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09-17-2014 05:50 PM
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  1. anon(8985111)'s Avatar
    Greetings Everyone,

    Since thankfully this is a really huge community here where many native speakers are to be found I'm just curious whether some of you are willing to support us non native speakers with regard to some uncertainties that surface when trying to communicate in English. Although I would consider my English to be at an acceptable level I'm still painstakingly working on it every day but unfortunately there are still various things that I feel can only be addressed with the help of native speakers.

    I'm not sure whether this thread will "survive" since this is everything but a language forums but I still thought it was worth a shot ;-)

    So let's get started. One verb that I've always been wondering about:

    If something is looming, I understand that it has a negative connotation. However, I've stumbled upon it at times where the context seemed rather positive. So does that mean that it can have both a positive or negative meaning (or is it definitely ironic when someone says something like "Christmas is looming")?

    As the thread title suggests Everyone is welcomed to make use of this thread.

    Thanks Everyone in advance!

    EDIT: I've found some helpful thoughts on a similar topic in this WPCentral thread:

    http://forums.windowscentral.com/off...t-english.html
    Last edited by n_tesla; 09-03-2014 at 06:44 PM.
    09-03-2014 05:57 PM
  2. Guytronic's Avatar
    I'm all for this!

    "Looming" would be:
    Forthcoming
    Up coming
    Arriving soon
    ...or to phrase
    Almost upon us
    09-03-2014 06:27 PM
  3. giulianoreali's Avatar
    Your English is great!

    Posted via Windows Phone Central App
    09-03-2014 06:30 PM
  4. anon(8985111)'s Avatar
    I will include a link to another thread here at WPCentral that includes some good thoughts on how to improve language skills in general.

    Your English is great!

    Posted via Windows Phone Central App
    Since English is the most commonly spoken language across the world I always find it worth to improve ;-)
    giulianoreali likes this.
    09-03-2014 06:37 PM
  5. Bobvfr's Avatar
    Although the word LOOMING is another word for things to come, it is true it would tend to be used as a negative, so "something is looming over my head" would be a good way to use the word, something is coming and it's dreaded so "Bleedin hell my exams are looming" would be appropriate.


    Bob
    anon(8985111) likes this.
    09-06-2014 08:30 AM
  6. anon(8985111)'s Avatar
    So "Christmas is forthcoming" would be more appropriate than "Christmas is looming" unless I dislike Christmas?
    Last edited by n_tesla; 09-06-2014 at 09:18 AM.
    09-06-2014 08:46 AM
  7. worldspy99's Avatar
    So "Christmas is forthcoming" would be more appropriate than "Christmas is looming" unlike I dislike Christmas?
    Depends on context. If you have not prepared for the festivities it might be "looming" and if you are about three months away from Christmas and it comes up in a casual conversation, then you could use "forthcoming". Just my 2c.
    anon(8985111) and k72 like this.
    09-06-2014 09:15 AM
  8. Bobvfr's Avatar
    Here is a quick history lesson on English:

    It is part of the family of Indo European languages, the root of modern English was spoken by people who lived in the north and west of Europe.

    When the Angles, Saxon, Jutes and Friesians settled in Britain after the Romans left, you had Saxons mainly in the south, Angles in the north f, yes there were plenty of Britons left but we don't talk about them (Welsh, Cornish and the Britons of Strathclyde and the lake district), but to change a language you do need large numbers of settlers so at least in the southern, eastern and north east you had people who spoke what is called Old English (Often referred to as Anglo Saxon) and they could easily talk to the peoples who stayed in what was to become Northern France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Germany and indeed many parts of Scandinavia like Sweden.

    Over the space of the next six hundred years the languages of these countries would have diversified as accents so the English sound for CH was often hardened in Germany to K so our word church became Kirk (Still used in Scotland), so small changes like way for weg, but at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 it was perfectly possible for the English to swear at the Danes and vice a versa and they knew what was being said

    A couple of weeks later a different branch of Danes turned up, one that had been living in France called the Normans, they had not gone to Normandy in the large numbers that the Angles and Saxons had come to Britain, so their Germanic language had already adopted a lot of outside influences, and because they were the ruling classes in England (Shame) they used what was Norman/French.

