Cato's Grammar Grumble

Started by Cato, February 08, 2009, 05:00:18 PM

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Cato

I am temporarily in the center of Ohio, home of certain television reporters who are very inept with the English language.

This morning - (and I am not making this up, sadly) - a 30-something, becoming the victim of a scrambled vocabulary on camera, used the following word quite naturally, as if he had used it often:


"...un-understansible.


I believe the full statement was similar to: "Everybody seemed to like Jack's Restaurant.   Why it closed down is just un-understansible!"


While this curious coinage is comprestandible, I suspect it will not catch on!   8)


"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

k a rl h e nn i ng

Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Cato

"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

André

How do you un-un something ? 🧐

k a rl h e nn i ng

Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

JBS

Although in this case the un is part of "under", so one under-stands something.
It might help to point to the German verb meaning "understand" is verstehen, while the verb meaning "stand" is stehen.

This does raise the question why we don't refer to lack of understanding as overstanding. Such are the quirks of English.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

André

Sometimes, avoiding quirkiness is an underarching consideration.

steve ridgway

A few years ago, for the sake of filling in the gaps in the periodic table, the as yet undiscovered chemical elements up to 118 were given temporary names such as Ununtrium (113), Ununpentium (115), Ununseptium (117) and Ununoctium (118). These are now known as Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine and Oganesson.

k a rl h e nn i ng

Quote from: steve ridgway on June 18, 2022, 06:14:58 AM
A few years ago, for the sake of filling in the gaps in the periodic table, the as yet undiscovered chemical elements up to 118 were given temporary names such as Ununtrium (113), Ununpentium (115), Ununseptium (117) and Ununoctium (118). These are now known as Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine and Oganesson.

At a semi-wild guess, I wonder if Tennessine is associated with the Oak Ridge labs....
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Florestan

Quote from: steve ridgway on June 18, 2022, 06:14:58 AM
A few years ago, for the sake of filling in the gaps in the periodic table, the as yet undiscovered chemical elements up to 118 were given temporary names such as Ununtrium (113), Ununpentium (115), Ununseptium (117) and Ununoctium (118). These are now known as Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine and Oganesson.

That's where David Cameron must have taken the inspiration for his Unobtainium from...  ;D
"Art is no excuse for boring people." - Jules Renard

"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

steve ridgway

Quote from: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 18, 2022, 06:21:12 AM
At a semi-wild guess, I wonder if Tennessine is associated with the Oak Ridge labs....

Yes, didn't know you were into nuclear physics Karl. ;)

k a rl h e nn i ng

Quote from: steve ridgway on June 18, 2022, 06:46:41 AM
Yes, didn't know you were into nuclear physics Karl. ;)

No, but a previous girlfriend hailed from Oak Ridge. She was nuclear by association :)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Florestan

Quote from: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 18, 2022, 06:54:06 AM
No, but a previous girlfriend hailed from Oak Ridge. She was nuclear by association :)

I presume you two had some hot fusions...  ;)
"Art is no excuse for boring people." - Jules Renard

"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

k a rl h e nn i ng

A good article, but the headline manages to mis-parse Henry V.

Cassidy Hutchinson Held Their Manhoods Cheap
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

coffee

Quote from: JBS on June 17, 2022, 02:16:30 PM
Although in this case the un is part of "under", so one under-stands something.
It might help to point to the German verb meaning "understand" is verstehen, while the verb meaning "stand" is stehen.

This does raise the question why we don't refer to lack of understanding as overstanding. Such are the quirks of English.

A language with very derstandable rules, perhaps.
Liberty for the wolf is death for the lamb.

Cato

From an article about a Broadway brouhaha:

"... We found the few good things people had said, stood by her, and kept going. The critics were not wrong, but we tried to major on (her) sweetness and innocence..."

??? ??? ??? "to major on"

In a university or college you can major in a subject.  Obviously that is a completely different context.

And so, what is wrong with "we tried to focus on (or upon)..." ?

Broadway slang of some sort?  If so, it fails our tests of wit and nuance!   0:)   8)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

k a rl h e nn i ng

Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

DaveF

On the BBC News website today:

"Four Vietnamese men missing after mill fire named"

Not really a subject for jokes, I appreciate, but I do wonder what they named it.
"All the world is birthday cake" - George Harrison

k a rl h e nn i ng

Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot