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Thread: this is Amy

  1. keannu's Avatar
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    this is Amy

    In Asian or Korean culture, we never say "this" with the nuance of a thing when referring to a person as it sounds quite rude or humiliating. And I know the usage of "this" in English is only a cultural difference. So when native speakers say "this" indicating or referring to a person, does "this" have the nuance of "a thing" or "a person" like "this part"? We Koreans also use "this part" or "that part" to refer to a person.

    1. Brian, this is Amy. Amy, this is Brian.
    2. Hello, This is Lisa. Is this(that) Henry?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    Re: this is Amy

    Keannu, do you really believe we might think of 'this' as something to do with a thing when we say, "This is Amy"?

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: this is Amy

    We don't think anything at all when we hear "This is Amy". We simply understand it to mean "The name of the person I am indicating is Amy".

    "This is Amy" when Amy is standing close by and is probably part of the conversation.
    "That is Amy" when Amy is not close by, you are probably pointing her out in a crowd, or identifying her in a photograph.

    When someone says "This is a table", we don't stop and think "Right, hang on, I must work it out. The item being identified is inanimate (a table), therefore "This" must refer to a thing".
    When someone says "This is Amy", we don't think "Hmm, how strange. The last time I heard "This is ...", the person was talking about a table. However, Amy clearly isn't a table or any other inanimate object for that matter. She's a person. Therefore "This is" must now be referring to a person".

    You seem to think that some kind of computation goes through our heads when we hear our own language. It doesn't. "This is Amy" is how we introduce someone. It's what we hear from birth till death. It holds no confusion or reason for deep thought for us.

    I realise that when you hear something in a foreign language, there is an element of "working it out" in your brain before totally understanding it. But that does not apply to your native language. Or perhaps I should say it does not apply to my native language. Perhaps in yours, you have to actually work out the meaning of the words in your head before understanding them.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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