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Today is apparently the Day of the Creeps - Tactical Ninja

Jun. 14th, 2012

09:44 am - Today is apparently the Day of the Creeps

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Dear guy in the Left Bank apartments,

Nice new toy you have there. Blue laser! Awesome! Wow, it really does go a long way, doesn't it? All the way to my kitchen wall while I'm making my lunch in the morning! Congratulations, now I think you're a creepy-arse weirdo who looks into other people's houses! And yes, I could tell you're a man from the shape of your silhouette.

No love, Tats

PS That might not have been a friendly wave I was giving you off my balcony.


Late night pillow talk:

"You know how vampire bats drink blood and they're called vampires?"

"Yeah."

"Mosquitos drink blood too and they're not called vampires."

"That's true."

"Nomenclature is hard in English."

"I bet the German word for vampire bat is 'bat that drinks blood' and the one for mosquito is 'insect that drinks blood'."

"And the one for vampire is 'person that drinks blood'?"

"Person from Transylvania that drinks blood'. Duh."

So anyway, I reckon I should learn German. I love English, because it has so many words in which the meaning is derived from context, and this allows you to paint a picture with words where they are all related to each other in complex and ever-changing ways - you have to look at the whole arrangement to see the entire meaning, and this allows for a multilayered depth to any combination of words. To me this is an awesome facility in a language*. I've no doubt that other languages have the same sort of thing going on, but I'm a native English speaker and English is a mongrel language that's yoinked a bunch of words and grammatical structures from other languages which gives a really big toolkit of words and grammar to choose from, and IMO it's the language of imagination because how it's used is up to your imagination.

However, German I reckon would be the perfect language for expressing yourself precisely - because if you don't know the word, you get to make one up using words you do know. And because of this, I find myself wondering if German professors wave their arms around to express themselves as much as English ones do. Hmm.

And now for a brief musical interlude featuring Magnus Pyke, the archetypal English arm-waving professor (and non-conformist - Polly you should read that wiki page):



Uh.. "When she's dancing close to me I can smell her chemicals." Thomas Dolby, you have officially delivered the creepiest lyric I've heard in a while. *shudder*

Anyway, yes. I should learn German. Then I could intersperse my flowery English with precise German descriptors, and that could only make the world a better place. Yes?

* From what I understand this is one of the things that makes English hard - things can have two or more conflicting meanings depending where they are and the tone they're used with and the words around them and the context in which they are being used and who's saying them to who and and and.. yeah, I'm glad it's my native language and not one I have to learn, eh?


OMG one of my colleagues just admitted she doesn't know how to check her oil or tyre pressure! I am now resisting the urge to grab her and go "YOU ARE LETTING THE SIDE DOWN!"

Because part of being self-determined is determining that it's perfectly fine not to know how to do these things. Right?

Comments:

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From:misshapen_fro
Date:June 13th, 2012 09:51 pm (UTC)
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German really is an awesome language for precision, but just a warning: it's cased. This means that the grammar is really confusing and hard to learn. Have you ever studied Latin? It's similar in a lot of ways. There are like 6 or so different words for "the", and nouns and adjectives tend to have different endings, depending on how they are used in a sentence. It is very precise, though! They do not seem to have half a billion different ways of saying everything like English.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 13th, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
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Are their rules consistent? I have a sneaking suspicion they probably are - at least, more consistent than English.

I reckon I can learn new rules, but new exceptions? Hmm.
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From:misshapen_fro
Date:June 13th, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
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So far I've studied Spanish (4-5 years), Latin (1 semester), and German (I guess about 2 years now, with a 3 month intensive course in DE), and I've yet to find a "consistent" language. They all break the rules in some way or another. I've never had to learn English as a second language, thank god, so I don't know how hard it is, but I would guess that German is easier to learn. Spanish is easier than German, though.

