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October 14[edit]

Is Afrikaans useful to learn?[edit]

Is Afrikaans useful to learn, or is it a dying language? Would I have much use for Afrikaans if I went to South Africa, or is the language falling out of favour? --Plannerton (talk) 10:14, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

It's the third largest first language and by far the largest second language in South Africa. Rumours of it's demise are greatly exaggerated. In terms of performing arts and other cultural activities Afrikaans is in fact doing very well, it's no longer a "pariah" language. How useful you'd find it really depends on your purpose. If you're going to SA just to do business in a corporate environment then English would be the sensible option, but depending on where you are, Afrikaans is very often the natural "default" choice for addressing random strangers (except in Kwa-Zulu Natal where Zulu and English displace Afrikaans into third place). English is the "white collar" lingua franca, while Afrikaans is the "blue collar" one - obviously an oversimplification but basically valid. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 10:56, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Afrikaans is not the mother tongue only of white Afrikaners but also of much of the Cape Coloured population. It is spoken widely as a second language by people from other groups. It is also the basis of creoles known as Tsotsitaals used by many urban blacks. Marco polo (talk) 19:34, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
I am curious whether learning Standard Dutch might not be more useful. Do Dutch language speakers find understanding Afrikaans difficult, beyond the locally determined SA vocabulary? μηδείς (talk) 00:35, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Here is a conversation between an Afrikaans speaker and a Dutch speaker. Contact Basemetal here 01:17, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
I speak English and have had German to the 300 level in university. I find spoken Dutch hard to understand because the h/k/g type consonants are very changed from both English and German, but written Dutch might as well be Anglo-German. But it was very interesting to listen to that video, especially at the end when Theron says she clearly understood the Dutchman in both their means of speaking. The interjected English made me laugh. Afrikaans seems to stands in the same relation to Dutch as Black American English to Standard American, if not much closer. Afrikaans has more simplified grammar and slightly more simplified phonology, and presumably has African borrowings, although you don't hear them in her speech. The biggest part seems to be Afrikaans drops the umlauted/mutated vowels of Dutch More comments from actual Afrikaans and Dutch speakers would be ever so appreciated. That video was GREAT. μηδείς (talk) 01:48, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
The video isn't really that great. Theron's Afrikaans has quite obviously been contaminated by her (General/Californian?) American English accent, particularly her vowels are not "pure" Afrikaans. Keep in mind too that the reporter speaks Vlaams, not Standaard Nederlands. The mutual inteligibility between Afrikaans and Vlaams is significantly easier than other varieties of Nederlands. I speak Afrikaans and SA English natively. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 17:56, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
I have to disagree, I still think it was great. I did not by my silence wish to imply agreement. μηδείς (talk) 19:16, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Agreed that Theron's accent in the clip is very artificial and not native. At least the TV reporter seemed to follow it instantly. Personal experience only, but I gave up trying to talk Afrikaans to ordinary people in the Netherlands and in Belgium, often being understood better in English or French.--Clifford Mill (talk) 09:29, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
For a monolingual English speaker, Afrikaans appears to be the best possible option (besides Norwegian Bokmål) for any foreign language (not counting Scots here) to learn, should they be concerned about ease of learning, utility, and availability of materials. Afrikaans is unmistakably similar to English, easy to spell and morphologically simple, so should be highly accessible ("user-friendly", so to say). And should you ever get into a situation in South Africa where your knowledge of Afrikaans fails you, falling back on English should always be possible. So if you fit this profile, I think it's better to learn Afrikaans first, because the obstacle presented is low (compared to other foreign languages), and should you ever wish to learn Dutch later, it should be easy enough to do so. My idea is that Afrikaans can act as a "bridge" from English to Dutch, just like Dutch can act as a "bridge" to German.
At least it is my understanding that most monolingual English speakers very much do appreciate a language that is stereotypically "easy" and familiar-looking for their first foray into foreign-language learning. Note that I do not personally speak Dutch (although I can read it and to a limited extent understand it in spoken form), nor Afrikaans, but this blog entry makes a strong case for my idea of Afrikaans as the ideal foreign language to learn for the novice Anglophone learner, both from a linguistic and practical point of view. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:12, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I used to work next to a man who had lived in the Netherlands and was married to a Dutch woman. He told me that Dutch people find Afrikaans speakers very amusing, because they sound like speech from an 18th century book. Alansplodge (talk) 21:31, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
The Cape Colony was established in the mid 17th century, linguistic divergence towards a Cape Dutch "dialect" had begun by the end of that century due mostly to mixing with other languages, both native and immigrant. Direct links with the Netherlands were severed at the start of the 19th century when the British took over the colony during the Napoleonic War.
To me, Dutch speakers commented that Afrikaans sounded like children's Dutch (probably due to the simpler morphology and partly pronunciation, reduplicated forms like wei-wei, some words, such as distinctively Afrikaans coinings with diminutive suffixes, loanwords from Malay and African languages and who knows what else). That's the complete opposite, isn't it? What exactly could make Afrikaans sound archaic? It's not exactly famous for conservative traits contrasted with Dutch. Perhaps certain words that have become obsolete in Modern Dutch? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:20, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Actually, that's pretty common that "colonies" will retain archaic forms like gotten and rhotacism while acquiring new vocabulary like opossum, raccoon and skunk. There's a term for it, someone will mention it shortly. μηδείς (talk) 03:19, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Please investigate Volapük as well.--Jondel (talk) 10:44, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Using "extends" for "is extended"[edit]

Following sentence is quite natural for native speakers but it sounds odd to a non-native speaker like me:

  • "Our land extends as far as the river."

I would have said in my Indian English

  • "Our land is extended as far as the river."

Which are the verbs which behave like this and why? Vineet Chaitanya (talk) 12:28, 14 October 2014 (UTC)Vineet Chaitanya

