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    #1

    double-crossed

    People in the office always pinpoints to Nancy no matter what she does.

    1. What shall I say for Nancy's situation?

    Shall I say, "Nancy always gets double-crossed so she feels so fed up of being there."

    __________________________________________________ __________

    2. Shall I say those people in the offices are fault-findings?

    __________________________________________________ _____

    3. Nancy is so competent in the office that others around are jealous her.

    a. What shall I say Nancy's situation?

    b. What shall I say the mentality of those people in the office?

    __________________________________________________ ____________

    Thank you.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: double-crossed

    Ju, in many of your posts you appear to be trying to find English equivalents of expressions in your native language. I understand this - we all do it - but I think you might do better to accept that we sometimes just say what we mean, rather than use a particular expression. For example

    1. People in the office always pinpoints pick on/make fun of/criticise/laugh at to Nancy no matter what she does.

    3. Nancy is so competent in the office that others around are jealous of her.

    a. What shall I say Nancy's situation?
    Exactly what you said above.

    b. What shall I say the mentality of those people in the office? They are petty-minded/small-minded/jealous/,...

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    #3

    Re: double-crossed

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Ju, in many of your posts you appear to be trying to find English equivalents of expressions in your native language. I understand this - we all do it - but I think you might do better to accept that we sometimes just say what we mean, rather than use a particular expression. For example

    1. People in the office always pinpoints pick on/make fun of/criticise/laugh at to Nancy no matter what she does.

    3. Nancy is so competent in the office that others around are jealous of her.

    a. What shall I say Nancy's situation? Exactly what you said above.

    b. What shall I say the mentality of those people in the office? They are petty-minded/small-minded/jealous/,...
    Thank you for your advice. I am working hard on picking up more English native direct expression because the Westerners I always meet everyday are saying a lot of very simple & brief words/phrase to describe something which are out of my knowledge. I know those are real English. What should I do and how to improve?

    ju

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: double-crossed

    Just keep listening and ask people to explain what they mean if they use a particular expression you don't understand.

    You don't have to speak in idioms to be understood. You can use plain English.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: double-crossed

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    You don't have to speak in idioms to be understood. You can use plain English.
    I am quoting that because it is SO important. Many learners (understandably, I admit) cause themselves immense problems by trying to use as many idioms as possible. The unfortunate result is that they sometimes sound very strange indeed.

    Sticking to plain English until you are absolutely sure of the way in which native speakers use idioms is far more likely to lead to problem-free communication.

  4. nyota's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: double-crossed

    Perhaps Ju didn't necessarily mean "idioms" but phrasing in general. As 5jj noticed we, learners, often rely on our mother tongue whether we want it or not (boohoo), transferring all the wrong structures into English. If I may generalise here and be somewhat of a captain obvious for a moment, it's *plain* English that we're after. But what you consider a plain English expression might be so different from what a learner would come up with if he was to express the same idea, that it appears to him almost idiomatic. Too bad I don't have an example at hand.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: double-crossed

    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    But what you consider a plain English expression might be so different from what a learner would come up with if he was to express the same idea, that it appears to him almost idiomatic. Too bad I don't have an example at hand.
    Perhaps an example might be 'In the nature/free'. Many languages seem to have an expression like this, but English doesn't. We can express the idea only, depending on the context, with one or more of a number of expressions such as:

    outdoors ... outside ...in the open/fresh air ... out of town/the city ...in the country ...breathing fresh air ..etc.

  6. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: double-crossed

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Perhaps an example might be 'In the nature/free'. Many languages seem to have an expression like this, but English doesn't.
    Definitely.

    I think it's not just that there is no corresponding concept but also how you express it is different. When I studied German, I could grasp "Ich habe Hunger" (lit: I have hunger) only metaphorically. For me it did not quite mean the same as "I'm hungry". And this was with a language that was easy for me to learn.

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    #9

    Re: double-crossed

    Quote Originally Posted by Ju View Post
    People in the office always pinpoints to Nancy no matter what she does.
    BTW, where did you find the word pinpoint? I ask because to pinpoint to find or identify something very accurately and doesn't work in this context. Are you using a bilingual dictionary?

  7. nyota's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: double-crossed

    To build up on freezeframe's example, it's pretty much the same with Polish learners saying "*I have 30 years old". In their L1 minds, age has to do with "having" not "being". I wonder if German learners come up with a similar mistake "*I have hunger". :)

    Sometimes it's about the lack of immediate correspondence and that's when transfer from L1 to English may be more visible. In 5jj's example, somebody whose L1 has "in the nature/free" expression, has to go for a hypernym (a more specific word) to express the same idea in English to sound natural.

    It works both ways too. For example if I wanted to translate the first line by Emily Dickinson into Polish, and specifically the phrase "came (down the walk)", I'd have to go for a hypernym ,too. In English "come" conveniently covers a general idea of movement. In Polish I'd have to specify the nature of the movement (for those who are more familiar with Polish: przybyć, przyjść, zbliżyć się, podejść, przyskoczyć, przydreptać, etc.):

    A Bird came down the Walk—
    He did not know I saw—
    He bit an angle-worm in halves
    And ate the fellow, raw,
    (...)


    I'll try to give more examples of what I meant by natural phrasing and plain yet potentially aaa-ha!-expressions for a learner.

    1. He put it [a cigarette] between his lips, cupped his hands around the lighter and flipped the wheel.

    When I read "cupped his hands around the lighter" I knew exactly what it meant but if I was to say it myself, I'd probably come up with something more cumbersome. Well, not anymore, thank you Mr. Dahl.

    Similarly, I know the words lighter, flip, and wheel, but would I use them together to render this simple motion? Nah, I think I'd come up with a more marked structure.

    2. Recently, I've also bumped into BobK's Don't take it as Gospel. A bit more idiomatic but still plain short and simple.

    3. Or 5jj's, as someone who enjoys debate, I thought neither man covered himself in glory, with constant interruptions and cheap gibes. --> Fixed phrases, collocations, and some linkers as, neither, with all put together to make up a smooth sentence.

    4. Or freezeframe's, Interesting too. I'm now thinking about this too much. With me that sometimes leads to unnecessary nuancing and navel gazing.
    Last edited by nyota; 31-Mar-2011 at 10:34. Reason: No. 4

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