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Limitchik
26-03-2004, 09:16
You all knew I had to do this.

Kniga, play fair. No fake log-ins to run up the count like on the Intelligent Poster campaign. I consider myself above this, so I'll rely on your honesty and good judgment and hold you to the same standards that I set for myself.

Alright, let's vote, folks.

Maya Buttrieks
26-03-2004, 09:18
I'm with you, Limitchik. You're so smart and knowledgeable.

Hugh Jass
26-03-2004, 09:20
Anyone who says "produkti" is a nincompoop. I'm with you, Limitchik, and not just because of your stunning good looks.

Halyavshik
26-03-2004, 09:22
I prefer to use the CORRECT Russian. I vote for produktoviy. Someone ought to put this 'Kniga' character in his place !

sevan
26-03-2004, 09:25
how about "neither"?

Limitchik
26-03-2004, 09:25
Thank you, thank you, everyone.

Limitchik
26-03-2004, 09:26
Originally posted by sevan
how about "neither"?

CHOOSE AND CHOOSE NOW OR TALK TO THE HAND !

sevan
26-03-2004, 09:32
damn, making fake logins is a pain in the a*s

Limitchik
26-03-2004, 09:37
That's why I refrain from this childish activity.

sevan
26-03-2004, 09:41
yeah, it would take a real pathological nutcase to go through the trouble of make more than, oh, one fake login.

sfjohns67
26-03-2004, 10:05
" " pretty much covers my destination, since they sell beer AND groceries in my local "produkti" :D

boscoe
26-03-2004, 10:23
Just wondering when Mike Hunt will make an appearance limitchick as we all know he is the oracle when it comes to things of this sort, Ill vote as he does ;)

Random
26-03-2004, 10:46
Can I still call it a kiosk ???

:confused:

Ned Kelly
26-03-2004, 10:50
who poses a question without a question mark?
limitchik's poor native grammar disqualifies him from asking.

kniga
26-03-2004, 10:55
Lifchik,

Now you've done it, you've brought Ned Kelly down on your head!

J.D.
26-03-2004, 11:00
I agree with who ever said "its expat English"
Perhaps if my Russian was better I would want to say it as Limitchik. Now who is comfortable saying "Rostov on Don" which seems to be the official translation. I am not. I always translate it into "Rostov on the Don" to make it compatible with English grammar. But it seems that I may be the only one.

boscoe
26-03-2004, 11:06
Eh? Its Stratford on Avon, not Stratford on the Avon...

Although you could say Rostov upon Don ;)

kniga
26-03-2004, 11:09
J.G.,

Whoever said, "its expat English" should have written, "It's expat English." And perhaps if your Russian WERE better you'd want to say it as Limitchik DOES. The name of the city is, "Rostov on Don" so it is incorrect to call it "Rostov on the Don". Obviously, the name of the city comes from the fact that it is located on the Don River, as we must say it in proper English. However, I doubt you are the only native speaker of English who calls it "Rostov on the Don" because English speakers instinctively insert the definite article where called for by the rules of English grammar, an aspect of English that drives native Russian speakers crazy.

sevan
26-03-2004, 11:10
I'm guessing that Limitchik doesn't say "I'm going to the produktovy", since almost no-one uses that word to describe a small grocery store. Most people would just say, "I'm going to the store," in Russian or English. Just my guess.

Volka
26-03-2004, 11:21
you know, I do not think that these words both are very old, they remined me the USSA : () .... :) I prefer to use the word store or supermarket.

Volka
26-03-2004, 11:28
OOOPS!!!

there is a mistake--- I do not think is wrong--- I wanted to say --I think

J.D.
26-03-2004, 11:30
I confess that I almost never use the apostophe in 'its/it's' because it has a special rule and I hate trying to remember it.
I very purposely said "If I WAS . . ." instead of "If I WERE . . ." because the latter says that there is no possiblity for me to have better Russian. I think that it is possible for me to have better Russian, perhaps mistakenly so, so I used 'was'.

I disagree with you algorithm for translation but as I said I feel that I am in the minority. Compare it with translating from English to Russian 'The Hague' or 'The Ukraine'.

J.D.
26-03-2004, 11:35
I don't know what Avon is but I bet that it is not a river.

jheisel
26-03-2004, 11:37
I'm with sfjohns: //etc. covers it all.

sevan
26-03-2004, 11:46
J.D. don't make us look so ignorant. :)

http://www.stratford-upon-avon.co.uk/

Welcome to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, steeped in culture and history. Set in the beautiful rural Warwickshire countryside, on the banks of the river Avon, it is one of the most important tourist destinations in the UK. With easy road, rail and airport access, it is the perfect place for a vacation or short break. Facilities for conferences and smaller business venues are excellent. Come wander through these Stratford pages, get a taste of Olde England - and make your plans now.

boscoe
26-03-2004, 11:52
Originally posted by J.D.
I don't know what Avon is but I bet that it is not a river.

How much would you like to bet?

An English teacher who doesnt know the birthplace of Shakespeare!

alyaska
26-03-2004, 12:12
yazykovedy khrenovy=))

kniga
26-03-2004, 12:17
J.D.,

1. There is no special rule for the use of the apostrophe with "its", which is simply the possessive form, e.g., "The radiator lost its cap." "It's" is the contraction of "it is".

2. The use of "were" is proper here because your statement requires the use of the subjunctive mood, a grammatical mandate that has nothing to do with the possibility of whether or not your Russian may improve.

3. An "algorithm" is a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor, so does not apply to my translation of "Rostov on Don". "The Hague" is the name of the city ( "Den Haag" in Dutch), and therefore is correctly rendered as "The Hague" in English. "The Ukraine" was used when Ukraine was one of the USSR's 15 republics, but that country now, as an independent state, is referred to as "Ukraine".

4. Avon IS a river.

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 12:24
Originally posted by J.D.
I confess that I almost never use the apostophe in 'its/it's' because it has a special rule and I hate trying to remember it.

No it's not a special rule, and it's not a complicated one. It's to do with difference between the possessive and the use of the verb to be. The apostrophe in English is used to display a letter missing from the construction. It's is a contraction of it is.


