LINGUIST List 6.547

Wed 12 Apr 1995

Qs: Transitive/intransitive verbs, Czenglish, English /r/

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  1. Carl Lyons, transitive and intransitive forms of verbs
  2. , Q: Czenglish vs. British
  3. , Q: English /r/

Message 1: transitive and intransitive forms of verbs

Date: Sat, 08 Apr 95 19:23:06 17transitive and intransitive forms of verbs
From: Carl Lyons <>
Subject: transitive and intransitive forms of verbs

I have a particular interest in an area of study and wonder if you people could
help me locate something useful on them on the web? I'd be most grateful.

 - The transitive and intransitive forms of verbs (esp. use in different

Thanks very much,


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Message 2: Q: Czenglish vs. British

Date: Sat, 8 Apr 1995 23:52:04 -Q: Czenglish vs. British
From: <>
Subject: Q: Czenglish vs. British

I am getting some frustrated queries from my former high school students in
the Czech Republic, who are quite confused about the English they are being
taught by their non-native teachers since I left. Many of the expressions
they are questioning are commonly taught there nationwide, and some are
obvious calques from Czech. Others, however, seem to be archaicisms or just
simply mistakes that have been fossilized in textbooks for decades during
which teachers were allowed only sparse contact with native speakers. My
native-speaking colleagues' and my word counts for nothing with their
teachers, because we are American and supposedly do not speak a language
mutually intelligible with English (I am not exaggerating.) and even Britons
who correct errors in Czech-written English textbooks are sometimes accused
of speaking a corrupted variety (corrupted by Americanisms, of course).

Because of all this I'd appreciate the judgments of some native British
speakers about the following matters.

Do you ever:

1. say "basic school" for elementary school?

2. say "secondary grammar school" instead of secondary school?

3. say "school servant" for caretaker or janitor?

4. pronounce "sweater" as [swi:tr] (i.e., rhyming with "sweeter")?

5. pronounce all the vowels in "vegetable"?

6. negate "used to" as "usedn't to"? (It's in a textbook.)

7. Do you fall in love *in* someone or *with* someone?

8. Can something happen *at* about 10.00, *after* about 10.00, *round* about
10.00, etc., or is "by" the only preposition permissible before the word
"about" in a time expression?

9. In questions, do you normally invert main verb "have", as in "Have you a
dog?" If so, do you usually say, "I haven't a dog."? If so, with the idiom
"have to" (="must") do you invert and negate similarly? (E.g., "You hadn't
to do it!" rather than, "You didn't have to do it!") (One American colleague
who taught "do you have...?", and "have you got...?" in an elementary school
was soundly reprimanded by a Czech colleague for teaching "unacceptable

10. Do you consider the pronunciations "ate" [ejt] and "can't" [kaent] (/ae/
= low front vowel) to be "incorrect" or stigmatized?

I think I know the answers to most of these questions, and it would help if
the teachers in question would (or in some cases could) read the teacher's
notes in their Cambridge books or use a dictionary, but I thought I'd seek
the insight of living Britons anyway. Y'all knows what with the style o'
yakkin' we does on our side uh th' ocean, ye jest cain't dad blasted blame
them teachers fer bein' a might suspishus! The kids will be grateful for
your judgments. They claim to be going through hell.

James Kirchner
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Message 3: Q: English /r/

Date: Sat, 8 Apr 1995 23:52:36 -Q: English /r/
From: <>
Subject: Q: English /r/

The typical account of English intrusive /r/ says that it occurs in
non-rhotic dialects, but while I haven't studied the matter much, my ears
tell me that English dialects span a continuum, in which there are non-rhotic
dialects almost without r-linking, while there are rhotic dialects that do
have r-linking in words like "drawing" [droring]. Since I don't live near
either type of dialect, I can't identify which ones do what. If my ears
aren't fooling me, can anyone name a couple r-linking rhotic dialects, and
non-r-linking non-rhotic dialects for me? Is there any documentation of

James Kirchner
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