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April 29[edit]

Etymology of the brand name "Brazzers"[edit]

I was wondering what the name of popular online porno company Brazzers means. Is it slang for something? some kind of pun? just made-up nonsense?--Captain Breakfast (talk) 00:32, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Here are some possibilities:[1]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:34, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
And the term for breasts probably came from brassieres. (A kid who never heard the full name of a bra might interpret "You could see those ladies brassieres and everything !" to mean breasts.) StuRat (talk) 01:41, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English defines brazzer (also brasser) as Irish slang for "a female of dubious sexual morals", which matches up with the top definition on Urban Dictionary (that dates to Oct 2005; around the time the website started). The other definitions on Urban Dictionary referring to breasts post-date the website and are likely derived from its name and content. Abecedare (talk) 02:07, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Any connexion with brass, slang for prostitute? DuncanHill (talk) 14:32, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Wasn't familiar with that one, and the slang dictionary doesn't have an entry with that meaning. But OED does, and has an interesting derivation chain starting from tail (posterior) -> a piece of tail (approx. prostitute) -> tail -> brass nail (rhyming slang) -> brass. Given that rhyming slang is so closely associated with London, we are at least on the right side of the Atlantic. And the listed examples for brass nail (1930s) are several decades older than the ones for brazzer (1990s). So the connection you suggest is certainly possible. Abecedare (talk) 22:15, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
See Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3 for a (fairly) contemporary example. Tevildo (talk) 23:03, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
"Brassy" is an adjective sometimes used in London and elsewhere to mean a vulgar or promiscuously dressed woman, although I'm not sure that users are often aware of its exact meaning; for example Is It Really Okay for Women to Be Brassy? and Your inner brassy lady. Alansplodge (talk) 12:38, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
I interpret the term "brassy" in the articles you linked to mean loud, assertive, uncouth, and generally un-"lady"-like rather than "vulgar or promiscuously dressed" (that may in some cases be a co-feature of a woman described as brassy, but not the defining characteristic for brassiness.) And the term's etymology is likely to be completely different from the slang for prostitute discussed above. This sense of brassy probably derives from either:
  • how brass instruments sound; an entry in OED defines it as "Harsh and feelingless in tone, like a brass instrument; having a strident artificial tone".
  • or the hardness of brass; OED: "Hard as brass, pitiless, unfeeling.", "Having a ‘face of brass’, unblushing, impudently confident, or forward."
The term brassy has been used in these senses going back to Shakespeare and long predates the association with prostitution, which is <100 years old. Abecedare (talk) 18:06, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Well maybe, but see urbandictionary "A woman without class. Slutty. Unladylike. Usually sits with legs open." Alansplodge (talk) 21:51, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

no longer ... nor[edit]

Is it correct to say "He could no longer read nor write"? It looks to me as though it should be "read or write".--Shantavira|feed me 13:19, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

The first is correct, the second is often acceptable, basically due to the steady decline of usage of "nor" [2], though the second would probably be seen as incorrect or inadvisable for many publications. See e.g. here [3], [4],[5]. A lot of attention goes to the "neither...nor" construction, but "No [this] nor [that]" is a fine and correct usage. SemanticMantis (talk) 13:45, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
At the publishing company where I work on publications for a U.S. market, we would not use nor in that construction. Marco polo (talk) 14:51, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Yes, perfectly correct in English. Don't know about American. (talk) 15:02, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I think the Grammar Girl reference provided above actually contradicts SemanticMantis' advice, according to my reading. On the second page, it says:

However, when the second negative item is a noun, adjective, or adverb phrase (4), you should use “or” to continue the negative thought because according to Bryan Garner [in Garner's Modern American Usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003] “the initial negative carries through to all the enumerated elements” (5). For example, when you use the word “not,” the structure “not A or B” is correct. You’d have to say, “He is not interested in math or science”; “He is not interested in math nor science” won’t work. Likewise, “She didn’t speak slowly or clearly” has a better ring to it than “She didn’t speak slowly nor clearly.”