Originally posted by J.D.

I disagree with you algorithm for translation but as I said I feel that I am in the minority. Compare it with translating from English to Russian 'The Hague' or 'The Ukraine'.

The use of the definite article in English for place names on rivers is not universal. Henley on Thames, Stratford upon Avon. I feel I need not go on.

J.D. I assume that you are a native speaker of Ameringlish.

sevan
26-03-2004, 12:27
...and you need a spellchecker Ali!

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 12:38
Duly noted

J.D.
26-03-2004, 13:09
The apostrophe in 'it's' does have a different rule than other words. I guess I will have to go and learn it. It is not used for either the contraction or the posessive, I forget which.

Kniga, I disagree on your application of 'was' vs 'were' and would be happy to give an extended presentation of my opinion if you're interested.

In your 3rd point you threw things together rather haphazzardly. The algorithm I refered to was how you translate from Russian to English. I attempted to point out its failings by showing that the article is lost when going the other way. If someone didn't know that the Don was a river they would never suspect so from the translation 'Rostov on Don'. I wil continue to petition the world that 'Rostov on the Don' should be the correct translation.

Avon is a river? Well I learn something new every day. I guess it goes to show that Brits don't speak modern English just like Shakespear didn't.

sevan
26-03-2004, 13:16
The apostrophe in "it's"

It's only used for the contraction, numbnut!

Ned Kelly
26-03-2004, 13:17
Yes, each time J.D. posts the hole gets deeper.

J.D.
26-03-2004, 13:21
Numbnut!? Wow, a real disincentive to admit my faults. And what hole would that be that is getting deeper. I admit when I don't know something as well as when I realize when I am wrong about something.

kniga
26-03-2004, 13:31
Sevan,

"Spell checker" is two words! :-)

boscoe
26-03-2004, 13:35
Originally posted by J.D.
Numbnut!? Wow, a real disincentive to admit my faults. And what hole would that be that is getting deeper. I admit when I don't know something as well as when I realize when I am wrong about something.

Should you start a sentence with And just asking :devil:

kniga
26-03-2004, 13:36
J.D.,

This is all very interesting, but I believe it is difficult for you to admit that you are wrong about something if you do not realize it yourself. You really have not demonstrated in this thread your grasp of English grammar, syntax or orthography, nor of geography for that matter. I would be delighted to read your explanation of the use of the subjunctive mood, so if you are so inclined, fire away.

J.D.
26-03-2004, 13:41
I subscribe to the school of thought that says rules of speech should be based on how people actually speak. Not vice-versa except in the case of foreigners learning a language. When I was in high school I was told not to start a sentence with a conjuction. BUT people do do it. Even well educated people so that tells me that there is an underlying principle that says that it is ok and correct. Just as we are taught not to use double negatives but we will do so for emphasis.

sevan
26-03-2004, 13:43
Originally posted by kniga Sevan, "Spell checker" is two words! :-) Not according to my Microsoft Word spellchecker! :D

sevan
26-03-2004, 13:44
Originally posted by J.D. Numbnut!? Wow, a real disincentive to admit my faults. And what hole would that be that is getting deeper. I admit when I don't know something as well as when I realize when I am wrong about something. Don't take it personally. :shame: :D ;)

kniga
26-03-2004, 13:48
J.D.,

Ah, but had you noticed that we are using written English which adheres to more formal rules than does spoken English? If you identify your written English as "colloquial" or "slang" or even "tongue-in-cheek," you wouldn't receive so much flak here.

J.D.
26-03-2004, 13:51
Geographly even! Again I admit my faults. I do not know all the rivers in the world. I also admit that it is difficult, if not impossible, for me to admit that I am wrong if I don't realize that I am wrong. The example of 'Avon' does give me pause and I will discuss this with some of my British friends.

as for subjunctive I think it is very straight forward and I believe even the most basic grammar book would agree with me.

My father is in the next room. If he was here with us in this room . . .
Completely feasable idea

My father died last year. If he were here with us . . .
completely impossible

If I was able to speak Russian better . . .
I am of the opinion that I can improve my Russian

If I were able to speak Russian better . . .
I am of the opinion that it is not possible for me to improve my Russian

J.D.
26-03-2004, 13:54
Agreed, Kniga. But when I write in slang I expect readers to notice it as such with out my having to point it out.

sevan
26-03-2004, 13:55
I make lots of stupid statements that probably make me come across as an uneducated dolt, or just a dickhead. :) One simple and valuable tool that can help one avoid little mistakes like saying that the Avon is not a river is www.google.com. :D

peyote
26-03-2004, 14:08
its/it's?
http://bellatrix.pcl.ox.ac.uk/~ben/grammar.html

peyote
26-03-2004, 14:11
reasons to hate english... hilarious! :D
http://littlecalamity.tripod.com/Text/HateEnglish.html

peyote
26-03-2004, 14:12
Texan: "Where are you from?"

Harvard grad: "I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions."

Texan: "Okay - where are you from, jackass?"
:D

Ned Kelly
26-03-2004, 14:13
Peyote, the last time someone's face looked like that to me was Bali, New Year's eve 1998. I had two bowls of mushroom soup and have been recovering ever since.

You just gave me a shocking flashback:shame:

peyote
26-03-2004, 14:23
i bet it was one hell of an experience! :D

Mike Hunt
26-03-2004, 15:33
I think I can speak for Limitchik when I say that no one intended to say that produktoviy was a commonly used word. It would be correct as opposed to 'produkti" as a type of store. Indeed, as several others--rightly--pointed out, most would simply say 'store' or that they are going 'za chem-to'.

J.D. Allow me to intervene in your subjunctive discussion with the Knig-o-rama. Both of your 'father' examples are, in fact, wrong, not because they represent varying degrees of likelihood or feasibility, but because they are both conditional clauses requiring the subjunctive. In both cases, were one to have written "If my father was", he or she would have been wrong.

That doesn't mean I love you any less, kiddo.