That usage of "extend" shows less of a grammatical subject / semantic agent discrepancy than "sells" in "This book sells well". They're sometimes called "middle verbs" (no Wikipedia article as far as I can tell). In many Romance languages (French etc.) such verbs would appear in the reflexive form (with "se" etc.)... AnonMoos (talk) 13:14, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
"This book sells well" does not pose a problem for us, because we can interpret the word "sell" in this context to mean "बिकना". Transitive "sell" would be translated as "बेचना" in Hindi. Vineet Chaitanya (talk) 06:15, 15 October 2014 (UTC)Vineet Chaitanya
Extend is used at least as often as an intransitive verb as it is as a transitive verb. It is considered an ambitransitive verb, which may be the term you are looking for. The Indian usage is nonstandard outside of India. Marco polo (talk) 18:18, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
In Hindi we do have its intransitive equivalent "फैलना". But "Our land extends as far as the river." poses the problem for us because the sentence does not imply any activity. It simply refers to a state! The source of difficulty for us is the meaning of the suffix "-s" in the word "extends". Vineet Chaitanya (talk) 06:15, 15 October 2014 (UTC)Vineet Chaitanya
A lot of verbs do not imply "activity" in the sense of having a semantic agent. In some languages, adjectives are verbs or verb-like. Ancient Sanskrit had a middle voice, which was often used to mean that the subject of the verb was affected by what was being done (similar in this respect to the Romance reflexive)... AnonMoos (talk) 07:06, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
"Is extended" sounds like someone is actively extending it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:57, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
OK. To avoid this problem we would say "The extension of our land is as far as the river." Vineet Chaitanya (talk) 06:15, 15 October 2014 (UTC)Vineet Chaitanya
I think the core problem is the tendency I've noticed in Indian colleagues to use passive voice quite a lot. "Our land extends as far as the river" is crisp and clean. The two versions you've cited are grammatically acceptable but they sound awkward. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:04, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
According to the OED, extend has had this intransitive sense since 1483. It's quite normal, if a bit formal. But Indian English is based on a different taste from American and other Englishes and has had different influences. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 14:30, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Nonetheless, it's passive voice. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:40, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
To be clear, the first Indian version "Our land is extended as far as the river" is indeed passive, but the latter one "The extension of our land is as far as the river" is active not passive (see below). -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:12, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
That's hardly "active", you can't say *??"As far as the river is been (by the extension of our land)". There's neither an agent nor a patient in this sentence. Copular/predicative sentences are usually considered neither active nor passive.
Modern Indo-Aryan/Indic languages such as Hindi or Bengali use ergative constructions in past-tense sentences; this might go a long way in explaining the tendency of Indian English towards employing passive constructions, which are structually very similar. (Indian English, incidentally, does not mention this tendency. Perhaps it should?)
An Indological note: The same tendency towards overusing the passive is already found in Classical Sanskrit literature, which was written at a time when the vernacular was already in the Middle Indic stage. While the origins of the ergative construction are found already in early Indo-Iranian and Old Indo-Aryan (such as Vedic Sanskrit), it appears that it really fully blossomed only from the Middle Indic stage on, when the original past-tense categories such as imperfect and aorist inherited from Sanskrit became obsolete, to be replaced by the ergative construction. Theodora Bynon has written on this. Originally, the case used (as "ergative") to mark the agent was the genitive; this is still seen in Iranian, where Old Persian starts to replace the imperfect and aorist, still in use in the oldest inscriptions, with the manā kṛtam (astiy) ("of me is made/done") construction (which has evolved into Modern Persian man kard-am "I did", where the expected -ast has been replaced by -am from Old Persian a(h)miy "I am" from a similar construction). The same construction is also found in other Iranian languages.
However, on the way to Middle and Modern Persian it happened (probably for phonetic reasons) to disappear, or at least lose its ergativic structure, and its descendant now works like an accusative-type construction again. However, there are conspicuous traces of the former use of genitive for the agent, especially man (originally the genitive form of the pronoun, i. e., "mine, of me") for "I" instead of an (from Old Persian adam, compare its etymology), which is still attested in Middle Persian besides man, but also the plural ending -ān from the Old Persian genitive plural ending -ānām and the use of a mute yod in the Pahlavi script used to write Middle Persian at the end of singular nouns, which has been argued to go back to the Old Persian genitive singular ending -ahya.
In Indic languages, on the other hand, the genitive was eventually replaced by the instrumental in the ergative construction (at least in Classical Sanskrit, in Middle Indic the instrumental merged into the dative), so that it looks like an ordinary passive. Modern Hindi, on the other hand, which has lost all the case inflections and uses postpositions in their place, uses the particle/postposition ne (by the way, this one is also analysed as a clitic) – which, I have to assume, Indians tend to equate with English by, but the Hindi ergative construction is not a passive, even if it looks like one, because there's no corresponding active it is synchronically derived from, the agent is not usually dropped, and the antipassive provides a mirror image of the passive in accusative languages; see also this paper for some more details. (Interestingly, there is another postposition, ke "of", whose etymological origin is, as I have just learned, the passive participle kṛta- "made, done", the precise cognate of the mentioned Old Persian kṛta: ke also means "made of".)
The typological background of the ergativity split found in Indic (and other) languages where the past uses the ergative construction and the present the accusative alignment we are used to is actually fairly easy to understand: Perfective past propositions such as "I have boiled an egg" are frequently grammaticalised out of a combination of PAST PARTICIPLE + POSSESSIVE; however, as there are two types of possessive constructions, those using a transitive verb meaning "hold" or "own, possess" or the like, and those employing a case marker along the lines of "of/with me is ...", there are two possibilities to realise this template: either the way "I have a boiled egg", which, with a subtle change in word order (as in Vulgar Latin habeo (unum) ovum coctum > Italian ho un uovo cotto > ho cotto un uovo), morphs into our familiar perfect past I have boiled an egg, or "of/with me/mine is a boiled egg", which can easily transmogrify into an ergative construction. Therefore, the origin of the Indo-Iranian ergative construction is not an actual passive, per Bynon, but a raised-possessor construction whose meaning was originally that of an evidential (as e. g. "by/with me is a broken teacup" and likewise "I am holding a broken teacup" strongly implies that I have broken the teacup without saying so explicitly: the listener must infer it from the evidence that a broken teacup is close to me, or that I am holding it in my hand; the German construction mir ist eine Teetasse zerbrochen, literally "to me is a teacup broken", i. e. "I have accidentally broken a teacup", the "oops" construction as I like to describe it, interestingly, strongly resembles an ergative construction and could possibly be described as one). --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:24, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I've amended my post. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:29, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
To me "is extended" means "is longer than it was"; and "the extension of our land" suggests an arm narrower than the main body of the parcel (e.g., India has an extension east of Bangladesh) rather than the extent. —Tamfang (talk) 21:32, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Florian and Vineet Chaitanya: Is के quoted as the basic form? Since that postposition's form varies according to the "possessee" (m. sg.: का, f. sg.: की, m. & f. pl: के) (is that a word?) I would have assumed का would be considered the basic form? Just a minor technical question. Contact Basemetal here 15:26, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, you're completely right, का is treated as the basic form. I don't really know Hindi, obviously. Usually you simply say the possessed, see Possession (linguistics). --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:33, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
In general you are right but there is at least one exception. The "के" in the sentence "राम के एक बेटी है" does not have underlying form "का".Vineet Chaitanya (talk) 10:40, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Is this "Ram has one daughter"? Now if you want to say "Ram has one son" and "Ram has two children" you would still use के in both cases and say "राम के एक बेटा है" and "राम के दो बच्चों हैं"? Contact Basemetal here 17:31, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Did the English language have a writing system or script prior to the Latin alphabet?[edit]

Did the English language have a writing system or script prior to the Latin alphabet? If so, what was it? (talk) 16:45, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes. See Anglo-Saxon runes. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 16:59, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
It should however be borne in mind that the Romans introduced the Latin script to Britain long before there were any Anglo-Saxons. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:05, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
True, but it's the Anglo-Saxons that brought what became the English language to Britain. When the Romans were there the locals all spoke various Celtic languages. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 17:21, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
This is a tangent, but not all Britons spoke Celtic. Some spoke British Latin. Also, they didn't speak various Celtic languages. While there were surely regional dialects, they were mutually intelligible as a Common Brittonic language. But Dominus Vobisdu and Dodger67 are correct that runes were used for Old English before Latin characters were. Marco polo (talk) 18:14, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Marco Polo: Not to nitpick, especially on a tangential remark, but the linguistic affiliation of Pictish and its relation if any to Brittonic is still unclear and will probably remain so. Contact Basemetal here 19:44, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
The first known book in Old English is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which was written entirely in the Latin alphabet. There are not many extant texts in Old English using runes, but they did undoubtedly use them. KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 18:57, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Kage Tora means to say the oldest extant book, not the earliest known script in AS is in the Latin alphabet. The earliest known Germanic (hence AS) scripts in England are in runes. It's quite interesting that runic and Etruscan are very similar, and Latin seems to be a development of Etruscan. Hence (continental) Runic appears to co- or most likely predate classic Latin. The fall of Rome to Odoacer and the arrival of the AS in England seems to occur within at most a few decades of each other. μηδείς (talk) 02:04, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, indeed. I did actually use the word 'book'. KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 18:14, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
To avoid confusion: Medeis is talking about scripts when she mentions runic and Etruscan, not languages. There was an Etruscan language, which is still largely undeciphered, and nothing like anything that has ever been spoken in Britain. --ColinFine (talk) 15:50, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
It's often claimed that Runes likely derived from an "Alpine alphabet" similar to Raetic described on article Old Italic script. If true, this would imply that the distinctive line of development leading to Runes (though not necessarily Runes themselves as we know them) branched off in the B.C. period, but would not mean that Runes are as old as early Latin script... AnonMoos (talk) 04:03, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, to both Colin's and AM's comments. μηδείς (talk) 17:42, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

October 15[edit]

American knowledge of Shakespeare[edit]

I got into a discussion at alt.usage.english on how intelligible Shakespeare is to modern Americans and on what would cause problems ("Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill"?). Are there any facts on this, like the surveys on Americans' knowledge of history or the Bible? I'd prefer an attempt at representative sampling of native speakers of English but would settle for anything I could get. I didn't find anything in a quick Google. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 14:18, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

A few minutes spent on Google failed to turn up any research studies on this. A couple of observations though: 1) If there is an assumption that Americans would have a harder time with Shakespeare than Britons would, that is probably a bad assumption. American English is just as much a descendant of Elizabethan English as British English is. The split between the two varieties of English did not occur until after Shakespeare's time. 2) It might be possible to generalize about Americans' reading comprehension of Shakespeare, but results for reading comprehension would be different from those for listening comprehension, and results for listening comprehension would vary widely depending on factors such as actors' enunciation and acting ability. Also, obviously, American audiences would have a harder time understanding British actors performing Shakespeare than they would understanding American actors performing it. Incidentally, American pronunciations are generally closer than modern London pronunciations to the original pronunciation in Shakespeare's time. (On the other hand, pronunciations in Ireland are even closer to Elizabethan than those in North America.) Marco polo (talk) 15:14, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for looking. I suppose this kind of survey would be much harder than just asking whether "God helps those who help themselves" is from the Bible.
I was thinking of reading comprehension, though I neglected to say so. I wasn't thinking of a comparison with Britain or other countries, but if there's a difference, it would probably come from how much time schools spend on Shakespeare. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 16:11, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's at all obvious that Americans would have more trouble understanding British actors performing Shakespeare than understanding American actors doing the same. A hundred years ago that may have been true, but mass media has (I daresay obviously) improved mutual understanding of dialects to a significant degree. Just personally, I am an American, and I have no trouble at all understanding "Queen's English" (which I have to assume is the de facto standard for the RSC) or any dialect of English English, with the exception of some of the weirder North Country ones; a heavy Welsh or Scots accent can occasionally give me trouble, too. What I have noticed about myself (and I would very much be interested in seeing any scientific literature on this) is that, even if I have no trouble at all understanding the words, my ability to distinguish between different speakers of a dialect is much poorer than my ability to differentiate between two speakers of AmEng—that goes for British dialects as well as certain American dialects. Anyway, it's off-topic... Evan (talk|contribs) 17:48, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
This book might be of interest [1], as might this article [2]. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:03, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
My tuppence: In my UK high school, Shakespeare was not taught at all, unless you studied English for A-Level (age 17-18). KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 18:21, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
  • This seems to be based on the premise that Americans as such would be different in their reaction to Shakespeare. But as noted, his works were written before the split between British and American dialects. The basic difficulties for all readers are the freer word order and changes in verb constructions, the vocabulary that's either changed meaning or been lost, and the different philosophies of the eras. For example, The opening soliloquy of Richard III: Now is the winter of our discontent/Made glorious summer by this Son of York confuses modern listeners who think Richard's referring to the sun, not the King who is of the House of York. There are plenty of words like descant that will send Just as many Brits as Americans to the dictionary. There's also Richard's mention that he's like an unlicked bear's whelp. Who here knows that in his time it was believed that bears were born formless, and were only properly shaped into four-legged animals by their mothers molding them like clay?
In my last for years of schooling before University we read Romeo & Juliet 4 times (once a year), Hamlet, MacBeth, and the Falstaff plays. Th first time I actually understood Shakespeare was when I saw Macbeth (being performed while I was) taking university courses over the summer between 10th-11th grade. Our learning in school was limited because none of the players understood the lines they were reading. It was very easy to follow when you were watching actors who knew the meaning of the lines they were speaking, and acted and emoted accordingly. μηδείς (talk) 17:39, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
What was Macbeth doing taking a university course? :) KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 18:25, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, SemanticMantis. The book (which I looked at the end of at Amazon) doesn't seem to have anything relevant. I may be able to get access to the article.
Medeis, my question wasn't based on the premise you mention. I agree with your discussion of the difficulties, and I'd add one for many if not all readers: the figurative language. Thanks also for the point about the value of good acting. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 03:47, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I have this horrible image of George Lucas directing the kid that played Anakin in the fourth film as Hamlet, not understanding a word he was saying, with the producers saying, "But he's so cute!" μηδείς (talk) 21:50, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
How Texans understand Shakespeare. Still not as poorly as Canadians, though. InedibleHulk (talk) 04:00, October 16, 2014 (UTC)
I think many here would enjoy the following Studio 360 audio story: Olivier Had it Wrong: Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation. Some really fascinating ground is covered such as that the some of the eye rhymes and seemingly poor rhymes in Shakespeare are just the result of not knowing the original pronunciation.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 22:54, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Great link. I never bought the "eye rhyme" explanation for a great many poetic oddities (in Shakespeare and elsewhere). Evan (talk|contribs) 14:39, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Wandering slightly off topic, South Africans can also have difficulty with the Bard. The phrase from Hamlet « I am thy father's spirit » falls very flat in Afrikaans as «Ek is die spook van jou pa ». --Clifford Mill (talk) 10:58, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Meaning of to roger and to dodger in the phrase roger dodger?[edit]