While read and write are verbs, I think the same principle applies; the negative is expressed in "no longer able," and therefore carries through to both read and write. If the sentence were rewritten to "he was now able to..." then the neither...nor construction would come into play, because the verb phrase was able is still expressed positively within the sentence. I've looked a little, and can't find a reliable source for any difference in British usage, but my understanding is in American English at the very least, the correct choice in the original question would be "could no longer read or write." some jerk on the Internet (talk) 17:23, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Same in Australian English. I regard the use of "nor" there as a hypercorrection, and a particularly clunky and clumsy and artless one favoured by those apparently with tin ears for euphony, but one that's become very common, maybe approaching grammaticality. But in the case of "He could no longer read; nor could he write", it has to be "nor" (or "neither").
Another related error is the negation of a compound object. The negation of "We had rain and snow today" is not "We didn't have rain and snow today", and certainly not "We didn't have rain nor snow today", but "We did't have rain OR snow today". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 20:47, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Some jerk on the Internet, I thought the example fit into this form, from the same link, saying that both are acceptable.
There's not much grammatical difference between "Not permit" and "can no longer". Also, you correctly point out that OPs example doesn't fit the strict form of the guideline you quote, and I think the other examples in the links above indicate that the negation is not always transitively carried across the My general sense was that the first would be generally preferred in more formal writing, but I may have been incorrect in that assessment. I think Jack is wrong here, the use of "nor" in these constructions is not hypercorrection. (Which is odd, because Jack is so often right :) After re-reading my refs and this discussion, I now think "both are acceptable" is the best answer, unless we have more context on the type of writing, publisher, etc. This also seems consistent with the summary at the end of the Grammar Girl piece. SemanticMantis (talk) 12:35, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Good points. After reading your explanation, I took another look at the OP's sentence, and both or and nor seem grammatically acceptable to me per your references, with a possible slight difference in meaning (which I may be inferring entirely, and not substantiated by any rule of usage): "read or write" suggesting equal weight given to the two actions, and "read nor write" placing an emphasis on the added loss of ability to write. I think nor might work better in a sentence where the two negated verbs are less closely related, such as "he no longer wanted to eat nor receive visitors." But then I'm straying a bit afield from the original question, I suppose. Anyhow, good discussion. some jerk on the Internet (talk) 13:11, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Respectful address in language[edit]

In the Anglophone world, is it okay to address people older than you with more respect even though they explicitly say they prefer you to call them by their first name? Should you take their request seriously? Is it more respectful to listen to their request, or is it more respectful to take into account of their age and profession? (talk) 14:25, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