All others who voted for "produkti" can just go to gosh-darn heck.

Best Regards,
Mike

P.S. J.D., can you spot the correct use of the subjunctive in my explanation ?

DPG
26-03-2004, 16:04
Hmmmm, interesting stuff!

If my Russian was/were better, I'd.....

In my submission, both are perfectly correct examples of a 2nd conditional (hypothetical in the present/future time) clause, the only difference being that the use of 'were' when reffering to a subject other than the 2nd person is simply more formal and some would say old fashioned.

To say that "if my Russian were better" means that it is less likely to get better than "if my Russian was better" is unfortunately fallacious and as far as I know has no basis in the rules of English grammar.

I must remember to buy a new book on grammar the next time I visit my local Produkti though.

sfjohns67
26-03-2004, 16:14
Ha, that's why I sprinkle my otherwise well-worded missives with generous helpings of southern US vernacular, keeps you language snobs off my back, not to mention masks the very rare occasion where I'm not 100% of the correct grammatical structure required.

If'n I was a dawg, its mostly likely I'd bite all you on leg. Oh wait, on "the" leg. And it's most likely.

Hmph.

Limitchik
26-03-2004, 16:47
Originally posted by DPG
Hmmmm, interesting stuff!

If my Russian was/were better, I'd.....

In my submission, both are perfectly correct examples of a 2nd conditional (hypothetical in the present/future time) clause, the only difference being that the use of 'were' when reffering to a subject other than the 2nd person is simply more formal and some would say old fashioned.

To say that "if my Russian were better" means that it is less likely to get better than "if my Russian was better" is unfortunately fallacious and as far as I know has no basis in the rules of English grammar.

I must remember to buy a new book on grammar the next time I visit my local Produkti though.

I explained that badly. Let me try this again. Both of the 'father' examples were incorrect, because they were conditional clauses. *Obviously*, not all conditional clauses require the subjunctive.


If they express a condition or wish/desire contrary to fact then it must be the subjunctive. In both the 'father' cases and your 'if my Russian...' the words express a condition contrary to reality. That is, Dad's not in the room (regardless of how likely or feasible his entry is), so it's contrary to fact. At the time of your "If my Russian was/were" you, in fact, don't speak it better and hence are expressing a condition contrary to your present speaking skills.

Hence, in all cases, 'were' is the correct word.

Questions ?

Ned Kelly
26-03-2004, 16:53
Originally posted by Limitchik
[B Questions ? [/B]

are you Mike Hunt?!?

Limitchik
26-03-2004, 16:56
Originally posted by Ned Kelly
are you Mike Hunt?!?

Silly me ! I meant "He explained that badly" and "Let me try"

Man, I'm so tired at the end of the week, I'm confusing myself with other posters !

Random
26-03-2004, 16:59
What happens if Produkti wins the vote ?

:confused:

kniga
26-03-2004, 17:02
J.D.,

At the end of the day, to quote our Brtitish cousins, 40 million Frenchmen can't be wrong...

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 17:12
Geography? No.

The word Avon means river. It's not a huge leap from there to the naming of numerous rivers in Britain and, indeed, the United States of America. People can be surprisingly unimaginative when naming places and the like.

Conjunctions can be used at the beginning of sentences, but only in order to link the current sentence with the previous one. As a result a conjunction can never be used to start a paragraph.

The word for the part of a computer program responsible for checking spelling can be any of the following: spell checker; spell-checker; spellchecker.

'It's' has no special rule. It is ONLY ever a contraction of the words it is.

DPG
26-03-2004, 17:29
Originally posted by Limitchik
If they express a condition or wish/desire contrary to fact then it must be the subjunctive. In both the 'father' cases and your 'if my Russian...' the words express a condition contrary to reality. That is, Dad's not in the room (regardless of how likely or feasible his entry is), so it's contrary to fact. At the time of your "If my Russian was/were" you, in fact, don't speak it better and hence are expressing a condition contrary to your present speaking skills.

Hence, in all cases, 'were' is the correct word.

Questions ?

You sir are incorrect...was is equally acceptable for conditional clauses where the implication is contrary to fact and could be changed (the 2nd conditional which refers to now or to the future). It is just as correct to say "if I was a millionaire" as it is to say "if I were a millionaire", the difference is only down to contempory stylistic differences brought about by the relaxation of speech rules (you are correct that were is the preferable form in written language).

The basic grammatical structure for a scond conditional clause is [if + past verb form + verb complement (object e.g. a millionaire -or- adjective e.g. richer etc) + would(n't) + verb]. If the first (past tense) verb form is that of a non-auxiliary verb, clearly it is a cut and dried case as to how it should be formed (if I went swimming, I'd get wet etc.) but if the verb in question is an auxiliary and more specifically the verb "to be" either form is correct for...e.g. if I was/were in my flat in Moscow now I'd dig out one of my grammar books and provide a reference...

The subjunctive is generally considered to be a rather outdated and defunct form of English language usage...certainly it does not carry the same meaning as it does in the romance languages - but not speaking any of them any longer I hope I can let Kniga elaborate on that one...

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 18:03
It doesn't add to the debate but have any of you heard the 'Pirates' sketch from the Million Dollar Radio Show? It's mot that disimillar to the ongoing discussion of this thread.

The premise of the sketch is that the pirate crew attempts a mutiny on the grounds that they wish to expand their command of English.

"Crew member - There's not a man on this ship as knows how to use a past or pluperfect tense.
Captain - That's because you're pirates, and ever since pirates begins, pirates is only speaking in the present tense"

It progresses and expands on the theme. I think I have an MP3 of it somewhere. PM if you are interested, and I'll try to find it for you.

Limitchik
26-03-2004, 18:15
You show me a site where "was" is acceptable due to "relaxation of speech rules" and "stylistic differences", and I'll show you ten which claim it's plum wrong.

