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The Free Dictionary Language Forums
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2020 1:01:21 PM
Number of Posts:
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Last 10 Posts
What We are Currently Witnessing
Thursday, June 4, 2020 11:53:13 AM
Thursday, June 4, 2020 11:38:28 AM
It's no wonder that Ivan got the wrong idea of what an idiom is: - all of the TFD-related explanations I saw were fine for people who already know what an Idiom is...but are of little help to Learners of English. It's easy to see how these explanations could give very confusing and conflicting information to non-native speakers.
My copy of
Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms
, (Oxford Press) on p.164 gives this definition:
A phrase or grammatical construction that
cannot be translated literally
into another language because
its meaning is not equivalent to that of its component words
. Common examples, of which there are thousands in English, include
hell for leather
on the wagon
, the term is sometimes applied more loosely to any style or manner of writing that is characteristic of a particular group or movement. "
Which shows that most of the online dictionaries have left out the primary meaning of the word, and given only the secondary meaning.
But Logan Pearsall Smith in the
Flavell's Dictionary of Idioms and Their Origins
doesn't define idioms, but gave a really good idea of how idioms were viewed back in 1925: - "
If I may be accused of encouraging or inventing a new vice - the mania, or 'idiomania', I may perhaps call it - of collecting what Pater[Father] calls the 'gypsy phrases' of our language..."
Obviously idioms weren't considered "proper" at all back then - a vice(!) of the English language and, more poetically, the 'gypsy phrases' of English.
There's no way that anyone reading the above would think that 'idiomatic' meant "correct" English, and Ivan would never have been misled in his understanding of the word had the Oxford Literary quote been reproduced correctly and in it's entirety, in on-line dictionaries.
Edited to correct punctuation mistake.
Thursday, June 4, 2020 10:25:05 AM
Glad you understood that I wasn't trying to put you off, but to make things a little more enjoyable.
Btw - P & P is satirical - as is all Austen's work, so keep that in the forefront of your mind while reading. I get contacted by Jane Austen Fan Clubs and Reading Groups from all over the world, who think they are purely "Romantic Fiction"! (or "RomHistFic") and have no idea that even the way her characters are presented is deliberately 'larger than life' - and is a satirical comment on the "cattle market" that was the a huge part of the Social Scene at that time. (The character of Mrs. Bennett, for example, is deliciously presented to make fun of parental ambition - the fact that she has only daughters to marry off makes her even more amusing.)
It will be interesting to see how you go with this book - do update us from time to time.
Thursday, June 4, 2020 9:23:05 AM
When writing in English I always use the word as a plural - the mob/rabble/The Great Unwashed - because that's how it's understood in English. When speaking French (I rarely write in it because everybody laughs at how grotesque my French spelling is!) I use it in the singular. I don't know if this is 'correct', but no-one's ever pulled me up on it.
In older books authored by English writers quite a lot of French words are included because the educated Classes (those who could read) all knew French. In fact, until comparatively recently learning French used to be compulsory in most English schools because so much of our language stems from Norman French.(Tho' at schools I went to, you could study Latin instead - for exactly the same reason.)
This was only in English & Commonwealth countries - American schools did/do not work on this same system.
“Wrapped in the Flag and Holding a Bible”
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 6:59:22 PM
Did you see the footage of the Priest whose Bible it was? She wasn't asked, wasn't even told that her own, private Bible just went sailing out the door,Because, mystifyingly, The Leader had had a sudden and urgent yen to wave a real, bona fide Bible about and grab the Episcopal Vote.
Being repeated across the US. (Right wing extremists fomenting violence)
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 6:42:55 PM
All over the world peaceful protests are taking place in support of the Black Lives Matter movement - and against the horrifying sights of police brutality that come in a steady stream from all 50 States in America.
We've just had a March here. The marchers stretched for about a kilometre down the streets. At the head 4 or 5 Bobbies were strolling along. Half-way down two female police officers were helping a young girl with her sign; and a male & female unit of two was down near the end.
all live in the kinds of Democracies which DON'T allow their
Police Forces to do ANY of the things we're all seeing with our own eyes. Because, Foundit, we all live in a totally different world to yours. To two thirds of your own country - and to the rest of the whole world - you're living in some nightmare dystopia.
Now, someone who is part of a minority group - like Flat Earthers, Alien Abductionists, or Trump supporters - usually is at least aware of the reality that they ARE part of a minority (it is, after all simply a statement of easily checked fact, not an opinion), - and that they occupy a very small platform in terms of globally-shared values... like the UN's Bill of Rights I mentioned previously.
And see, the absolutely bizarre idea that the majority of people not only in your own country - but across all the billions of others who walk the globe - are
liars, lefties, left-leaning, belong to a purely American party called "Democrats"; are all in league against you for nefarious purposes, are deluded, are part of some huge global conspiracy against you; are socialists, are dishonest, are less intelligent than you, are inferior to you, are undeserving of respect, are Loonies, are fools and are crazies..........?
