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Thread: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Sooo...

    Today I found two horrible pieces of English:
    #1
    SVOC explanation
    I think it unlikely that bob did such a stupid thing.

    To me, think is in no way an SVOC verb (as I cannot replace It and Unlikely with sam and happy)

    #2
    He was seen to enter the building

    To me, this must be seen entering the building, but again, they treat see + O + action as some special beast, when it's actually see + (thing seen) and object agreement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    This is the type of thread 2chan should be translating
    Everything I have ever said was a lie, and that's the truth.

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    Senior Member happytime's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by ihatefall View Post
    This is the type of thread 2chan should be translating
    Agreed! Rather than our dirty laundry, which no~ one is interested in. Yup. Although bad grammar/bad examples are funny, juicy gossip is even funnier.

    I wouldn't say the first one is a horrible piece of English -- it's a well-formed sentence that unfortunately doesn't illustrate the structure!

    The second one, however... man. Do they ever get these books checked by native speakers (isn't there almost always at least one foreign name attached to those textbooks?)?

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by happytime View Post
    Agreed! Rather than our dirty laundry, which no~ one is interested in. Yup. Although bad grammar/bad examples are funny, juicy gossip is even funnier.

    I wouldn't say the first one is a horrible piece of English -- it's a well-formed sentence that unfortunately doesn't illustrate the structure!

    The second one, however... man. Do they ever get these books checked by native speakers (isn't there almost always at least one foreign name attached to those textbooks?)?
    Well funny enough, the first one is actually grammatically inaccurate. It should be "I think it's unlikely that s+v".

    The second one actually is relatively well shown in corpus, but it's only used in certain meaning sets which makes it essentially useless for the kids.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    Well funny enough, the first one is actually grammatically inaccurate. It should be "I think it's unlikely that s+v".
    Isn't there a rather anachronistic special rule about the combination of think / consider and 'it'?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Old Snow wouldn't have said that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are like the secret boss battle they only advertised back when the game was being developed.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    "consider" absolutely is an svoc construction verb. I consider the book interesting.

    Think is not. Think does not work with stative constructions. It must always have a fully developed subordinate phrase, not a reduced subordinate with it's function words removed and no tense.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    Senior Member happytime's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    Well funny enough, the first one is actually grammatically inaccurate. It should be "I think it's unlikely that s+v".

    The second one actually is relatively well shown in corpus, but it's only used in certain meaning sets which makes it essentially useless for the kids.
    No way! Good gracious, I guess I need to brush up on my English before I go. I can't find anything in COCA for that second phrase, but Google is giving me a few legal/news-style hits. Which corpora do you use?

    Also! Although the first one is ungrammatical(?), in my defense, I'm not the only "educated" person to have thought it grammatical. >w> Don't hate me Gizmo~ as fellow cat avvies we must strive to live in harmony~

    Edit: Oh! Snow! You saved me. I guess it's not completely ungrammatical. ;w; Wai Ingrish so haado?
    Last edited by happytime; June 19th, 2014 at 15:08.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    No hate at all, I fully realize number two is seen from time to time, and has been used in many a document. That does not necessarily make it correct but rather an overused error.

    The way you know it's an error is you can't freely replace it with contextually similar words and still consider the sentence grammatical. IE, change it first to likely. okay. change it to commonly. boom fail.

    Replacement tests are always the means to determining if it's an idiomatic construction (exception) or if it's an actual rule.

    As for corpora, I was using the new web 2012-2013 corpus they added to corpus.byu.edu recently. It's hosted on the same site as the COCA search engine. Like you found, I saw it in legal/ overly official news constructions.
    Last edited by Gizmotech; June 19th, 2014 at 15:09.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    He was seen to enter the building- type sentences usually only come up in stories about crimes, but they usually take the gerund rather than the infinitive (or at least the ones I've seen). Using the passive tense like that in that case makes sense, since you don't want to seem like you're accusing someone who might be innocent. I think it~ type sentences, though, I've only seen in fairly old works. It probably was grammatically correct at one point but has fallen out of use. It wouldn't be the first out of date grammar pattern that is taught in Japan, though.

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    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    "consider" absolutely is an svoc construction verb. I consider the book interesting.

    Think is not.
    Gotcha. Thanks Gizmotech!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Old Snow wouldn't have said that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are like the secret boss battle they only advertised back when the game was being developed.