I quote the Norwich Academy Grammar guide for its use of an example exceptionally pertinent to your above example:

"The subjunctive mood is used in a very specific situation in the English language. Use the subjunctive mood to express a condition contrary to fact, a wish or regret, or a supposition. The clause in the subjunctive mood is usually introduced by "if." The word 'mood' does not refer to emotions; it refers to s specific verb form.
Incorrect Example:
If I was a millionaire, I would donate a swimming pool to NFA
Revision
If I were a millionaire, I would donate a swimming pool to NFA
(Usually I were is incorrect; however, since in fact I am not a millionaire, the above statement is contrary to fact and "I were" the subjunctive mood is correct)"

Here, I quote Webster's (generally one of the most well-known authorities on English language in general):

"Some writers seem to think that the subjunctive mood is disappearing from English, but that's not true. We use the subjunctive all the time to accommodate this human urge to express possibility, the hypothetical, the imagined. Frequently, conditional expressions require that we use 'were' where we would otherwise have used another form of 'to be'. The switch to were is not the only manifestation of the subjunctive in expressing the conditional, but it is the most common. "

Gadzooks, indeed. Next thing you know the Queen will be saying 'aint'

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Hugh Grant.

Kisses,
Limitchik

DPG
26-03-2004, 18:53
No thanks, I don't smoke!

I must say Mr Limit "must have the last word" Chik that I am awfully glad that you brought up the subject of The Queen, because when we (and I'm certain that you often do too) use the fixed phrase "God save The Queen" we are using the subjunctive i.e. where the verb form in not in classical agreement with the subject (God = 3rd person = saves The Queen). If you disagree, so be it (another common example where the changing the tense of the verb would change the meaning e.g. "So is it").

What you and I have been thrashing out above is only related to 2nd conditional sentences with hypothetical desires and wishes where 'was' is now considered to be as acceptable as 'were' and equal in meaning, at least that is what the books from which most English teachers worldwide say in unequivocal terms, and to be honest I am not going to start argueing with them (except for that bit in module 11 about opposite adverbs!;)).

The subjuctive is however always used in sentences such as "it's time Limitchik gave (as opposed to 'gives') up and accepted that he isn't correct" and "it is required by law that Limitchik be (in place of 'is') at the airport with my chauffeur when I arrive next week with his Doritos".

The use of 'were' as opposed to 'was' in the subjunctive is compulsory however in other situations (than the second conditional) i.e. it's time you were in bed...to say it's time you was in bed would, other than being completely incorrect (like The Queen saying "ain't it time for one to shoot a corgi with SFJ's Animal Death Squad Homies") certainly be unacceptable even if backed up with any arguement about stylistics and language rule relaxation.

That is my (and that of a few websites') case and I have stated it, unfortunately I must finish here because it's time I went to meet some friends, although after all this I have the nasty feeling that this very subject may raise it's ugly head in our discussions!

Hugs darling!

DPG

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 19:00
Pistols at dawn, gentlemen.

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 19:03
Originally posted by Limitchik

I quote the Norwich Academy Grammar guide

Here I quote Webster's (generally one of the most well-known authorities on English language in general)



Authorities on American English, we note.

"Two countries divided by a common tongue"

DPG
26-03-2004, 19:06
I was rather wondering if it was Norwich in Norfolk (not the one in Virginia)!! If I ever discover that there is a part in that book where it says that "yesterday I wrote mom" is correct English in any other scenario than "I wrote the actual word "mom" on a piece of paper" I shall disregard everything sourced there-from! - I write that in jest, but it is of course possible that what we are discussing above has become one of the many differences in our native tongues!

Forget about dawn, I'm going to gun him down in cold blood right now!!:D;)

Blast left my pistol somewhere - would my handbag suffice??

Lim. knows I love him really! - in fact the tone of my last one was a touch overly aggressive - sorry mate!

QWERTYZ
26-03-2004, 19:10
what a funny poll
nobody say producti or productovy
all local stores have local names
for example
(by the name of the manager from Georgia)
(by the name of commercial store that was in the same building 5 years ago)
(, ) (by the name of located in the same building)

(one of the stolitsa-network stores)
(too many drunk ppl working there)
(by the name of the street)
24 (24/7)

whatever

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 19:17
Originally posted by DPG
I was rather wondering if it was Norwich in Norfolk (not the one in Virginia)!![QUOTE]

There is one in almost every state or the US. They also tend to pronounce the word Nor-witch!

[QUOTE]Blast left my pistol somewhere

You don't understand the rituals of duelling. The referee provides the pistols. You get to chose which one to take, and hope that I loaded both of them, or at least the one you get.


would my handbag suffice??

Only if you are called Sharon (or similar) and wish to spend the evening dancing around it.

DPG
26-03-2004, 19:21
Just the name of the shop hey!

So in that case, thinking about where I first lived in Moscow, I could have easily said "I'm going to the " or "... to the "!;) Isn't it easier just to say "Produkti"??!

I also really love it when the shop is called "24" and when you arrive there is a sign saying "closed for technological break"!...especially when the establishment is question is a kiosk and the most technologically advanced thing they have inside is a pen!:)

Fa-Q!
26-03-2004, 19:23
Poidu ya v magazin blya...

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 19:23
Why do 24hr shops have locks?

DPG
26-03-2004, 19:25
Originally posted by aliwilliams
You don't understand the rituals of duelling. The referee provides the pistols. You get to chose which one to take, and hope that I loaded both of them, or at least the one you get.


No thanks, but I've always prefered to be self sufficient in my duelling - I have never lost to this day (obviously, or I wouldn't be writing this!)...I prefer to provide my own firearm and by a curious stroke of luck, DaveUK posted a picture of it in the "shooting" thread in the "Recreation and Sports" folder...it's the one at the top!!!:D

But perhaps if you can promise that he would get the unloaded one.....!

DPG
26-03-2004, 19:28
Originally posted by aliwilliams
Why do 24hr shops have locks?

I don't know, but I am certain that people buy locks for a multitude of reasons - to put on suitcases, garden sheds, bathroom doors etc!!!!:D

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 19:29
Originally posted by DPG
if you can promise that he would get the unloaded one.....!

That was what I was implying. Yes

DPG
26-03-2004, 19:37
In that case, have your pistols and my bullets at the ready for when I get back - there is some unfair dueling to be done!!

