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Snickers, siblings and the Alexander: 20+ secrets of English breaking language stereotypes

Linguist, teacher of foreign languages ​​and cultures Kristina Konstandenkova posts amazing facts about the English language on Twitter. Foreign languages ​​are her element since childhood, she prefers books and films in the original language. She is interested in the history of the language and collects unusual facts about it. Christina told about the peculiarities of English Adme.ru.

Photo: Shutterstock

Why do the names of animals and their meat differ (type cow - beef, pig - pork, calf - veal)? Because from 1066 to 1399 (that is, from William the Conqueror to Henry IV) all the nobility spoke French. But ordinary people used Anglo-Saxon speech. It turns out that the peasants who spoke English raised the animals, and when they (the animals) reached the table of the nobles in cooked form, the meat acquired a French name.

The French, as we know, the British do not really like. And here is what we call "leave in English," the British will call to take French leave. And the French seem to say filer à l'anglaise.

When you studied articles, you were definitely told that they are not used with people's names. They lied shamelessly. It can be used, but rarely. For instance, THE Alexander Petrov it will mean exactly THE MOST Alexander Petrov, and not just Sashka from the first entrance. But the indefinite article “a” in front of the name will just mean “just a certain one”. Like there some Alexander Petrov came to you (an Alexander Petrov).

Many people mistakenly believe that in English everyone refers to each other on you (you) and in the language there is no form “you”. Technically it just the opposite. Remember, the form of the 2nd person in verbs coincides with the plural. And the word “you” was thou / thee. Now not used.

In general, in English there is no concept of gender for inanimate objects, but when they talk about ships, they are called she - "she".

Where without pronunciation. X at the beginning of a word is almost always read as Z, therefore Zirax, not Xerox (zeeuh-roks), and the little things: xylophone - zai-luh-fown, xenophobia - zeh-nuh-fow-bee-uh. And yes, the queen of warriors from our childhood is in English ZINA.

If we are talking about strong women. Firm Nike It is named after the goddess of victory, therefore, in the English-speaking world, the name sounds like "Nike", not "Nike."

English spelling and pronunciation sometimes hurt. For example, there are words though, rough, cough, through, bough, thorough. The last 4 letters are the same in them, but not a single word from this list rhymes with the others.

Sign & called ampersand, @ - at (not dog, please!), # actually called octothorpe, or octo, but no one in their right mind calls it that, hashtag has taken root perfectly.

A moment of mnemonics. Confused in little / a little / few / a few? What’s important here: little and few - "little", in the sense of "not enough", but a little and a few - "little", but more will do. How to remember? A little and a few letters have more letters than little and few, so they mean a larger amount.

On the subject: 30+ ways to say thank you, please and sorry

False translator friends. Inexhaustible topic. Sympathy is sympathy, not "sympathy", fabric - "fabric", not "factory", prospect - "perspective", not "prospect", biscuit - "cookie", not "biscuit", finally accurate is "accurate" rather than "neat".

In English, the word sequence is very developed, giving rise to the so-called "Purse words"consisting of 2 parts. Brunch = breakfast + lunch, smog = smoke + fog, Tanzania, by the way, is also Tanganyika + Zanzibar. Well, from the latest - Megxit. Gracefully!

If someone's husband or wife walks in public houseDo not rush to judge. Public house, that is, the "gathering place of the public", is now reduced to the well-known word pub, which, however, go to husbands and wives. But the brothel is brothel.

Favorite stumbling block is the word Dutch... It's not “Danish”, it's “Dutch” (or is it “Dutch” in a new way?). “Danish” - Danish. There are 2 cool expressions with Dutch. To go Dutch is a "split restaurant bill" where everyone pays for themselves. Dutch courage is either "alcohol drunk for courage" or the very state of courage after drinking.

About American English. There is a wonderful name for alcoholic T-shirts - Wife beater... Literally - "beating his wife." I feel that soon radical movements will reach him, and the word will be outlawed. In England a T-shirt is vest, and in America vest is a vest. While in England a vest is a waistcoat.

Even the British often create and use abbreviated diminutive words, such as wellies - as an abbreviation for Wellington boots, brolly - for umbrella. But especially in this sin in Australia. They have avo instead of avocados, and Barbie in the sense of Barbecue. Against this background, veggies instead of vegetables - generally spit. By the way, "just spit" in English is a piece of cake, easy-peasy lemon squeezy, duck soup and about a thousand other options, but these are some kind of edible.

