ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
I'm wondering what the English equivalent for the German "Aktionismus" is.

In German this is a usually pejorative term to describe activities somebody (often people in a position of power but accountable to the public, more rarely subordinates under pressure from above) undertakes to be visibly seen as "doing something" to address a problem, but the actions are not well thought out, unlikely to really solve or improve the situation, but are (at least from the perspective of the speaker making the charge of something being "Aktionismus") done wholly or partly to provide cover against the accusation of inactivity or indifference.

Like when you hastily implement "security theater" measures against a real security threat, because you can't think of any actual solution to improve security for real, but not doing anything and admitting to having no solution would be politically very costly. Opponents then might accuse you of "Aktionismus".

So "Aktionismus" is a general term for hasty, thoughtless responses of this type, used by opponents of the actions. It is often coupled with "blind" as in "blinder Aktionismus" to emphasize the lack of plan or vision to arrive at a real solution.

It is similar to the accusation that something is merely a "symbolic action" but that implies more a deliberate gesture lacking concrete results, whereas "Aktionismus" is more of a harmful flailing around.

"Aktionismus" has also some sort of specialized meaning for some performance art movement from Vienna, and apparently the word "actionism" exists in English in the translation for that Austrian art, but it doesn't seem to be used in the colloquial sense. But clearly this is a common phenomenon (and accusation) in politics, so there ought to be an English term.
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
In English with some verbs you can use their ing-form after go, i.e. sentences like "I go running often", "we are going shopping" etc., but with other verbs this is not allowed, i.e. you don't say "we are going eating"(*) but "we are going (out) to eat".

I think the rule is that the construction is only allowed with movement verbs, like go walking, swimming, dancing, etc. all work, but not with reading, knitting or painting. I'm actually unsure about playing, but I think not? OTOH working and hunting seem okay in the construction?

I tried finding the rule for this in grammar explanations but I'm not even sure whether the -ing is considered a gerund or a present participle here. So I was hoping that maybe the English language geeks on my f-list could point me.
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
With the basic stitches, what is "rechts verschränkt" called in English? I know that "rechts" is "knit" and "links" is "purl" in knitting terminology, but how do you name that other difference, i.e. whether you sort of twist the stitch -- a "rechts verschränkt" stitch is one where (assuming right handed knitting) you have the yarn behind the needles and insert the right needle from the right into the stitch when you knit the next, whereas a plain "rechts" is when you insert the needle from the left. "Links verschränkt" meanwhile means that the yarn is in front of the needles and you insert the right needle from the right and behind the loop of yarn on the left needle, whereas plain "links" has you insert the needle from the right too but just through the loop (without that twist). I tried looking up the symbol in English language knitting charts, but it seems the knitting symbols aren't normed internationally. In German patterns usually "rechts" is a black square whereas "rechts verschränkt" is a black diamond shape.
ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)
Verschlimmbesserung, i.e. a portmanteau of Verbesserung (improvement) and Verschlimmerung (deterioration/worsening), to describe intended improvements or upgrades that end up making everything worse. Also used as a verb ("verschlimmbessern"), cousin to the equally useful "kaputtreparieren" (repair/tinker with a thing to the point that it becomes broken). Not entirely unrelated to this language observation, I'm still trying to decide whether I should opt to display everything on LJ in my style (which I find confusing, because I'm used to comms and journals all having their layout), or deal with the new comment pages on comms that have not disabled them, which unfortunately includes a number of fest comms I'd been browsing.
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
I'm looking for the English word for "Kaffeeklappe", i.e. an establishment where workers can buy cheap meals (and as the name implies coffee) but which is not serving alcohol like pubs are. Traditionally they were located in or near the industrial areas, like in the harbor. These first opened in the 19th century as part of the anti-alcoholism movement. The official German term was "Volkskaffeehalle" (public coffee hall?) but the informal term is much more common. It comes from the food being served from the kitchen into the dining area through a serving hatch. They are not very common anymore, having been replaced by various fast food options, I guess. Is there an English equivalent? I thought maybe "greasy spoon" might fit, except that the dictionary tells me that term dates only to the 1920s, and I'm looking for the 19th century thing.
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
What is the proper English term for this slight whiteish coating that some fruit like plums, blueberries or grapes naturally have? In German I've heard it called "Duftfilm" or "Reifbelag" but neither of those gave me results in a dictionary. But surely it must have a name in English as well.
ratcreature: argh (argh)
You know, writing/reading in English so much has some odd (and rather embarrassing) side-effects. Like in English in German there are some fixed expressions, some quite similar to their English counterparts, but not exactly. And I have developed the odd tendency to take the English phrasing, with German words, instead of the German one. For example, today I caught myself with the phrasing "das Ding ist, dass..." (the English "the thing is, that...") instead of using "die Sache ist die, dass..." as I should have. I also catch myself rather frequently with using "hast du eine Idee, was..." (the English "do you have any idea what...") instead of using "hast du eine Ahnung, was..." and I'm sure there are more examples.

It gets really annoying when even after thinking for a moment I'm not sure whether you can use some phrasing in German. I mean, these transformations are always more or less grammatically correct, they could exist, they are just not the right phrasing, and it's really disconcerting to have lost hat feeling of certainty in some instances. Of course I'm not alone in doing this, and in some cases the process is so far along that the "English" wording is replacing the one previously used or becoming an alternative like it has happened with "das macht keinen Sinn" (the English "makes no sense") and the German "ergibt keinen Sinn", I googled both combinations, and "macht keinen Sinn" is now about six times as common as the other one. And it's not like I'm some kind of language purist and think that the process in itself is awful, but it still is sort of embarrassing if you are doing it with phrases for which it is not common yet.

I think that the embarrassment of this is only surpassed by using common fixed expressions that don't exist at all in German, but are useful in English, so I use them in German as well (notorious is "I get the idea" though I really watch myself with that one by now). Just they don't exist (yet), and of course people look at me funny. Or I barely stop myself in time, and then have to scramble to think of how to phrase in German. I'm really starting to see why bilingual people, when they talk with other bilingual people (that is when they share the same two languages) seem to switch between languages in mid-sentence fairly regularly for some words or expressions without missing a beat. It sounds sort of odd at first, but I see why that is fairly common.
ratcreature: RatCreature's toon avatar (Default)
Obviously I know a lot fewer arcane English words than some other people: I only scored 153 in this vocabulary test.
ratcreature: RatCreature's toon avatar (Default)
Not for the first time I'm thinking that it would be really cool if English had a non-awkward extra pronoun with the function of the "general you," something that can't be confused with the "you" addressing someone directly. Using "one" instead just doesn't always work. Just think of how much hassle, misunderstandings and clarification posts this would prevent. I don't think it would really prevent flamewars, but at least you could get rid of the awkward parentheses saying "with you I mean the general you." I mean other languages have these things, they are really practical. I don't really get why English "chose" that "one" would be uncommon and/or formal. (I see that it is very dubious to ascribe motivations and actions to languages, I mean whatever complicated process it is that leads to these things in languages, however it's shorter to anthropomorphize...<g>) Okay, so English likes to be somewhat sparse in its pronouns, and usually I don't mind that the singular and plural "you" aren't different and that there's no extra polite form, but I miss that impersonal pronoun.

Though maybe I just like more pronouns in general, I regularly miss that "we" (in German as well as in English) offers no distinction whether that "we" includes the person you address or just means you, i.e. the speaker, and a third person. I've heard other languages have this distinction, I think Chinese has, but I'm not sure. Anyway, the languages I learned miss this nifty feature (but then I've learned only quite closely related European languages, so it's not surprising they all miss it).

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