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April 12

Arabic question: Russian School Dubai

What is the Arabic in

It is for Russian International School in Dubai. Thanks! WhisperToMe (talk) 09:25, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

المدرسة الحولیة الروسیة ---Omidinist (talk) 06:17, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you :) WhisperToMe (talk) 17:58, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Artificial & Art

Are these two words from the same root?--BoldEditor (talk) 13:05, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Yes. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 13:08, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
artifex, artifice, artisan, Ars gratia artis etc. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:08, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
Think of "art" as equivalent to "skill", and it covers everything. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:33, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

The terms articulate, arm, and arthropod are Latin, English and Greek cognates, and the PIE root means something like "fitted together". μηδείς (talk) 22:29, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Words that every native speaker must know/extra vocabulary

Can we separate the vocabulary that every native speaker know from words that only some speakers know? Words like table, chair, walk, window, and so on, cannot be left out of the vocabulary of a normal person. However, if you don't know laconic, voracious, paradox, and so on, you could still be a native speaker (although you won't be a well-educated one). Given a list of words by frequency, where would we draw a line between these two groups? Can we calculate the probability that a native speaker knows a word at least? That would obvious give the words in the first group a probability of 100% obviously, but do linguist research such things for less frequent words?--Llaanngg (talk) 13:08, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Swadesh list may be of interest. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 13:47, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
These pages use the term core vocabulary (just a redirect to Swadesh list), and might give you some leads - this one has several academic refs [1], and this one has some decent conceptual info [2]. Here are a couple other research articles that seem relevant [3] [4]. SemanticMantis (talk) 16:58, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
As for the actual lists of word frequencies by language, you might find this info in cryptography research, as it can be quite useful for breaking codes that replace one word with another. There would also be frequency differences in different types of speech, as some words are only used in casual speech while others might only be used in written forms of a language. StuRat (talk) 17:04, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
When I learned Pitman Shorthand, I had a book of the 100 most common words and the 500 most common words, and I had to learn these as they had been given their own special outlines (logograms I think they were called)to facilitate speedy notetaking. So a place to look would be in the shorthand of whatever language you were using. --TammyMoet (talk) 18:40, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
See wikt:Wiktionary:Frequency lists.—Wavelength (talk) 16:05, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Also see Up Goer Five. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:25, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

April 13

Empty infinitive?

Is there a term for that thing where "to" is used in place of a full infinitive? For example, "I haven't done that, but I'd like to." I made up "empty infinitive" (by analogy with "bare infinitive"), though on second thought you could probably make a case for it not being an infinitive at all. --Lazar Taxon (talk) 05:45, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Verb phrase ellipsis? ---Sluzzelin talk 06:19, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
"To" is often being clapped into service for work it was never designed to do. Such as:
  • I hated that movie.
  • I did to.
  • That's to bad. We both wasted our money.
  • To true.
Grrrr. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:35, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
I assume you corrected them immediately, especially the last to. :-) StuRat (talk) 21:54, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
It should be pointed out to impressionable English learners that Jack's comments above are a humorous joke based on homophones, and that Sluzelin has given the correct answer. μηδείς (talk) 16:22, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Humorous joke? Is there any other kind? Also, Sluzelin might not be a homophone of Sluzzelin, but I guess it'll have to do. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 23:58, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
It helps when communicating with beginning English speakers to do so loudly, slowly, with much hand waving and lipsmacking, and to do so redundantly. You really should watch the show Damages for how a real Aussie speaks to foreigners, Jack. I was originally going to say humorous "comment", but thought better of it. μηδείς (talk)
It's the word "humorous" that's out of place. My comment was meant seriously, not as a joke or to engender humour. Misuse of simple words is a horrific social problem. There are not many ways to misspell "too". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 06:15, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Et tu, Brute? KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 13:33, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
That's two funny -- Q Chris (talk) 15:45, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, Jack, I was confused. μηδείς (talk) 19:09, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
At wikt:to#English (more specifically, at wikt:to#Particle), it is called a particle, with the verb implied. I still consider it to be a preposition, and I still prefer to avoid using it at the end of a sentence or a clause. ("I have not done that, but I would like to do it.")
Wavelength (talk) 00:42, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps a cousin to this type of statement often heard in my part of the world: "I'm going to the store. Do you want to come with?" ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:13, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
UMAE? ---Sluzzelin talk 14:20, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Ja, shoor, yoo betcha! ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:24, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Ooooh. ---Sluzzelin talk 20:49, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Come with is common in the Midwest, not only in the "Fargo" dialect.[5]. Rmhermen (talk) 05:35, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, the use of a preposition at the end of a sentence is something up with which I shall not put. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 13:35, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Song of the Paddle again...