You know, I hadn't actually read through this whole thread before a few minutes ago, and wished I had done earlier - if I had, I would have seen the absolute gem of phrase which went something along the lines of "I don't know what the Avon is but I bet it's not a river" before now and could have laughed all day instead of just all evening!!!

Have a good time at the Phlegmatic Dog - or perhaps you are already there and are posting this with a pint in front of you...I still have to wait a few hours before I start enjoying the 'juices of the hop' this evening!...

aliwilliams
26-03-2004, 19:39
My prescence in the aforementioned establishment explains my heavy post rate over the last hour

J.D.
26-03-2004, 23:52
Well Kniga. I normally would accept the argument "40 million Frenchmen can't be wrong" as I would fall under the category of a descriptive linguist however you throw the expression about a little too casually and without proper basis. You often start with a good point and then appear to get tired and sloppy in your presentation and resort to witticisms that allow you to make a point without being held accountable.

Limitchik you are difficult to follow as you not only change your handle but your argument is also inconsistent from post to post.

One reason for the confusion is that we only have one or maybe one and a half verb forms where we really need two fully distinct ones. The form we have is called past tense. This form is not used exclusively for the past.. It is also used for the conditional and subjunctive. In my opinion the poor nomenclature for the English language is a major obstacle for teaching and learning English. Modals also have a past tense form(can-could) and again this form is not exclusively used for the past tense.

If I had time, I studied English.
Had and studied used in the past tense.

If I had had time, I would have studied English.
Double had, one for the past tense, one for the unreal case. The would have in the second part is actually a conditional in the present tense that logically gives the intended result. Its another matter but I would be happy to explain it if someone is interested.

The past tense is used to remove things from the speaker. Removed in time (past tense) possibility (conditional/subjunctive) or relationship (formal/informal).

To suggest something is possible we say may a weaker possibility is Could/would/should and an even weaker possibility is might
The same train follows for formal relationships which explains why the mother has such a hard time teaching her child to say may I instead of can I because the child feels a very close and informal relationship with the mother. This is also why it is easy to imagine a butler saying to his master Might I pour you some tea. Using the most distant form of relationship.


For conditionals the pattern is
Am- for facts
Was- for possibility
Were-for impossibility
This I why I suggest that we have one and a half forms.

In most every basic grammar book you will find these 2 forms.(and more)
Likely/possible for the present/future
If my father was here.

Impossible for the present or future
If my father were here.

The limitation here is that the possible/impossible distinction is lost is lost in the 2nd and 3rd person plural.

These are not rules that are imposed on people, these are empirical formulas.
For the last hundred years some grammarians have been saying that the subjunctive is going away. How many people are still guided by these formulas?
Well I guess youll have to poll those 40 million Frenchmen.

kniga
27-03-2004, 00:39
J.D.,

Bravo, a valiant effort to recover from the pounding you have been taking today. But please, could you provide some authoratative sources for your imputed statements?

DPG
27-03-2004, 04:16
Originally posted by J.D.
If I had had time, I would have studied English.
Double had, one for the past tense, one for the unreal case. The would have in the second part is actually a conditional in the present tense that logically gives the intended result. Its another matter but I would be happy to explain it if someone is interested.


Sorry JD, I know that you have taken something of a whacking today but I have to disagree with a little of what you have written in the above quote.

If I had had time, I would have studied English is a 3rd conditional clause which correlates to a hypothetical situation in the past (as I am more than certain you know). The problem with your explanation is the "one 'had' for the present and another 'had' for the unreal case" part - this is poor.

The two 'hads' cannot be seperated by neither time nor function, they are used together (and thus the relevant meaning is extracted) to form the past perfect tense which also encompasses the past participle of the verb (the second 'had' in your example) and which is integral to the 3rd conditional.

The same time/function meaning could be reached via "If I had made/found time, I.....". Thus adhering to the form of this particular grammar point.


[i]Originally posted by J.D.
For conditionals the pattern is
Am- for facts
Was- for possibility
Were-for impossibility
This I why I suggest that we have one and a half forms.

I have to disagree with this aswell unfortunately because if we concurrently compare the 4 (non mixed) forms:

Zero Cond. [If+present tense+present tense]
1st Cond. [If+present tense+will/modal verb+verb]
2nd Cond. [If+past tense+modal verb+verb]
3rd Cond. [If+past perfect+modal verb+have+past participle]

We can see that the zero conditional refers to scientific fact [if you heat water it boils] and does indeed use the present verb form to present fact. We can also observe however that the first conditional refers to real-time situations, and uses the present verb form too -but- the very nature of conditionals means that they can not be termed as "fact" because they are referring to the future time [if I do do well in the interview I might/will/should get the job] and therefore remain uncertain in nature.

The second conditional is the one which seems to form the crux of the debate between you, Lim and I. My views are outlined in previous posts, but I must add that when you say that 'were' refers to an impossible scenario I still steadfastly disagree with you that [if I were to speak Russian better life would be easier] is in any way different to [if I was to speak Russian better.....]. They both conform to the recognised structure of the 2nd conditional which is a hypothetical/uncertain situation in the present or future, but more importantly, both are absolutely possible in actual terms.

The three of us will have to agree to disagree on whether it is now considered correct to use 'was' in place of 'were' and not get confused with the subjunctive mood (as separated from the conditional function) which would slightly alter the construction to something akin to [were I to speak Russian better, I....] and definitely does require the use of 'were' not 'was' for all persons implied as the subject of the clause.

The "impossible" meaning for conditionals is taken from the 3rd conditional which is discussed at the top of the post and is "impossible" due to the fact that it refers to the past time and therefore obviously cannot be altered in any way shape or form (until time machines are invented) e.g. [if I had lived in Moscow in 1985, I would have experienced life in the USSR] and is expressed through the usuage of the past perfect and past participle verb forms.

Well, that's pretty much my tuppence (or 2 pounds) worth and I'm hoping that perhaps Sheepy or Nexus (a colleague of mine) might contribute or comment further on the subject.

