Looking for a penfriend

Where everybody can talk about anything. Slang is welcome and even encouraged.
Antworten
Torsten64
Tongue Twister
Beiträge: 36
Registriert: 24. Jan 2022 19:39
Muttersprache: Englisch

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Torsten64 »

By the way, I’m up for being a penpal with any German speaker.  I love speaking and writing German. I’m in California now and the only other language, other than English, is Spanish (not interested in Spanish). So contact me I’d you’re interested. 




Courier
Bilingual Newbie
Beiträge: 8
Registriert: 3. Jan 2022 12:21
Muttersprache: Deutsch

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Courier »

tiorthan hat geschrieben:
Courier hat geschrieben: Busy at work

In the last few weeks, I have been very busy at work. I am currently involved in two projects where we are going to update some of our systems. Lots of people are working on many tasks and coodinating these people is very time consuming and takes a lot of effort.
I've made two changes here.

The first is merely a suggestion. Where German likes to use static words that simply name objects or name the state that something is in, English prefers to use words that describe action. So English would prefer "coordinating someone" over "the coordination of someone". It's not exactly necessary to always follow this guideline, but keeping it in mind will usually result in a more natural language flow.

Now, the second is actually almost a mistake, as in this sentence you cannot really use "those".

I would assume that you used "those" because you are aware of the basic difference between this/these and that/those. So you would have learned that "this/these" describes things that are nearby, whereas "that/those" describes things that are further away.

However, those words are not really about physical distance but rather the perception of distance. This makes things a lot more difficult, because there is also a perception of distance within language itself. Particularly, when you are talking about different topics within the same text, then certain topics will be more distant within the context than others. For example, I used "those words" in the beginning of this paragraph, because the words I am talking about were introduced in the preceding paragraph. Beginning a new paragraph has created a "break" within the context (in this case my going from the general description of the words to a more detailed explanation of concepts). So we have a form of distance and I've expressed linguistically by using "those" instead of "these". I could have used "these", had I chosen to do so.

So, as you can see there are situations where you do have a choice which word you use. In cases like these you can use this/these or that/those to create contrast. For example when you have two cups directly in front of you, you can say "that one is yours". Even though the cup may not be any further away than your own, the use of "that" conceptually pushes it away from you, or you could also think of it as distancing yourself from the cup.

So, why is "that" not a valid choice in this sentence (I'm using this here to conceptually pull the sentence back)? 

Grammatically it would be fine, but using "and" to connect to otherwise independent clauses does already create a conceptual closeness. But immediately following with "those" results in a very marked contrast which would be understood as you very emphatically distancing yourself from "those people" almost as if you think of yourself as something better.
Some of us even have to do extra hours to stay on schedule
The schedule is the thing that determines what "in time" means. So the schedule itself cannot be not in time.

Normally, my work isn’t very time consuming regarding taking extra hours.
A better way of phrasing this would probably be "Normally, my work doesn't require me to do a lot of overtime." as "time consuming regarding taking extra hours" would be understood but is a very roundabout way of saying this.
We are working together in small teams


In English phrasal verbs cannot be taken apart as easily as we do it in German. So the "together" has to follow the "work" here.
Instead everybody in the team is equivalent.


"Equivalent" is a very judgmental. It's not comparing the team members as people but rather more like you'd compare machines because "equivalent" is really the same as saying "everybody can be replaced by everyone else". Ideally, what you are trying to say is that everybody in the team are peers, i.e. as far as your collaboration is concerned they are all treated equally.

New ideas or problems are discussed in the team and a solution is being found together.

Since you are talking about what your team does generally, you absolutely cannot use the continuous. With the continuous aspect this sentence would mean that you are in the process of finding a solution right now and when that's done you no longer do this. When you talk about general truths you have to use the simple tenses.

My tasks in the team are more organizational. I spend the most of the time interviewing people regarding what kind of software they want and in documenting the information. I also have to translate the information from the interviews into a more technical speech so that our engineers can process them further. 
So you are a requirements engineer or something like that?
Yes, that’s right! My job profile is Requirements Engineer. Like I said, I’m working on several projects at one time. Currently, one project has the classic type of management known as waterfall-method, the other is agile. In the agile structured project I’m a Requirements Engineer and Scrum Master, in the other I do just requirements related stuff.


I wrote above that I studied computer science. I’m educated in programming Java, C/C++ and some web technologies. But my programming skills encompass only basic knowledge because I haven’t used them in the job. Instead, I’ve specialized myself in project management and agile methodologies.


