Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Language/December 2005

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December 1[edit]

a sentence in the movie the 13 days[edit]

I saw as american movie named " the thirteen days" hosted by Kevin Costner. There is a sentence in this movie which sounds like " Jean-paul john". The translation is " since the 18th century". I do not know how to write the correct sentence. I whish I can get some helps here.

Perhaps this was a reference to John Paul Jones, an American naval hero who lived in that century. --Anonymous, 06:00 UTC, December 1, 2005
The line you're thinking of is "The navy has been running blockades since the days of John Paul Jones.", so Anonymous is correct. --Canley 06:11, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Origin of the English word 'dog'[edit]

I would like to ask if anyone knows anything about the origin of the English word 'dog'. I have been unable to find any cognate words in any of the other Indo-European Languages.

Does anyone know? I would appreciate it.

The OED tells us it's from late Old English, around a thousand years ago, where it was "docga", earlier history unknown. It was a specific name then, not a generic - the word "hund" was used in the sense of "all canines". "So far as the evidence goes, the word appears first in English, as the name of a powerful breed or race of dogs, with which the name was introduced into the continental languages, usually, in early instances, with the attribute 'English'". Other than that, no idea... Shimgray | talk | 16:08, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
The Online Etymology Dictionary says "the origin remains one of the great mysteries of English etymology". Dog comes from Middle English dogge and Old English docga, which replaced the Germanic hund. Beyond that, apparently nobody knows. [1] Dog is also found in the Australian Aboriginal language Mbabaram, a particularly unusual false cognate. ᓛᖁ♀ 16:18, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I wonder if it could be partly onomatopoeic? I have never heard a dog say "woof"; there's no way a dog can make an F sound. Shantavira 19:20, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
By way of amusing trivia, the Russian general word for dog is "sobaka" (no, not related to "bark"), but the word for a Great Dane is ... "dog". JackofOz 21:52, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I believe the Georgian general word for dog is "dog," also. Dave 15:38, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
There's also German Dogge for bulldog, which is obviously related to English dog. Flag of Europe.svgFlag of Austria.svg ナイトスタリオン 23:15, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

And a "Dogue de Bordeaux" in French - what we call a French mastiff. BTW the "f" in "woof" is supposed to be sound of the dog's mouth closing at the end of the bark. Jameswilson 03:01, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks a lot to all of you! It has always been one of my little 'pet peeves' (pardon the pun!) not being able to find the etymology of certain words. Here's another one, then.... What about the English word 'bad'? Does it come from the Persian word 'bad' (same meaning), as no similar words seem to exist in any Western European languages?

Oxford often doesn't have the etymology, but they usually have a go. It seems the origin before the 13th century is unknown, but there's a plausible case that it comes from Old English bædling - 'effeminate fellow, womanish man' - morphing into a derogatory adjective (bæddel). There's reference to another Old English origin, a more contrived one, but nothing else. It's very unlikely it comes from Persian, and this is probably a false cognate. Shimgray | talk | 10:57, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Help with Russian wikipedia and Donetsk, Ukraine hospitals[edit]

I am in need of finding the phone numbers for each significant hospital in Donetsk, Ukraine. However, I don't speak Russian. I've been attempting to use to stumble through websites in Russian, but the most promising site ( could not be translated by babelfish. I'm running out of options on how to proceed. I thought I might place a question on this at the reference desk of the Russian wikipedia, but I don't have the knowledge to know what page that is. So I need answers to:

  1. What is the URL for the reference desk page for miscellaneous questions like this page?
  2. Does anyone here know enough Russian to work their way through to see if it can provide a list of significant hospitals in Donetsk (and would you do so please)?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. A close friend of our family is reported to be in a hospital in Donetsk, but we lack any other information at this point. We are trying to find out what has happened to her. Thanks in advance, --Durin 16:12, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

    • My Russian (much less Ukrainian!) is not worth ten cents, but in the corner of that site is a picture of a British flag which leads to an English version of the page. The "Electronic Catalog" might be helpful, might not. That's about all I can do for you... --Fastfission 04:08, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
        • I do speak Russian & Ukrainian and these are the only ones listed in the Ukrainian version of that page as well. --Ornil 19:44, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Also, I believe you can ask questions at the Russian Wikipedia at "Forum". --Fastfission 04:16, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Here's more information: (these are international phone calls, so you need to dial 011, followed by 380 for Ukraine)
The main hospital in the Donetsk region
(English, click on "Our Hospital" for the phone numbers)
Cancer care hospital: (Russian)
(0622) 382-77-60.
A transplant hospital: (Russian)
(0622)-95-65-23, (0622)-95-65-08
A center for lymphosurgery: (Russian)
  • (0622) 972001* --HappyCamper 03:48, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

grammar question[edit]

I have searched for the grammatical rule/reason for the examples I've listed below but can't find an answer. Please help.

Both the left and right hand or both the left and right hands? If you use the latter it seems that there is more than one hand.

PA and lateral radiograph or PA and lateral radiographs? (This meaning a PA and a lateral....if you use the latter then it leaves you wondering how many radiographs were obtained.

What if you take out "Both" i.e.

The left and right hands or the left and right hand? (The former seems as if you have more than one right hand.) 18:58, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Depends on the context. "Both" does mean more than one hand, so it would be "both (left and right) hands". If only one hand is meant, the phrase would be "either hand". ("left and right" seems to be redundant.) Shantavira 19:26, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I would use "both the left and right hands" and "PA and lateral radiographs". Grumpy Troll (talk) 19:33, 1 December 2005 (UTC).
People who know what a PA view is, and what a lateral view is, know that they are not on the same x-ray film (that is, "PA and lateral view" and "PA and lateral views" are both, unambiguously, two x-rays) so it doesn't much matter how you say it. And, though it may be that "x-rays of the left and right hand" might conceivably result in but one x-ray being taken, in most cases it will be (at least) two. But you will know that this is so only on the basis of standard practice, not grammar. Note that, in general, you won't know how many x-rays were taken just by knowing which views were ordered - there's considerable variation - and note also that the number of x-rays doesn't necessarily correlate with radiation exposure. The number of plates exposed isn't generally what is important to specify. - Nunh-huh 04:39, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
When you're using "left and right hand" to refer to locations, that's an acceptable use, as in "I make both left and right hand turns," but you should probably hyphenate. Dave 15:41, 3 December 2005 (UTC)


It's always kind of amused me that the word most commonly used to mean "opposed to homosexuals" is homophobia. It seems like a good PR move to get everybody saying that people that hate you are afraid of you. Is there a more accurate way of describing somebody who hates gay people, or how would one be constructed out of the greek roots? --ParkerHiggins 20:25, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

How about "stupid"? --Angr (t·c) 20:35, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
The word's roots literally mean 'fear of similarity': does that say anything about homophobes? --Gareth Hughes 20:47, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
There is an explanation of the word's etymology at homophobia, along with alternative terms used and controversy over the term. --Fastfission 04:42, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

December 2[edit]


What does this mean:

I stand corrected


It means "I have been corrected", or a bit more graciously, "You are correct, I was wrong." - Nunh-huh 04:29, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

arc versus arche[edit]

(also posed on Talk:Grande Arche)

Is there any reason that the Grande Arche de la Fraternité uses the feminine form of the French word for arch, while the Arc de Triomphe uses the masculine? Do the two uses have different connotations? Was it deliberate, or was there no specific purpose behind the choice? I couldn't find anything about this in the French article either. —Charles P. (Mirv) 06:22, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

The difference between the two words is more one of historical usage than of connotation. Both words have a complicated etymological history and seem to have been used interchangeably in the 17th century and possibly later. The Arc de Triomphe was sometimes called the Arche de Triomphe in the 19th century, a usage frowned upon in 1853 by the author of Le langage vicieux. Nowadays Arc de Triomphe is always used, and any contemporary arch-shaped monument would be called une arche rather than un arc. - Mu 22:41, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Speech - language[edit]

What is a person called that has reached her/his 70th birthday? (between 70 & 80 years of age. I know that 80 year olds are called "octogenarians". Is there such a term for being 70?

septuagenarian -Nunh-huh 07:40, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

dfbvxfgfsgdfgfthfe ui uihjch uixcjskjdn iu dsuihuxjkchjx hxjckvhjxchvixucvhuisfhuihcuihsauiiysufrhjkh cx

Origin of the word "Quebec"[edit]

What is the origin of the word Quebec, I've looked in the Quebec article and at Wiktionary:Quebec and done a quick google search and not found an answer. Thryduulf 09:30, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I believe that it comes from the Cree (or another First Nations language) word, Kebec which means something like "where the river narrows". Quebec City is located where the St. Lawrence River narrows from the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Ground Zero | t 14:20, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Neither the Cree nor the Algonquins lived around Quebec City - the Hurons called it Stadacona - and I can't find any word in either language that fits that etymology, although time and the diversity of dialects might defeat any amateur effort to confirm it - my dictionaries are for Plains Cree and Minnesota Ojibwe rather than Montagnais or Algonquin. The Micmac word Gepèèg - for "strait" - is the source that seems most credibly cited. --Diderot 14:44, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I defer to Diderot's clearly superior knowledge of the issue. Thanks. Ground Zero | t 15:14, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Gaelic to English translations in Australia.[edit]

Bernard, an Australian reader sent the following inquiry to the Wikipedia Help mailing list.

I need to know where I can contact an association regarding translating Gaelic words into English.

Thank you for any assistance that you can give him. Capitalistroadster 23:41, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

There's also a small Gaelic dictionary here. ᓛᖁ♀ 23:55, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

December 3[edit]

Scotish Highland Gaelic language[edit]


could somebody who knows Scottish Highland Gaelic language please check if the words i need in english - 1st words (as shown) match the word in the Scotish Highland Gaelic language - 2nd words?? and if not could you please reply with a correct specific & exact wording please.

  • Strength - NEART
  • Honour - ONOIR
  • Pride - UAISLE

Thank you for your time


According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, Scottish uses the following:
Strength: [2]
  • spracadh, spionnadh (force, might)
  • spéiread, treuntas (power)
  • treise (a. strongest, vigour)
  • treòir (direction, force, power)
  • tapadh (activity, clever feat, cleverness, success)
  • tailce, rachd (vexation)
  • neart (might, power)
  • lùth (activity, pith, power, vigour)
  • clì (awkward : an car clì, left, the left-hand turn, vigour)
Honour: [3]
  • urram (deference, respect, reverence)
  • talmaich, onoir (dignity, respect)
  • mòralachd (majesty)
  • eanach (dandriff)
  • cliù (praise, renown, reputation)
Pride: [4]
  • pròis (haughtiness)
  • spailp (boldness, self-conceit, self-confidence)
  • àrdan (anger, eminence, haughtiness, height, hill)
  • bròd (a crowd)
  • cuideal, leòm (conceit, vainglory)
  • moit (pettishness, sulkiness)
  • ànart, sodal (flattery)
  • uaisle (gentility; a. genteeler, more, politer)
  • stàt, stràic (a swell of anger)
  • straic, uabhar (insolence, vainglory)
  • uaibhreas (pomp, vainglory)
  • uaill (vainglory, vanity)
  • sgòid the words to use may depend on the exact sense you mean for each. ᓛᖁ♀ 04:00, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
As an aside, you should avoid citing that particular site when possible; its author appears to make a policy of never acknowledging his sources, so it's impossible to determine how reliable it is. (It may also be violating copyright law.) — Haeleth Talk 12:36, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

i could care less[edit]

why do americans say that? it doesnt make sense, should be "i couldnt care less". preceding unsigned comment by Zzzzz (talk • contribs)

I reckon it's all part of the frontier spirit that dominates the US. Or an act of defiance against the empirialist Englishmen. -- Ec5618 16:42, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
It started out as a sarcastic variation of "I couldn't care less," and then it became what it is now. See Steven Pinker's Words and Rules for more. Dave 17:03, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
As Dave said it started as a sarcasm. Although what tends to happen is that once the expression gets widespread, people stop saying it in a sarcastic tone, so you get this rather confusing result. Another (american) example is "fat chance", meaning there is very little chance. There's also a different process which can lead to the same kind of result: Words that are used to emphasize something in one context get transformed into generic 'emphasizers' and get used in contexts where they don't actually make sense. For instance the word "literally" (which literally means: "taken word-for-word"), which has come to be used more and more for emphasizing just about anything. So I wouldn't be surprized to hear someone say "He literally didn't do that", or something like that. (Some people find this very annoying, although personally I think that's silly. These are things which normally happen all the time in all languages. It's how languages develop.) --BluePlatypus 23:25, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Oh, don't get me started. One of my pet peeves is people saying "personally, I think ...". Is there any other "I" than the personal one? JackofOz 06:47, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
How about "personally, I was thinking in my head--"  ? Elf | Talk 01:19, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, there are other "I"'s than the personal one, in this context. For example: "Personally, I think you should do this, although professionally I cannot advise you on such matters.". Or, if you want to emphasize that it is your personal opinion and not that of some group or organization you may represent. Or, if you simply want to emphasize that it is your own personal opinion and that you aren't necessarily advocating that others should adopt it. --BluePlatypus 01:25, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
That looks a lot to me like different personallys. Dave 01:57, 8 December 2005 (UTC)


Question- Could you please help me to use the word harmony in a sentence?

