Annoying words, and Words You Hate

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby firechicago » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:31 am UTC

And so we go gerundingly onward.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby poxic » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:05 am UTC

To quote a former roommate with English as a second language: my head is paining me.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby ObsessoMom » Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:01 am UTC

I feel annoyed that I just had to look up the meaning of the word "perspicuous".

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:41 am UTC

Here's something that bugs me: not once have I heard a native English speaker pronounce Alejandro Iñárritu's name even passingly well. Even people who work with him, like Leo, still insist on putting the stress on the penultimate syllable. [ɪnˈjɑɹəˌtʰuː] would be a decent approximation, but all I ever hear is [ˌɪnəˈɹiːˌtʰuː].
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:33 pm UTC

Do said English speakers always see it printed with the accent? I know that when I mispronounce a name from another Latin-alphabet-using language, it's often at least in part because I see it without the diacritics necessary to know the correct pronunciation.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Derek » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:51 pm UTC

When I read foreign words my mind just removes diacritics. I mean, clearly they are just printing cerrors, or glitches in the font file.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby slinches » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:33 am UTC

In my mind, accents and diacritics mean "WARNING: foreign word, do not try to pronounce". Not that I'm xenophobic or anything, it's just extremely unlikely that I'll get it right.

And yes, gmalivuk, I do dislike essentially all uses of brand names as verbs, though some are worse than others. I eventually had to force myself to accept that use of Google or it would have started to seriously affect my health cringing so often. The reason I picked on Skype is because the word is ugly to begin with.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:58 am UTC

Nothing is worse than the linguistic atrocity that was Windows Me. The name was even worse than the OS.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil » Tue Feb 23, 2016 2:45 pm UTC

firechicago wrote:And so we go gerundingly onward.


But "gerunding" there is surely a participle, not a gerund!

slinches wrote:And yes, gmalivuk, I do dislike essentially all uses of brand names as verbs, though some are worse than others. I eventually had to force myself to accept that use of Google or it would have started to seriously affect my health cringing so often. The reason I picked on Skype is because the word is ugly to begin with.


I'm with you. I don't really cringe anymore when I hear other people use those words, but I still say "look it up on Google" and "let's talk on Skype".

Eebster wrote:Nothing is worse than the linguistic atrocity that was Windows Me. The name was even worse than the OS.


Perhaps this is dry humor that has gotten past my irony-detection algorithms, but surely it was "Windows ME" ("Windows Millennium Edition") and pronounced accordingly. Did anyone actually pronounce it "Windows Me"?

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:24 pm UTC

The logo reads "Windows Me", and it was marketed as a word, not an initialism.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Derek » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:08 pm UTC

Everyone I knew pronounced it M. E. though.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:18 pm UTC

Be that as it may, Microsoft intended it to be pronounced as "me", so it's not particularly weird or crazy that some people did just that.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:31 pm UTC

Wow, somehow that marketing completely escaped me, and it never occurred to me to interpret it as a word. This despite it being the OS on my primary computer for ~2 years. Now that I am aware of it, I concur with Eebster's assessment.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:12 am UTC

When I was a babby using my parents' Windows box, I pronounced it M.E., but later when I learned the intended pronunciation, I was even more appalled.

To be fair, I think the idea was that "Me" and "Windows" were both nouns, with "Me" just being the name of the version, but now I can't stop thinking about it as some sort of verb "Windows" which means "to burden with an inefficient, intermediate OS."

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:09 am UTC

Something else that bugs me: when people are trying to make fun of the Boston accent in text and write the city's name as "Bahstin". What they're trying to get at is the Eastern New England low vowel system, which – to put things crudely – means that Bostonians pronounce quite a few words with "aw" that the rest of the country pronounces with "ah". Which is precisely the fucking opposite of what these flailing idiots are actually conveying with their ass-backwards eye dialect spelling.