To prevent forgetting my programming skills I use them in my spare time. At the moment one of my sons and I are programming a vocable trainer with some gamification elements. That’s a little Android-App where you can enter vocabularies in English and Deutsch. Then the app will ask you in the quiz what the correct translation is for a given vocab among others. For example:


Q: Wie lautet die korrekte englische Übersetzung für “Regen”
A: Street? Rain? House?


“Rain” would be the correct answer. If you get it, you’ll get a point. The more correct answers you give, the more points you get and the higher your high score will be (that’s the gamification- element I wrote earlier). 


I’m looking forward to reading from you and have a nice day!

tiorthan
Lingo Whiz
Beiträge: 2782
Registriert: 13. Jun 2010 01:36
Muttersprache: de, (pl)

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von tiorthan »

Courier hat geschrieben:Courier:Yes, that’s right! My job profile is Requirements Engineer. Like I said, I’m working in several projects at the same time.
To work on a project = ein Projekt bearbeiten, ein Projekt durchführen
To work in a project = in einem Projekt(team) arbeiten, Teil eines Projekts sein

Judging from your sentence, what you were trying to say is the second.
Currently, one project has the classic type of management known as waterfall-method, the other is agile. In the agile structured project I’m a Requirements Engineer and Scrum Master, in the other I just do requirements related stuff.


I wrote above that I studied computer science. I’m educated in programming Java, C/C++ and some web technologies. But my programming skills are rather basic because I haven’t used them in the job. Instead, I’ve specialized myself in project management and agile methodologies.
Usually when you use "encompass" it would be followed by a list of things that you want to include. But since you only had one thing using encompass sounds weird.

The other correction is more important. German has quite a lot of reflexive verbs, i.e. verbs where you'd use "sich" like in "sich spezialieren". In German the reflexity is an inherent part of many verbs.

English on the other hand doesn't really have verbs like that. Instead you only use reflexive pronouns (myself, oneself, himself etc.) when a verb requires an object that is identical to the subject.

To identify when this is the case you have to either understand transitivity, or you just look up how the word is used on the internet.

I'll try to explain the grammar a bit.

A verb can receive a number of objects. Some verbs can receive none, some can receive one and some can receive two. And quite a lot of verbs can appear in all three variants.

For example:
I'm teaching. -> No object
I'm teaching English. -> One object "English"
I'm teaching my sister English. -> Two objects "my sister" and "English".

Now, importantly, I'm talking about objects to the verb specifically.

I'm teaching English to my sister. -> One object "English".

"My sister" is still an object (of sorts) to the entire clause, but it's not an object to the verb which is why it has to be appended with a preposition.

When a verb receives an object (not the prepositional type) then we say that the verb is transitive, or more precisely that the verb is used transitively in the clause.

Transitivity can change the meaning of the verb

The verb "specialize" is a prime example.

When used intransitively (without an object) it means "to pursue a special line of study or work".
But when used transitively it means "to render special or specific".

That means when you want to express that you've specialized in your line of work you have to use the intransitive variant.

So your basic sentence is "I've specialized" you cannot add "myself" because that would be an object which would make the verb transitive which would change the meaning.

When you have a German word that requires a reflexive pronoun you have to check whether the English verb's meaning changes when it is used as a transitive verb. That's the first step. It the meaning changes, you have to chose the correct form by the intended meaning.

If you need the intransitive meaning then that means you cannot use the reflexive pronoun.

Many words do not change their meaning, or maybe the meaning you want to express is the transitive meaning, in the first place. If that's the case you have to check whether you actually need the reflexive pronoun.

For example:
Ich habe mich mit dem Messer geschnitten.

We do need the transitive meaning, because the meaning "to injure someone" is transitive, but do we need the reflexive pronoun?
The verb "cut" when used with an object receives the recipient of the cut as an object. The recipient of the cut is myself, so I have to use the reflexive object "I cut myself with a knife".
To prevent forgetting my programming skills I use them in my spare time. At the moment one of my sons and I are programming a vocabulary trainer with some gamification elements. That’s a little Android app where you can enter vocabulary in English and Deutsch. Then the app will ask you in the quiz what the correct translation is for a given word among others.
Vocabulary is collective noun. Its meaning is "the stock of words used or known".

All collective nouns in English can form plurals, but those plurals always have a very particular meaning. You would use the term vocabularies when you talk about different languages, for example.

In this sentence saying "You can enter vocabulary" already means you can enter multiple words. You could also just express this directly "You can enter words in ...".

English also has the term "vocable" and it does have the same meaning as Vokabel in German, but it's virtually never used and using it as an actual word outside of a poetic context will probably earn you a bit of confusion.

