Language & Grammar discussion

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The L&G Kitchen Party > Introductions and Welcomes

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message 1: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
New? Want to introduce yourself? Old? Stepping into the kitchen for a cold (or hot) drink and a little light (or heavy) side conversation? You've come to the right sink...

message 2: by Prabha (new)

Prabha | 70 comments Hi - I'm a teacher from Malaysia, and very new to Goodreads. My interests are in special educational needs and ed psych. I'm a single mum, with 3 wonderful kids who teach me new lessons in life and learning everyday.

English is not the first language nor is it the medium of instruction in schools in Malaysia. As such, you may find some bizarre and distorted usage of language and grammar which is completely 'acceptable' here. (e.g. - Express check out lane sign in supermarket saying "Only 5 items or less")
There is a lot of first language interference as well.

Since 2003, Maths and Science is being taught in English in schools in Malaysia, which i think is a huge step in the right direction towards raising standards of English in the country as a whole.

Will try to contribute my two sen (hey i'm only Malaysian!) worth to these discussions...

message 3: by Ken (last edited Feb 02, 2008 02:25PM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Yay, Prabha. Ironically enough, some "second language" English speakers sometimes learn the language more precisely (according to the book) than native speakers. Plus they don't have that running interference from figures of speech, slang, etc., which run rampant in England and the States. Looking forward to your 200 sens, thens... (a little Malaysian rhyming for you).

Oh. And for those of you who don't know, I'm an English teacher, too. Grade 8. But don't worry -- or worry, if you will -- I'm not some red pen-wielding maniac who drills his kids with grammar worksheets every day. And I'm not above destroying the language myself now and again. When I do, I call it "poetic license." Works every time (and they're expensive... I keep mine in my wallet).

message 4: by Prabha (last edited Feb 03, 2008 07:44AM) (new)

Prabha | 70 comments Nice rhyme! By the way, the plural for 'sen' is 'sen' :)

Good observation on how 'second language' speakers of English tend to learn it more precisely. Interestingy I have had this experience with Malay, which is first language here but not my native language as I'm a Malaysian of Indian descent. At school, I always maintained top grades in Malay right up to college level. My Malay language teacher used to comment that my command of Malay grammar was far superior to my classmates' who were native speakers of the language. But i think the 'running intereference' you mentioned actually helps in the writing and composition components of language learning, be it Malay or English, or for that matter anything else.

message 5: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Yes, "running interference" might best be described as "everyday life" and there's no way to learn a language like THAT. Book knowledge pales in comparison, no?

Thanks for the "sen" lesson. Jane Austen (Sen and Sensibility) would be proud...

message 6: by Prabha (new)

Prabha | 70 comments As in 'Sen and Sensibility: The Malaysian guide to effective money management'...

message 7: by Ken (last edited Feb 04, 2008 05:38PM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
It's interesting that you're so enthusiastic about Jane. As someone who knows India, you might be able to help me with thoughts on Rudyard Kipling. Do you read him? Like his stuff?

A book about classics I read called Classics for Pleasure (by Michael Dirda -- it's on my bookshelf under CLASSICS) highly recommends Kim which I promptly bought -- only now we're eying each other distrustfully from across the room every day.

Kim keeps saying, "Come on, read me. I dare you."

And I keep saying, "Ummm... Ahhhh....Ehhhh..."

message 8: by Prabha (last edited Feb 05, 2008 07:20AM) (new)

Prabha | 70 comments Unfortunately, i don't qualify as someone who knows India - I'm a Malaysian of Indian ethnicity ; my grandparents came to Malaysia during the British occupation, my mum and dad were born in Singapore and Malaysia, respectively, pre-independence (pre 1957)- it was known as Malaya then. I do have some distant relatives in India, and i have visited the country twice in the last twenty years. I have read up a little on India's historical past, and can see lots of similarities to Malaysian history - both were British colonies.

As for Kipling, I read Kim and Jungle Book as a teenager, at my dad's insistence (he's an English teacher and loves the classics). I found Kim all colonial and imperialistic, although the plot seemed interesting (and i loved the Kim's game connection, something we used to play on car trips with the family). I loved reading the Jungle Book, the characters are so well-developed and i remember finding it very fascinating. In both books, i couldn't (and still can't) really relate to the parts that describe India; the culture, the place nor the life.

