173 Comments This discussion is locked.
So, in this context, are we talking strictly about what is under the shoes, e.g. pavement, rocks, etc., or could in mean under in the sense of inside the shoes, e.g. socks, bare feet, etc.?
I was thinking more the former sense, but if you were asking, for example, "¿Qué tienes bajo la camisa?" could that be like, let's say, a singlet, or a police wire? Or would it be more like, a shirt on the table covering up a lumpy object about which someone is enquiring?
Because, while that sentence is similar in meaning, it isn't what the Spanish says. The verb "tiene" means "(you) have". So, a sentence which does not contain "have" is not a close translation. In addition, the sentence given by Duo says "the shoes", rather than "your shoes".
No, they're perfectly correct grammar, and have been for a thousand years.
Same grammar in all the other Germanic languages that come to mind: "wat heb je?", "was hast du?", "hva har du?", "hvad har du?", "vad har du?" "hvað hefur þú?". English isn't the odd one out here; it's just the same (we merely have more options)
tienes = you have
However, it doesn't accept "What have you under the shoes?" This is quite natural English, but Duolingo insists on the "got" in there.
In case anyone thinks, Duolingo is standing on grammatical formality (i.e., insisting on the implied "got"), in other situations it prefers the informal to the formal, so this argument would be inconsistent with the program.
I have read the thread. And I´m not sure you understand the difference between ´correct´ and ´used often/regional dialect¨. Being ´used to´ a certain vernacular does not mean said vernacular merits a place in a language-learning program. No offense, but I feel that in this format, formal should be taught before colloquial - we can learn that conversing out there in the wider world. Anyway forgive me, I don´t know why I´m discussing the differences in spoken English on a Spanish-learning forum. :)
Well, I guess the importance of getting the English right is because we want to see a "correct" translation. I've seen some pretty rough translations done by Duolingo. (Don't get me wrong, I love this program.)
The problem often lies not only in certain vernacular but in prescriptivist versus descriptivist views of grammar etc., no matter what part of the world or what dialect you use. To oversimplify, prescriptivists tend to see the language as more rule bound. Descriptivists tend to be more flexible. You can tell which way I lean. :)
Fair play. I´m happy that language evolves, but for something like Duolingo I tend to lean towards a more prescriptivist view. I think öfficial¨ bodies (dictionaries, universities etc.) are important for learning; I would say less confusion arises when we all study under an ¨agreed¨ ideal. But don´t get me wrong, it´s important that these institutions adapt to common parlance if and when necessary. The more we say it the more Webster/Oxford et al should adapt.
I have studied both prescriptivist (classroom/textbook) grammar, and descriptivist grammar (which is more abstract) and I have a degree in linguistics. "What have you under the shoes" may not be current in American English, but it might be more common in the Commonwealth dialects, and it certainly was the way to say it several hundred years ago. English is not a single, monolithic language (no language is monolithic) and "standard" not synonymous with "correct."
Really, what matters most is that Duolingo uses Standard American English, and that is the base from which to argue any usage issues.
I agree that no language is monolithic but, in this forum, why assert ¨What have you under the shoes¨ as ¨correct¨ (and descriptivist) if you´re saying Duolingo should use SAE (presciptivist)? That will just confuse anyone that reads these pointless posts. By the way, I speak a ¨Commonwealth dialect¨and I would never use a phrase like that. Actually, we would regard it as a crass Americanism.
Weighing in here as a an Englishman from England with an academic background in (mostly English) philology and linguistics, who makes a living teaching mostly English.
"What have you under the shoes" is certainly not an Americanism, and that sentence structure dates comfortably back to Anglo Saxon.
Same with other modern Germanic languages:
"wat heb je?", "was hast du?", "hva har du?", "hvad har du?", "vad har du?", "hvað hefur þú?"
Surely you wouldn't argue those to be "crass Americanisms"?
I'm not saying Duo "should" do anything, I'm saying "this is what it, in fact, does do."