Hello, I'm doing an adaptation of this article Roger Dodger (phrase) for the Wikipedia in French. I've nearly no problems with the usual vocabulary and sentences but the usual dictionaries are not clear about the meanings of some words. Some questions:

Q1) Can I considere, as this dictionary says [3] that in this phrase to roger means to (ass)fuck?
Q2) Dodger isn't easier. Is there a sexual meaning as proposed here on n°2 [4] or is it just the meaning of draft dodger?

Thank you very much for the help.--Jojodesbatignoles (talk) 16:29, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

As per the last paragraph of that article, "roger" in this context means "I have received all of your transmission." This is supported by this dictionary definition. "Dodger" in this context doesn't "mean" anything in particular, as far as I know. It simply rhymes with "roger". I think it's a bad idea to look to for meanings of World War II era expressions. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 16:48, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Right. Just to clarify, there should be no confusion on the "roger" part, our article points out that it is part of the controlled vocabulary of the International_Civil_Aviation_Organization. OP should also keep in mind a phrase like this doesn't follow compositional semantics. SemanticMantis (talk) 16:58, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
It's possible the originator of the phrase was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. But, unless you can find secondary sources that make that connection, it shouldn't be mentioned in either article. It's an unfounded guess. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 16:59, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
As far as I am aware, "roger" is radio-speak for "read / registered" because it starts with the letter "R", and "dodger" is just a nonsense word that rhymes with "roger". This reminds me of the Roger Ramjet episode where another pilot said "roger" to Roger on the radio, causing Roger to spend the rest of the episode wondering who this other Roger was. JIP | Talk 17:59, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
So the "Roger, Roger" exchange in Airplane was already an old joke. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:42, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm not exactlty thrilled with the direction this conversation has taken. Roger is my real first name, it's a reasonably common English name. Dodger is simply one who dodges, whether it's the draft or a ball thrown at them isn't really significant. It's been used as a nickname at least as far back as Dickens. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 18:08, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
I should have said "in this context, 'dodger' is just a nonsense word". JIP | Talk 18:18, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with JIP. It's similar to how 'OK' can be extended to 'okeedokee' (which I personally use a lot). It just rhymes. KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 18:31, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
You could also say "See you later, alligator" to a crocodile without worry. So long as you don't smile, anyway. InedibleHulk (talk) 23:05, October 15, 2014 (UTC)
Back in the day, my dad had a CB radio in his Dodge. He thought he was being clever and sophisticated to use the CB handle "Artful Dodger", combining Dickens with the make of his car. I thought it was lame. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 18:29, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
It's a father's job to be lame in the eyes of his know-all children. I should know: I have fulfilled this role magnificently. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:02, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Dad, what you just said was powerfully uncool. InedibleHulk (talk) 23:09, October 15, 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'm curious as to why the OP gravitated to sexual connotations for both words, when there was ample evidence for other connotations in the wiki article from which they started. Hell, even urbandictionary's second definition of "roger" is consistent with the article. How we get from that article to questions about doggy sex and ejaculation avoidance is beyond me — unless we have been successfully trolled. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 02:44, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

"Roger dodger" is an example of what's called "rhyming reduplication",[5] as with "razzle-dazzle" and "super-duper". And the "roger" part refers to two-way radio communication. It means the same thing as the CB slang 10-4: "Received / Acknowledged / Understood". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:48, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

It's possible, though, that a few people saying "roger" on the radio have felt some enjoyment or distaste because they knew the sexual meaning of "roger"—which I believe has been obsolete for a long time in America, at least. The OED says it's "chiefly British".
The OED says the radio "roger" is originally American and stands for "received". Its first citation is from 1941.
Roger and out. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 04:06, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Hard telling. I never heard of that alleged usage till today. But I don't run in the same circles as you, evidently. :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:36, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
EO explains where that usage came from,[6] and indicates that usage has been obsolete since around 1870. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:38, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Not sure, but I get the feeling this "Roger" is a gay joke. InedibleHulk (talk) 04:44, October 16, 2014 (UTC)
Maybe that's why some of the Monty Python characters were named "Roger". But if it's been obsolete in general usage since the 1870s, it's a pretty obscure joke. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:50, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
All the better to not offend the general public. Sometimes Seth MacFarlane's subtle. Often not so much. InedibleHulk (talk) 04:56, October 16, 2014 (UTC)
I can't believe this discussion has come this far without mention of Roger the Dodger! --TammyMoet (talk) 09:51, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
I am a gay man who has spent most of his life in the United States but who spent a period in London in the 80s, during which I was quite active in the gay scene there, and I had never heard of the sexual sense of the word roger until I read this thread. I don't think that it is widely used today, even in gay circles, even in England. Marco polo (talk) 18:37, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
On the sexual connotation: "roger" can be a name or a verb, but "rogering" I think can only be used to refer to a sexual act. See this ngram for print occurrence history [7]. I'm not quite sure where I picked up the sexual sense, but it was sometime in high school. Probably from Douglas Adams or Monty Python. SemanticMantis (talk) 18:54, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
There are 93,000 hits for a "jolly good rogering", some of which leave nothing to the imagination. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:38, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
I stand corrected. Not sure how I missed that all those years. Marco polo (talk) 19:42, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
I imagine that "rogering" might be more the usage of a Rugby club rather than a gay bar, but perhaps that's just a stereotype. Alansplodge (talk) 21:26, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that's my impression, too. Etymonline is wrong about the sense being obsolete (unless it refers only to American usage). The OED has cites from 1953, 1972 and 2003, and Evelyn Waugh used it in his 1931 diary. Dbfirs 06:09, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Hello, I’m the OP and I’m not a troll. I thank you all for your numerous explanations. I wish to explain how I came to these 2 questions with sexual content. First with my own English (Globish) Roger refers to airplane communication and Dodger to nothing. Then I used usual online dictionaries (,, and the Wiktionary); the result was meaningless. Some days later, I thought about using the Ubandictionary with the strange meanings (see above). I was puzzled and before posting my adaption, I came to this desk to ask your opinion. Thanks for your help thank to which I’m going to post a more reasonable article. --Jojodesbatignoles (talk) 09:26, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Will to power[edit]

What is Nietzsche's 'Will to power' supposed to mean? The phrase get thrown around a lot for something that is not proper English - there must be someone who thinks it means something. It really looks like a mistranslation, unless maybe it's 19th-century English for "will for power". "Will to power" as grammatically correct English would require 'power' interpreted as a transitive verb - the determination to power something (maybe electrically). Peter Grey (talk) 22:15, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Unrelated to that other great lifestyle guru, I'm guessing. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:23, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
I think "will to power" is best understood as a term expressing a single idea, albeit made up of three words, rather than a phrase to be grammatically parsed for its meaning. The Will to power article provides a reasonably good definition: "The will to power describes what Friedrich Nietzsche may have believed to be the main driving force in humans: achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life." - EronTalk 22:47, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Peter Grey -- I don't think that anybody would assume that "life" in the companion phrase "will to life" is a verb. It makes sense if you understand "to" in the sense of "toward a given state" (as the American Heritage Dictionary 3rd edition defines it)... AnonMoos (talk) 01:09, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Even as a verb, power makes sense. What's the point of having the noun if you can't make things and people work? But yeah, I hear it as "toward". InedibleHulk (talk) 04:59, October 16, 2014 (UTC)
"Will toward power" isn't good English either. Does "Will to/toward" + noun ever occur except in this one phrase which is a translation? Peter Grey (talk) 21:26, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Sure. Google "Will to succeed", "Will to persevere", "Will to flourish", "Will to kill" or many others. Don't confuse it with the "shall" sense. You will wake up tomorrow because you have no choice. But you will (to) do the things you want to do after that. InedibleHulk (talk) 06:06, October 17, 2014 (UTC)
He asked for examples of "will to" + noun. Those are examples of "will to" + verb. --Viennese Waltz 07:36, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Oh right. Brainfart. Guess I didn't have the "will to victory". Googling that suggests a "will to violence", too. Success and perseverance get a few hits. InedibleHulk (talk) 12:30, October 17, 2014 (UTC)

