Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2012 March 7

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March 7[edit]

relative pronouns[edit]

anybody please help me to find out if this sentence is wrong and why

...Sam has created a well-known series "CSI" which main characters are brilliant and good-looking detectives.

and if this sentence is correct?

...Sam has created a well-known series "CSI" whose main characters are brilliant and good-looking detectives. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:33, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

The first is definitely wrong (would have to be "the main characters of which"). The second is OK, though some stylists dislike "whose" referring back to an inanimate... AnonMoos (talk) 03:27, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
You also need commas before and after the word CSI. American style is to put the second comma between the letter 'I' and the right quotation mark. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 04:13, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
And CSI should be in italics, not quotation marks. --Viennese Waltz 08:49, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd also replace "brilliant and good-looking" with "brilliant, good-looking", which makes it clear that each detective has both qualities, instead of some being brilliant and others being good-looking. The "has" also seems extraneous. And perhaps you should say "TV series" to differentiate from a series of movies, and "police detectives", to make it clear you aren't talking about private detectives. StuRat (talk) 08:53, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Combining my suggestions with those above, I get:

...Sam created a well-known TV series, CSI, whose main characters are brilliant, good-looking police detectives.

StuRat (talk) 08:58, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
This may be a comment too far, but if we're talking about the actual CSI TV series, that was actually created by someone called Anthony Zuiker, not someone called Sam. --Viennese Waltz 09:07, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Also "brilliant, good-looking police detectives"[citation needed] Adam Bishop (talk) 09:39, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Another option is

...Sam created a well-known TV series, CSI, the main characters of which are brilliant, good-looking police detectives.

PaulTanenbaum (talk) 18:48, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Oh, and the reason the first sentence is wrong is that the phrase "which main characters" would have to have a referent earlier in the sentence, and the only possible candidate to serve in that role is "TV series." Because a TV series is not main characters, the two halves of the putative sentence mismatch, so the result is syntactically invalid. Compare to the much more (syntactically) acceptable "The Yankees field a starting line-up, which players are nearly all superstars."—PaulTanenbaum (talk) 18:53, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Not every style guide mandates italics for TV show titles. Not all forms of written communication can support italics. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:31, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Japanese Farting Competition 1812[edit]

see He-gassen. Whats does it say on the last segment of the scroll? -- Cherubino (talk) 17:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

It's the drawer's notes and it says "it's a copy and the drawer added some". But the third year of 弘化/Kōka is 1846, not 1812. Oda Mari (talk) 08:08, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

original way to separate the men from the boys[edit]

I know it's used frequently / metaphorically (/ironically), but what is the original way or first usage of separating the men from the boys, or when did this gain popularity? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:11, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Do you mean "You can tell the men from the boys by the size of their toys ?" StuRat (talk) 19:12, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Or perhaps you mean a particular religious or cultural practice, like a Bar Mitzvah ? StuRat (talk) 19:14, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The OP would like, I infer, the origin and history of the phrase "[this will] separate the mens from the boys". Is there a regional disparairty in its usage? Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 19:55, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
This page, which seems to be reproducing the entry in the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, dates the idiom to "c. 1930". Deor (talk) 19:40, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The expression is common among Americans, especially Americans of a certain generation (say, born before 1945). It usually refers to a task that requires considerable skill, confidence, or, less often, physical strength. It's the sort of thing my father (b. 1935) is likely to say, but people my age (b. early 60s) or younger are less likely to say, or are likely to say only ironically. I don't know how common the expression is outside the United States. Marco polo (talk) 20:33, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
See "the men from the boys" at Google Ngram Viewer.
Wavelength (talk) 20:47, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
"The first time I felt like an adult was when I was first charged as an adult." - One of the bullies on The Simpsons. StuRat (talk) 22:02, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The phrase is in common use in the UK; does it come from "sort the sheep from the goats", which has a similar meaning? Alansplodge (talk) 22:27, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Or separating the wheat from the chaff? -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 08:42, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
That seems a bit different, in that chaff is almost worthless. I don't think the original quote meant to imply that either men or boys are worthless. StuRat (talk) 07:59, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Not in absolute terms, no. The original quote tends to be used metaphorically, but the ostensible meaning is that the speaker is more interested in the men than in the boys, because men have more value to him than boys do. It's like "You don't send a boy to do a man's job"; that's not saying that boys are worthless in themselves, but they do not have whatever's required to do the (metaphorical) job in question, and therefore have no value in that sense. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 04:03, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Middle English: "seiden"[edit]

