avrelia: (Default)
I have a question for my friends’ list and the passers-by.

How did you feel when you first discovered (was taught about) the existence of gerund?

Today we studied verbal phrases, gerunds, participles, and infinitives in my grammar class. Two thirds of the class are people for whom English is the native language. Only I and two Chinese girls were rather nonchalant about the whole gerund thing. Confusion, puzzlement, and some kind of torpor ruled the others. But I remember the first time I found out about gerunds: I was fifteen, and I was indignant about their existence. They didn’t fit into my view of the languages, and I had enough trouble to reconcile with tenses to be bothered by gerund.

Eventually I got used to them, and now I like gerunds very much.

What about you?
avrelia: (Default)
Do you know what is my favourite book right now? Lynne Truss, Eats, shoots and leaves: it is smart, funny, and about punctuation! What else a girl may need? (well, lots of stuff, but that’s another topic.)

Seriously, as much as I love fiction, I often feel more passionate about non-fiction books on languages and history. It was this way since I was a child. I wouldn’t trade my fairytales on my encyclopedia, but the fairytales were a staple reading, whereas encyclopedias were a new magical, enticing world of knowledge about Stuff. I know a lot of Stuff since then, I’ve always been interested in Stuff that is hardly applicable in life.

One of my favourite books was A Book About Language – translated from English, though, of course I cannot name its author now. It was telling a lot of fancy stuff about different languages, and alphabets, and hieroglyphs, and smoke signals. The history of writing, the curious facts, the games with words – and thanks to the translator, appropriate examples with Russian language were included along with the English ones.

Languages are so much fun to read about.

ETA: But going back to Lynne Truss. She doesn’t not explain every punctuation rule in English language, instead she talks about history of punctuation, its meaning, its changes through the time – together with language changes. She muses on prospects for the future of punctuation, rants about common misuse and indifference to the rules, overviews the proper usage, and she does it all in a wonderfully witty manner that makes me want to quote the whole book here – and I would if I didn’t have to return it to the library yesterday.
avrelia: (Default)
A disadvantage of a big city: even if you leave home reasonably early, it doesn’t mean that you will be in time where you plan to be.

::kicks the transit::

I love studying grammar! Who would think? I don’t necessarily pick up all the right answers, but sometimes I get to convince native English speakers that I am right and they are not, which is very gratifying. I also turn into an annoying student who stays after the class and asks silly questions: why a ship is “she”? (for example)

Long gone the days when I was a normal kind of a student who sits quietly through the class and leaves as soon as it is over, answers direct questions and spends time happily doing about her own business (reading Agatha Christie, chatting, writing a long-winded poem about a prosecutor, etc.)

I also have a problem with one sentence. Could you help me?

Michael is one of the boys who like classical music.

Michael is one of the boys who likes classical music.

Are both of them right? Or only the second one? I stand by the opinion the first one is right, too. What do you think?
avrelia: (Default)
Cantabank – second-rate singer of ballads
Dammarel – an effeminate man who spends all his time entertaining or courting women, and who is disinclined to the company of his own sex
Demivierge –a woman who is sexually promiscuous but retains her virginity
Dongon – a person who is smart but appears stupid
Dunderwhelp – a detestable numbskull
avrelia: (Ratio by dtissagirl)
Studying English is fun. Sometimes. Again I found a bunch of words to show off.

Behold:

Alothen – to grow disgusting
Amplexus – a mating embrace of a toad or frog
Anaxiphilia – the act of falling in love with the wrong person
Baratress – a female quarreller
Bdelloid – resembling a leech
Cacozelot – an evil zealot
Callomaniac – a person under the delusion that he or she is beautiful
Circumstantiality – an inability to separate important from unimportant details when telling a story
Cockalorum – a self-important little man

Some more may be later. ::goes to memorize new words::

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