Aren't Schopenhauer's "Wille zum Leben" and Nietzsche's "Wille zur Macht" parallel constructions in German? (With Leben and Macht being used as nouns). How does Schopenhauer's concept get translated in English in general? Contact Basemetal here 23:59, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

"Wille zum Leben" is usually rendered "Will to Live". - EronTalk 01:13, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
If that is the case then parallel constructions in German are rendered by distinct constructions in English, are they not? If "Will to Power" is OK in English then why wasn't "Will to Life"? My feeling is "Will to Power" doesn't sound that idiomatic in English and the reason whoever coined that translation did so is because there is in English no natural verbal equivalent to die Macht like there is to das Leben. They chose to stay close to the German at the cost producing a somewhat bizarre phrase. That's not so uncommon in the translation of German philosophical texts. Just look at the English translations of so many Heideggerian phrases. Contact Basemetal here 02:33, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
These "Wille zu ..." phrases could be translated more idiomatically into English with "Will for ...". Maybe the choice of "Will to ..." was a conscious choice to be exotic and/or "closer to the original". Marco polo (talk) 15:25, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

October 17[edit]

Is there something rude about "Yandrisovitz"?[edit]

Just noticed somebody corrected a typo in Brian Knobbs' real name and got tagged for possible vandalism or BLP problems. Thought it might just be because someone changed a name, but that doesn't usually happen. I get how "Knobbs" could sound a bit bad to a robot, but is there a Slavic homophone or something I'm missing here? InedibleHulk (talk) 06:24, October 17, 2014 (UTC)

Don't know, but "knob" is a bit rude on this side of the Atlantic. Alansplodge (talk) 10:47, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Like that on this side, too. Here's a Canadian calling Knobbs a knob. If there's a dick term out there in the English world, it'll find its way to American TV. Not so much with the other wordplay.
I think it may have been because an IP did it, if there's no better reason. InedibleHulk (talk) 12:23, October 17, 2014 (UTC)
According to our special page on Tags, that message means it was tagged by abuse filters 39, 189, or 339. I don't read or write code and cannot say which of the three caught this particular change. ---Sluzzelin talk 15:46, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
They don't help me understand much, either, but it seems like we're getting somewhere. Thanks. InedibleHulk (talk) 15:56, October 17, 2014 (UTC)
A note in 39 says "Marking hidden, as vandals don't need to know which words we're filtering on --ABCD". Maybe this mystery word is one of the hidden ones. InedibleHulk (talk) 15:59, October 17, 2014 (UTC) 15:59, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Or wait, no. "made filter public again - these edits are generally made by really unsophisticated editors who barely know how to edit a page." InedibleHulk (talk) 16:01, October 17, 2014 (UTC)
I suspect it was filter 364, "Changing the name in a BLP infobox", though I can't see it because it's private. Weirdly, I can't find any way to search for all the filters (even only public ones) that apply a particular tag. The lists at Special:Tags appear to be manually maintained. -- BenRG (talk) 16:19, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, 364 - basically changing a name in a BLP by a new or unregistered editor. I should think this filter should be public. You may want to ask the creator Od Mishehu or get some opinion at WT:EF if you want it changed. -- zzuuzz (talk) 18:46, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Don't want it changed, just curious. InedibleHulk (talk) 09:43, October 18, 2014 (UTC)
Without giving away any information that would help vandals get around this filter, I can say that the title is self-explanitory, and the diff definitely fits it; and that many, but not all cases which it this filter are probably BLP vandalism. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 17:16, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Aye. I was just curious. InedibleHulk (talk) 19:33, October 20, 2014 (UTC)
Obviously, Russian srat´ "to sh t", sri! "(you sg.) sh t!", a Common Slavic word.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 17:51, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Plural Posessive of phrases of compound nouns with head first?[edit]

In the following phrase please tell me if the phrase in bold is correct.
All of the Governors and Attorneys General went to meetings in September. The Governors' meeting was in Miami. The Attorneys General's meeting was in Chicago.
Thank You Naraht (talk) 16:23, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

This site and this site agree with your usage. --Jayron32 17:04, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Thank you.Naraht (talk) 18:59, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
This point might be worth adding to Post-positive adjective#Usage in modern English and English possessive. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:47, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Very Complicated Family[edit]

I am sorry to kep asking these questions. It's just that my family is very complicated, and we are trying to make as much of a family tree as we can muster. Now, here is the question. My cousin's neice, who is not a blood relative (came into the family as her sister's new husband's 'saved game', so to speak) would be what relation to me? What is the legal term, if any? KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 20:58, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Are any of these terms "legal"? Given that we don't give legal advice, it's an important question. HiLo48 (talk) 21:23, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
KageTora -- There's no customary or usual term in English for that relationship. AnonMoos (talk) 21:28, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Hold on. Your cousin's sister is also your cousin. Her child, whether the fruit of her own personal loins or by step-acquisition from her husband's former amatory activities (I assume that's what "saved game" refers to), is your cousin once removed. Or at least step-cousin once removed. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:40, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
That makes sense, if we understand KT correctly. I suppose we could also call her "a cousin, once step-removed" as well. Interesting aside, the cousin relation is not a transitive relation, so your cousin's cousin is not necessarily your cousin... Think of your cousin, A, by paternal grandparents, and her cousin, B, by maternal grandparents. Then you and B are not cousins, (unless you want to go back to e.g. mitochondrial eve). SemanticMantis (talk) 21:52, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
User:JackofOz is correct. Assuming the two of you have a common ancestor, and X and Y are the number of generations each of you counts back to the common ancestor, then you are ( minimum maximum(X, Y) - 1 ) cousins, (difference of X and Y) removed. In this case, second cousins, once removed. Peter Grey (talk) 23:07, 17 October 2014 (UTC) corrected formula Peter Grey (talk) 13:55, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
No, first cousins, once removed, I think. We're talking about the child of KT's first cousin, not the child of his second cousin. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 23:13, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot to explain that she has not been adopted into the family. My original post was ambiguous, sorry. She still bears her father's surname (as does my cousin, now, as they are married). This is what makes it complicated. KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 01:00, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Regardless of the surname she has, she is still the daughter of your cousin's husband. If there's been no adoption, that means she's your cousin's step-daughter, and therefore your step-cousin once removed; or cousin once step-removed if you prefer Semantic Mantis's phraseology. If she were to be formally adopted by your cousin, then just remove the word "step". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:43, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
I should clarify that my example terminology was capricious (though still valid). "Step-cousin once removed" is the standard phrase, and will probably cause less confusion. If we want to specify that this is a first cousin, then "first step-cousin once removed" or "step first cousin once removed" are both available, though I cannot comment on which may be more common or intelligible. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:13, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Cheers. I am sure I will be back with more questions on this topic, as my mother is trying to make a family tree, and we are trying to work out a relationship to each family member so she can give it to them all (but of course the family just keeps growing, so it's a never-ending job, with divorces and re-marriages to people who already have kids, and those kids also have kids, adoptions after fostering, some of the kids from a re-marriage are not adopted, but then they have kids, and so on. Really complicated.). Adopted or not, I am currently working on what their relationship is specifically to me. Then comes the arduous task of working out what their relationships are to eachother. KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 05:27, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Ask away! It can be a complicated subject, and there are several of us here that can help. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:29, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

October 18[edit]

'Full stop' Confusion[edit]

In which category (Bulleted list, Numbered list) I shouldn't use a full stop in the end of the line? -- ( (talk) 00:07, 18 October 2014 (UTC))

Generally, you should use full stops only if the items in the list are grammatically complete sentences. If you're referring specifically to lists in Wikipedia, see the last two bulleted entries at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists#Bulleted and numbered lists. Deor (talk) 00:18, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Your statement didn't help Deor, I've seen sentences in lists (Bulletined as well as Numbered) some of which uses full stops and some don't. –- ( (talk) 17:51, 18 October 2014 (UTC))
You're assuming that everything you've seen is correct? ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 19:14, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
No, I'm trying to figure what's the appropriate way Mandruss.
Pretend the above sentence is in a list of both 'Bulletin' as well as 'Numbering', along with many other points or by itself... Should it end in a full stop or not? I understand if it's a word or two a full stop is not required regardless the 'list' type. -- ( (talk) 22:55, 18 October 2014 (UTC))
Yes, that example would be full-stopped in either type of list, per Deor's reply and per the guideline information to which he referred you. It is a complete sentence. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 23:13, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Acknowledged Mandruss. I understood what Deor mentioned, the issue is, I seen many lines, some with 'full stop' and some without. Many I asked, they all replied both works fine. Only once a person rejected 'full stop' in a 'Bulletin' list of mine; in a C.V. Some of Wikipedia's articles are like the issue I stated, some with and without 'fullstops'. Annoyingly, both problems are in one 'list' type. Don't mind me asking, "Are you guys sure?" -- ( (talk) 23:48, 18 October 2014 (UTC))
The guideline is very clear, I think. If you follow the guideline, and someone says you're wrong, all you have to do is refer them to the guideline. Most people will then concede, unless they can show good reason to deviate from the guideline. If they don't concede or show good reason, then you can decide whether it's worth pursuing via dispute resolution. Or, if there are other editors around, you can try to gain consensus in article talk. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 23:55, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
No that's fine, I requested for help and both of you provided clear guidelines. I needed to clear my confusion. Thank you once again Mandruss! -- ( (talk) 14:45, 19 October 2014 (UTC))