Like for example- A guy very talented very strong-willed had a gift of teaching and a passion for people to live in harmony.

I'm writing about my father who was a very compassionate man and true my father did want his company and things to run smoothly (cars) etc. to be one with nature in harmony.

It would be better English to rewrite it as: "He was talented and strong willed. He had a gift for teaching, and a passion that people might live together in harmony". --Gareth Hughes 18:20, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

December 4[edit]

origination of "centre" in britishspelling vs. "center"[edit]

See American and British English spelling differences. It was probably Noah Webster who did it. —Keenan Pepper 15:53, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
This spelling was established in America well before Webster, being the usual spelling in the UK from 16th to 18th century and found in Shakspeare, Milton, Boyle, Pope, Addison, etc. (according to the OED). This is an example of the many changes in spelling to occur in the UK while an older spelling continued to be used in the US. Shantavira 18:53, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Hmmm... if so, the article referenced above is misleading. Why would the British go from the phoenetic "-er" to "-re?" -- Mwalcoff 01:55, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Probably following the French etymology. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:08, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Poor Noah is usually blamed for mangling the language (well he did) but really all he did was establish an American standard. Centre is the earliest form in the OED but Shakspeare used center and centur and sentre are also recorded. MeltBanana 03:02, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Just as a point of order, although spellings may be quoted from the printed works of Shakespeare, we have no way of knowing if Shakespeare himself used these spellings in his plays as it is most unlikely that the printed versions were composed directly from Sakespeare's manuscripts. Valiantis 21:58, 7 December 2005 (UTC)


There's the song of Era called "Ameno". I thought it was latin in source and tried to translate it... but the word Ameno itself wasn't in any dictionary. A search in Wikipedia gave me a close Japanease god but I don't believe the song is Japanease. somebody told me it might be old eygptian. does anybody know its source and meaning?

Certainly it is in the dictionary. Try a spanish one. "ameno" is spanish for "pleasant". I don't have a spanish etymological dictionary handy, but I'm guessing it's most likely from the latin "amare" (to love), from which the romance languages get their words for 'love' and also 'friend' (latin "amicus", spanish "amigo"). An english word from the same root with almost the same meaning is "amicable". --BluePlatypus 23:05, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Not to mention amenable. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:09, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Interestingly enough, the only places I find on the Internet that contain any word of the lyrics... are sites with the lyrics of the song.

Ameno means 'fun' in spanish, literally.

-It is quoted on their website that it is an imaginary language based off of Latin. I also heard somewhere that it was "Pseudolatin" meaning it is a mix of French and Latin. Either way it is based off of latin, but is also not a real language.~Nyamo

December 5[edit]

Jail and prison[edit]

How come jail and prison mean the same thing but jailer and prisoner have opposite meanings? — JIP | Talk 10:09, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Why do we park on a driveway but drive on a parkway? As my Latin teacher used to say when asked an unanswerable question, "Why is a duck?" --Angr (t·c) 11:43, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I always thuoght the question was, "what's the difference between a duck?" Ground Zero | t 19:53, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Somewhere in the bowel that is OED online, I saw that prisoner was used as equivalent to jailer, around 1200 CE. It's not much help, but it's not about ducks I guess.--Commander Keane 22:54, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

The question does actually have a sensible answer, which is simply that the suffix -er has multiple senses. The online American Heritage Dictionary says:

1a. One that performs a specified action: swimmer. b. One that undergoes or is capable of undergoing a specified action: broiler. c. One that has: ten-pounder. d. One associated or involved with: banker.

So "jailer" is sense 1a and "prisoner" is 1d.

While irrelevant to the question, it might also be noted that "jail" and "prison" are not always synonyms, especially in US usage. See prison, third paragraph.

--Anonymous, 09:30 UTC, December 6, 2005

It's called non-compositional morphology. When a word is composed of more than one morpheme, but the meaning of the word is not totally determined by the meanings of the morphemes that compose it, then it's an instance of non-compositional morphology. In much the same sense that catnip means something that you can't deduce by knowing what nip is and what cats are, so does prisoner have content that is not fully knowable from its parts.
Jailer, however, is morphologically totally regular. A jailer is a person who is usually the subject of the verb to jail because when -er is attached to a verb it usually means the person or thing that performs that action. There is no corresponding verb to prison (although there is to imprison, but that's different). When -er is attached to something that isn't a verb, the meaning is less determinate. --Diderot 11:34, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Or, to put it another way, "Because human languages develop organically." -- Jmabel | Talk 23:58, 11 December 2005 (UTC)


Gerrymandering is named after a Massachussets governor named Gerry. I got that from Wikipedia. What is 'mandering' ? Where does that part of the word come from? Thanks if you can help.

It comes from the word Salamander. When the map of the new voting district was shown, it was noted that it looked like a lizard:
A Gerrymander
. See Gerrymandering. smurrayinchester(User), (Ho Ho Ho!) 10:56, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

What types of English are spoken on Fiji?[edit]

What types of English are spoken on Fiji

  • Not sure I understand your questions. But: "The use of English is one of the most enduring legacies of almost a century of British rule. Widely spoken by both ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians, English is the main medium of communication between the two communities, as well as with the outside world. It is the language in which the government conducts most of its business, and is the main language of education, commerce, and the courts." From the Fiji article on this site. --Yardan
  • I think that (s)he is asking what sort of dialect of English is spoken in Fiji, something in which, I have to say, I am no expert (although I too am interested.) 23:56, 11 December 2005 Iinag

December 6[edit]

Language in Donald Duck comic[edit]

Reader Chris has sent an e-mail to the help desk seeking to identify the language used in a Donald Duck comic he has. The text is Send Inn Svarkortet Ditt I Utflyt Stand Innen 14 Dager,Sa Far Du En Stor. Hvor I All Verden Ble Det Av Dem. Ut Gjennom Den Dora.

I would be grateful for any assistance you can give him.

Capitalistroadster 01:46, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

  • It is Norwegian. "Send Inn Svarkortet Ditt I Utflyt Stand Innen 14 Dager,Sa Far Du En Stor. Hvor I All Verden Ble Det Av Dem. Ut Gjennom Den Dora." Translated: "Send in your answer card filled out within 14 days, said father. "Du en Stor (this makes no sense. Translated: "You one big") Where on earth did they go. Through that door. --Yardan \ Talk 06:23, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
    • The original poster obviously thought accent marks wouldn't matter. It is really "Send Inn Svarkorter Ditt I Utflyt Stand Innen 14 Dager, Så Får Du En Stor. Hvor I All Verden Ble Det Av Dem. Ut Gjennom Den Dora." So the confusing bit means "and you'll get a big one". Big what one? 1-liter glass of beer? — JIP | Talk 08:43, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Machine translation? Just to clarify the above a bit: "sa far" means "father said", "så får du" means "then you will recive". So the whole thing is (somewhat more literally) "Send in your answer-card in a filled out state prior to 14 days and you will recive a large one. Where in all the world did they go. Out through that door". --BluePlatypus 17:41, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Dashes in signatures[edit]

I know that here on Wikipedia the policy is to put 2 hyphens befors one's signature. I use this practice elsewhere, but I've always used a dash. I first started using a dash before my name to sign informal letters that I'd handwritten, and I carried it over into email and the like. What specific character should I be using? I know an em dash is used for this purpose in a quotation, but I'm never quoting myself when I use it. Is the em dash still the proper character, is it something else, or is this practise so uncommon that there's no rule at all? --—User:ACupOfCoffee@ 07:27, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Two dashes in typeset material is generally equal to a em dash, except in TeX. I'd go with an em dash, since that's generally used for gross punctuation and the en dash only for tiny things.--Prosfilaes 07:32, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree, I always use an em dash. → —Keenan Pepper 15:06, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
this is a policy? User:Zoe|(talk) 05:09, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Nope, just a widespread, informal custom. -- Jmabel | Talk 00:03, 12 December 2005 (UTC)


can anyone translate the words .....animarum errantium..... please

  • Looks like Latin. Have you tried a latin dictionary? - Mgm|(talk) 11:59, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Latin: "of wandering souls". --Gareth Hughes 12:23, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • It's from The Book of Judith, Chapter 11. "5: vivit enim Nabuchodonosor rex terrae et vivit virtus eius quae est in te ad correptionem omnium animarum errantium quoniam non solum homines serviunt illi per te sed et bestiae agri obtemperant illi" --Yardan \ Talk


1. Why is Language considered to be dynamic? 2. What is the difference between Creole and Dialect?

These sound like homework questions. As noted at the top of the page, we're not here to do your homework for you. You can start with our article on language, creole and dialect. Ground Zero | t 19:53, 6 December 2005 (UTC)


What is the meaning of the French word "Répétitrice"? TheMadBaron 20:29, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Répétiteur, -trice n. (1671: lat.)
  1. Personne qui explique à des élèves la leçon d'un professeur, les fait travailler.
  2. N. m. Techn. Appareil qui répète, reproduit les indications d'un autre appareil.
(Petit Robert. ed. 1989)
So it's a teacher's assistant - the second definition only applies to the masculine form. --Diderot 21:11, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Thank you. TheMadBaron 02:58, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

December 7[edit]

English sayings[edit]

Can someone please assist me with the origin of the following english sayings:

1. To "wet ones whistle" 2. It is cold enough to freeze the ball off a brass monkey

thank you

A guess for number 1: you whistle using your lips and mouth, so when you have a drink, you could be said to be wetting the part of your body you use to whistle, thus "wet your whistle" (pure guesswork, that, though.) As for number 2, I'm not sure of the origin, except that anything relating to the storage of cannonballs is almost certainly wrong, see Brass monkey, Snopes, or the alt.english.usage FAQ for discussion of why. -- AJR | Talk 02:16, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Such questions are often best answered at World Wide Words so please see: [5] on whistles; [6] on brass monkeys. jnothman talk 03:00, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
  1. To have a drink, usually an alcoholic beverage.
  2. "…to freeze the balls off a brass monkey". "Balls" → "testicles".

- Jmabel | Talk 00:07, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

CIA Arabic site[edit]

Is there someone who reads Arabic who can tell me what this official CIA website is about? Thanks EdwinHJ | Talk 05:21, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

I've read the page. It's an announcement by CIA (obviously) for rewards to anyone who presents information about imminent terrorist attacks, terrorist organisations, terrorists themselves, their weapons... If you need a precise translation or more details just let me know. CG 18:28, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Surname and career correlations[edit]

What do we call it when a person has a surname which denotes the career they are in? Example Mr Bush (A topiarist)

Nominative determinism or Aptronym.-gadfium 08:03, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Alumni == Graduate or not?[edit]

I've seen two different ways of defining alumni on wikipedia and elsewhere. Some say it's the same as "graduates" only -- other say it's more along the line of "former students" which would include former students and graduates -- which is correct? Thanks! --Quasipalm 20:04, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Alumnus comes from the Latin for foster child and basically means someone who is nourished. It does not have to mean graduated and is often used for someone from an institution or company. I have even heard it used as "John is an alumnus of Freud". MeltBanana 23:26, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Just to second this: alumnae are people who attended a given school: whether they graduated or not is irrelevant. - Nunh-huh 23:56, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
If you want to refer to graduates, say "graduates." If you want to refer to attendees who did not graduate, say "attendees who did not graduate." If you want to refer to all attendees including those who graduated, say "all attendees including those who graduated." Avoid using the word alumnus in technical context for the simple reason that it doesn't have a precise technical definition. --TantalumTelluride 00:04, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
But alumnus does have a precise definition: it's a person who has attended the school in question. It just may not be the definition you have use for at the moment! - Nunh-huh 00:27, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Nunh-huh, alumni are former students (most of the time just graduates). Alumnae are specifically female. Dave 00:54, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
That's certainly true. - Nunh-huh 02:18, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
What's this "alumnae" business? Surely it's alumnus (s.), alumni (pl.). "Alumnae" would be the plural of "alumna". Does such a Latin word exist? JackofOz 02:41, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, it's "alumna, alumnae", a 2nd declension noun, and applies to women only. Now that Vassar's co-ed it gets less work. - Nunh-huh 02:51, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, that's something new I've learned today, so thanks. But alumna/alumnae wouldn't be used in general contexts that could include both males and females, would it? Such as your text above: "Just to second this: alumnae are people who attended a given school". Not that this is an incorrect statement per se, but I would have though "alumni" would be more appropriate given this statement wasn't about a female-only institution. Sorry to be a nilly-willy nitpicking nitwit. JackofOz 03:00, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, alumni would have been the better choice. "Alumni" for more than one if they are not all female. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa! - Nunh-huh 03:51, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Go in peace, your sins are forgiven. Dominus vobiscum. JackofOz 04:11, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
This is why avoid using the word at all. Its definition is disputed. It has Latin suffixes depending upon its gender and number. And its most common form (alumni) sounds scientific and is relatively awkward in comparison to more specific terms such as graduates and attendees. Habemus papam! --TantalumTelluride 06:01, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
... and habeus corpus to you. JackofOz 06:06, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
... and habeas corpus to us all, every one! Dave 06:30, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Does anything ryme with the word orange?[edit]

I've often been told that the word orange has no other enlish word that rymes with it. Is this indeed true, or myth? What other words have no ryme if any?

