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Pedro
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I am wondering that if I use if, do I have to make the tenses in the past?

e.g. If I were a president , I would blah blah blah .

or is it

If I am a president, I will blah blah blah.

Are they both correct, but have different meanings ?
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M_rudky
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"Pedro" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected] ws1.calgary.shaw.ca>...
[q1]> I am wondering that if I use if, do I have to make the tenses in the past?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

[q1]> Are they both correct, but have different meanings ?[/q1]

Yes, both of them are correct but they have diffrent meanings.

[q1]> e.g. If I were a president , I would blah blah blah .[/q1]

It is contrary-to-fact conditional. Actually, I am not a president

[q1]> If I am a president, I will blah blah blah.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

It is factual conditional. In the future I may become a president.
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Pedro
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"M_RUDKY" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]> "Pedro" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]
news:<[email protected] ws1.calgary.shaw.ca>...
[q2]> > I am wondering that if I use if, do I have to make the tenses in the[/q2]
past?
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > Are they both correct, but have different meanings ?[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Yes, both of them are correct but they have diffrent meanings.[/q1]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > e.g. If I were a president , I would blah blah blah .[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> It is contrary-to-fact conditional. Actually, I am not a president[/q1]

I assume one can use this in a composition that is based on the present tense right ?Would it be a
tense shift ?

e.g. He says, "If I were a president , I would blah blah blah ."
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Einde O'Callagh
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Pedro wrote:
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> "M_RUDKY" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]
[q1]> news:[email protected]...[/q1]
[q2]> > "Pedro" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q2]
[q1]> news:<[email protected] ws1.calgary.shaw.ca>...[/q1]
[q3]> > > I am wondering that if I use if, do I have to make the tenses in the[/q3]
[q1]> past?[/q1]
[q3]> > >[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q3]> > > Are they both correct, but have different meanings ?[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Yes, both of them are correct but they have diffrent meanings.[/q2]
[q3]> > >[/q3]
[q3]> > > e.g. If I were a president , I would blah blah blah .[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > It is contrary-to-fact conditional. Actually, I am not a president[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I assume one can use this in a composition that is based on the present tense right ?Would it be a[/q1]
[q1]> tense shift ?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> e.g. He says, "If I were a president , I would blah blah blah ."[/q1]

This would be perfectly OK. It wouldn't be a tense shift, it would be direct speech.

Regards, Einde o'callaghan
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Felix Spangenbe
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[q1]> e.g. If I were a president , I would blah blah blah .[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

That means that you are very unlikely to be president.
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> If I am a president, I will blah blah blah.[/q1]

Thats means that e.g. you run for president, and If you are elected president, you will do this
oder that.
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Are they both correct, but have different meanings ?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
Yes, the first one is the improbable possibility, the second one is probable, and there is a
third one,

I would have blah blah blahed if I had been elected president.

And you can mix the main clauses with the subclauses, but that is very complicated, and I dont want
to confuse you.

Felix

PS I am not a native speaker, so correct me if I am wrong about that, please
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Cybercypher
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"Felix Spangenberg" <[email protected]> burbled news:[email protected]:

[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]>> e.g. If I were a president , I would blah blah blah .[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> That means that you are very unlikely to be president.[/q1]

That isn't quite true
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> If I am a president, I will blah blah blah.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Thats means that e.g. you run for president, and If you are elected president, you will do this[/q1]
[q1]> oder that.[/q1]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> Are they both correct, but have different meanings ?[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q1]> Yes,[/q1]

No, they are both unidiomatic usages.

[q1]> the first one is the improbable possibility,[/q1]

The first one is not always improbable, but it is always hypothetical and unreal at the moment it is
spoken or written.

The idomatic way of saying this is:

"If I were (the) {President/president}, I would . . ."

"{President/president}" here is a title and not the name of a type of person or career, so you
cannot say "a president", but you can say "the president". You can say, however, "If I were a
plumber, I would be very rich". In both sentences, you are not something (the president/a plumber},
but you might become those things in the future.