'Numeric' letter(s) conversion to 'Alphabetic' words[edit]

When do I spell numeric letters as words? E.g., ‘8’ for ‘eight’… -- ( (talk) 00:11, 18 October 2014 (UTC))

In publishing, this is a matter determined by the "house style" of the publication for which one is writing. A common style for journalism is to use words for one to ten and numerals for all other numbers. Some book publishers use words for everything up to and including one hundred and numerals for greater numbers. In either case, there are usually a number of exceptions and qualifications (for juxtaposed numbers, numbers at the beginning of sentences, quantities such as "1.5 million", and so forth). Wikipedia's own style is set forth at MOS:NUMERAL. Deor (talk) 00:42, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
So our cut-off on Wikipedia is nine, not ten. Interesting. I have seen twelve used as cut-off as well, in German at least, where all numbers from zero to twelve (except seven) are monosyllabic; in English, eleven is slightly long, but still not longer than twelve when written. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:57, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
To me the most important rule is to avoid two numeric values in a row:
"Eight threes are 24."
"Eight 3's are 24."
"8 threes are 24."
"8 3's are 24."
The last one is clearly the ugliest. I'd go with the first, myself. StuRat (talk) 00:52, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Still another rule is that if a number is a simple count or measurement viewed as a statistic then it should be written in digits (except perhaps for very small numbers), but if it is meant descriptively then words should be preferred (except for large numbers). Thus "There are only five cities where you can do this: New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Miami"—you're thinking of the cities as individual places. But "There are currently 5 states with no sales tax"—you're just giving the size of a group, as a statistic. My example included an enumeration of the five cities only in order to clarify how you are thinking of the number; you could still say "five" even if you didn't list the cities, and you could say "5" even if you did list the states provided that you thought of that information as incidental.

This describes the usage I personally prefer, but I didn't invent it; I've definitely seen a description along these lines in some style guide somewhere. But I don't know where, to cite it. -- (talk) 05:43, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks guys! -- ( (talk) 17:59, 18 October 2014 (UTC))

My own inclination is to spell it out if it is only one word or of it's rounded; "my school had 200 students" suggests (to me) that the number is exactly 200, while "my school had two hundred students" does not. —Tamfang (talk) 05:45, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
I did make this mistake. Thanks Tamfang! -- ( (talk) 14:55, 19 October 2014 (UTC))
I also tend to follow the "one word rule" so I would usually write zero to twenty as text and use digits from 21 onwards. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 16:48, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Point noted, Thanks. -- ( (talk) 06:14, 20 October 2014 (UTC))

'Participle' Confusion[edit]

How do you use things like n’t, ‘ve, ‘s when classifying the 1st, 2nd or 3rd e.g., I shouldn’t have/I should not have, he shouldn’t have/he should not have, they shouldn’t have/they should not have… -- ( (talk) 00:15, 18 October 2014 (UTC))

Are you asking, do they affect the person of the verb? If so, no, they are simply abbreviations, and the person is determined by the pronoun, although it gets complex if you have multiple pronouns, like "you and I" which is technically a first-person plural (or dual), inclusive. Explain further if that's not what you are asking. μηδείς (talk) 03:11, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
In the words "They shouldn't have", there is no participle. The participle will usually be the next word (if a verb), X-ed in "They shouldn't have X-ed"... AnonMoos (talk) 07:52, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Maybe the OP had particles in mind; an auxiliary verb in English can correspond (in semantic function though not in syntactic form) to a particle in some other languages. —Tamfang (talk) 18:39, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
At this point I'm reminded of a famous Dizzy Deanism, commenting on a batter who swung and missed a pitch that was well out of the strike zone: "He shouldn't hadn't oughta swang." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 09:41, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Okay, I feel ashamed to say, I'm not familiar with the English grammars or grammatical orders... Please don't tell me to go and learn it as I don't have the spare time, just tell me, what shall I use formally in writing. Q: Does it depend on the style of, the way you express a statement in writing and so on? -- ( (talk) 18:08, 18 October 2014 (UTC)) @AnonMoos: I understand your example, what shall I use for I, you, he, she? -- ( (talk) 18:08, 18 October 2014 (UTC))

You shan't speak so rudely when you are discussing things here. We are not here to teach you the English language. If you don't understand English grammar, go learn it. Everybody who speaks English correctly had to take in the proper ways of saying things. So stop being a haughty punk and be more respectful of others. If you are confused with specific things, we can assist, but do not waltz on in here and demand to be given special privilege. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 18:18, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
A teensy bit of an over-reaction, perhaps? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:47, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I thought so too. The abbreviations n’t, ‘ve etc. are common in spoken English, but should not be used in formal written English. As Medeis explains above, there is no difference in this rule between 1st, 2nd and 3rd persons, just a difference in the form of the abbreviation (I've; you've; he's, she's; they've) (for I have; you have; he has, she has; they have). See the Wiktionary entries have and be for some details of irregularities in these verbs. Dbfirs 22:03, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
I understand Dbfirs, what I don't get is, when to use what during writing! E.g., "I have to go to school". I can't write "I've to go to school", I can say "I've to go to school". Note that a lot of sentence vary while using the aforementioned. What shall I use while writing formally -- ( (talk) 23:31, 18 October 2014 (UTC))
The usual rule is that you should not use any contracted forms in formal writing unless you are quoting speech. Dbfirs 06:42, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Where do people say "I've to go"? —Tamfang (talk) 05:49, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
In England, from Charles Dickens to the present day, though the "have" is expanded when emphasis is required. Don't they say that in America? "I've got to go" is more common here. Dbfirs 06:42, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes. In America, formally you would say "I have to go". Maybe sometimes "I have got to go", although that seems excessive. And instead of "I've to go", it has evolved as "I've got to go". Or, as with any expression that has "got to" in it, "I've gotta go", or just "Gotta go". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:16, 19 October 2014 (UTC) The rules on when you can use the contracted form in speech (and hence in informal writing) depend on prosody. The contracted forms are almost never used without a relatively stressed word following. So you don't use them at the end of a sentence or clause ("That's the kind of guy I'm" is not grammatical, though Gershwin deliberately used it for a clever rhyme); and most speakers use the contracted forms of "have" (-ve, -s) only when it is an auxiliary (followed by a past participle): I've seen him today, but not when it's a full verb: I have a friend, I have to go, not I've a friend, I've to go. There are some people, particularly in Britain, who use these last forms, but they are rather old fashioned, and many people would never say them. However, in British English there is an alternative form I've got, he's got etc, where got does not have its own meaning (such as acquired) like the American gotten, but just provides a stressed word that allows the contraction before it. --ColinFine (talk) 13:15, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Colin, your explanation is better than mine, and I'm not offended at being described as "rather old fashioned" :-) Dbfirs 16:50, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Are you dumb or stupid Tharthan? When you post something, you are requesting, demanding an answer. I mentioned things in advance so that whoever is responding is aware of the matter. You are requesting/demanding/posting so that you get a quicker answer for you thoughts. I clearly understand this is Wikipedia, you clearly don't! Don't disrespect me again please. Regards. -- ( (talk) 23:31, 18 October 2014 (UTC))
JackofOz, Dbfirs Yes, I suppose you're right. Nevertheless, someone who is demanding things where they have no business demanding needs to be reminded of such. Otherwise we risk jadedness. A request is by no means equivalent to a demand. A demand is forceful, whilst a request is not. Not understanding this very stark difference can cause big problems. On Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, one is supposed to abide by proper etiquette. You have failed to do so. Now, granted, I too have failed, for I have (out of anger) made a personal attack, which I hereby apologise for. However, many people (including myself) take kindly neither to indolence nor to demands. It must be understood that we here at the reference desk are not here to do your bidding nor to replace actual instructors on a subject. To quote the heading informational section of the reference desk "We don't do your homework for you, though we’ll help you past the stuck point". As such statements like "Please don't tell me to go and learn it as I don't have the spare time, just tell me, what shall I use formally in writing" are not acceptable. They are very rude and show lack of understanding anent the fact that the reference desk is composed of people who offer to answer you. Furthermore, you do not pay us to find the information you seek for yourself; we do so because we wish to offer answers. As such, you'd ought to be more respectful of the people here, and not start making demands or setting conditions for how something is to be done. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 00:11, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
@Tharthan:I understand you, I didn't realise someone will be offended by such a statement. Many do speak/write like me; I've read through some of the posts... I do know the difference between posting, demanding and requesting, technically they are all different, informally, you are trying to retrieve something, e.g., from thoughts, gestures, answers, reply's, actions, reactions to '...'. I'm just a bit busy. I hate reading, but I have to. I do kind of like it, a bit now, but I really can't waste reading something else than what I am currently reading. I seek help from Wikipedia when I get confused with my readings, and when I do need a quick answer.
I apologise.
Another thing, you don't risk no jadedness, if you are a volunteer, than must possess a good attitude as a helper regardless of what they come up with. Simple logic!
( (talk) 00:37, 19 October 2014 (UTC))
No problem. I'm just happy to hear that this was just a misunderstanding. You see, there are some people these days who actually go around ordering people to do things for no reason and don't understand that they shouldn't be doing that. It's a shame, because the number of those people seems to be growing. It's good to see that you are not one of those people.
And, fair enough. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 01:50, 19 October 2014 (UTC) is by his own acknowledgment not a native English speaker, and so some infelicities of expression can be expected. When he said "just tell me", he probably meant what you or I would say, "what I really need to know". It's to his credit that he's endeavouring to expand his knowledge of English. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 05:01, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
True enough. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 05:19, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
He did prefix it with "Please". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:27, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Thank you all for your helps, clearing all the confusions and distresses. Please don't have any hard feelings about me or others. Clever people are altogether in one site, bound to have arguments... I wish I could make some of you my friend, since you've always helped, it's unfortunate that I cannot (there is no system and this is not facebook). After a long time, I found an opportunity to hang around with clever people. I love Wikipedians! SFriendly.svg-- ( (talk) 15:17, 19 October 2014 (UTC))