What is today's word for "seiden". I see it here in Wycliffe's Bible Acts 1:10 - And whanne thei biheelden hym goynge in to heuene, lo! `twei men stoden bisidis hem in white clothing, and seiden, How might one say this sentence in today's English?--Doug Coldwell talk 21:03, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

It's the third person plural of the past tense of "to say": "(they) said". Iblardi (talk) 21:13, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Can you put this verse into today's English?--Doug Coldwell talk 21::40, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Acts 1:10–11. Angr (talk) 22:10, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
"And when they beheld him going into heaven, lo! two men stood beside them in white clothing, and said"; from Iblardi (talk) 22:17, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
(EC)"and seiden," would be "and said," because the next verse starts '“Men of Galilee, what stand ye beholding into heaven?"' Alansplodge (talk) 22:20, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks.--Doug Coldwell talk 22:48, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I hope this doesn't sound rude, but Doug, surely you know there are modern English translations of the Bible? If you don't have a an actual Bible handy, it's all online. Obviously you're reading Wycliffe's translation on Wikisource, you linked to it in a question last week. The King James and American Standard Versions are also on Wikisource, and if you enter any chapter and verse into Google, it will give you dozens of websites with dozens of other versions. Adam Bishop (talk) 22:51, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Adam for the comment. I am interested in just the Wycliffe Bible and NOT the other "translations" as I believe there is something lost between Wycliffe's Bible and modern versions. I do like the KJV and think there is little lost between Wycliffe and KJV. However after KJV I think there is much lost - so I go back to the original source of Wycliffe. Some of the Medieval English and Middle English words confuse me. For example is "seiden" which I now realize is like today's "said". I should have known as I have heard teenagers say something like: "I heard him saiden to others that he doesn't like history." Thanks again Adam for taking note in what I am doing.--Douglas Coldwell (talk) 14:04, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I think the majority opinion is that if you're looking for an accurate translation, go for something more modern. If you're looking for some historical context to the early Reformation, or a colourful and idiosyncratic piece of Middle English, then Wycliffe's your man. Alansplodge (talk) 15:00, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Wycliffe and his associates did their best with what was available to them, but their translation is based almost solely on the Latin Vulgate, whereas during the last 400+ years of Bible translation into English it has been considered greatly preferable to go back to the earliest available forms of the Biblical texts in their original languages (Hebrew and Greek). AnonMoos (talk) 15:33, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
If you're looking for comparison texts, the Challoner Douay-Rheims Bible or the Confraternity Bible would also be expected to parallel Wycliffe closely, as they are based on the Vulgate. I'm not sure how close Knox's Translation would be for your purposes, as it is also informed by the Hebrew and Greek in places. If you look here, you can see the Vulgate text parallel with the Douay-Rheims and KJV, which might be interesting to look at with your Wycliffe. (talk) 18:46, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I appreciated the great sources and areas where y'all have pointed me to. The earliest source I can find is Wycliffe for the New Testament. IF (big "if") there are earlier sources (i.e. Hebrew, Greek), could someone tell me where it is? Keep in mind I am looking for earlier sources to the New Testamant than Wycliffe's Bible. Not just any Greek or Hebrew, but New Testament versions in any language (i.e. Latin) written PRIOR to the fourteenth century.--Doug Coldwell talk 20:05, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not too sure what you're trying to say, but pick up a Nestle-Aland, and you'll have Koine Greek coming out of your ears... AnonMoos (talk) 02:25, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Leaping back to 550, this appears to be a transcription of the Codex Laudianus (parallel Greek and Latin texts). The earliest text of Acts 1 attested in our List of New Testament papyri is in Papyrus 45, c. 250. Shimgray | talk | 20:33, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the references and sources. That will give me something to study for awhile.--Doug Coldwell talk 22:17, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
My apologies - I got the papyrus number wrong there! P45 only starts at Acts 4; Papyrus 56 is the first papyrus with Acts 1, according to our list, c. 500. I won't say that's the earliest - it'd probably be worth checking a book specifically discussing Acts, which will probably have a quick summary of manuscript dates in it. Shimgray | talk | 22:35, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
And the Latin Vulgate itself is late 4th century, and it's quite interesting because we aren't completely sure what Hebrew and Greek manuscripts Jerome was looking at in making this translation. As I said, you can read the Vulgate (both Testaments) at the external link I provided, alongside the KJV and Douay-Rheims translations into English. If you're looking for old manuscripts, rather than old translations passed on by copying, we have an almost complete Vulgate New Testament from the mid 6th century in the Codex Fuldensis, although the Gospels are replaced with the Diatessaron.
Oh, and there were earlier Latin translations, although I think the earliest manuscripts we have for them are only 4th century: List of New Testament Latin manuscripts, Old Latin Bible. (talk) 02:13, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
If you are looking for the oldest complete text, that is the Codex Sinaiticus (manuscript). If you are looking for the original version, it no longer exists, but I second AnonMoos's recommendation of a critical edition such as Nestle-Aland, which takes into account all the extant manuscripts in an attempt to approximate the original. Wycliffe is interesting in his own way, but there are tens of thousands of New Testament manuscripts that have survived from before his time, many of which are available online. See New Testament manuscripts for a summary. Lesgles (talk) 16:47, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


