Monday, December 28, 2009

What does V-E-G-E-T-A-B-L-E-S spell?



Mommy. What does V-E-G-E-T-A-B-L-E-S spell?
Well, honey. That spells ....

http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/spell_1
-> 2 ......

Saturday, December 26, 2009

You must give me your recipe

聖誕節當天我哥帶東西過來煮晚餐。食客則是我和我的房東Mr. K。Mr. K很喜歡吃蝦子,也很喜歡薑,所以Mr. K準備好這兩樣交給我哥,接著我哥炒了道蝦子(下方照片右上角)。Mr. K吃了後驚為天人,於是他跟我哥說"You must give me your recipe for the shrimp." 我哥當然說好,只是他有沒有給我就沒去注意了。
旁邊那盤是滷味(剛端出來時疊得高高 的)。我哥說這些年來他朝思暮想的就是盤滷味,於是他特地帶了牛筋,豆干,雞蛋和滷味包來滷。據他說這是他第一次滷,但是滷得相當成功。倒是豆干我們得跟 Mr. K解釋一陣子。Mr. K知道tofu,這邊超市也有賣(花樣還挺多的,從silky到extra firm,還有加五香的),只是他幾乎沒吃過豆干,所以他一時之間無法將兩樣東西聯想起來。我們解釋是這基本上就是tofu,製程有點差而已。講的話我們 是直接跟Mr. K說這是豆干(中文發音),反正已經有解釋這是什麼東西,也提到tofu,再說他在念"豆干"時也念得蠻好的,所以這樣子就夠了。
---------------------------------------------------
關於bean curd,我其實不是很喜歡這個說法。bean curd按照字典上的字源記載來看是直接翻譯自"豆腐"的字面意思,換句話說bean curd就是tofu,同樣的東西,不同說法而已。我來美國後第一次看到bean curd是在舊金山的一家中式速食店看到的。這之後陸陸續續在不同的中餐館的菜單上有看到,但是以一般的美國用法來說,還是以tofu為主/更為常見。和我們的中文用法比較起來的一個差異點是"豆腐"已經是我們固有的食物,而在長久時間的發展下我們已經很習慣各類的"豆腐"衍生物,同時我們對於各類衍生物也有特定的名稱(比如豆干)。但是對一般的美國人來說這還是屬於外來物,只是最近十幾二十幾年在素食者的推廣下比較多人知道而已,同時對這些人來說,他們知道的一般仍只限於"白白軟軟"的豆腐,所以只要樣子/質感一變,他們就無法辨認(比如Mr. K就是一個典型例子)。比如他們有些人會吃"素"的火雞,用的是tofu。為什麼不用我們的"素雞"呢?沒為什麼,除了不知道有這樣東西之外,就算在華人 超市買得到,對一般美國人來說,華人超市不是很普遍,所以想買也不是很容易。

一家製造素食火雞(tofuky)的公司:
http://www.tofurky.com/   
http://www.tofurky.com/ourstory/tif_story.html
或是買tofu自己做tofu turkey:

Friday, December 4, 2009

ATM Card

今天收到的。我都快忘了我有這張提款卡(我很少在用這家的)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

any apple? ; Hyphens

Is there any apple in the bag?
(O) Is there an apple ....?
(O) Are there any apple .... ?
(X)(*1) Is there any apple ...?

(*1) exceptions: .... (see link above)


--------------
Hyphens

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gifts from Taiwan

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"important + subjunctive", "past + present"

Does this make sense?
"Its vitally important that everyone learn to swim well"

------------
Jumping from past to present
"…after the class, all children understood that the world is
round…"

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tainted ground beef

無關狂牛症

Warning on tainted ground beef follows second recall

Two U.S. deaths possible in beef recall

USDA: (SAFE PREPARATION OF FRESH AND FROZEN GROUND BEEF)

我是先在電視新聞上看到這新聞。說實在的,我並不緊張。倒不是因為我的冰箱裡頭沒有牛絞肉,而是我在使用絞肉時,我的習慣是會把絞肉完全煮熟(就像前頭的USDA裡頭的安全指示一樣)。

那 麼有些人可能會奇怪美國人怎麼會那麼緊張,難道他們的肉沒有煮熟嘛?答對啦!這是他們的飲食習慣,像是牛排或是漢堡肉(牛絞肉弄成餅狀),普遍的飲食習慣 仍不是"全熟"。速食店裡頭的漢堡(肉)因為厚度很薄,所以沒有分熟度,一律全熟,但是去餐廳吃漢堡的話,因為漢堡(肉)有相當的厚 度,waiter/waitress一般會像牛排那樣子問要幾分熟。

在餐廳的menu上頭一般也會另外標示"肉類/蛋類如果沒有全熟可能會致病"這一類的警示語/安全語,只是一般大眾的飲食習慣不大容易改變,所以算是餐廳寫來"保命"的,免得出事後被告得很慘。(有寫不代表不會被告,只是程度會比不寫低而已)

超市賣的這類生鮮產品包裝上頭貼的標籤一般也會加註這類警語。


(蛋盒上的警語)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snobbish



0:03
Thank you Glade.
...............
...............
0:18
No ... It's French ... from France
French, huh.
What? You've never heard of Gladé ...(Buuwwha ha ha ha)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flu or Cold?

(Massachusetts Department of Public Health)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

First snow



First snow

我的背英文單字經驗

      我在讀國中的時候很早就會用"發音"來記單字。也沒老師教,反正從眾多單字裡頭的音韻和拼法之間很容易發現有個"pattern"在。我也很早就知道單字音節的發音和拼法之間的對應不是永遠固定"只有一種",所以碰到這情況我得另外花心力再記一下。所幸國中單字說起來沒有特別的難字,因此背英文單字在那時對我來說不是什麼難事。

      高中之後就牛羊豬狗小兔子大章魚變色了。不但是單字多,難字也冒出一大堆,國中時候很輕鬆的背單字,變成我到了第三天還"記得"我就偷笑了。我說的"記得"指的是--記得意思,記得拼法。畢竟英文考卷上的英文字全部都印出來了,所以我需要的主要是能"看懂"。需要憑空寫出單字的情況是有,但是我實在沒有多餘的心力去擔心這。我高中時候的英文成績也不好。

      上大學後英文壓力頓時減輕。大一的時候是有英文課,但是和高中比起來簡直是...。這時候我開始全部只讀原文書。理由說穿了沒什麼,因為中文版翻得太爛。我是在打算買中文版之前先跟同學借來看,不看還好,看了後實在是不知所云,因為翻譯的人簡直是把書當成"古文"來翻。後來我拿本來就需要買的原文書來看。同樣的也是不看還好,一看之下驚為天人,因為裡頭的書寫方式很平鋪直述,沒什麼難的文法(工科方面的書一般是這情況),單字的話除了會一直重複之外,很多專業術語光看字面也很好懂(不像中文翻譯,翻得像天書一樣...),這之後我就只看原文書。

      大二時我參加學校的英文會話社。升大四前的暑假我到位於台北市的美國文化中心附設的語言學校(多年前已經停辦了)上會話課。細節我不說,單字方面我是發現在上課時有實際用到和"聽到"的單字我比較容易記住。這之後一直到我到了美國後我都儘量用這方式來記單字,因為這算是我的"sweet spot".

*      *      *
      我來美國後曾參加個教會活動。有次牧師老婆打電話來邀約去一個地方玩。要出去玩當然好,但是我想先知道我們要去的是什麼地方(我怕會太遠),於是我問她"How do you spell xxx?" 她稍微停頓了一下接著拼了出來: P-L-I-M-A-T-H,我寫下後跟她說了聲謝謝。接著我翻出麻州地圖找那地名.....找不到。那次的活動我也沒有參加。這之後隔了好一陣子我才知道原來這地方是"Plymouth"。

      另一個是我碰過,我哥也碰過的,那就是Dedham。我拿我哥的例子來說好了。他認識了某個留學生,在某次出遊的路上經過這地方。我哥念的是我們當地的念法,但是那位留學生馬上"糾正"他說應該是念"DED-HAM"(HAM音同ham)。隔了幾天後那人跟我哥道歉,說呢,他在看電視新聞時聽到記者念地名,確實是我哥念的那個發音沒錯。想知道我提到的兩個字的發音的人可以查: www.dictionary.com 或是 www.m-w.com

*      *      *
      前一陣子我在網路上讀到一篇貼文,發問的人是個英文家教。她說呢她正在教一對姊弟用讀音方式記單字。弟弟比較沒什麼問題,倒是姊姊她不知道該怎麼辦。因為呢,姊姊一直是用一個字母一個字母的方式來背單字,而且成績也都不錯,只是一直排斥她教的新的背單字方法(她的語氣比較像是"這才是正確的/好的背單字方法"),於是她上網問大家該怎麼辦。

      我是回答她既然姊姊背單字的成效不錯,那麼就讓她去吧,因為硬要改變背單字的方式很有可能會造成反效果,再說教了所謂的"正確"方式不代表日後單字就背得"又多又好"(我是用我自己的國中和高中經驗來舉例)。我還另外舉了我國中時同班同學的例子。他也是那種一個字母一個字母背單字的人,只是和那位姊姊不一樣的是他的英文成績不好,也常被老師叫到前頭"定",但是他日後卻是應屆考上清華大學。另外我在當兵時也有碰到一個五專生"神人",他會很多奇奇怪怪的單字, 他也是用一個字母一個字母的方式來背單字,所以很多事情其實很難說。

*      *      *
      一般我在寫這類學習文時我都是把對象設定為至少是大學程度的人。國高中生的話一般我是另外說明"聽你學校老師的話,至於我的文章看看就好,不需要太認真"。一個主要原因是國高中學生要應付的科目不是只有英文一科,沒那麼多時間在那裡這個方法試試,那個方法摸摸,況且要是因為學習方式改變造成步調紊亂成績退步,我可是負不了這個責。如果你的成績本來就很好了,那麼用哪個方式背單字其實沒差。成績好就是好。成績普通或是不好的人(像我當時那樣),說老實話我不知道該怎麼說,像我的話我當時是習慣那樣子背單字,就算有人說要一個字母一個字母背單字效果才會又快又好我也不會因此照做,因為我已經有我自己固定的步調了。

      總之單字要背得又多又好是需要很多環節相互配合,絕不是單獨某個方法就能百分之百保證。不過可以肯定的是如果你只想坐在那等著單字跑進你腦子裡頭......... (還等? 等什麼?)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Know when to stop


      It's not like I don't appreciate a friendly chat, but when a person won't shut his yap....
*              *              *              *              *
      My microwave oven's light burned out, so I went to a hardware store to get a new light bulb.
      The store is one of those big chain stores, and for those who don't know, they usually enforce a policy that the employees must greet their customers. Another thing they do is if a register's queue is empty, the clerk would step out, walk to the front of the register, stand there and wait for customers to come to them and check out.
      So, after I picked up my light bulb, I walked to the registers and saw a clerk standing in front of one. He waved me over, greeted me, and led me to his station.

      "What did you get there?" said the clerk after I gave him the merchandise.
      "It's a halogen light bulb." I guess he had a vision problem or something, or it could be that the light bulb was small and he couldn't tell right away.
      "Halogen light bulb? Who's using halogen light bulbs nowadays?" He looked really close at the package and it seemed like he was studying it.
      "It's for my microwave oven. It burned out."
      "It burned out? May I ask how long before it burned out?" he said while he was scanning the bar code.
      "Just a bit more than a year." At this point, I'd done swiping my credit card at the reader and put my card in my wallet. He asked to see my credit card, so I took it out of my wallet and handed it to him. The conversation still carried on.
      "They don't make things last anymore," he said while finishing the transaction on his machine.
      "That's right," I answered and signed my signature on the electronic reader machine.
      While the receipt was printing, he said, "You know, these incandescent light bulbs should last a long time."
      "Yeah, they're supposed to," I replied.

      Then he continued to talk more about the light bulb while he handed my card, receipt, and my light bulb to me. I wasn't pressed for time or anything, and I wasn't sure if it was because of his company's policy that he had to talk to me, but still I wanted to end the conversation and leave, so I said "Thanks" to him and started walking away, and he was still talking, but it was more like mumbling right now because I couldn't really hear what he was saying. (I think I gave him a nod, a wordless way of saying "Uh-huh, yeah, I heard you.")
*              *              *              *              *
      My girlfriend's cousin grew up and lives in Queens, NY. During one of his visits to Boston, he made a comment about the clerks in our local supermarkets--"They actually talk to you!"