A question above refers to a classic 1978 Canadian documentary film; Song of the Paddle; however I have it in my head that this is also the title of a 19th century ballad by somebody like Robert W. Service. Or am I mistaken? It's annoying me now; please help. Alansplodge (talk) 15:43, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Possibly "Paddle Your Own Canoe" (1850) by Sarah T Bolton? Tevildo (talk) 18:34, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
There is a poem called "Paddling Song" by George Soane which might be a better candidate. Tevildo (talk) 18:49, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Tevildo; I may have been conflating Paddle Your Own Canoe with Songs of a Sourdough; both of which are quoted by Robert Baden-Powell in Rovering to Success. Thanks also for the Paddling Song which I hadn't seen before but I'm already humming. Alansplodge (talk) 19:24, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

April 14

Radio/Radios and ENGVAR

Is the change of "radio" to "radios" in this edit correct in Australian English? To my American ears, it sounds strange. Dismas|(talk) 00:12, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Definitely strange. The song was sent to individual radios via the medium called radio. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:48, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
It's not right in BrE, either - "radio stations" would be the normal UK term. I'm sure Jack will be along soon with a definitive answer. Tevildo (talk) 18:57, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
It was sent to US rhythmic contemporary radio/s by RCA Records ....
I'm not even sure what that means, knowing little - as little as I can get away with - about pop culture. Does it mean the music was made available to certain types of radio stations or broadcasters? If not that, what's it trying to say? To me, "radio" is the general scientific concept, or the industry, or it can refer to a particular receiving/listening device. But music makers can't send music direct to individual radio receivers, can they? They have to go via a radio station, don't they? But nobody refers to a radio station as just "a radio", do they? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:08, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
No, in that case, you'd use the noncountable/conceptual meaning of "radio". That word doesn't take a plural. When discussing radio merely as a broadcast medium, you can't pluralize it. The ONLY meaning of radio that takes a plural would be the physical object. The sentence above does not use it in that sense. I am by no means an expert on Australian English, but AFAIK, no variety of English pluralizes non-countable words like that. --Jayron32 12:02, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm confused. What exactly is happening? Sending something to "a radio" or to "radios" doesn't make sense to me, no matter which meaning of "radio" applies. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 12:20, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
In the U.S. this device is called "A radio". But it would be awkward to refer to the medium of radio broadcasts as "radios". --Jayron32 12:02, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Exactly the same down here. I, too, have never heard the medium of radio broadcasts referred to as "radios". However, the context of the OP's question is about something being sent to radio, which some editor has changed to sent to radios. I would contend that neither form of words represents anything that any human has ever said, which is why I suggested below it be rewritten so that it's both unambiguous and idiomatic. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 12:13, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Yup. --Jayron32 12:19, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
In American English, I would read the sentence as "It was sent to US rhythmic contemporary radio [stations] by RCA Records..." Dismas|(talk) 12:58, 15 April 2015 (UTC)'s entry "radio" features radio station as a possible meaning too ("a radio transmitting station"), as well as "a radio broadcasting organization". ---Sluzzelin talk 13:04, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Ah, well, in that case, if it was being sent to a certain sub-set of "radio", where "radio" is the corporate radio broadcasting community, that would still be an uncountable noun, in any variety of English. As for the idiom, I can imagine "You can hear that sort of thing on jazz radio", or "Only community radio would have a segment like that". But the idiom "sending X to [Y] radio" is still foreign to me, and I suspect to most people. Maybe a rewrite is in order? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:42, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

April 16


Hello, which answer is correct? Example A: You have nothing to do? —Yes, I have nothing to do. Example B: You have nothing to do? —No, I have nothing to do. 雞雞 (talk) 21:00, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