It would be disrespectful to ignore their request. DuncanHill (talk) 14:29, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
"Anglophone" is a very large world, with widely varying cultural norms. Even the US and her recent parent, England, have significant differences. Within a country there are regional and even individual differences. So your question is far too broadly stated to answer meaningfully. I personally would respect their stated wishes; if a person considers me disrespectful because I did what they requested, that's their problem. I'm a life-long US resident. Now you need a few hundred more data points from throughout the Anglophone world; that might begin to answer your question. ―Mandruss  14:37, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree with DuncanHill. A person of any age, in the United States and I would venture to say in Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand, would be offended if you persisted in addressing him or her by title or surname after he or she had asked you to use a personal name. (I do not know enough about cultural norms in postcolonial countries where English is used, such as India, to say whether the same is true there.) Marco polo (talk) 14:39, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Over here in the UK it would be considered very odd if you ignored their request the use first name etc. (talk) 15:05, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. In the UK, if someone says 'Call me Dave', then you call him Dave, not Mr. Jenkinson Trotter, regardless of his age (or whether his name is even, in fact, 'Dave'). KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 16:21, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
or Rodney -- Rojomoke (talk) 16:41, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
However, if someone begins a sentence with, "Call me stupid, but...", they don't mean that literally, and it would be considered rude to then call them "stupid". It's idiomatic. ―Mandruss  16:32, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
  • There's nothing offensive about saying, "I'd really be more comfortable calling you Mr. Johnson, if you don't mind." Especially if it is a business relationship, or you get the feeling the person is being inappropriately intimate. Then, unless they insist, you are fine. μηδείς (talk) 16:57, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Medeis that saying as she suggests would not be offensive. And I think she is right that there are situations where using first names may be inappropriate, for example where a nurse or doctor is examining a patient and the use of personal names turns a professional interaction into an intimate one. In general, though, asking to stick to a person's surname after that person has asked you to use a personal name amounts to a kind of rebuff or rejection in most cases, including business transactions. It is a distancing move, and you are likely to hurt that person's feelings. Of course, as long as you are polite, you are entitled to reject another person's attempt to be friendly and casual, but the other person is then likely to be less friendly and cooperative in response. Marco polo (talk) 18:24, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Also, in some cases the offer may have been made to be rejected because the older/senior person felt obligated to make that offer. Think, prospective father in law. Or, a US president telling an interviewer "Call me Barack", which IMO no professional reporter would take up. But such cases, and the circumstances Medeis describes, are exceptions to the general rule that it is best to respect the person's explicit wishes. Abecedare (talk) 19:30, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
The case I was thinking of was one where a party with a potential amorous interest (Like Our Rose and the Dishy Vicar) might be better off not on a first name basis. This has happened to me very rarely, but often enough to know it can be an issue. μηδείς (talk) 19:52, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Hope my post above is not being read as "disregard Medeis" since I agree with your analysis (and basically with everyone else's too). The OP's question and the responses illustrate what makes social interactions such a potential minefield - the need for a finely calibrated theory of mind that accounts for not just the spoken words, but also the context, tone, history and status of relation, gender politics, office politics, cultural background etc. It's a wonder communication is possible at all. :) Abecedare (talk) 21:12, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I remember some journos addressing our then Prime Minister John Howard (1996-2007) as "John" (*). He never seemed to mind, but equally I never heard him invite such informality (on the other hand, PMs always call journos by their first names, so maybe what's good for the goose .... And behind closed doors, I'm sure all formality goes by the board). But then, Australia has become a place where first names are the norm. But there are exceptions. One of the reasons I legally changed my name from John to Jack was that whenever I was pulled over for a random breath test or whatever, the cop would ask to see my licence and then immediately start to address me by the given name inscribed thereupon, "John". Since I had long ago dropped using that name in all but the most formal of contexts, it would irritate me to the max that someone who'd never met me before and was engaging with me in a formal interaction with possible legal implications, would just assume that whatever given name was on my licence was the way I preferred to be addressed. If the boot had been on the other foot, I'd have been much more inclined to say "Mr XXX" and not get into first names at all. And that would be regardless of the driver's age relative to mine (although I don't recall ever being engaged in such an interaction by a police officer who was obviously older than me. The young people of today .. I just don't know anymore). But that's just me. The things I hear coming out of police officers' mouths these days regularly astonish me (and not in a good way), so it must have something to do with their training, I guess. (* PS. In case you were wondering, the name "John" was one of the few things I ever had in common with John Howard, until I fixed that little problem.) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 20:35, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I cringe when I hear news reporters speaking to Chesley Sullenberger address him as "Sully". I assume the news reporter is speaking with him for the first time. A nickname implies chumminess over a long period of time. It seems to me the news reporter should maintain the distance which is implied by "Mr. Sullenberger". Bus stop (talk) 03:31, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Regarding JohnofOz's point, the proper form of address for John Howard would have been "Prime Minister" or "Mr Howard".[6] Hack (talk) 03:37, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
GRRrrrrr ...... -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:30, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Asking someone out to a restaurant[edit]

What is the best way to ask someone out to a restaurant in a non-dating situation in order to discuss professional topics or get to know each other outside of the workplace? Will this do?

  • "Hi, Jane, I am inviting you to come to our group meeting at [whatever restaurant] to celebrate our team's success. Would you like to come? It's my treat."

What about on a date? Will this do?