      "Does it mean clerks there (and in Manhattan) don't talk to their customers?" I asked my girlfriend.
      "I guess not," she said.

      I'm glad to hear people in Massachusetts are friendly, and it's true that some of the check-out clerks would carry a short conversation with their customers, but when it turns to be a long one.... I don't know, I guess I'm just not used to it (and trust me, it WAS rare).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Turkey

  

Pop-up thermometer:
images.google.com : 輸入: pop-up thermometer

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Literature and Language; 美國學生上的文法

〈以前在別的網站發佈的舊文〉

前一陣子我去逛一家二手書店時看到一小區是標"TEXTBOOK",好奇之下我稍微看了一下,其中有幾本是如下方的英文教科書(*1):
http://www.amazon.com/McDougal-Littell-Literature-Language-Grade/dp/0812380436
McDougal Littell Literature and Language Grade 7

擺出來的好像有Grade 6,7,8這幾本。另外還有幾本別家出版社的英文教科書,他們則是用顏色碼來區分。本來我是想用手機拍幾個照片,但是一來麻煩,二來我想Google總能找到,說不定內容都已經掃描好了,所以我只是翻看了內容而已。事後我才發現怎麼Google Web/Books都找不到,連Amazon也找不到個邊。我後來也試了圖書館,也是沒有。這幾天吧,我又試了一次,這次在Amazon上找到了,不過看這樣子應該是屬於"托賣",因為只有封面照片和書名等的基本資料,其它的像是內容介紹和說明都沒有。(頁面在書賣掉後有可能會被撤掉)

總之我要說的是這一陣子我們這網站上討論得很熱絡的"文法",討論內容有提到美國中小學所教授的文法。我的基礎教育不是在美國接受的,所以在看到這邊學生實際使用的教科書之前一些細節我無法說。現在看到了,那麼單以這幾本二手英文教科書來說,即使這是額外用的教材(換句話說是有可能不是每個學童都要上的),書裡頭還是有"文法規則"這章節,只是這本書是用"Language Focus"來稱呼。美國這邊還是"有"在教文法,不是完全沒有教。至於是不是所有英文課堂都像我們學校那樣"一定都有"教文法(稍微提一提也算),這我就不知道了。

本來我以為Grade數目愈高,那麼文法內容會教得更多更廣,結果我發現以大項目來說幾乎都一樣: 從基本的詞性(Verb, Pronoun, etc)介紹,到Relative Pronoun/Clause, Subject-Verb Agreement 乃至於Run-on Sentence等等,該有的都有了。差別只是級數低的書裡頭的文法內容較少也較淺,而級數高的書文法部份同章節名稱的內容較多也較深,但是相較於整本厚厚的一大堆各類文章來說,"Language Focus"的部份只是放在書後的薄薄的十數頁而已,而級數低的書裡頭的Language Focus似乎是散在各處。我還特別記下這個關於關係代名詞的"文法規則":

"The relative pronoun must agree with its antecedent in gender and number"

----------------------
結論是一些東西美國這邊該教的還是有教,只是內容和程度上沒有像我們這樣子走火入魔而已,有時候甚至入魔到出現了莫須有的文法規則,然後就看到一堆人在遇到違反"這規則"的(尋常/普遍)用法時在網路上到處問"怎麼會這樣呢?"......


(*1) 我是有點想買,厚厚一本精裝本,蠻新的,賣不到美金四塊的樣子

======================================
延伸資料:
http://dunchee.blogspot.com/2010/08/grammar-taught-in-schools.html

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Jack O'Lantern

      With Halloween getting scarily close, I guess it's time to write something about this holiday. Before I came to the US, I'd never seen kids in costumes and go trick-or-treating. I mean I did see them on TV or in the movies, but never live. So, after I got here, when Halloween arrived, I set sail at 8 pm(*1) and headed to Boston; I figured it had to be where all the actions were. I took the subway and noticed, during my trip, there weren't many passengers on the train; however, I did see three young people dressed in customs, but that was it.
      Downtown Boston turned out to be boring, too. It was dark, cold and very quiet on the streets. I could go to a mall, but that wasn't my objective and there was no point in seeing ordinary shoppers on Halloween night.
      A few years later, while in the office, I asked a colleague about it. She took her two little kids to work that day, and it was our pizza day, so we were chowing down our pizza and she said, “Of course we don't go on the streets. Who knows what kind of men my kids would run into?” Still, I wanted to know the place, so I asked her where she brought her kids to go trick-or-treating. “The mall, of course. It's much safer there.” Well, it made sense.
      So, for years I thought the mall was the place to see kids dressed in customs and asking for candies on Halloween, and still, I didn't go. I don't know. Now to think of it, I guess the image of little fairies, witches, ghosts, monsters, and whatever-they-were walking in a brightly lit mall simply lost its appeal, and with a lack of the mystique, it just wasn't enticing enough for me to drive 30 minutes to get to the mall.
      In 2007, the US rolled out the new daylight saving schedule. What it means was that, in the past, when kids went out doing their trick-or-treating at 5pm, the sky was dark(*2); and now, for the first time, it was still bright. The funny thing was I wasn't aware of it at first. That day, a small group of us were headed to a restaurant around 5pm. We took side streets to avoid the congested highway I-95. On our way through the town of Lexington, while driving, I spotted a little girl dressed like a fairy with two little silk wings on her back walking toward the town center. I saw her, but I didn't pay attention. Then two more fairies. (I said to myself, “Interesting. They must be having some sort of play at their school.”) Then three more, five more, and flocks of them when we were closer to the town center.  Suddenly I realized what it was and what they were. “Ah, a Spiderman there,” I said to my friends in the car, “there too, and there.” Just for the fun of it, I started to count how many of them were Spidermen, but I lost track when the number hit seven. There were just too many of them. Other than Spidermen, I also saw loads of little Hulks, Supermen, fairies of course, and many-other-I-can't-remember-what-they-were characters.
      I didn't know if it was always like this in Lexington on Halloween, but I bet parents there must have noticed the difference the extended daylight saving time brought them and considered the bright streets a safer environment for their kids to go trick-or-treating. Still, I'd rather see them in a darker setting.
      This year, if time permits, I'll remember to snap some pictures when I see those cute little munchkins.

(*1) Yeah, some of you may have spotted the problem right there, so, bite me. (People have to work, you know.)
(*2) In Massachusetts anyway.
(Yes, Salem would be the ultimate town to see it all, but I didn't go and don't plan to, so, like I said, bite me.)


*                      *                      *                      *                      *

Some fun facts about Halloween:
(source: http://www.masterpiecepumpkins.com/abouthalloween.html )
(I'll just pick a few that I think are relevant.)

Fact Two:  In the United States, 86% of Americans decorate their homes for Halloween.
(I don't know about 86%, but it's true that many decorate their homes.)(Maybe I'll take some pictures of these.)
Fact Six:
It is believed that the Irish began the tradition of Trick or Treating. In preparation for All Hallow's Eve, Irish townsfolk would visit neighbours and ask for contributions of food for a feast in the town.
Fact Eight:
Vampires think Halloween is tacky and don't bother going out that night.
(I throw this in for kicks.)
Fact Ten: People have believed for centuries that light keeps away ghosts and ghouls. Making a pumpkin lantern with a candle inside may keep you safe from all the spooky spirits flying around on Halloween.

Friday, October 2, 2009

hypothetical<->all past tenses?

all past tenses

------
Another interesting read:
English or not?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

creative writing and formal prose

From: CyberCypher
Newsgroups: alt.usage.english
Subject: Re: more money than her

On Feb 10, 3:25 am, "The Grammer Genious" wrote:
> > "CyberCypher" wrote
> >
>>> > >> "John" wrote in message
> >
>>>> > >> > "At the time, Obama was raising and spending more money than her
>>>> > >> > heading into the round of presidential primaries ...."
>> > > <...>
>> > > Not all of us are willing to approve of poor usage, and not all of us
>> > > find such stuff acceptable in the lines penned by those who claim to
>> > > be both educated and professional writers.<...>
> >
> > Ok, but since "than" has been used as a preposition by Faulkner, Scott,
> > Swift, Johnson, and Shakespeare, whose camp are you placing yourself in when
> > you label it "poor usage"?

I don't think that the creative writing usage standards of 400, 300,
200, 100, or even 50 years ago are relevant for writers of formal
American in 2008. In fact, Shakespeare had no standards other than his
own to work with. Swift and Johnson wrote when there were only
incipient standards, Scott was a Brit and irrelevant to the
discussion, and Faulkner was as much a linguistic innovator as was
James Joyce. I don't consider creative writing "formal prose". In a
novel or a play or a poem or a short story it either works or it
doesn't work. That doesn't mean that certain stylistic choices and
usages don't annoy my eyes and ears from time to time, however. I'm
reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's _Little House_ series to my son every
night, and I find it interesting to see how she used American English
almost 100 years ago. I have no problems with sentences like "they took
the potatoes down cellar" or "I be hungry" (both found in _Farmer
Boy_), but I can't bear her usage of "must" as a past tense, so I
always change it when I read it aloud. Apparently, the linguistic
standards in American English have changed since 1927. Very few
American-speakers use "must" as a past tense these days. And, as
Marchette Chute (_Stories from Shakespeare_) says, "In _Hamlet_, for
instance, the word 'rivals' is used in the sense of 'partners', and
when Hamlet's mother accuses him of 'ecstasy' she means temporary
insanity". Would you suggest that we point to these changed usages and
assert that just because Shakespeare used them thus, we too are
entitled to use them in precisely the same way? I doubt it. But people
such as you are very quick to point to history when it's convenient
for your arguments about what should be acceptable usages today. You
don't seem to appreciate that your opinions are merely your opinions
(just as my opinions are merely my opinions) and not some god-given
judgment of right and wrong. And some of us are more concerned than
others with consistency in formal prose: inconsistencies too often
cause ambiguities and are aesthetically annoying to us.

> > Are your "standards" higher than theirs? Wonderful you!

As I said, they had no standards but their own and didn't use whatever
standards there might have been for formal prose in their creative
writing. This remark of yours is typically red-herringish and straw-
mannish. It's irrelevant. In fact, it's downright stupid and logically
fallacious to say such things.

> > On the other hand, I doubt if Faulkner, Scott, Swift, Johnson, or
> > Shakespeare ever made any overt claim to being educated and professional
> > writers, so maybe you're right.

You don't seem to understand the difference between creative writing
and formal prose. What novelists and playwrights and poets write and
used to write (back in the good old days before dictionaries and
grammar books) in their creative works has nothing to do with the
standards of formal prose. If you would use your brain instead of your
bum to think, you'd not produce so many brain farts when venting from
your gluteal mouth.


"between you and I"? ; the way how

And this is how it happens ....

有些字典在hypercorrection的解釋裡頭會有相關的例子

-------------------------
the way how

Monday, September 28, 2009

Boston lexicon

A wonderful article Exodejavu shared with me: Wicked good Bostonisms come and go(Note: the drink mentioned at the end of the article: frappe)
I guess it means more to me than the rest of you, but it just so happened this new McDonald's TV commercial also features Boston(Massachusetts is part of New England) lexicon:

Neurologist

After watching the video on this Blog(Use our right brain constantly to be a nice guy), I remembered something.