I'm rather amused at the notion that both American and British speakers regard "What have you under the shoes?" as a weird thing the other guys say. I guess it's a regionalism that happens to be neither of ours. It certainly is an archaicism, which is why even though it might not be standard, I'm hard-pressed to say it's wrong. Even though it's not at all common to hear in everyday speech, it is preserved in poetry and literature.
Sorry, but it is. The fine print: If "have" is used as a lexical verb (and it can be), then it can be employed as a possessive here. If you add "got" then "have" becomes an auxiliary (and it can be).
The use of “have” as a lexical verb here is more English than American, so if you’re used to American English it might sound odd. But to many it isn’t. And it’s correct.
I agree, it is set more to American preferences. However, it does accept English spellings (color/colour, etc.) and idioms. Sometimes, in weird turn-arounds, it even accepts British usage over American, which can get confusing. However, up here in Canada, we're used to that. :)
In another forum, the fur flew over whether it was "This pair of glasses is..." or "This pair of glasses are..." It really came down to which side of the Atlantic you were on, but both sides found the other usage odd or even wrong. Cada uno a lo suyo!
Peeps jump in here with a question burning in their brains and have no time to read anything as they just got to get their burning question down and out of their heads before they forget it, a question which they are sure no one else would likely also have thought of it. This happens all the time. And that is your no-joke explanation.
That's correct! In Spanish, Portuguese, and German, we use the definite article instead of possessive in situations like this: He has a coin in "THE" hand (instead of "his" hand); she put something in "THE" mouth (instead of "her" mouth). I'm a native speaker of Portuguese and, when learning English, we have a hard time to get used to "stick something into OUR pockets" instead of "stick something into THE pockets" that is the format we use in Portuguese.
Not sure if anyone else had heard this, but I've heard debajo often used by spanish speakers to mean underneath. Perhaps this is just a regional thing though, the family I have that speaks spanish are Puerto Rican. The also don't use emparedado, they just say sandwich (with spanish pronunciation)
Anybody know where they do say "emparedado"? Mexico maybe? I see Wiktionary just says "central Americ, Caribbean".
I've never heard it, but I've been somewhat sheltered in my Spanish-speaking exploits, being as I've mostly chatted with Spanish girls here in England, and rather fewer Latin Americans.
It is a dollar bill this guy espied on the sidewalk that's now under his shoe. When he saw it he quickly stepped on it. Now his friend kind of saw it also or thinks he maybe did, but he's not sure. And the guy who saw the bill first is not interested in letting his friend have a share so he answers the question by saying, "Nothin.'"
I'm giving you two lingos. So many people on here do not know English grammer. They think all contractions are correct if they throw an apostrophe in. When I have challenged them to find me one reputable link not one of them have been able to prove it. How can someone who has gone to school actually think you can use "Susie's" as "Susie has"? Sorry, rant over.
I have to remember to catch this one while playing and report it. Those of you that know English please try to report it too.
Is a Ph.D. reputable enough for you?
In episode 168, we talked about respectable contractions that should nonetheless be used with care. Some are ambiguous. For example, when you read “the dog’s,” it might be a possessive, as in “the dog’s tail”; it might be a contraction of “the dog is”; or it might be a contraction of “the dog has.”
Note that "dog" is a noun and not a pronoun. Note that the issue is not one of right vs. wrong (all are perfectly fine), but rather one of being mindful of potential ambiguity. In other words: As always, be clear.
And I'll quote someone else, too:
The word standard is supposed to be limited to labeling the variety of English that is used by the people in power. That version of English is standard because that's the way the powerful people talk and write and if one wants to join that group--then, one learns to use that version of English. That is, there's nothing intrinsically better (or "best") about this version of English. Moreover, this version of English was not selected by some rational process aimed at "standardization."