  • Well, Rhymezone has no words that rhyme with orange so, this might indeed be true. --Yardan \ Talk
The people who say such things ignore the fact that rhyming is a complex business with eye rhymes and differing pronunciations. Do fringe, binge and orange rhyme? Also poets often rhyme one word with two; how about orange and door hinge? MeltBanana 23:19, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
  • That is true, dident really think of that. It is more complex. --Yardan \ Talk
But they are none-the-less right. Fringe, binge, and orange don't rhyme, nor does orange and door hinge. Eye rhymes, and assonance are not equivalent to "rhyme", which requires a difference between the two words followed by identical sounds. Even Stephen Sondheim hasn't come up with a rhyme for "orange", though he did write, "To find a rhyme with 'silver' / Or any 'rhymeless' rhyme / Requires only will, / Verbosity and time." - Nunh-huh 23:51, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Door hinge rhymes with orange in most initial-h-dropping dialects. Orange/door 'inge. Dave 01:58, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
If you have to pronounce it funny to make it rhyme, it's not much of a rhyme<g>. If you can pronounce it how you like it, you can make anything rhyme!- Nunh-huh 02:18, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Oh, it certainly doesn't rhyme in my dialect, but lots of people (I'm thinking certain Bretons) don't pronounce /h/ at the beginning of a word, so it does rhyme for them. Dave 14:31, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
This is one of many common English words that do not have rhymes. Others include: purple, silver, month, pint, chocolate, salmon, wasp and depth. I would almost go so far as to say that rhyming words are the exception rather than the rule (but I need to check that out a bit further before being categorical about it). JackofOz 01:50, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Don't let the rhyming Prescriptivists get you down, rhyming in skilled hands is always more flexible then some would have you belive. As rhyme says "repetition of identical or similar sounds". Some of the above words can be rhymed after a fashion: month/bumf, chocolate/ocelot, salmon/gammon. The others are left as an exercise to the reader (good luck). Such words have such a curse of unrhymability leveled upon them that it a poet uses them that readers are cringing before they even get to the next line. As for h dropping being "speaking funny" dialect poems and literature are certainly not a well studied area as wiki red links attest. MeltBanana 03:22, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
I stand corrected about salmon/gammon/Mammon. But month/bumf and chocolate/ocelot - no way. These are close to rhymes, but not close enough for my liking. I would admit to them being quasi-rhymes, that's all. They might well work in a given poem, but "working" does not necessarily equate to the words rhyming. JackofOz 03:37, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Actually I was well chuffed with chocolate/ocelot when I thought of it but the more I hear it the less I like it. MeltBanana 13:38, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
And dialect isn't an adjective, so I'd be disappointed if the link weren't red. ;-) Dave 01:13, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

'Sporange' rhymes with 'orange'. --Givnan 19:12, 8 December 2005 (UTC) Givnan

Except that there's no such word. —User:ACupOfCoffee@ 19:26, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Drat! - I'm not signing this frivolous remark 00:10, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
If you enjoyed this discussion, you will like Monday (12 Dec)'s crossword puzzle in the New York Times. . . - Nunh-huh 09:22, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Nothing rhymes with orange. Except maybe lozenge. And depending on how you pronounce chocolate, it will rhyme with either 'hot shit' or 'ocelot'. Proto t c 11:13, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Great poets like Victor Hugo create their own rhyming word when they want to :
"Tout reposait dans Ur et dans Jerimadeth ;
Les astres émaillaient le ciel profond et sombre ;
Le croissant fin et clair parmi ces fleurs de l'ombre
Brillait à l'occident, et Ruth se demandait,"
Hugo coined that Jerimadeth town which was unknown before his need arose for one rhyming with "demandait". BTW the text could mean :
All was quiet in Ur and in Jerimadeth ;
Stars jewelled the deep and dark sky ;
The thin and light crescent amongst those shadow’s flowers
Shone on the West, and Ruth asked herself,
What time is it in Paris" -- Harvestman 22:34, 12 December 2005 (here in Paris)

December 8[edit]

Proto-Germanic notation[edit]

how to typeset the outcome of Grimm's law for bʱ, dʱ, gʱ? Proto-Germanic uses đ, d and ð, but just b, g. Is there some way to Unicode-encode b, g + "horizontal bar" (analogous to đ)? Is it permissible to use IPA-like β, ð, ɣ for PG? dab () 08:48, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

b-bar is U+0180 (ƀ); g with a stroke through the tail is U+01E5 (ǥ). On a quick look, I'm not seeing any other g-bar.--Prosfilaes 09:20, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
I usually just use b d g with the understanding that these have fricative values in the appropriate position. Sort of like modern Spanish orthography. --Angr (t·c) 09:46, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
that's certainly easier, but the 'barred' variant should at least be discussed on Proto-Germanic. Thanks for they glyphs, I'll store them in my sandbox for later use :) The bar going through the g's tail is fine, btw, that's how it is usually typeset. I actually did look at the U+100 codepage but didn't see the glyphs. How do you efficiently search for a symbol on ? Now I see the 'bar' is called "STROKE" in Unicode lingo, but I didn't know that when I started my search. The Unicode description includes the term "Indo-Europeanist". Do they have a form to search for these annotations? dab () 14:37, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
I vgreped for them. The U+0100-U+017F only has modern European letters, mostly English letters with diacritics. It helps that there's large chunks of the Latin Unicode letters that are "alphabetized" by the "base" letter.--Prosfilaes 18:56, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Where the stroke is on U+01E5 (ǥ) depends on your font. For me, the stroke goes through the right-hand edge of the quasi-circle making up the body of the g (an opentail 10px). --Angr (t·c) 07:00, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

December 9[edit]

Banoffee pie[edit]

How is Banoffee pronounced (which sylable is accented)? --hydnjo talk 03:13, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

I would suspect the second syllable is stressed, to rhyme with toffee, but I'm not sure. —Keenan Pepper 06:02, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
I've always heard it pronounced like Keenan describes, I would say (s)he's right. — QuantumEleven | (talk) 08:38, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
OK thanks - gonna make one and have to know what to call it ;-) --hydnjo talk 01:06, 10 December 2005 (UTC)


What does "Ise" mean in the following book title? "Practical English Usage 3/E (Pb) Ise" -- 03:22, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

International Student Edition. 3/E Pb is third edition, paperback. --Anonymous, 06:35 UTC, December 9, 2005

Sweeps in reference to television[edit]

What does "sweeps" mean? --Impaciente 08:53, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

See Sweeps. —Wayward Talk 12:07, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

December 10[edit]

What Does It Mean[edit]

What does the latin phrase "DAI MUNDUS DEO" MEAN?

Mundus means either "world" as a noun or "clean" as an adjective, and deo means from/with/by/for/to a god, but I don't recognize the word dai and Words doesn't either. Maybe it's misspelled? —Keenan Pepper 17:06, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps it is "De mundus deo"?
--P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 23:56, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

If it is supposed to be 'Dei mundus deo', it is just about possible to extort some sense from the Latin - something like 'God's world for God', perhaps an admonition bidding our species not to treat the world as though it belongs to us. But it is pretty far-fetched, and I suspect it must be either misquoted, or just a small part of a larger sentence. And certainly DAI is not a Latin word. --Marion

Maybe DAT MUNDUS DEO "the world gives to God"? Sort of wants a direct object, though. --Angr (t·c) 16:32, 14 December 2005 (UTC)


My character occ starts him out him a skill known as techno-can, I can not figure out or even find out what it means or even is. Can u help me?

Not from that. Is there perhaps a language you write better than English? Or is there a context for this? Is this about some sort of game? -- Jmabel | Talk 00:13, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, what is an OCC? I tried searching for techno-can and all I got was can manufacturers and some office supply company in Warsaw. iinag 00:58, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Is this about Occupational Character Classes? Which RPG system are you using? ᓛᖁ♀ 01:06, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Techno-can sounds like he might be a futuristic lavatory attendant. DJ Clayworth 03:00, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

1840s Afrikaans[edit]

I'm writing a sci-fi story where some of the characters are descended from Afrikaners whose community became isolated (they found a portal to another planet) soon after the Great Trek. Any clues on what their language might look and sound like? Any sample of Afrikaans from that era would be good, as well as conjectures (as unfounded as you like) on what sound shifts, vocabulary and grammatical changes and spelling reforms may have happened. --대조 | Talk 18:01, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

1840s Afrikaans was probably a good bit closer to Dutch of the period than contemporary Afrikaans is to Dutch, for what it's worth... Shimgray | talk | 20:23, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Any idea where I might find examples of that Dutch.

YEP,Afrikaans is quite close to dutch\german, but we make use of less -z;cthz sounds eg waght(german)would be wag(afrikaans)meaning wait.vowels like a are pronoounced as "u""i" more of an 'ie' sound some words have 'deeltekens'some type of punctuation? on words like sê and sounds like 's-air'meaning say/tell.and hoër sounds like 'woo-er' meaning higher. Hope that helped a bit! if u need any direct translations i will gladly assist. ME--

I know that. I speak Afrikaans - reasonably well, though it's not my first language. What I want to know about is differences between modern Afrikaans and Afrikaans at the time of the great trek, and how it may have evolved if it had been isolated from speakers of other languages. --대조 | Talk 14:55, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

December 11[edit]


Does anybody know the etymology of the word "bogan"? 02:41, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Wiktionary reports that it is possibly named after the Bogan River area in Australia. —Keenan Pepper 04:53, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Aluminium pronunciation[edit]

Am i right in believing that aluminium is pronounced 'Aloom-in-um' in the USA? How is it pronounced in Britain? The American version is very different to the Australian version that i know of,'Al-you-min-ee-um'. Is there any specific reason for this? Thanks --Ali K 10:32, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

UK it's pronounced the same as your australian version. Interestingly, the spelling itself might even be different -- I used to have a US bike which claimed an "aluminum headset", but don't know whether that was a mistake. Ojw 10:49, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
No, that wasn't a mistake. Aluminum is the original and now American spelling.--Prosfilaes 10:52, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
I'd say Aloom-i-num in the US. See the Aluminum article; in short, aluminium is a mangling of the original spelling aluminum to fit some misguided idea of a pattern of element names, and for largely coincidental reasons, the US went with the original spelling. Pronounciations followed spelling.--Prosfilaes 10:46, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Er.. that is a a rather one-sided and infact totally bogus assesment of the spelling situation. It was originally (for a brief period of time) alumium and then for another short period of time aluminum until the spelling aluminium was settled upon in 1812 a mere four years after its discovery in 1808. The US used the '-ium' spelling right up until the later 19th century until Charles Martin Hall misspelled it on his flyers. Now this spelling issue has been the subject of an extremely tedious debate which is now thankfully over and archived at Talk:Aluminium/Spelling Jooler 11:06, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
The article itself says "For the thirty years following its discovery, both the -um and -ium endings were used interchangeably in the scientific literature." Hall didn't misspell it; he just happened to choose a spelling. Your POV is not fact, and is indeed rather bogus itself.--Prosfilaes 02:04, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
However if you do the maths, you'd realise that 30 years following the discovery would be 1842. From the article, Hall didn't advertise until 1892 and by that time, aluminium was the predominate form in the US and I guess most of the rest of the world and the scientific community. So therefore, Hall did choose the wrong spelling, at least by the accepted standards of the time... Nil Einne 11:08, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
In the UK, it's pronounced 'al-oo-min-ee-um', there's not really a 'you' sound in it. Proto t c 14:31, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
The way I hear it probounced in SW England it does - normally either "al-you-min-ee-um" or "al-yu-min-yum". Thryduulf 17:20, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
There's certainly a difference between choosing a "wrong" or archaic spelling, and misspelling the word. The first is a choice; the second is a mistake.--Prosfilaes 22:03, 12 December 2005 (UTC)


Is ending any form of addiction besides Alcoholism and Alcoholic with -holic or -holism correct? Did the -holism suffix exist before the phrase alcoholism existed? smurrayinchester(User), (Ho Ho Ho!) 14:38, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