*               *               *               *               *
      A while back I constantly accompanied my girlfriend to visit her father. She placed him in an assisted living, so it wasn't uncommon to see old folks there who were, well, "out of it". One of the residents there was particularly energetic and bright. This old lady was thin, fit and a bit toward petite build. My girlfriend told me she was a neurologist, but the sad thing was she had Alzheimer. I remember right after she told me this, I was thinking "How could that be? Just look at her. She moves around and about just like everyone else." By saying "everyone else", of course I meant old people not living in the place. And her smile. She always smiled.  I never once saw her gloomy.
      Some weeks later, my girlfriend called me and asked me to pick her up at her father's place. I went, but couldn't find her at the lobby as she'd told me on the phone, so I walked inside and looked around.
"Are you looking for someone?" It's that lady with the same bright smile on her face.
"I'm looking for ...," so I gave her the description of my girlfriend, and told her I was supposed to meet her at the lobby.
"I know where she is. I'll show you, just follow me," and off she walked with a fast stride. "Make sure you can keep up!" she said to me.
      So she led me to the dining room, and I saw my girlfriend there. I thanked the lady, and she walked away with a I'm-glad-I'm-of-help smile.
      My girlfriend told me she was helping her father get seated in the dining room, and it'd take some time, so she asked me to wait for a little while. On my way back to the lobby, I ran into that same lady on the hallway, and she said to me “Are you looking for someone?”  Same tentative smile, same enthusiasm, but this time I knew it was true about her condition....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

美式發音教學影片

這個是關於 /i/ 和 /I/
重點: 光用長音和短音來分還是不夠
(右邊的list也有關於發音的影片可以點選來看)

----
Difficult words "world", etc

----
T sound
重點: almost "d'", or fast "d",不是像我們念的很重的"d"(or strong "d")
注意聽她說 When we say "better", we don't say "be-D(很重)ER"

牛排....

"牛排館"的話我還記得名字的有"Ken's steak house"(http://www.kenssteakhouse.com/),他們也有出自己品牌的牛排醬,沙拉醬之類的調味料。"Outback" 是還好(我只記得很鹹),"Texas Roadhouse"也不錯,算是平價。我自己倒是很久沒吃牛排了。

我還在台灣時,那時候的"吃西餐"="吃牛排",而且一定是"鐵板牛排"。不過我是在一百元的我家牛排開張後我才算是開始吃牛排(當兵的時候我常帶隊去吃)。說真的,現在要我選擇的話我會選這類的牛排。

我剛來美國時因為好奇我常點牛排。甚至家裡頭也常煎/烤牛排。但是漸漸的我發現一個問題 -- 牛排的火侯很不好控制,包含餐廳廚師和我們自己私下煮。這邊的牛排厚度一般比我家牛排的"薄片"牛排還厚,所以火侯上的控制難度很高,到目前為止,我碰到送上桌的牛排有達到我點的熟度的機率相當低(包含我們自己在家裡烤/煎的),往往不是過生就是過熟。過熟,嚼起來腮幫子部位關節痛。過生,看到盤子上一堆血水實在是.... 。每次在那裡要求服務生送回去再次處理也不是辦法,所以幾年之前我就開始不再點牛排了。

最近一次我和朋友去TGI Friday(這不算牛排館,所以前頭我沒有提)。我朋友點牛排,他點medium(還是medium rare? 我忘了),結果牛排送上來後太生,他招呼waiter過來反應這情況。一陣子後經理自己親自把烤好的牛排送上來,他為保險起見還要我朋友當場把牛排切開 (*1),結果是我朋友還沒講那經理就自己說"I'll write it off from your bill"(因為他自己看到血水還是一堆流出來,所以那牛排算是送的)。我朋友也是在那裡說沒關係啦什麼的,但是經理堅持那就讓他去。後來帳單送上來 -->沒扣。

(*1) 我是有碰過幾次服務生在牛排送上來後會這樣子問,確定沒問題後才離開

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Business letter; formal?

In a business letter

(Majority in this favor:)
HVS: In modern business letters, "herewith" .....  Even if one allows "herewith", .... either be formal or informal, but don't mix them up. .....
(Then, a preferred form)
------
(So far, one thinks this way)
E.W: I disagree. .... exactness and accuracy ....

Monday, September 21, 2009

不同的聲音

(我在ECT寫的第一篇blog)

英語教材百百種,小魔女小魔男也好幾個,學英語倒底是要聽誰的呢? 其實,施主,這要問的是你自己啊。我曾經遇過一個靠聽ICRT聽到講英語講得很流利的人,也遇過一個單字背了一大堆的活字典,而我自己呢,也是在一家語言學校上了快一年的課,從最開始的上課用猜的,到後來的對答如流,每個人有每個人的sweet spot -- 有些人就是能夠背一大堆生字,久久不忘;有些人就是能夠光念文法,分析句子起來頭頭是道。只是適合他人的英語學習法未必適合你。

一般的學生在高中,或是大學期間,其實已經知道適合自己的學習英文方法;如果你覺得背單字你才會心安,那就放心去背吧;如果你覺得這條文法不搞清楚就無法睡覺, 那就安心的去鑽研;如果你覺得上補習班和老外對話才覺得有趣,那就去上,因為,英語不是一夜之間就可以精通的,這靠的是長年累月不止歇的學習,尤其是台灣並不是講英語的國家,一般人無法長期置身於英語環境裡,只是,如果經過了一兩年的勤奮學習,你的英語在任何方面都沒有長足進步,那麼你就要考慮變換一下學習方法了。

以我自己來說,我在讀高中時就很清楚的知道我無法死背,單字或是片語背到第三天就忘了,那時又沒有網路,無法自己找一大堆英語網站來讀,老師有說過要買克漏字聖經,只是我知道我背不起來,所以根本沒買,因此呢,那時的英文文法,片語和單字我靠的僅是課本和老師發的講義。當時我的想法是難的不會,至少基本的要搞通。所幸聯考英語成績雖然差強人意,總算是讓我考上了大學。

即使是像我這般普通的英語學習背景和程度,到美國後交的美國女友,她倒是對她的朋友說我的文法比一般土生土長的美國人好(*1),至於我的會話能力,那當然是比我的"三腳貓"文法還要好。講了這麼多,要說的只是台灣的英語教育並不是那麼一文不值,若不是我在國中及高中受過的英語教育,打了些底,即使不是很強,也夠讓我在上語言課程時猜出老外老師在說什麼。也是因為以前學的文法,我現在才能修改他人英語寫作上的錯誤。英語靠的是聽說讀寫,能四方面兼顧是最好,不能的話,即使是僅加強其中幾樣也是好的,只是,若你真的對英語有興趣,你會不想去全方面增強嗎?

(*1)我們的中文也是一樣,有多少人能說出中文文法規則或是術語? (我們已經分手了。還是有聯絡就是)

-----------------------------------------------------
(以下是在別處回答一個網友的內容,大致上和前頭的一樣)
不客氣:) 我住在美國麻州十多年了,有時晚上或是週末閒著沒事會選些有趣的英文問題來回答,主要是興趣。我主要是在***************上頭出沒,有興趣的話歡迎你到那邊逛。

我以前在台灣時的英文很普通的,因為單字啦,片語啦都背不起來,所以才有辦法換方式學英文--->直接和在美國的筆友通信(從高二開始,一直到當兵完,出國前),大學時直接讀英文教科書(工科的教科書沒有複雜文法,用高中記剩下的就夠了),直接去上英語會話課練習 「活用」英文。

現在的話是已經會活用英文所以回頭再去讀文法書就很容易讀懂(我是在約三年前才又開始重新碰文法,利用等女友的空閒時間到書局翻文法書),換句話說,從高中畢業後到三四年前,我沒有碰過文法書或是文法術語啥的,都是實際應用。

當然每個人的方法都不一樣,適合我的未必適合你,算是提供我的經驗給你參考囉 :)

<<我的一篇舊文,有修改>>

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cleft sentences (which?)

(我以前的一篇舊貼文。貼在(#6, djyang是我本人): http://www.english.com.tw/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=2400&forum=11&post_id=8781#forumpost8781)

這用法我之前也是找了好久:p 我找到的並沒有分析單一文法詞性(but what ruke said makes sense),只是對這用法有介紹(換句話說整個背下來,然後記住整個的意思)
以下出自"Practical English Usage" by M.S., 3rd edition, 130 cleft sentences(註一), 130.5 other structures

"....
All (that), and expressions with thing, can be used in cleft sentences.
All I want is a home somewhere.
All you need is love.
All (that) I did was (to) touch the window, and it broke.
The only thing I remember is a terrible pain in my head.
.......
....."

(註一) cleft是"divided"的意思,這用法的出現是為了用文字來凸顯/強化某個特定的字。我們一般在說話時可以用語氣上加重某個字的方式來強調那個字的意思,比如:

我在看電視. (普通語氣/速度的念)

我在看*電視* (粗體字是大聲念出來的部份)

這兩句聽起來的感覺會不一樣。但是在文字書寫上就沒辦法這樣子做(除非像我一樣在後面刻意加個注解補充)。cleft sentence就是在這情況下產生的,它是先用一小段話來作前導(也可以是在後頭),告訴讀者「注意喔,接下來的字(或是之前的字)就是我要強調的喔」,之後所接的才是真正要講的,最後還可以再用個類似關係子句般的子句把主要強調的字補充完所要說的意思。

比如:
- Mary kept a pig in the garden shed. 這句話很平常,沒什麼特別,但是如果我要強調是"Mary"而不是其他人的話---

Mary was the person who kept a pig in the garden shed. 這是把要強調的Mary放在前頭的用法,然後 the person who 就是告知讀者前頭的主詞就是我要強調的。

The person who kept a pig in the garden shed was Mary. 這是把要強調的Mary放在最後的寫法。

"cleft sentences"可以用的基本句型很多,前頭的All (that) .... 也是其中一個。

以原來的問題來說:
All I could do was (go to bed) and (hope that I felt better the next day).

這整句是要強調兩件事(括弧部份),而不是要強調開頭當作主詞的All。





其它資料:

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/GRAMMAR/sentences.htm
"The cleft sentence .... (usually who, which, or that)"

-----------------------------
Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language
Quirk et al
18.28 : page 1386 - 1387
(Cleft sentences)
"18.28 The second clause in a cleft sentence is obviously similar in structure to a restrive relative clause; .... Examples above show that pronouns used in relative clauses (who, that, 'zero' pronoun) are also used to introduce cleft sentences.......

"There are differences from relative clauses, however, in that the wh-forms are rare in cleft sentences in comparison with that and zero. Although whose is allowed in cleft sentences (It's Uncle Bill whose address I lost), whom and which are only marginally possible, and it is virtually impossible to use whom or which preceded by a preposition. ......." --> 謎之聲: What happened to who?
(Note: There's more to the restriction of using wh-forms)
----------------------------
"Practical English Usage" by M.S., 3rd edition
131 cleft sentences (2): .....
"... are usually joined to the relative clause by that. ....... Who is possible ... when a personal subject is emphasised."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

他家的地址是什麼?

我有些好奇,有多少人認為標題那句中文沒有任何問題的?(主要是指台灣的用法/說法)

我在網路上一處看到有人問這英文句子(和翻譯):
What is his home address? (他家地址在哪?)
結果有人(英語老師?)質疑說那是大陸的說法,正確的中文翻譯應該是「他家的地址是什麼?」....

我一看到這說法的第一直覺是這不是我熟知的說法。是可以看懂也知道意思啦,但是聽起來真的有些怪異。前些天我哥過來作客,然後我突然想到這問題,於是我把下列兩個句子在張紙上寫下,然後問他的意見:
他家地址在哪裡?(我不是記得很完整,多了個"裡")
他家的地址是什麼?
他的答案和我的一樣,也是認為上句是通順的說法,下句的話他很直接的說他沒聽過。我哥是在過了三十歲之後才搬到美國。在這之前他在銀行上班了好多年,所以他的中文語感應該是很貼近社會大眾的實際用法,特別是他的職業關係,他比我更容易遇到需要別人填表格和住址的情況。

接 下來則是我想說的主題。原來問問題的人是問說為什麼是用"What"而不是"Where",而我在看了中文句子後其實我想的是為什麼是"哪裡"? 這是我們的慣用說法,我平常用習慣根本不會去想這合不合理,但是因為這問題讓我多思考了一下,如果仔細分析「他家地址在哪(裡)?」的話(直接去鑽字面意 思的話)...好像不是很合理喔.... 如果我說「我要知道這說法的來源/文法分析,這樣子我才能懂啊」,那麼是不是會讓人氣結? 我會這樣子說是因為常在網路上看到些人這樣子問英文的慣用語。以前我會嘗試解釋,現在我是懶了。

遇到那種情況,我的建議是
1: 先找到那慣用語的意思解釋(Longman線上字典往往有)
2: 想辦法聯想。其實很多的英文慣用語是從個別英文單字的基本意思延伸開來的/還是有意思上的關聯的(換句話說一個單字一個單字的去查Longman吧。這時候最好是不要用英漢字典,因為這時候需要知道的是"他們怎麼想",而不是"我們中文是如何的使用")
另外一個情況就是有些人在問翻譯時常常會出現些「詭異」的中文翻譯(含中文翻成英文的「用中文寫的」考試題目和講義)。若說那些怪異句子是「英式中文」一點也不為過。這,我就留著另外寫一篇吧....



