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Doubt on doubt

 
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Originally posted by Mehul Sanghvi:
At times it really surprises me as to why would the same letter in a script (Latin) be pronounced differently in different situations.
like in Jalopy and Jalapeno..!

In any of the Indian scripts (Brahmi) every constant will always be pronounced the same way in any situation. This is one of the changes thats really difficult to grasp for people for whom English is 2nd or 3rd language.



Jalapeno is not an English word; nor is it derived from Latin. It is of Spanish origin in which J is not pronounced the same as English J.
 
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Mehul didn't say Jalapeno was derived from Latin - he was talking about Latin script. Which we normally call the Roman alphabet. Which is used by English, Spanish, and one or two other languages.

[Sadanand Murthy ]: Jalapeno is not an English word

It's certainly not originally an English word, but it has been incorporated into English now.
[ March 30, 2005: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
 
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
... but it has been incorporated into English now...



This is a good statement of the problem. In middle English, before Dr. Samuel Johnson got his hands on the language, words were spelt as they were pronounced, much like most other languages. A decision was made to reflect the original spelling of a word instead of its pronunciation in the dictionary. This (sort of an i18n movement in natural language) added vastly to the richness and power of adoption into the English language, at the expense of reasonable spelling.
 
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The reason for using such an english is very simple.
India has 28 states and 7 union territories. Believe me, each of the state has its own regional language(some have more than one regional language). For example karnataka has kannada as its regional language, Punjab has Punjabi as regional language and Maharastra has Marati as regional language.But Hindi is the national language of India.
When a fellow Indian tries to speak/write some english, he tries to get his sentense the same way he speaks in regional language.
For ex: In Hindi one says "Java mey ek savaal hey". If we directly translate this in English it means, "In Java there is a question" which is not very good english. This should actually be "I have a question in java" which is right according to Ben Souther.
So I feel our very good friends in Javaranch should not get bothered by the way the question is asked unless the question is not understandable.

"You can buy any colour of a car as long as its black...Henry Ford"
 
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This should actually be "I have a question in java" which is right according to Ben Souther.



I doubt whether Ben would consider that proper English. It should be "...about Java" or possibly (if you're on the island Java) "...on Java".
"...in Java" would only be correct if you're in a city called Java (or possibly if you're underground on the island Java).

So I feel our very good friends in Javaranch should not get bothered by the way the question is asked unless the question is not understandable.


And people should make some more effort to phrase their questions properly instead of hoping everyone is an expert at puzzles.
Remember many of us have English as a second language and will indeed have a hard time understanding questions worded in phonetic transposition of some other language (especially if they don't know that language).

The way many of your countrymen word their questions they seem to me to be too lazy to make that effort (not just using an incorrect word from time to time or a grammatical mistake, everyone does that), but not even taking the time to use interpunction, capitalisation, and spelling words full out (plz, u, i, !!!, etc. etc.).
If I encounter such abuse of the language anywhere else (also among countrymen in my own language) I react the exact same way as when I see an Indian doing it here speaking some pidgin English.
 
Sripathi Krishnamurthy
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

And people should make some more effort to phrase their questions properly instead of hoping everyone is an expert at puzzles.



Why should one get bothered until the question is absolutely unreadable?
If this was an english class, I would be strict on using grammer. But this is a forum to post questions and get the answers. So why be rude on users to frame questions properly and make "Oxford" dictionary sales go up.
But I agree to one point of yours and that is not to use shortcuts such as plz, u etc. This is due to the fact that you may feel bad about English(which is your Mother Tongue) being misused. Anyone would feel the same way if their Mother Tongue would be misused.
 
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Most of us can tell the difference between someone struggling with English as a second language and someone who is being lazy and are extremely patient with the former. I think we can all agree that using "u r" and "plz" is not an appropriate way for professionals to speak to one another.

As Jeroen mentioned, one good reason to use the best English possible is that there are other non-English speakers who are also trying to read your posts.
A native English speaker may be able to deduce the true meaning of a poorly worded sentence but for a French or Chinese person it would be very difficult because they can't look up the misspelled words, and the definition for a correctly spelled word is useless if it was the wrong one in the first place. Software translation tools will also fall apart if heavy slang is used.

