Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

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Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby smallwhite » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:37 am

Hi All,

This thread will be for me to ask grammar and vocabulary questions in English. various languages. I will change the title each time I have a new question. Thanks in advance for your help, for trying to help, or just for reading!



Question 1, English

What is the proper, everyday noun or adjective to describe a mentally retarded person? One of my childhood friends is about 10 years older than me, but has appeared like a 4 year old ever since I can remember. So, he can eat by himself but he can't wash his own hair, can't read and can't be left alone. How do I say, for example, "I grew up with a childhood friend who is mentally retarded so I know..."?

Cantonese: 弱智 [adjective]
That's the proper word though we use it to insult people as well.



Question 2, English

Let's say today is the 1st, and the "Best before" date on my bread says the 5th, but I know that it will actually go mouldy by the 3rd. How do I say, "It can't actually last for 5 days; it will go mouldy in 3 days"? I don't think "last" is the right word, and the whole sentence doesn't sound natural either.

Cantonese: 擺 [verb] = put, place
"擺唔倒五日" = can't put for five days
Similary, "吃不到五日" = can't eat for five days, "用唔倒十年" can't use for ten years

Thanks!
Last edited by smallwhite on Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English vocabulary

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:19 am

smallwhite wrote:Hi All,



Question 1, English

What is the proper, everyday noun or adjective to describe a mentally retarded person? One of my childhood friends is about 10 years older than me, but has appeared like a 4 year old ever since I can remember. So, he can eat by himself but he can't wash his own hair, can't read and can't be left alone. How do I say, for example, "I grew up with a childhood friend who is mentally retarded so I know..."?

Cantonese: 弱智 [adjective]
That's the proper word though we use it to insult people as well.


Without looking it up, and despite being a nurse (you'd probably assume I'd know from experience, but not necessarily, as nurses are human and human interactions don't always mean "correct terms" are used), I believe "mentally handicapped" would be the correct terminology.

smallwhite wrote:

Question 2, English

Let's say today is the 1st, and the "Best before" date on my bread says the 5th, but I know that it will actually go mouldy by the 3rd. How do I say, "It can't actually last for 5 days; it will go mouldy in 3 days"? I don't think "last" is the right word, and the whole sentence doesn't sound natural either.

Cantonese: 擺 [verb] = put, place
"擺唔倒五日" = can't put for five days
Similary, "吃不到五日" = can't eat for five days, "用唔倒十年" can't use for ten years

Thanks!


"Last" sounds fine to me, but "can't" doesn't. I would rephrase it like this- "It won't actually last for 5 days; it will go mouldy in 3 (days)"
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English vocabulary

Postby AlexTG » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:30 am

smallwhite wrote:

Question 1, English

What is the proper, everyday noun or adjective to describe a mentally retarded person? One of my childhood friends is about 10 years older than me, but has appeared like a 4 year old ever since I can remember. So, he can eat by himself but he can't wash his own hair, can't read and can't be left alone. How do I say, for example, "I grew up with a childhood friend who is mentally retarded so I know..."?

Cantonese: 弱智 [adjective]
That's the proper word though we use it to insult people as well.

The current ideal is to say that some one has a disability, rather than label them as something, so your sentence would be "I grew up with a childhood friend who has an intellectual disability so I know..." Source: my mum works with children with intellectual disabilities.

I agree with Peter on the second question.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English vocabulary

Postby Adrianslont » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:15 am

AlexTG wrote:
smallwhite wrote:

Question 1, English

What is the proper, everyday noun or adjective to describe a mentally retarded person? One of my childhood friends is about 10 years older than me, but has appeared like a 4 year old ever since I can remember. So, he can eat by himself but he can't wash his own hair, can't read and can't be left alone. How do I say, for example, "I grew up with a childhood friend who is mentally retarded so I know..."?

Cantonese: 弱智 [adjective]
That's the proper word though we use it to insult people as well.

The current ideal is to say that some one has a disability, rather than label them as something, so your sentence would be "I grew up with a childhood friend who has an intellectual disability so I know..." Source: my mum works with children with intellectual disabilities.

I agree with Peter on the second question.


