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Old 26th January 2012, 09:44   #1561
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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Originally Posted by HellwratH View Post
(i) If you don't want something, you should prefix a "No" to that object. For example, if you don't want ice in your water, instead of saying "Water without Ice", you should say "Water, no ice". It doesn't make sense to me at all! How can something not exist? I had difficulty communicating when I first got here because of this. I kept using without and the waiters/servers at the restaurants would go "Say that again". Water with ice and water without ice, is it really that hard?
First, I can't figure out why "Water, no ice" doesn't make sense. It's similiar to "Coffee, no sugar". "Water without ice" is also fine - and I think if an american had said it, the person would understand it. It's a problem with the accent. Whenever there is a problem with accents, it's best to use smallest possible words & phrases. Instead of asking at a shop "Would it possible to get a bottle of Coke" or - just ask "Coke, please". I naturally speak small sentences & I had a friend who spoke rather long-windingly - whenever we used to go out together - he used to get an "Excuse me" back everytime & I used to repeat his long sentence in 3 to 5 words to get the opp person to understand.
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Old 26th January 2012, 13:00   #1562
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

I don't speak American English, and I am just as puzzled by some of those things as you are. "For here" would defeat me. Perhaps the British "Eat in?" is equally puzzling, although, "To eat here?" seems straightforward. We don't say, "To go," we say, "Take away."

The thread isn't to pick on anybody, but was started by someone with a love for the language as a facility and resource. A person can be upset at the misuse of a language without it being their mother tongue.
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"Would it possible to get a bottle of Coke"
"Can I get...?" is an odd American Idiom. The answer should be, "Yes, the shelf is over there," or, "No, I'll get it for you"

But language is full of these oddities, without even crossing oceans. When working in a shop as a child (not a 'kid,' that is a baby goat!) I remember a witty colleague replying to, "Do you keep bread?" with, "No, Madam: we try to sell it!"

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Old 26th January 2012, 13:20   #1563
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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Only we were speaking Bambaiyya Hindi then and it came out as "Chal yaar, apun isko "to-go" karte hai" (never mind, it's untranslateable )
. Mixing any language with your local tongue is always bound to get hilarious.

But on a serious note I think many of these aforementioned "right or wrong" uses of the english language are just modifications of the original script. Language keeps changing and I doubt if we can call it right or wrong. It may be right in one part of the world and wrong in the other. A lot of people make fun of the Indianized English but the fact is that the same language is spoken differently in almost all of Europe and America. So for me "Do one thing" or "Water Without Ice" sounds perfectly normal.

But yes the English language is a lot of fun. I think it gives one a lot of freedom to say the same thing in many different ways without sounding rude or offensive. The same cannot be said about Hindi for instance which I feel is a very difficult language with so many words being used for addressing various combinations of respect + gender + age differences.

Last edited by drmohitg : 26th January 2012 at 13:23.
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Old 26th January 2012, 13:40   #1564
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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A person can be upset at the misuse of a language without it being their mother tongue.
Just missed the edit window, but wanted to add...

When people study a foreign language, they learn its structure and grammar: we pick up our mother tongues, usage, mistakes and all. That is why Sam could give a better technical answer than mine about "he is eating," even though I may have been speaking English twice as long as he has!
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...language keeps changing and I doubt if we can call it right or wrong.
Certainly we can say right or wrong! Languages have structure and rules of grammar: mistakes can be made, which is wrong. Words exist, or they don't exist.

Word that doesn't exist: upgradation. Same bad logic then used to ruin another word: updation. These words, however, have become firmly established as part of Indian English (Although I wouldn't be surprised if George Bush had invented them) so it is too late to call them wrong. If they are not in the dictionary today, then they should be tomorrow, because people use them. To a language lover, though, they remain ugly.

I could go on, but I have to go out

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Old 26th January 2012, 14:01   #1565
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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I don't speak American English, and I am just as puzzled by some of those things as you are. "For here" would defeat me. Perhaps the British "Eat in?" is equally puzzling, although, "To eat here?" seems straightforward. We don't say, "To go," we say, "Take away."
"For here or to go" is very common American speak - it means do you want it on a tray to eat it here or should I pack it for you to go. "To go" and "Takeout" are more common than "Take away" in the States, I think.