-holism/-holic is simply extracted from alcoholism/alcoholic and then added to other stems or pseudo-stems to form new words, like chocoholic (I can't say I've ever heard chocoholism, though I'd know what it meant if I did). As for whether doing so is "correct", it depends on your definition of "correct". I'd say if native speakers do it, it is by definition correct. --Angr (t·c) 15:07, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
But if you mean correct to mean "acceptable in formal discourse", you'd do well to avoid such constructions. - Nunh-huh 22:34, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
This is back formation. The suffix of alcoholism is -ism, with the root word being alcohol, but folk etymology has interpreted -holism as a suffix indicating addiction despite holism having a totally different meaning. It's more or less correct to use the -holism suffix now, as it's so prevalent; it's even led to further back formation, such as workahol. ᓛᖁ♀ 23:01, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
The word "alcohol" comes from Arabic "al-Quhl" or something vaguely similar, and AFAIK means some kind of face make-up powder. So "-holism" would mean an addiction with make-up. Or at least that's how I remember it. — JIP | Talk 08:52, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Thank you. I was mainly wondering because the other day I saw an episode of The Simpsons where Homer, on realising that he's a rageaholic, claims "I can't live without Rageahol!". smurrayinchester(User), (Ho Ho Ho!) 16:45, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Circulatory (British, U.S.A., Australian examples)[edit]

Thanks, also, how do you say circulatory in Britain and USA? In Australia it is 'sirk-you-la-tory' but in the USA isnt it 'sirk-you-late-ory'?--Ali K 10:59, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

I've only heard 'sirk-you-la-tory' in the U.S., though it could be a regional thing.--Pharos 11:09, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
In the UK it is probably more often pronounced as "Sir Q later ree" or something like that. But "Sir Q laa Tory" is not uncommon. BTW the Charles Martin Hall and gis mispelled flyers reminds me of the difference between aeroplane and the American version airplane, which also originates from another accidental mispelling. In the early days most people called them flying machines but even the Wright Brothers used aeroplane, see [7]- and a contempory called the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company (later merged with the Wright Brothers company). Jooler 11:23, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
'sirk-you-la-tory' is common in my experience in the Midwest and Southeast areas of the U.S.A.
--P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 23:53, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
I'd go with sirk-you-la-tory. --Think Fast 00:57, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Weird. My human biology teacher says 'sir-q-later-ee', when questioned about it, she said that she spent some time in the USA teaching science. Do we have the same pronunciation? It is hard seeing as i cant say it, maybe a user has heard someone say both? --Ali K 02:39, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
By your phonetical spelling I'm assuming you mean long "a" as in the word later. I've never heard anyone in the US pronounce it that way. Basically everyone I've ever heard pronounces it like the others are telling you, with the a having a schwa quality. That said, she may have heard it from someone with a goofy pronounciation. Different groups sometimes pronouce words differently. Case in point surgeons in Detroit are vehemently attached to pronouncing centimeters like "sauntameters". I've yet to hear an explanation of why, and I don't know if surgeons elsewhere say that. - Taxman Talk 20:15, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I'd naturally say it SIR-kyuh-luh-tree in the South of England (like uh-BLIGG-uh-tree, MAN-duh-tree, SECK-ruh-tree,etc) but if I want people actually to understand I'd probably end up saying sir-kyuh-LATER-ee. Jameswilson 04:36, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Just to expand on the side comment about "aeroplane" above, there are a couple of interesting things to say about that. The first is that when the word was new, it was sometimes spelled aëroplane, with the dieresis indicating a four-syllable pronunciation. It would be nice to imagine that this came down sequentially to "aeroplane" (three syllables), "airplane" (two), and "plane" (one), although I don't imagine that things were quite that regular.
The second point is that when the Wright Brothers use the word "aeroplane" in the cited article, they don't mean the whole flying machine, but just the wing. They may have come around later to applying "airplane" or "aeroplane" to the whole machine, but in 1908 they hadn't. The article's title does appear to use "aeroplane" to mean the machine, but it was presumably supplied by the magazine's staff.
--Anonymous, 05:00 UTC, December 12, 2005
They certainly used it in reference to the wing in that article and also in their patents, but it had been used to also refer to the vehicle since the 1860s. 02:36, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Tzar, Czar, Tsar?[edit]

I've always thought these transliterations are used completely interchangebly, but is there any logic to which one tends to be used where? Is one considered most correct these days? --ParkerHiggins 22:30, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

I think we've discussed this somewhere...Tsar#Etymology_and_spelling? In any case: none of these are wrong, "Czar" is becoming less used (especially when referring to an actual emperor rather than a figurative one, like a 'drug czar') and has an antiquated feel, and you can't go wrong with "Tsar". - Nunh-huh 22:43, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
On Google, czar gets nearly a million more hits than tsar, but tsar seems to be used far more often for actual tsars, whereas czar gets its bulk from jocular or figurative use. If it's down to Russian history, out of personal experience of studying that subject, nearly every book that I read used 'tsar,' apart from severely dated tomes. 23:24, 11 December 2005 Iinag
Google notwithstanding, always use tsar for Russian and old Bulgarian monarchs
tzar is a mis-spelling, basically
czar is a real curiosity. It's become the standard form for "drug czar" etc, and is probably the only accepted English word containing "cz". The only other case of "cz" that I'm aware of is in Polish, where it's pronounced "ch", which doesn't equate to either the "ts" of the original Russian pronunciation, or the "z" of the usual English pronunciation. Strange how "czar" ever took off in English-speaking countries at all. How did people originally know not to pronounce it as "ksar" or "gzar"? They must have been smarter than we think. JackofOz 01:16, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
If one wants to get picky, there are also words in English such as Czech, eczema, and czardas, and derived words such as czarina and proczarist, that contain CZ. ;-) —Bkell 01:56, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
There you go then. Just shows the folly of confidently stating "obvious truths". "Czardas" is another funny one. The original Hungarian was "csardas", but the spelling somehow got Policised (did I just coin a new word?). JackofOz 03:18, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

The Cyrillic character which is used to spell the word in Russian is always transliterated as "ts", so "Tsar" would be proper transliteration, but "czar" is used these days in informal purposes like "drug czar", etc. Zoe ( 16:42, 12 December 2005 (UTC))

I was always under the impression, perhaps false, that cz was an older, perhaps non-English transliteration of ц, whereas ts is the current (or perhaps always was the English) transliteration of it. Transliterations vary from language to language, i.e. Панкеев is Pankeev in English and Pankejeff in German. --Fastfission 03:08, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Our article Tsar#Etymology_and_spelling says "cz" is from an Austrian source from 1549. So it's definitely not English. Transliterations do indeed differ from language to language, and when the appropriate adjustments are not made when moving between languages, all kinds of problems arise. Your example is a case in point. Another is Zharoff. That's the English transliteration, but it is spelt Jaroff in French. I remember seeing old German LPs of the Don Cossack Choir under "Serge Jaroff", and always assumed his name was pronounced "Yaroff". Much later I learned this was a transliteration that came via French and was inappropriate for its later target audience, ie. German speakers. JackofOz 03:38, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't know if it's true, but I learned (I think one of my parents told me) that it came from the ruler Ceasar. His name came to represent, in large areas, emperorness in general, and as the trend spread, it got warped by slurring and translation into a number of different forms in different parts of Europe and Asia. That was also my understanding of why it had so many regional variants. Probably wrong, but there it is. 23:14, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Speaking of "drug czar," that term gets used so widely in the news media, I doubt few people actually know what the person's real title is. Same goes for other governmental, corporate, sociopolitical, socioeconomic, and other "czars."

December 12[edit]

international phonetic alphabet[edit]

Type international phonetic alphabet in the box and hit "Go". —Keenan Pepper 04:35, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Proper pronouncation of the word "Masamune"?[edit]

My friend and I recently got into an argument about the proper way of pronouncing Masamune. Would someone do me the favor of sounding it out in English for me? Thanks. --Brasswatchman 08:03, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Romanized Japanese is pretty close to IPAmasamune should be /mä.sä.mɯ.ne/, pronounced mah-sah-moo-neh. I suspect it may often be truncated to /mä.sä.mɯn/ in rapid speech. ᓛᖁ♀ 08:21, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Japanese dictionaries[edit]

How do you organize words in Japanese dictionaries? That is, what is the corresponding system to alphabetics? I understand that kanjis can be ordered according to their radicals. What about kanjis with the same radical? Stroke count? What about compound words, such as 大学 or verbs with both kanji and hiragana (開く) or words with only kana? -EnSamulili 09:03, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Order by pronunciation, or just order it by unicode or other computer encodings. - Yaohua2000 09:24, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
For certain purposes one could do it that way, but I wonder how it is really done in existing Japanese-Japanese dictionaries. -EnSamulili 11:58, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, I do not speak Japanese. But Chinese language uses 偏旁 and 部首 [8] to organize characters, they were invented by Xu Shen and first used in his famous book Shuo Wen Jie Zi in early 2nd century and might be the first "dictionary" in Chinese history. I think Japanese highly possible use the similar way to organize kanji. - Yaohua2000 13:36, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
The Character Palette program on Mac OS X provides this method to search and organize Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters. If you have a Mac, you can open System Preferences -> International -> Input Menu and select Character Palette to find it. — Yaohua2000 13:58, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Thank you both, and sorry to waste your time. I found this article in the article dictionary. I put a link to Japanese language. -EnSamulili 14:16, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Collation discusses kanji collation briefly. ᓛᖁ♀ 14:30, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

the list of bookers prize winners till 2005.[edit]

  1. This is not a language question
  2. See List of winners and shortlisted authors of the Booker Prize for Fiction

--Angr (t·c) 10:18, 12 December 2005 (UTC)


Does any one know the french phrase for "go to hell' or anything similar?thanx ME--` 10:35, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

I read this in a Viivi & Wagner comic: "Merde! Foutez le camp! Vieilles taupes!" From what I know of French, it means: "Shit! Piss off! Old cows!". — JIP | Talk 10:47, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
taupe is a mole :) Lectonar 14:39, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I think "Va te faire foutre!" is pretty strong in French. It might be even stronger than "go to hell". --Angr (t·c) 11:11, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Encoulez-vous? Proto t c 14:28, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I think that should be Enculez-vous or Encule-toi; Vas te faire enculer, vieux pédé is nice too Lectonar 14:37, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I can speak it, but I can't spell it. ;) Proto t c 14:41, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
In the old country, mange d'la marde pretty much covered the same ground. Don't hear it too much in the new country though. --Diderot 16:13, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Foutez le camp is more than piss off. It's more along the lines of f--- off. --Think Fast 02:25, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
  • "Allez-vous faire fiche!" is what you want. Or "Vas-tu faire fiche!" if screaming at an individual. "Fiche le camp, Jacques" was the Ray Charles song, "Hit the Road, Jack." The last phrase means something like "scram!" or "Get outta here." Halcatalyst 05:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Commonly used phrases: "Va voir là-bas si j'y suis!", "Va te faire cuire un œuf!". A little less mild: "Va te faire voir!", "Va te faire voir chez les Grecs!". A bit stronger: "Va te faire fiche!". Stronger still: "Va te faire mettre!", "Va te faire foutre!", "Va te faire enculer!". Except for the first two (which are by no means polite and which mean roughly: "Go away and see if I'm over there" and "Go and boil yourself an egg"), all these phrases have sexual connotations and are liable to cause offense, as does the more exotic "Va te faire empapaouter!" - Mu 02:11, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
"Allez au diable" seems more literal but maybe weaker and quite old. Frenchies don't believe in hell anymore, nor do they believe in "l'empire du mal". -- Harvestman 23:01, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I was taught in middle-school French that "va au diable", literally "go to the devil", is the equivalent to "go to hell". I have no idea how strong or current it would be in any particular context. Sharkford 23:11, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Tang = cat?[edit]

I suppose this is a language question... I came across this on the disambig page for Tang "A synonym for cat, i.e. David Tang". This seems rather bizarre to me. Is David Tang really a synonym for cat? A quick Google doesn't reveal anything. A history search reveals it was inserted by so probably no use trying to ask the original author. Any comments? Cheers... Nil Einne 10:57, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Probably just vandalism by someone with a cat named David Tang. I'd say you're safe removing it. --Angr (t·c) 11:10, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
In Hawaii they call a certain kind of fish a "Cat Tang", maybe it's derived from that? Having said that, I've never heard the term before and somewhat doubt it's veracity. -- Canley 12:59, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

any idea?[edit]

does anyone know what the word "ariba" means? im not sure if its a made-up word bcoz a few of the youngsters use it where i come from but in a more "recreational" context. does this word exist or is there something similar to it in anyway or meaning?ME-- 12:33, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

"Arriba" is a Spanish word meaning "speed". It was popularised in the English-speaking world by the animated Mexican mouse, Speedy Gonzales whose catchcry was "Arriba! Arriba! Ándale! Ándale!" (meaning "Speed! Speed! Hurry! Hurry!"). I would imagine in the context you are suggesting, the "youngsters" are using the term to refer to amphetamines or methamphetamine (which are commonly called "speed"). -- Canley 12:56, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I think arriba literally means "up", as in "up and at 'em", but that's the gist. —Keenan Pepper 20:32, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

sartorial question[edit]