"If" - i know by heart; Dad made us memorise it! I only began to appreciate its meaning much later on, and it's one of my favourite poems.

Ms Austen - I'm totally keen on. Perhaps it's because her scenarios are so familiar, so Asian in so many ways! Girls need to get married, preferably need to marry well, too many daughters equals too much responsibility (in getting them all married off)! Of course, times they are a-changing, but being Asian myself, I can really relate to her stories and characters and all their follies. And her prose is exquisite: the "Ms Bennet" and "Mr Darcy" and all the quaint and courteous mannerisms and formalities of that period - i love it!

message 9: by Ken (last edited Feb 23, 2008 04:21PM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Well here we are at Kitchen Party Central. The dishes in the sink (a veritable Matterhorn of Plateware) are getting untenable and the tines of the forks are web-footed from dried cake. Such, such are the rewards of hosting large groups.

Prabha promised to help with the dishes, but she was called out at the last moment to comb a beach and inspect a kelong (the authorities claimed something was fishy). Debbie left early for her job at the vintners. Kiwi wine, apparently. As if enough of the stuff wasn't drunk here last night. Is there anything worse than "dead soldiers" (and who first called empty liquor bottles such a thing... as if it's a "battle" to empty those vessels!).

Trina apparently left HOURS before the party wound down, or at least the last sighting of her was in the drawing room (where she was working furiously on a painting -- my only Degas!). Boyd was a no-show (because he loves it when people notice he's not here).

Then, the fly-throughs. Hriday, Kaizer, and Magda. I saw them (I think). Or was that a figment of Debbie's Kiwi Wine (a.k.a. "Kiwine")? And someone swore (though I dislike profanity) Yumi, Lindsee, and Reality were coming (and what a rhyme they'd have been!). Tina, too (unless it's Trina before she bought a consonant from Vanna).

In any event, the Day After is never pretty. Word up. Big parties like this are costly. The lamp shades are askew and someone's stockings are even hanging from one. Pizza cartons all over the floor. Speaking of, said floor is sticky with beer residue (as felt on your soles at a college frat house near you).

For a while, I thought I recollected Prabha reciting "If" from memory (as opposed to a book), but Debbie claims it was just the wine talking. Apparently, then, Personification roamed the grounds as well? What next? Onomatopoeia clattering about, jingling the door bell and crunching the chips so they're too small to dip?


In any event, I'll have it all together soon. No one said language was a pretty thing. Check her yearbook picture, if you don't believe me...

message 10: by Prabha (new)

Prabha | 70 comments Dear me, Mr England (assuming 'New' is your first name), you do sound quite beside yourself. Too much "Kiwine", perhaps?!

"There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere." - Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

message 11: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Oh, yes. My name is New, because I am always that brand (constantly having to reinvent myself, you see). And in truth, I don't drink any kiwine (or alcohol of any sort) -- not for any religious reasons, more for health reasons (I know, I know -- a glass a day is supposed to be GOOD for you, but still, it's, um, alcohol).

Beautiful quote from Jane. I think I saw her at the party, by the way. Jane, I mean. You of all people must know what a party animal she is.

message 12: by Symbol (last edited Feb 23, 2008 03:57PM) (new)

Symbol | 51 comments Looks like I came too late and missed the party and 'Kiwine'. Mayhap there'll be another? Unless dear Mr. England is finding himself discouraged after such a laborious clean-up session in the aftermath of this first soiree, of course.
I do hope our gracious host will grace us with another post!

As far as wine and health are concerned, dear New, I've heard that a glass of grape juice every day will produce the same benefits as that daily dose of wine. Only, more-so, since the juice lacks the alcohol content of its fermented cousin. Then again, I can't remember where exactly I heard/read that so, it's entirely possible that my my source was unreliable as well as unmemorable.

message 13: by Ken (last edited Feb 23, 2008 04:32PM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Hi, Symbol! Welcome to the party that never ends (well, you know what kitchens are like -- it's where the FOOD is).

Personally, I like my kitchen for other reasons. Something about the sun coming through a window over the sink and onto the floor (where the dog curls up, so as to get not only warmth but a possible bonus pretzel piece). Plus it's like an art room, the kitchen. When I cook (which I frequently do), there's flour all over the place. Frying on the stove? Count on spattered olive oil. And everything else. You wouldn't need to be Inspector Closeau (or Sher-ly You Lock Holmes) to figure out what I did when.

