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Is this sentene normal and easy to be understood? Options
Aoronly Kwilai
Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2018 11:50:10 PM

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- He has been here, but, now, he was here.



sureshot
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 1:59:17 AM
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Aoronly Kwilai wrote:
- He has been here, but, now, he was here.




------------------

The sentence is not normal.

It is simpler to say:

- He was here a short while ago.
thar
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 2:22:26 AM

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No, it makes no sense to me.

'But' contrasts two conflicting statements, but your two statement don't conflict. Together, they make no sense

he had been here
he was here

these are not contradictory, because 'here' is the same place in both.
And 'now' suggests a present situation, requiring the present tense.
But if the second part is 'now' there is no justification for the past perfect, before the past.
I don't understand what you are trying to say. Is it missing a negative?
eg
He had been here but he wasn't here then.
(Ie when I arrived, he wasn't here. He had been here before that, but he had left before I arrived. He isn't here now.)
Aoronly Kwilai
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 3:24:02 AM

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Thank you very much.
What makes me asked this question is becacuse I found a similar sentence in an english book and I can not understand it. The sentence reads:

'My child! Have the police been here?'
'They have been here, now, now, they were here. They wanted Absalom, umfundisi. I told them I had not seen him since Saturday.'


So, if the sentence I made is not right then I would like to know what the difference is between mine and the one I found in the book. Please help me understand it.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 5:16:20 AM
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This is African English... "now now" means "at this very time", "immediately." while " just now" means "in a minute" or "a short while (ago)" .

So I'd punctuate it "They have been here. Now now they were here."
Romany
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 5:16:21 AM
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This is African English... "now now" means "at this very time", "immediately." while " just now" means "in a minute" or "a short while (ago)" .

So I'd punctuate it "They have been here. Now now they were here."
thar
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 5:28:12 AM

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Yes, the umfundisi sort of gives that away!

I wouldn't understand that (edit - now now), either (not being conversant with black South African English) although I could probably make a guess with context. Whistle

Aoronly Kwilai
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 6:19:15 AM

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Oh, thank you very much. I got it now. It is not common English.
Aoronly Kwilai
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 6:29:07 AM

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I would like to ask you a bit further if the phrase 'stay well' and 'go well' is a common phrase used by native english?

'May we come again?'
'Yes, you may come again. We shall ask about it at the gate.'
'Stay well, my child.'
'Go well, my father.'


thar
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 6:30:19 AM

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Well, it may be common to a few tens of millions of people in South/Southern Africa. Whistle

It is not standard world English, put it that way.

edit
Yes that 'go well' is definitely not modern standard English.
'stay well' is possible, and means I hope you remain in good health. But with that meaning, 'go well' doesn't work.
It sounds like here it is a wish for someone to have a safe journey, or just a goodbye, literally a 'farewell'.
(archaic English 'fare' is journey, go.) That is one meaning of 'well' but this is not a standard phrase.
'Well' is the same in Dutch and so I assume also in Afrikaans. I have no idea if that has any input into the speech pattern in South African English.
Most likely this phrase is the anglicisation of leave-taking phrases from another language like Xhosa or Zulu. Purely as a guess.

I assume this is also a South African phrase if this is from the same source. Maybe Rom can confirm that.
Hope123
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 9:49:42 AM

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"Stay well", as Thar says meaning "remain in good health", is similar to the "Be well" I use when signing off on emails to friends.

The "Go well" might be similar to the Spanish "Vaya con dios". Just "Go with God" generally, not necessarily on a journey.

Waiting for Rom.

The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
ozok
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 10:37:38 AM
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Yikes! When I was an intern (stagiair) in the Dutch Consulate General in South Africa, I always interpreted the expression ‘now now’ as meaning that ‘I will do it when or as soon as I get time’.

It was not at all like Dutch efficiency.




just sayin'
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 10:57:30 AM

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Hi Aoronly Kwilai.

Though I didn't know "umfundisi" (which is South African), I guessed where the style of English came from. It's not only 'black South African' - the same 'odd' time-phrases are used by Afrikaners when they speak English, too.

"The boss wants to see you shortly" means he wants to see you now or in a minute or two (but only for a short time - 'shortly').
"The boss wants to see you just now." - you have time for a coffee before you need to go.
"The boss wants to see you now now" means he wants to see you immediately - and it would be better if it was five minutes ago.

The sentence you read is the speech of someone who is nervous and excited. They say first "They have been here."
Then they repeat it, saying that it was "Now now" - the police have JUST been here.
"Now now they were here."

There is no "but" between the phrases. It makes sense as an excited repetition.

Your sentence adds the "but" which does not make sense. "He has been here, but, now, he was here."

The conversation is between a priest and one of his parishioners - this is why there are formal phrases, which may sound a little unusual when compared to normal 'conversational English".



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Aoronly Kwilai
Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2018 7:07:33 PM

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Thank you very much.
ozok
Posted: Monday, October 8, 2018 6:18:44 AM
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Quote:
...African English... "now now" means "at this very time", "immediately." ,,,


Hai Romany, maybe you can declare the discrepancy of your above definition with my experience that 'now now' means any time but 'immediately'.



just sayin'
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, October 8, 2018 9:40:43 AM

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Perhaps your experience, Ozok, has been with different classes of South Africans.

My experience (with people who have Xhosa or Afrkaans as their first language) seems to be that "now now" means "NOW" - and "just now" means "in a while".

My experience with people who have English or Indian backgrounds is that they don't often use these phrases (except the normal English "just now" to mean "a short time ago").

Different experiences.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Romany
Posted: Monday, October 8, 2018 10:06:05 AM
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The "Go well" and "Stay well" come from Zulu and Khosa farewells and are direct translations. The Zulu greeting translates as "I see you" and once in a while someone says that in English too.

Ozok -

I don't know what you mean by "declare the discrepency"? Surely you, answering after me, are the one who pointed to a discrepency?

As to "declaring" it - did you mean you wanted it acknowledged? All I can say is that my response comes after being married to a South African; living there 17 years; writing for (and being edited by)South African radio, tv & theatre; teaching; and having two children in school.

You, on the other hand, drew a different conclusion.

That's just the way the cookie crumbles, I guess.
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