domingo, febrero 18, 2007

Past Tense or Future Tense

Another day of watching football, another day of shouting at the TV hoping that it would make a difference somehow. I'm not sure why we feel that shouting "Ref - you fucking wanker!" at a TV 500 miles away from where the 'twat in black' has nullified a perfectly good goal is going to make any difference but, every Saturday or Sunday we do. The 'we' I refer to is younger looking buddy Tippler and I. We were treated to the gut wrenching 90 minutes of shite that purported to be Manchester United versus Reading (pronounced Redding) in th FA Cup.

Therefore, we have decided on a different tactic for this Tuesday nights Champions League fixture against Lilles - we're going to the game in France and see whether "Ref - you fucking wanker!" works any better if our proximity makes a difference.

The pronunciation of Reading (Redding) got me thinking about the English language, again. As I attempt to master French, Spanish, Italian and German my progress is hindered by people wanting advice on the correct use of English. I certainly have no problem in helping out and, if I choose, my English can be as pure as driven snow. Except when I'm drunk and everything drifts. I get especially annoyed when people try to 'correct' my English and I have to point out that I am using a play on words and know perfectly well the 'correct' way to say something but if you analyse the phrase correctly, you will see what I have done.

Suitably put out was I at the use of the English language that I threw up, my arms in protest (amazing the difference a 'comma' can make). Not entirely true as that would infer that I actually care, which I don't but.....I have a responsibility to share my knowledge or lack of, with the world. This all started because I made 2 rather foolhardy promises - first, that I would speak French by the end of January (not really a problem) and second, that I would speak Italian by the end of February (problem).

So, landing with a 'splat' in the pile of steaming crap that I call my language skills, I attempted to extricate myself. Like a phoenix from the ashes, I attempted to soar only to hit the lid of the biscuit tin of Quality Street. Just when I thought I was being really big and clever, I was asked a question about English that I couldn't answer. Buggery bollocks. How am I to master other languages if I can't speak my own?

Master G, first language French but speaking in excellent english, asked me to help him with his English. "No problemo space cadet, fire away" I rashly said. "When do you use 'have' rather than 'did'?" he asked. He mistook my expression of surprise for one of bewilderment. "I'm sorry" he said "did I not phrase that correctly?". No; you phrased it correctly, I'm just not sure I know the answer.

I'm sure some legal boffin could answer the question but, as I only get to hang around with them in court, I don't really want to ask. I tried researching the answer on T'internet but that proved to be a somewhat fruitless adventure. I resorted to trying to define the solution with a number of questions:-

Have you have had sex with a baboon?
Did you have sex with a baboon?
Both are gramatically correct but the first question implies an 'ever' state whereas the second is more interrogative.

Have you seen a tree, before you crashed into it?
Did you see a tree before you crashed into it?
Again, both gramatically correct but the first question implies the 'it' can be anything, whereas the second implies THE tree that you crashed into.

Have you cheated on your tax returns?
Did you cheat on your tax returns?
Yes, but I made up for it by smoking more cigarettes and thus, by definition adding to the huge pile of cash that you will waste on pointless projects whilst ignoring the important things.

Bored now. I will just maintain that this is the way English is spoken in Goth World and concentrate on my Italian instead. Pizza, Ferrarri, Spaghetti, Mussolini, Lambrusco.

7 comentarios:

Old Broad dijo...

You got me.
Texas slang for "Hell, I don't know."
Your Italian reminds me of that HILARIOUS movie A Fish Called Wanda.

Shaz dijo...

Try Geordie English . . . if that's actually possible to have/did the use of English & Geordie in the same sentence! . . . . then take the said Geordie girl to New Zealand where she's asked to read the town names where "Wh" is pronounced "F" & watch everyone fall about laughing!!!!

going through a tough time dijo...

this is going to bug me now. I'm off to make a phone call to my little sister who just happens to be head of the english dept at her nearby highschool so she'd better come up trumps!

Daphne Wayne-Bough dijo...

Suggest you buy a copy of "English grammar for dummies" or similar. "Have" implies completion of action. As in "Have you finished having sex with that baboon?".

Isn't trying to learn 4 foreign languages at once a bit ambitious?

SpanishGoth dijo...

Thanks Daphne but bear in mind that sometimes when I put something in the blog it's not necessarily because I don't know an answer - merely to provoke ;-)

As for 4 languages - again, I already speak French, Spanish and German - so again not entirely as bad as it seems.....

Anónimo dijo...

And there was me thinking you could actually speak Italian!!! Were you cheating the other day?

SpanishGoth dijo...

I'm learning - it was about being able to speak Italian all the time by the end of February...