  • "Hi, Jane, I am inviting you to come to [whatever restaurant] with me. Are you available? It's my treat." (talk) 20:11, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Native English speakers usually try to avoid explaining if their sentence is an invitation, question, or explanation, since it may imply the listener does not understand what should be obvious. For example, if my manager said to me "Ian, please clean up the store's parking lot," I would gladly leave my register. If my manager said to me "Ian, I am telling you to clean up the parking lot," I would think that the manager thought I was stupid.
"Our group is meeting at [restaurant], are you available?" is professional but possibly distant. "Our group" does not make the invitation appear especially personal, and the question does not concern how the person feels about it, only whether they can come. There is nothing wrong with using this with people you do not intend to know outside of work, and it can still be friendly with the right tone of voice and facial expression. A smile and a happy tone tells the person that you're asking them this because they are part of the group as well. A frown and a low tone may seem like you don't want them to come.
"Our group is meeting at [restaurant], would you like to come?" is professional, but friendly.
"Would you like to have [lunch or dinner] with me at [restaurant]?" is friendly and may carry the sense that you want to get to know the person outside of work. Still, it is possible for a native speaker to ask this question and be professional and impersonal about it. For example, a boss might want use the lunch as a relaxed interview to decide if he wants to promote or transfer someone. Since this question avoids the word "date," it is more likely to get a "yes" from someone who isn't sure they want to date you (but that's also not necessarily the best person to date).
"Would you like to go on a date to [restaurant]?" is generally fine to ask, so long as you can date that person. Please do not ask your boss this question. This question is more likely to get a "no" from someone who isn't sure about dating you (which may be a good thing in the long run), but you can get a better sense of how well the date is going to go from their response. Ian.thomson (talk) 20:42, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
How NOT to ask a woman out to eat: "I have a half hour to spare, care for a little In and Out ?" StuRat (talk) 22:29, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I got a better one (or worse): I said to her "Whaddaya say we grab a pizza, and go back to my place and f**k", and she slapped my face. I retorted "Whatsa matter, don't you like pizza?" -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 06:15, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
ME: Do you wanna have a f**k? HER: No. ME: Well, do you mind lying down while I have one? Works every time. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 13:26, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
No Means No. Ian.thomson (talk) 20:25, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
It sounds like a written question as opposed to a spoken question. If this invitation is taking place face-to-face with the omnipresent vocal intonations common to speech, I would think that the communication would appear as one intended it to appear. One could give some thought to one's intentions before popping the question concerning the business lunch but I doubt that one would rehearse it or commit it to memory. I think perfection would be an unrealistic goal in this endeavor. It may be better to just blurt it out and hope for the best. Bus stop (talk) 03:53, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
There's some good stuff above. With regard to the non-date question, it's important to make the group and the purpose clear, especially in a work environment. You do not want to accidentally run afoul of any sexual harassment laws/rules, for example. Even ignoring any legal/professional ramifications, you could well make someone uncomfortable without meaning to. Matt Deres (talk) 19:09, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

April 30[edit]

I'm searching for an Icelandic word[edit]

A word that I heard in Ísland Got Talent. see here [7] in 7:52. The word that sound like kokkolté. How does is written and what does the word mean? (talk) 06:06, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

I don't speak Icelandic, but from context, it seems pretty clearly to be a greeting, since the two performers respond with exact same phrase. I searched for common Icelandic greetings, and "good evening" (which would be a reasonable thing for them to be saying) is Góða kvöldið. The speaker in this tutorial on YouTube says the phrase slowly and carefully at ~0:23, and it sounds similar enough that I'm willing to believe I'm hearing the difference between someone saying it distinctly for a non-native speaker, and native speakers saying it casually to each other. There's a thread on a forum here that discusses the grammar a bit, as well. some jerk on the Internet (talk) 13:11, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Chopin quotation[edit]

Supposedly, there is this quotation by Chopin for one of his pieces: "In all my life I have never again been able to find such a beautiful melody." I would like to know how it sounded in the original language since I doubt Chopin spoke English. I think it would be either French or Polish. I didn't find this quotation directly in French, only several versions in indirect speech, which is odd, and I don't know any Polish. -- (talk) 21:38, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

