu' or 'du'. They are, though, equally likely to use the 2nd person singular for addressing God. This is not something that was new with English bible translations.

    Why, I don't know.

    The issue is why "thou" fell away in every other case except the case of God. As far as I know the first Bible translation to reflect this is the RSV, which was published in 1952. I am open to correction on that (the usage, not the year).
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Piglet wrote: »
    Re: thou/you for close family - on the island of Westray in Orkney, where my grandmother came from, some people still address one another as "thou" - pronounced "thoo": "Tommy, would thou pass the salt?".

    I'm inclined to think it's a throwback from Norse/Scandinavian languages, as in đu in Icelandic, but I'm open to correction.

    The form is the same in Old Norse and Old English so it comes from both.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

    I can only presume that's poetry because it's frankly incomprehensible.

    A singularly poignant one at that. Though it has to be said that Hopkins is on a fairly far out branch of anyone's linguistic tree.

    Very poignant and a great poem overall. That word "wanwood" is an invention by Hopkins but it carries meaning and emotion by the tonne.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited February 4
    orfeo wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

    I can only presume that's poetry because it's frankly incomprehensible.

    Very beautiful poetry and not, I would have said, that hard to understand: "Can you, with your young fresh thoughts, care as much about leaves as you do about human beings?" (Now some Hopkins really is tricky!)

    I'd have thought the other way around - can you care for people as much as you are now grieving the fallen leaves and the bare forest?
  • Translation: Margaret, are you sad about the trees losing their leaves? You can grieve for trees just as you would for human problems--right? That won't last. The older people get, the colder our hearts get, until a whole autumnal world won't get a single sigh out of us. Truly, the whole problem is rooted in the fall of mankind, and you are really grieving for yourself.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
    I can only presume that's poetry because it's frankly incomprehensible.

    Very beautiful poetry and not, I would have said, that hard to understand: "Can you, with your young fresh thoughts, care as much about leaves as you do about human beings?" (Now some Hopkins really is tricky!)

    I'd have thought the other way around - can you care for people as much as you are now grieving the fallen leaves and the bare forest?

    I withdraw this.

    Lamb Chopped - pretty spot on, but I prefer Hopkins account.
  • Duh! 😅
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited February 4
    orfeo wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »

    Yes I know. I'm just pointing out that lots of languages (probably including Welsh but not exclusively) have the "you", in order to identify who is supposed to be doing the looking. We've decided there's no need.

    Or leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

    I can only presume that's poetry because it's frankly incomprehensible.

    Very beautiful poetry and not, I would have said, that hard to understand: "Can you, with your young fresh thoughts, care as much about leaves as you do about human beings?" (Now some Hopkins really is tricky!)

    Well it might have been easier to understand if the piece I got hadn't started with the word "Or".

    Firstly, that doesn't tend to indicate the beginning of a thought.

    Secondly, according to the link subsequently provided, it's not even in the poem.
  • Agreed. Excellent summary, but without the emotional impact of the poetry. I sometimes wonder at the power words can have when used in a certain way. Almost makes me believe in spells....
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    There's a reason I never got into poetry.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Truly, the whole problem is rooted in the fall of mankind, and you are really grieving for yourself.
    I don't think there is anything in the poem that requires any Christian doctrine. A pagan Greek or Roman could follow the thought without trouble. Possibly with less trouble than an English speaker given that their languages don't rely on word order to convey meaning so much.

  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Truly, the whole problem is rooted in the fall of mankind, and you are really grieving for yourself.
    I don't think there is anything in the poem that requires any Christian doctrine. A pagan Greek or Roman could follow the thought without trouble. Possibly with less trouble than an English speaker given that their languages don't rely on word order to convey meaning so much.

    "It is the blight man was born for;
    It is Margaret you mourn for."

    Take that concept (birth-blight), throw in the fact that the whole poem is dancing around the word "Fall" (as in autumn/leaves/fall of man) and we don't even need to drag in the author's teligious opinions to make the case. Sorry.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I'm not at all sure that Hopkins would have known of/used fall as a name for autumn.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited February 5
    To turn to another language difference, I was reminded today of something that I first encountered a couple of decades ago.

    I pronounce "law" and "lore" the same.

    Americans most emphatically do not.

    I'm fairly sure that's also the case with "saw" and "sore".

    I'm trying to think of the extent to which there is a difference for British speakers (noting that accents in the British Isles vary a fair bit themselves). Not much difference. Certainly not as much difference as there is for Americans.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I cannot offhand think of any northern or western British accent that would confound those two. Cockney perhaps? I'll 'ave the lor on yer?
  • I’m a Londoner, albeit not a Cockney, and I also pronounce them the same, at least in casual conversation. If I wanted to stress that something was lore, it might sound slightly different, but not much.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    I'm not at all sure that Hopkins would have known of/used fall as a name for autumn.

    I'm not sure about this either. Everyone over here knows what Americans mean when they talk about "fall", but I haven't heard anyone use it. Would it have been widespread knowledge in an era before movies and TV?

    On a related note, as a result of this thread I know have "Margaret, are you grieving," swirling round my mind. ("Worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie" - great!) Does anyone else get earworms of poetry?
  • Fall, like sidewalk and faucet are 'false' Americanisims, in that although now mostly used in North America they were once widely used in Medieval English. They just fell out of fashion here in England. Hopkins probably knew that.
  • I'm not doubting you, @Robertus L, but I'd love some more information about this. Off the top of my head I can't think of any examples from English Literature that back up your claim. (And were sidewalk and faucet really common in Middle English?)
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    I cannot offhand think of any northern or western British accent that would confound those two. Cockney perhaps? I'll 'ave the lor on yer?

    We pronounce them the same here in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. Possibly a careful speaker might distinguish them before a word starting with a vowel, but I think in fact that both might come out as Lohr in that situation, despite 'law' ending with a wubblewoo. Certainly the final 'w' is very unlikely to be realised in any context.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Robertus L wrote: »
    Fall, like sidewalk and faucet are 'false' Americanisims, in that although now mostly used in North America they were once widely used in Medieval English. They just fell out of fashion here in England. Hopkins probably knew that.

    Not Mediaeval however - much later.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/autumn-vs-fall
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    Muff is also rude slang for what I understand is called "fanny" in the UK, what children may call "front bummy" here.

    "Front bottom" here.

  • Golden Key wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Perhaps it's from an unpublished Shakespearean play?

    King {rising from throne and bellowing}: "Look you, jumpers!

    Welsh King, is he then?

    Which bit of that signals Welsh, please?
    Its the position of the comma. Those not lucky enough to be Welsh, especially English scriptwriters, seem to think that making a character say look you makes them "sound Welsh" - in fact saying look you used like that is something native Welsh speakers do when an English mother-tongue speaker wouldn't.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    ‘Received Pronunciation’ or RP English doesn't have a rhotic ‘r’ so ‘law’ and ‘lore’, ‘saw’ and ‘sore’, and ‘dawn’ and ‘born’ all rhyme.
  • Wet KipperWet Kipper Shipmate
    edited February 5
    but surely it's also about the vowel sound, not just whether you pronounce the "r"

    for me, "lore" would sound very similar to "lower", but law rhymes with Awe
  • Yes, I assume rhotic dialects do have /lor/ for lore. Any Bristolians? I have a feeling the vowel is different in some dialects, a bit like horse/hoarse, which are the same in some dialects, different in others.
Sign In or Register to comment.