---
I'm software engineer, so I understand what you're doing. I've studied computer science, computer linguistics and I've been working in software development for a couple of decades now. But I really like the German university system. In many unis you can just go and sit in lectures or even register as a guest student for very little money, so I sat a couple of semesters of philosophy, biology and physics on the side for like less than 200 Euros a year and entirely on my own schedule. It's brilliant.

I only go to university in winter though, during the summer I'm a beekeeper  :D
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
MistakeSuggestionYou sure that's right?

Courier
Bilingual Newbie
Beiträge: 8
Registriert: 3. Jan 2022 12:21
Muttersprache: Deutsch

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Courier »

Phew... your comprehensive answer took me a while to understand. 
Last time I had grammar is a few years ago and I can't remember if I was taught the difference between transitivity and intransitivity in school.


Let’s start with the easier parts to understand for me:


Correct use of “encompass”: I’ll try to consider using the word only when I have a list of things and not only a single one.


Collective nouns: Sure, I’ve heard about words like people, class, team, army, etc. But it didn’t come to my mind that “vocabulary” is also collective. Obviously, there is no rule for. I just have to know it.


Transitivity vs. Intransitivity: This was the hardest part to understand for me and I don’t know if I’ve understood it correctly. Therefore, I want to make use of some examples.


Sentences with an intransitive meaning:
  • I’m / I’ve specialized in project management and agile methodology (no accusative object)
    (Ich bin / Ich habe mich auf Projektmanagement und agile Methoden spezialisiert)
Sentences with an transitive meaning:
  • I’ve specialized my skills (=accusative object) in project management and agile methodologies
    (Ich habe meine Fähigkeiten auf Projektmanagement und agile Methoden spezialisiert)
  • I’ve specialized myself (=accusative object = subject) in project management and agile methodologies
    (Ich habe mich (selbst) auf Projektmanagement und agile Methoden spezialisiert)

I’ve noticed that I’m changing the meaning of the sentence whether I use the intransitive or transitive form. When using intransitive sentences the clause is more in a general form whereas when using transitive I’m focussing on a special thing/object like “skills” or “myself”.


Are my assumptions and example sentences correct?

tiorthan
Lingo Whiz
Beiträge: 2782
Registriert: 13. Jun 2010 01:36
Muttersprache: de, (pl)

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von tiorthan »

Courier hat geschrieben: Last time I had grammar is a few years ago and I can't remember if I was taught the difference between transitivity and intransitivity in school.
You may not have learned that at all. I know it wasn't mentioned explicitly in my own English classes back in school, our teachers just assumed we knew the concept from German.
Let’s start with the parts easier for me to understand
Collective nouns: Sure, I’ve heard about words like people, class, team, army, etc. But it didn’t come to my mind that “vocabulary” is also collective. Obviously, there is no rule for. I just have to know it.
Yes, you have to know it. Usually you'd recognize them when you know the meaning more exactly which is why I usually suggest to use monolingual explanations as much as possible when learning new words.

Sentences with an transitive meaning:
  • I’ve specialized my skills (=accusative object) in project management and agile methodologies
    (Ich habe meine Fähigkeiten auf Projektmanagement und agile Methoden spezialisiert)
  • I’ve specialized myself (=accusative object = subject) in project management and agile methodologies
    (Ich habe mich (selbst) auf Projektmanagement und agile Methoden spezialisiert)
Unfortunately that's not correct.

The first sentence kind of works, as "specialize something" means to make that something special or to adapt to special conditions. However, to specialize skills isn't how you'd use the word, because specialization of skills is already included in the intransitive use of the verb.

The second sentence doesn't really work.

One meaning of specialize is "to make the object special". But it would be rather weird to say that you made yourself special.

Another meaning is to adapt to conditions or to restrict to specific limits. But it wouldn't be exactly right to say that you did that because what this means is more along the lines of "some plants specialized certain cells for tensile strength"

It's not that it wouldn't be understood, but it's really weird.
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
MistakeSuggestionYou sure that's right?

