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Thread: Really trivial stuff that bugs you

  1. #13621
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    To some extent, it all depends on how much you care about the opinions of people who judge someone's intelligence based on their dialect.
    I have an ex-colleague who is extremely smart, who speaks in a broad regional dialect (the past tense of "jump" is "jamp", for instance). One of the joys of working with her was watching foolishly judgemental people switch from disdain to surprise to concern to outright fear as it gradually dawned on them that this "stupid person" was running intellectual rings round them. That never got old.

    Grant Hutchison

  2. #13622
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    Commands like this in LaTeX bother me:

    {\color{red}colour}
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  3. #13623
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    The biggest way to bug me with linguistic weirdness is to do something that changes the meaning while still intending the meaning it would have if you hadn't done it. For example, from some people, I've noticed a tendency to say "whenever" instead of "when" even if they turn out to be referring to a definite time, not an indefinite one. What could possibly make them want to choose to make it sound as if they didn't know when the thing they're talking about happens‽

  4. #13624
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    The biggest way to bug me with linguistic weirdness is to do something that changes the meaning while still intending the meaning it would have if you hadn't done it. For example, from some people, I've noticed a tendency to say "whenever" instead of "when" even if they turn out to be referring to a definite time, not an indefinite one. What could possibly make them want to choose to make it sound as if they didn't know when the thing they're talking about happens‽
    Pretty standard in Northern Ireland, when the context makes it clear that they actually do know when it happened.
    "Whenever I got married, my mother didn't stop crying the whole day."
    "Whenever I was at university, I had this really terrible car with a hole in the floor."
    It always makes me skip a beat when I hear it, but it doesn't really change comprehension. And of course if you come from Northern Ireland it makes perfect sense.

    Grant Hutchison

  5. #13625
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    The biggest way to bug me with linguistic weirdness is to do something that changes the meaning while still intending the meaning it would have if you hadn't done it. For example, from some people, I've noticed a tendency to say "whenever" instead of "when" even if they turn out to be referring to a definite time, not an indefinite one. What could possibly make them want to choose to make it sound as if they didn't know when the thing they're talking about happens‽
    Just to add, words change meaning all the time without regard to their original meaning. As a good example, in the US we generally use the word "momentarily" to mean "soon," while that is a 20th century usage and originally it meant "for a moment." I've heard (apocryphally, I don't know if it's true) that British people are startled when they first hear a pilot say, "we will landing momentarily" because they assume it will be a touch-and-go landing.

    Also, just a really dumb (in the sense of dumb when you think of the trouble that foreign speakers have to go through) thing in English, that:

    Few people died.
    A few people died.
    Quite a few people died.

    All have different meanings, and in fact the article changes the meaning, so that "quite a few" is actually more than "a few." And I think this is probably generally true in English, so not a dialectal thing.
    As above, so below

  6. #13626
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    To some extent, it all depends on how much you care about the opinions of people who judge someone's intelligence based on their dialect.
    I have an ex-colleague who is extremely smart, who speaks in a broad regional dialect (the past tense of "jump" is "jamp", for instance). One of the joys of working with her was watching foolishly judgemental people switch from disdain to surprise to concern to outright fear as it gradually dawned on them that this "stupid person" was running intellectual rings round them. That never got old.

    Grant Hutchison
    Never assume anything without a full conversation.

    I used to work for a Fortune 40 company doing IT support. I couldn't stand the willful stupidity. Over the past 10 years, I've worked in several schools for students with significant intellectual disabilities and I have never been happier because my charges and coworkers are really great people. Based on these experiences, I made up a game called "Special Ed or Fortune 40?". Let's play.

    I saw a person put a computer mouse in a sink and wash it with a scrub brush and Dawn dishsoap. Special Ed or Fortune 40?
    I revived a call from a person who needed help. I went to their desk and couldn't find them. I asked them to stand up and wave to me. They did. I didn't see them. I asked them where the heck they were and they answered, "At home, sick.". Special Ed or Fortune 40?
    I had to replace a keyboard 7 times because the user kept blowing their nose in to their hand and then typing until the keyboard switches were gummed up with snot. Special Ed or Fortune 40?