  • I have a noun and I have to verb are two entirely separate expressions. It's always fine to say "I've a book in my pocket", because the verb expresses possession. But "I have to go" does not express possession of to go. It expresses obligation, and should never be abbreviated in speech or in informal writing, at least not in America. Be aware also that the obligation sense is usally pronounced as "I hafta go" with the tee changing the vee to eff. Again, this does not happen in the possession sense. BTW, "help" is like rice, it takes no plural under normal circumstances. μηδείς (talk) 00:15, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Awh. Thanks! -- ( (talk) 06:22, 20 October 2014 (UTC))
The seemingly simple verb "have" has a more complicated origin. It's actually the convergence of at least two different words.[8]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:02, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Noted! -- ( (talk) 11:38, 20 October 2014 (UTC))
I think Bugs may have somewhat misinterpreted the source. The word have in English has only one source from Indo-European, *kap-, which is cognate with cap- verbs like capture in Latin. Confusingly, Latin habeo also means "to have", but it comes from the PIE root *ghabh-, which is ultimately the source of "give" in English. The (late) Latin usage may have influenced the English usage.
(It's entirely possible that ghabh and kap were variants of an even early identical root, perhaps due to dialect borrowing, which gives pairs like shirt and skirt, shape and (land)scape, or ship and skipper in English) but that's entirely speculative at this point.)
What's interesting is that while neither Proto-Germanic nor Classical Latin had periphrastic perfect forms with helping verbs of the type "I have verb-ed" with to have and a past participle, these forms did develop (at least for transitive verbs) in both Romance and Western Germanic: Yo lo he leido; Ich habe es gelesen. (I am not sure about Norse or Gothic). μηδείς (talk) 18:32, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

12th century Arabic constellation[edit]

Hi all.

Can anyone identify the star constellation heading on the left page in this image of the Doha manuscript of the Book of Fixed Stars? A literal translation would do as I can identify the modern constellation from that. It's just that I can't read Arabic script.

I need this information because I would like to nominate the image as a Featured Picture.

Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Marinka van Dam (talkcontribs) 11:38, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

It must be Corona Borealis -- I can't read the first word but the rest says "al-iklil ash-shamali wa-huwa al-fakkah" (Northern Crown, and it [is] Al-Fakkah [the broken one]).--Cam (talk) 13:02, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
For whatever it might be worth, according to Allen's Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning "Al Iklil al Shamāliyyah" and "Al Fakkah" (his spellings) are indeed Arabic names of Corona Borealis. Deor (talk) 14:57, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
I think the first word is kawakbah (if you'll pardon my translitteration), i.e. constellation. (talk) 15:28, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks so much for this. I've just had confirmation of Corona Borealis from an expert and the right side is the star list for Boötes. Grateful for your input. I'll nominate the image thids evening or tomorrow morning. Thanks again. 17:02, 18 October 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Marinka van Dam (talkcontribs)

Contemporary assessment of Rabindranath Tagore by western media and literary critics[edit]

I want to know how do the public at large in the western world (USA,Western and Eastern Europe ,Russia ,Australias and also the African countries perceive Rabindranath Tagore ,what is the level of popularity is he viewed as a superhuman entity or is he seen as one of the greatest exponents of world literature.In Bengal he is worshipped like a God.It is said that YB Yeats played a key role in translating The Gitanjali. Was Bernard Shaw critical about Tagore. What was his opinion regarding this man and his creations in public and private.How does the British and American public seen and sees Tagore and his work.I am a Bengali and find his works and songs not at all appealing. I find most of them artificial and arousing morbid emotions.Most of the Bengali people will frown upon me and mock me as uncultured and that i am imbecile lacking the mental capability to relish such great creation. I want to know the global assessment and how did the men in the British government appreaised him in private .Were those men his fans. (talk) 15:41, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

I am British, and I have never heard of him. This is on the wrong desk, by the way. It should be on the Humanities desk. KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 15:47, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Geez, he did win the Nobel Prize, after all. -- Elphion (talk) 16:16, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Ironically, that is almost a recipe for oblivion. Have you ever heard of Grazia Deledda, Verner von Heidenstam, Rudolf Christoph Eucken, Carl Spitteler, Sigrid Undset or Pär Lagerkvist? Nobel Literature laureates all. Martin Amis is on record as saying "Serious stuff is bullshit. The Nobel Prize tends to go to solemn, gloomy buggers like Le Clézio and Saramago. I predict they will be completely forgotten". Does anyone outside Australia know anything of Patrick White? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:34, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
We do have an article on him: Rabindranath Tagore and looking at it, I note there is some mention of the response of some of the English literati to him: Graham Greene for example was quite critical. We are not familiar with his work today in England, much as we are not overly familiar with Omar Khayyam (who wrote the Rubaiyyat) or other polymaths of the Eastern world, mainly because (I guess) of our country's inherent (racist) disdain for countries it had formerly subjugated. His work is certainly not routinely taught in schools today, it wasn't in my school days and I doubt it was in my father's schooldays. --TammyMoet (talk) 17:01, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
  • He's famous enough that someone once asked me for a translation of him into Spanish. μηδείς (talk) 17:19, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
I have heard that he's important and wonderful but haven't got round to reading him yet. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:18, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I learned about him several years ago working on . . . Wikipedia, when I was filling out some details on an American poetry magazine but that was not a contemporary encounter, rather historical; he got published in the US a little bit before his Nobel Prize. I recall love poems (not all gloomy [9] )Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:05, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Louis Untermeyer wrote of Ezra Pound's critical acumen, "He 'placed' Tagore as literary artist, not as messiah, and saw the Bengalese poet become a cult."
I took a number of poetry classes in the late '70s and early '80s. We read translations from various European languages, and at least one textbook contained excerpts from Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat, but as I recall, there was nothing from any Indian language, and Tagore was never mentioned. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 17:18, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

OP, while assessing Tagore's relative low-profile in the West keep in mind that:

  • Translation of non-English poetry is rarely, if ever (are there any common exceptions?), taught in school. That precludes the possibility of Tagore being a "household" name comparable to Wordsworth, Keats, or even Plath.
  • Even among the (non-Bengali speaking) literati Tagore is known mainly though his self-translation in English, or second-hand translation of those English translations, which are generally regarded as of poor-quality and not reflective of the quality of his Bengali verse. For example the Encyclopedia of Literary Translation Into English:

It was through his own English translations of his works that Rabindranath Tagore became internationally known. Although his immense achievements as a Bengali writer undoubtedly made him deserving of the Nobel Proze for Literature in 1913, he was awarded it for his English volume of spiritual poems Gitanjali ... Nearly all the translations into other languages that followed the award were done from this and subsequent English volumes. Tagore's reputation outside Bengal thus came to be based on translations that were often second-hand and that have come to seem increasingly inadequate. Bland and archaic in their diction, flaccid in their rhythm, and often vaguely representing the Bengali phrasing and imagery, they remain an obstacle to true appreciation of his genius; but they cannot be wished away, and in [sic?] India will probably maintain their canonical status as the words of the poet himself.