I mean, I know why they do it. They know that Bostonians use "ah" in a lot of (other) words, they know there's something weird going on with the short o's, and they want a convenient way to invoke both the city and its accent at the same time, so they combine these things and get "Bahstin" – even though that pronunciation would get you laughed out of town if you actually decided to use it there. I've even seen someone construct a misconception on top of this misconception (in a process known as misconceptionception, not to be confused with conjunctionjunction) and claim that Boston was originally called "Barston". Which, I mean, makes such perfect sense that it simply must be true, provided that you know next to nothing – but not quite totally nothing – about the Boston accent. In reality it's called Boston because it's named after a place called Boston.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:34 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:Something else that bugs me: when people are trying to make fun of the Boston accent in text and write the city's name as "Bahstin". What they're trying to get at is the Eastern New England low vowel system, which – to put things crudely – means that Bostonians pronounce quite a few words with "aw" that the rest of the country pronounces with "ah". Which is precisely the fucking opposite of what these flailing idiots are actually conveying with their ass-backwards eye dialect spelling.

I mean, I know why they do it. They know that Bostonians use "ah" in a lot of (other) words, they know there's something weird going on with the short o's, and they want a convenient way to invoke both the city and its accent at the same time, so they combine these things and get "Bahstin" – even though that pronunciation would get you laughed out of town if you actually decided to use it there. I've even seen someone construct a misconception on top of this misconception (in a process known as misconceptionception, not to be confused with conjunctionjunction) and claim that Boston was originally called "Barston". Which, I mean, makes such perfect sense that it simply must be true, provided that you know next to nothing – but not quite totally nothing – about the Boston accent. In reality it's called Boston because it's named after a place called Boston.


Hmm, this is not the way I have understood things. I'm from the New York/northern New Jersey area, and I lived in Boston for a few years. To me, it seemed that Bostonians used /ɑ/ or /a/ in many places where I use /ɔ/. In other words, I thought that a prominent feature of the Bostonian accent was that they pronounced quite a few words with "ah" where I expect "aw" - the reverse of what you describe. Now, I don't know that I ever actually paid attention to the way they said the word "Boston". But my perception was definitely that words like "boss" and "dog" and "cloth" being pronounced with a fronted /a/ where I have /ɔ/.

Now, maybe my perception was somewhat warped by the fact that I have the lot-cloth split (and don't have the cot-caught merger), so for me there is no distinction between the vowel in "cloth" and the vowel in "caught". Maybe Bostonians actually pronounce the latter with /ɔ/ but I was just so struck by the fronting of the vowel in their non-lot-cloth-split words that I didn't notice them actually saying /ɔ/ in words where they do use that sound.

But yeah, my stereotype of the Bostonian accent is "Bahstin", because I really do perceive it as not using /ɔ/.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:09 pm UTC

Hmm, this is not the way I have understood things. I'm from the New York/northern New Jersey area, and I lived in Boston for a few years. To me, it seemed that Bostonians used /ɑ/ or /a/ in many places where I use /ɔ/. In other words, I thought that a prominent feature of the Bostonian accent was that they pronounced quite a few words with "ah" where I expect "aw" - the reverse of what you describe. Now, I don't know that I ever actually paid attention to the way they said the word "Boston". But my perception was definitely that words like "boss" and "dog" and "cloth" being pronounced with a fronted /a/ where I have /ɔ/.

No, that's not the case. Using J.C. Wells's standard lexical sets, the distribution of vowels in Boston is:

TRAP: [æ]
BATH: [aː] or [æ]
PALM: [aː]
START: [aː]
LOT: [ɒː]
CLOTH: [ɒː]
THOUGHT: [ɒː]
NORTH: [ɒː] or [ɔə]
FORCE: [ɔə]

The [ɒː] used in Boston is open, but it's not fronted. This can overlap with values of the PALM vowel found in NYC, so I think you can be forgiven for misperceiving it, but in interdialectal terms it's absolutely an "aw", not an "ah". (The "aw" vowel of CLOTH/THOUGHT in Midwestern General American uses basically the same phonetic value.) The distinctive feature of the Boston low vowel system is that it uses a rounded vowel in LOT, where almost the whole of the rest of the country has an unrounded one. There are no words that take "aw" in NYC but "ah" in Boston – but the phonetics would make this hard to perceive from a New York perspective.