DPG

J.D.
27-03-2004, 08:29
DGG, you said

...................................
If I had had time, I would have studied English is a 3rd conditional clause which correlates to a hypothetical situation in the past (as I am more than certain you know). The problem with your explanation is the "one 'had' for the present and another 'had' for the unreal case" part - this is poor

The two 'hads' cannot be seperated by neither time nor function, they are used together (and thus the relevant meaning is extracted) to form the past perfect tense which also encompasses the past participle of the verb (the second 'had' in your example) and which is integral to the 3rd conditional.


Nothing you said goes against what I said(except the this is Poor statement)
You are caught up in the rule that English teachers impose on people. In this case it is not a bad rule. We are arriving at exactly the same conclusion. you from this rule and me from a fundamental thought process.

You go on to say

The same time/function meaning could be reached via "If I had made/found time, I.....". Thus adhering to the [If+past perfect+modal verb+have+past participle] form of this particular grammar point.
.

Here had is used for the unreal case and made/found are the past tense. (yes I know that it is actually the past participle but I consider it a form of the past tense) the same formula I stated earlier.

Next you say
.
Zero Cond. [If+present tense+present tense]
1st Cond. [If+present tense+will/modal verb+verb]
2nd Cond. [If+past tense+modal verb+verb]
3rd Cond. [If+past perfect+modal verb+have+past participle]

We can see that the zero conditional refers to scientific fact [if you heat water it boils] and does indeed use the present verb form to present fact
.

Again you agree with me. For the zero conditional, scientific facts, the present tense is used. It is a FACT so no unreal coefficient (in the form of a past tense verb or modal) is used.

Here
..
We can also observe however that the first conditional refers to real-time situations, and uses the present verb form too -but- the very nature of conditionals means that they can not be termed as "fact" because they are referring to the future time [if I do do well in the interview I might/will/should get the job] and therefore remain uncertain in nature
.
No argument here. The future is not a fact and it is not possible to refer to it as fact using English grammar. To understand this you must first realize that Auxiliary verbs are used for facts and auxiliary modals are used for possibility/unreal items. The one that comes first determines the nature of the sentence (some exceptions for sentences that start with if or if-like words when/unless/even/etc.) So try to talk about the future using an aux verb. It cant be done. Try to talk about the past using a modal. It cant be done. Now you may try saying I could have gone to St Petes last weekend. And try to claim this as a case. But although you used a past tense (Which I in the minority consider to be present tense) you did not actually go to St. Petes so it is not the REAL past, it is a fiction.

Kniga, unfortunately I do not have most of my library here in Russia but I can say that I draw heavily from Noam Chompsky, [Language and Thought, Semantics in Generative Grammar, and others]
And Michael Lewis [The English Verb]

polly
27-03-2004, 10:02
Sorry to er... interfere? But If you "draw heavily" from him, you should know it's (it is) Chomsky, without the 'P.'

chomp chomp

kniga
27-03-2004, 10:07
LOL!

J.D.
27-03-2004, 10:31
Polly I try to include something for everyone to paticipate in in my posts, even you.

kniga
27-03-2004, 11:56
J.D.,

Weak response for a good zinger. Have you ever heard of the French response, "Touche"?

Ned Kelly
27-03-2004, 14:36
JD, I'd never recommend anyone go to your English classes, but if you were teaching persistence and tenacity I'd send them :)

kniga
27-03-2004, 14:47
Me, too! :-)

CaliforniaAngel
27-03-2004, 15:05
Actually, I have to say, JD's posts are often more readable than some of others. I have no idea who is correct because I have piss poor english skills myself, but I appriciate someone explaining their points clearly enough that a curious observer like me has a slightly better chance of understanding. All this debating about the english language has me thinking I need to go back to school. I used to think that the impression I made on people was that of a bright educated woman. Now, I am beginning to wonder if I sound like the hill billy that my pa was.

Thanks guys. Look what you have done to me. I will never be my old arrogant self again. ;)

Braders
27-03-2004, 17:27
I have no idea who is correct because I have piss poor english skills myself

Touche....as long as the following rolls of my tongue for years to come 'Gis a beer Gov'nar..packet of Pork Scratchin ull do as well'....then i don't give a damn about Produckti or Malinkiy Magazine, stick that in ya pipe and toke it ;)

kniga
27-03-2004, 22:20
Well, we've saved an angel and lost a devil...

am4rw
28-03-2004, 20:01
I must admit my amazement at the depth of knowledge of English grammar shown by some posters on this site. I grew up in a family of teachers, and my grandmother drilled proper speaking and writing into me from a very young age. I've also taught writing at university, and edited newspapers and academic manuscripts. But you folks have done bored me to tears.

I have to show this thread to my wife. She has the most knowledge and interest in this subject of anyone I've met since my grandmother. I'm sure she'll be able to pick all your arguments apart and find exactly what the proper grammar is and tell you about it.

Of course, she has an advantage all the rest of us don't. She's Russian, and learned all her grammar the hard way. :)

kniga
28-03-2004, 21:05
am4rw,

And you think she knows English grammar better than your grandmother?

DPG
28-03-2004, 22:57
<<She's Russian, and learned all her grammar the hard way>>

I'm British and I learned all my grammar the hard way too (as I'm sure did Limitchik and Kniga and (even:D) JD!)...we aren't born knowing what subjunctives and 3rd conditionals are.......at least I certainly wasn't anyway!!

am4rw
28-03-2004, 23:11
No, she probably doesn't know English grammar as well as my grandmother, but almost as well. My grandmother taught English for 40 years, starting in 1908. My wife has only been teaching it for 13 years.

My point is that most of us (please note 'most') learn our grammar through usage and listening. Unless we truly love the stuff, we don't pay attention to the fine points in school, indeed most schools (at least in the U.S.) don't even teach all the fine points. While you can tell me anything you wish about the wonderful education you got in England, I know what Kniga's education was like - like mine.

It's the same in Russian. Most Russians don't know all the rules, but they use them. Unless you were trained academically to teach a language, you don't need to know all the rules.