    I have a lot of these painful scenarios. Hint. There is only one correct answer.
    Solfe

  7. #13627
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    It is a bit of fun listening to someone speaking Singlish in full flow. As the name might suggest it is the 'casual' language in Singapore. It comprise mostly English words but with a lot of Malay, Tamal and words from the various Chinese dialects thrown in to the mix. I can understand it a lot of the time - usually because of the context in which it is being used. But occasionally I get lost. The speaker is usually fluent in English, Malay etc but Singlish is the go to choice for casual conversations. It seems to be especially popular among the younger generations.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33809914

  8. #13628
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    in the US we generally use the word "momentarily" to mean "soon," while that is a 20th century usage and originally it meant "for a moment."
    I'm entirely used to seeing & hearing both.

    The closest thing to that, that really stands out in my experience, is the phrase "a minute". It previously had always indicated a short time, literally something around a minute, but in the last several years I've encountered it a few times to indicate a long time, literally an amount of time you probably wouldn't measure in minutes, which I didn't know at first so I thought the people who said it meant what it had always meant before. One example was especially jarring because I had told a customer how long a process would take, and it was 1˝-2 hours, and her way of acknowledging it and telling me she understood was to say it would be "a minute". At first I corrected her, repeating that it would take much longer than a minute, but she still converted that back to "it'll be a minute" as her way of saying "OK, I get it". I'm pretty sure that in one of our rounds of going back & forth I actually said it would take "a lot of minutes, not just one". I don't know how many rounds there were before I thought of the idea that she might have reversed the meaning of "a minute" and asked her if she meant a long time instead of a short one. The miscommunication was even worse than when I discovered the "whenever" thing the hard way and kept thinking that people meant either they didn't know when something happened or it happened repeatedly, because that's what they were saying by using that word instead of "when" when "when" was what they really meant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    words change meaning all the time without regard to their original meaning.
    Some semantic shifts are no trouble at all to figure out, or even so easy that it could hardly be called figuring anything out at all, which makes it also easy to see how they could happen by accident. But the abrupt drastic changes are baffling.

    Seriously... you grew up in a world where "a minute" might not be precisely 1 minute (or even 0.99999999...) but it's always fairly close to that and means "a non-specific short time"... that's what everybody around you has always used it for... that's what everybody you meet thinks you mean when you say it, because it's what everybody they ever met used it for too... what could possibly make you suddenly think of starting to use it for something completely different such as "a long time; lots of minutes" instead, which nobody ever has before and nobody will understand correctly when you suddenly drop this on them (and in fact their misunderstanding will be not just different from the one you just invented but the exact opposite)? Just WHY? (And why would some people you do this to later end up joining you in it?)

    Same thing with "whenever"... these people weren't Irish. They lived in a place where nobody used "whenever" that way, and decided to be the only person around who does. What could possibly make them want to do that? If I want to tell somebody about the truck I bought a few months ago, I'm not going to call it a "helicopter" and just leave them with the burden of figuring out that I really mean "truck" when I say "helicopter".
    Last edited by Delvo; 2020-Oct-26 at 06:44 AM.

  9. #13629
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    There's always a reason--it comes from some group where it's standard, and then leaks into wider society, surprising and horrifying people in turn, but intriguing just enough people to keep penetrating the language. I think these "calling things by names that are misleading" events are usually in-group / out-group signals originally, like using the word "sick" approvingly. Some people like these disruptive words, and adopt them avidly--they're using them as badges of belonging, not means of communication.
    The most striking example I've encountered is in a novel written by a colleague of mine, in which she (as Omniscient Narrator, not in dialogue) repeatedly refers to a helicopter as a "cab". I wouldn't have been able to figure this out at all (it actually disrupted the narrative quite strongly) if I hadn't known that her husband was a military helicopter pilot, and that British military helicopter pilots routinely refer to their vehicles as "cabs". I think a good copy editor at her publishing house would have challenged the usage on the grounds of clarity, but good copy editors are rare as rocking-horse manure these days.

