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- Weird regional usages of English
May 12, 2015
Comments Off on To bullshit or not to bullshit, learn it properly
Remember, the effectiveness of any bullshittery is that it should be readily understandable. If not, then the bullshit is failing its mission.
December 14, 2013
Comments Off on Missing the point … again
Learn to be easily blindsided by recourse to hidebound rules. Some lack of rules are meant for profit-taking, my friends.
August 28, 2013
Comments Off on Pad, but think of your audience too
Padding is necessary sometimes, but bear in mind WHY your readers are reading your stuff. (Some adult language in post.)
July 12, 2013
Comments Off on Street of Shame: First candidates
STREET OF SHAME CANDIDATES REGULAR readers will have noticed that we have a static page called Street of Shame. We think we now have debut candidates for entry. Once upon a time (yesterday) it all started with one innocent Facebook status update:— “How fast can you uncork a bottle with a handscrew?” No sooner had […]
June 12, 2013
Comments Off on ‘Ninja’ really is invisible ninja
Probably the world’s only online explanation on the correct Chinese translation for the Japanese word "ninja."
June 7, 2013
The Economist asks why English has so little Chinese in it. I ask why Chinese has near-zero English. I think my question is more heavyweight than The Economist's.
December 17, 2012
CONSIDER this for a moment:— No names mentioned, but this newspaper is in an English-speaking country. It seems as if it’s quoting the tree, forcing the reader (even if momentarily) to do a double-take. It would’ve been better just to use the quotation as a blurb and be done with it. It’s a straightforward newspaper […]
December 2, 2012
’ERE WE GO AGAIN! Yet another post about that long-running saga (sago?) on the word scholarism that’s also the name of a Hong Kong student protest group. Learn English or Starve has gotten lots of off-site flak (German: fliegerabwehrkanone, lit. ‘aeroplane defence cannon’: anti-aircraft fire — as if you didn’t know already) for our two […]
November 19, 2012
YOU have only one job and one job only, yet… As you may have noticed, the chart tries to give us a sense of various English prepositions. A preposition [prep-puh-zish-uhn, /ˌprəpəˈzɪʃən/] is a part of speech that shows the relationship of one word to another so as to provide spatial, figurative or some other meaning […]
September 1, 2012
“I know you’re smart. But I hope you didn’t make the classic smart person’s mistake of thinking you’re smarter than everybody.” — Carl Van Loon to Eddie Morra in the movie Limitless (2011) IF there’s one thing worse than seeing our best and brightest go off at a tangent and waste their precious youth on […]
July 27, 2012
Comments Off on Pity the young souls
HAVE A LOOK at this school worksheet:— We’ve converted the original photograph into monotone on purpose in order to hide the company watermark. This worksheet is for teaching how to figure out the days from descriptive language. * Fill in the blanks This is what the worksheet requires:— (a) The first Monday is the 3rd. […]
May 15, 2012
Comments Off on Your ‘cum’ is rubbish
‘FAIL’ on several levels:— (Victoria Park, Hong Kong, 10 May 2012) This is exactly the kind of antics that call into question one’s reputation, capability and mental stability. * You’re not writing a bleedin’ essay, so stop using cum. It’s also liable to be made fun of because of its pornographic connotations, jizzhead. If you […]
May 13, 2012
Comments Off on FAIL: Literalism, lost in translation, literally
HERE ARE TWO EXAMPLES from a few hours ago that show the typical bungled literalism that is starting to overpower translation work here in this part of the world. Translators! Pay attention! Class is in session! * * * Exhibit A This is an original Chinese-language book and not a translated work. It is one of […]
May 3, 2011
Comments Off on Come again, who’s dead?
Get it first, but get it right first. — Journalists’ maxim © Learn English or Starve, 2011.
September 10, 2010
Comments Off on Control and accusations
Anyone want to hazard a guess what this sign is about? Why is this sign hard to understand on first sight? Why is it also wrong grammatically and meaning-wise? How would you rewrite it? (Henderson Land construction site at 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)
September 2, 2010
Found a note I wrote from my paperwork: 17 March 2010 @ 01.20 As I sit in my office dealing with sensible stuff, I have the telly on just a few feet away. The Pearl Report is doing a hall-of-fame kind of report on a local Hong Kong politician. The English in Hong Kong is […]
August 16, 2010
HONG KONG proclaims itself as “Asia’s World City.” If the communication abilities of seasoned professionals in this 1,000-square-kilometre territory is anything to go by, you have to ask if we could be trusted with anything more complex. To wit: Here (below) is a hoarding at a construction site somewhere in Wanchai district on Hong Kong […]