So while you should feel free to dislike Tagore poetry, do not use his relative lack-of-fame outside Bengal/India as a crutch. Aside: For hose not familiar with Tagore's reputation within India: Most Indians will perhaps name Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Tagore as the three (non-contemporary) Indians most widely known outside India. In Bengal, the order will be reversed. :-) Abecedare (talk) 18:50, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

October 19[edit]

Line breaks in dates[edit]

Do the major style manuals say anything about proper use of line breaks within dates? For example, where would it be proper to break June 6, 1944 (if anywhere)? How about 6 June 1944? I'm looking for something authoritative rather than personal opinions, but I don't have one of the major style manuals. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 01:53, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

It's a few (*cough-cough*) years since I was a desk editor and proofreader, but I don't remember being taught any proscriptions on breaking such a date. More relevantly to your question, I've just checked my old copies of Hart's Rules and Judith Butcher's Copy-editing (as well as a few other lesser-known works) and they have nothing to say on the subject.
In general, breaks need only be avoided if they cause a false reading (e.g. the legendary leg-
end), and I can't see that breaking such a date at either space would mislead. It might look ugly, especially in display text (i.e. headlines, chapter heads and such) so you'd want to avoid that.
In a work, or series of works, heavy on dates one might want to adopt a style rule governing breaks in dates, but this would be a decision specific to that work or series. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 14:19, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Speaking as another retired copy-editor, I'm in agreement with the above, but a general rule is not to break a line between a numeral and whatever is being counted. This normally means units of measurement, but I would extend this to days of the month. So a break between month and year is fine, but not between day and month, if it can be avoided.--Shantavira|feed me 15:49, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
It can almost always be avoided in places like Wikitext, by judicious use of {{nowrap|19 February}}. For my sins, I despise the look of split day/month and I always use this whenever I see an offender. I once worked in a place that was very big on this sort of thing, and letters we drafted for senior managers' signatures were sent back for correction if these and other details weren't nailed down. Factual and political correctness were also somewhere in the mix along with orthographic exactitude. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 20:34, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Of course WP is a little different than print media, because a printed page will either split a certain date, or it will not, but the text won't move. On WP, whether the date is split will depend upon browser font, window size, and other factors. E.g. it's highly likely that a date could appear split on my view and not on yours. So I tend to agree that we should always nowrap our dates. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:04, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Come and sit by me while we draft the Constitution and Rules of the Like-Minded Persons' Society. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 18:47, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Italian language question[edit]

I saw this text at an Italian restaurant: Chi lavora mangia. Chi non lavora mangia, beve e dorme. I think it means "One who works, eats. One who does not work, eats, drinks and sleeps." Is this correct? JIP | Talk 15:06, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Is that restaurant in Finland? I'm not Italian but it's not very difficult Italian so I'll venture to say this is correct. Google Translate more or less agrees. So we're all in agreement. As to the meaning maybe it is: "It's great to have a job. It's even more great not to have one." :) No stereotyping please :) Just humor. Contact Basemetal here 19:25, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
The translation is correct. The proverb is possibly originally Napolitano: "Chi fatica magna, chi nun fatica magna e beve.". The book A Buon 'Ntennitore ... Proverbs of Naples by Leonardo Antonio lists it as well, along with "Chi fatica magna e chi nun fatica magna gallina" ("He/she who works, eats, and he/she who doesn't work, eats chicken"). ---Sluzzelin talk 20:08, 19 October 2014 (UTC)


(NOTE:I'm not sure if this belongs here or another section. Feel free to move it or indicate where this question is more suitable for asking if it shouldn't be here.)

I've been reading Penguin Books' "The Sagas of Icelanders" (stylised as "the SAGAS of icelanders") that my dear father got for me this past Christmas, and whilst it's quite a swell volume, I have a few gripes with it.

My biggest gripe, aside from minor peeves such as them using "earl" for both earls and jarls indiscriminately, and using "autumn" for "Fall" (they could have chosen "Harvest" if they perceived "Fall" as being regionally biased, and I'd actually have preferred them going with "Harvest" anyways), is that they "transliterate" the letter edh (Ðð) with "d".

Now, my knowledge of the Icelandic language in terms of grammar and such is not very good, and all that I am aware of in regards to edh's use that might be able to help me determine when reading (as I often read to others) whether a transliterated name had an edh in it or not is that Icelandic doesn't use edh as the first letter of a word. As such, I have adopted the practice of pronouncing all medial and final "d"s in the volume as if they were edhs.

Now, the reason that I bring this up here is because I have noticed that this work is not the first to transliterate edh with "d". Furthermore, a video game of all things for the Nintendo 3DS chose to pronounce thorn and edh as if they were "t"s and "d"s (FYI: The Nintendo 3DS allows the letters thorn and edh to be input).

So, I ask this:

Is there some underlying cause for perception of Icelandic thorns and edhs as being representative of anything other than /θ/ and /ð/? I've heard rumours of Icelandic /θ/ being actually closer to /θs/, but I cannot confirm that.

Might anyone here be able to shed some light on this matter? Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 18:29, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

I believe Old Norse ‹þ,ð›, though retained in Icelandic, generally merged with ‹t,d› on the mainland; so, if the letter ‹ð› is inconvenient, ‹d› is a natural substitute. —Tamfang (talk) 19:39, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
If the letter is problematic, then why not transliterate ð as "dh", or even "th" (as thorn is usually transliterated as), especially in the case of translation to English? That seems more logical to me. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 23:57, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
It's actually normal to 'transilterate' letters which are not common in English. Harald Hardrada is transliterated as so, even though his epithet was 'Harðráði'. If your book is an older book, it was probably written on a typewriter. If not, then the author either didn't know how to put the 'foreign' letters in, or had learned those spellings from older books whilst doing research for his. KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 03:09, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, the latter is quite possible. Though I don't know why anyone would "transliterate" a letter that represented a sound that we also have in English with another letter shared by both languages that represents a completely different sound in both languages than the letter being replaced. I mean, they didn't "transliterate" thorn with "t", they translated it with "th" (as they should, because "th" represents the same phoneme as thorn). As such, it would have made sense to "transliterate" "ð" as "dh" (which has been used in other transliterations for the very same purpose, and would be understood and correctly pronounced by those who understood that). At least then people who understood the "transliteration" would be able to pronounce the names correctly, and the people who didn't understand the "transliteration" wouldn't be any more confused. It's a win-win situation. I mean, honestly, one would think that an attempted "transliteration" would have greater success in staying true to what the intended pronunciation was than actual transliteration from a non-Latin-alphabetic script to a Latin-alphabetic script, but I guess not. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 05:31, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
I think the wrong "transliteration" of one mere letter is not significant when all other particularities of Icelandic such as áéíóúýæö are ignored as well in English (in both spelling and pronunciation). It's a tradition in English to simply drop out diacritics - voi-là, we got "Dd" (as well as many examples from all other languages, I've just recently encountered "pismaniye" which was even occasionally pronounced with [s]). And I'm not surprised as from the typewriter epoch it has not been an easy task to type diacritics in English, most English speakers are "diacritic ignorant".--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 08:00, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
It just seems stupid that someone would ignore the fact that English has the same sound that edh provides in Icelandic (and, indeed, Old English used to use edh!) and just transliterate it as if we were a language that lacked dental fricatives. It's ridiculous. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 11:18, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
According to Henry Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Primer, both edh and thorn were interchangeable, with some dialects preferring one over the other, and both representing both voiced and voiceless dental fricatives. The switch to 'th' didn't solve anything, as 'th' also does the same job (cf. 'think' vs. 'this'). KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 23:05, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
That's not quite right, User:KageTora, thy and thigh are a minimal pair, as are wither and with 'er, etc. μηδείς (talk) 00:05, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
'Harvest' is not synonymous with 'autumn'. 'Fall' has another meaning other than 'autumn'. What's wrong with 'autumn'? AlexTiefling (talk) 19:54, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

What is the origin of the name Sierra Leone?[edit]

Hey, I have a question. What is the origin and meaning of the name Sierra Leone? Learn to Read Latin (talk) 20:22, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Did you read the first paragraph of Sierra Leone#European trading? Deor (talk) 20:25, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
(ec) History of Sierra Leone seems to imply that it was a mutation of "Serra Lyoa", which, according to the article translates to "Lion Mountains", and this site states that 16th century English explorers arrived and changed the Portuguese term to its current state. The exact reason behind "Lion Mountains", however, seems to be unclear. [10] suggests that the surrounding landscape's shape of a mountain lion was the reasoning, although I may have translated that poorly? ~Helicopter Llama~ 20:39, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Word for "internationally socioeconomic"[edit]

I'm writing an article about reform proposals for the United Nations Security Council, particularly those that favor the establishment of more permanent seats for Africa and other developing parts of the world. Right now I'm referring to these proposals as seeking a "more fully equitable geographical and socioeconomic distribution of power," but the use of the word "socioeconomic" there looks wrong to me, since that would typically connote economic differences within a society, and not between societies. Any suggestions for another word? Evan (talk|contribs) 21:56, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

I don't think that the adjective that you want exists. I'd try using a prepositional phrase instead, for example "a more equitable distribution of power across regions and levels of development". Though isn't the point to be more representative of the world's population rather than of the world's land area? Presumably no one is calling for a seat for Antarctica. In that case, maybe "a more equitable distribution of power among the world's people, without favoring developed countries." Marco polo (talk) 01:17, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, some sentence reorganizing may be in order. I have been writing for a little over twelve hours with few breaks! There is definitely a word I remember from a sociology class I took, though. I'm not sure it was an adjective, but it related to the basic concept of categorizing countries by their individual levels of industrial and economic development. Ah, well, I think I've got this particular sentence figured out anyway. Thanks, Marco! Polo! Evan (talk|contribs) 02:22, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Global stratification was the term I had in mind. I don't think there's any forgivable way of turning that into an adjective. Evan (talk|contribs) 02:27, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
If the intent is across societies, perhaps simply 'economic' is a suitable term. If the meaning is across developed and developing economies, you may have to spell that out explicitly. Peter Grey (talk) 23:51, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

IPA symbol[edit]

Is there an IPA symbol just describing the release of air from the nose (not a particular sound)? -- (talk) 22:07, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

? (Or ɲ̊ and ɳ̊ and ŋ̊ too)? ---Sluzzelin talk 22:41, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Does any one of these depict interjections like "hm"? -- (talk) 01:47, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't think so, because all those symbols link to voiceless sounds, and "hm..." usually represents a voiced sound. The distinction is covered at Voice_(phonetics). Short version - most Eng speakers voice "zzzz" but pronounce "ssss" voicelessly, and the sounds are otherwise rather similar. SemanticMantis (talk) 13:58, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't mean the syllabic [m̩], which is voiced, but the "h" before the "m". How do you transcribe this? The "h" is obviously not like the "h" in "house". -- (talk) 18:07, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
How about [m̥]? It's what Sluzzelin is suggesting, but with lips closed. (talk) 20:56, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I was assuming this was a syllabic emm, since it seemed to imply closure of the lips. Intonation makes the difference here between Hm? and Mmmm! μηδείς (talk) 00:01, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

