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  1. #1
    anhnha's Avatar
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    Default long time no write

    Hi,
    I have just seen this phrase in an old thread.
    long time no write
    Is this phrase grammatical?
    long time: adjective
    no: adjective or adverb
    write: verb
    I have a problem in understanding this structure. Could you parse all parts in this phrase?
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: long time no write

    Quote Originally Posted by anhnha View Post
    Hi,
    I have just seen this phrase in an old thread.
    long time no write
    Is this phrase grammatical?
    long time: adjective
    no: adjective or adverb
    write: verb
    I have a problem in understanding this structure. Could you parse all parts in this phrase?
    Thank you.
    No, it is not! The expression 'long time no see' is an invariable nonce construction. It cannot be adapted or changed in any way!

  3. #3
    charliedeut's Avatar
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    Default Re: long time no write

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    No, it is not! The expression 'long time no see' is an invariable nonce construction. It cannot be adapted or changed in any way!
    I disagree with that. As long the people reading "long time, no read", "long time, no post" or "long time, no (you name it)", understand what I mean (and they are more or less aware of the origin of my expression), I understand everything is OK.

    If any/every structure had remained untouchable, no language would have evolved. Change and adaptation are the very basis of our present-day languages!
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  4. #4
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    Chicken Sandwich is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: long time no write

    I agree with charliedeut. A search in Google Books shows that "long time no hear" is also used quite a bit. Other variants are also possible.

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: long time no write

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    I disagree with that. As long the people reading "long time, no read", "long time, no post" or "long time, no (you name it)", understand what I mean (and they are more or less aware of the origin of my expression), I understand everything is OK.

    If any/every structure had remained untouchable, no language would have evolved. Change and adaptation are the very basis of our present-day languages!
    Quite. COCA has examples of 'long time no hear/talk/hit/speak'.

  6. #6
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: long time no write

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Quite. COCA has examples of 'long time no hear/talk/hit/speak'.
    None of which, including their structural 'template', is grammatical English by the lights of an educated, careful user. The original is a nonce usage fit only for colloquial contexts, and presumably (one can only guess) based on some kind of distasteful send-up of early Amerindian pidgin English.

    The simple fact that these expressions happen to occur on COCA - which, in common with all such corpora, most certainly contains much produced by non-natives, some with a spectacularly poor command of English - does not in any way vouch for their grammaticality!!

    EOC

  7. #7
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    Default Re: long time no write

    I don't know the origins of "long time no see" but whether it came from a distasteful send-up of language or not, it is now an inherent part of BrE. It is very commonly used and frequently adapted. I work part-time in a shop and one of our customers who only comes in infrequently, always walks in and says "Hello. Long time no shop!"
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: long time no write

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    None of which, including their structural 'template', is grammatical English by the lights of an educated, careful user.
    They don't fit the standard English sentence pattern but, whatever educated (where?) users might think, they are idiomatic in the English of today.
    The original is a nonce usage fit only for colloquial contexts
    No-one has claimed that they are examples of formal English, and other speakers clearly do not agree that this is a nonce usage
    and presumably (one can only guess) based on some kind of distasteful send-up of early Amerindian pidgin English.
    Whether or not this was 'a distasteful send-up' (by today's standards) when it was first used, it is now an accepted expression in the language. Quite a few English proverbs, saying and idiomatic expressions use a condensed structure - Nothing ventured, nothing gained; Penny wise, pound foolish; No can do.[/QUOTE]

    The simple fact that these expressions happen to occur on COCA - which, in common with all such corpora, most certainly contains much produced by non-natives, some with a spectacularly poor command of English
    What evidence have you for this?
    - does not in any way vouch for their grammaticality!!
    Careful, educated writers normally use a single exclamation mark.

  9. #9
    TheParser is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: long time no write


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****



    Hello,


    1. As you know, there is the expression "Long time no see."

    a. It is a direct translation of Mandarin Chinese.

    b. English speakers may say this in a rather informal, even playful manner instead of "I have not seen you for a long time."

    c. In my opinion, it is better not to say it -- especially to Asian people. They might feel that you are trying to mock their

    English proficiency.

    2. As the other posters have told you, it only seems "natural" that native speakers might make up other combinations, such

    as "long time no write."

    3. I believe that many books tell us that it is impossible to parse many idioms. But if forced to do so, maybe (a big maybe):

    long = adjective.
    time = noun
    no = the dictionary says that this word can be an adjective or adverb. In this expression, it is apparently being used as an adverb to modify the verb.
    write = verb.

    (Logically speaking, perhaps the expression should be "Long time not write." BUT expressions are not logical. Maybe "no write"

    simply sounds better (and shorter) in English than "not write.")


    James

  10. #10
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: long time no write

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    c. In my opinion, it is better not to say it -- especially to Asian people. They might feel that you are trying to mock their English proficiency.
    It is now natural informal English. If anybody I used it to became offended, I should explain this. If it is our version of the Mandarin, and this has not been proved, it would be an expression taken from another language, not mockery.

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