Once again, formal vs. informal registers are an entirely separate consideration from standard vs. non-standard dialects. There is plenty of room in all dialects, including the standard one, for various registers. It all comes down to what's appropriate to the situation. It's like clothing: Standard dialect, along with a suit and tie, belong in the boardroom and the court room and the job interview, no argument there. But when we're not in a formal or official situation, we can take off the tie, put on some jeans, and slip into our local dialect. And when you go to the beach, you put on a skimpy swimsuit and relax in your own ideolect.
There are also different kinds of slang, and not all of them are "low-brow". Jargon is nothing more than industry-specific slang. Is it mainstream? Of course not, because there's no reason for it to be. If you're not a medical professional, you're not going to pick up any medical jargon. If you're not an engineer, you're not going to pick up any engineering jargon. If you're not a legal professional, you're not going to pick up any legal jargon. And once again, contractions have nothing to do with slang. They are merely a less formal register. Slang is specialized vocabulary and phrase construction, such as "Yo, what's up?" to mean "Hi, how are you?"
So how in the world did I make it through university with honors, while successfully working as a proof reader and a tutor along the way? Simple: I, like so many other people, am comfortably fluent in more than one dialect and register and I know what's appropriate to use where.
The first principle of communication is that it is the responsibility of the speaker to speak using the language and vernacular which the listener understands. Thus, it is not proper to try to talk with someone who is at least halfway intelligent using conjunctions which simply don't make clear sense even while one is a strong fan of Humpty Dumptyism.
's is only for possession when it is with a noun.
Hold on, you're talking about something very different now. We were talking about contracting main verbs with the subject but suddenly you've jumped to the possessive clitic. By its very nature, the possessive clitic only attaches to a noun phrase. That was never in dispute and has nothing to do with the "to be" contractions we're talking about here.
We make speak like this but it is not correct English
There is a wide-spread misconception that there is only one correct form of English (or any language for that matter), but the truth is, there never was. Yes, there's a standard form that's taught in schools and used in official (e.g. government) documents, but even that's regional. (See also American English vs. British English or Peninsular Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish or European Portuguese vs. Brazilian Portuguese. Be aware that I'm referring to far more than six dialects in this brief list.)
In other words, "standard" is not synonymous with "correct".
I have very mixed feelings about prescriptivist grammar. On the one hand, it does standardize a language to a certain degree and helps facilitate communication between people from far-flung regions, but on the other hand, it artificially fossilizes language, the very nature of which is to evolve. It's how English came to exist in the first place. It's how Latin splintered into French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Romanian, Italian, etc. It's our hide-bound insistence that the printed word is the absolute immortal truth is the reason why English spelling is so inconsistent and confusing.
You seem to be educated
I'm old enough to be mother to a high-school graduate and I have a degree in linguistics.
I'm at work now and need to get going, so I'll simply re-iterate my original statement: Generally speaking, the main (as opposed to any auxiliary) verb does not usually contract with the subject. One notable exception to this is the "to be" copula. Also note that I do choose my words carefully. I've always said that the "to be" copula can contract with the subject. I never deliberately singled out just pronouns. My earlier examples may have been limited to pronouns, but that's because I was tired and got hung up on them for some reason.
My mom's not home right now.
Sarah's a teacher.
Tom 'n' James're too young.
We may not see that last one in print often, but that's mostly because contractions are primarily a verbal phenomenon, which have less to do with grammar and more to do with phonotactics.
No, those are perfectly fine, too. There's nothing special about pronouns or regular nouns or proper names here. It's all about the "to be" copula.
...Unless you're just teasing me for getting hung up on pronouns? I can't really tell anymore. :-/ Still, I think this is a good conversation to have for the benefit of non-native speakers.
I was teasing but no these are not fine. This what I am challenging people with. We make speak like this but it is not correct English. 's is only for possession when it is with a noun. I even tried proving others they were correct since so many on here say it is right. I could not find any sites that said it could be used in this manner and of course no one else could back up their belief. How about you? You seem to be educated and would send me a real link if you can find one. (Note: ehow does not count. lol)
How can someone who has gone to school actually think you can use "Susie's" as "Susie has"? Sorry, rant over.