Anyhow, yeah, you're right about the grape juice. Only problem there is the sugar (supposedly Public Enemy #1 among the many enemies hunkered down in the foxholes of our diet landscapes). And now they have pills with all the resveratol (sp?). A pill for everything. That's what Americans like. I still remember the old marketing campaign for Bally Fitness Centers. They had a pin-up pic of a svelte Cher saying, "If bodies like this came in a bottle, everyone would have one." Replace "bottle" with "pill" and you get the idea. You also become an American millionaire if you invent it (the pill, not Cher).

Anyway, stay tuned for news of the next party (adj.) party (noun). For now we'll just mill around and chat and hope people keep coming to introduce themselves because they've got nothing better to do than to speak Language and pick on each other's grammar.

message 14: by Ken (last edited Feb 24, 2008 03:23AM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Alicia -- After careful consideration and all-night consultation with my panel of experts (the original members, a.k.a. "Gang of Five"), you're in. Yes, we have tight standards here. In order to get into this group you must:

a.) speak a Language
b.) have (or have once have had) a Gramma
c.) click the "Join" bar

Pretty rigid requirements, but we like to keep the group A-1 (so let's get sauced).

Anyway, thanks for the assist with the collie. Are you a fan of Lassie reruns, too? The music at the beginning of that show still brings tears to my eyes for no apparent reason. Maybe it's tears for my lost youth (yes, I've checked the lost and found at Macy's and other places). Or maybe it's a dander allergy.

Carnegie Mellon yours,

message 15: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod
Was I there?!!! I must have had too much of the Palliser sav blanc.......either that or I was down the road taking the gerund for a walk!! (Please send pantihose by return mail)

message 16: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
It's always good to air the gerunds. And the stockings shall be sent panti-mail, first class.

message 17: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod
Gerund walking is always good for an airing.

message 18: by Ruth (last edited Feb 27, 2008 10:26PM) (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Hi, I'm Ruth, an artist and poet, with a background in the sciences. I'm a seat-of-the-pants grammarian who never diagrammed a sentence in her life. Not good at the technical terms, but almost 70 years of reading have given me a feel for it. Happy to find this place. Language is fun whether or not you're walking a gerund. that's a small fuzzy animal, right?


message 19: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod
Hullo too! (Seat of the pants stuff)! I always saw a gerund as looking more like a hairless Abyssinian (of the feline persausion). But as it is completely imaginary, feel free to imagine away to your heart's content.

message 20: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
A big L&G welcome to Ruth (thanks, Debbie, for crating the gerund and pouring the tea). You've got the right idea, Ruth. Language is fun. I've been into word play ever since Abyssinians (hirsute felines, apparently) have been losing hair. As for strict grammarians, well, the rules are often not as firm as they may think. Thank Zeus!

message 21: by Amy (new)

Amy | 21 comments Hello. I'm new here but happy to converse with fellow linguists. I am wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a good phonetics book/DVD. I have degrees in Linguistics and Literature but my university's Linguistics dept. is so small we have never had a course dedicated to phonetics. I wish to study it further but don't want to spend a lot of money on a set that isn't helpful or clear. Thanks!

message 22: by rivka (new)

rivka a.) speak a Language
b.) have (or have once have had) a Gramma
c.) click the "Join" bar

a - check; c - check; b - hmm. Will a "Gamma" do?

message 23: by Ken (last edited Mar 06, 2008 04:52PM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Hi Rivka,

Gammas not only do, they do quite nicely. (And how many ways can we say "Gamma"? Mine was called a "Babcia.")

Welcome Amy,

Sorry I can't help you on the phonetics question (not my forte), but maybe someone else from the group will make like bells and chime in. Group?

message 24: by Ken (last edited Mar 08, 2008 01:49AM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Richard... I was going to comment on some of those posting times (for a Massachusetts guy). I have the same problem, to an extent. My insomnia type is an "after 5 hours of sleep" sort. That is, I fall asleep easily and without fail every night. My trouble starts when I wake up, especially after 5 hours. In fact, this happened last night. I went to bed and fell asleep at 9:30 p.m. (another wild and crazy Friday night), then woke up raring to go at 3. Of course, I know better. I'll be dragging later today because of this. It also affects my running. I run better on days when I'm lucky enough to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep (duh) and not so well on days after nights like these.