    Again because the numbers of Normans were relatively small it was the English language that came out the other end, but it had managed to pick up a bit of French along the way, so you had the posh people eating "Buoef" (Beef) and the poor eating cows if they could manage to steal them when the rich weren't looking.

    Now I am not a fan of the Normans but the mixture did give the English language a massive advantage over many others, and that is the ability to change, adapt and generally grow, whereas the Germans who share the same root language have to keep on sticking words together.

    So after we defeated the Normans (They ran out of women) we were left with a much richer and flexible language, that most modern English speakers would still have trouble understanding, but it was the language of Chaucer and later on Shakespeare (He added a few extra words) and so to modern English, we went on a bit of a world conquest binge and managed to pick up words from all over the place (Steal anything we will), so from India we get Khaki, but we didn't get Curry as that is an English word for cooking that we forgot about and re-invented (See the flexibility here), and it was at this time we managed to leave a few people who couldn't afford the return fare overseas or the ones we didn't want back, so America was invented, Australia was born out of our inability to deal with our convicts, and Canada was for the ones who couldn't cope with overcrowding.

    Each of these (And many others) groups of people took the language and mucked around with it a bit, but then that's the point, the English language is already a bit of a mongrel language anyway (I myself am the result of a mixed marriage, my mum was an Angle from the north and me dad a Saxon from the south).

    And if you ever get to England you can tell the difference, Angles eat Haddock and Chips, the Saxons prefer Cod and Chips, but to hear the nearest to old English go to the Angle kingdom of southern Scotland, they think they are speaking Scots, when they are really talking Angle (English) and they have deep fried Mars bars with their chips.

    Good luck with your English studies.


    Bob

    PS Because of my mixed heritage and my inability to ever make a decision on Cod or Haddock, I tend to go with Pie and Chips.
    Last edited by Bobvfr; 09-06-2014 at 10:34 AM.
    09-06-2014 09:30 AM
  9. Bobvfr's Avatar
    Depends on context. If you have not prepared for the festivities it might be "looming" and if you are about three months away from Christmas and it comes up in a casual conversation, then you could use "forthcoming". Just my 2c.
    About right although for me, I am more into Yuletide (None of this Xmas crap for me), so Xmas is always looming.




    Bob
    anon(8985111) likes this.
    09-06-2014 09:33 AM
  10. oviedofreak82's Avatar
    There's also a difference in the type of English spoken by those who live in the United Kingdom versus those in the United States. Certain words have different meanings between the two regions. For example, if you call a woman homely in the UK, that means she is a capable wife around the house whereas here in the US, that's an insulting term for women, especially here in the southern US.
    09-06-2014 10:05 AM
  11. anon(8985111)'s Avatar
    I sometimes here people referring to "Joe Blow" or just "Joe". Well, according to some research I made this guy seems to be from Kokomo and simply represents "the man on the street". Does this word have a negative touch / would it come across as offensive / disrespectful? BTW in Britain it appears to be Joe Bloggs

    Thanks!
    09-07-2014 10:10 AM
  12. michail71's Avatar
    When I hear "Christmas is looming" I would still think it is being used in a slightly negative context. Such as one hasn't prepared and needs to get gifts, deal with difficult family, etc. Looming gives the feeling of a heavy weight or anxiety on top of oneself.