A question about tailors? What is it? —Keenan Pepper 20:30, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
The answer is: "No wire hangers. Ever." - Nunh-huh 05:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

suffix nym[edit]

What does this suffix mean "nym" as in "nymity"?

thank you

It's not a suffix, it's the stem of the Greek word ονυμα (onyma), which means "name". For example, a "pseudonym" is a "false name". —Keenan Pepper 20:02, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Your example is of a suffix, of which "Nymity" is not an example. JackofOz 22:13, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
-ity, however, is. —Charles P. (Mirv) 05:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, but the question was not about "ity", but about "nym". JackofOz 13:17, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
To nitpick, even in the example of "pseudonym", "nym" is not a suffix, it's rather the second root in a two-part compound. You wouldn't call "room" in "darkroom" a suffix, right? Zocky 08:45, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

a very simple Russian question[edit]

When "somebody" (кто–то) is doing something, what gender does it take? I.e., Somebody was afraid is Кто–то был/было страшно...? I simply cannot remember whether кто–то is masculine or neuter and I don't seem to have it written down somewhere. I'm sure if I hear it one more time I will remember for good. Помогите мне! --Fastfission 02:41, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Judging by other Slavic languages the pronoun itself is masculine, but I'm not sure if you have the construction right. That pronoun looks to me like it's in nominative, but what you want to say, literally, is "to somebody it was frightful", so it should be in dative, and the verb should be neuter, because the subject is the silent "it". Somebody who actually speaks Russian could probably help you more. Zocky 08:40, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
To do so, browse through Category:User ru-N, Category:User ru-4, or Category:User ru-3 and see if there's anyone you know there. --Angr (t·c) 13:45, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Кто–то takes masculine agreement because it refers to an animate being, hence the verb is был. The impersonal construction would certainly require the dative form of Кто–то (Komy-то), and the verb would be было because the subject is no longer Кто–то but some unnamed "it" (ie. not "somebody was afraid", but "to somebody it was frightful". Impersonal constructions are very common and idiomatic in Russian, but by no means the only way of communicating. Grammatically there's nothing wrong with Кто–то был страшно. JackofOz 02:34, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Trust me, there's plenty wrong with Кто–то был страшно. The only meaning it has is something along the lines of "Someone was frightfully" which is not only not a sentence, but not even a linguistic constituent. If you put страшно into masculine — i.e. страшен, it becomes grammatical but it means "someone was scary" (not scared). You could say Кто–то был устрашен (or, better, Кто-то был испуган), which does mean what you want. But, Кому-то было страшно is better. --Ornil 04:03, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Thanks for this! Yes, I realize now looking at it that of course it must be in dative for strashno, d'oh! --Fastfission 02:42, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

December 13[edit]

"Bristol condition"[edit]

where did the phrase, "bristol condition" come from and how did it come to mean "better then new"?

I suspect it may have something to do with the phrase "All ship-shape and Bristol fashion", meaning "completely organized and ready", which Brewer's says arose from the port of Bristol's reputation for efficiency in the days of sail. - Nunh-huh 05:09, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

same difference![edit]

are there any specific reasons why oxymorons are used? can you give me a few examples.bitter sweet thanx...ME--

See oxymoron. This will give you some examples.--Ali K 07:26, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
A sensible question on the Reference Desk? Proto t c 11:08, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Probably not, but once in a while you get I must do my homework, can you help me please? questions like these... Lectonar 11:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
No, I was giving an example of an oxymoron. Proto t c 13:31, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
A funny joke?--Ali K 14:01, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
There you go. Proto t c 14:12, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
My turn to be ashamed; I didn't get it :) Lectonar 10:41, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
"A funny joke" is an oxymoron only if one thought that the joke wasn't funny. I thought it was; hence, "a funny joke" is a redundancy instead. Elf | Talk 17:05, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
The question was mostly why and not what. Do the above answers show encyclopedic practice ?
Why use a figure a speech ? That's rhetorics, where you want to impress the mind. With an oxymoron you try to be funny or to embarass your discussion partner with contradictory terms and, while he thinks about what you mean, you think ahead.
Should I say the one I prefer includes "Works" ? Harvestman 23:13, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

What is the plural of oxymoron? Rich Farmbrough. 12:00, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

pinyin problem[edit]

hello , i dont know chinese , and i'm doing research on chinese phlosophy .. problem is : i want to use a standard form of transliterating ( pinyin , for example ) but i only find random transliterations in me english sources , is there a book or web site that can help me find the " pinyin " form of general words ?

example for clarification : i want the pinyin form for laozi . some books say laotse others laotzu .. etc i need somewhere i can look uo any of these famous transliteratins and find the correct pinyin form .

IS THAT POSSIBLE ? I hope so ...  : (

  1. Wiktionary
    For example, you are trying to find the pinyin form of "老子", just try Wiktionary:老 and Wiktionary:子. So you can find pinyin lǎo at Wiktionary:老 and pinyin at Wiktionary:子, then pinyin lǎozǐ would be the correct form for 老子.
  2. Other Chinese dictionaries
  3. If you use a Mac, just launch Character Palette, it is very useful.

Yaohua2000 12:24, 13 December 2005 (UTC) is a very good kanji reference. ᓛᖁ♀ 13:43, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Can you think of better experiment sentences? Be creative![edit]

I'm designing an experiment, and there's one set of stimulii that's bothering me. Can anyone come up with an alternative?

Here are a pair of good sentences:

  1. When the girl copied, her friend told the teacher what happened.
  2. When the girl tripped, her friend told the teacher what happened.

Here are the not-so-good sentences:

  1. After the boys lost, the boat was given to a charity by their father.
  2. After the boys sank, the boat was given to a charity by their father.

What's important about all these sentences is that, were the comma not there, the sentences would seem like they could logically start

  1. When the girl copied her friend ...
  2. After the boys lost the boat ...

i.e. the noun after the comma could just as well work as the direct object. The verb is used intransitively in the first case and transitively in the second.

However: the sentences in the second set suck, mainly because no one wants to read about people sinking, and anyway, people don't sink, they drown.

However: I do need to use the verbs "sink" and "lost" in the pair of sentences, and have to use the same basic structure for the sentence. That is, the two sentences have to be identical except for the verb, and the noun afterwards has to be equally plausible when used in the whole sentence as when used as the direct object at the start of the sentence.

Can anyone come up with an alternative pair? You could make a contribution to a soon-to-be-published article!

Thanks! — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 16:54, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

How about:
  • Although the boat was lost, just off the mainland two wet people dragged themselves ashore &
  • Although the boat was sunk, just off the mainland two wet people dragged themselves ashore

Both form 'Although the boat was sunk/lost just off the mainland...'. Not very good, I know. Sorry. smurrayinchester(User), (Ho Ho Ho!) 17:17, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Although the ship lost, its keel was intact.
  • Although the ship sunk, its keel was intact.
The problem is that the verb to sink in its direct form takes an agency of some kind - a bomb, a storm, the British Navy - as a subject, and a vessel as an object, while in its ergative form takes a vessel as its subject and can't have a direct object. That limits the choices because you have to pick a subject for both sentences that is both capable of losing things and capable of sinking in the ergative sense of the verb. I don't think any totally non-awkward example can be constructed using the non-ergative form of to sink. The best I can come up with is:
  • Because the Spanish Armada lost, the British Navy became a major force on the seas.
  • Because the Spanish Armada sank, the British Navy became a major force on the seas.
A ship can sink, but I'm not sure an Armada can without adding the word whole to the second sentence. --Diderot 17:40, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Hi Diderot, thanks for the thoughts. I was actually thinking along the same lines of "Although the ship lost...", but I wasn't quite sure about it: I don't know whether you'd ever say "Although the ship sunk its keel".
What else can you have..? "Although the battleship sunk, the decoy...", perhaps, as the battleship can be both the agent and the object. Any other ideas? — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 21:58, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

"After the pirates lost, their ship rotted at the bottom of the sea."
"After the pirates sunk, their ship rotted at the bottom of the sea."(would it be 'sank'?)
"After the pirates lost their ship..."
"After the pirates sunk their ship..." 18:28, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Merry Christmas in the Dhalwal language[edit]

From the Wikipedia Helpdesk: My grandchildren are taking part in a school play and I need to know how to say, and print, Merry Christmas in the Dhalwal language. thank you so much Maria

Thanks .:.Jareth.:. babelfish 19:40, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm not aware of a language by that name, nor is Ethnologue. --Diderot 21:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Dhaliwal and Dhalwa turn up rather often as surnames in the Indian sub-continent, along with a "Mission School Dhalwal", but no languages or dialects, as Diderot said. Could it be spelt in a different way?
P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 01:37, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

December 14[edit]

An English translation to Tibetan Script[edit]

I was wondering whether you could show me the word "eternity" in tibetan script or sanskrit? Would be much appreciated. Regards Holly

Tibetan and Sanskrit are totally unrelated languages. I have no idea about Tibetan but here's my guess at Sanskrit: अनन्तता —Keenan Pepper 05:41, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
I think these are synonyms: नित्यभाव and शाश्वतत्व —Keenan Pepper 06:03, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Here's an image of the word I'm most certain of, rendered in Chandas with Pango. —Keenan Pepper 06:44, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
The first letter should be अ (no squiggle on top). --Angr (t·c) 13:39, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
this is Devanagari, not "Sanskrit". Devanagari is just one of many ways to write Sanskrit. IAST anantatā is just as Sanskrit as its Devanagari equivalent. dab () 17:32, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes but Devanagari was the alphabet designed for Sanskrit, in which Sanskrit was originally written. Is जम्प् "just as English" as the English word "jump" written in the Latin alphabet?
Thanks for the correction, Angr. Out of curiosity, what is the one with the squiggle on top used for? —Keenan Pepper 19:31, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
"in which Sanskrit was originally written": wrong. Devanagari developed around 1200, full 1700 years after Panini, and at least 1000 years after Sanskrit had first been written. The Sharada script was most common from ca. 800 to 1300. (this is all on Wikipedia, you know) dab () 20:12, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
it results in *enantatā rather than anantatā. dab () 20:09, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
no, it doesn't. *enantatā would be *एनन्तता in Devanagari as used for Sanskrit. अॆ isn't a letter used in Sanskrit at all, though it might be used in other languages written with Devanagari. --Angr (t·c) 20:24, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Wouldn't e be ए, not ऄ? —Keenan Pepper 20:23, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
yes, you got me :) it would be e if it existed, but it doesn't, you are right. dab () 22:38, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, now I'm curious. The a with the squiggle is listed in the Devanagari Unicode standard as a short a (x0904), but it doesn't say what language does use it. It's not Sanskrit. And still no one knows the Tibetan? - Taxman Talk 19:00, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
GNOME Character Map says the combining squiggle (U+0946) is used "for transcribing Dravidian vowels". —Keenan Pepper 20:15, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Question, is this for a tatoo or something? - God of War


I was recently taking a personality test and it ask if I was or was not Gregarious. Now I've heard this word before, but cannot remember what it means. Can anyone help? Thx

wikt:gregarious --Angr (t·c) 19:17, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
from Latin grex, "herd". dab () 20:09, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic again[edit]

doing the table of PG consonants it occurred to me that if you ignore the three labiovelar sounds, the phonemes listed correspond exactly to the 18 consonantal letters of the Elder Futhark. My question therefore is, seeing that the Futhark was designed for a langauge very close to PG, did the labiovelars become biphonematic in or shortly after PG (/kw/, /xw/, rather than /q/, /ƕ/, so to speak)? (I realize that even English wh is a phoneme continuing a labiovelar, but maybe it was biphonematic at some point, and reduced to a single phoneme again later?) See in relation to this peordh: both the Anglo-Saxons and the Goths created labiovelar letters as variants of p. Is it possible that even the Futhark had a q rune, considered a variant of the p rune, at some point? I would also like to ask for a list of PG vowels, but I can look that up myself tomorrow. dab () 20:05, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't know enough about runes to know whether there might have been a q rune, but I do think using a digraph to represent labiovelars does not necessarily entail their being biphonemic. IIRC the vowels of Proto-Germanic were:
    i u   ī  ū        eu
    e     ē2 ō   ai   au
      a   ē1
--Angr (t·c) 20:24, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
there you have it -- six vowel qualities (a, e1, e2, i, o, u). I.e., not counting vowel length and labiovelars, 24 phonemes all told, in perfect agreement with the 24 Elder Futhark runes. Nothing earth-shaking, to be sure, but a nice little bit of knowledge I hadn't had before. Regarding using bigraphs, that's very well if you adopt a foreign script, but not if you design one for your own language. After all, both Gothic and Old English considered it necessary to invent new letters for labiovelars, when they could just have used bigraphs. Not a proof of anything of course.dab () 22:34, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Yup. All you have to do is decide on a distribution for eihwaz and ehwaz to cover e, ē1, and ē2, and you can write Proto-Germanic in Elder Futhark. I'd vote for ehwaz for e and ē1 and eihwaz for ē2, but I have no idea if that's supported by the evidence. --Angr (t·c) 11:19, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
also, I can think of no early inscription sporting a labiovelar. Surely there must be such cases? The Eggjum stone has huæaR, but that's 8th century; I'd ideally be looking for 4th century labiovelars :) dab () 10:55, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
I still don't think the fact that later runic alphabets developed single symbols for /kw/ proves or even suggests it was a monophonemic /kw/. The Anglo-Saxon Futhorc has a single symbol for /st/, the Latin alphabet has a single symbol for /ks/, the Greek alphabet has single symbols for /ks/ and /ps/, etc. --Angr (t·c) 11:25, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
I know, I know; my gist is rather to the contrary, i.e. the absence of labiovelar runes in the Elder Futhark suggests (doesn't 'prove') the biphonematicity of the PG labiovelars. I am very irked by the parallel between cweordh and quaithra, but since cweordh is a late addition to the Futhorc, it seems that this is a coincidence (but I have trouble finding literature discussing this). dab () 15:05, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Has the word 'gobbledygook' evolved from an ethnic slur?[edit]

I've been researching the term 'gobbledygook' for a little while now. Most people refer to Maury Maverick, the Texan lawyer who used the word to describe pretentious and obscure language. Wikipedia traces the origin of the word further back to 'gobble the goo' (to perform fellatio). I have only known the word as gobbledyGOOK, and I'm wondering if the change from 'goo' to 'gook' is real and if it is, was it picked up from the American military while in Asia, referring to their inability to understand the language of the locals?