Interesting background you have there (computers and language can make strange bedfellows). We have some similarities. I gave up drinking, too, only four years ago and more for health reasons (plus you reach a point where it just gets "old" and the whole "culture of alcohol" begins to bemuse).

Anyway, hope you keep bulling in this china shop. Broken porcelain is our thing...

message 25: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (last edited Mar 08, 2008 12:20PM) (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod
'H' at the end of your words is just fine Richard deah! We kinda do it downundah as well (unless you are from the deep south of the South Island and then you rrrroll your 'rrrr's' fiercely)!
I have a friend in MA who also suffers from it a prevailing problem amongst males of a 'certain age'in New England?

message 26: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
70 degrees and sunny here, hills green, wildflowers bursting out....

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Everyone,

Like Richard I crashed the party without proper introductions or even a hello. I live on the west coast (California) am quickly advancing on my 5th decade (one day at a time) and am a live in nanny of sorts for 2 of my grandchildren ages 5 (Stella) and 9 (Theo.)
I lived in Maine for over 30 years, 6 in Maryland and 5 in Florida. Maine will always be home and is the cause of all my character traits good and bad.
I love the English language and am more a creative writer than a strict grammarian however, I think you have to know the rules first before you break them. And breaking them should be a well crafted, creative act, rather than a sloppy, lazy one (alto, I may be a tad lazy linguistically.)
Looking forward to the discourse and the honing of my dull grammar blade.

message 28: by Ken (last edited Mar 08, 2008 06:02PM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Dig it in, Ruth (I mean with the sunny 70 degrees, not with the shovel planting those flowers).

Thanks for introducing yourself, Maureen. Your "job" sounds wonderful (Stella and Theo, I mean). The name "Theo" has enjoyed a Renaissance in New England due to Theo Epstein, GM of the Red Sox (I would say New England's team, but it seems they've been adopted by many from sea to ball-playing sea).

I break rules, too. Hey. Better than hearts (or ranks, or certainly wind).

So. Now we only have around 45 other members who need to informally introduce themselves. How shall we tempt them? Bake extra brownies? Offer free margaritas? Feature Debbie dancing to "Bolero"?

message 29: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
One of the beauties of wildflowers, New (I can call you that for short, can't I?) is that they don't need to be planted.

Maureen, in what part of California are you? I'm in San Clemente.


message 30: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Call me New, call me NE (and your wildflowers will be mailed to Nebraska), call me Mr. England, just don't call me madam. (There's an Ethel Merman joke in there somewhere.)

message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

late for dinner

late for bolero

that might get them

i'm in San Diego Ruth

San Clemente is after Malibu and before Santa Barbara?

message 32: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
We're almost neighbors, Maureen. San Clemente's only about 60 miles north of San Diego. After Oceanside and before Laguna Beach.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

well that's not far at all
i went up to Laguna Beach a month ago and walked the downtown and had lunch in the little beachfront park area
we'll have to visit sometime

message 34: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod
How neat that some of us live close to others. If Sir Lancelotto ever rides up my driveway on his white charger to 'take me away from all this' I am going to pinch his horse and his money and come see y'all!!! NE, me dancing to Bolero would be about as enticing as......nah! Can't think of anything bad enough!!! How about a promise that I won't?! Anyway, I think the Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah is sexier by far!

message 35: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Bacchanales are always fun*. They involve drinking, right? Lots of it.

Anyway, next time you're visiting your friends in Massachusetts (and everyone has one -- or at least they must, considering Senator Kennedy hosts so many Bacchanales), look me up. I'll give you the grand tour of New England's sights (you know, places like Bridgeport, Waterbury, Lawrence, Lowell).

* until the puking part

message 36: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Laguna is a lovely spot. I grew up spending summers there in an old-fashioned beach cottage almost on the sand. Too bad the mom sold it too soon, we'd all be rich.


message 37: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (last edited Mar 09, 2008 11:50AM) (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod
Anyone seen Prabha lately? Has she become bored with us??
PS I never formally introduced myself either. I am Debbie and I live in New Zealand and I teach Year 6 kids (10 and 11 year olds). I have 2 kids of my own (21 and 20). My son is living in Australia since January and my daughter lives near me with her partner. I am divorced. I love reading, music of all sorts (especially Boleros and Bacchanales), ballet, Black Russians or rum (very occasionally) and my cat. I cycle and walk in an effort to keep middle age spread at bay (not very successfully)! I am scared of wetas (actually that should be weta in plural, like sheep), city driving, windy nights and marriage.

message 38: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
I sent Prabha a personal "Hey, where are you, at a Jane Austen Convention?" e-mail via GoodReads Express. That was yesterday, and so far it's all quiet on the Sense & Sensibility front.