Torsten64
Tongue Twister
Beiträge: 36
Registriert: 24. Jan 2022 19:39
Muttersprache: Englisch

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Torsten64 »

Hi Courier,
I thought I’d rewrite your guitar essay using as few words as possible without losing the meaning of your sentences (the great British writer, philosopher, mathematician, etc., Bertrand Russell, said once he used to do this as a child as an exercise to improve his writing. It does make for a stronger writing style.  I’ve inserted my own thoughts in the parentheses. So here it goes:
Guitar
As a child I never wanted to play an instrument. In elementary school, I had to play the flute, or in particular a „recorder“, and I didn’t like it. (I put recorder in quotes because for many, maybe most native English speakers, they probably wouldn’t know that a recorder is a flute-like instrument. I didn’t know this myself and I’m 63, and a lawyer.  When you hear „recorder“ most think of tape-recorder. I also think the word „hate“ is a bit too strong for this sentence and I really think it really it needs to be toned down a bit. I know I would. It’s not wrong to use the word „hate“, but just stylistically better, I think it makes for a better sentence. The word „hate“ draws to mind a degree of anger, and I don’t sense any anger in your essay). 
As a young adult I saw many people playing musical instruments, like guitars, pianos or drums, and I found this fascinating, because I know playing any musical instrument well is difficult. Not long thereafter, I bought my first guitar and began practicing. Because my progress was slow, I unfortunately lost interest after a few weeks. This led me to putting the guitar aside for a long time. 
Rather than playing guitar, I focused on studying. I met my wife at University and we have three beautiful boys, somewhat to her chagrin (you might explain this a bit. Maybe say, „ I think she would have liked to have had at least one girl.“ Is that what you meant? I’m sure she loves her sons, but are you saying she would have liked to have had at least one girl? I get that feeling from the sentence, but the cause of her sorrow“ isn’t clear). And, as you may imagine, there wasn’t much time to learn to play an instrument between studying and family activities.
Today, life is a bit slower. I work mostly fixed hours, and the kids are older and don’t need as much attention. So, that’s why I started about 6 months ago playing the guitar again. I’ve learned my first 8 chords (open chords) and strumming patterns. I’ve also learned to change the guitar strings. I think because I practice on a Western guitar with steel strings, my fingers hurt if I practice too long. 

I hope you don’t mind a rewrite, but I think it says what you wanted to say and makes the essay flow a bit more smoothly. Just a word to the wise, I’d use the words „a lot“ sparingly. It’s a bit colloquial, and can easily be replaced with several other words, like „many“, „several“, etc. And it’s always a good idea to switch up words that mean the same thing so you don’t sound too colloquial or repetitious. 
 

Torsten64
Tongue Twister
Beiträge: 36
Registriert: 24. Jan 2022 19:39
Muttersprache: Englisch

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Torsten64 »

Oh, I forgot to add a sentence you had in your guitar essay, Courier. You said you hated learning an instrument probably because of the way it was taught to you? You wrote, „I can’t exactly remember why I hated it but I think I didn’t like how this was taught to me.“ 

I’d say „I can’t recall exactly why I disliked music lessons but I think I didn’t like the way it was taught.“ 

Courier
Bilingual Newbie
Beiträge: 8
Registriert: 3. Jan 2022 12:21
Muttersprache: Deutsch

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Courier »

Hi again,
finally I’ve found time to write my next essay. This time I’ve tried to form shorter sentences which get straighter to the point. What do you think? 

Summertime

Recently, when the first sun rays came out, I realized that summer isn’t too far away. Sure there is spring first, which is also a beautiful season by the way, but I personally prefer summer time more.

We have a garden behind the house where we spend a lot of time during summer and the garden is big enough for many activities. For example having a barbecue, sitting in the paddling pool (an inflatable pool where also adults can take place, not only children) or jumping on our big trampoline (about 3 m diameter). We also have enough space to set up a tent. Our children and some from the neighborhood then are going to sleep sometimes in that tent and until now, they luckily haven’t done any nightly hiking activities yet.

There is also a shed in the garden. The room is mainly used for storing stuff like garden tables and chairs, the lawnmower and some other things for gardening. Behind the shed our kids and others from the neighborhood have built their own clubhouse. They are playing mostly detective games there or having very important secret meetings :-).

After the kids have gone to bed or in their sleeping bags, my wife and I sit in the garden for several hours after the sun has gone down. Most of the time we are just talking, playing cards or she is reading a book and I’m watching something on the tablet. And sometimes we also have barbecue parties with our friends who come to visit us. Our kids appreciate that a lot, because then they can stay up longer.

tiorthan
Lingo Whiz
Beiträge: 2782
Registriert: 13. Jun 2010 01:36
Muttersprache: de, (pl)

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von tiorthan »

Courier hat geschrieben: but I personally prefer summer time more.
No need for "more" when you already use "prefer" with just two things.
an inflatable pool where adults can sit too, not only children
So, I would assume that's what you meant, because "take place" translates to "stattfinden" and not "platznehmen".

