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Dear teachers,

I have a couple of not-so-big-deal questions but jar me just the same, and longer I ignore, the bigger itch I get. Well, enough babbling. Here they are.

1. People often want confirmation of the native language I speak by saying "Mandarin Chinese?", no big deal. But are there any other Chinese langauge other than Chinese itself? I know there are Cantonese, Taiwanese, ect. But those are not Chinese. Is this clarification something new? Growing up we were never taught to differentiate or emphasize what kind of Chinese language Chinese is.

2. What do you describel a piece of clothings, a vinyl jack for instanct, that doesn't breath. You sweat as if you're having a sona treatment wherever the fabric touches your skin, all clammy and sticky and stuff. In the cool night of 60 F, you feel like you're in the middle of a desert.

3. ....at his highs or at his heights?

4. For instant, is it good English to describe speed with "rapid" as a attributive adjective as in "at a rapid speed"? Speed itself seems already indicating an element of "rapidness", it seems redundant although I've heard "at a high/low speed" often, rapid doesn't sound quite right. Would you ever say "rapid speed"?

There are a couple more, but that are all I can think of now. Thanks in advance to all teachers.

Raen
Comments  
Hi,

I have a couple of not-so-big-deal questions but jar me just the same, and longer I ignore, the bigger itch I get. Well, enough babbling. Here they are.

1. People often want confirmation of the native language I speak by saying "Mandarin Chinese?", no big deal. But are there any other Chinese langauge other than Chinese itself? I know there are Cantonese, Taiwanese, ect. But those are not Chinese. Is this clarification something new? Growing up we were never taught to differentiate or emphasize what kind of Chinese language Chinese is.

Most Westerners, including me, have the understanding that Mandarin and Cantonese are the two major 'types' of Chinese.



2. What do you describel a piece of clothings, a vinyl jack for instanct, that doesn't breath. You sweat as if you're having a sona treatment wherever the fabric touches your skin, all clammy and sticky and stuff. In the cool night of 60 F, you feel like you're in the middle of a desert.

I'm sure there's a word, but it escapes me at the moment. Posibly 'non-porous'. Colloquially, I might call such material 'sticky' or 'sweaty'.



3. ..at his highs or at his heights?

4. For instant, is it good English to describe speed with "rapid" as a attributive adjective as in "at a rapid speed"? Speed itself seems already indicating an element of "rapidness", it seems redundant although I've heard "at a high/low speed" often, rapid doesn't sound quite right. Would you ever say "rapid speed"? Yes. 'at a rapid speed'. But more often just 'rapidly'.

There are a couple more, but that are all I can think of now. Ask again when you think of them. Thanks in advance to all teachers.

Best wishes, Clive
RaenI know there are Cantonese, Taiwanese, ect. etc. But those are not Chinese.
I didn't know that, and I think many others don't know it either. I thought there were all kinds of "Chinese". I guess that's because I have friends who speak Cantonese who, if asked "Do you speak Chinese?", would say "Yes"! Hence, the confusing questions!
RaenYou sweat as if you're having a sona sauna treatment wherever the fabric touches your skin, all clammy and sticky and stuff.
How do I describe that sort of clothing? I think I'd describe it about the same as you've done. I might add, following an old Saturday Night Live joke, that at the end of the evening it smells like New Jersey. Emotion: big smile (I'll get e-mail on this!)
Raen... at his highs or at his heights?
Neither one rings a bell. ... at the height of his powers ... perhaps?
Raenrapid doesn't sound quite right. Would you ever say "rapid speed"?
No. It's like saying that the temperature is hot or that prices are expensive. Other people would say these things, however, and do. Emotion: smile

CJ
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Raen 4. For instant, is it good English to describe speed with "rapid" as a attributive adjective as in "at a rapid speed"? Speed itself seems already indicating an element of "rapidness", it seems redundant although I've heard "at a high/low speed" often, rapid doesn't sound quite right. Would you ever say "rapid speed"?
"Speed" is like "size." It is the thing which is being measured, or quantified. There's nothing in either word which suggests greatness or slightness.
There are usages which have evolved, such as "a sizable amount" and "he sped around the corner." But I believe your suggestion that "speed" indicates an element of rapidness is not exactly true.

Ideally, I suppose we'd qualify "speed" and "size" with adjectives which quantify in a pure way. He was travelling at great speed. The package was of great size. He was travelling at a slight speed. The package was of slight size. But these are sometimes unnatural.

High speed and low speed work fine, but high size and low size do not.

I agree, if the adjective already includes the concept of speed or size, to include the thing being quantified is redundant.

He drove fast. He drove at a fast speed.
He drove slowly. He drove at a slow speed.
The box was large. The box was a large size.
She was mature. She was of mature age. (W.Somerset Maugham)

He was young. He was of young age.
It was warm. It was a warm temperature.

These are all redundant, but most of them are used.
I don't think there are any rules to help you. You'll probably just have to learn which ones are considered awkward. Redundancy isn't always bad.

I believe it's always okay to use a redundant predicate adjective:

The size of the box was large.
The temperature of the water was hot.

Even these sound dumb, unless there's something unusual about the quantity:

The size of the box was enormous.
The speed of the vehicle was excessive. (edit. Woops! This is not redundant.)

Not much help, I know. Emotion: crying
Thank you very much people, I really appreciate all the answers.

First, does anyone know how to multi-quote? I've seen them in a single post before.

Clive said: "Most Westerners, including me, have the understanding that Mandarin and Cantonese are the two major 'types' of Chinese."

Ah, I see, so Cantonese is the mystery child. Now I understand why people are so intent on the "Mandarin Chinese?" thing. Although I have to say and can be confident to say this on behalf of most Chinese, or at least people from Taiwan, that Cantonese is a sublanguage, or a dialect, under Chinese (Mandarin) like Taiwanese is a dialect. Although at this very moment I'm having a feeling that people from Hongkong are snarling at this comment. Maybe?

Hi CJ,

I'm always one to laugh along a good joke, but to do that I at least have to understand the joke. Right now I'm rolling my eyes sideways trying hard to get it. But this New Jersey thing doesn't spark a laugh. Thick.......

Avangi
I agree, if the adjective already includes the concept of speed or size, to include the thing being quantified is redundant.

yes, you're right Avangi. I should have pinned it on the adjective "rapid" rather than the word "speed". I was a little confused writing that part of the post but couldn't quite tell why. Yes, "rapid" already gives the feeling of "speed", hence the question. And I often heard a student (non-English speakers) ask this, "Could you repeat that again?"

And to me, you're never not helpful. Serious.Emotion: nodding

Raen

Raenthis New Jersey thing doesn't spark a laugh.
Although there are many parts of New Jersey that are quite beautiful, the inhabitants of New York City are probably most familiar with the corridor through New Jersey where the freeways connect into New York, an area of New Jersey characterized by heavy industry, oil refineries, and the like, all of which give off their characteristic noxious smells, as anyone knows who has traveled through that area. To feel superior, I suppose, New Yorkers regard New Jersey as smelly. In a skit on the television program "Saturday Night Live" there was once a reference to a polyester blouse that "didn't breathe" -- as you also put it. The woman said that after wearing that blouse a few hours, it smelt like New Jersey, i.e., it smelt very bad. The novelty of the expression combined with the fact that I've traveled in that area of New Jersey myself (and experienced those odors myself) brought a smile to my face. Emotion: smile

CJ
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CalifJim characterized by heavy industry, oil refineries, and the like
not to mention the pig farm Emotion: rolleyes