Again, I didn't start this thread to beat up on non-English speakers.
I couldn't imagine trying to learn Java in Indian (or language other than English).

What I was (and still am) interested in is how it came to be that "doubt" and "question" got reversed in the the translation from Indian to English.
I was hoping to hear from more Indians. We have two pages of people with mostly western names speculating and guessing.

Where's Adeel Ansari?
[ April 01, 2005: Message edited by: Ben Souther ]
 
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Originally posted by Ben Souther:
What I was (and still am) interested in is how it came to be that "doubt" and "question" got reversed in the the translation from Indian to English.
I was hoping to hear from more Indians. We have two pages of people with mostly western names speculating and guessing.



ammu vasanth -
You have a doubt when you half-know the answer;
You have a question when you don't know the answer at all.

Arjunkumar Shastry -
Atleast in my mother tounge it is.Doubt and questions have their equivalents.When somebody says doubt in my langauge,it means person has some questions and asking politely.When sombody says question,it doesn't appear polite.

Sadanand Murthy -
However, many (perhaps most) can't think in English; they think in the Indian language that they are most comfortable with/in and then translate it into English. Over a period of time even this becomes second nature. Since many (if not most) Indians tend to translate (to a large extent, literally), a phrase, sentence, statement,what have you, into English from the Indian language that they are most comfortable with/in.

You were hoping for more than these answers? They're pretty informative I'd say.

The strange thing about doubt being the "more polite" word (using direct translations), is that most people I know understand question as the more polite word.
doubt
v. tr.
1. To be undecided or skeptical about: began to doubt some accepted doctrines.
2. To tend to disbelieve; distrust: doubts politicians when they make sweeping statements.
3. To regard as unlikely: I doubt that we'll arrive on time.
4. Archaic. To suspect; fear.

v. intr.
To be undecided or skeptical.

Every definition of the word doubt has some negative connotations; skepticism, disbelief, distrust, suspicion.

Further, in US culture, "doubt" implies no humility and might make the asker look haughty. It implies that you already understand the topic and you see fault in it. The word "question" implies that you do not understand the topic completely and that you simply wish to know more about it. If you are asking about the code of another person, using the word doubt could make the person believe that you do not trust their capabilities, whereas saying you have a question will usually come across as a humble inquiry.

...just more Westerner ramblings.
 
Ben Souther
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You were hoping for more than these answers? They're pretty informative I'd say.


Yes. They are informative, but don't answer the original question.

Arjunkumar Shastry's was the most interesting because he states that 'doubt' and 'question' have Indian equivalents -- which still leaves the question: why do they so commonly get reversed in the translation?

Arjunkumar Shastry
Atleast in my mother tounge it is.Doubt and questions have their equivalents.When somebody says doubt in my langauge,it means person has some questions and asking politely.When sombody says question,it doesn't appear polite.


[ April 01, 2005: Message edited by: Ben Souther ]
 
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Ok, I'm here.

I think the word "question" is more appropriate when you say, "I have a question about java". Moreover, I agree with Ernest on


But "I have a doubt about constructors" is never said, at least in American English, and so it sounds very odd to American ears. If someone says "I have a doubt about X", an American thinks "Well, sorry to hear that. Good luck with it!" A doubt is a private thing you struggle with, not a verbal request for help the way a question is. But if you say "I have a question about X", then the correct response is "Yes, what is it?"



I have been in Malaysia for two years and I noticed there people dont use the word "take". They use the word "get" almost everywhere.

Singaporeans and malaysians says that we dont speak english, we speak singlish, and minglish respectively. Lets have an example,

English
Can you?
Yes, I can.

Minglish (Malaysian English)
Cana?
Can Can.

As we have two words, almost same meanings, in english. "Believe" and "Trust". I think we can use any, anywhere to convey our meanings. But should be used accordingly. We also have two words, almost same meanings, in Urdu (a language), as we have "Believe" and "Trust", in English.

Notice this phrase.
"Believe everything, trust nothing".

Looking like a game of words.
 