The question is incorrect. It should be "Do you have nothing to do?", and then the answer would be either "Yes, I have nothing to do" or "No, I have something to do." Now, it gets complicated with negative questions. "Don't you have anything to do?" would be answerd by, "Yes, I have something to do." or "No, I don't have anything to do." Yes = positive, and agrees with the verb in the answer. No = negative, and likewise agrees with the verb in the answer, unlike in Chinese, where 'dui' means 'yes, what you have just said is correct' and 'bu' means 'no, what you have just said is incorrect.', the same as with answers to positive questions in English. The problem here is that the OP's question translates directly from Chinese as "Don't you have something/anything to do?" as there is no way other than that to ask if a person has 'nothing to do'. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 21:24, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Yes would be affirming that you have nothing to do, so that's correct. However, some people tend to respond to prompts rather than the words within those prompts, so even some native English speakers might answer that question with "no, I have nothing to do." In this case, "you have nothing to do" and "do you have anything to do" both belong to the same prompt. What do I mean by prompts? When I was working retail, all the other cashiers would ask "How are you today?" I would ask "did you find everything alright today?" Most customers respond to me with answers appropriate for "How are you today?" instead of what I actually asked. Ian.thomson (talk) 21:29, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Maybe because your question was ambiguous. It could have meant "Did you succeed in finding the things you were looking for?", or it could have meant "Was everything in an acceptable condition?". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:44, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Neither of those questions concerns the customers' wellbeing, however. "I'm fine, and you?" is very much a response to "how are you today?" Ian.thomson (talk) 21:47, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
It could also be construed as specifically today, as compared to other days when they may not have had a satisfactory experience. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 23:11, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
I tend to answer such questions with "My parole officer has advised me not to discuss it." That usually satisfies'em. μηδείς (talk) 21:50, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
I love it when I go to the doctor and he asks me "How are you?" My answer always is, "You're supposed to tell me that." KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 00:38, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
That's old-school thinking, KT. Doctors are busy people and haven't got time for trivial details like signs and symptoms. In these latter days of internet-based self-diagnosis, you get to the point straight away and tell the doctor exactly what's wrong, and he/she says "OK, I'll prescribe X for that. That'll be $100 for my valuable time. Bye. Next." -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:12, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Wrong! My nurse-practitioner charges $80. μηδείς (talk) 01:39, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Ah, you poor people. It's free in the UK. :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 11:35, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Don't kid yourself. No charge per service =/= free. UK taxes, high by international standards, pay for your "free" health service, and they apply equally to the healthy and the sick. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 12:06, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Is that what you use for the "not equals" sign in Aussieland ? It's ≠ here, or perhaps ~= or != or <> if you lack that special character. StuRat (talk) 18:30, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
It's just my personal way. Thanks for the reminder about ≠. Now, I need to tell you that "Aussie" always refers to a person, not to the Great South Land. Imagine if I said I'm going to Yank or Kiwi or Pommie for a holiday.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:35, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
OK, I tacked on land. StuRat (talk) 22:06, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
On the principle that there "...followeth not the undoing of any man, but the loss lighteth rather easily upon many than heavy upon few" (the dictum underlying the Common Law relating to insurance). Alansplodge (talk) 18:07, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
I know, Jack. Plus, we have National Insurance, a bit like buying a pre-paid top-up regularly for a mobile you might only use half a dozen times in a lifetime. Immigrants who are not working and random foreign tourists here, however, do not have that problem. It's free for them, too. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 14:41, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Non-EU residents are supposed to pay for NHS treatment, but aren't often billed because of the admin costs. However, this is the subject of a recent clampdown - see NHS hospital patients may have to show ID to access treatment. Alansplodge (talk) 17:57, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I was going to mention that, but the situation is still slightly fuzzy, and is not being implemented just yet. We'll have to wait until Cameron and Clegg abdicate for everything to be sorted out. The two of them can't even decide which house to live at. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 18:49, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

April 17

In (the) hospital

I know that in the US people say that a person is "in the hospital", and in the UK we say "in hospital" - [6]. Which style is prevalent in Australia and New Zealand? Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:11, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

In the North of England (at least the North West), we use both, but certainly witha preference for the latter. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 12:36, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
In Scouseland it would be "ozzie" or even "in the ozzie". Martinevans123 (talk) 12:44, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Din' wanna confewze tings, lar. Sum pipl 'ere a forrenuz. In fakht, 'in ozzie' iz not az commun az 'in dee ozzie'. Ah'll ass me baird n see wo' she sez. :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 14:22, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
"Cairm down! Cairm down!" (... Dey do, doh, don't dey, doh?) Martinevans123 (talk) 15:23, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
'In hospital' down here. But are you sure the USians say 'in the hospital', outside of contexts where the particular hospital is specified? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 13:32, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, Jack, we do. We say "in jail" and "in school", but for some reason we use the definite article with hospital even if the particular one is unknown or unspecified. Deor (talk) 14:26, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, indeed. But you're just using one way to analogize... there are other analogies to draw. Do they say "He's in bathroom [or restroom/water closet/whatever]" in the UK? Or "I have a flat in city?" Or, turning it around, do they say "Let's go to hospital?" I suspect not for all of these, but someone will correct me if I'm wrong about that. I don't think this dropping (or adding, depending on your perspective) of articles follows any rules or patterns. I think it's just custom and accident of history, but I'd welcome refs to the contrary :) SemanticMantis (talk) 15:38, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
'in hospital' also occurs in Canadian English, at least in Ontario. Rmhermen (talk) 15:09, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
It occurs, but it's unusual. For me (SW Ontario), it's always "in the hospital". If I hear it without the article, I assume a foreign speaker who hasn't had all his articles returned during the customs check. Matt Deres (talk) 16:10, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
I was born in Women's and Children's Hospital in Detroit, due north of the SW Ontario city of Windsor, and grew up watching three U.S. TV stations and one Canadian station. Not surprising that broadcast language diffusion would allow Americanisms to seep across the border. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:16, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Actually it may be broadcast language where it differs. I keep hearing Ontarians denying that they use "in hospital" but it noticeably jumps out as odd when I hear it on CBC. When I check, for instance, a recent border shooting I find: U.S. sources: "the hospital" NY Daily News; "at a hospital", NY Times; "a hospital", USA Today; "to the hospital", WXYZ Detroit, "a local hospital", NBC; versus Canadian: "from hospital", CBC; and Toronto Star, "in hospital", CTV News and AM980 London. Rmhermen (talk) 03:10, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
"This is an aiport announcement. If you see an indefinite article in the departures lounge, please notify security immediately." :) In English, we can say 'He has gone to the airport,' even though there are multiple airports in my area alone. 'In the hospital', to me, would normally be for either a visit or as an out-patient. 'In hospital', on the other hand, would generally refer to the person being an in-patient. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 16:50, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
See also this previous thread on the same subject (I remembered it because I started it). Alansplodge (talk) 17:48, 17 April 2015 (UTC)