Now, maybe my perception was somewhat warped by the fact that I have the lot-cloth split (and don't have the cot-caught merger), so for me there is no distinction between the vowel in "cloth" and the vowel in "caught". Maybe Bostonians actually pronounce the latter with /ɔ/ but I was just so struck by the fronting of the vowel in their non-lot-cloth-split words that I didn't notice them actually saying /ɔ/ in words where they do use that sound.

As above, Bostonians use a single vowel for LOT, CLOTH and THOUGHT – and for some older speakers, also NORTH. This means that they're cot-caught and lot-cloth merged, but father-bother distinguishing. (As an aside, I'm pretty sure there's no place in North America that has the cot-caught distinction without the lot-cloth split – it's basically baked into the cot-caught distribution on this side of the Atlantic.) If they merged this rounded vowel with the unrounded one used in BATH, PALM and START, it would entail a collapse of the low vowel system unlike anything that you would plausibly see in English. Nobody here says [ˈbaːstən].

The Massachusetts recordings found at the International Dialects of English Archive provide some good demonstrations. For example, listen to the way this man from Somerville says "start a new job" at 0:21: [staːɾ ə nuː dʒɒːb] ("staht a new jawb"). Exactly the same for this woman from Cambridge at 0:25. Or this man from Cambridge at 0:24. Or this man from South Boston at 0:22.

But again, the NYC area – due to its uniquely high CLOTH/THOUGHT vowel – is basically the one part of the country that gets a pass on misperceiving this.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:23 pm UTC

OK, that makes sense. I was slightly confused by your use of "aw" and "ah". I interpret the former as /ɔ/ (or /ɔə/) and the latter as /ɒ/. I don't have /a/ in my native phonemic inventory (I have the father-bother merger). So I notice two things about a Bostonian accent: first, that they pronounce "aw" as "ah" (by which I mean that where I have /ɔ/ they have /ɒ/ - a different phoneme!) and second, that I hear them fronting "ah" a lot (by which I mean saying [a] instead of [ɒ] - for me, simply a non-standard realization of the same phoneme). I don't notice as readily that in fact they are only fronting it some of the time, since I don't distinguish between the "father" and "bother" vowels.

But anyway, when I stereotype the Bostonian accent with "Bahstan" (which I admit, I have done!), the pronunciation I mean is [ˈbɒːstən], in contrast to what is for me the "correct" [ˈbɔːstən]. Which, come to think of it, is a pretty silly thing to do anyway, since /ɒ/ where I have /ɔ/ is widespread throughout the country, and not remotely limited to just Boston...

But again, the NYC area – due to its uniquely high CLOTH/THOUGHT vowel – is basically the one part of the country that gets a pass on misperceiving this.


Thanks!

Edit: Strangely enough, the pronunciation of "dog" in all of those IDEA recordings is much closer to my own than what I recall hearing when I lived in Boston. Maybe this is because the stereotype of "Bahstan" had led me to expect to hear the vowel in "cot" where I would use the vowel in "caught", and I heard what I expected, or maybe I only took notice of it when I heard speakers with a particularly low realization of that vowel, who were in fact not typical.

Edit number 2: Anything productive I might have done this evening has been pre-empted by hours of listening to recordings from the IDEA website. I hope you're happy.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Derek » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:16 am UTC

Lazar wrote:But again, the NYC area – due to its uniquely high CLOTH/THOUGHT vowel – is basically the one part of the country that gets a pass on misperceiving this.

Given NYC's proximity to Boston and it's prominence in media, it could be blamed for making the rest of the country think it's "Bawstin".

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Arran » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:51 pm UTC

"Addicting". Oy.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby stopmadnessnow » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:23 am UTC

Spunk is a very annoying word.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:06 pm UTC

Arran wrote:"Addicting". Oy.