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{
why do they so commonly get reversed in the translation?
}
Finally I opened the dictionary of Sanskrit language which is supposed to be mother of major Indian lanaguegs and clearly there is a difference between doubt and question in Sanskrit
Question: Samasya/Prashna
Doubt:Shanka
You must have heard about god Shankara,one of the interpretation of his name :Shankara = Shanka + hara(defeat),thats the one who defeats the doubts.
I have seen regional language newspapers use Shanka and prashna interchangably although they are not supposed to do that.IMO,The reason why many people use doubt instead of question is its ease of use.Easy to write and pronounce.Even in my my mothertounge or in Sanskrit,Shanka is easier to write in Devnagri(script) and pronounce than Prashna.
And as somebody said,if the "message" is reached,why one should care whether its doubt or question?


[ April 04, 2005: Message edited by: Arjunkumar Shastry ]
 
Arjunkumar Shastry
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Now as per my explanation on March 15 post,about interchaning of doubt and question in my mother toungue,its unofficial rule.It means that question(or Prashna) doesn't appear as polite as doubt(shanka)to ears.But while writing, its not correct.Govt.documents will always say "People asked prasha(questions) to their represntatives in meeting" and not "People asked shanka(doubts) to their represntatives in meeting".
Hope your doubt(or question ) is answered.

[ April 04, 2005: Message edited by: Arjunkumar Shastry ]
[ April 04, 2005: Message edited by: Arjunkumar Shastry ]
 
Ben Souther
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Adeel Ansari
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Originally posted by Ben Souther:
What I was (and still am) interested in is how it came to be that "doubt" and "question" got reversed in the the translation from Indian to English.
I was hoping to hear from more Indians. We have two pages of people with mostly western names speculating and guessing.

Where's Adeel Ansari?



Although, I'm not Indian. But intelligent guess, I must say.
 
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reply from an Indian:

From my early days in school, I remember the teachers(including English) saying "Do you have any doubts?" So whenever I want to ask a question, I may say, "Excuse me, I have a doubt" , or "Excuse me, I have a question" interchangeably, thanx to my High School English teacher who taught me the difference between the two.

And in India (my observation), people do not pay much attention to correct usage as they pay to correct interpretation. Result: Indians are somewhat weak at correct usage when compared to native English speakers.
 
Adeel Ansari
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Originally posted by Ashish Chopra:
From my early days in school, I remember the teachers(including English) saying "Do you have any doubts?" So whenever I want to ask a question, I may say, "Excuse me, I have a doubt" , or "Excuse me, I have a question" interchangeably, thanx to my High School English teacher who taught me the difference between the two.



Yes Agreed, here you may interchange.

Me not indian but know the stuff.

English: Any question?
Hindi: Koi sawaal?

English: Any doubt?
Hindi: Koi shak?
[ April 04, 2005: Message edited by: Adeel Ansari ]
 
Adeel Ansari
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Result: Indians are somewhat weak at correct usage when compared to native English speakers.



Would like to give my opinion. Its not about english and indians, its like

"No matter you know the language very well, but natives are natives."

Thanks.
 
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Originally posted by Arjunkumar Shastry:
And as somebody said,if the "message" is reached,why one should care whether its doubt or question?



I can't speak for anybody else, but I can speak for myself. If I'm speaking in a foreign language, I want to do it correctly. I don't want to put the burden of translating my non-standard usage of their language on the person I'm speaking with, as it is a barrier to effective communication. Now I hope that the native speaker is patient with me, however when I'm corrected on my use of the language (which I appreciate as it since it only makes me better) I feel that since I now know the proper usage, it's my job to make sure that I implement it.

When I was a teenager I lived for several months in Germany. I had never taken any German lessons and really didn't know much about the language. Since I was immersed in it though, I was able to at least get to the point where I understood most of what was being said, but speaking it was a bit tougher for me. Since I never had any formal study of German, for some reason I had a hard time with nicht and keine. My understanding was that nicht made a verb negative whereas keine implied an absence of something. Compound that with the negative nein and I had three different words which basically meant no. I was quite confused at times. For example, if I wanted to say "I speak no German" and I did a literal translation from English I would say "Ich spreche kein Deutsches" (or something like that, it's been awhile). However I was corrected after doing this a couple times and told that nobody would really say that so I had to use "Ich spreche nicht Deutsches".

I didn't want people to make assumptions of me, like maybe I was too lazy or too stupid to use the language correctly, so it became quite important for me to make sure I did so as much as possible. I'm sure they were able to "get the message" about what I was saying most of the time, but I realized that the burden was squarely on me to use the language correctly and I should not expect them to adapt to my shortcomings, even though people were pretty patient with me.
 
