graffiti

  • Thread starter Hong Kong Chinese
  • Start date
Status
Not open for further replies.
H

Hong Kong Chinese

Guest
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=graffiti

I never saw that graffito are used!
According the the meaning of this word from Webster - usually unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface. One time, the KCRC (local train) were painted by some youngers with beautiful pictures under the darkness without permission. The next day, I read a newspaper in English about this piece of news which was called Graffitti. But in Chinese translation, it should be writing or drawing something ugly!
So we got some entirely different meanings!
I'd like you know which one is correct!
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
Any writing or drawing on walls, etc, is called graffiti, whether it's a work of art or the name of a football team. I disagree with the dictionary about the singular- in BE, we happily use graffiti for both singular and plural. ;-)
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Hong Kong Chinese said:
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=graffiti

I never saw that graffito are used!
According the the meaning of this word from Webster - usually unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface. One time, the KCRC (local train) were painted by some youngers with beautiful pictures under the darkness without permission. The next day, I read a newspaper in English about this piece of news which was called Graffitti. But in Chinese translation, it should be writing or drawing something ugly!
So we got some entirely different meanings!
I'd like you know which one is correct!

I don't know anyone who uses the word "graffito" or "a graffito". Graffiti does not have to be ugly, but it does have to be used to deface something. A beautiful picture on a wall would be a mural if it belongs there. If not, the same picture would be graffiti.

I also disagree with the note from Webster's. This is from the AHD:

USAGE NOTE The word graffiti is a plural noun in Italian. In English graffiti is far more common than the singular form graffito and is mainly used as a singular noun in much the same way data is. When the reference is to a particular inscription (as in There was a bold graffiti on the wall), the form graffito would be etymologically correct but might strike some readers as pedantic outside an archaeological context. There is no substitute for the singular use of graffiti when the word is used as a mass noun to refer to inscriptions in general or to the related social phenomenon. The sentence Graffiti is a major problem for the Transit Authority Police cannot be reworded Graffito is … (since graffito can refer only to a particular inscription) or Graffiti are … (which suggests that the police problem involves only the physical marks and not the larger issue of vandalism). In such contexts, the use of graffiti as a singular is justified by both utility and widespread precedent.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
I had a teacher at schoolwho said 'these spaghetti', but he was very strange.;-)
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
tdol said:
I had a teacher at schoolwho said 'these spaghetti', but he was very strange.;-)

He must have been strange. My mom served "spaghettios" every now and then, but that was different.

:lol:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top