You can do something in a nonchalant manner. Can something be done in a "chalant" manner? Why is there no such word (at least in English)? Dismas|(talk) 22:19, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Solutely not. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:30, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
nonchalant/nonchalance aren't listed there, but there are other examples in our article unpaired word.
The verbs nonchaloir and chaloir both once existed in French, but in French too, only the negative form "nonchalant" has survived as an adjectival gerund, so it's an unpaired word in French as well (though there is the noun "chalant" as a rare variety of chaland, which has the same roots, but isn't the antonym of nonchalant). ---Sluzzelin talk 22:56, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Hmmm... sounds like "chalant" is dyscromulant. Or should that be noncromulant? Or incromulant, etc, etc? --Shirt58 (talk) 02:33, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
None of the above. Whatever the prefix may be, the ending is -ent, not -ant.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 08:36, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Well I know you are all upside down, Jack, on your side of the world, but what on earth are you saying? Dbfirs 09:06, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I think the confusion comes because you only have one vowel in your six letter username. :) See cromulent. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 09:23, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank, KT, and apologies to Jack. I see what he was replying to now (It's not a word in my dictionary). Dbfirs 09:35, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Why Aye, yee should get yeeself a be'ah one then :) Or does Biffa Bacon count as a dictionary up there? :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 09:46, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I had to look that up because I'm a long way from Newcastle (actually nearer to Scouseland linguistically). My dictionary has "cromlech" but is probably waiting to see whether "cromulent" takes off as a word. It's only in Wikipedia and Wiktionary that I have ever see it, though it's possibly more common on the other side of the pond where it was invented. Dbfirs 10:46, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
As Wiktionary says, it was a humorous neologism by some random American comedy writer, and I have only seen the word used twice - both times here on the Ref Desk, and actually both times in recent weeks. I doubt the word will take off, as its meaning (as stated in Wiktionary) is far too broad. And sorry for the Newcastle reference, but anything further up north than us up north is Geordie :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 11:41, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Oh golly, golly gum-drops. This little koala suspected that "dyscromulant", "noncromulant" and so on might be misspelled when the browser spell-checker put wavey red lines under them. But as an arboreal herbivorous marsupial, I'm rather nonchalent about these sort of things. Phascolarctos cinereus aka --Shirt58 (talk) 12:44, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

April 18


Is the verb to disallow computer-speak or formal language? How does it differ from forbid or deny? In my dictionary it is "refusing to allow". Is it more like a technical restriction? Driving under influence may be forbidden by law but can be "disallowed" by hiding the car keys? Is that it? Please advise me about the correct use. --Pxos (talk) 07:28, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

It's formal enough, its use goes back centuries, such as in the King James Bible [7]. Its main use is in language referring to laws or rules - we say in football that a goal is 'disallowed' if an infringement of the rules occurred, such as offside or a foul. In computer-speak it's used as the opposite of 'allow'. Here are some examples of its recent usage from Google Books. Mikenorton (talk) 07:57, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
... and in your car keys example, "prevented" would be more appropriate in your sentence. "Disallow" goes back to Middle English in the fourteenth century, but in modern English it tends to be used more in the context of rules and regulations. Dbfirs 09:02, 18 April 2015 (UTC)