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What kind of English is this-2

 
Mapraputa Is
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I've got a question. Is

The book reads well

correct (good, standard etc.) English?
 
fred rosenberger
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Good? i don't know.

have i heard it before? yes. enough that i wouldn't really stop and think about it anymore.
 
Paul Clapham
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Yes, it's a standard use of what the grammarians appear to call "middle voice". Here's a link to another blog entry I read just today that describes the feature:

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003300.html
 
Michael Matola
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Are you also troubled by, for example?

These pencils break easily.
Eto piatno ne stiraetsia. (This stain won't come out.)

It's the mediopassive voice.

No biggie. It gets tiresome when overused in advertising "Campbell's -- the soup that eats like a meal" or when it's a really unexpected verb.

The mediopassive abounds in Russian. Why does it surprise you in English?
[ June 30, 2006: Message edited by: Michael Matola ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Paul, was it you commenting on LanguageHat blog?
 
Paul Clapham
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Yes, that's me. There aren't many people with my name.
 
Mapraputa Is
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MM: The mediopassive abounds in Russian. Why does it surprise you in English?

I never noticed it in Russian, and I got used to the idea that a verb can be either "passive" or "active", so I was amuzed to learn that there is a third variant. I learnt about the mediopassive from the same blog entry Paul did. By the way, what is the English term for somebody who reads the same blogs you do?
 
Michael Matola
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Just saw a TV commercial for Vault last night. It, apparently, "Drinks like a Soda, Kicks like an Energy Drink."

See the Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vault_ (soft_drink)
 
John Dunn
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MS: By the way, what is the English term for somebody who reads the same blogs you do?

As me?

That's easy. "Stupid".
 
Arnie McKelvey
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IMO, not only is it correct English, the writer demonstrates refinement, sophistication and sensuality.
 
Stuart Ash
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
I've got a question. Is

The book reads well

correct (good, standard etc.) English?


For those who know Romance languages, the reflexive "se verb" construction should help understand this:

(Pseudo-Romance)


La ira se monstra = the anger shows (itself)
El liber se lege bene = the book reads well
 
Stuart Ash
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Originally posted by John Dunn:
MS: By the way, what is the English term for somebody who reads the same blogs you do?



It's co-blogster.

And if you blog the same blog as another, it's co-blogger.
 
Frank Silbermann
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When we say, "This pencil point breaks easily" the subject (actor) of the sentence is the pencil. It's called mediopassive because a pencil is an inanimate object which cannot break itself, it can only be broken. But we speak of it in the active voice figuratively, because breaking seems to be something that the pencil does of its own volition -- obviously we are not trying to break it; when the pencil point breaks it startles us.

To say "this cola drinks easily" or "this book reads well" is an abuse of style. There is nothing unexpected or unintentional in our drinking of the soda or our reading of the book that would make these objects even appear to be taking action. That's why these uses of the mediopassive are not conventional. The use is cute and novel purely for the sake of novelty. (Language change may be unavoidable, but when it can be avoided it's not a good thing.)

Originally posted by Arnie McKelvey:
IMO, not only is it correct English, the writer demonstrates refinement, sophistication and sensuality.
I disagree. I think the writer exhibits intellectual vanity, as if to say "Look how clever and trendy I am!" The writer demonstrates the quality of being a (insert your favorite obscene insult).
[ July 05, 2006: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
 
agrah upadhyay
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O......Ohh Cuts like a knife
 
Jack Haley
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I disagree. I think the writer exhibits intellectual vanity, as if to say "Look how clever and trendy I am!" The writer demonstrates the quality of being a (insert your favorite obscene insult).
Thanks Frank, could you pass me the pipe and the lighter, please.

Map - consider the following. The devil reads good.
 
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