People who use it seem to think it lacks the negative connotations of "addictive". I would generally have assumed that the negative connotations of the word "addictive" inhere mostly in the "addict" part, to say nothing of the concept itself.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Sat Apr 02, 2016 5:08 pm UTC

Not sure if this fits within the scope of the thread, but something annoying that I hear a lot – from English speakers who are non- or semi-fluent in Spanish – is fácil pronounced with final stress, as if it didn't have the acute accent. Just to pick two recent examples, I heard it when Jennifer Lawrence's character is talking to some Spanish-speaking workers in the movie Joy, and in a Spanish message that Obama recorded for his Cuba visit.

Now of course, I guess it would be legitimately dickish of me to criticize errors made by non-native speakers of English. Or at least to characterize them as annoying, rather than pointing them out helpfully to the people making them. But I kinda feel like there's some latitude for in-group criticism here, especially since we native speakers of (something like standard) English are probably the most linguistically privileged group of people in human history. And in the two examples I've cited, I think more than anything else it may be a failure of whoever was coaching these people.

…Also, it annoys me when impressionists do a decent job of capturing somebody's vocal quality but completely half-ass the accent. The way this ersatz Bernie Sanders says "voters" is the most un-Bernielike thing I've ever heard.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:20 am UTC

Lazar wrote:…Also, it annoys me when impressionists do a decent job of capturing somebody's vocal quality but completely half-ass the accent. The way this ersatz Bernie Sanders says "voters" is the most un-Bernielike thing I've ever heard.


Yeah, you'd think at least he could make an attempt at non-rhoticism, even if he isn't going to go full New York Jew.

I'm constantly annoyed by people pronouncing the plural of 'process' /ˈprä ses iz/, instead of /ˈprä ses ɛz/. It sounds like a bogusly pretentious attempt to make it sound like a Greek plural like 'axes' or 'analyses', but since it 's obviously not like those -is/-es words, I find it hard to excuse. And, at least in the physics community, everyone seems to do it!

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Monika » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:01 pm UTC

I'm super annoyed by that, too, but apparently it's the correct pronunciation :cry:
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:59 pm UTC

Well it's not especially "correct." Aiwendil is right that it's a misgeneralization from Latin third declension words like "axis" and "vertex." It's a similar problem to people who form the plural of any noun ending in -us (or sometimes even -is) as -i (octopi, nexi, etc.). The pronunciation /ˈpɹɑsɛˌsiːz/ is nonstandard and resembles the equally nonstandard pronunciation of "biases". It's just an etymological misunderstanding.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil » Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:17 pm UTC

Yeah, there's no sense in which /ˈpɹɑsɛˌsiːz/ is more correct than /ˈpɹɑsɛˌsɛːz/. Further, I'd say it's a worse error than pluralizing all "-us" words in "-i" - the analogous error would be pluralizing all "-is" words in "-es"; but "process" doesn't even end in "-is".

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue May 17, 2016 10:21 am UTC

Also annoying (to me, at least) is using a perfectly good verb with the same modifier that accompanies its noun form, so that you get people "executive producing" movies and "project managing" large undertakings...
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Sableagle » Tue May 17, 2016 5:36 pm UTC

Monika wrote:This is the first time I hear that something could be wrong with saying "different than". It never occurred to me. Maybe because I lived in the US or maybe because in German "anders als" (different than) is the only possible form. (But when using the verb, it's also "differs from" - "unterscheidet sich von".)

I have often heard people complain about using less vs. fewer. I usually stab people who bring this up.


I'd translate "anders" to "other" not "different," though. "Something other than what we normally eat," rather than "something different from what we normally eat."

One I hate: "women" as the singular. "Woman" is singular and "women" is plural.

Another: "borrow" and "lend" the wrong way round. I have nothing against the words but hate hearing them misused.

"Leverage" as a verb. It makes me want to crowbar the speaker's face.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby speising » Tue May 17, 2016 5:41 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:
I'd translate "anders" to "other" not "different," though. "Something other than what we normally eat," rather than "something different from what we normally eat."

"Something other" would be "Etwas Anderes", though.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby freezeblade » Tue May 17, 2016 7:10 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:"Leverage" as a verb. It makes me want to crowbar the speaker's face.