This is strong evidence that it's something he never said at all, and would have been very much out of character had he said it. It was clearly made up by someone else and attributed to him. Hence, searching for his exact words in Polish or French is futile, because they never existed. But the Étude in E major, "Tristesse" is indeed beautiful. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:54, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Which somewhat begs the question of why it's used in the Études (Chopin) article, attributed to him, in quotation marks, as the caption to the opening bars of that piece. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:25, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
If it lacks proper attribution, zap it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:27, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Good idea, except that the source is this one: "Palmer, Willard A., ed. (1992). Chopin Etudes for the Piano, Practical Performing Edition. USA: Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 0-7390-2497-3" - which seems somewhat reliable? Martinevans123 (talk) 12:37, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
For the sake of accuracy, then, the article should include Jack's citation that it might not be accurate. Or maybe it's a misquote, which happens all the time. Bogie never said "Play it again, Sam," although that quote captures the essence of what he said. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:02, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Blimey, I didn't realise Rick's Café was really in Valldemossa!! Martinevans123 (talk) 13:40, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
@Martinevans123:, re your earlier point about the reliability of the existing source: I don't know that particular edition of the Chopin Études. Such editions are, generally, primarily intended to give the player an assurance that the notes they're playing are what the composer intended, free from all later emendations or editorial markings by well-meaning others. I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the publication to that extent (but without seeing it, I couldn't give it my imprimatur either, you'd understand).
However, as for the accuracy of the historical notes, well, that's a different story. They might give a potted history of the composer, but they're not historians. They might include alleged quotes from the composer himself, but almost certainly they haven't tracked down the letter or speech or wherever the composer actually uttered those words and got them in their original language and found out who translated them into English and when. Much more likely is that they've just copied what some other source claimed the composer said. Hence, while editions from reputable music publishers can be considered reliable sources for the music itself, they cannot be considered reliable sources for historical details, particularly ones that aren't confirmed in encyclopedic sources, and particularly ones that professional musicologists have struggled and failed to confirm.
My experience of dealing with the world of music academia and pedagogy tells me that anecdata more often than not takes the place of actual historical truth. Some such data sometimes has a basis in truth; but often not. Teachers were students themselves once, and they too have fallen into the trap of believing every word that emanated from the lips of their now long-dead teachers in whose thrall they were once agreeably enmeshed. Memories get murky over time, so even if the teacher spoke the truth all those years ago, the version now being passed on to their own students is not necessarily the same thing. Wikipedia is replete with talk page questions such as "My music teacher told me that in the third movement of this symphony Brahms was really depicting his love for his pet zebra, but why can't I find any mention of this on google?". The question must be: How come these sources know what the musicologists don't know? Most likely answer: They don't. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:24, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Wise words... (especially "anecdata", which I can't recall ever seeing before!) So feel free to trim that caption, then. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:32, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Done, with pleasure. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 23:51, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

May 1[edit]

"Can't be helped" and Japanese[edit]

I don't watch a ton of anime, but when I do, both in subtitles and dubs, I notice the phrase "can't be helped" coming up fairly frequently, certainly more often than in everyday English. I figure this must be coming from a more common Japanese phrase. What might that phrase be, and what are some other ways of rendering it in English? --BDD (talk) 01:08, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Shikata ga nai. -- ToE 02:37, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Other things English speakers might say in similar situations include "what a mess", "if you insist", "oh well", etc. I can't believe we have an article devoted to it. Contrary to what those people believe, it's not a profound commentary on the Japanese outlook on life any more than "c'est la vie" is a profound commentary on English or French speakers. It's just a cliche. -- BenRG (talk) 04:04, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Wow, WHAAOE! I didn't even think to search mainspace for this. This is much more than I expected. Thanks! --BDD (talk) 12:57, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

"Nader Nadernejad" may not match encyclopedic tone?[edit]

Dear Wikipedia,

PeterboroughExaminer is committed to making informed contributions to your site. After publishing our first article last night, we received the "may not reflect encyclopedic tone of Wikipedia" suggestion for the page, Nader Nadernejad. Please let us know what we can fix to improve your site and our page to the best of our ability. Just a quick suggestion, and we'll be on our way to editing the glitch.