To express an improbability, you could say something like:

"If I were Brad Pitt, I would . . ." You are not Brad pitt; only Brad Pitt is Brad Pitt. This is not
only an improbability but also an impossibility.

[q1]> the second one is probable,[/q1]

Not so. The second one expresses a bit of surprise by the speaker/writer at learning that he
is something he did not know he was. To provide a probable context for a corrected version of
this sentence:

The speaker was running for President and was losing the contest. He thought that it was pointless
to stay awake just to see the final results, because he was certain that he had lost the race, so
he went to bed. The next morning, he answered the phone and heard, "Good morning, Mister
President!" He was shocked. His first words as President were, "Well, if I am the President, I
will . . ."

[q1]> and there is a third one,[/q1]

[q1]> I would have blah blah blahed if I had been elected president.[/q1]

To say this with the same structure as the first two, it would be:

"If I had been (the) President, I would have . . ."

[q1]> And you can mix the main clauses with the subclauses,[/q1]

It is so complicated an idea that without some specific explanation of what you mean here, I have no
idea what you are talking about.

[q1]> but that is very complicated, and I dont want to confuse you.[/q1]

I'm afraid that you have already confused anyone who has read and believed what you said. Maybe you
shouldn't give advice if you aren't 100% certain that you understand the question and the problem.

[q1]> Felix[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> PS I am not a native speaker, so correct me if I am wrong about that, please[/q1]

It's a much better idea to ask questions than to give incorrect answers and then ask for help.

--
Franke
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M_rudky
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"Felix Spangenberg" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
[q2]> > e.g. If I were a president , I would blah blah blah .[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> That means that you are very unlikely to be president.[/q1]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > If I am a president, I will blah blah blah.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Thats means that e.g. you run for president, and If you are elected president, you will do this[/q1]
[q1]> oder that.[/q1]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Are they both correct, but have different meanings ?[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q1]> Yes, the first one is the improbable possibility, the second one is probable, and there is a[/q1]
[q1]> third one,[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I would have blah blah blahed if I had been elected president.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> And you can mix the main clauses with the subclauses, but that is very complicated, and I dont[/q1]
[q1]> want to confuse you.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Felix[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> PS I am not a native speaker, so correct me if I am wrong about that, please[/q1]

Hi all,

As I know, it is very common in formal English to mix certain conditions. For example, you can mix
an unreal past "if" clause and an unreal present result clause. Such as:

"If I had been born in England, I would speak english much more fluently."

Regards, RUDKY
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Cybercypher
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[email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:[email protected]:

[...]

[q1]> As I know, it is very common in formal English to mix certain conditions. For example, you can mix[/q1]
[q1]> an unreal past "if" clause and an unreal present result clause. Such as:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> "If I had been born in England, I would speak english much more fluently."[/q1]

If you look again, you will see that there is no "present result clause"; "would" is a past tense
verb form.

--
Franke
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Einde O'Callagh
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CyberCypher wrote:
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> [email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:[email protected]:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> [...][/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > As I know, it is very common in formal English to mix certain conditions. For example, you can[/q2]
[q2]> > mix an unreal past "if" clause and an unreal present result clause. Such as:[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > "If I had been born in England, I would speak english much more fluently."[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> If you look again, you will see that there is no "present result clause"; "would" is a past tense[/q1]
[q1]> verb form.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
But it does refer to present time. In English there is no necessary connection between tense and
time reference. For example "I wish she was here" is a wish about the present despite the fact that
"was" is a past tense.

Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
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Cybercypher
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Einde O'Callaghan <[email protected]> burbled news:[email protected]:

[q1]> CyberCypher wrote:[/q1]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> [email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:[email protected]:[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> [...][/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> > As I know, it is very common in formal English to mix certain conditions. For example, you can[/q2]
[q2]>> > mix an unreal past "if" clause and an unreal present result clause. Such as:[/q2]
[q2]>> >[/q2]
[q2]>> > "If I had been born in England, I would speak english much more fluently."[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> If you look again, you will see that there is no "present result clause"; "would" is a past tense[/q2]
[q2]>> verb form.[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q1]> But it does refer to present time. In English there is no necessary connection between tense and[/q1]
[q1]> time reference. For example "I wish she was here" is a wish about the present despite the fact[/q1]
[q1]> that "was" is a past tense.[/q1]

Yes, it does refer to present time and a past tense verb in such a clause can also refer to the
future (eg "If I had won the lottery, I would be going to Paris next week"), but that is not what
the poster said.