<<我的一篇舊文>>

Saturday, September 12, 2009

國小學英語 國中未必好

我剛看了這篇:
http://www.english.tw/space-3-do-blog-id-1173.html

      這讓我想到一個親戚小孩的遭遇。他娘呢,在他國小的時後就請老外來家裡當家教(開銷當然大,後來她幫這位老外找學生在自己家裡開個小班,結果她跟我抱怨這個老外還是跟她收一樣的鐘點費)。
      後來這小孩上了國中,學校是以嚴格出名,結果他的英文考試經常是拿鴨蛋和掛尾(還被班上同學取笑,看樣子也是失去了學習的興趣)。
      怎麼辦呢?有次期中考試前日碰到要回老家(也就是我家。那次剛好我在)拜拜的節日,於是她拜託我教他小孩英文(明天就要考試了妳今天才叫我教(*1)?)
      那時她兒子也才國一,英文考試內容也不過是生字和音標,偏偏她兒子就是敗在音標上頭(國小家教的老外哪知道音標啊)--她兒子會唸個別的音標,但是合起來就出問題了,兩個音標之間一定會多出個"ㄜ"的母音。真的很可惜,因為他在唸整個單字時發音卻又很漂亮(這是拜老外家教之賜)。
      這是很多年前的事了。

------------------------
      前一陣子好奇之下我去看了最近幾年的國中學力測驗英文考題,裡頭沒有考音標,總算出題委員開了竅,只是現在的國中還有沒有在那裡考音標我就不知道了

(*1) 我上次回台灣,有次也是剛好碰到她的剛上國中的小女兒隔天要考英文。都晚上十點了(她女兒也才家教完)居然叫我教她女兒英文,我直接回答「妳女兒累了,我也累了」(我那時時差也還沒調好,很累,很想睡)加以回絕

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Try this for size

victualer
我在看我們這個town的local cable電視台放的town meeting過程錄影時看到的: ".... transfer license of victualer ..."。好奇之下我查了這字: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/victualer
Hm.... 來套發音規則吧。

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/victual : 這裡頭的Usage Note有提到字源和發音

Monday, September 7, 2009

Please (come in)的詞性到底是什麼

<<以前的一篇舊文>>

please在"Please come in"這句子裡頭的詞性到底是什麼?有的說法是動詞,有的說法是副詞,那麼到底那個才是"正確的"?先以我手邊能找到的英漢辭典來說:
1. 大陸簡明(深棕皮,普通大小)和標準(綠皮,普通大小): 動詞:請 "Please come in"(註一)
2. 文馨當代英漢辭典: 動詞:請 "Please come in"
(上面三本都是15年前的舊版本)
然後以我手邊的英英字典來說:
1.American Heritage Concise(大本硬皮over 7萬字, 1994): 無副詞entry
2.Webster's NewWorld(普通大小,約6萬字, 1988舊版,紅皮): 動詞 "Please come in"
3.在別處翻到的,一本超大本硬皮 American Heritage Fourth Edition: 副詞 "Please come in"和"Come in, please"
再來就是我去書局翻的結果(都是最新版):
1.Merriam-Webster 多種版本: 和on-line的一致,都是副詞"Please come in”
2.Oxford 多種版本: 動詞 “Come in, please",只有一個版本有副詞的entry。
3. Webster’s NewWorld(普通大小,over 6萬字,新版,紅皮)以及Webster's II (第三版,深藍皮): 動詞 “Please come in”
4. Random House出的Webster’s 多種版本(含H.C. Webster's): 副詞 “Please come in"和 “Come in, please”
網路上的就不用說了,dictionary.com和m-w.com(Merriam- Webster)都是副詞"Please come in”

說穿了也不過是角度問題。對於"遵行古法"的學者來說,他們以"Please come in"這用法的古老原始出處為依據,所以他們主張這是動詞。而對於奉行"現代用法”的學者來說,他們考慮的是現代的新的普遍用法,所以他們認為這應該是副詞。

不過這時你要思考的是,對於"純口語"的"Please come in"這個用法,硬是要分析裡頭的Please的詞性有多大的意義?

先岔個題。在這句話裡頭"你不能醬子啦!"的"醬",這字的詞性是什麼?有的學者可能說"這只是單純口語,是'這樣子'念很快時的混稱,本身根本不能算是正式的字,所以沒有詞性",有的學者可能會說"這已經是廣為流傳的用 法,許多人已經正式寫在文章及其它媒體上,所以我們要為這字創一個相當於'這樣'的動詞意思"。

是否已經看出我所要表達的意思?對於上例的please的詞性,在過去也在學者間經歷過這樣子的辯論。不同的英英字典出版處有他們自己的"評審委員”,這些委員對於有爭議的字彙定義會以投票的方式來決定,然後部份人主張這禮貌用法的please的詞性是動詞,有的主張是副詞,有的則說這是口語,根本不用在正式文體裡頭,咱們略過不寫!於是呢,A 字典出版處的委員們投票結果"副詞"佔多數,於是他們的字典上印"副詞",B字典出版處的委員們投票結果是"動詞"佔多數,於是他們的字典印"動詞",然後C字典則根本不提,等等等等。

那麼到底是誰對?都對!主要是看你願意接受誰的說法。就像前頭提到的,對"遵行古法"的人來說,他們可以"只"接納"是動詞"的說法,對奉行"現代用法"的人來說,他們當然也可以只考慮"是副詞"的解釋。我呢?我兩邊都接受,都聽,一個是由古語而來,有它的歷史源流,一個是現代用法,沒必要寫些古代句子去得罪現代人。所以就像我在開頭說的,這是角度問題。

最後要強調的是,"Please come in"這種禮貌用法只能用在口頭上,它的應用範圍非常有限,動詞也好,副詞也好,會因此使用錯誤的機會幾乎是零,我在猜,也許是這個緣故所以字典上都沒有這字在這用法上的usage note(反正用法都一樣嘛!)。

至於文法書和字典的依據性,可以參考我的另一篇"由hopefully談起"

有興趣的人可以去書局翻翻英漢辭典,也許新版的已經update為" 副詞"也說不定喔。


(註1)
為了方便,我把代表相同意思的"used in polite request”的please例句都寫作"Please come in”(我在書局翻來翻去都是這幾個例句:”Please come in”, "Please stand back”, “Please come here”, "Please sit down"....等等)

Friday, September 4, 2009

韭菜盒子

      我的老美房東會說些中文詞。有的是跟他的朋友(他的同事,有台灣人也有大陸人)學的,有的是跟我學的。韭菜盒子...如果我沒記錯他是跟我朋友學的。我朋友也是台灣來的。有次他帶了韭菜盒子過來,因為「見者有份」也分了些給我房東吃,吃東西之前當然會先問那是什麼東西,然後我房東他居然把「韭菜盒子」這中文發音記起來了(一次要記四個音,對他說起來不是很簡單)。我猜他大概是喜歡那發音吧,因為那之後他每次要現他的中文時他一定會說「韭菜盒子」,雖然他後來也忘了那長的怎樣(味道就更不用說了)。
      說到「韭菜」,似乎很多人都翻成"leek",只是我剛剛在看一家中國餐館的菜單時看到他們是翻成"Chive Pie"(註:應該是Chives)時我突然想到,對喔,leek不是韭菜。我很久沒吃leek,也很久沒在一般美國超市買leek,所以忘了這是兩個不同的蔬菜。這個看照片最直接:
1. Leek
http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/leek
上頭有照片。這"東西"在台灣如果我沒記錯的話是叫"大蔥",個頭很大,葉片也很粗厚,味道比韭菜還要辛辣。
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leek
Wikipedia上的圖片:


2. 韭菜
Wikipedia中文版: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/韭菜
Wikipedia英文版: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garlic_chives
英文版裡頭提到"A relatively new vegetable in the English-speaking world",也難怪這蔬菜的英文名稱很多,比如: "garlic chives"(文章裡頭提到和chives比起來味道更接近大蒜),"Chinese chives", "Chinese leek"(會翻成leek的大概就是從這裡來的),"Oriental garlic chives", 然後幾個音譯的菜名"ku chai", "jiu cai"等等。"Chives"本身又是另一種蔬菜,有興趣的人自己看這個: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chives
      說老實話,我是覺得像我老美房東那樣直接說「韭菜盒子」就夠了,反正沒看過的人就是沒看過,再說如果碰上個vegetarian,他最先想知道的反而是裡頭有沒有肉類的東西,是韭菜還是大蔥反而是其次。直接讓他嚐一口,這比有的沒的解釋更有用。
韭菜

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

collective nouns; zero points?

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english/browse_thread/thread/abf19ab68141134d#

http://www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish-central-grammar-collective-nouns.htm

--------------------------
zero points?
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english/browse_thread/thread/68ae65d3d0323c38#

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I wish I (would?); You was born

I wish I .....
2. I wish I didn't have to work tomorrow.
CDB: Only 2 works everywhere.  ....
----
http://www.englishforums.com/English/Wish/gkmn/post.htm

----------------------------
You was born

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A murder

What do you call a murder?
A murder is a group of crows.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/murder
3. .....
I Just learned it from Homer(*1). I guess he wasn't that stupid after all.
(*1)The Simpsons
Episode: Weekend at Burnsie's

Taboo

      After reading isseyboo's I am so mad right now!, I remembered something my brother told me not long after he came to the States. He said, at a parking lot of a shopping center, a little kid called him "Chinese pig!" The kid's mother stopped the kid right away and apologized to my brother. I asked my brother "So .... how did you feel?" He said he felt great. I was puzzled by his answer, so I asked him. He said he used to do that kind of thing so he didn't feel offended or anything.
      I won't go into great lengths about what kind of things he did to other people because I don't know (and I didn't ask him). One thing I do know is that he has such strong self-confidence and esteem (or like the Chinese slang "thick face"--not in the sense of shamelessness) that when he was called names, he simply didn't care. I really have to give it to him.
      Did those kind of things ever happen to me? None I'm aware of. I guess I've been lucky in that respect. If it ever does happen, well, I guess I'll just think of my brother.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

否定問句->Yes, No?

<<我的一篇舊文>>

用Google Books(專找英文出版品)來看看實際的使用:
http://books.google.com輸入下方(雙引號也要)
"No, they are"   -"they are not"

基本上:
1.
"Yes, they are ..." --> "Yes"是和後面的敘述一致
2.
"No, they are ..." --> "No"是全盤否定前頭的整個敘述/句子。有時候可以這樣子寫以避免那種"規則" --> "No; they are ...." 或是乾脆 "No. They are ...." 或是很激動的 --> "No! They are ..."

2 的這情況其實在(北美)產的電視劇/電影裡頭可以聽到。有的劇情是問話的人用了否定句,然後回答的人只說了個"No!"(/ "Yes!"),然後趕緊改回"Yes!"(/ "No!"),然後整個混了。或是問話的人會另外問"No? You mean No,... or No,......"

我的話是儘量前後一致然後用後面的完整敘述來交代清楚

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who's Adam Stanler?

Adam Sandler stops by local lemonade stand (08/19/09)
(1:11) I sold my lemonate and uhm... to uhm... (1:18)Adam Stanler .....

I'm sure Mr. Sandler doesn't mind.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

that non-defining

以下摘自我以前貼的舊文:
http://www.english.com.tw/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=5927&forum=11&post_id=24746#forumpost24746
djyang是我本人

Q:
...(snipped)...
以下出於cambridge的 Advanced Grammar in use

e.g.Thieves [who] stole painting from Notford art gallery have been arrested in Paris.

比較下句

e.g.The drugs,[which/that] are used to treat stomach ulcer,have been withdrawn from sale.
...(snipped)...





(My) A:

#2
> e.g.The drugs,[which/that] are used to treat stomach ulcer,have been withdrawn from sale.

這句是不是完全照書上打的?(cambridge的 Advanced Grammar in use)

因為這情況下的that不會是可能的寫法...