Thank you,

PeterboroughExaminer — Preceding unsigned comment added by PeterboroughExaminer (talkcontribs) 11:57, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

I took the liberty of adding a wikilink to the question. Alansplodge (talk) 12:06, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
There are a lot of "introduction to Wikipedia" articles; this one has a section that focuses specifically on style. From there, you will also see a plethora of additional articles in the box on the right side of the page. --LarryMac | Talk 13:25, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
I have added some wikilinks to your article and taken out a couple of "...and more" phrases that don't really help. I think that the gist of the issue is that Wikipedia articles shouldn't sound like promotional material - the last sentence of your text sounds a bit like that. Somebody's future intentions are not really "encyclopedic" and we can see that he has nine credits because straight after that you have provided a table showing nine credits. Alansplodge (talk) 18:09, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

May 2[edit]

What are these Chinese characters?[edit]

I am trying to figure out the Chinese characters in File:Ben_Long,_51_Rue_du_Faubourg_du_Temple,_75010_Paris_2008.jpg. 新官園??? I'm especially not sure about the middle character. Thanks, WhisperToMe (talk) 11:34, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Isn't the middle one ? I think you got the other two right though. Fut.Perf. 11:47, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! WhisperToMe (talk) 18:49, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Drug delivery[edit]

I'm looking for a term to describe drug delivery through the blood. Can I use this - "Blood drug delivery"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:40, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Intravenous therapy. — SMUconlaw (talk) 14:17, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
It's also called "mainlining". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:09, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

I need to describe drug delivery systems that can be injected to the blood, like liposomes and nanoparticles, and I'm looking for the right term. (talk) 18:58, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Fixed your link. -- (talk) 23:47, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

I need to elaborate drug delivery systems, such as, liposomes, micelles, nanoparticles. I thought about ״Drug Delivery Systems for Intravenous Administration״ (talk) 13:34, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

That sounds fine to me. — SMUconlaw (talk) 18:29, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
  • You might get a better response if you ask at the science desk, since not everyone checks all the desks. μηδείς (talk) 17:25, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

When the man said alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, I naturally assumed he was making a delivery." Can anyone trace the original source[edit]

"When the man said alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, I naturally assumed he was making a delivery." Can anyone trace the original source of this? I find it quoted lots of places but I don't know whom to credit. --Trovatore (talk) 00:16, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
Most sources I can find attribute it to James Wesley, Rawles [sic] in the first book of his Patriots Novels Series, which I have not read. Tevildo (talk) 09:28, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

What is this Arabic text? (small and hard to see)[edit]

Hi! What is the Arabic text in this file? It is for the German International School Abu Dhabi. Admittedly it's small and hard to see :( WhisperToMe (talk) 18:53, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Note: A somewhat larger version of the Arabic text on the logo can be seen if you go here, then click on the map and maximize the image. Deor (talk) 19:44, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
This.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 05:29, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
Added. Thanks, guys! WhisperToMe (talk) 15:35, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

May 3[edit]

Persian (including Old Persian): Does it have any word similar to the English word "good" by both sound and meaning?[edit]

Unfortunately, neither / xub / (خوب) nor / xuʃ / (خوش) are phonetically similar to the English "good" (all of them have a similar meaning, though).

Alternatively, does Persian have a word deriving from the same etymological source the English word "good" derives from? HOOTmag (talk) 08:53, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

No. Omidinist (talk) 14:55, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Interestingly, the words God and Khoda (I hope that's the right transliteration) are cognates, but unintuitively, the English words "good" and "god" don't come from the same root. There's also the famous case of bad which is coincidentally the same in Farsi and English. μηδείς (talk) 17:23, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
I may add that Waiting for Godot, in which Godo is a pseudonym for God, can be translated in Persian as Waiting for Khodo to suggest Khoda (خدا). Omidinist (talk) 18:54, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

Latin-to-English translation[edit]

