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Old 04-11-2006, 02:25 PM   #1
Franca
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Default Perhaps I shouldn't ask this question

since I don't fully subscribe to the fluidity of language philosophy, but ... since users of language do seem to be altering it ever more rapidly (and not necessarily for the better) what about a really practical change:

Make verbs the same regardless of subject. For example:

I are, you are, he are, she are, we are, they are.

Yes, these sound particularly awful, "to be" being our most irregular verb, but I could name many other now accepted words and usages that sound equally horrendous to my ear.

The majority of verbs sound less hideous: I walk, you walk, he walk, we walk, they walk.

Well, you get the idea. This is primarily only a consideration in the present tense except for the obvious. Verbs in other tenses behave this way already. Why should the verb in the present tense depend on whether the subject is first person, second person, third person - singular or plural?

Just meditating on some modern travesties and wondering why not really shake things up?

   
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Old 04-11-2006, 07:06 PM   #2
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Ever read Bill Bryson's "English, The Mother Tongue"?
Great fun.

He devotes a fair bit of one chapter to language and spelling reformers. Er. Would-be language reformers. No matter how good (or awful) their ideas, we're superb at ignoring them.

Good luck with your campaign! ;-)

   
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Old 04-11-2006, 07:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rindsberg
Ever read Bill Bryson's "English, The Mother Tongue"?
Great fun.
I'm afraid not. But I consider language to be a self-maintaining application. Just using it is enough.

   
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rindsberg
Ever read Bill Bryson's "English, The Mother Tongue"?
Great fun.
Haven't, but it's in the pile of "books to be read", along with a couple of other Bryson books as well. My Other Half has read and recommended them. Right now, though, I'm completely engrossed in the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series by Alexander McCall Smith, so Mr. Bryson will just have to wait.

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Good luck with your campaign! ;-)
I expect it's doomed to miserable failure. It's entirely too sensible.

   
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franca
since I don't fully subscribe to the fluidity of language philosophy, but ... since users of language do seem to be altering it ever more rapidly (and not necessarily for the better) what about a really practical change:

Make verbs the same regardless of subject. For example:

I are, you are, he are, she are, we are, they are.

Yes, these sound particularly awful, "to be" being our most irregular verb, but I could name many other now accepted words and usages that sound equally horrendous to my ear.

The majority of verbs sound less hideous: I walk, you walk, he walk, we walk, they walk.

Well, you get the idea. This is primarily only a consideration in the present tense except for the obvious. Verbs in other tenses behave this way already. Why should the verb in the present tense depend on whether the subject is first person, second person, third person - singular or plural?

Just meditating on some modern travesties and wondering why not really shake things up?
I'll take a guess. I, you/they, he/she, seem to have different air stop points, so this system would make pronunciation difficult. Futher, having a third person difference in regular verbs would reduce the possibliity of confusion of subject.

However, I think the real basis of language is spiritual, and that can be difficult to discern, depending on one's concept of spiritual. Let's suppose psychological. Hmm, then I'd say there are archetypal explanations. But, is the formal psychology of archetypes a lot of bunk?? Yes, in my opinion, but literary archetypes cannot be denied, and they do have a profound psychological impact. And, there are other explanations for what Jung was up to, but we don't want to get into that here.

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Old 04-12-2006, 07:01 AM   #6
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Franca:

I are, you are, he are, she are, we are, they are

It works perfectly well with 'I be' etc.

   
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
I are, you are, he are, she are, we are, they are

It works perfectly well with 'I be' etc.
Agreed! And it is especially tidy when considered along with the future tense of the verb. Care to join the campaign?

   
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:17 AM   #8
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Franca:

Care to join the campaign?

Well, no because supplying the gaps in 'defective' verbs is already a feature of some English dialects, but it's not considered part of educated speech, and I'm too conventional to rebel. The verb 'to be' is highly defective, because it is only used in the subjunctive in 'proper' English, though 'I be' is a normal indicative in some rural dialects. The same goes for am/art/is/are; they haven't got an infinitive of their own and have to make do with 'to be' (and 'is' seems to come from a third verb).

However, don't let me discourage you: 'be' is perfectly adequate for the present and the future of all singular and plural persons, and I'd say it would add a touch of folkiness that California much needs. I would recommend trying it in New England though, because they probably know it there and would think you're mocking them.

   
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Old 04-12-2006, 12:29 PM   #9
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Michael,

Unfortunately, I'm too conventional to mount a serious rebellion as well. But I like the idea of a rebellion with a theory and/or purpose behind it rather than one carried out simply through carelessness or ignorance. My little rebellion will probably live and die right here - so much for my 15 minutes of fame. (Or infamy.)

   
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Old 04-13-2006, 08:16 AM   #10
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Hey, are (am) you trying to put English teachers out of work!

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