Oh, another thing about German (and every other language I've ever tried to learn) is that it assigns an "arbitrary gender" to every noun, whether it has a natural gender or not, and sometimes contrary to natural gender. That is actually more difficult for me to get down than the confusing grammar. Like, dogs are always male, and cats are always female, and maidens are sexless.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 13th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
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That gender thing seems to be fairly common in languages that aren't English. At least, European ones anyway. So I figure if all those people can learn it, so can I.

*meep*
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From:misshapen_fro
Date:June 13th, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
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Unfortunately, it's very common. It seems like the couple of things that English actually got right (the single "the" and the cutting of arbitrary gender) just aren't seen in very many other European languages. I know absolutely nothing about non-European languages, though. Maybe I should have learned some of those instead.

I'm sure you can learn German if you put your mind to it. It's frustrating fun! :)
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From:richdrich
Date:June 13th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
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German also has case. My German lessons at skool were more of an exercise in grammar than actually learning to communicate.

Te Reo, as far as I'm aware has no arbitrary gender and one form of definite article.

Also, easy steps to check oil and tyre pressures, especially on a rental or company vehicle:

1. IF smoke pouring from exhaust OR engine making grinding sounds OR engine has seized
THEN you haven't enough oil

2. IF car juddering OR smell of burning tyres OR you have come off the road and crashed in a ditch
THEN your tyre pressures may be too low

ELSE oil and tyres are probably ok for now
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From:meathiel
Date:June 19th, 2012 04:15 pm (UTC)
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3 different words ... ;-)

der, die, das
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From:misshapen_fro
Date:June 19th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
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I wish it were that simple, but unfortunately, it is not.

You've only listed the three nominative case words for the.

It goes like this, in form "case: masculine, feminine, neuter":
Nominative: der, die, das
Accusative: den, die, das
Dative: dem, der, dem
Genitive: des, der, des

so I made a good guess. There are 6, but several of them mean something different, depending on context.
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From:meathiel
Date:June 19th, 2012 05:37 pm (UTC)
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Yep okay ... if you see it like that ...

I'm German btw! ;-)
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From:misshapen_fro
Date:June 19th, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
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I could see how you can discount the dative and genitive cases, because technically those usually translate to something more like "to/for the (noun)" or "of the (noun)", but I don't see how you get around "den" translating directly to "the".

At any rate, I can say with 100% certainty that, as a native English speaker learning German as a second language, that is how we're taught to see it.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 13th, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
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Or I could use a mirror, since I could see which apartment it was coming from because he was standing in silhouette with a light behind him.

In fact, I wish I had thought of this at the time. But it was pre-coffee.
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From:pombagira
Date:June 14th, 2012 12:38 am (UTC)
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ohh.. Magnus Pyke, i likes him.. might have to hunt down some of his books one of these days..

*waves arms about*

whee
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From:pombagira
Date:June 14th, 2012 12:40 am (UTC)
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also now that i have hunted a picture down of him.. i remember him from my childhood, i seem to remember he had a very distinct way of speaking an almost speech impediment kinda way.. *ponders this*
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From:dianavilliers
Date:June 14th, 2012 07:07 am (UTC)
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Mmm yes German has some awesome words. I particularly like übernachtungsmöglichkeite and schwarzwälder kirschtorte, but if you really want a word you can wave your arms 'round to, go with bremsstrahlung, which is also a word in English now, since we didn't have one for it before.

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From:kehleyr
Date:June 14th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
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hehe would you be creeped out if I wanted to sit in a corner and listen to your pillow talk? Vampires... bats.... drinking blood... yeah you are my kind of people :-D! *giggles* So yeah I have a thing for vampires :-).
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From:tatjna
Date:June 14th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
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I think most nights you'd be totally bored. This morning was all about the noises pigeons make and whether it's because they're cold. ;-)
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From:kehleyr
Date:June 14th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
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*giggles*
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From:meathiel
Date:June 19th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
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I've been told that German is one of the hardest languages to learn ... so good luck.

You can always ask me ... just not about grammar. *lol* 'Cos I can't really explain it!
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