I have been studying a facsimile of a degree from Harvard University, in which the field of study is (in the accusative case) "Rerum Numerandarum Rationem", which seems to mean "account of things to be counted", indicating "Accounting". (The noun "ratio" has many other meanings besides "account".) I did not find "Accounting" listed at, and I did not find it listed at That second page lists "Mathematics" and "Statistics", but "Mathematics" corresponds to "la:Mathematica", and "Statistics" corresponds to "la:Statistica". I have searched in printed dictionaries, and on the World Wide Web. Am I correct to understand that this degree is in "Accounting"?
Wavelength (talk) 23:02, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

Could be, but it could also be that whatever Harvard uses for "mathematics" or "statistics" (or "accounting") does not correspond to what is used on the Latin Wikipedia. When is the degree from? Is it possible to scan the whole degree so we can see it here? That might help. Adam Bishop (talk) 23:39, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
I am reluctant to provide the entire text of the diploma, because of concerns about confidentiality. The date on the diploma is "die X Martii anno Domini MMXV" (that is, "March 10, 2015"), so the degree was given less than two months ago.
Wavelength (talk) 23:57, 3 May 2015 (UTC) and 23:59, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
Are you sure it's from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences? The Business School offers a doctorate in accounting and management. Marco polo (talk) 00:23, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Hmm...March 10 was one of the graduation dates for all the schools, so that doesn't help much. But Harvard has a big business school of course, so maybe it's a business degree? There is an "Accounting and Management" doctoral program within HBS. Adam Bishop (talk) 00:30, 4 May 2015 (UTC) (Oops, Marco beat me to it...)
The diploma includes the words "Professoribus Artium et Scientiarum" ("to the Professors of Arts and Sciences").
Wavelength (talk) 00:41, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, I don't know how it works at Harvard specifically, but it's possible that doctoral degrees are technically granted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. There is also a doctorate in Business Economics that is a joint GSAS and HBS program. Or maybe it's just a generic thing to put on the diploma, since "arts and sciences" pretty much covers it all, and maybe they don't make special diplomas in Latin for HBS. It's difficult to say if we can't actually see it. Can you cover up the info that would be confidential? Adam Bishop (talk)
I have just discovered a similar diploma (and a translation) at
Only the specialty, the recipient, the date, and some of the signatories are different.
Wavelength (talk) 02:10, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Haha, yeah I saw that too, what a strange website for that...anyway that was what made me think that PhDs are awarded by GSAS no matter what program the student is actually in. Adam Bishop (talk) 02:56, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you both for your replies.—Wavelength (talk) 03:34, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

May 4[edit]

Does this sentence convey my message?[edit]

"James argued that the first step to reforming our legislative is not to require aspiring congressional candidates to finish advanced degrees, but to prohibit political turncaotism, which catalyzes nepotism and political dynasties."

Do you think the part “is not to require” somehow sounds as if it is obligatory on our part not to require aspiring candidates to finish advanced degrees? Or does the sentence convey my message that reads something like this - we don’t need politicians with advanced degrees to change our legislative, what we need to do is to abolish the culture of turncoatism? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

That part of it seems fine to me. I find "legislative" as a noun very strange - I presume it is intended to mean "legislature". Is "turncoatism" a term already in use in the discourse? Because it is unfamiliar to me. I can sort of guess what it means, except that I have no idea why it should catalyse nepotims and political dynasties, so maybe I've got it wrong. --ColinFine (talk) 14:40, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
There's a danger that "not to require.." will, as you suggest, set a false trail (see garden path sentence) that isn't resolved until you get to "but..", forcing the reader to retrace the sentence to re-parse it. As well as the problems with "legislative" and "turncoatism" that Colin points out, the whole sentence is rather heavy on jargon, which tends to obscure the meaning. Come to think of it, I presume the idea is that the sense is "we should prohibit turncoatism [whatever that is] because it catalyzes nepotism etc", but your sentence could almost equally be read to mean that it's the prohibition that does the catalyzing. I would suggest breaking up the sentence and using shorter and simpler words. (On the other hand, for some academic writing this kind of polysyllabic jargon seems to be more or less mandatory, so know your audience.) AndrewWTaylor (talk) 15:57, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

Arabic question: German School of Beirut[edit]

What is the Arabic in the deal on this page? It's for Deutsche Schule Beirut.