Our children and some from the neighborhood sometimes sleep in that tent and until now they luckily haven’t done any nightly hiking activities yet.
You need the present simple here for sleep because "sometimes" means that it is something done regularly or habitually just not very often.
The room is mainly used for storing stuff like garden tables and chairs, the lawnmower and some other things for gardening.
So, if you wanted this to be more concise you could have written "It's mainly used to store garden furniture and gardening tools."

They are mostly playing detective games there
Adverbs usually have to go in front of the word they refer to.


That wasn't too bad. I didn't correct everything yet. I can still tell that you are finding your footing with English phrasing in some places. I believe it would be too early to rewrite entire sentences, because I want to concentrate on the structural things at this poin, so I just gave you one example where it's very obviously possible.
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
MistakeSuggestionYou sure that's right?

Torsten64
Tongue Twister
Beiträge: 36
Registriert: 24. Jan 2022 19:39
Muttersprache: Englisch

Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Torsten64 »

Hi Courier,
First I wanted to say you did a very good job on your Summertime essay. I thought I would rewrite it so that it sounds a bit more natural, like a native speaker of English wrote it, but again it’s quite good, so don’t get me wrong. I think I explained you’re getting an American English style here (although I doubt the Brits would have any trouble with it), and this is coming from someone who knows almost nothing about English grammar. I only had one semester of English at University in 1982, but that was about it. English grammar I find horribly confusing. I don’t know why one word belongs in front of another, or very much about English verb tenses (which are the most confusing of all. Ugh). I’ll defer to the others on that. I just go by what sounds right. Not a great rule, I know, but that’s about the best I can do. In high school, as a teenager, I had it take English, but I think I slept through all the classes and I don’t remember anything about them.  My writing style got a lot better after law school, and I’ve been a lawyer for 33 years  :(. Sounds awful, I know, but I’m hoping to retire in 2 years. I do family law (divorces, etc), so it’s not pleasant work (constant fighting over money and kids, but at least it pays the bills). You honestly write better than most of my clients. You ought to see junk they send me in their emails! It’s ghastly. They write horribly for the most part. I think all those people know is what periods are. Spelling mistakes everywhere, and I doubt those people would even know what the word grammar means.  :(

In rewriting your essay, I’ll put in parentheses explanations or my own questions:
Summertime
When the first rays of summer came out, I realized summer wasn’t far away. Spring precedes summer, of course, which is a beautiful season by the way, but I personally prefer summer.
We have a garden behind our house where we spend a lot of time during the summer. And, the garden is large enough for many activities. For example, we have a barbecue, an inflatable pool we refer to as a “paddling pool” (I only put this in quotes since it’s possible not everyone will be familiar with the term), which can accommodate adults and children (or you could say “where not only children but adults can sit). We have a trampoline about 3 meters in diameter, and enough space for a tent. Our children and some of the neighborhood kids are going to sleep there sometimes, and fortunately, as of now,  they haven’t gone on any nightly “hiking activities.”  (I put “hiking activities” in quotes because I think you are using this expression in a special way, to say the kids might be inclined to take off, when no one is watching, and just disappear for awhile, or maybe take a nighttime walk around the block, which probably wouldn’t be all that safe? I just think the phrase needs a bit of clarification. I’m sort of guessing at what you mean by “hiking activities” but if I’m wrong just let me know). 
There is also a garden shed. The shed is used to store garden tables, chairs, the lawnmower, and other gardening tools. Behind the shed our kids and others have built their own clubhouse. They use it to play various “detective” games and have special “secret meetings.” (This is a difficult sentence; however, I think the meaning is fairly clear. A bit subtle maybe, so a bit more of a direct explanation I think improves the sentence.  The quotation marks show these kids play kid games, like cops and robbers or hide and seek, and what you said is not to be take literally, or seriously. I’m not sure why this is stylistically an improvement, but it just sounds better to me and more natural).
After the kids have gone to bed or are in their sleeping bags, my wife and I sit in the garden for hours, after the sun has gone down. Most of the time we just talk, play cards, or my wife will read a book while I watch something on the tablet (I use an iPad so I’d say that, but many people do use “tablet”, even though I find it a dumb sounding word. But, that’s just me. People say tablet all the time in the US, so I know there’s nothing wrong it). 
Sometimes we also have barbecue parties when our friends visit. Our kids like it because they can stay up longer then. 

Hope the rewrite is helpful. A Brit might rewrite it a bit differently, but I’d write it like this, and I hope I didn’t change many of your sentences too drastically. Otherwise, you did an excellent job. 
Torsten

Antworten