#6
> 但是那本書上類似的題型都是以non defining clause為答案,
> 我就有點不大懂為什麼會這樣

關於that用在non-defining我也是想不大通,尤其那本書以及出版的"單位"還算是有名氣的,所以找了資料。原來在以前確實常用,但是以近代來說就不是了(*1)。本來我在想也許是美英用法的差別(在英國可以這樣子用?),但是我手邊的文法書就有英國人寫的,也不是這樣子,查了英國的BBC上的也不是(*2),所以真的是很奇怪...

我附近的書局沒Cambridge那本書,有在圖書館查詢網路找到,但是是在別的town,我訂來看了,只是要花個一兩天才會送到我這邊的圖書館,到時我再看看是怎麼一回事.....(有新的發現我再回報 :p )



(*1)http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxthatvs.html
"....
Nonrestrictive clauses are now nearly always introduced by "which" or "who" (although "that" was common in earlier centuries)
..."
(*2)Which / that
"...
But, 'that' can only be used in what we call identifying relative clauses....
...."
(註: 限定關係XX中的「限定」的英文有很多種說法,指的都是一樣的東西,比如defining, identifying, essential, ..等等)



#9
> 以下出於cambridge的 Advanced Grammar in use

你的是不是綠皮第二版? 我從圖書館借到的應是初版十刷(First published 1999, Tenth printing 2003). Printed in Great Britain by BemroseBooth, Derby

書皮是暗紅棕色,有附解答(ISBN 0-521-49868-6)

這部分的內容和你的版本有些出入...
引文:


UNIT 71
Relative Clauses (2) (Tom, who is only six, can speak three languages.)
...
...
When we use a non-defining relative clause to add information about a thing or group of things, we use which as the subject or object of the clause:
  * These drugs, which are used to treat stomach ulcers, have been withdrawn from sale.
  * That Masters course, which I took in 1990, is no longer taught at the college.

That is sometimes used instead of which, but some people think this is incorrect, so it is probably safer not to use it. We also use which to refer to the whole situation talked about in the sentence outside the relative clause:
  * The book won't be published until next year, which is disappointing.
  * I have to go to hospital on Monday, which means I won't be able to see you.

雖然大部份內容大同小異,但是從不可以的變成可以,這小部分的改變算是相當大....

======================
(Update)
今天在Harvard Coop書局找到新版的Advanced Grammar In Use(2nd edition),還真的是如同sung說的。好奇下我翻了同系列的Grammar In Use Intermediate(不同作者),在講relative clause的non-defining部分卻是說"...must use 'which' ..... (not 'what'....)",連"that"都沒有提到...



#11

引文:

    所以作者之前應該是用這樣的邏輯去寫 "that" 在賣葯的那句子的寫



No... 我比較過同本書初版和第二版同一章節的內容,原作者在新版裡頭確實是如同原PO說的在非限定關代的情況下"可以"使用that.(初版的解釋則是建議不要這樣子用)。然後同樣的練習題在初版的答案是which,第二版則是改成that(或是that也可以)(比如原PO問的那幾題)

比較麻煩的是原作者後來更改的內容也不是完全錯誤-->
輔助閱讀:
http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxthatvs.html


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


https://www.englishforums.com/English/CommaAmericanEnglish/vdjrn/post.htm
Longman Dictionary ( way more in American version)

e.g. wicker: ..... candle, that burns ....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Native speakers使用的過去....式?

我稍微讀了下這篇:
http://www.english.tw/space-2791-do-blog-id-4927.html

      因為我在最早提出問題的版友他的blog上有留言,我貼了一個連到英語論壇的我回的一篇post的link。我記得我是說題目出得不是很好(後來說"我還是偏向...")。我回頭再讀了一下我之前的貼文(畢竟是好一陣子之前的事),也讀了我自己貼的兩個連到AUE論壇的links(至於我原本貼的 Practical English Usage 的內容我拿掉了,算是對作者的尊重),我還是抱持原來的想法。
      一些想法啦看法啦我也懶得提,畢竟我貼的links裡頭的原作者有提到些文法書(和作者),如果那些作者的教育程度比不上...那我實在沒什麼好講,特別是那種"恆信恆不信"的情況,多說也無益。
      換個方式,我們來看實際的例子:
http://www.americancorpus.org/ 
      這是個語料庫,然後按照下圖的兩個紅色箭頭所指的內容輸入/選擇:


      下方的"ACADEMIC"是只限定找/顯示academic text。選好後按"SEARCH"。有興趣的人可以看搜尋結果,沒用過的人恐怕要稍微花一下時間熟悉。點選適當的地方還可以顯示各個搜尋結果條目的背景資料和一小段完整的內容。
      剩下的我就不多說了,畢竟與其聽人說還不如自己訓練蒐集/整理/理解資料的能力。

      一個值得思考的問題是,這些寫academic text的作者,他們的英文程度如何? 如果只有一個或是兩個用了"所謂的不好的文法",那麼這倒是支持"那"說法,因為不好的寫法學者普遍是不會用的,這邏輯推理應該很合理。但是我看了好些個條目之後,說實在的,我自己也嚇了一跳。本來我以為兩種用法的條例數目會呈現一種比例,結果卻是一面倒.....

      對於原題目,以我在論壇的post提到的第二題來說,我的話我會把"was, became"拿掉。就這樣。

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"I read a book", but did I finish it?

      我剛讀了dennis0356的這篇blog: http://www.english.tw/space-1448-do-blog-id-4870.html

      關於裡頭提到的A句子:"I read a book this morning." 我直接簡單的說,這句子並沒有明確的說明這本書一定讀完了(也未必一定是拿沒有讀過的一本書,然後從頭讀到尾)。這句子只是單純的交代了幾件事:
1. 說的人在早上期間做了件事
2. 這件事是關於讀了本書--更詳細說則是拿(*1)了本書,然後閱讀書裡頭的內容,可能只讀一部分(如果讀的是本average sized或是更厚的書,一般常人無法做到一個早上讀完)(*2),也有可能整本讀完(比如小朋友讀本薄薄的都是圖畫的書,一般都能很快翻完)(*3)。 至於這是什麼書,書名是什麼則不是重點(也因此用了"a",只說明了是單數的某一本,並沒有特別指明是哪本)
      剩下的就要看情況 / 看內文如何賦予完整的意思。

(*1) 用手拿書算是很普遍的動作,所以我就不另外補充其他的"沒有用到手"的動作
(*2)(*3)這些都可以用"I read a book ....(在某時間)...."來表示。


      至於"I watched a movie this morning / I took a shower this morning" 和 "I read a book this morning"最大的差別在於:
1. 前兩者的完成時間普遍上來說不長。以電影來說90%以上的電影長度不到兩小時,有超過三個小時的更是寥寥無幾。"shower"的話時間更短。不過更重要的是一般常人不會中途離開電影院/洗澡間(少數的例外情況因為不是常態所以不用提),所以對於是常態的(不會中途離開)動作就不需要在日常表達時每一次都額外說明"沒有中途離開"或是"真的有做完"。
2. 至於"read a book"的情況因為需要花很多時間(比如days)讀完的書佔相當大的比例,所以在一般常態上不大容易在一個早上讀完一本(average sized以及更厚的)書,所以這時候要看情況,比如一個四歲的(美國)小朋友這樣子跟我說,我會很快的聯想到他是讀了本只有幾頁的圖畫書。如果是成人 (美國人),我會很容易的聯想到他讀了某本書(的一部分)。
      直接看字典解釋也可以看出差別:
http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/shower_1
2. ACT OF WASHING  an act of washing your body while standing under a shower
.....
take a shower
.....
綠色的字義解說部份配合上"took a shower"也只是: (Someone) took an act of washing his body while standing under a shower ------ 有沒有注意到?字典並沒有對過去式took a shower的表達另外補上"然後關上水龍頭,擦乾身體,走出浴室(前兩者次序可對調),穿上衣服..."的字義說明。這就好像我們講"吃飯",但是不需 要每次都補上"用嘴巴嚼,吞下,不離開餐桌..."等等的說明,因為已經是眾所周知的(日常)習慣表達法不需要每次都說明完整的動作程序。

--------------------------
幾個ESL/EFL論壇的例子:
http://www.englishforums.com/English/PastSimplePastProgressive/bpwvd/post.htm
幾個重點:
1. 用於表示(daily) routine的情況時是很普遍的一個用法(重點在於做了什麼事情,至於有沒有"整本讀完"就不是重點。比如有在睡前讀小說的人只是讀一小段的情況很普遍,這時候在讀完整本書之前仍是每天讀同一本書)
2. the slight ambiguity of "I read a book" (可以看Jussive的第二篇回文。可以配合我開頭說的)
http://www.englishforums.com/English/DailyRoutineFavourite/jchgg/post.htm
這是關於表達daily routine

http://totalesl.com/blogs/stkits/2008/12/12/whats-it-like-to-teach-overseas/
這裡頭提到的"I read a book"(配合上內文)指的是讀了會書(時間太短,不可能讀完整本書。以他的情況來猜也不大可能是讀那種只有幾頁的兒童書)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

連音/子音

主題: 2005 Free Software Movement and GNU
http://alumni.ee.ncu.edu.tw/~ee860628/share/stallman.mp3

主講人在最開始有提到:"I'm a little deaf, so please speak loudly and clearly"。他的耳朵雖然有些背,但是在後來的Q&A,開頭的幾個人所發問的問題主講人並沒有理解上的困難,所以他的"deaf"的情況是還好。

1:22:30開始的地方注意聽那個發問人說的話。主講人因為實在無法聽懂發問人說的英文於是馬上反應,並且在約1:22:50的 地方提到: ".... and carefully pronounce each consonant"

或是下方的audio clip(約30秒前後):



子音如果念不清楚就會造成這樣子的結果.....


我在....大三的時候吧曾陪我哥去台北美加上了幾堂托福課(*1)。其中一位老師是美國人,中文講得很好。他說呢,我們美國人是這樣子講話的,於是秀了幾個「連音」的念法。我聽了後當然是「學」了起來。

後來我去別的地方上會話課。第一期因為我都要用猜的,而且我在說英文的時候也沒辦法一次講太多,所以沒什麼好說的。上第二期時情況好些,於是我套用前頭美加那位老師的「連音」法來講英文。剛開始的時候我還沾沾自喜的以為我能用連音的方式講流利的英文,但是有次我私下和會話老師討論時,老師她說她聽不清楚我的有些發音。很有趣的是她說的話和前頭的錄音檔有些像,她也是說我慢慢講的時候就清楚了(事實上連音的念法主要也是用於講話速度快的時候)。因為我講話速度放慢時自然會每個音念清楚,所以老師自然都聽得懂。接著我跟老師抱怨說我無法講得像他們一樣,她於是說: "Try to say it slowly and correctly. It will eventually come naturally."

這句話我真的是受用無窮,比聽那些奇怪的什麼「變音」和「連音」規則好太多了。(待續)

(*1)我只上了約三四堂就沒去了。 我實在是受不了那種授課方式



(很多年過去了,這中間我歷經當兵,工作,到美國念研究所,工作.......接前頭的待續,繼續寫...)

我以我自己親身經驗來驗證,老師她講的是真的。我到美國後約...半年吧,我爸媽被裁員,在他們找到下個工作之前就是申請unemployment benefits。麻州當時是要去Social Security Office面談,我爸媽不會英文,所以我跟著去當翻譯。SSO辦事人員一開始當然要知道我是誰,在我說明我是來當我爸媽的翻譯之後她的態度由本來有些板著的臉變成不住口稱讚我說怎麼這麼難得,居然願意花時間陪我父母來,接著又稍微聊了一下,當她得知我才剛來美國不久之後她好奇的問了句 "How come you don't have any accent?"