Thank you,


This is better discussed on the talk page for Gobbledygook, but anyway. It seems Maury Maverick was the one who started using the term with it's current meaning, and with the K at the end back in the 40's. And although it probably relates to the earlier term, Maverick himself said it was a reference to the sound a turkey makes. The term "gook" did exist at that time. It dates back to the to the Philippine-American War, and might refer to their language as you say (like the origin of the word "barbarian") or it might refer to a native word. In any case, I don't really see any particular reason to disbelieve Maverick's "turkey" explanation. --BluePlatypus 22:41, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
The explanation at Gobbledygook seems most likely to be an apocryphal folk etymology; the Online Etymology Dictionary attributes the word to a March 30, 1944 memo from Maury Maverick. [9] World Wide Words suggests gobbledygoo is simply an abbreviation. [10] ᓛᖁ♀ 22:52, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
I've added a "disputed" tag to the Gobbledygook article. Zoe ( 22:59, 14 December 2005 (UTC))
The good folks at the Oxford English Dictionary report its origin as follows: "Prob[ably] repr[esents] a turkey-cock’s gobble." They list its first printed use in April of 1944: "Gobbledygook talk: Maury Maverick’s name for the long high-sounding words of Washington’s red-tape language." That doesn't prove it's not from a racial slur, but since the OED folks are paid to find such things I think it's unlikely. --George 00:24, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I'd say the burden of proof is on the other side. All sources seem to attribute it to Maverick and his turkey story. It's foolish to look for slurs where none exist. (E.g. "Niggardly") Besides which, it's the connotations and not the etymology that matters, and I doubt many people find offense in the term "gobbldygook". --BluePlatypus 01:49, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
  • "Gobbledygook" is used in Britain but we dont have the ethnic slur ""gook"" (we have plenty of others but not that one!) so that makes me think they are probably separate. Jameswilson 22:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

How do you address a Christmas card to husband and wife when both are doctors?[edit]

I suggest either:

  • Dr. Smith and Dr. Singh, if they have different last names, or
  • Drs. Smith-Singh, if they have the same last name.

Ground Zero | t 23:11, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

I dont't know if something like this exists in English, but in German we would use Dres. (abbreviation for Doctores, doctor in plural), but i suppose that is the Drs. mentioned above. Lectonar 10:16, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Would that be less formal or more formal than Herr Dr. und Frau Dr. Schmidt? Or would the form I suggest be used at all? --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:06, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Certainly the English Mr Dr and Ms Dr would never be used in any formal context. I'd personally go with Drs A and J Smith or Dr A and Dr J Smith. I know that when just one is a doctor that Dr and Mrs Smith is correct, but is it Mr and Dr Smith or Dr and Mr Smith? Thryduulf 11:15, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
I'd go with Drs. Jack and Jane Smith. I don't know if anyone's bothered to come up with a formal rule for the order of Dr. and Mr. Smith, but all other rules I've learned involving order put things in descending order of preference (My friend and I, for instance, or Smith, Jones, Johnson et al. for a book reference). I'm pretty sure Dr. is above Mr. or Mrs., and I'd guess that formally Mr. is above Mrs. As a rule of thumb, I just go with whatever has the best ring to it when spoken and trust to my instincts. 23:30, 19 December 2005 (UTC)


Does anyone know what a "florp" is? Or what it means to be "florp," or how to "florp?" I keep running across this word on bathroom stall walls and on internet chatrooms...

"Florp" used to be defined on Wiktionary, but the entry was deleted about two weeks ago by admins who doubted it was a real word: the definition (visible in the deletion log) was: An expression of indifference. Usually said by itself, but can be used in a sentence in the adjective form., and also A metasyntactic variable. --Canley 03:32, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Google shows that florp is almost a word in progress. The main uses are :
1) An item in programming examples, such as Foo and Bar
2) An alias used by geek or not geek people
3) A word found also in german texts that I don't understand. The german Wikipedia ignores our word, quoth it "Es wurden keine passenden Seiten gefunden." (Sorry, there were no exact matches ...) -- Harvestman 23:34, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

I personally would use Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Smith in this case.Givnan 08:18, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

December 15[edit]

translation of german page into english? possible?[edit]

Dear Sirs:

Could someone who knows both german and english translate and duplicate this page in english and repost it and send me the url so that I can add it to my demons / attachments page?


Mike Beaver CCNA, MCP, Network + San Antonio, TX. 78229 (210) 595-1740 [email removed]

That page is in Bosnian, not German. —Keenan Pepper 03:22, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Also, the English Wikipedia already has an article on Anneliese Michel, the Bosnian version just didn't have the interlanguage links. —Keenan Pepper 03:30, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Language Query (defining 'conflame')[edit]

I was reading an article on 'Iskra' and came across the following:

Iskra (Spark) was the newspaper of Russian socialist emigrants in London about 1903.

Iskra's motto was "Из искры возгорится пламя" (From a spark there will conflame itself a fire) — a line from the poem by Pushkin addressed to the anti-tsar Dekabrists imprisoned in Siberia.

In searching the definition pages on this site and external sites, I am unable to find anywhere to get a definition of conflame or is this just taken in the context of the entire statement?

Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


-- 06:02, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps a mispelling of conflate? —Wayward Talk 07:13, 15 December 2005 (UTC)::
"возгорится" is perhaps best translated as "will flare up". "From a spark a flame will flare up." It's from the poem Letter to Siberia. David Sneek 08:16, 15 December 2005 (UTC) Correction: it appears to be from the reply [11] to Pushkin's poem by Vladimir Odoevsky. "A spark will kindle a flame." [12]

Much appreciated - thank you for clarifying. 22:08, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

OK for flare ; conflare looks like it has latin origin, something like inflame and/or conflagration, but maybe it's not good english after all - not found in -- Harvestman 23:39, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

sinalefa in other Romance languages[edit]

Hello, this is KeeganB. Do the other romance languages have equivalents to the phenomenon in Spanish called Sinalefa AKA Enlacimiento?

Yes, it's a common phenomenon, spelled synalepha or synaloepha in English. —Keenan Pepper 20:30, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Synalepha used to be common in poetry in English, especially in the 18th century. Now it would be considered naive or affected. Definition: "The blending into one syllable of two successive vowels of adjacent syllables, especially to fit a poetic meter; for example, th' elite for the elite" ( Halcatalyst 21:54, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


does any one know the meaning of the word 'vervaltrek'? i came across it in a business site while doing a google search. any sugestions? thank you..

I suspect a typo. Googling vervaltrek produced zero results, whereas Googling "verval trek" produced a few results in what appears to be Dutch. Running verval through Dutch translation engines produced decline, and trek yields drag, draw, haul, pull, tug in Dutch and Afrikaans engines. Ver is distant, far, remote, and val is drop, or fall in both languages.
To make more sense of this requires context, or better still, a Dutch-speaking person.... my best guess from the one example of "verval trek" in the Google results (concerning rapid water rafting, I think) is that it means "a rapid decline/fall", or perhaps "crash". Perhaps, in a business context, it refers to an economic crash? I could be completely wrong.... TheMadBaron 12:19, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
"Ver", "val", "verval" and "trek" are Dutch, yes, but "vervaltrek" is not a word I've ever seen before (and I'm Dutch). Could you give us the sentence it appeared in? David Sneek 13:45, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Vervaltrek is not a typo. It is an Afrikaans word for a lapse run (lapse = vervalling) that is done at the end of a month at an insurance company. Technically the month-end run does much more nowadays, but that is the origin. --Francois Botha 23:16, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Use of the word 'mitigate'[edit]

Is there a grammatical problem with this sentence: "Each stakeholder, of course, believes that precedent and need mitigate the issue in their favour."

Specifically in the construction 'mitigate the issue in their favour' ? Thanks if you can enlighten us.

I don't see a problem with that particular construction, but I first read the sentence as "Each stakeholder, of course, believes that precedent, and need mitigate the issue in their favour." Eek. The transition between singular and plural forms (stakeholder and their) is also clumsy.
Context would help, as I'm not sure if the stakeholders are opposing one another or showing a united front, but I suggest sticking to the plural form, and inserting the word both; something like "The stakeholders, of course, [each] believe that both precedent and need mitigate the issue in their favour." (TheMadBaron 13:26, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Mitigate means soften (from Latin mitis = soft, gentle, mild). I can't see any meaning in the phrase 'soften the issue'. Is the author trying to say something like 'Each stakeholder believes that precedent and need incline the balance in his/her favour'? --Maid Marion 15:21, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for that people. The first comments helped, but Maid Marion sent me to the dictionary, she's right, the word mitigate is not what was intended, and its gone. 'Identity groups seeking autonomy often demand that they be granted international relations competencies or treaty negotiating powers. Sovereign states generally strongly resist this, in the belief that according to international laws and norms, foreign affairs are a competency reserved for the state. Each stakeholder, of course, believes that both precedent and need indicate in his favour.'

Although "mitigate" is wrong, "indicate" isn't a good replacement. My guess is that the use of "mitigate" in such contexts occurs because people hear "militate" and substitute the more familiar word. Here, my preferred wording would be: "Each stakeholder believes that precedent and need militate in his or her favor." JamesMLane 08:05, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Keep it plain: "Each stakeholder, of course, believes that both precedent and need are in its favour."--shtove 17:43, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't know where it comes from, but I've only ever heard the word "mitigate" used in the context of "mitigating circumstances." An example would be murder: in America, if you are incapable of recognizing the evil in murder, your attorney may plead insanity. You can not then be executed and must be sent to a mental care facility instead. I don't know if "mitigating circumstances" is a legal term, probably not, but I have heard it used colloquially in that sort of situation. 00:02, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

pinyin again[edit]

i'm sorry , but it seems the person who answered my question did not understand my problem . so i'm afraid i'll have to clarify it: is it possible to enter/ look-up a chinese name ( ex : ying yang ) in latin characters ( english letters ) in some type of dictionary to get the correct pinyin form ? i need it to give me the correct version for the misspelled one i have looked up . again  : i want to look up the word i have in english transliteration ( which may not be pinyin ), I DON'T WANT TO LOOK UP CHINESE CHARACTERS I CAN'T READ CHINESE ! i'll give an example of what i want so its clear : i find the word " ying " in a book , now i want to make sure its the pinyin form , so go to this dictionary ( that i'm hoping to find ) and look up the word " ying " as i found it IN ENGLISH LETTERS ( y - i - n- g ).. and i get the pinyin form .


be quiet and sign (by type ~~~~), please. and it should be "yinyang" not "yingyang", thanks. Yaohua2000 20:51, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Be quiet? Enochlau 22:50, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Just don't like upcase. — Yaohua2000 01:21, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Have you tried the Pristine Lexicon? Still not sure if that's what you're after, but it seems to estimate phonetic equivalence between what you type and the nearest pinyin meanings. --Canley 01:26, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Pinyin refers these days to "Hànyǔ Pīnyīn" - the romanization of "Standard Mandarin". If you have the proper pinyin, you have the proper pinyin. I don't understand what you mean by you have the "misspelled words". Do you mean they are written in a different system? There are many other romanization systems. If you know which one, find a dictionary that you can look up that, find the charecter, then look at what the pinyin of it is.. -- 14:52, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Rules of romanisation of chinese are found in the Pinyin article. Your example : Laozi, is found in Wikipedia and starts "Lao Tzu (Chinese 老子, also spelled Laozi)". The different spellings are given, eg. "Pinyin: Lǎo Zi, Laozi".
Now the rules may appear not enough! You want a reference document stating the correct pinyin form for each word you use - take courage. -- Harvestman 23:54, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

December 16[edit]

Proper Quotation Form[edit]

I am writing a paper on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (great novel by the way) and I decided to use a quote in which a character is talking and quotes another person. In other words, I quote a character's words that have a quote inside them. Confusing, I know, but my English teacher thinks so as well and I am stymied. What, I ask, is the proper punctuation of said construction?