    Christmas is nearing sounds more positive.
    anon(8985111) likes this.
    09-07-2014 10:20 AM
  13. michail71's Avatar
    However, I think the overall context of a word like that needs to be taken into consideration before its full meaning can be determined.
    anon(8985111) likes this.
    09-07-2014 10:23 AM
  14. aikidaves's Avatar
    I sometimes here people referring to "Joe Blow" or just "Joe". Well, according to some research I made this guy seems to be from Kokomo and simply represents "the man on the street". Does this word have a negative touch / would it come across as offensive / disrespectful? BTW in Britain it appears to be Joe Bloggs

    Thanks!
    Joe Blow is an ordinary guy, but in the context of American culture he's an unknown, a nobody. In that sense, it's a bit negative. One's sister shouldn't be seeing Joe Blow, as he's WAY beneath her.

    To add to Bobvfr's little history lesson, I love this James Nicoll quote:

    "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse *****. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."
    09-07-2014 12:54 PM
  15. k72's Avatar
    I sometimes here people referring to "Joe Blow" or just "Joe". Well, according to some research I made this guy seems to be from Kokomo and simply represents "the man on the street". Does this word have a negative touch / would it come across as offensive / disrespectful? BTW in Britain it appears to be Joe Bloggs

    Thanks!
    I don't think it's offensive. I hear it usually in the context of "ole Joe Blow down the street", as in a regular person who works for a living, nothing special, but not in a bad way at all, just normal.
    09-08-2014 10:44 PM
  16. jargonz's Avatar
    This might help you:



    It's a compilation of a weekly series of English tips I posted on Facebook 4 years ago to help my Filipino friends improve their English.
    anon(8985111) and Guytronic like this.
    09-08-2014 11:24 PM
  17. N_LaRUE's Avatar
    There's also a difference in the type of English spoken by those who live in the United Kingdom versus those in the United States. Certain words have different meanings between the two regions. For example, if you call a woman homely in the UK, that means she is a capable wife around the house whereas here in the US, that's an insulting term for women, especially here in the southern US.
    It's a bit more complex than that. I've lived in three English speaking countries now and one non English speaking. I also lived next to the US for a large part of my life (yes I'm Canadian). English in Canada, US, Australia and the UK are all slightly different when we start talking about slang and general language use. It's virtually impossible to know your audience here on the forum so my best suggestion is to stick to plain language when speaking and try not to use slang too much.

    When I personally think of the term looming I think of something coming. Often times it derives a context of something coming quicker than expected. It usually denotes a negative as it typically means you're unprepared. i.e.: The deadline was looming.

    As for the term Joe Blow or Joe it's just generally slang for 'man on the street'. like you said. No, there's no negative context to this slang term usually. There are plenty of negative terms that people use for those they wish to cast a negative light on.

    When you start to look at general terms used in other countries it can get a bit complicated. You can have regional slang as well. I would say they would all understand Joe Blow or Joe.
    a5cent likes this.
    09-09-2014 06:20 AM
  18. a5cent's Avatar
    Great idea! May I suggest that you continually update your first post to reflect the terms that were sorted out? I'm sure that would help many people in the same situation, as they wouldn't have to comb through the entire thread.

    Looming has always seemed like a strange word to me too.

    The word "looming" is one of those ridiculous words that depends a lot on context, particularly on what is looming. For example, in the text fragment, "his shadow loomed large" the usage is almost a bit menacing. You'd also probably not want someone "looming over you". I think most native English speakers would say those things imply at least somewhat of a negative touch, and I think that negativity remains when it is used to describe an event or point in time that is close at hand. That is why it is often used to describe something that is too close at hand, as someone mentioned further above, Christmas, when you haven't yet completed your Christmas shopping.

    If someone is looming over you, the negativity is associated with the person doing the looming, however, in the Christmas shopping example, it's not Christmas that is responsible for the negativity, but something associated with it. It's not exactly intuitive.

    Just as English lacks some of the vocabulary available in German, "looming" doesn't translate well into any single German word.
    N_LaRUE likes this.
    09-09-2014 07:10 AM
  19. berty6294's Avatar
    Looming in my opinion doesn't need to be negative. Again, context. But I have never seen looming used in a positive context, either a neutral or negative context. In "Christmas is looming" I interpret it as completely neutral. I love talking language, but being from Baltimore makes my language super relaxed (lazy), but I am certainly much better in text than in person. Lol
    09-09-2014 07:21 AM
  20. N_LaRUE's Avatar
    I often see the term 'Christmas is looming' as a way of getting people either excited or anxious about the prospect. Usually 'Christmas is looming' is followed by 'Have you got your shopping done yet?'.