We all think we know what bullying is. But is there an exact definition? the article is not clear.-- (talk) 21:31, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

For a definition, it is best to look in a dictionary rather than an encyclopedia. Try this.--Shantavira|feed me 21:54, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The UK charity Childline has a page; What is bullying?. In my 1960s and 70s schooldays, a lot of actions that would clearly be described as bullying today would have come under the heading of "character building". Alansplodge (talk) 22:43, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a bully as "a tyrannical coward who makes himself a terror to the weak." The definitions for the verb "to bully" is based on that, and "bullying" is "The action of the verb to bully : overbearing insolence; personal intimidation; petty tyranny. Often used with reference to schoolboy life." -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:35, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
That word has an interesting history, of both positive and negative connotations.[1]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:33, 8 March 2012 (UTC)


How would I say "Fuck off you supercillious twat" in Welsh?-- (talk) 21:52, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I direct you to How do I swear in Welsh? from which you should be able to find something along the right lines. This blog has a more restricted vocabulary, but has an easy pronunciation guide. I couldn't find an online translator that could cope with "supercillious", but the University of Wales translates "haughty" (just about the same thing in my book) as 1. penuchel adj. trahaus adj. ucheldrem adj. Note that adjectives go after the noun in Welsh, so you'd have to say "twat supercillious". Alansplodge (talk) 22:13, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
At the risk of appearing supercilious could I mention that there is only one 'l'. Richard Avery (talk) 11:35, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Ah yes. Well spotted. Alansplodge (talk) 13:02, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Note that the editor is currently on a 2-day vacation, and also geolocates to LC's territory. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:41, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
"LC" meaning? Alansplodge (talk) 13:06, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
The supercilious troll Lightcurrent. Adam Bishop (talk) 13:25, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Aha! I knew it couldn't be Lactation consultant ;-) Alansplodge (talk) 14:56, 8 March 2012 (UTC)