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A question of English

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ozchick
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A question of English

Postby ozchick » Sat, 25 Oct 2008 8:56 pm

The rooster keeps coming up with questions about English that I just can't answer. The latest: Where to use BRINK and FRINGE. Mm.... I was able to tell him that if he doesn't stop asking me this stuff we'll be on the 'brink of disaster' !
But seriously, I couldn't explain why we wouldn't say "FRINGE OF DISASTER" Mm.....so a person can be on the fringe of a political movement but not on the 'brink' of it- and yet both words mean 'edge,' do they not?
And then his dictionary says that the nouns for 'hectic' and 'frantic' are franticness and hecticness!! QUE ?!!! This surely isn't correct. Wikipedia agrees with me but other online dictionaries do have these words with 'ness' added to form a noun. How am I supposed to help the poor boy with his English when it's as clear as mud ? :-|
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 26 Oct 2008 12:18 am

Me? English? I can't butcher it as well as the next guy and better'n most!

My take on the Fringe/Brink question is a matter of degree. It more like being around a live volcano. You can be on the fringe of the volcano where you can see the volcano, smell the volcano, and even feel the "Heat" of the volcano but you are still on the "Fringe" of the volcano so are probably still in safe territory. However, being on the Brink (edge) of the volcano may mean any misstep will find you falling in "head" first with subsequent dire consequences that may be very costly (as in either your life or costing you a small fortune) depending on how hot the volcano actually is.

You are welcome to insert "tart" for volcano if it helps ....... :P

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Postby Forks » Sun, 26 Oct 2008 11:22 am

With questions like that you should charge by the hour.

or

send him to a language school. :lol:

FWIW - fringe of hair, brink of disaster. I always look at them as fringe is less defined and not so straight while brink is right on the edge.

But like SmS I butcher the language more than improve it.
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Postby denisb » Sun, 26 Oct 2008 3:55 pm

i don't think i can help you much here as i learn my english on the street.

sometime street talking is good enough for communication but when you try to put it into a teaching material, don't think it will work.
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Re: A question of English

Postby Clytemnestra » Mon, 27 Oct 2008 9:15 am

ozchick wrote:The rooster keeps coming up with questions about English that I just can't answer. The latest: Where to use BRINK and FRINGE. Mm.... I was able to tell him that if he doesn't stop asking me this stuff we'll be on the 'brink of disaster' !
But seriously, I couldn't explain why we wouldn't say "FRINGE OF DISASTER" Mm.....so a person can be on the fringe of a political movement but not on the 'brink' of it- and yet both words mean 'edge,' do they not?:-|


Both do mean edge, but you should use brink when referring to an event that is about to happen and fringe when talking about a group or organization.

ozchick wrote:And then his dictionary says that the nouns for 'hectic' and 'frantic' are franticness and hecticness!! QUE ?!!! This surely isn't correct. Wikipedia agrees with me but other online dictionaries do have these words with 'ness' added to form a noun. How am I supposed to help the poor boy with his English when it's as clear as mud ? :-|


I was educated in the UK and we were taught that frantic can be changed to a noun by adding ness, but not hectic, there is no noun form of hectic.

Other English speaking countries have different rules and if you have found hecticness in a dictionary then it will be correct somewhere. Where was his dictionary published?

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ozchick
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Postby ozchick » Mon, 27 Oct 2008 11:15 am

Yeah I like the idea of 'fringe' being about a group or organisation. That sounds right.
Mm....could we say, as SMS has suggested that BRINK usually refers to a negative situation i.e an impending dire consequence.....cos I can't imagine it being used in a 'positive' sense. I can't say that I'm on the 'brink of winning a fortune'...... mm...or can I?

And no he doesn't need a language school. He's actually amazingly good with languages, speaks Swedish, German and French fluently and is hard to fault with normal conversational English...er until the cockroach episode.....
After I had freaked out about a cockroach in the bathroom and the rooster subsequently killed it, he consoled my anxiety with his comment:
"Things could have been worse. At least it came lonely!"

He he.... :)
'Are you trying to tempt me because I come from the land of plenty?'

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Tue, 28 Oct 2008 2:50 am

ozchick wrote:After I had freaked out about a cockroach in the bathroom and the rooster subsequently killed it, he consoled my anxiety with his comment:
"Things could have been worse. At least it came lonely!"

Well, very kind of him to end its misery then!

Brink and fringe are quite different visually. Brink has a kink, like a sharp-angled edge over which you could topple. So it's used for situations where you are in danger of stepping too far out and falling headlong into a mess. A fringe has no kink, it's just like the ends of your hair which get pushed out from the centre. So it means you're just way out there and not part of the main mane. No risk of falling anywhere.

So just tell the rooster that a brink has a kink, and a fringe grows out! Elementary Englishness, really. :wink:

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Postby ozchick » Tue, 28 Oct 2008 3:46 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
ozchick wrote:After I had freaked out about a cockroach in the bathroom and the rooster subsequently killed it, he consoled my anxiety with his comment:
"Things could have been worse. At least it came lonely!"

Well, very kind of him to end its misery then!

Brink and fringe are quite different visually. Brink has a kink, like a sharp-angled edge over which you could topple. So it's used for situations where you are in danger of stepping too far out and falling headlong into a mess. A fringe has no kink, it's just like the ends of your hair which get pushed out from the centre. So it means you're just way out there and not part of the main mane. No risk of falling anywhere.

So just tell the rooster that a brink has a kink, and a fringe grows out! Elementary Englishness, really. :wink:


OK Wimoweh! I reckon I'm on the fringe of understanding this now. And I'm on the brink of being able to teach it ! :wink:
'Are you trying to tempt me because I come from the land of plenty?'


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