Yes to both of AlexTG's answers. In Australia anyway. It will be interesting to see if non Australians give a different answer. Also, "developmentally delayed" gets used for kids mainly.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English vocabulary

Postby ロータス » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:37 am

smallwhite wrote:

Question 1, English

What is the proper, everyday noun or adjective to describe a mentally retarded person? One of my childhood friends is about 10 years older than me, but has appeared like a 4 year old ever since I can remember. So, he can eat by himself but he can't wash his own hair, can't read and can't be left alone. How do I say, for example, "I grew up with a childhood friend who is mentally retarded so I know..."?

Cantonese: 弱智 [adjective]
That's the proper word though we use it to insult people as well.


In the USA, I'm used to seeing "mentally disabled" in speech and media. "Intellectual disability" I guess is the medical term for it but never seen it called that before.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English vocabulary

Postby desitrader » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:13 am

In the UK I'd refer to this as having learning disability. There are many shades of learning disability of course. You definitely don't utter the word 'retarded' in public any more.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English vocabulary

Postby Soffía » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:14 am

smallwhite wrote:Question 1, English

What is the proper, everyday noun or adjective to describe a mentally retarded person? One of my childhood friends is about 10 years older than me, but has appeared like a 4 year old ever since I can remember. So, he can eat by himself but he can't wash his own hair, can't read and can't be left alone. How do I say, for example, "I grew up with a childhood friend who is mentally retarded so I know..."?

Cantonese: 弱智 [adjective]
That's the proper word though we use it to insult people as well.


There are quite a few style guides on the internet for language around disability. It's a topic where preferred language has changed a lot over the past few decades, and even the past few years, so there are plenty of native English speakers who will also be using terms that are now considered offensive by most or many people with disabilities.

"Retarded" is definitely now considered offensive, as it has often been used as an insult. See for example Rosa's Law in the United States: http://www.specialolympics.org/Regions/ ... s-Law.aspx

You might also be interested in reading about people-first language: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People-first_language

I think "intellectual disability" or "person with an intellectual disability" is probably most accepted now in the UK and US. Or you might say "learning disability" or "learning difficulty," although that would tend to imply something milder.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English vocabulary

Postby the1whoknocks » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:23 am

As I understand it, noting that your friend has an 'intellectual disability' would be the most specific terminology and appropriate term. Personally, I would not use 'handicapped' only because of the stigma that society can sometimes place on that word.

I have a friend who is similar to the one you describe and, when I speak about her with others I tend to refer to her as, 'my friend with special needs'. If pressed for more details, I stick to the specifics of the challenges she faces, as I understand them.

To use the example you gave I would say, "I grew up with a childhood friend with special needs so I know...?" However, as I understand it, 'intellectual disability' is the correct medical and legal term for what you are saying.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English vocabulary

Postby smallwhite » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:36 am

Thanks everyone for the answers and extra information! I think I'll use "intellectual disability" for now as it seems to describe my friend's situation better and would thus be easier for me to remember and use. My friend has very few other problems aside from being like a small child - he doesn't scream or drool or shut himself up or hurt himself or others, etc. He knows who's who and chats with you about simple things. It's as though he simply stopped growing intellectually at age ~4, so the term "intellectual disability" feels best litterally, though I understand that this kind of language use doesn't really depend on litteral meanings.

As for that damn bread (from Aldi) that doesn't last for the 5 days it says it should... "doesn't last 3 days" didn't sound right to me because it means to me "will be eaten up within 3 days" more than "will stay fresh for 3 days". I shall now make it sound right to me :twisted:

Thanks again!
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English vocabulary

Postby Cainntear » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:03 am

smallwhite wrote:This thread will be for me to ask grammar and vocabulary questions in various languages. I will change the title each time I have a new question. Thanks in advance for your help, for trying to help, or just for reading!

Please don't -- it will be very confusing if you change the title to refer to another language and the first page is all about English.

Also, it makes it very difficult for other learners to benefit from the answers to your questions, because they will be unable to see that the question has already been asked. This is particularly important when you consider that a number of members here are language teachers or tutors, and our living is based on people paying for our expertise. I personally am happy to share that for free with the group, but if the information is hidden behind a thread title that will stop other people looking, then it becomes one-to-one tuition, and that's something I would expect to be paid for.

Keep it discoverable, keep it open to others, and I'll be happy to contribute. That means starting new threads for new questions (and especially for new languages).
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