Also, *"I wish she was here" is not good formal English. All you test- takers out there please be
ware that the correct test form is "I wish she *were* here". This is one of those cases where native
speakers in their ignorance have changed the spoken and informal written language but the TOEFL,
GRE, GMAT, SAT, and other American exams (I'm not sure about the British standardized exams) have
not yet stooped to the popular level. British English seems more comfortable with this form than
American English.

--
Franke
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Einde O'Callagh
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CyberCypher wrote:
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Einde O'Callaghan <[email protected]> burbled news:[email protected]:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > CyberCypher wrote:[/q2]
[q2]> >>[/q2]
[q2]> >> [email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:21ca81f0.0207072112.34b[email protected]:[/q2]
[q2]> >>[/q2]
[q2]> >> [...][/q2]
[q2]> >>[/q2]
[q2]> >> > As I know, it is very common in formal English to mix certain conditions. For example, you[/q2]
[q2]> >> > can mix an unreal past "if" clause and an unreal present result clause. Such as:[/q2]
[q2]> >> >[/q2]
[q2]> >> > "If I had been born in England, I would speak english much more fluently."[/q2]
[q2]> >>[/q2]
[q2]> >> If you look again, you will see that there is no "present result clause"; "would" is a past[/q2]
[q2]> >> tense verb form.[/q2]
[q2]> >>[/q2]
[q2]> > But it does refer to present time. In English there is no necessary connection between tense and[/q2]
[q2]> > time reference. For example "I wish she was here" is a wish about the present despite the fact[/q2]
[q2]> > that "was" is a past tense.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Yes, it does refer to present time and a past tense verb in such a clause can also refer to the[/q1]
[q1]> future (eg "If I had won the lottery, I would be going to Paris next week"), but that is not what[/q1]
[q1]> the poster said.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Also, *"I wish she was here" is not good formal English.[/q1]

I agree that it is informal, but I would dispute that it is grammatically incorrect (at least in
British/Irish English).

[q1]> All you test- takers out there please be ware that the correct test form is "I wish she[/q1]
[q1]> *were* here".[/q1]

I would agree that in tests it's better to err on the side of caution, particularly in those that
are primarily grammatically based, such as the TOEFL.

[q1]> This is one of those cases where native speakers in their ignorance have changed the spoken and[/q1]
[q1]> informal written language but the TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, SAT, and other American exams (I'm not sure[/q1]
[q1]> about the British standardized exams) have not yet stooped to the popular level.[/q1]

I don't think this is simply a question of ignorance. I suspect that it is an example of language
change, i.e. the coalescence of the (past) subjunctive and the past simple tense. "Was/were" is the
only remaining verb where the form of teh past subjunctive and the past simple isn't the same.
Originally most irregular verbs had a distinctive form, as is still the case in German.

[q1]> British English seems more comfortable with this form than American English.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
According to some linguists, the language as spoken in "colonies" is often more "archaic" or
"conservative" than in the "home country". This appears to be the case with American English, where
the present subjunctive is also more prevalent than in British English.

I've observed similar processes with ethnic Germans from communities in eastern Europe, e.g. Rumania
or Russia. Their German tends to be regarded as very old-fashioned. For what it's worth, an
acquaintance of mine observed a similar archaicism in Pennsylvania Dutch (the form of German spoken
by the Amish).

Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
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Cybercypher
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Einde O'Callaghan <[email protected]> burbled
news:[email protected]:

[q1]> CyberCypher wrote:[/q1]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> Einde O'Callaghan <[email protected]> burbled news:[email protected]:[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> > CyberCypher wrote:[/q2]
[q2]>> >>[/q2]
[q2]>> >> [email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:[email protected]:[/q2]
[q2]>> >>[/q2]
[q2]>> >> [...][/q2]
[q2]>> >>[/q2]
[q2]>> >> > As I know, it is very common in formal English to mix certain conditions. For example, you[/q2]
[q2]>> >> > can mix an unreal past "if" clause and an unreal present result clause. Such as:[/q2]
[q2]>> >> >[/q2]
[q2]>> >> > "If I had been born in England, I would speak english much more fluently."[/q2]
[q2]>> >>[/q2]
[q2]>> >> If you look again, you will see that there is no "present result clause"; "would" is a past[/q2]
[q2]>> >> tense verb form.[/q2]
[q2]>> >>[/q2]
[q2]>> > But it does refer to present time. In English there is no necessary connection between tense[/q2]
[q2]>> > and time reference. For example "I wish she was here" is a wish about the present despite the[/q2]
[q2]>> > fact that "was" is a past tense.[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> Yes, it does refer to present time and a past tense verb in such a clause can also refer to the[/q2]
[q2]>> future (eg "If I had won the lottery, I would be going to Paris next week"), but that is not what[/q2]
[q2]>> the poster said.[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> Also, *"I wish she was here" is not good formal English.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I agree that it is informal, but I would dispute that it is grammatically incorrect (at least in[/q1]
[q1]> British/Irish English).[/q1]

It's perfectly good BrE, but it is not perfectly good AmE or International English, which would
require the subjunctive in formal writing.
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]>> All you test- takers out there please be ware that the correct test form is "I wish she[/q2]
[q2]>> *were* here".[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I would agree that in tests it's better to err on the side of caution, particularly in those that[/q1]
[q1]> are primarily grammatically based, such as the TOEFL.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]>> This is one of those cases where native speakers in their ignorance have changed the spoken and[/q2]
[q2]>> informal written language but the TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, SAT, and other American exams (I'm not sure[/q2]
[q2]>> about the British standardized exams) have not yet stooped to the popular level.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I don't think this is simply a question of ignorance.[/q1]

That's certainly one major reason that language changes. The more the masses are considered peers of
the educated and literate, the more weight is given to the way the masses use the language, which
causes the language to change more rapidly. The more a thing is democratized, the lower the level of
refinement, discernment, discrimination (in the sense of being able to tell the difference between
two things, not of being prejudiced or bigoted - and the very fact that I have to make this
disclaimer says much about the popular level of understanding), and understanding there is.

In one way, of course, this is very good because it allows more inclusion. In another, it is very
bad because it lowers the level of everything one may be included in. Which explains why the public
love TV series written for 12-year-olds and comic books and action movies and pot-boilers instead of
serious progams and films and serious literature.

[q1]> I suspect that it is an example of language change, i.e. the coalescence of the (past) subjunctive[/q1]
[q1]> and the past simple tense. "Was/were" is the only remaining verb where the form of teh past[/q1]
[q1]> subjunctive and the past simple isn't the same.[/q1]

You forget "be (AmE)/should be (BrE)", as in "There is no need that he (should) be there".

[q1]> Originally most irregular verbs had a distinctive form, as is still the case in German.[/q1]

[q2]>> British English seems more comfortable with this form than American English.[/q2]

[q1]> According to some linguists, the language as spoken in "colonies" is often more "archaic" or[/q1]
[q1]> "conservative" than in the "home country". This appears to be the case with American English,[/q1]
[q1]> where the present subjunctive is also more prevalent than in British English.[/q1]

The USA hasn't been "the colonies" for 226 years. What the linguists say is a half truth. The fact
is, because the language changes in different ways in the motherland and the colonies, what is
changed in the mother tongue but retained in the daughter tongue has the appearance of archaic or
conservative language in the daughter tongue. At the same time, what is added to and changed in the
daughter tongue but does not exist or is not changed in the mother tongue has the appearance of
abuse or misuse of the language. It all depends on one's perspective.

I don't think it is reasonable to consider the American language a daughter tongue of British
English any more. It is old enough and important enough to be considered a language in its own
right. It has changed in different ways from British English over the past 2.25 centuries.