我當時也是有些吃驚。我是有回說我來美國前有上了約一年的language school,不過我想我應該沒那麼神。這些年下來我回頭看這往事,我想她應該是指和一般「有口音」的華人/亞洲人比較起來我沒有那些人特有的口音。在那之後幾年有次我跟一位大學教授在電話上交談,當我們談到我的背景時他說如果光聽我的英文(口音)的話他會以為我是來自美東賓州(Philadelphia / Pennsylvania)(我當時也是聽得有些狐疑,一來我不知道「那」是什麼口音,二來是我一直都是用以前學的KK(台灣英漢辭典上標的音)來講英文,那麼難道是台灣的KK是賓州口音?(題外話,幾年後有次我在PBS(相當於台灣的公共電台)看到一個 Do you speak American? 節目,裏頭提到美國東北的New England(包含六個州。我住的麻州是其中一個。這和最早的移民有關)一帶英文的特色是在字的尾端的R不發音(類比於我們台灣的中文的話就相當於講國語不捲舌)......
http://www.pbs.org/speak/transcripts/1.html
[quote]
ROBERT:

LABOV BELIEVES PHILADELPHIA SHAPED AMERICAN SPEECH MORE THAN ANY OTHER CITY, BECAUSE IT WAS THE ONLY EAST COAST CITY ORIGINALLY TO PRONOUNCE ITS Rs. AND THAT R-SOUND, THAT SO TYPIFIES AMERICAN ENGLISH, MIGRATED WEST.
[end quote]
<<待續>>

在美國待了多年後,我最開始注意到我部份字念法改變(其實我也是事後刻意去注意才發現的)是類似這種念法: som'm (something),以及 ....

<<等我有空再繼續寫....>>

JUDGEMENT DAY

INTELLIGENT DESIGN ON TRIAL
昨晚在PBS頻道上看到的,長度是兩小時。我個人最喜歡的是Chapter 10那段。
這 件事幾年前出現在新聞上時我沒有很注意後來的發展,只是斷斷續續在新聞上聽/看到"intelligent design"如何如何。看樣子整件事拖了幾年後總算告了一段落。

Friday, July 10, 2009

The boy bringing the milk ... A mistake?

      PEU第一版不大好找,不過我還是透過圖書館網路在另個town的圖書館找到,也訂了。昨天出門要去拿書時還在"黑冰"上頭滑了一跤,唉...。主要是下面這句子(詳細的看下方附圖。第三點的部分):
"The boy bringing the milk has been ill"
      至於書上那部分的內容理解,我拿這例子到AUE問(點上頭的那句子的link)。不出我所料,Swan並不是說這句子是完全的錯誤 -- 他主要是說如果是要表達"non-progressive"的意思時但是卻用上述的表達progressive的方式來寫,那麼就會有問題。換句話說,只要有適當的內文,那麼前頭的句子並沒有問題。

      下方這個link裡頭也有人提到類似的理解:
(click me) (這頁的第二篇M.M.提到: "Swan only means that .... However, .... it's not wrong, though it may be ambiguous."
      另外就是這句子(和相關章節的內容)只有第一版有。第二和第三版這句子不見了,"Typical mistake"的字樣當然也沒有。相關章節的解說也移到別處且內容也簡化許多。我的猜測是作者認為這例子和字樣不妥,容易造成誤解,所以在後來的版本拿掉了。

      值得一提的是在這第三點的最後Swan寫了個"Note, however, ..... a very complex area .... is not yet very clearly understood"。我想,也許是因為這關係在後面的版本Swan就不再額外解說第一版這部分的progressive/non-progressive分別(有後來版本的書的人可以找 relatives ...: advanced points -> reduced relative clauses)





BBC Learning English也有一個。下方link網頁的最下方:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv106.shtml
那個說明很重要: "Note that ....",千萬不要漏看。重點是在當你要用限定關代表達一個"completed action"時就不要那樣子使用(因為已經"completed",自然不會有"仍在進行")

以最後的那個錯誤例子來說(我補完整句): NOT: The girl falling down cliff broke her leg. 這句是"NOT"的原因是整句的意思非常古怪,這似乎在說:
  • 是"正在掉下來的那個特定女孩喔"....(不是我旁邊站著的那個女孩,不是跟她一起掉下來的男孩,不是.... ??)
  • 是那個"特定"女孩腿斷了--- 換句話說這個正在掉下來的女孩在落地之前已經斷了腿(不是跌落cliff造成的?)
  • 這個cliff恐怕很高很高,因為說話的人居然能在這女孩跌落cliff的這過程之間講完整句
  • 有什麼特定理由在這危急時分要這樣子交代?一般常理就算不是嚇呆,嚇得尖叫,至少也是趕快呼救
  • 其它(?)
即使你確實是要表達這些意思,但是這實在是太詭異,一般常人(英語人士)不會認同這是尋常表達。要注意的是千萬不要把這錯誤句子的句型當成是通例,以為用到這句型就是錯的。比如BBC這網頁之前的例子就很正常:
The train now arriving (= which is now arriving) at platform 1 is the 6.36 from Newcastle.
(意思上也確實是指"is now arriving"的這個特定train)

總之如果你還無法掌握那「語感」,那麼就不要亂用(很多時候英文不同句型/用法之間不是像數學公式那樣"無意識"的 A = B 就直接代/轉換過去)。 如果還是想「試」,那麼最好跟著「他們的習慣」用(畢竟大多數人是想寫出讓英語人士讀起來覺得通順的英文,所以就不要去理英文不是母語的人的看法)。比如確實是要用progressive的意思來特別指明(/限定)特定人,這時候用現在分詞的簡化寫法就比較不至於出問題。

另外我要提醒的一點是未必所有的英語人士會這樣子認為(換句話說會有爭議(*1),比如下方的link(s)就有不同的意見,說「可以」的算是少數),但是對learners來說(其實對他們一般英語人士也是一樣)避開有爭議的表達法遠比硬套/硬用好的多。The girl who fell down the cliff broke her leg. 意思不是很清楚?這樣子清楚表達絕不會有爭議。


(*1)以GMAT來說(這考試的對象本來就是英文為母語的(美國)人),有爭議的用法一般不會是答案。這理由其實也很單純,畢竟正式文件的要旨是意思表達精確、清楚,不能造成某人以為是這意思,另外其他人以為是那意思,或是認為根本是錯誤,所以這時候就不要去硬辯「只有某些人」認為是對的用法(因為只有部份人,所以才有所謂的「爭議」)。


http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english/msg/7379089fd7a98a32
(裡頭的M.H.母語不是英文,仍是個learner)

(同一串 "I am surprised ....", "I hesitate to disagree with John ...")
(以及之後的大致上是... not the only interpretation ...)


另一個相關的 https://groups.google.com/d/topic/alt.usage.english/Ap5oINkwA5Q/discussion

----------
Google Books
A Semantic Approach .... : who has vpp, having vpp, "who is having vpp"?
".. verbs which refer to present time  through the be ... -ing imperfective auxiliary, ..."
(my note: e.g. "sack"
The managers who/that sacked firemen have saved money for ...
The managers who/that are sacking firemen are saving money for ...
also
extraposed clause / a restrictive clause ... moved to the end ...
)

---

https://dunchee.blogspot.com/2015/09/relative-clause-extraposition.html

------------------
Google Books
Hart's English Grammar: A Grammar of the English Language, 1849

The man having finished his letter, will carry it to the post-office.
"having finished" contains precisely the same meaning .... conveyed by the expression, "when he has finished."

--------------------
https://www.englishforums.com/English/ToCalifjimReducedRelative-Clause/hhjvl/post.htm




我只稍微瞄了一下那網頁的內容(開頭部份有些怪),所以我只針對你寫的這句。確實是有這「現象」(特指的情況),而能與不能並不是「絕對」的問題,而是要看整句的意思(倒是那個有progressive意思的情況仍是在)

換句話說除你是要表達那個正在跌落(仍在這過程)(The girl falling down ....)的那個女孩...(比如在跌落之前)本來就摔斷腿(不是跌落造成的--這是多種可能解讀之一) (但是問題是這樣子的意思表達怪異,雖然不是不可能(無法證明人類歷史上沒人這樣子表達過),但是確實是不尋常,也因此稱之為「不能」這樣子簡化),但是這樣子的句子的意思就和原來的句子的意思就不一樣,也換句話說這不能稱之為原句的簡化。不論如何,光是("The girl falling ... broke her leg")這意思的 ambiguity 就無法使之成為首選。

Doggy bag

這照片是在我看到下列第一個討論串不久之後拍的:
..... say 'doggy bag'?
...... "doggy bag"

說起來也很有趣,"doggy/doggie bag"這名詞是以前在國高中時學起來的,但是我來美國這麼多年還沒聽人實際說過。後來看了上面的討論文發現不同人在不同的地區會有不同的經驗,不過裡頭 倒是沒有人說"doggy/ie bag"這說法在日常中仍是很普遍。是有,也聽得懂,只是會使用的人很少了。如果要知道一般的/更普遍的說法,那麼點上頭那兩個links(或是直接點第 二個,第三篇),裡頭有些人有提到。

至於上頭那照片,那次其實也很有趣。那間餐廳其實開很久了,但是不知怎的我就是不會想要去。後來有次朋 友突然說要去那間餐廳,於是我就跟著去了。那個紙袋子是我們一坐下後waitress "Dee Dee"放上去的。紙袋上寫的是"bone bag"。關於這,我有跟朋友稍微提一下,我說這該不會真的是丟骨頭用的吧(這間餐廳主打BBQ),他倒是不置可否。話說回來,這袋子如果真的 是"doggy/ie bag"也太小了...

後來我再去這間餐廳時他們就不再事先給那bone bag。朋友有要把吃不完的食物帶回家,餐廳用的仍是一般常見的保麗龍大餐盒。

I spent money "to buy" something

這篇文主要是關於下列這句子的usage

"I spent one hundred dollars to buy this skirt."

我拿到AUE那邊問,共問了兩個句子(*1):
(NOTE: 就像中文是我們的母語,我們看到一個中文句子時,會針對這個特定句子的內容去理解,而不是用「句型」去想。這句子也是一樣。換了字的話(比如... spent money to help people ...),那麼這些英文母語的人會有不同的解釋/(意思)理解) 

https://groups.google.com/d/topic/alt.usage.english/VUahJmrp6po/discussion

"I spent one hundred dollars to buy this skirt."
"I spent twenty dollars to buy this skirt."

回答的英語人士很踴躍,解讀不是都一樣

大致上是:

1. 有些人認為口頭交談的話是還好
2. 若是書寫的話問題較大
3. 有些人是認為即使是口頭說也不是很好
4. 其中的alan直接點出問題. Robert Bannister以及Barbara Bailey是直接理解為"不是表達裙子價格"的意思
5. 有相當比例的人無法很確定這句子的意思到底是什麼
(句子的意思並不一定是花了xxx錢買了一條裙子,或是這裙子的價格是xxx)

剩下的有興趣的人可以點前頭的link去讀。會出現不同解讀的一個理由(這是我靠自己的語感去體會出來的)是"spend"和"buy"意思上過於同質。花錢(---〉買) vs (花錢----)買 :花了錢就是要買東西,所以對花錢本身來說已經隱含了的這後續動作意思,也因此一般的"spend"表達不需要多餘的又補上 "to buy"這後續動作說明。而不是習慣表達的句子對母語的人來說就只能從字面上去理解,也因此會出現多種不同的解讀。

最下方的 link 是我問的換了別的字眼的句子情況。


(*1) 我剛開始用"$100"問的時候,回的人是理解為這是個"rant"--抱怨價格太高了。為避免是因為錢數的關係造成的特定的理解,我另外問了個價格較低 /一般的句子

-------
至於 "I spent one hundred(/thirty/twenty) dollars buying this skirt",有興趣的人可以看Tony回的那篇:
[quote]
... , but the normal structure of that sentence
is "I spent thirty dollars on that skirt".  Or, even, "I spent thirty
dollars for that skirt.
[end quote]



相關的,關於 time 的用法:


"spend money buying?"
 https://groups.google.com/d/topic/alt.usage.english/1b_VC25sV4c/discussion


spend sth + V-ing / to V
 https://groups.google.com/d/topic/alt.usage.english/MJ67bZs6lcU/discussion






-------------------------------------
(我在PTT上的回文 https://www.ptt.cc/bbs/Eng-Class/M.1495375102.A.781.html )
這篇文主要是關於下列這句子的usage

"I spent one hundred dollars to buy this skirt."