You should use double quote marks for the main quote, and single quote marks for the quotation within the quotation, like this:
"There; you see it says 'for a consideration.' That means I have bought it off you and paid you for it. Here's a dollar for you. Now you sign it."
"For a consideration" being the quote within the quote. There are other ways to do it, but this is probably the most common one. --Canley 03:43, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
The above is standard in the USA. For some reason, it is the other way round in the UK (except in newspapers): single quotation marks are normal, with double quotation marks used for quotes within quotes. --Shantavira 09:18, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks much! --Articuno1 11:10, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

As an exception to the above: A long quotation is sometimes given in indented form, with both the left and right margins indented, and the text single-spaced even if the rest of the document is double-spaced. In that form, the entire quotation doesn't need quotation marks. Therefore, if there's an internal qootation, it would be treated the same way as a non-indented quotation in the text. (In U.S. and Wikipedia style, the quotation within the indented quotation would be set off by double quotation marks.) You can see an example of this in the first quotation from Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas: Lawrence v. Texas#The dissents. JamesMLane 09:07, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

freebird: slang describing person[edit]

Freebird is used in a country western song currently playing on U.S. radio stations. One line is "Billy's on the dance floor yelling freebird ..." and the song title might be "Billy's got his beer goggles on." I guess from the context freebird is his status romantically. Billy's former girlfriend broke off their relationship. He is seeking a new relationship and trying to forget his grief. Please, I would like confirmation or clarification. Thanks.--ChrisJW216.40.208.217 10:11, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Actually, when somebody's "yelling freebird", they are usually just being obnoxious. There's an old tradition to request the Lynyrd Skynyrd song Free Bird, usually at a bad performance. There's an explanation of the phenomenon on the Free Bird page, actually. But if Billy's on the dancefloor yelling it, he's probably just drunk and acting like a jerk. --ParkerHiggins 07:50, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks. I can remember the song somewhat. I listen more often to older rock. "duh-da-da-da-duh--FREE BIRD!" This is another example of working from context only generating confusion or misunderstanding. I like this site.--ChrisJW216.40.209.245 18:41, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

"Wearing beer goggles" means being so drunk that you think any girl in the place is attractive, no matter how they might really look. User:Zoe|(talk) 02:31, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

translate arabic to english[edit]

I have a note that is written in Arabic and I need someone to help me translate it. I only have an image of the document so I can't type it out. Can anyone help me?

Make an account on Wikipedia, upload the image, and post it here. We can help afterwards :-) --HappyCamper 18:53, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

December 17[edit]

Translation of Asian language[edit]

The following e-mail was sent to the Wikimedia Help Desk in an Asian language.



指名者 内田 響子 32歳 Eカップ ID【161690】です。


『離婚してから2年です。一人暮らしの部屋で待ってます。 今二つの美容院経営してますので、、お金を余してます。 逆◎OKです(^0_0^)』




注:ニックネームの最後に【251】をつ付けていただければ、す ぐ連絡取れるよ。

しかも過激写メ交換自由!彼女十分な前金を払ったため二人で邪魔 されずゆっくりできますよ。響子はとっくに待っているから、ど うぞ、御出でください。

Could anyone please advise which language it is and if possible translate so that I should know what to do with it. Thanks for your help.

Capitalistroadster 03:04, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

It's Japanese. --HappyCamper 03:08, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, I don't know if the Kanji in Japanese has the same meaning as in Chinese, but there is mention of a 32 year old, a beauty parlor shop manager, and divorce. --HappyCamper
So, it's nothing that the Help Desk can be of assistance with then? Capitalistroadster 04:50, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, I don't speak Japanese. But to my Chinese knowledge, it is a spam. — Yaohua2000 08:18, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

"I am here" or "Here I am"[edit]

Is there any difference in meaning between "I am here" and "Here I am"? There seems to be, but I can't figure out what it is exactly. Also, is the second one grammatically valid? --HappyCamper 03:33, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Both are gramatically fine. "I am here" is a simple factual statement. "Here I am" is more emphatic, and would draw attention to you more than "I am here" would. JackofOz 03:57, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
I guess what I'm wondering is, what is the function of the word "here" in both examples? Are they the same? If they are the same, then why can the word be placed in different places and still make sense? --HappyCamper 03:58, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
You can actually do that a lot in English. (Not as much as Latin, of course, but more than some other languages I think...) Out of the six permutations, three of them are idiomatic English ("Here am I" is the other one) and one is a question ("Am I here?"). —Keenan Pepper 04:42, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
I have asked several friends, all of who are native Enligh speakers. Conclusion: It's a very subtle difference. The difference is that "I am here" puts emphasis on existence ("I am here") whereas "Here I am" puts emphasis on location ("Here I am").
Example 1: You and a friend are running through a forest. Suddenly, you fall down an embankment. Your friend can't see you. Panicked, he shouts, "HappyCamper! Are you there?" You respond, "I'm here!" (Emphasis: I haven't died. I exist, though you can't see me.)
Example 2: You and a friend are running through a forest. You run to the left; he runs to the right. He can't see you. He shouts, "HappyCamper, where are you?" You respond, "Here I am." (Emphasis: You know I haven't died, you just wonder where I am. Here I am!)
I hope this helps. --George 09:08, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Okay, and how do these compare with "Here am I"? --Angr (t·c) 10:17, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
I usually see "here am I" in a more poetic or philosophical sense rather than in a physical sense; "here am I, pondering the vagaries of the English language once again." It puts more of an emphasis on the "I" part. Here's part of a favorite poem:
Shadows creep up the mountain,
Mountain goes black on the sky,
The sky bursts out with a million stars
And here, by the campfire,
Am I.
(Kathryn and Byron Jackson)
Elf | Talk 16:58, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm thinking about this even more and actually the first two phrases can have different emphasis depending on the situation:

  • "No one showed up for this meeting!" "Hey, *I*'m here."
  • "You're daydreaming again instead of being mentally here with me!" "No, I *am* here."
  • "Where are you exactly?" "I am *here*."
  • "I give up, I can't find you!" "*Here* I am!"
  • (Upon entering a party, late, where you're expected:) "Here I *am*."
  • "We were all supposed to meet here at 2:00, well, here *I* am."

(So, in looking at those examples, you can see that the original statement that putting "I" first places more importance on the person (note that importance isn't necessarily emphasis) but "here" first puts more importance on the location.) But I can't think of any more than one general usage for "here am I", which is the metaphysical or philosophical sense of one's existence as I mentioned earlier, or a poetic variation on "here I am". Elf | Talk 17:17, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

In surrealist works (if there is such a term), are there any occurences of "am here I" or "I here am"? I guess I have two literature, are there instances where there is a deliberate misuse of grammar to create a particular effect? Also, is "here" functioning as a preposition in all the phrases? Also, thanks for the wonderful and detailed explanations above! --HappyCamper 18:51, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Good questions. Actually here is an adverb in most standard uses (as is there). Prepositions usually have an object (not sure that's the right term), explicit or implicit, as in "over the fire", "through the tunnel". Here is describing the am. As for scrambling of grammar for effect, it's probably done, but the effect would be of someone who doesn't know the language or can't grasp its structure (say, someone who isn't a native speaker, or someone who is mentally incapable of putting together grammatically correct sentences). Elf | Talk 03:56, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Not necessarily, scrambled grammar can be used for artistic effect. In my opinion, most poetry and prose scrambles grammar, such as delaying a verb until the end of a sentence to make it sound fancy, instead of putting it after the subject where it belongs. However, in English class we were recently forced to read a several-verse poem composed entirely of reasonably logical sentences scrambled into randomness. I'm not clear on why it was written that way, but there was an excellent artistic reason for it. 17:02, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

English date time, which is correct?[edit]

For yyyy-mmm-dd hh:mm:ss date time format:

  1. xxx on 2001-Jan-01 00:00:00 UTC
  2. xxx at 2001-Jan-01 00:00:00 UTC
  3. xxx on 2001-Jan-01 at 00:00:00 UTC

Which one is correct? Thanks.

Where I live (southwestern United States), the third option (on date, at time) is the most common. I think any of those would be understood, though. --ParkerHiggins 08:55, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
We usually put the time first, but on is the preposition that goes with dates and at with times. Dave 09:08, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, and where "UTC" should be? at 00:00:00 UTC on 2001-Jan-01 or at 00:00:00 on 2001-Jan-01 UTC"? — Yaohua2000 09:18, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Again, I can't speak for the whole English-speaking community, but I've always seen it right after the time (00:00:00 UTC) --ParkerHiggins 21:01, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
To tell you the truth, no one in the U.S. uses those international date and time styles anyway, so it's going to look foreign to Americans no matter which prepositions you use. In the U.S., we'd say "at 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 20, 2006," "at 5 p.m. EST, Jan. 20, 2006" or "on Jan. 20, 2006, at 5 p.m. EST." -- Mwalcoff 03:45, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Actually, 2001-Jan-01 at 00:00:00 UTC would be 7 p.m. EST on Dec. 31, 2000. But the original poster didn't ask about formats used in the US, only which prepositions to use in English. --Anonymous, 05:10 UTC, December 18, 2005.
Right, but I can only vouch for my country. -- Mwalcoff 16:59, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
That style is not used in the UK either but I prefer 3/ as well. If it's the prepositions that are the problem, the basic UK rule is
  • AT ----(a point in time, eg 2.47, 6 o'clock)
  • IN ----(a period of time eg the afternoon, summer, May, 2005, the nineteenth century)

but there are lots of exceptions of which the most important are ON ----day/date & AT the weekend. Jameswilson 03:18, 19 December 2005 (UTC)


What does the word "Hasky" mean. I hear people using it in the north-west midlands of Ireland where I live.

I am not sure if this is the correct spelling. It is used in reference to a cold and strong "Easterly Wind"

I do not know if the spelling is correct, but that is how it is pronounced.

Any ideas where it comes from I would love to know.


Encarta says it's a "U.K. regional" term that means "dry (without rain)" and that it's "Mid-17th century. < variant of harsh". Elf | Talk 16:43, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Trigonal bipyramid or Trigonal bipyramidal?[edit]

Is Trigonal bipyramid a noun, and trigonal bipyramidal an adjective form of the former? --HappyCamper 16:35, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Looks like to me. Elf | Talk 16:40, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Thank you! --HappyCamper 18:49, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

French word "déplacement"[edit]

Parkour (a new sport) is described by its creators as "l'art du déplacement", which is translated as "the art of motion." I've also heard, however, that that's a mistranslation and "the art of displacement" is closer. What does déplacement actually mean to French people? 18:11, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Transferring or transferring one self (that is, moving) might be the best translation. -EnSamulili 19:58, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
The meaning of "déplacement" is actually pretty close to the English meaning. The standard Larousse French-English dictionary gives "displacement, removing, shifting, traveling, journeying." However, the Parkour article explains it well, and there are great photos there. Halcatalyst 21:44, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Just recently I happened to put a note on the subject on the discussion page of the Parkour article - Mu 18:31, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

A song from McDull[edit]

I would like to find the lyrics of that song in McDull in Cantonese which goes like this (please excuse the romanization as I don't know how to do it properly, but I am fairly certain that a native speaker can figure out what I am saying)...

ngor moon si gor fai lok dik ho yi tong, ngor moon tien tien yat chai sheung tong...

I would translate this as "We are a bunch of happy classmates (or even happy campers?), and everyday we go to class together"...That is what they lyrics are "supposed" to say, but of course, when it was sung on television, the caption at the bottom is completely different, where the tonalization has changed so that the meaning is completely nonsensical. In particular, there is a pun on the words "ho yi tong" so that it either means "very easily cleared", "my ear is hurting very badly", and I think there is also a variant where "ho hai tong" is used, which is a whimsical hybrid of "hai ji" and "yi tong". Is there a listing of this somewhere? I know this is a stretch, but the Wiki has been extremely magical before...Thank you very much for any help you can provide!! --HappyCamper 18:49, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


Is the language of hungary one of the hardest to learn?