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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by coop52 View Post
    He was seen to enter the building- type sentences usually only come up in stories about crimes, but they usually take the gerund rather than the infinitive (or at least the ones I've seen). Using the passive tense like that in that case makes sense, since you don't want to seem like you're accusing someone who might be innocent. I think it~ type sentences, though, I've only seen in fairly old works. It probably was grammatically correct at one point but has fallen out of use. It wouldn't be the first out of date grammar pattern that is taught in Japan, though.
    That's exactly what I said to them about seen, that it's far more common with gerunds rather than infinitives. Whenever I think about it unlikely phrases, all I can picture are snobish British English from about 100-150 years ago.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    "I think it unlikely" sounds very posh.

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    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    I get the same image in my head, Gizmo. But there are some things, like the overuse of "let's" and the use of sort of old fashioned words like "pleasant" and "attractive"(for things rather than people at least) that just come off as very Japanese.

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    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by greyjoy View Post
    "I think it unlikely" sounds very posh.
    That's exactly what I was thinking of...
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Old Snow wouldn't have said that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are like the secret boss battle they only advertised back when the game was being developed.

  15. #15
    Senior Member happytime's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    No hate at all
    Huzzah! If I could jump up and click my heels together in the air twice, I would. It's not as if you said you like me or anything, but it almost feels as if you have. ( *///w///*)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    That does not necessarily make it correct but rather an overused error.
    Is it really? D: My, my...
    Interestingly enough, Google (...too lazy to check out that awesome corpus right now. Though now that you bring it up, I remember one of my professors mentioning it in a corpus-centered class I took. "orz) pulls up more for "he was seen entering" (~800k hits) than "he was seen to enter" (~300k), but on the other hand "he was seen to enter the building" has some 30k occurrences while "he was seen entering the building" only has ~11k. Funny how the addition of one word changes things. My brain hurts. I wish authentic English made sense.
    Last edited by happytime; June 19th, 2014 at 15:19.

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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    I think it unlikely
    If this is grammatically incorrect, we'd better inform the well-to-do people that are on English TV. To remind people they're educated, this is the style of English they frequently use.

    But isn't it correct? Perhaps not for your SVOC explanation but otherwise, yes?

    "I think it unlikely" is fine imo. Similar to "I find him boring".

  18. #18

    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Man I don't even understand this shit, how the fuck are the kids supposed to use it to learn?
    Leave it up to the proscriptivists to make rules where there is no real pattern. Eventually there is a rule for everything and the rule is wrong. Although that opens up a whole can of proscriptivist vs descriptivist linguistics.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    I'm sure it all makes sense to someone, but I don't think anyone ever learned to speak a foreign language by memorizing every rule and all the words for them.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    Leave it up to the proscriptivists to make rules where there is no real pattern. Eventually there is a rule for everything and the rule is wrong. Although that opens up a whole can of proscriptivist vs descriptivist linguistics.
    Pretty much. The problem is when someone else looks at a proscriptivists answer and tries to make it make sense with another valid construction in the language to which it does not apply. IE, the stative SVOC construction to a non-stative verb like think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    I'm sure it all makes sense to someone, but I don't think anyone ever learned to speak a foreign language by memorizing every rule and all the words for them.
    Funny enough that's how everyone does it, but very few people do it the way the Japanese do.

    More often than not you memorize a word in context, gradually expand the viable patterns for it through exposure and training, then you have a mastery of the language. In the Japanese case, because everything is translated, they really have no entries for the English in their head as separate words, but connections to their primary language. Which really explains the recall problems most of em have and the production problems because they don't have indexes for English usage, they have cross maps to their Japanese.

    When you learned these things as a kid, you probably would've encountered something simple first like, I think the book is cool, then in school you would've been exposed to consider/find and it would reduce to I find the book cool, because you would've seen that those verbs have object positions that take a thing and a state. The other benefit is you would be able to easily identify the concrete object and the stative adjective/adverb through excessive exposure to them over time, and putting them into the new form would be a "ohh, okay that works" rather than "EHH???? WAKARANAI!"


    @uzateq, it is correct in that it is over used. As a grammatical rule, it is incorrect because think does not take objects of ANY kind. It takes fully formed complement phrases. If you say "I think it" it must refer to a whole thought, because it does not have two object positions. In most languages (including japanese) verbs like think cannot be used like "I think apple" or "I think apple sweet". Replacement tests are key here, because both of those should be wrong to you, meaning that "I think it unlikely" is a regularized exception.

    @ everyone: One thing we must always keep in mind when teaching English to a non-native speaker is to teach the regular patterns as regular, and exceptions as exceptions. They must be clearly two different things. Shoe-horning an exception into a regularized rule confuses student production and stabilization of core feature of the language, and then if they are destabilized they really have no base to improve/grow from.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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