Ashish Chopra
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Originally posted by Arjunkumar Shastry:

Question: Samasya/Prashna
Doubt:Shanka



Small nitpick ....

Question: Prashna
Doubt: Shanka
Problem : Samasya

 
Ben Souther
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Originally posted by Arjunkumar Shastry:

And as somebody said,if the "message" is reached, why one should care whether its doubt or question?



For the most part, I don't care. I was just curious.
I have, however, seen a case where the message has not made it through the translation.

"I have some doubts about Tomcat".
- "Well then why don't you go f$#!ing use .NET"

The poor guy with the question had no idea why the other person took offense. He posted this in the wake of a pretty drawn out flame war between .net and j2ee advocates.
 
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Jason: If I'm speaking in a foreign language, I want to do it correctly.



You are right. I don't think there is any excuse for using sloppy English when living in a country where English is the language of communication. But I think, for situations like doubt/question, also/even where the difference is not glaring, and might be making sense when translated from their native language, many Indians might not even know that they are making a mistake. I mean, to them, it might sound like decently good English.

Till I came upon this thread, I don't think I realized the difference between doubt and question.
In Tamil:
doubt: santhegam
question: kelvi

The problem arises because, because the meaning is determined by words sorrounding the "santhegam" or by context.
"Enaku Tomcat mela santhegam" : I doubt Tomcat (literal translation: I have doubt upon Tomcat)
"Enaku Tomcat la santhegam" : I have a question about Tomcat (literal translation: I have doubt in Tomcat)

Santhegam is common in both sentences, but the mela/la determines the meaning. So to an Indian, he might not even be aware of the differences in using "doubt"
 
kayal cox
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And the very first time, I caught myself using the word "doubt" in the wrong context (I find it difficult to use "question", because that substitution is not at all popular in my native tongue), I switched to using the word "clarification"... Sigh, but I don't know if that is right or wrong!
 
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Originally posted by Sripathi Krishnamurthy:

For ex: In Hindi one says "Java mey ek savaal hey". If we directly translate this in English it means, "In Java there is a question" which is not very good english. This should actually be "I have a question in java" which is right according to Ben Souther.
So I feel our very good friends in Javaranch should not get bothered by the way the question is asked unless the question is not understandable.



"Java mey ek savaal hey" isn't correct Hindi either!!! Correct Hindi is "Java ke bare mein ek savaal hey", or "Java ke subject mein ek savaal hey", which means "I hava question about Java", and "I have a question on the subject of Java"

As far as I have seen, "doubt" is more prevalent in engineering colleges. Most of my professors would end the lecture with "Any doubts?" which really means "Anyone has any doubts/questions on the material presented?", to which the students answer "I dont have any doubts" or "I have a doubt about ...". However, in common American usage, the idiom "Have doubts about" has a specific meaning which many Indians don't know about. I really don't know how doubt came to mean question in India, but college is where I first heard "doubts". It used to jar me too, but I got used to it.
 
Jayesh Lalwani
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Originally posted by Ashish Chopra:
reply from an Indian:


And in India (my observation), people do not pay much attention to correct usage as they pay to correct interpretation. Result: Indians are somewhat weak at correct usage when compared to native English speakers.



Yes, there is a general trend towards shortening sentences, to the point that slang enters common usage very fast. To give an example, a common way to say goodbye is "Chal phir milte hai", which translates to "Let's go now. We will meet again later". Everyone in my group would shorten that to "Chal", which literally meand "Go!!" My mother would always shout at me for being disrespectful because I would say ""Chal" when I wanted to end a conversation on the phone

However, I don't think this problem is absent in any other language. I mean is using "doubt" any worse that "y'all" or "Dude!!" or "What up" or "Word!!". I mean what does "Word!!" mean anyways? All I know about is Microsoft Word Should I respond with "Excel!!"? The differrence is that educated Americans generally know which sentences are slang, and what are'nt, and decide to use slang or not based on the audience, just like I won't say "kya bapu! kya chal raha hai?" to my father. OTH, Indians get confused about which English sentences are standard English and which are Indian slang.
 
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