    Grant Hutchison

  10. #13630
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    ...rare as rocking-horse manure these days.
    There's the new "like a unicorn".
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  11. #13631
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    It is a bit of fun listening to someone speaking Singlish in full flow. As the name might suggest it is the 'casual' language in Singapore. It comprise mostly English words but with a lot of Malay, Tamal and words from the various Chinese dialects thrown in to the mix. I can understand it a lot of the time - usually because of the context in which it is being used. But occasionally I get lost. The speaker is usually fluent in English, Malay etc but Singlish is the go to choice for casual conversations. It seems to be especially popular among the younger generations.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33809914
    Where I grew up, it was Spanglish--a combination of Spanish and English. My best friend in high school was fluent in both Spanish and English and spoke Spanglish at a good clip. I was once hanging out with her when her aunt called to ask questions about how she was getting ready for the upcoming school year, and she answered in very rapid Spanish until she got to "mi schedule."
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  12. #13632
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    When I lived in France I rented a room from an Algerian woman (Madame Belladad), who rented rooms to mostly American students studying abroad. She would always nag us about speaking Franglais (French-English (Anglais in French), usually pronounced "Fran-glay") to each other. We'd complain back to her about speaking "Franabic" (French-Arabic) to her daughter.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  13. #13633
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I
    Buffaloians have a habit of adding an S to words that shouldn't have them. "Anyways, anywheres, Federal's, etc". It's uncertain as to why it is so common here. We have a lot of stores that end in apostrophe S, such as Duff's, Budwey's Markets, and so on. But we also have places that end in just S, such as Federal Meats, Anchor Bar Wings, etc. In some cases, the S is either an addition or a deletion of letters. We even have gag debate if Mr. and Mrs. Federal ever owned a butcher's shop in Buffalo. There is a historical person named Federal on the lists, but they did boats not meats. That is amusing because it's a historian's nightmare because Federal Meats and Federal's Shops took out ads in Shipping guides at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s.
    Bartell Drugs is a regional pharmacy chain in the Puget Regions. Nobody ever calls it anything but "Bartell's", which is even mentioned in Wikipedia.

    When I was in the Army in South Korea, almost 50 years ago, we all spoke a pidgin that combined English, Japanese, and Korean words. Even just among Americans.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  14. #13634
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    As a monolingual person, I'm a bit jealous of all these folks who speak languages so well that they can mix them. I have tried repeatedly to learn the basics of other languages both in school and on my own; apparently I just lack a talent for it.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  15. #13635
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    Is there a term for merging computer-speak into English? Like when you use "grep" as a common verb because the people around you will be able to get it? Nerdonics?

    I remember doing this long ago, telling Mrs. M as we prepared for a trip, "Okay, I've got the baby, just get the peripherals, will you?" I was referring to the bags with the bottle, diapers, napkins, some toys, et c. She thought that was rather strange.

  16. #13636
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    I've been speaking High School Spanglish to the kitties of late. Mi gatita tiene little white feeta!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  17. #13637
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    I have not any personal knowledge of any of them but I assume that the various "Creole" languages started out as the sort of Spanglish, Singlish of their days?

  18. #13638
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    I have not any personal knowledge of any of them but I assume that the various "Creole" languages started out as the sort of Spanglish, Singlish of their days?
    Yes, I think it is generally accepted that what we call "creoles" are languages that started out as "pidgins." Basically, the difference between a pidgin and a creole is that creoles have grammars. It appears that children naturally create grammar, so that when speakers of say English and Chinese who do not know the other's language communicate, they tend to to it without a coherent grammar, but then if children grow up within a community that has such a pidgin language, they will develop it into a grammatical language. There are many languages, like Bislama and Tok Pijin, that are believed to have developed that way. Though it's sort of different from Singlish or Spanglish, which are basically English with influences from other languages (Chinese and Malaysian in the case of Singlish).
    As above, so below

  19. #13639
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Yes, I think it is generally accepted that what we call "creoles" are languages that started out as "pidgins." Basically, the difference between a pidgin and a creole is that creoles have grammars. It appears that children naturally create grammar, so that when speakers of say English and Chinese who do not know the other's language communicate, they tend to to it without a coherent grammar, but then if children grow up within a community that has such a pidgin language, they will develop it into a grammatical language. There are many languages, like Bislama and Tok Pijin, that are believed to have developed that way. Though it's sort of different from Singlish or Spanglish, which are basically English with influences from other languages (Chinese and Malaysian in the case of Singlish).
    Thanks for the reply.

  20. #13640
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Bartell Drugs is a regional pharmacy chain in the Puget Regions. Nobody ever calls it anything but "Bartell's", which is even mentioned in Wikipedia.
    I could be misremembering, but I'm pretty sure they call it that on their own radio spots!
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  21. #13641
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I could be misremembering, but I'm pretty sure they call it that on their own radio spots!
    Yes, not consistently, but I know I've heard them do that.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  22. #13642
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    This annoys, rather than bugs me, and feeds into my general sense of Impending Doom concerning the surveillance society we seem to be sleepwalking into.
    My wife is an Applyte. Yesterday, she took some photographs on her phone during a walk in the woods. Today, she received a message from Apple entitled "Trail Memories", saying "look what we've done with your pictures", and offering an animation of successive frames from her walk. Really? Do people actually welcome that sort of intrusion?
    It reminded me of the first occasion on which I took a photograph with my phone, because my camera was packed away and I wanted an image of a building called the Red House, which my friends and I had rented for a very happy week. It is, as the name suggests, painted red. Forty minutes later I got a text message while I was driving. I pulled over into the next lay-by to look at it, because I pretty much never receive text messages that aren't important, to discover that Google wanted to show me "What we've done with your photo". They'd converted it to black and white, idiotically. I killed cloud-synch on my phone as soon as I got home.