Ya jist need ta now enuf ta keep frm makin a idjet outta yerself.

DPG
29-03-2004, 01:21
Yes and no!

I'm not qualified to talk personally about the rival merits of the American educational system versus the British one because I have never attended an educational establishment in America. However, I left school and indeed university (but that doesn't count because I didn't study anything even remotely allied to languages or linguistics) barely knowing what adverbs and pronouns were, and I gather that the general situation isn't far different in America.

Sure, I could recite some Shakespeare by rote, but over and above dissecting endless works of his, and books and poems by various other people, we don't do the kind of thing that became the core focus of this thread at all (for exactly the reason you state - we "know" it through listening and assimilation - indeed when I did my English teaching qualification, some of us were panicing one day about our lack of knowledge on the grammar front - the tutor simply said "everything we will cover here you already know implicitly and better than any student to which you will ever teach it, you just don't know what it's 'called' yet!").

I would also say that it is certainly not only those who learn to teach who pay attention to grammar - more often it is those learning foreign languages who find that they first of all need to teach themselves how English works before they can start understanding what they are learning (when I started teaching myself Russian, it took only a few paragraphs before I had to puzzle out why "gazeta" became "gazetoo" when one reads it and "valuta" became "valutoo" when one exchanges it...).

As for Russian English teachers knowing better grammar than native speakers, well due to the above it often is the case that they know what it is 'called' better, -but-, I have met quite a few Russians who could talk for hours about "adverbials this" or "modal auxiliaries that"...the only problem being that their spoken English was literally riddled with elementary errors - an interesting paradox I'm sure you'll agree!

Anyway, I vote Produkti!!:D

am4rw
29-03-2004, 06:28
Yes, this is true. When my wife first came to the U.S., several people approached her about starting a school for Russian children. They didn't want their children growing up not knowing their native language. She turned them down. She told me that she had never been trained in teaching Russian, didn't know all the rules, and anyway, she was an English teacher.

She still drops her articles occasionally, syntax is occasionally an adventure, but she is getting top evaluations teaching 6th grade English. Compared to the competency of her native-speaking peers, she has no competition. The kids love her, and she gets results.

I know that when I first started teaching writing at a university, I had to study a lot. I knew that something wasn't right, knew how to correct it, but didn't know the technical terms to tell students why it was wrong. Editing is much easier. You just correct it and if the reporter complains, assign them to write obituaries until they correct their attitude. :)

J.D.
29-03-2004, 08:13
So which is the hard way to learn English grammar? I hated English class in high school. I didn't realize how well I spoke by traditonal standards, until I went in the military and saw how badly a lot of guys spoke. It was because I grew up around people who spoke well not because I cut most of my English classes. Like DPG said, native speakers know grammar implicitly but if asked a question about it they are at a loss. Most Americans have no idea what congugation is, unless they studied a foreign language.
It wasn't till I returned to college years later that I realized why I hated grammar. Because of the bad nomenclature and often incorrect rules they try to push on you.

sfjohns67
29-03-2004, 08:41
Originally posted by am4rw
Ya jist need ta now enuf ta keep frm makin a idjet outta yerself.
Hey Bookie, I think this guy may be one of ours!!!!

'Cept ya misspelled "idjit."

am4rw
29-03-2004, 08:49
Originally posted by sfjohns67
Hey Bookie, I think this guy may be one of ours!!!!

'Cept ya misspelled "idjit."

Sory; fergot ta yuse the spel chekker.

Zachariah
29-03-2004, 08:53
Punctuation Nazi's !!!! Get a life!
Love,
Z
:wavey:

Limitchik
29-03-2004, 12:23
Originally posted by DPG
What you and I have been thrashing out above is only related to 2nd conditional sentences with hypothetical desires and wishes where 'was' is now considered to be as acceptable as 'were' and equal in meaning, at least that is what the books from which most English teachers worldwide say in unequivocal terms, and to be honest I am not going to start argueing with them (except for that bit in module 11 about opposite adverbs!;)).

The subjuctive is however always used in sentences such as "it's time Limitchik gave (as opposed to 'gives') up and accepted that he isn't correct" and "it is required by law that Limitchik be (in place of 'is') at the airport with my chauffeur when I arrive next week with his Doritos".

DPG -

I want to see a reference to a book that says it's acceptable to use 'was' in the examples we're discussing. It sounds silly to me to say that the subjunctive requires 'were' in all other circumstances, EXCEPT those that begin with 'if' (or what you refer to as the '2nd conditional' - not something I've come across earlier). The examples you and I have been discussing are not just related to wishes and desires, but to statements contrary to fact ('if my Russian was better').

While I agree that a significant portion of American-English speakers do in fact use 'was' in these instances, that does not make it grammatically correct. I, myself, am not TOO far out of a formal education, and find it difficult to believe that this has changed so drastically in so little time. I find it equally unlikely that British English would be more relaxed than American English.

From Russia with Love,
Limitchik, Esquire

J.D.
29-03-2004, 13:30
Limitchik, if you'll check either Murphy's or Swan, both icons in the English language industry, you will find it. Niether of those is really a primer, more like reference books. But bring me the English grammar book of your choice and I will show you what seems to elude so many here.

And I disagree about what makes something grammatically correct. If a significant number of people say something THAT is what makes it correct, not the Grammar Nazis.

DPG
29-03-2004, 20:08
<Bounce, bump, thump, crump> of whatever it is to get a thread to the top again!!;)

Limitchik Esq. You will have noticed two things by now:

1) The thread has reached (with this thread) 101 posts in length - a good end point for a poll.
2) Most importantly, Produkti has won!!

Time to close the polling old boy!?!?

Zachariah
29-03-2004, 21:07
I cannot believe that you people can talk about grammar for a 101 posts. I must be the one who needs a life that I was not part of this shindig.
Regards,
Z

Zachariah
29-03-2004, 21:09
Originally posted by DPG
<<She's Russian, and learned all her grammar the hard way>>

I'm British and I learned all my grammar the hard way too

Hugh,
Are you really British??