Ew, corporate lingo. This is everywhere in the american office environment.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue May 17, 2016 7:58 pm UTC

How do you mix up "lend" and "borrow?" That one's definitely new to me. Like "can I lend some money from you?"

However, I do know some people that get annoyed when "loan" is used as a verb.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 17, 2016 9:10 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:How do you mix up "lend" and "borrow?"
If your language just has one word for both. It's the single most common mix-up I can think of among English learners.

I'm not sure I've heard it from native speakers, though lots of other verbs have switched around their meanings so it wouldn't surprise me if there were dialects or speakers that do this with "lend" and "borrow" today.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Monika » Tue May 17, 2016 9:12 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:"Leverage" as a verb. It makes me want to crowbar the speaker's face.

Seems to be correct, though, at least according to leo.org and Merriam Webster.

Eebster the Great wrote:How do you mix up "lend" and "borrow?" That one's definitely new to me. Like "can I lend some money from you?"

Yes, or "Can you borrow me your pen?" I don't think native speakers would make that mistake, but it's fairly common among German speakers of English, because in German both borgen and leihen mean both borrow and lend, they are interchangeable. Even though I know the difference in English (and most Germans have learned it at some point, it's taught pretty early, in the 2nd or 3rd year of studying English) I still sometimes get it wrong when not thinking specifically about it.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Grop » Tue May 17, 2016 9:47 pm UTC

Likewise, I am pretty sure I have mixed lend and borrow in the past. Also some similar words have opposite meanings, such as rent. (French apprendre also comes to my mind: it can mean either learn or teach).

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue May 17, 2016 10:06 pm UTC

Oh I see what you're saying. It didn't occur to me people would get so annoyed by mistakes others make while learning the language . . .

Grop wrote:Likewise, I am pretty sure I have mixed lend and borrow in the past. Also some similar words have opposite meanings, such as rent. (French apprendre also comes to my mind: it can mean either learn or teach).

Technically, "learn" has both senses in English as well, though the latter tends to be frowned upon.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Sableagle » Tue May 17, 2016 11:24 pm UTC

Actually, meant native English speakers who say things like: "Can you borrow us a tenner till Friday?" or "I'll lend that off you."

They'll be going to the supermarket to "sell" a week's food or "buying" their second-hand games consoles to their mates one day.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Derek » Tue May 17, 2016 11:32 pm UTC

Grop wrote:Likewise, I am pretty sure I have mixed lend and borrow in the past. Also some similar words have opposite meanings, such as rent. (French apprendre also comes to my mind: it can mean either learn or teach).

"Rent" can be used both ways in English. "I rent a house" can mean either that the speaker pays money to live at house that they don't own, or that they own a house and receive money from someone else who lives there. It can usually be distinguished by context: "I rent a house from my friend" or "I rent a house to my friend". Also "I rent my house" probably means the speaker owns the house, since they are indicating possession, and you can be explicit by saying "I rent out my house".

Eebster the Great wrote:Technically, "learn" has both senses in English as well, though the latter tends to be frowned upon.

It seems archaic or rustic to me. It brings to mind the jocular phrase "That'll learn you" (that will teach you).

Also on the subject of words that can mean both sides of an asymmetric relationship, in Latin "hospes" means both guest and host.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 17, 2016 11:43 pm UTC

"Rent" means both in English, "like" switched directions (it used to mean something like "please"), and "leornian" and "læran" were similar enough in Old English that "learn" came to acceptably mean both "receive knowledge" and "give knowledge" for about 600 years. (The verb "learn" sounds rustic as a synonym for "teach", but the participial adjective "learned" is still perfectly acceptable in standard English.)

There are also a number of words English treats as symmetrical which other languages don't. Learners sometimes have trouble with the fact that both "brother-in-law" and "sister-in-law" can mean both your sibling's spouse and your spouse's sibling.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed May 18, 2016 4:08 am UTC

Does that make "cousin-in-law" the most ambiguous possible relation? Could be a spouse of a cousin of either gender of any order of any of your ancestors or descendents on either side, such a cousin of a spouse, or even more complex arrangements (e.g. brother-in-law's cousin's spouse's cousin).


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