Thanks, WhisperToMe (talk) 15:45, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

المدرسة الألمانیة - بیروت Omidinist (talk) 19:11, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

De nada[edit]

"De nada" means "you're welcome" in Spanish. Why? Does the "nada" mean nothing? Does the "de" mean "of"? Or perhaps, the two words separately are meaningless by themselves but are given meaning when placed next to each other? (talk) 17:26, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

It's nothing. Think nothing of it. It doesn't literally mean "you're welcome", it's simply the common, idiomatic way to respond to "gracias". Actually it makes more literal sense than "you're welcome" as a reply to "thank you". ―Mandruss  17:29, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
German, Italian and Russian respond "please": Bitte, prego, пожалуйста. French, Slovak, and Rusyn also say "(it was) nothing". Most of these are short set phrases from a longer implied sentence. The German Bitte literally means, "I plead". Obviously this is short for something like "I beg you not to mention it." The isiZulu wamukelekile literally means, "it is acceptable". The de nada construction would seem to mean "It is a matter of nothing" although looking for an etymological source for this is difficult.
μηδείς (talk) 19:56, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Note that French also has the same construction as Spanish, with "de rien" literally meaning "of nothing". —Akrabbimtalk 20:32, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Before we imported "You're welcome" from North America, the usual English reply to "thank you" was "not at all", or sometimes "don't mention it". --ColinFine (talk) 21:10, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
I've also heard por nada in the same usage. In American English, at least, "no problem" seerms more and more the be replacing "you're welcome", and while I don't much care for that usage, I must admit it's closer to the idea conveyed by de nada. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:40, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Russians also often say ничего (literally, nothing) in response to certain questions. "Как дела?" (How are things?) Ничего (Not bad, OK, all right). Or even in response to "Спасибо" (Thank you), where ничего means "Don't mention it. Think nothing of it. You're welcome" etc. They also use it as an adjective: Она ничего девушка, literally "She is a nothing girl" (a good one for Medeis, a nobody person), but idiomatically meaning she is quite pretty, without being a stunner. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:01, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

History of the abbreviations 'ag' or 'a/g' (for "acting")[edit]

Some of you will have seen or even participated in the thread headed Judges with 'Ag' after name at the Humanities desk. If not, I'd suggest you read that thread first.

One of the solutions proffered (by me) is that 'Ag' (or 'A/g') is an abbreviation of the word "acting". (While that abbreviation definitely exists, we've so far failed to confirm this is what it means in that particular case.)

The question I'd like the Language desk to focus on is: What is the history of this abbreviation? And are there any other abbreviations that include the first and last letters of the source word but nothing from the middle? Some of the Humanities people seemed to think this one derived from some Latin word or words. True? And if so, what?

As background, it seems to be virtually unknown in the UK, USA and New Zealand. It's mainly found in Australia, Kenya, Mauritius, Belize and the Caribbean. I don't know about Canada, India, South Africa or other parts of Africa.

The forms I've come across include (all with upper case A where appropriate):

  • ag
  • ag.
  • a/g
  • a/g.

What is the purpose of the slash (/) in the latter 2 variants? Is it subtly (or not so subtly) different from the slashless form?

I turned up a few hits in my searches (see links at Humanities thread) but it's a tricky thing to search for, and it may require the specialised knowledge I feel confident some of my dear colleagues have.

Thanks. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:47, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

Well, one question is easy: there are lots and lots of abbreviations that include only the first and last letters of the source word. For example, "ft.", "Ft.", "Pt.", "PA" (or traditional "Pa."), "ct.", and possibly "vs." depending on which one of the S's that is. However, I have never seen this done with the G from an -ing ending, which is why I think a Latin origin (from some inflection of agens) may be at least as likely, depending on what field the abbreviation originated in. -- (talk) 22:27, 4 May 2015 (UTC), punctuation copyedited later.
With regard to other abbreviation formed of the first and last letters, St(.) for Saint comes immediately to mind, as does Mr(.) for Mister. I'm sure there are a number of other English examples (Sr. and Jr. came to mind while I was typing this). Deor (talk) 22:33, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

May 5[edit]