Because it was explicitly taught. "Suzie's been a good girl this week, unlike the previous weeks when she's been stubborn."
I'm honestly at a loss to imagine where you get your odd ideas about "correct" and "incorrect" English from.
You were never taught this in school, you just think you did because you speak that way. Not one of you have been able to back yourself up with a link to prove different because I am correct on this. Susie's is ONLY to show ownership. Look it up. Go ask an English teacher. I know you won't trust me even if I would go ask a teacher.
Why are people on here unable to accept reality even when it is pointed out to them and keep arguing when they have no way to back up their belief? Any reputable link proves that you cannot contract a noun in such a way.
Here are two links that someone posted on here trying to prove me wrong but it proved me correct: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_English_contractions http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/EnglishContractions.htm
Who said anything about slang? Where are you getting this from? Contractions are not slang, and in fact Duo does accept variations on answers, including (in other lessons) "She does not speak" and "She doesn't speak."
I have two university degrees, one in Linguistics, both cum laude. I've always been top of my class. I also come from a long line of teachers.
What is your educational background? What qualifies you to be an expert on how language works?
Sure, there is a standard that serves as the official dialect, the formal dialect, the lingua franca of the region. It certainly serves a purpose, no one is denying that. All I'm saying is that just because something is the standard, that by no means makes it the one and only right way to speak, with all other dialects being wrong.
Those are by no means exhaustive lists (they say "common contractions", not "the only permissible contractions"), and I see plenty of entries that say X's -- X is or X has.
You seem to be one of those people who think the written word was handed down from on high, and the spoken word must conform to it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Speech is natural and spontaneous, and it's been evolving since its inception. Writing is the artifice that someone had to sit down and consciously invent. It can be a fascinating glimpse into a languages's past if spelling reform doesn't often happen. The word "knight", for example.
Go to your local library and check out books on linguistics. There are a wide variety of specific topics and layman-accessibility, but some I've picked up for a bit of light reading include "The Unfolding of Language" by Guy Deutscher, "The Atoms of Language" by Mark Baker, and "The Language Instinct" by Steven Pinker. A really good reading list is here: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/796.Best_Books_about_Linguistics
Linguistics is not about hide-bound, misguided prescriptivism. It is the history and science of understanding human language. Usage absolutely makes right. There was a time not long ago when "There's a house being built down the street" would have gotten you funny looks because people generally said "There's a house building down the street." Are we perpetuating a terrible error, or have we finally come to our senses? Neither. Language is a living, fluid thing. Should Shakespeare come around and correct our English, because we don't use it the same way he did? Should Chaucer come around and say we're both wrong? Are we all perpetuating terrible errors that would make the author of Beowulf weep?
And you expect duolingo to put in all sorts of slang to conform to your beliefs. Then they would have to put in all other slang.
And yet you deny the truth of language. Language is living but it also must conform to some basics so that we can all understand it. But whatever, you are never wrong even though you have no factual basis.
By your thought process duolingo should teach us all Spanish slang too. Now wouldn't that be fun to try to learn!
I suggest you go tell all the English teachers they are wrong. Obviously you wouldn't be able to pass grade school English much less college.
Many people on here want slang to be accepted on here. You wouldn't believe how nasty some of them got with a guy in the discussion section. Bad enough that duo was deleting the comments. Using 's after nouns is slang. It's our lazy speech patterns, and yes I am guilty of that.
If you have degrees and are from a family of teachers, then how do you not know that Sally's is not Sally is. Sorry, but if you were correct on this you of all people should be able to direct us to a link that shows that this is acceptable written English. I may not have the degrees you have (Accounting for me) but I have had English classes and I know that the above is incorrect. I've invited people to show me I'm wrong. I love to learn but I do not take opinions as fact.
Saying "those" or "these" adds extra information. The sentence as given invites a follow-up question:
What's under the shoes (los zapatos)?
Alternatively, imagine being in a thrift shop where the shoes for sale are all on one shelf, and you want to see if there's anything under them.
What's under the shoes?