First time, you visit a deli in the USA and order some kind of sandwich, first you are asked "Here or To Go" - once you manage to understand and reply to that, you are immediately asked "Wheat, White or Rye?" said so fast that it totally stumps you - reading it, it's easier to understand that the chap is asking you if you want your sandwich on "Wheat Bread or White Bread or Rye Bread" - but when you hear it for the first time, it totally stumps you.

Once your order is delivered & are eating sitting down, the server comes back after some time & asks " Are you doing good?" - which means "Is everything OK - do you want anything else"

In India, soda refers to "Club Soda", whereas in the US, "Soda" or "Pop" is a generic term for Coke, Pepsi, Sprite or any fizzy drink - not sure if it's the same in the UK.

Biscuit in the US refers to a kind of Bread - Biscuit (bread) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. And cookie can be used to refer to most kinds of stuff which are called biscuits in UK & India (crackers are usually crackers in the USA).

And for tea drinkers (luckily I am not one), if you order tea at most restaurants, you get a cup of lukewarm water and a teabag on the side. And small cup of milk alongside. However with Starbucks, things have become a little better for tea drinkers.

Last edited by carboy : 26th January 2012 at 14:07.
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Old 26th January 2012, 21:28   #1566
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

I knew there was some good reason not to go to USA!

Seriously, though, I could work my way through most of that, but location/accent might make a big difference. Remember there is a lot of American culture in Britain. A keen cinema goer (I'm not one) would get much more of it. There are details, though, of usage and vocabulary that have us Brits foxed.

I don't notice a great deal of difference between American and British literature, but I guess I'm not reading modern stuff.
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Old 26th January 2012, 22:14   #1567
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

Starbucks has a popular tea offering known as 'chai tea'. Tastes a lot like the tea we get here.

As regards American expressions, 'to go' was one that bowled me over a few years back. And I've also heard about that 'water-no ice' vs 'water without ice' from a pal of mine who speaks very good English, with a neutral accent.

The issue is more with the un-educated waiters in the US (Blacks or Hispanics) who have limited vocabulary. Anything beyond what they normally hear is Greek, French and Latin to them.

A couple of more examples of US English which I noticed from my American colleagues are:-
  1. Her and I had a detailed discussion (not she and I)
  2. She did it couple times (not couple of times)
  3. I learned to do this in a day (not learnt)
@Thad---that 'eating' example was one I learnt in school from my British teacher---perhaps he was old-fashioned.
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Old 26th January 2012, 22:36   #1568
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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The issue is more with the un-educated waiters in the US (Blacks or Hispanics) who have limited vocabulary. Anything beyond what they normally hear is Greek, French and Latin to them.
It is not just the "blacks or Hispanics", it is universal for anyone in the world who is not educated enough. It is the education and the family background and not the colour or creed, I am sure you will agree to that. How about our own tele marketeers or call centre folks ? We don't even know how they look like, but they all sound and speak the same.
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Old 26th January 2012, 22:39   #1569
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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It is not just the "blacks or Hispanics", it is universal for anyone in the world who is not educated enough. It is the education and the family background and not the colour or creed, I am sure you will agree to that. How about our own tele marketeers or call centre folks ? We don't even know how they look like, but they all sound and speak the same.
You do have a point. I was responding to someone's post regarding US eccentricities, and hence that example. That was based on my 3 visits to that nation.
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Old 26th January 2012, 23:07   #1570
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
She did it couple times (not couple of times)
Maybe she did it Tuesday, too (instead of on Tuesday)

This one used to puzzle me when reading The Onion! But, note that Charles Dickens would have written that something was thrown out window, not out of the window (or something like that) which is an example of how common British-English usage changed within 200 years. Also, USA kept some forms that Britain changed
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I learned to do this in a day (not learnt)
Confused by this one myself!
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@Thad---that 'eating' example was one I learnt in school from my British teacher---perhaps he was old-fashioned.
I'd like a second opinion (third... fourth... ) on my analysis of that.
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Old 26th January 2012, 23:32   #1571
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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Originally Posted by vnabhi;2659720[LIST=1
She did it couple times (not couple of times)
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Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Maybe she did it Tuesday, too (instead of on Tuesday)
Nice, who is she?