Very fine formal introduction, Debbie. I like your phobias, especially. Marriage? Fully understand. But windy nights? I like the sound of a creaking house protecting me. Now if I lived in a straw house (like Little Piggy #1), it'd be another thing entirely. Wind, wolves, and weta would all worry me, if that were the case.

(P.S. Explain weta. Do they weta the bed at a young age?)

message 39: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod
I emailed her too...a couple of days response, hence my general plea. She must be busy.
I have been scared of the wind (gales and such) at night since I can remember....I used to hop into bed with mum and dad until I was about 11 and then I was told I just had to tough it out!! I still am. I can think of more attractive protectors than a house...but only on windy nights!!
Weta are a particularly ugly NZ native insect - large and spiky with a painful bite. They have a propensity for hiding in woodpiles. They are the ugliest creation you never it in images. Weta is a name now well-known in Hollywood courtesy of Peter Jackson and Lord of the Rings...the special effects were created by Weta Workshops (at least 2 Oscars so far that I know of), based an hours drive away from me.

message 40: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Hmm. Looks like a cross between a grasshopper and a Jerusalem cricket. You're right about ugly.

As for wind, good thing you don't live at the foot of Cajon Pass directly in the path of the Santa Ana winds, like I used to do.


message 41: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (last edited Mar 11, 2008 02:03AM) (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod
I agree Ruth...Cajon Pass sounds scary! I just hate how the wind sounds like a giant outside trying to knock down the walls.

message 42: by Ken (last edited Mar 11, 2008 02:34AM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Giants ain't nuthin'. It's the boogeyman that used to scare me (only no one can quite agree as to what he looks like). When I was a kid, I fancied he was one of those mannequins you see in department store windows -- only headless and with a voracious taste for little kids whose little legs made them an easy meal.

message 43: by rivka (new)

rivka Hey, a whole buncha SoCalians! :D

Angeleno here. :)

message 44: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Left Coast colleagues. We've got a few on the Right Seaboard, too. Now we need us a representative from Kansas, I guess.

message 45: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 12, 2008 10:57AM) (new)

How about a representative from Texas? Will that do? Named: Sarah Amy. Aged: 32 years. Status: happily married with 2 step-children, one of my own, and a grandson (2 months old and as cute as a button!). Employed: another teacher joins the rank and file. Currently working with 5th graders, trying to impart some basic math and science knowledge-- at least enough so that they can pass these horrible state mandated tests. Pastimes: recovering from long days of teaching, reading, surfing the web for entertaining repartee (I think I have found some-joy!), crochet, improving our house, hanging out (not doing anything in particular), camping and target practice (line up the students with the bad attitudes . . .) Nice to meet you all! Or should I say "y'all"?

message 46: by rivka (new)

rivka target practice (line up the students with the bad attitudes . . .)

heehee! :D

Welcome. :)

message 47: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod want some imports for target practice??!!'ll do us!

message 48: by Ken (last edited Mar 12, 2008 12:38PM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Hi Sarah! Glad you found your way through the woods to our thatch-roofed manse. (Actually, does anyone use thatch anymore -- or for that matter, live in manses? It's all so... Hawthornian.)

Anyway, we're glad to have another teacher/slash/reader/slash/liner-upper-of-students-
with-bad-attitudes among us. I practice (about once a year) shopping at Target, too. Only the wise guys pronounce it "Tar-jeé" (all French-like, with upper right lip arcing like a flying buttress).

message 49: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6387 comments Mod
An architectural moo-d NE?
They still use thatch in an article in Country Life about local councils dictating to thatchers what sort of straw they should be using. I think some Reverends still live in manses and I NEVER heard Target being pronounced Tar-jee....flying buttresses not withstanding!!

message 50: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Tar-jeé. That's something like going L'Arch d'Or
for a burger fix.

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