Well, come on - it's hardly rational, is it?
So - no systemic racism in the country which is identified as the most racist of all the developed nations?
Aw shucks -pull the other leg - it's got bells on!
Paul and Kevin
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 7:17:52 AM
Then don't try to "remember" other people's words. As I said: you're a wordsmith: you are able to be as innovative, original and possessed of your own style, as native-English writers - in fact more so than the "average" English-speaker!
btw - do you keep all these short exercises that you write? It always amuses me in movies when writers put down a couple of sentences and then scrunch that into a ball and chuck it till they're surrounded by a sea of scrunched-up discards. True writers keep everything! And if you don't like what you've written you just score it through and start again directly underneath. This is a really good way to track your own progress (go and look at the first couple you wrote and compare it to more recent ones: you'll be able to see for yourself, and keep track of any weak points you see repeated.
Besides which, sometimes when you're sifting through old discards you come across an absolute gem of a sentence or description you can re-purpose!
Vapid slogan meaning
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 6:53:48 AM
Hmmm. Well that gave me something to think about! At first reading I thought "Wotha?".
Now I've been sitting here the last few minutes pondering the two and providing myself with scenarios in which the two words complemented each other.
And I realise that my own, personal idea of the word "vapid" has always
by the early 19thC where women of the Middle Classes (what in USA would be called Upper Classes) - even if they were intelligent and educated - were instructed never to show that side of themselves in public; and to stick to vapid commonplaces in general conversation. Thus, in my mind, "vapid" is connected to the "vapours" and supposed frailty of women's understanding.
So yeah - stripping the word of that context would reduce it to meaning simply "meaning-less". In which case it, and the word "grandiloquent" would not be mutually exclusive. (Though it's still a wee bit of a stretch for me personally.)
So that's been an interesting little few minutes or so; and I thank you for giving me the chance to realise how "weighted" my use of "vapid" has always been!
“Wrapped in the Flag and Holding a Bible”
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 10:41:07 PM
The meme going round right now across the world : There've been 3 Leaders who have hidden in a bunker while their own citizens were being gassed, assaulted and attacked.
They were Sadam Hussein, Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump.
Fd, I know you have little idea of how the rest of the world works but, honest, we all have tvs, and access to actual footage from all over America....even in the Shithole Countries.
We are all familiar with your excuses which roll word-for-word from White House Trump apologists and straight out of you. Each time you (figuratively) open your mouth ("Oh its a FACT that there's more black people in jail because more black people are evil...whoops...naughty." "I'm not a racist but.." "There's no systemic racism in America"...yada, yada, yada,) it's almost as if you are parodying what the White House is saying.
If everyone was outraged when it was originally said/done, do you honestly expect that you're going to "explain" all that horror and distaste away by repeating it? Do you seriously think you are changing hearts and minds simply by doggedly repeating the same things over and over; and metaphorically closing your eyes, putting your hands over your ears and shouting "I'm not listening" each time anyone provides any of the factual evidence you keep saying no-one has ever provided. (Yeah, yeah, we know: you don't bother to read them because, if they prove you wrong they must have been written by evil subversives and couldn't possibly be true.And besides we are all fools and you're the only person who knows what's going on.
Anyway, not to worry, I don't think there's a person outside of America who needs you to interpret for them any more, thanks. When news crews ON CAMERA,
on programmes in Germany, Australia, France, and more are being gassed, assaulted, beaten, shot with mace by COPS you know what, mate? There is nothing - absolutely
- that you can say which will make the people of the really Free World make things we are seeing on camera go away. There's no argument you could possibly put forward which would make ANY of this dystopian scenario happening right in front of our eyes, be defensible.Do you not see that this is NOT NORMAL? It's not happening anywhere else. Cops are NOT allowed to attack people in any Democratic country. Attacking the Press is attacking one of our most basic Rights, and which extends to every other developed country. It's anathema to anyone with values.
You're just digging yourself in deeper and deeper into your media of choice which, obviously, cannot be showing the same footage that coverage all over the globe is providing? No one but a psychopath could not only defend the violence which has erupted, but support police brutality (that is undeniably visual,blatant, horrifying) against people who are protesting
Can you really not get your head around that?
go on safari / go on a safari
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 9:35:20 PM
When I lived in Southern Afrika it was the Afrikaans speaker who used "On safari" and the English-speaker who used "a". But now it doesn't matter any more, people just say whichever they were brought up saying: it means the same with or without the article.
(But even today, in Africa, no-one uses plurals for animals. You go looking out for the pride of lion; you see giraffe on the horizon, zebra (pronounced zeb-ra in Africa) are all over the plains, and at evening Springbok, Duiker and crocodile come to the water-hole to drink. To this day it still sounds funny to me to hear people saying "lions" and "zebras" and "giraffes"!)
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