    Grant Hutchison

  23. #13643
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    Some years ago, my new phone informed me via a message that it composed something from my photographs.

    Now, my phone photos aren't any kind of precious memories, but rather things that I needed a record of, things I had downloaded, or, just a few times, scenes I found interesting.

    I had absolutely no interest in seeing how their AI had tried to make sense of and piece these together. As you said, I resented the intrusion. I deleted their "project" without looking at it, chose options so that it would never try that again, and stared my objection when asked for a review. I haven't seen anything like it happen since.

  24. #13644
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    Windows 10 decided to stitch together my wife’s “memories” and offer them as a tile whenever she hits the start button.

    Unfortunately, the only photos she has stored on that computer are ones she emailed to our veterinarian. So, it presents a lovely slide show of our dog’s skin cancer progression
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  25. #13645
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    This annoys, rather than bugs me, and feeds into my general sense of Impending Doom concerning the surveillance society we seem to be sleepwalking into.
    My wife is an Applyte. Yesterday, she took some photographs on her phone during a walk in the woods. Today, she received a message from Apple entitled "Trail Memories", saying "look what we've done with your pictures", and offering an animation of successive frames from her walk. Really? Do people actually welcome that sort of intrusion?
    It reminded me of the first occasion on which I took a photograph with my phone, because my camera was packed away and I wanted an image of a building called the Red House, which my friends and I had rented for a very happy week. It is, as the name suggests, painted red. Forty minutes later I got a text message while I was driving. I pulled over into the next lay-by to look at it, because I pretty much never receive text messages that aren't important, to discover that Google wanted to show me "What we've done with your photo". They'd converted it to black and white, idiotically. I killed cloud-synch on my phone as soon as I got home.

    Grant Hutchison
    I was going to add that Google does it too, but you've got it covered!
    I first realized privacy was dead when, while waiting at the ferry dock, Google informed me how long it took to the destination they'd figured I was going to, including the ferry.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  26. #13646
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I first realized privacy was dead when, while waiting at the ferry dock, Google informed me how long it took to the destination they'd figured I was going to, including the ferry.
    "Alexa, is Big Brother watching me?"
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  27. #13647
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    The privacy issue I find more stupidly amusing than annoying is that pretty much every time I purchase something online (which is more frequent with the pandemic), I start getting all these online ads for the exact same product or retailer. What is the point? I'm not going to buy even more of the same thing I just purchased; in fact, of all the things in the universe, it is probably the least likely think I would purchase at that moment.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  28. #13648
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    The privacy issue I find more stupidly amusing than annoying is that pretty much every time I purchase something online (which is more frequent with the pandemic), I start getting all these online ads for the exact same product or retailer. What is the point? I'm not going to buy even more of the same thing I just purchased; in fact, of all the things in the universe, it is probably the least likely think I would purchase at that moment.
    Consider it as evidence that online purchases are relatively secure and private. The advertising system knows only that your IP address has been looking at those products - it does not know what, if anything, you actually bought.

    (I don't know how true that is, but it's a reassuring thing to think, isn't it? )
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  29. #13649
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    Not totally trivial, but nothing I can do about it now!
    As you may know, we had a new house built in 2018 and have been in it for two years now. The floor plan is in three distinct parts: The north end, with a guest bedroom, bathroom, and office, connected by a little hall; the main living space, dining room, and kitchen, all open to each other; and the master bedroom wing.
    Originally I specified a three-zone HVAC system, each of those areas to have it's own thermostat. Then I decided that it didn't seem very practical for the north end and changed it to two zones, just the bedroom wing, and the rest. But the thermostat for the main part is out in the living room, and dang, the north end is kind of cold! I've put on a sweatshirt just to come in here to the office!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  30. #13650
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    While looking for the heater vent that I should've had the good sense to close as we were moving in, which involved taking everything off bookcases and moving them, I smashed my finger between a pair of bookcases. My index finger, of course. It still hurts. There's a bruise under it. I mean, at least all the heater vents in the house are now either uncovered or closed?
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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