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The Strange Case of the English Language

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  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,877
    Aardvark. Why does it start with two 'A's?

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    Shandyr said:

    Hey, would some native English speaker please explain to me the difference between "to rely on" and "to depend on"? Is it interchangeable?

    Not to knock @bob_veng as their explanation is also true...

    Relying upon someone suggests that their assistance is a nice to have and a bonus but not strictly necessary. To depend upon someone usually is a much deeper meaning in that without the help and support the venture might fail.

    The distinction is a narrow one and generally they are used interchangeably, but it is in fact there. It is basically the difference between want and need. Or at least that is how I always use it.

    [Deleted User]BelgarathMTHatcDave
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    atcDaveSpjuv3rn
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    the_spyder
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    edited October 2015
    LOL. That actually happens way more often than people actually imagine. Even multi-lingual people can occasionally make the slip.

    There's actually a classic case of a car company creating a car called Nova. Well, in English a Nova is an exploding star and should denote power and speed and something spectacular. Well, in another language (I want to say Spanish, though I could be wrong on that) Nova means' "Doesn't go". So you can imagine that in that country, the car didn't sell very well.

    In another example, the movie 'Free Willy' actually talked about releasing of a (dolphin?) from captivity. In Certain European countries 'Free Willy' actually means something QUITE different and should in fact be in a different KIND of movie altogether.

    [Deleted User]semiticgoddess
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    the_spyder
  • abacusabacus Member Posts: 1,308

    How about inflammable?

    It literally means the opposite of what it should mean. and if you look it up in websters, it actually has a synonym of Flammable. WTH? Can you set fire to it or not?

    Presumably it has roots in commo with "inflame"
    Shandyr said:


    In another example, the movie 'Free Willy' actually talked about releasing of a (dolphin?) from captivity. In Certain European countries 'Free Willy' actually means something QUITE different and should in fact be in a different KIND of movie altogether.

    Omg, now you have spoiled that movie for me xD
    Btw, it was an orca.
    I think Orcas are now considered to be a type of dolphin. "Killer Whale" is apparently a misnomer.

    On the "rely" vs "depend" discussion... The telling thing is that drug addicts are often said to be "dependant" on their substance of choice.

    I rely on coffee to get me to midday...but I'll still get there if the coffee isn't available. If I depended on it... my life would be different... And not in a good way!

    [Deleted User]wubble
  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 3,009

    There's actually a classic case of a car company creating a car called Nova. Well, in English a Nova is an exploding star and should denote power and speed and something spectacular. Well, in another language (I want to say Spanish, though I could be wrong on that) Nova means' "Doesn't go". So you can imagine that in that country, the car didn't sell very well.

    Yes, in Spanish "no va" means "it doesn't go" or, as a command, "do not go". This is why pharmaceutical companies come up with those really weird names for compounds like "florvinitox" or "lamoquil" (those were made up by me right now, but as far as I know they could actually by real pharmaceutical compounds that exist)--they are making certain that the names do not exist in any known language so they don't accidentally name their drug something funny, sexual, expletive, offensive, or some combination of those.

    @Shandyr Oh, the joys of the sine function. Strangely, if you can get middle-schoolers to have a decent understanding of geometry you can transition them over to trigonometry relatively easily.

    [Deleted User]
  • BillyYankBillyYank Member Posts: 2,769

    There's actually a classic case of a car company creating a car called Nova. Well, in English a Nova is an exploding star and should denote power and speed and something spectacular. Well, in another language (I want to say Spanish, though I could be wrong on that) Nova means' "Doesn't go". So you can imagine that in that country, the car didn't sell very well.

    Yes, in Spanish "no va" means "it doesn't go" or, as a command, "do not go". This is why pharmaceutical companies come up with those really weird names for compounds like "florvinitox" or "lamoquil" (those were made up by me right now, but as far as I know they could actually by real pharmaceutical compounds that exist)--they are making certain that the names do not exist in any known language so they don't accidentally name their drug something funny, sexual, expletive, offensive, or some combination of those.

    @Shandyr Oh, the joys of the sine function. Strangely, if you can get middle-schoolers to have a decent understanding of geometry you can transition them over to trigonometry relatively easily.

    That's an old urban legend.

    http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.asp

    "Assuming that Spanish speakers would naturally see the word "nova" as equivalent to the phrase "no va" and think "Hey, this car doesn't go!" is akin to assuming that English speakers would spurn a dinette set sold under the name Notable because nobody wants a dinette set that doesn't include a table."

    "The truth is that the Chevrolet Nova's name didn't significantly affect its sales: it sold well in both its primary Spanish-language markets, Mexico and Venezuela. (Its Venezuelan sales figures actually surpassed GM's expectations.)"

    [Deleted User]JuliusBorisovatcDavesemiticgoddess
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    @BillyYank - LOL. Thanks for that. The example was actually put forth to me in a marketing/economics class in College. I guess the professor never got the memo that it was an urban myth. But then he wasn't the brightest bulb in the pack, so.... On the other hand, he had a job when I was still a snot-nosed know it all, so maybe I was the fool?

    Having spent many years in marketing, I will say that the oddest things actually do influence consumers. Strangely enough there are fonts that can stimulate or suppress sales. The same can be said of the color or thickness of the paper or the ink chosen. And as far as it goes, Brand recognition is one of the primary motivators to consumer spend. It really makes me wonder therefore why several notable car companies have lately done public marketing spots touting how their new models are not recognizable as being made by that company. How far must consumer confidence have dropped in order for them to think that "It doesn't look like a Chevy" is actually a good thing?