Who loves ya baby???
Z
:wavey:

kniga
29-03-2004, 21:22
J.D.,

You amuse me. You decide if you want to say it a certain way, then that makes it right. And apparently you also decide that if you want to spell something a certain way (niether?), then that also makes it right. Remarkable!

J.D.
29-03-2004, 21:44
Kinga, I'm glad you're so easily amused. It does surprise me though as the intellect that you usually seem to show would suggest it would not be so easy. Perhaps you would be happier in the Bardak. If you spent less time on my spelling errors perhaps you would have quoted my post correctly "a significant number of people"

For you UNremarkable

DPG may not want to think beyond the superficial aspect of some rules that he has memorized but at least HE's thinking. If he were (yes I intend 'were' in this case) to bring me his 2nd conditional rule I'm sure he would see what I point out to him while you no doubt would not get beyond the font that is used to print it.

kniga
29-03-2004, 21:53
J.D.,

Very spiffy return. Sorry you missed the point that we all are pretty much beyond the point of wanting to continue this thread with you because you have proven it to be pointless.

J.D.
29-03-2004, 22:09
Yet you continue. Bugger off and quit wasting bandwidth.

Sadie
29-03-2004, 23:28
Holy sh**! Eee-eigHt!!!! pages on the most silly question!! There's even NO *** DIFFERENCE in the first place: produkti-ne produkti!!! Bez raznizi nafig!!
Limit - my respect - it must be the pure magic of your posts ;)

Leo
29-03-2004, 23:43
J.D. is really amuzing.

He hated grammar all his life, he sees language teaching as "pushing incorrect rules on students" - yet out of all the professions he chose teaching English .

He feels proud :) that he speaks better than the army guys. Gosh, who doesn't - except prisoners?:)

He says "If a significant number of people say something THAT is what makes it correct, not the Grammar Nazis." - It would be much more trustworthy if it didn't come from somebody who is so prone to making all kinds of mistakes:(

But at least a poor guy found a comforting theory and "reputation saver" in one! Let's not deprive him of his only recource - or he'll continue calling his opponents "too stupid to understand" and "inconsistent" after he realizes there's no way to prove his point (J.D. really, don't you want to vary your arguments a little?:)

J.D.
30-03-2004, 06:18
1st, your idiocy shows through no matter what login you use.

Leo
30-03-2004, 13:29
You must be a brave man (an army background, probably?:) to keep using same dodgy arguments after it was pointed out in public. A relation to Elenor/dirkluffen clearly shows through:)

John
30-03-2004, 17:32
J.D.,

Let's see, now. If I write on this thread it's wasting bandwidth, but if you do it's...?

John
30-03-2004, 17:49
J.D.,

So as not to cause confusion, the above post belongs to me, Kniga. Apparently I have offended the masters of this site, so they have assigned me the name of "John".

Fa-Q!
30-03-2004, 17:52
That's cool. So you're like a solicitor of prostitutes...

Limitchik
30-03-2004, 17:53
Originally posted by John
J.D.,

So as not to cause confusion, the above post belongs to me, Kniga. Apparently I have offended the masters of this site, so they have assigned me the name of "John".

Other than being blatantly Republican, what could you have done to offend anyone ?

Fa-Q!
30-03-2004, 17:55
Podozhdi, eb ty! You got something against Republicans?

John
30-03-2004, 18:02
Lifchik,

Well, other than being a Republican, I could withhold the hoard of Doritoes I was going to give to you...

Kniga (not John from Korea)

Limitchik
30-03-2004, 18:06
John,

Well that would be offensive, of course. I meant, however, how you could have offended the powers that be on the site. Surely your not giving me doritos wouldn't offend *them* :)

John
30-03-2004, 19:49
Lifchik,

How would I know. They are the powers that be...

Kniga

DPG
30-03-2004, 23:38
All awfully odd!

You are one of the powers that be as for as we are concerned!

And why 'John'...and why Korea??:confused:

John
31-03-2004, 00:23
DPG,

Look at the login of this "John," whoever he is. "Location: Korea".

Kniga

DPG
31-03-2004, 00:46
I know - really strange!

Have you PMed the (other!) powers that be about the problem??

What happened? Tried to login as you and couldn't or tried to login as you and "John" appeared??? :confused:

Zachariah
31-03-2004, 20:37
Can I have a gun to shoot myself with? This is truly the thread "from hell".
Z

John
31-03-2004, 23:27
DPG,

The "John from Korea" problem is solved.

Zacgariah,

And you are absolved.

DPG
01-04-2004, 00:12
Is that why you posted that message as "John from Korea"??? LOL!!

Or are we to expect an alterego appearance from time to time, from where the dark side manifests...;);)

kniga
05-04-2004, 14:43
DPG,

If I were ever to post from the Dark Side, it sure as hell (ooops!) would be with something darker than as "John"!

peyote
05-04-2004, 16:43
hey nazi grammars! (he he, i like that!)
after trying to find some support for that thing about prepositions (for more info please see prepuce)
- prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
well, i found out it is not necessary so. it was invented just because there is such a rule in latin and the nazi grammars of the time where latin arse kissers... he he.

for those of you who like this kind of stuff, it's all here, very interesting... and amusing :D

A Brief History of English Usage
http://angli02.kgw.tu-berlin.de/lexicography/data/B_HIST_EU.html

J.D.
05-04-2004, 16:48
As are many traditional English rules.

Leo
05-04-2004, 20:12
Nice to see that J.D. IS actually following this thread, and ten points to him for knowing exactly when to stop arguing.

Zachariah
06-04-2004, 17:38
Originally posted by John
DPG,

The "John from Korea" problem is solved.

Zacgariah,

And you are absolved.

This is a sham Zachariah!! I protest! Show yourself!
Z
:getlost:

0000
07-04-2004, 17:45
Is WHAT 'a produkti' or 'a produktoviy'? This is a meaningless question, as Russian dosn't use articles. 'Produktoviy' is probably more grammatically correct, but no-one says that and if you did, you'd just sound stupid.

Zachariah
07-04-2004, 18:13
ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!
Z