I also remembered idioms. Our "Indian summer" in English sounds poetically like Indian Summer.

The eternal mistake of many is the innumerable nouns. If everything is clear with water or flour, then what about money, news, and toast? No way. Remember that they are always grammatical in the singular. Money / news is, not are... Why is that? The type of money can be counted, especially other people's. The fact is that the concept of a countable implies the ability to count an object as itself (in pieces). Money is considered pounds, euros, tugriks, but not "money". As well as water - liters. Therefore, it is uncountable.

And what to consider news and tips? News, advice, furniture, toast and others like them (apparently, this uncountability was inherited from bread) are considered pieces, that is a piece of. In Russian, a “piece of advice / news” sounds wild, but what to do.

About advice. This is advice, and the verb “advise” is to advise, with a clear z in the end. By analogy, practice - to practise works. The same story with f / v and pronunciation in pronunciation: relief - to relieve, belief - to believe, grief - to grieve.

More about verbs. There is a type of reflexive verb with a particle of “yourself”: to feel. Trying to translate "I feel" according to tracing paper, we get I feel myself. Not the best option. Feel in transitive form (when there is still a noun / pronoun) means “feel” rather than “feel”. In the best case, it will turn out "I feel myself."

Recipe - Recipe (reh-suh-pee). And the doctor - prescription, literally translated as “prescription”. Do you see the spine there from the Latin (prae) scribere?

The only city whose name is used with the definite article of the is The Hague. The hague.

Another life hack to remember (good for beginners): this / that couple. This is blиok, that - dаLeko.

Once a student reading a phrase how to give a shot to a dog, asked in surprise, why, they say, solder the dog. And this is cool, because there are many polysemantic words in English, shot is one of them. Initially, this is a “shot / punch”, but also means a photograph, an injection, and the notorious shot of alcohol.

But the most universal, in my opinion, word is get. Forgot the exact verb? Use get. Seriously. This means “getting”, and “getting”, and “becoming”, and “understanding”, and “buying”, and “annoying”, and “punishing”, and about a million more options.

Snickersney... Snickersnee is translated from English as “big knife”. And also about sneakers. Probably everyone knows this, but: sneakers are sneakers. As well as trainers (not sweatpants). Trainers are more commonly used in Britain.

A few more words about the elegance of the language. In English, all relatives "acquired" in marriage are called in-laws (By law, they became relatives to you). Mother-in-law, brother-in-law, son-in-law ... And no sister-in-law, sister-in-law and dozens of other words.

Sibling. It is at the same time a brother or sister, in general, any relative born by your parents. He has already been “introduced” into Russian - I often meet the word “siblings”.

On the subject: How to choose the method of learning English that is right for you

Curious parallels. Our guinea pig is Guinea pig (the main thing is not to adjust with pronunciation, there is gi-nee). We say Chinese letter, English - it's all Greek to me; we have "cancer on the mountain whistles," and they have when pigs fly. Our “neither fluff nor feather” correlates with the rather bloodthirsty desire Break a leg, and “like two drops of water” have an analogue as two peas in a pod.

We are used to the word Beautiful it is usually used in relation to women, while it is customary to talk about men handsome. However, if you read Jane Austen in the original, there handsome woman through one. But in general, this is what they say about strong ladies who are full of health, and not about slender and miniature ones.

There are over 100 words for different types of rain in the UK, but now about one of them. Shower - it's not only a shower, but also a shower.

According to the general rule, adverbs are adjectives + suffix -ly (nice - nicely). But there are adjectives ending in -ly: costly, friendly, lovely. What to do with an adverb in this case? The output is not the most elegant, but what it is: it is added in a ... manner. In a cowardly manner - "cowardly."

Here is another common misconception. We are used to the word end as an adjective means “good”, but actually it’s also “subtle”. Therefore, when choosing a shampoo, be careful: for fine hair - this is for thin, not normal hair.

Often confused lay and lie. But remembering is easy: lay - lay, lie - lie. Well, still lie.

Girls, if you were called in Scotland chicken (hen)Do not rush to be offended. This is quite a commonplace appeal to women - such as our “darling,” but without a dismissive connotation.

Did you know that? Share what was your discovery and what other interesting facts about the English language you know.

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