NOTE: 就像中文是我們的母語,我們看到一個中文句子時,會針對這個特定句子的內
容去理解,而不是用「句型」去想。這句子也是一樣。換了字的話(比如
... spent money to help people ...),那麼這些英文母語的人會有不同的解釋/(意思)理解(*1)

這是多年前遇到的一個問題。剛剛好奇之下我用Google Books找了一下:

books.google.com 用下列 patterns (含前後雙引號)搜尋:
"I spent money to buy"  : 顯示10筆,但是有效/能肯定的實際例子趨於 0
"spent money to buy"  : 顯示848筆。只列出8頁,但是實際只有2頁,約12筆。
                        有效/能肯定的實際例子趨於 0 (
"I spent * dollars to buy"  : 顯示三比,有效例子趨於 0
"I spent * to buy"  : 顯示4筆,有效例子趨於 0
"spend * to buy" : 顯示133,000筆但是只有三頁。有效的實際例子約只有 1 筆(重複的書)

看樣子這結果倒也符合我多年前問的結果(*1) -- 不是普遍的說法。台灣一般的情況
是過份把注意力放在「對」「錯」上頭。「對」不代表絕對不會有任何的問題。一個
很好的例子。台灣現在有很多外籍人士。相信大家有聽過外籍人士講「聽起來怪怪」
的中文的經驗。這些「怪怪」的中文裡頭我相信也會有這情況:「完全符合中文文法」
或是「還是可以聽懂,只是『我們一般不這樣子講』」。所以老師們是要推廣這種自行
生出的英語人士聽起來「可能」會覺得怪怪的或是理解成其它意思的句子? (我還要再
強調一點。問題不是在於 spend 後頭能不能出現to Verb的這「通用句型」,而是
spend和to buy 一起用的時候會出現的問題(... spend/spent ..(money)... to buy ....)


(*1) 剩下的說明 / 問來自英、美、南非等國的英文母語人士的回應:
https://dunchee.blogspot.com/2009/07/i-spent-money-to-buy-something.html

that-clause, appositive, "not?" right after

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/GRAMMAR/grammarlogs4/grammarlogs505.htm

Q:
....
Example: This is the story and truth of the entire situation, that you may know why I have done the things I have done thus far.
....

A:

"Story" and "truth" would be twin branches after the linking verb, the dual predicate. The "that clause" that follows (which contains two modifying clauses unto itself, "why I have done the things" and "I have done thus far") seems to be an appositive for the double predicate. (In fact, "story and truth" can probably be put on one line, as a singular entity, sort of like "macaroni and cheese.")


遠東時事精選II:

On Flores Island, for example, skeletons have been found that prove the existience of rats as big as dogs, and elephants as small as ponies.


http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxthatvs.html
... when the relative pronoun is separated from the antecedent:  "This is the only book in my personal library which I haven't read."

Useful Web Sites; Phonetics

我以前有bookmark過,但是丟了。最近又找到:
http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/
點選"American English"(或是美國國旗) -> Phonetics: The Sounds of American English (應該是和我以前學的KK音標一樣)
有發音檔,圖形,嘴型短片等等


其它的links:Intro B: Useful Web Sites for AUE Participants

Monday, July 6, 2009

Context很重要,但是..(2)

      另外一個情況則是問的人大概是想省去打字的麻煩,所以當被問及能否提供更多內容時,問的人會「用自己的話」以簡短的中文或是英文說「啊上下文就是某人要做某事啊所以說這話」,但是很多時候他們卻是記錯/理解錯誤/僅記得非重點部分。

      我用我哥來舉例子好了。我哥有時候會問我些英文問題,一般是他在看電視時聽到某個 phrase,於是在事後碰到我時會問我那是什麼意思,而我也常要求他說 context 是什麼,因為光聽那個 phrase 很難說明那意思是什麼。我哥也很配合,只是他都是以自己的印象用中文說出來,但是幾乎每次我在聽他說之後我還是無法把他說的內容和那個 phrase 配合上。有時候我會反問他「你確定你沒有聽錯」,或是我會說「不大可能會是那種情節」,這時他往往會露出那種出於自我防衛的(臉色稍微陰沉的那種)表情說「沒有/就是那樣/我沒有搞錯」。

      上個禮拜吧,他來我這邊作客。我在客廳看電視時他正在廚房和我的老美房東(以下我用 Mr. A 來表示)講話,突然我聽到我哥問 Mr. A "Catch"(*1) 是什麼意思。突然這樣子一個字出來當然不容易回答,於是我哥接著說 "Someone lost his job. And a human resource asked him 'What's the catch?' Catch. What does it mean?" 這時我就聽到 Mr. A 用帶有疑惑的語氣說 "No ....",接下來 Mr. A 先是想直接解釋,但是解釋不出來,接著就想找個合適的 context 來說明正確用法,但是一時之間他也想不出來,於是我踱步到廚房說 "For example, someone is giving me a car for free. I think it's too good to be true, so I said 'What's the catch?'",接著Mr. A 說 "That's right."

      雖然我提供了合適的context,但是這仍是沒有解決我哥的問題(他還是不懂),於是我問他那對話到底是在哪聽到的。經過他的一些敘述後我找到了:(有興趣的自己看)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0328107/quotes
Samuel: Your resume is quite impressive. ....

http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/catch
(noun) 1 .....
果然,是我哥自己搞錯,沒把完整的原英文 context 記清楚。

      總之很多時候在引述內文的時候能夠做到 "verbatim" (一字不差的轉述)是很重要的,不然要是記錯或是有誤差,那結果是自誤也是誤人。

(*1)  因為發音的關係,他一開始是念成"kEtch"。Mr. A聽不懂。後來我哥直接一個字母一個字母拼:C-A-T-C-H,然後Mr. A才說"Oh, cAtch".


相關閱讀 : Context很重要,但是..(1)

Context很重要,但是..(1)

      Context,中文有些人是講「內文」,有些人是講「上下文」或是「前後文」,總之不管是那種翻法,context 能幫助了解文章裡頭的某一特定內容(或是看看Longman字典上的說明)。(很多時候context並不是「文字」-- 凡是能幫助理解的都可以是"context")

     問題是在於很多人似乎以為「內文/上下文/前後文」是只有在同一個句子/段落裡頭才算,所以這時候問問題的人常常說「沒有其他的上下文」了,而這時候我也會這樣子說:(以下斜體字部份都是 paraphrasing,我不記得我之前在網路上寫的完整內容)
除非你那本書/報告除了你問的那幾個字之外全部都是白紙,不然的話不可能沒有上下文的
      而我得到的回應就我記得的:
1. 你不要再逼我了,真的沒有....
2. 你到底有沒有認真讀我的貼文內容?我已經說了沒有內文 (-- 這類回應我好像碰到兩次)
      其實我也不是每次碰到有人說「沒有上下文」時都會問。大約在第四次我又碰到這情況時,為了避免再次的雞同鴨講(或是被兇),我另外加了個敘述:
或者是你用數位相機把那頁面拍下來,然後貼在網上,這樣子也方便辨識
      這次的網友就很願意配合(我在這裡很感謝他願意花時間拍照和貼圖片)把拍好的照片貼在網路上。我看了之後(所謂的有圖有真相),果然,跟我想的一樣,他真的以為是要在同一句子/段落裡頭的文字才算是 context:
Note: 原圖片的寬度沒有包含整個paper段落,換句話說,"The company ..."這段落的後頭一小部份無法讀到。我在做這截圖時也只取了段落左方主要的小部份(避免侵犯著作權)


      這位網友問的是 "Practice context" 的中文翻譯/意思(很巧的,問題裡頭也有個 context 字樣),而這是他的 paper 裡頭的一個(副)標題。(他認為)因為這是標題, 所以不是句子也不是段落,也因此沒有「內文/上下文/前後文」,他還特地在 Practice context 和下個段落間的空白處標了個 " --- this is ....." (他想表示 "Practice context" 的後方/下方真的是空白,沒有 context 了)

      於是我跟他解釋接在 "Practice context" 之後的整個段落(由 "The company regrets ...." 開始)就是它的後文(context),那整個段落就是在解釋/說明那標題的意思/用途等等。(因為他沒有給完整內文,所以我只能讓他自己去讀)

      像這種宣稱「沒有內文/上下文/前後文」的情況我碰到的機率不低,所以我乾脆用這例子寫個 Blog,所以呢以後我再碰到這情況時就直接給對方看這篇,這篇裡頭有圖有文,應該夠清楚,也省得我一次次的說明....(或是避免被「青」)

---------
相關閱讀: Context很重要,但是..(2)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

hope sb to ...(?) ; sb is used to doing sth

hope someone to ...

be used to doing .... (habitual?)
--> (R.C.: I do not agree that this is the most common meaning of "be used to doing"), (M.B.: not quite)

am used to (something) ...
--> (Donna R.)

http://www.englishforums.com/English/WouldUsedTo/wjxc/post.htm#42803

The narrow bridge: beyond the Holocaust (By Issac Neuman, ....)
Page 58

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"i before e" rule?; Phonemic Chart

BBC News
Schools to rethink 'i before e'

AUE thread

很巧,剛剛在local news上也聽到關於這的報導:
"... Too many exceptions to this rule ....... Not worth teaching...."

-----------------------
Phonemic chart | Teaching English | British Council | BBC
音標/發音表

the greatest losses usually resultS(?) from...

the greatest losses usually resultS(?) from...

(source:
Britannica Student Edition)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How Reliable Are Dictionaries?

我在AUE網站上逛到這篇,雖然我已經知道最早的OED是源自一群自願者之手,但是讀到這篇還是有些驚訝:
http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxhowrel.html 
基本上是大家互相抄,然後最開始的又是抄自OED,難怪那些紀錄很多字義的字典會有那麼多奇奇怪怪的字義。
關於OED,在 Wikipedia上有這記載:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OED#Origins
.....one that would be based on contributions from a large number of volunteer readers, who would read books, copy out passages illustrating various actual uses of words onto quotation slips, and mail them to the editor. In 1858 the Society agreed in principle to the project: A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (NED).....
這也解釋了為何Dr. Eye的內容那樣差。英文原文版的字典內容如果有問題最低限度有英文為母語的編輯群能夠更正,但是Dr. Eye...我想除了copy過來還是只能copy,內容有問題恐怕他們的工作人員沒人有能力更正,然後再加上錯誤翻譯(我想這也是從別處抄來的).....

You're Doing IT Again

> Are you sure it's idiomatic?
It sure is. You're doing it again. You have what seems to be a fair
bit of "book larnin'", and it sounds like you ate a style manual or
two, but you have no idea what is or is not idiomatic. 

我在AUE上讀到的一小段很有趣的對話。一個印度人"又"在那裏質疑其他英語人士的話,然後另一個英語人士出來吐槽他。想像一下,如果你說某句日常 說法"我們一般都這樣子說的",然後一個中文非母語的人跳出來說"你確定你們是這樣子說的?",你會不會覺得他很滑稽?
=======
另 外一個:
> Again, not something anyone'd say. It would definitely be 'This job doesn't suit you'

Look, English isn't your native language. Saying "not something anyone'd say" is very dangerous even when English is your native language, because there's always someone around who'll disagree with you.
Another one:
J------, I do wish you'd sometimes express your opinions in the form of questions, or use some other sign of tentativeness. The version with commas doesn't mean to me what it means to you: it just looks like a perhaps slightly awkward emphatic form.

答案揭曉了,原來他讀過的大部分的書是一百多年前的作品,難怪那麼脫節:
> Hey, I never said it was a great example. Besides, it becomes quite plausible if you set the clock back a hundred to hundred and fifty years, which is probably where most of my English as well as my imagination of the English speaking world is set, seeing as most of the books I read are from that period .
Ah. No wonder your 'pedantic prescriptivism" comes across strangely to most of us here.

下述的對話讓我想到某人也做了類似事情。他引了一段1970的著 作,上頭寫說呢"現代的"英文用法有出現某種趨勢,所以根據那趨勢,某片語是"現在的"英語人士也廣泛在用.....這是甚麼邏輯?
>No, Fowler himself agrees with me that 'have got' is colloquial at best.
Fowler died more than seventy years ago.
> Personally, I see no grounds for using this form.
No one is forcing you to do so, but you needn't be so quick to criticize those who do.

