Chapter 19

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I observe that among all the people we hear speaking non-native American English, the Middle Eastern guys seem to be really good at picking up the American argot. It appears that our vernacular must harmonize with theirs somehow.

Indian language is a bit different. We have an English form that is "to _____". It lets us use a verb as if it were an item. We can say "I want to go home", or "She wants to be President", and it works just as well as "I want money" or "I grant mercy". The Indian guy I worked with a few years ago used this "to" form in broader ways than we do, always fitting and understandable, but in ways that were surprisingly novel to a native English speaker.