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Her and I had a detailed discussion (not she and I)
"me, Myself and Irene" as against "I, myself and Irene"?

or as I saw in a book for my son, "Me, my mom and my dog", or something like that.
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Old 27th January 2012, 03:50   #1572
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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I like the direction this thread is taking.
Ha ha, my intent is not to start a US vs the rest of the world fight . My point is that every nation/region has their own way of saying things. At the end of the day, language is all about communicating, isn't it? I have accepted the fact that if I want water without ice, I'll have to say "Water, no ice". Similarly, why can't our phrases be accepted? Yes, it doesn't hurt to use the right phrase and is a good practice because it might help us communicate effectively, but I am okay using the Indian "Do one thing" phrase for now as long as the people around me get what I am saying .

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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
First, I can't figure out why "Water, no ice" doesn't make sense. It's similiar to "Coffee, no sugar". "Water without ice" is also fine - and I think if an american had said it, the person would understand it. It's a problem with the accent.
I don't think it's the accent, but it's the phrases that people are used to and the convention followed. Let me illustrate. The usual convention followed when you meet someone is "Hi, How are you?" and you respond "Good, thank you. How are you doing today?". A few days back a lady came to talk to a person next to me, she said "Hi, How are you?". The person responded with "Good, thank you" and did not ask how the lady was doing and yet the lady instantly responded with "I am doing good too, thank you for asking". I was stumped. do you see what I am saying? The phrases have just become a mechanical thing, a protocol.

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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
The issue is more with the un-educated waiters in the US (Blacks or Hispanics) who have limited vocabulary. Anything beyond what they normally hear is Greek, French and Latin to them.
Not quite. Can't really judge anyone by their ethnicity. Like I said earlier, I think it's the protocol that you agree to when you move to a new country/region. For example, if you visit the states in the south, you'd hear the phrase "Y'all" which means "All of you". I had heard this phrase on TV when I was in India, so this one didn't bother me as much as the other ones did.

The other one that got me thinking was the word "Aluminum". I am so used to saying aluminium that I almost always have to repeat myself every time I use it.
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Old 27th January 2012, 04:10   #1573
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
  1. She did it couple times (not couple of times)
  2. I learned to do this in a day (not learnt)
@Thad---that 'eating' example was one I learnt in school from my British teacher---perhaps he was old-fashioned.
When they speak in such a way it is usually 'coupla' time. 'of' merges with couple and 'a' is put in it to make it sound couple times. Try it, you will actually be surprised as to how good it works.

so when you hear it, it sounds like what you mentioned. But they do mean to say couple of times. But since their childhood they say coupla times and get used to it.

Also, i don't wanna generalize too much, but i have been told by my American friends who are 'servers' that only Indians order water and soda (cold drinks) without ice. When they are in mood, they play this games with anybody who looks like Indian. They usually start by saying, 'can i get you anything to drink' and then would say wait - 'water, no ice'? And most of the times Indians get surprised how they know.

P.S: This came up when we went for dinner together and my lady friend was surprised that i didn't order water and soda without ice. I always had it that way even in India and in all kinda weather. Guess there are always exceptions to the rule.

Last edited by chevelle : 27th January 2012 at 04:39.
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Old 27th January 2012, 04:49   #1574
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

Sorry missed the edit time window but would like to tell a couple of things.

When we ask for amount to pay after dinner/lunch in restaurants, in India we usually ask for 'Bill' or 'Receipt'. Here its called 'Check'. Again, even 'Cheque' is referred to as 'Check' here.
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Old 27th January 2012, 04:52   #1575
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Default Re: A YetiGuideŽ : How To Post In Proper English

funny you mention this, because at some places after I say water, they actually ask, "you want ice in that?" And when I am given a choice, I usually lean towards no ice . Similar to subway girl who knows me very well now, decided to jump the gun and suggested "footlong veggie?" just on the day I decided to take chicken teriyaki. I choose veggie more than 80% of time I guess.
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