美國人和他們的味精

美國人對味精好像很敏感,這從這裡的某些中國餐館外頭招牌上的"No MSG"可以看得出來。

有的時候在某家中國餐館吃飯,還會聽到顧客特別交代,"No MSG please.",好像廚房裡頭的廚師真的會為他一個人另外調個沒有味精的醬似的。

可是我看超市裡賣的調味香 料,很多都是內含味精,比如我現在正在用的Soup Mix,或是櫥櫃裡的麵包粉,以及各式各樣的調理包。這時候,味精又成了調味聖品。

(老美室友又舀了一些soup mix到他的湯裡)

如果,超市把所有含味精的調味品放在一區,然後放上標示,不知道會不會有人去買。

Sunday, June 14, 2009

she or him; The door and window were broken

An interesting compromise

我特別喜歡這篇

====================
(國中基測考題)

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english/browse_thread/thread/9838b5225aa1bd66/43b4a63786195ac2

Susan: Oh, no! The door and the window_______!
Victor: Who could have done this?
Susan: Go in quickly and see if we’ve lost anything.
(A) are breaking   (B) have broken   (C) were broken   (D) will break
Given answer: (C) were broken

He doesn't know me from Adam's off ox

(Something I heard from NPR online radio)

"He doesn't know me from Adam's off ox."
(Oh my, I just noticed, there's a "Listen Now" link right below the title)

I'm more intrigued by this fact:(even though it's expected)
"Most of the journalists at that news conference had no idea what Clinton was talking about."
Why? Because ....
"It turns out the president was using a regional expression ..."
The merits:
1. Even well-educated native speakers (those journalists) don't always know everything.
2. So, it's really OKAY and absolutely normal if you(learners) don't know everything.
3. (thinking... thinking.. still thinking....)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Essays, short articles, books, writers

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english/browse_thread/thread/4e97715c734851c9#

(Note to self)
"Try the Collected Essays of George Orwell, a great master of lucid, stylish but still colloquial prose." - PG
"Any or all of the numerous essays by Herbert Read are worth consideration, as is his book "English Prose Style" - EW

------------------------------
Subject: Sighting of former AUE regularJames Follett
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english/browse_thread/thread/3116b5210c76c5e7
(His book was made into a TV miniseries)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Some kind of ghost in an opera house

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1198756160967049266&ei=piIsSs-eE5HiqgLB28WrCg

The original London cast is the best....
(You can download an mp4 file from a link in the page. The sound quality is better.)

---------------------------
      A classmate of mine back in college introduced me to it. Not the musical itself but a CD album. It wasn't a full score but "Highlights from", and still I was drawn to it immediately and bought the CD.
      Years later, during a visit to San Fransisco, I was able to see the real thing at a theater. ($60 it cost me, if I remember correctly.)
      Well.
      I was disappointed.
      Before watching the show, I had been listening to the "Highlights from" for years and I was so accustomed to the voices of the original cast that anything performed even marginally less would seem like a disaster to me. One example would be in the beginning when the character Christine Daaé was singing "Think of Me" and she had to hit the high note at the end of the song. Sarah B., from the original London cast,  could hit it effortlessly, but the actress I was watching, gawd..., before she was about to hit the note, I could visually see her trying to take in as much air as possible, expanding her chest to the max, and forcing the voice out. Gawd... it was a painful sight to watch.

In 2004, the movie version was out. I didn't go to the movie theater to see it(I don't remember why I didn't), but I bought the DVD when it was released. After watching the movie, I then understood the whole story, and it really helped when I listened to the full version of the recording after I found it online last night.
      It was really some'm.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Preposition at end

Preposition at end

So, I quote, "Fowler and nearly every other respected prescriptivist see NOTHING wrong with ending a clause with a preposition; Fowler calls it a 'superstition'."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

如何問家裡排行?

最近看到的一串: click me
這串也挺有趣的: click me

      之前我在那邊看到的是個印度人在問相關的問題,這次的是哪邊人我不是很確定,查IP的結果是在Iran。看樣子在「多產」家庭的文化裏頭問別人的家裡排行 是很尋常的事,也因此有相對的慣用問法。但是英語系國家...說老實話,我也不知道為什麼他們沒有發展出這種慣用法,也許他們以前有過,畢竟「生很多孩 子」不是只限於某些個文化,以英美來說,以前也是有的,只是以近代來說這確實不是風氣,也許這過去七八十年間的新變化足以讓可能過去曾有的慣用說法消失? 當然我也只是猜測而已。


(其餘的等我有空再擴充)


From "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan
上面的截圖是在第一章"FEATHERS FROM A THOUSAND LI AWAY"裡頭的第四篇"YING-YING ST. CLAIR: The Moon Lady"
這書講的是華裔美國人的故事,而這段描述的是其中一位人物幼年時在中國大陸時的經歷

Saturday, May 23, 2009

找錢文化

      我剛看了這個Blog : 俄國的日常生活二三事 ,裡頭提到那邊的「找錢文化」。美國這邊(至少我碰過的)也是差不多,(小一點的店面)不願意為了賺你那幾塊錢美金而幫你把50元或是百元美金紙鈔找開。 有些便利商店會在收銀台那邊放個標誌--不收20元以上紙鈔。....寫到這,我忽然想起,便利商店我現在已經很少很少去(最近一次大概是幾個月前到 Florida時路邊停下的一間7-11),但是我好像沒有在那家店裡看到這標誌。也許這和信用卡的使用有關,也許是我沒注意到...
      我記得我剛到美國的頭幾年即使是麥當勞也是只收現金。有些小的店還會特別放上個標誌--使用信用卡最低消費XX元(不過最近我看到篇文章,說是信用卡公司 其實禁止這種行為,文章說到碰到這情況時可以去函通知信用卡公司)。現在雖然是可以(更加)普遍使用信用卡,但是還是會碰上不收信用卡的情況。
      有一兩次我得到Boston市區辦事,市區裡頭停車很不方便,所以我都是到市區外圍的一處停車場停車然後搭捷運入城。然後停車場入口的那個老印喔,真是 XXXXX,不停的在那裡碎碎唸,他說他收了我的20元紙鈔,那麼他之後零錢會不夠,要如何找給之後的人?奇怪了,這干我什麼事,你有問題你要跟你的 supervisor反應啊,把氣出在我頭上?!說老實話,能的話我也是會付零錢,但是平常我都是用信用卡,我的口袋裡頭根本是空空的,連個 quarter(25 cents)也沒有,我怎麼生$3.75給你?(應該是這個數目....)幸好之後我沒再去那裡停車,不然的話再受他的鳥氣我就真的要「回敬」外加寫 complaint letter.

Friday, May 22, 2009

介紹AUE

      你學英文的目的是什麼?如果你只是要背各類的文法術語和規則,那麼我這篇Blog不適合你。如果你想要能夠像英語人士那樣很自然純熟的使用「好的」英文,那麼繼續往下讀。
       還要提醒一點的是這篇是針對英文有相當語感程度的人寫的。如果你的程度未到,那麼你還是可以讀,至少可以留作未來的參考。

       新聞群組AUE : alt.usage.english
      Intro A: Welcome to AUE and Guidelines for Posting
      他們自己維護的一個網站: http://alt-usage-english.org (NOTE: 之前有公佈要停止維護網站。看樣子已經停了。有 archive 網站保留下這網站的備份就是: http://web.archive.org 輸入 alt-usage-english.org)

      這群組早在WWW發明之前就存在了。參與的人主要是對英文語法有興趣的英文母語人士,而且絕大部分參與的人是60歲以上的退休人士,所以上頭不會有外國小朋友的嘻嘻哈哈亂七八糟文,但是這也不表示裡頭沒有聊天文(他們即使是在打屁他們所寫的內容也是很值得一讀的)。因為參與這群組的人語文素質很高,所以有些寫英文用法書的作者也常去那裡問意見(參考這篇)。另外一個我很常使用的文法網站也有引用AUE那邊的資料(參考最下方貼圖)。
      那邊的人雖然討論的是他們母語,但是「有時候」還是會回答英語學習者的問題,只是要提醒的是他們未必會回答你的問題。就像那邊有的人說的,他們覺得你問的問題有趣,值得回答,那麼他們才會回。如果你問些字典上就可以找到答案的問題,那麼他們是不會搭理你的。還有就是如果你想得到的答案是我們傳統的那種文法術語的回答方式,那麼這群組也不適合你(不過那邊還是有懂得這些術語的人)。總之你可以先試著每天閱讀裡頭的討論串,看看感覺如何。

       我的這篇也可以讀一下: 英文上的問題?

      再來就是要如何去閱讀這群組的討論串。一個方便的方法是透過Google提供的新聞群組介面,只要用一般的web browser就可以了。這界面的缺點是能控制的功能有限,而且很容易看到些Google自己沒過濾掉的廣告貼文:

     Google Groups: http://groups.google.com
     AUE : http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english

      另外一個方法是使用news reader/client。比如Windows作業系統附的Outlook (Express)就有提供這一功能,或是像我用的是Mozilla Thunderbird。使用的方法其實也不難,首先先找個 news server。我以前在用Hinet時他們有提供這服務,現在我就不知道了。Seednet的我前些天上他們網站找了一下,他們現在還有: http://service.seed.net.tw/server.shtml  (-> News 主機: news.seed.net.tw ) 總之如果你不確定的話,先上你的ISP的網站找一下。找到後就用你的news client訂閱 alt.usage.english 不是一定能夠找到就是,像我的ISP就停掉 alt 開頭的所有群組,遇到這情況就只能另外用Google找個有提供news server的公司,有的免費,有的則要付費。

      類似性質的新聞群組其實還有,只是我偏好這個。一個名稱很近似的新聞群組是alt.english.usage,只是那邊人氣較低,所以我不去那邊 (如果你發現人氣低的話,可能你不小心選到這個了)

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下圖是我使用的Thunderbird:

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

初級中學??

我還擔心該不會是用詞的關係還刻意查了一下教育部國語辭典:
初級中學(click me) : 所以確實是我們一般講的"國中"的另一種說法

那麼看看這個:
Yahoo!奇摩字典
grammar school(click me) : 1. (美國)初級中學;(英國)....
(反正我不在英國,就不理後頭的部分了)

然後我們比較看看其它字典是如何解釋"grammar school"(然後只看美式英文的用法)

Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary
1. grammar school(click me)
2. elementary school(click me)

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
1. grammar school(第二點)

大點的字典:
grammar school(click me)
這頁裡頭有Randon House Dictionary及American Heritage Dictionary

眼尖的人應該可以看出差別。
唉,所以說喔....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Open house

      在台灣的房子建商在賣房子時一般的做法(如果我沒有記錯)是先在建地上蓋個樣品屋,之後整個拆掉,然後在原地蓋起大樓。樣品屋因為要拆掉,所以建材是用 (薄)木料,買主在參觀後就可以決定要不要買,至於這些買主在房子蓋好後會不會覺得兩者相差太多我就不知道了。
      美國這邊的話,就我碰過的,一般的做法是先在一大塊規劃好的地上蓋好一小區的房子,然後拿其中的一或幾棟當樣品屋,屋裡頭的擺設是用實際的傢俱,然後買主 看到的就是實際的房屋情形。建商等這一批的房子賣出去(籌得資金)後再繼續在剩餘地上蓋下一批房子,等房子都賣的差不多時就會把原先的"樣品屋"也拿出去 賣。
      幾年前有次我和朋友到Boston灣區一處叫做Marina Bay的地方看新蓋的房子。因為是Open House,去看的人挺多的,所以sales就不陪要看房子的人,讓要看的人跟他們拿張指示圖自行去看。我記得其中幾款樣式的房子剛好在同一排,所以我們 就一間間的順過去看,看到最後一間時我看到門口的deck好像還沒完工似的尚未塗漆,且屋前的地面還沒整平。我當時想說反正是樣品屋,所以也沒想太多就開 了門進去。進去後在大廳看了看,發覺怎麼東一堆西一堆的放了些雜物。我當時的第一個念頭是可能正在裝潢吧,等再往裡頭走了幾步我發現兩旁堆的東西都是些私 人物品而不是擺好看用的傢俱啥的,突然我知道我闖進別人家裡啦!應該是這屋主剛買下這房子,正在搬家,所以大門沒鎖。這時候我的其他朋友也剛好進來,於是 我趕快示意他們出去,然後在外頭跟他們解釋發生了什麼事。


(我和gf在Florida時看一處open house時拍的照片)