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What kind of English is this-2

Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
I've got a question. Is

The book reads well

correct (good, standard etc.) English?


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11308
    
  16

Good? i don't know.

have i heard it before? yes. enough that i wouldn't really stop and think about it anymore.


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18564
    
    8

Yes, it's a standard use of what the grammarians appear to call "middle voice". Here's a link to another blog entry I read just today that describes the feature:

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003300.html
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
Are you also troubled by, for example?

These pencils break easily.
Eto piatno ne stiraetsia. (This stain won't come out.)

It's the mediopassive voice.

No biggie. It gets tiresome when overused in advertising "Campbell's -- the soup that eats like a meal" or when it's a really unexpected verb.

The mediopassive abounds in Russian. Why does it surprise you in English?
[ June 30, 2006: Message edited by: Michael Matola ]
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Paul, was it you commenting on LanguageHat blog?
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18564
    
    8

Yes, that's me. There aren't many people with my name.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
MM: The mediopassive abounds in Russian. Why does it surprise you in English?

I never noticed it in Russian, and I got used to the idea that a verb can be either "passive" or "active", so I was amuzed to learn that there is a third variant. I learnt about the mediopassive from the same blog entry Paul did. By the way, what is the English term for somebody who reads the same blogs you do?
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
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Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
Just saw a TV commercial for Vault last night. It, apparently, "Drinks like a Soda, Kicks like an Energy Drink."

See the Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vault_ (soft_drink)
John Dunn
slicker
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Joined: Jan 30, 2003
Posts: 1108
MS: By the way, what is the English term for somebody who reads the same blogs you do?

As me?

That's easy. "Stupid".


"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
Arnie McKelvey
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 03, 2006
Posts: 3
IMO, not only is it correct English, the writer demonstrates refinement, sophistication and sensuality.
Stuart Ash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 07, 2005
Posts: 637
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
I've got a question. Is

The book reads well

correct (good, standard etc.) English?


For those who know Romance languages, the reflexive "se verb" construction should help understand this:

(Pseudo-Romance)


La ira se monstra = the anger shows (itself)
El liber se lege bene = the book reads well


ASCII silly question, Get a silly ANSI.
Stuart Ash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 07, 2005
Posts: 637
Originally posted by John Dunn:
MS: By the way, what is the English term for somebody who reads the same blogs you do?



It's co-blogster.

And if you blog the same blog as another, it's co-blogger.
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
When we say, "This pencil point breaks easily" the subject (actor) of the sentence is the pencil. It's called mediopassive because a pencil is an inanimate object which cannot break itself, it can only be broken. But we speak of it in the active voice figuratively, because breaking seems to be something that the pencil does of its own volition -- obviously we are not trying to break it; when the pencil point breaks it startles us.

To say "this cola drinks easily" or "this book reads well" is an abuse of style. There is nothing unexpected or unintentional in our drinking of the soda or our reading of the book that would make these objects even appear to be taking action. That's why these uses of the mediopassive are not conventional. The use is cute and novel purely for the sake of novelty. (Language change may be unavoidable, but when it can be avoided it's not a good thing.)

Originally posted by Arnie McKelvey:
IMO, not only is it correct English, the writer demonstrates refinement, sophistication and sensuality.
I disagree. I think the writer exhibits intellectual vanity, as if to say "Look how clever and trendy I am!" The writer demonstrates the quality of being a (insert your favorite obscene insult).
[ July 05, 2006: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
agrah upadhyay
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2005
Posts: 579
O......Ohh Cuts like a knife
Jack Haley
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 10, 2006
Posts: 17
I disagree. I think the writer exhibits intellectual vanity, as if to say "Look how clever and trendy I am!" The writer demonstrates the quality of being a (insert your favorite obscene insult).
Thanks Frank, could you pass me the pipe and the lighter, please.

Map - consider the following. The devil reads good.


With patience and sacrifice great foes may be vanquished ... Hassan Nasrallah
 
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