    Saying that, the word looming is not one I use that often. It's probably fallen in use.
    berty6294 and a5cent like this.
    09-09-2014 07:37 AM
  21. anon(8985111)'s Avatar
    Great idea! May I suggest that you continually update your first post to reflect the terms that were sorted out? I'm sure that would help many people in the same situation, as they wouldn't have to comb through the entire thread.
    Yes, that's a good idea. I am going to implement this soon.

    It's good to see all that input coming. Some things seem to be hard to pinpoint but it still helps. If I have the feeling that I'm not sufficiently familiar with an expression I might just leave it out to avoid causing any confusion. And as someone pointed out, I totally agree that it can be a good idea not trying to find the corresponding expression in your native language. I've always found that studying contexts is way more helpful than just learning single words. Unfortunately, many teachers still follow the latter approach which makes the English of foreigners sound very textbook like but not really natural.

    This might help you:



    It's a compilation of a weekly series of English tips I posted on Facebook 4 years ago to help my Filipino friends improve their English.
    Thanks for sharing. The Philippines must be such an amazing place, all Filipinos I've met so far when I'm spending some time in Asia have been unbelievably helpful and friendly people. I've seen a thread about the Filipino community here on WPCentral, will have to check that one out either.
    a5cent likes this.
    09-09-2014 07:39 AM
  22. a5cent's Avatar
    "Christmas is looming" I interpret it as completely neutral.
    But isn't that mainly due to the fact that it's pretty much impossible to view Christmas as something negative? If I were to say "Christmas is right around the corner", wouldn't our first emotional associations be ones of optimism and happiness, whereas with it looming, we're just not sure whether to be happy or scared?

    I have absolutely nothing to back that up with. Just a hunch (also a non native English speaker here).
    09-09-2014 07:39 AM
  23. N_LaRUE's Avatar
    But isn't that mainly due to the fact that it's pretty much impossible to view Christmas as something negative? If I were to say "Christmas is right around the corner", wouldn't our first emotional associations be ones of optimism and happiness, whereas with it looming, we're just not sure whether to be happy or scared?

    I have absolutely nothing to back that up with. Just a hunch (also a non native English speaker here).
    I think you're right personally. I've never heard looming used as neutral or positive myself. Just the word itself has the effect of something ominous.
    a5cent likes this.
    09-09-2014 07:47 AM
  24. berty6294's Avatar
    I think you're right personally. I've never heard looming used as neutral or positive myself. Just the word itself has the effect of something ominous.
    I think the fact that it is a word seldom used definitely contributes to it's 'ominous' effect.
    09-09-2014 08:56 AM
  25. michail71's Avatar
    Yes, that's a good idea. I am going to implement this soon.

    It's good to see all that input coming. Some things seem to be hard to pinpoint but it still helps. If I have the feeling that I'm not sufficiently familiar with an expression I might just leave it out to avoid causing any confusion. And as someone pointed out, I totally agree that it can be a good idea not trying to find the corresponding expression in your native language. I've always found that studying contexts is way more helpful than just learning single words. Unfortunately, many teachers still follow the latter approach which makes the English of foreigners sound very textbook like but not really natural.



    Thanks for sharing. The Philippines must be such an amazing place, all Filipinos I've met so far when I'm spending some time in Asia have been unbelievably helpful and friendly people. I've seen a thread about the Filipino community here on WPCentral, will have to check that one out either.
    I do not detect that you are a non native speaker but you sound a bit more put together/educated than a typical English speaking poster.

    When I notice overly formal English it is often from India or some Latin American countries. Which is odd considering how prevalent English in those places.
    09-09-2014 09:33 AM
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