--
Franke
0
Einde O'Callagh
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CyberCypher wrote:
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Einde O'Callaghan <[email protected]> burbled[/q1]
[q1]> news:[email protected]:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
<snip>
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > I suspect that it is an example of language change, i.e. the coalescence of the (past)[/q2]
[q2]> > subjunctive and the past simple tense. "Was/were" is the only remaining verb where the form of[/q2]
[q2]> > teh past subjunctive and the past simple isn't the same.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> You forget "be (AmE)/should be (BrE)", as in "There is no need that he (should) be there".[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
I specifically stated "past subjunctive" - "be" is the present subjunctive. Also in teh pressent
subjunctive the third person singular doesn't end in "s" - but as yoiu point out the present
subjunctive is very rare indeed in British English.

[q2]> > Originally most irregular verbs had a distinctive form, as is still the case in German.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> >> British English seems more comfortable with this form than American English.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > According to some linguists, the language as spoken in "colonies" is often more "archaic" or[/q2]
[q2]> > "conservative" than in the "home country".[/q2]

It is said that modern Icelandic is almost identical with the Norse language spoken by the Viking
colonisers more than 1,000 years ago, except for words to describe new developments since that time.

[q1]> This appears to be the case with American English, where[/q1]
[q2]> > the present subjunctive is also more prevalent than in British English.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The USA hasn't been "the colonies" for 226 years. What the linguists say is a half truth.[/q1]

That is why I put "colonies" in quotes. But in one sense it's true - American English originated
from groups of colonisers, many of whom didn't speak the exact standard form of British English
(many of them came from East Anglia or the West country, where people still have accents quite
distinct from the standard form).

[q1]> The fact is, because the language changes in different ways in the motherland and the colonies,[/q1]
[q1]> what is changed in the mother tongue but retained in the daughter tongue has the appearance of[/q1]
[q1]> archaic or conservative language in the daughter tongue.[/q1]

Many of the things regarded as distinctive in American vocabulary were formerly quite widely used in
england - for example, I understand that Shakespeare uses the word "fall" slightly more often than
he uses the word "autumn". Other differences often refer to things that exist in the "colony" but
not in the "home country". And a third source of difference isa th application of words differently
(or the coinage of different words altogether) to new developments - "pavement" or "subway" are
examples of different applications and "lorry/truck" "mobile phone/cellphone" are examples of
different coinages.

[q1]> At the same time, what is added to and changed in the daughter tongue but does not exist or is not[/q1]
[q1]> changed in the mother tongue has the appearance of abuse or misuse of the language. It all depends[/q1]
[q1]> on one's perspective.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
I've never regarded American usage as abuse or misuse. Indeed I've strenuously argued with
non-native English teachers who have had this absurd attitude. One teacher of English literature I
met a few years ago looked down on writers such as Hemingway or Steinbeck (not to speak of people
like Hammett or Chandler - although Chandler was brought up in England, I believe) as inferior to
even English novelists I consider to be third-rate. I never did get round to discussing Irish
novelists with him as after that contretemps we never spoke again.

My easy-going attitude towards American usage has perhaps something to do with the fact that I come
from another "language colony", Ireland.

[q1]> I don't think it is reasonable to consider the American language a daughter tongue of British[/q1]
[q1]> English any more. It is old enough and important enough to be considered a language in its own[/q1]
[q1]> right. It has changed in different ways from British English over the past 2.25 centuries.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
I'm not so sure that we can speak of different languages, it's more a case of different varieties of
a common language. This facilitates understanding, but can also promote misunderstandings. One of
the few things that Churchill said that I agree with, to a certain extent, is his remark about two
peoples divided by a common language.

However, I also grew up steeped in American popular culture in addition to British popular culture
and, of course, my native Irish culture. I see the varieties of English as a continuum rather than
as discrete packets and they are in constant mutual interaction, a process I find generally
enriching.

I'll end with trivial example - in my childhood (in Ireland) we used to go to the pictures, in my
middle period (1970s, early 1980s) I used to go to teh cinema to see a film, now I probably use the
word "movie" more often than the word "film" (at least when speaking English) and I never use the
word "picture" anymore.

Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
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