New old words[edit]

Every year lexicographers add new modern words to the dictionary. Are there cases where old words from the English (or any other language) corpus were rediscovered and then added? For example from a long forgotten text. Or maybe words that were accidentally overlooked. -- (talk) 22:53, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

I think vanilla English dictionaries wouldn't bother to include words that have fallen out of usage so long ago that they've been "forgotten" and are "rediscovered". Sometimes words that seem to be falling out of popular usage (but are still far from being entirely forgotten) make a comeback for whatever reason; being (re)listed in a dictionary not being one of them, I guess. But you might find something more similar to what you're thinking of with those non-English languages that have influential, creative language authorities. This is a wild guess, but I imagine Hebrew, Icelandic, Korean or Chinese language authorities might turn to all sorts of texts – including recently (re)discovered old texts – when they feel a need to coin a term or to replace a non-native term for something. And "rediscovered" words are a thing. But I haven't heard of both of these coinciding, i.e. a hitherto unknown word being "rediscovered" and then successfully pushed back into usage. If "unknown not to linguists but to Joe Average" is good enough for you, you might find a few such words when you look at the purge of Japanese or even some sino-Korean terms from the Korean language and their deliberate replacement with either revived words of native stock that had survived in dialects (or old documents?) or words newly coined from such material. English speakers would probably ignore or ridicule such attempts; this is not necessarily the case with other languages. (talk) 22:40, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Words lost from the English language are compiled in the Compendium of Lost Words.
Wavelength (talk) 23:13, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

October 20[edit]

How do you pronounce "propanol" and "propanal"?[edit]

How do you pronounce "propanol" and "propanal"? Is there a standard pronunciation that distinguishes the two in speech? (talk) 01:19, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Propanol /ˈprɵpəˈnɒl/
Propanal /ˈprɵpəˈnæl/
Plasmic Physics (talk) 01:41, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
/ɵ/ cannot be stressed in English and the secondary stress should be marked in the bottom. RP: /ˈprəʊpəˌnɒl/, /ˈprəʊpəˌnæl/.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 08:20, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Propanol /prɵpəˌnɒl/
Propanal /prɵpəˌnæl/
Then remove let us not stress /ɵ/, however /ɵ/ is still more correct than /əʊ/. Plasmic Physics (talk) 09:33, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Here in England, it's /ˈprəʊpənɒl/ and /ˈprəʊpənal/ (long stressed first syllable). We might add a secondary stress to the last syllable to emphasise the distinction. US pronunciation uses oʊ in place of əʊ for the first vowel, and this is also sometimes the case in the UK, especially in the north. Dbfirs 11:26, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Here in the United States, propanol is normally [ˈproʊpənɔːl]. It is only [ˈproʊpənɒl] for speakers with the caught-cot merger. Like ethanol, propanol is an alcohol, and its last syllable rhymes with that of alcohol. Propanal would be /ˈproʊpənæl/. The final syllable has the /æ/, because it is short for aldehyde. Watch this video for an example of the pronunciation of butanal, an aldehyde like propanal. Marco polo (talk) 14:41, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
(Yes, the /al/ in modern standard British English is the equivalent of /æl/ in old RP and American.)
Does the last syllable of propanol really rhyme with "fall" in standard American? Dbfirs 16:37, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, User:Dbfirs it does in my dialect, see below. But fall, folly, rally and Foley don't. μηδείς (talk) 00:19, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
  • In case all the IPA is confusing people, propanol rhymes with fall, call, all, ball, etc. Propanal rhymes with Al, pal, etc. --Jayron32 17:15, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
    Oh, I'd rhyme propanol with doll and alcohol. Dbfirs 17:26, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
"doll" and "fall" rhyme for many English speakers. See cot-caught merger. This is why we should all learn IPA :) SemanticMantis (talk) 17:32, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I see from your link that about half of all Americans fail to distinguish the vowels, but the merger is rare in the UK. Are the people with this merger not aware that BBC English (and standard American if that exists?) has separate vowels? Dbfirs 21:28, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Not unless they study comparative phonology. A merger means that they no longer perceive the two phonemes as distinct. —Tamfang (talk) 02:11, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm American, and I pronounce them the same way Shakespeare does: [ˈprəʊpənɔːl] and [ˈprəʊpənæ:l] (secondary stress on final syllables, length due to citation form request-the ash vowel is not tense here even if it's lengthened). μηδείς (talk) 18:05, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
We have a fascinating vowel chart at Great Vowel Shift, where you will see that this vowel would have been neither [oʊ] nor [əʊ], but [oː] in Shakespeare's time. Marco polo (talk) 19:35, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
The great vowel shift occurred in London before Shakespeare's time, no? There are certainly no signs of the vowel shift not yet having occurred for the settlers of the Jamestown colony or the Plymouth colony. 00:33, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Medeis's pronunciation is a regional one limited to southern New Jersey, Delaware, and parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and maybe Virginia. Marco polo (talk) 19:37, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
That's South Jersey (there's no such thing as southern New Jersey) and it's the Delaware Valley accent, although our articles on the area dialects overlap and conflict. μηδείς (talk) 19:57, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
We're looking for the right way to pronounce them, not for affected pronunciations due to accents. We have to look at it objectively, not what each person here would say it like. Meaning it should not suffer from maladies such as the cot-caught merger. There is no way which I can force 'doll' and 'fall' to rhyme without sounding ridiculous, by the same token it does not sound right to add length to the final /ɒ/, to turn it into /ɔː/, it sounds like a drawl. Plasmic Physics (talk) 21:18, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
How is an actual accent described by perhaps the most highly regarded sociolinguist an "affectation" that interferes with the answer? I am reminded of the "I don't have an accent, you do" attitude of non-linguists. Given he died long, long ago in a realm far, far away, I thought the Shakespeare joke was obvious, but my description of my pronunciation was just as valid and as helpful as that of anyone else here, especially someone who lives on the wrong hemisphere compared to the OP, who most likely also speaks a Midlands dialect. μηδείς (talk) 23:55, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
When I am referring to affections, I am referring to deviations from the progenitor pronunciation. I am not denying that I also have an accent, I am simply stating that each one of us should not assume that their particular accent takes supremacy. We should look at the original intended pronunciation. I have almost no idea about the works by Shakespeare, and even less about that of Labov. The OP explicitly stated that they are seeking the pronunciation without accent. Plasmic Physics (talk) 00:34, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, PP. The issue is, there is no such thing as a pronunciation without accent. Except for the rhotacism, a Delaware Valley accent is the closest you'll get in the US to an RP accent, unless you go to trained stage actors. I'd suggest Elizabeth McGovern, the Countess Grantham on Downton Abbey. She's got a trained/educated Midlands Accent from the US; specificlly, she was born in Illinois, schooled in LA, and trained in NYC. You won't find a more neutral US accent. Because I have the [əʊ] vowel for /o:/ when I am not code switching to a NYC dialect, I have often been asked if I speak [[[RP]], since except for my rhotacism and lack of a trap-bath split, it is my native phonology. If it's not native to him, the IP should not affect my centered /o:/ vowel--but otherwise what I have said should serve him well if he wants to speak educated General American. μηδείς (talk) 00:48, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

What is the correct word?[edit]

What is the correct word to describe a TV show or a film in which there are many starring actors, but they are all considered "equal"? For example, a TV show like Friends. There is no real "main star". All six characters/actors were considered equal, with no one out-ranking or billing-over another. I thought of the word "entourage" cast. But, I think there is another better, more appropriate word to describe this scenario. I can't recall that word. Thanks. Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 15:25, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Seems to fit the first sentence of Ensemble cast fairly well. Also this. ‑‑Mandruss (t) 15:27, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Exactly! That was the word I was thinking of. It was escaping me. Thanks! Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 16:38, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

To be or not to be.....[edit]

....this is my question. This is something I have always wanted to ask. I am a professional linguist, but have never read Shakespeare in any language, including my own (English). I have often wondered, however, how this particular very famous phrase - so famous that even the likes of me who have not read Shakespeare before would know it - would be translated into other languages. Can anyone give any translations of it - with literal tranlations back into English if the words used are slightly different? The best I can do with Japanese is 「存在するか、しないか?それがその問題。」 - "To exist or not? That's the problem." KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 23:21, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Admittedly, this isn't as good as a native speaker, but online translators are a good start and might suffice for your purposes. For example, at, I get the following in French: être ou ne pas être, telle est la question. But why am I telling you this, you're a linguist! ‑‑Mandruss (t) 23:38, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
At,_Prince_of_Denmark/Act_3, you can find links to Catalan ("Viure, o no viure: la qüestió és aqueixa"), German ("Sein oder Nichtsein, das ist hier die Frage"), Esperanto ("Ĉu esti aŭ ne esti,—tiel staras / Nun la demando"), Spanish ("Ser o no ser, ésa es la cuestión."), Polish ("Być albo nie być, otóż-to pytanie"), and Chinese.
Wavelength (talk) 23:44, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Wavelength (talk) 23:49, 20 October 2014 (UTC)