    As a tangential note, Big Pharma doesn't choose names of products 'because they wish not to offend'. There are usually bio-chemical names for any given drug that denote a class or chemical formula. The 'Brand name' is often chosen either at random or as a result of a decision internal to the company. In one instance, the company I worked for actually held a contest and let the employees pick the name. What is odd though is that the same drug marketed by the same company not only has a chemical name and a brand name, but if it is sold in multiple countries it has a different name for each country... Don't ask me why because I don't know.

    JuliusBorisovatcDave
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    JuliusBorisov
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,810

    @BillyYank - LOL. Thanks for that. The example was actually put forth to me in a marketing/economics class in College. I guess the professor never got the memo that it was an urban myth. But then he wasn't the brightest bulb in the pack, so.... On the other hand, he had a job when I was still a snot-nosed know it all, so maybe I was the fool?

    Having spent many years in marketing, I will say that the oddest things actually do influence consumers. Strangely enough there are fonts that can stimulate or suppress sales. The same can be said of the color or thickness of the paper or the ink chosen. And as far as it goes, Brand recognition is one of the primary motivators to consumer spend. It really makes me wonder therefore why several notable car companies have lately done public marketing spots touting how their new models are not recognizable as being made by that company. How far must consumer confidence have dropped in order for them to think that "It doesn't look like a Chevy" is actually a good thing?

    As a tangential note, Big Pharma doesn't choose names of products 'because they wish not to offend'. There are usually bio-chemical names for any given drug that denote a class or chemical formula. The 'Brand name' is often chosen either at random or as a result of a decision internal to the company. In one instance, the company I worked for actually held a contest and let the employees pick the name. What is odd though is that the same drug marketed by the same company not only has a chemical name and a brand name, but if it is sold in multiple countries it has a different name for each country... Don't ask me why because I don't know.

    Pricing.

    If the drug is named differently, it is easier to hide the cost differences between regions from end users. If you were in Mexico and paying twice as much for the same drug you could get in Texas, you'd be a little annoyed.

    And yes, the perception of American car companies have been negatively effected since the phrase "German Engineering" enter the lexicon and the stereotype view that Japan was/is ahead in electronics and innovation.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    deltago said:


    Pricing.

    If the drug is named differently, it is easier to hide the cost differences between regions from end users. If you were in Mexico and paying twice as much for the same drug you could get in Texas, you'd be a little annoyed.

    And yes, the perception of American car companies have been negatively effected since the phrase "German Engineering" enter the lexicon and the stereotype view that Japan was/is ahead in electronics and innovation.

    Actually that isn't it either. At least not here where I work (a big Bio-pharma company). Believe me, we know all the tricks as far as pricing is concerned.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,833
    My old pharmacology professor said they chose drug names based on marketing if it was a brand name, and chemistry if it was a generic name. You have brand names like Ambien because they're easy to remember and they have evocative or soothing sounds. You have generic names like hydrochlorothiazide because that's what it is.

    Drug companies don't name their drugs based on the worry that the drug name sounds bad in another language. There's no reason they couldn't just give it a different name for a different language. If Ambien is a curse word in China (it's not; that word can't even be pronounced in Mandarin), there's no law that says they can't call it 可睡 or something.

    BillyYankJuliusBorisovthe_spyder
  • BillyYankBillyYank Member Posts: 2,769
    Also, you can't trademark a chemical name.

    semiticgoddessthe_spyder
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    BillyYank said:

    Also, you can't trademark a chemical name.

    You can't trademark it, true. But you sure as heck can patent it. I may have indicated that I work for Big Pharma. Actually I work for a law firm that just happens to make/sell medicines.

  • AlmateriaAlmateria Member Posts: 257
    Are you proud of taking part in supressing the miracle cancer-curing weed solution? :P

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    Almateria said:

    Are you proud of taking part in supressing the miracle cancer-curing weed solution? :P

    Um.... The company I work for is not part of that whole thing. As to how 'miracle cancer-curing' it is is quite a different matter.

  • TeflonTeflon Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 517
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,307
    seperate is a misspelling.

    Teflonwubble
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

    JuliusBorisovTeflonBelgarathMTH
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,307
    actually a lot of english learners have a problem with v vs w so you'll them say wiolin, wawe/vave (instead of wave) etc.

    [Deleted User]
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    edited November 2015
  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 3,009
    edited November 2015
    BillyYank said:

    That's an old urban legend.

    Really? *laugh* Wow--they got me.

    Seriously, there is no graceful way out of that other than to laugh at myself and move on.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,649
    Here's one of these that really bugs me, and I always have to bite my tongue to not point it out every time I see it, which is a lot around these forums.

    "Faction" vs. "fraction".

    A "faction" is a side in a conflict. "There were three factions involved in the skirmish."
    "The new strategy game expansion will add two new factions to the original four."
    https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=&oq=faction+definition&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGHP_enUS651US651&q=faction+definition&gs_l=hp....0.0.0.2310...........0.

    A "fraction" is a portion of a whole, for example, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4. "Our new computer program will do the job in a fraction of the time."
    "Johnny always had trouble with fractions in math class."
    https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=&oq=faction+definition&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGHP_enUS651US651&q=faction+definition&gs_l=hp....0.0.0.2310...........0.#q=fraction+definition

    JuliusBorisov[Deleted User]wubble
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    JuliusBorisovbob_vengBelgarathMTHwubble
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited November 2015
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
    BelgarathMTHsemiticgoddessNonnahswriterJuliusBorisov
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