Depends what you mean by "hardest"? Hard to me might be easy to you. JackofOz 22:08, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Also, Hungarian babies have no more trouble learning their language than Polish babies have learning theirs, or English babies learning theirs, or .... Is your question about adults learning languages? JackofOz 22:10, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
There are differences between the ages at which babies learn languages though. Articulation score is a major factor. Studies have shown Danish children start speaking at a later age than Swedish ones, despite that the languages are identical concerning grammar. This is due to Danish having less articulate pronunciation than Swedish. This doesn't mean much for an adult learning a second language though. --BluePlatypus 23:11, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
And there are differences in learning to write your native language too. Bilingual Spanish/English children learn to read and write Spanish more quickly than they do English because the spelling system is more phonetic. Jameswilson 03:29, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
As Jack says, "hard" is subjective. But for an adult speaking a (non-finno-ugric) European language, then Hungarian is quite difficult compared to learning other (non-finno-ugric) European languages. The grammar and vocabulary are highly different. The pronunciation isn't that different though. Of course, for someone speaking Finnish or Estonian as a native language, Hungarian is easier since it has much more similar grammar. Hungarian is however not more difficult than learning something completely different, say an English-speaker learning Mandarin or Navajo. --BluePlatypus 23:06, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


Where does the phrase "As sure as eggs is eggs" come from

As sure as eggs is eggs - Google Book Search
" The Pickwick Papers
by Charles Dickens - Fiction - 2000 - 848 pages
Page 580 - And the Bishop says, ‘Sure as eggs is eggs, This here's the bold Turpin!' "
searched here. Maybe someone can find an older reference ? -- Harvestman 00:07, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs traces it to 1680, in Otway's Caius Marius. Brewer's comments that "it may be a corruption of the logician's formula as x is x". Shimgray | talk | 00:29, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Nothing is sure about mathematicians using 'x' in formulas as far as 1680. --Harvestman 18:34, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

December 18[edit]

Naming numbers in the tens[edit]

I'm abusing the reference desk a bit by asking several questios at once, so I hope I don't get ignored. I have noticed that the point where the names for numbers after ten start becoming systematic is different across different Indoeuropean languages. To give some examples:

"Unique" names in the Romance branch tend to stop in middle-high tens:

  • Spanish: up to 15 (quince) then follows systematic 10+x naming.
  • French: up to 16 (seize) then 10+x.
  • Italian: 16 (sedici) then 10+x

Names in the Germanic branch tend to stop in the low tens:

  • English: 12 (twelve) then x+10
  • German: 13 (dreizen) then x+10
  • Swedish: 12 (tolv) then x+10

However, in the case of the Slavic branch:

  • Russian: none, all systematic x+10
  • Polish: none, all systematic x+10
  • Bulgarian: none, all systematic x+10

Modern Greek uses x+10 for 11 and 12; 10+x for 13 onwards.

Disregard the fact that systematic naming sometimes changes for numbers after 20 (e.g. English). Now my questions are:

  1. Are there any perceived advantages/disadvantages of using the 10+x as oppossed to the x+10 system and viceversa?
  2. Why, at least in Germanic and Romance branches, languages
  3. Is there any particular reason for the absence of "unique" names in the Slavic branch?

First I thought the differences may be related to the amount of trade existing in the area where a language developed. People living near the Mediterranean would see a larger trade volume and thus require quick names for "large" numbers. Also knowing beforehand that there are 10-and-something of a product may have eased communication a bit. Then in areas were trade may not have been that extensive longer numerals wouldn't have been an issue, and knowing there were x-and-10 of something more convenient than the other way around...

However I'm almost certain this is not all that there is to it (and is wrong in some obvious way). Any thoughts? Thank you all for any replies. Cheers!

-- Rune Welsh | ταλκ | Esperanza 01:16, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

I have few thoughts other than to point out that the German for 13 is dreizehn which is x+10, i.e. German stops having unique names after 12 just as English and Swedish do.
You might also like to consider that what you call the "unique" names after 10 in Germanic and Romance languages are ultimately derived from x+10 (so "eleven/elf" = one left (over ten) and "twelve/zwölf" = two left (over ten); onze is from the Latin undecem i.e. one-ten, douze from duodecem i.e. two-ten etc.)
Welsh might also be of interest. Although modern Welsh tends to use 10+x from 11 onwards, traditionally the numbers go unarddeg (one on ten) deuddeg (two-ten), tri ar ddeg (three on ten), pedwar ar ddeg (four on ten), pymtheg (five-ten), un ar bymtheg (one on fifteen), dau ar bymtheg (two on fifteen), deunaw (two times nine), and pedwar ar bymtheg (four on fifteen). Valiantis 03:00, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't think you can draw any conclusions from the numbering system. Compare Danish with Swedish/Norwegian. Danish is 20-based for 10s starting with 50. = "halvtreds" (half-three-twenty), 60 is "treds" (three-twenty), 70 "halvfjerds" (half-for-twenty). Whereas Swedish and Norwegian have unique names for each order of 10. Yet apart from this, the languages and cultures have been about as similar as they can get. --BluePlatypus 04:30, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
And of course, we mustn't disregard the glorious example of French naming for numbers up to 100. 20 of course has a Latin based unique name (vingt), 30, 40, 50 and 60 more or less follow a pattern, and then everything goes strange. 70 is sixty-ten, making 75 sixty-fifteen and 77 sixty-ten-seven. 80 is four-twentys, 90 is four-twentys-ten, and everybody's favorite, 99 is of course four-twentys-ten-nine (quatre-vingts-dix-neuf). Zocky 08:51, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
In French French, yes. In Belgian French, however, the numbers 70, 80 and 90 are septante, octante and nonante, I believe. Tonywalton Pentacle 1.svg | Talk 14:42, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Much can be said, but remark that in French, numbers between ten and twenty have their origin in latin and were torn by usage to look like something different. quinze 15 comes from quindecim which is just 5+10. -- Harvestman 18:38, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

English in the Netherlands.[edit]

Is it possible to live and function in the Netherlands speaking only English? I can't find information showing what percentage of people speak English.

No problem. I know several people who have lived, studied and worked in Amsterdam for years, without learning any Dutch beyond "witbier". David Sneek 16:44, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Dutch people often speak better English than you or I do. It's probably a nice gesture to at least try to learn the local language while you're living in the country, though. -- Mwalcoff 17:00, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Television in the Netherlands, unlike in Germany for example, is surprisingly English centered. Shows like the A-team, ER and Will&Grace are quite common, and are broadcast in their original English, though subtitled. Combined with a lot of English pop music and Hollywood films, they bring English very close to home, for people living in the Netherlands.
In Germany on the other hand, most such series and films are dubbed, so that everything is in German. The voice actors are often quite famous. So I wouldn't advise an English speaking person to make a home in Germany. -- Ec5618 12:30, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
On the contrary, those of us who are English speakers making our home in Germany find it's a great way to learn German. Upon arriving, you can watch last season's episodes of your favorite TV shows dubbed into German. Since you already saw them in English at home, you know what the characters are saying, so when you hear the German it's easier to piece it together. It's German speakers wanting to learn English whom I'd advise against making a home in Germany. --Angr (t·c) 12:41, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
The problem with dubbing is that you miss out on part of the character. No one in the Czech Republic knows what Homer Simpson actually sounds like. -- Mwalcoff 00:17, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Homer is a nasal whinger - his family redeems him. I read an interview with an English language author, who was amazed on a book tour of the Netherlands that the customers bought the English edition for him to sign, rather than the Dutch edition. Have they no pride?--shtove 00:44, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I've always wondered why there are so many good English speakers from the Netherlands.Isn't the group A-HA is from the Netherlands? I 'll read up on them after this .--Jondel 00:33, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

a-ha is norwegian, darn you. -- Ec5618 00:44, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Ooops! sorry.--Jondel 00:50, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Might be because Nederlandic is so similiar to many dialects of English, both historically and in practical terms.  ::grin:: Honestly, it is.
I found Neuhochdeutsch *easier* to learn, though, but only because of the pronunciation rules- Nederlandic makes my throat twist a bit more than I like, if one is comparing them on the basis of saying the actual words. If you open up a modern Nederlandic-English dictionary, and you have some idea of how morphology (linguistics) works, it will blow your mind.  ;) If you are really interested, also go check out the dialects of Frisian.

P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 18:22, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I need a translation[edit]

Hello I have been looking for a translation for quite a while now and noone can seem to help. I have studied Biblical Text for a long time and have found the most instructive words Jesus to ever speak to be "Love God First." Now I have found translations in many different types of Aramaic and arabic. But not the believed language of Christ himself. Which is Middle Aramaic. If you could send me an accurate translation of "Love God First," in Middle Aramaic, I would greatly appreciate it.

First, I don't understand what you're asking for. Are you asking for a translation of the phrase from English to Middle Aramaic? According to Aramaic#Middle_Aramaic, Middle Aramaic emerged from Old Aramaic only about the 3rd century CE. This of course was well after the time of Jesus. You might want Old Aramaic. There is a section on the spoken dialects in Jesus' time in the article Aramaic language.
More fundamentally, the phrase to which you refer is found in the New Testament, Luke 10:25-28. This gospel was written 40-50 years after Jesus' death. Biblical scholarship can't tell you even if Jesus spoke the words himself. That is a matter of faith, the "evidence of things not seen." Halcatalyst 04:13, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Looks like he is, in a confuzzled sort of approach, attempting to to find out the Aramaic version of the phrase in English. → P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 18:12, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
In Mark 12:28-34 and Matt. 22:34-40 Jesus quotes Deut. 6:5 and calls it the greatest commandment. (Luke 10:25-28 has Jesus' questioner recall the quote.) The precise words in English would depend upon which place you quote and which version of the Bible you're using. "Hear,O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark, NAB). Halcatalyst 19:38, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

December 19[edit]

As per XYZ[edit]

What does the word "per" mean in this context?

Person A - delete this article - seems like vanity.
Person B - delete, per person A.

When I look up "per" in a dictionary, I cannot find any entries which suggests the word means "as what the reference says". Can you help out? Thanks. --HappyCamper 01:14, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

"Prescribed by" would be my first reaction. It means "for" in Latin, but only in causative senses, not beneficiary senses. Dave 01:50, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
How's about "pursuant to"? "Pur" wouldn't look quite right. --Nelson Ricardo 02:12, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
"According to" -- as used with as "per instructions", "as per usual". Is this correct usage? I don't know. Who cares? TheMadBaron 02:16, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, I do :-) -- Is "per" really an abbreviation? Thinking back into the Good Old Days, I only used the word when others were using it, but I didn't really know what it meant. --HappyCamper 02:17, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Pretty sure its Latin "per" which has survived in legal correspondence and the odd stock phrase. Jameswilson 03:43, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
  • "per" (pûr) prep.
  1. To, for, or by each; for every: Gasoline once cost 40 cents per gallon.
  2. According to; by: Changes were made to the manuscript per the author's instructions.
  3. By means of; through.

( Halcatalyst 03:52, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Wonderful! Thanks everyone! --HappyCamper 05:37, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Lie Zi and Lie Yu lie yu Kou[edit]

From these two articles, I cannot figure out which is the author, or which is the book. My question is, is Lie Zi a book name? --HappyCamper 02:45, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Lie Zi is both the author and the book title. Since the author did not give a book name, so later people use the author's name as the book name. — Yaohua2000 03:59, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
btw, Zi is not his given name, people always use surname + "Zi" to call a person such as Mo Zi (fullname Mo Li), Kong Zi (fullname Kong Qiu), Lao Zi (fullname Lao Dan), and etc. — Yaohua2000 04:08, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Snow set or settle[edit]

Does the snow set or settle on the ground?

I'd say "settle". Settling is what happens when moving things come to rest, so that makes the most sense. — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 16:26, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Definitely settle. Setting implies something changing from a semi-liquid to a solid state, which is pretty much the opposite of what snow does on the ground.... TheMadBaron 19:30, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
That's set as an intransitive verb (means it doesn't act on anything); the transitive form would require that something else set the snow on the ground, as in, "She set the dish on the table." Things don't usually set themselves. But even if they did, "set" is more of a single motion of placement. Elf | Talk 21:45, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

French translation[edit]

I was writing the article on the Ecorse River in Michigan but online French-English dictionaries had no entry for ecorse. It is north of the River Raisin and south of the River Rouge so I believe that the name is French for something. Rmhermen 21:40, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

  • The Wyandotte community website here has this to say about it:
    • "Ecorse Township included all the area from the Detroit River west to Telegraph Road, and from Pennsylvania Road north to the Rouge River . The name of the original township was taken from the "Rivière Aux Écorces" (meaning Bark River). The river was so named by the early French settlers in the area because of the old Indian custom of wrapping their dead in birch or elm bark, and burying them along the mouth of the river in sand dunes."
  • I think that should be helpful. The reason ecorse wasn't in the dictionry was because it was originally écorce.

Sputnikcccp 23:13, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Poem :An Ode to the Aunts.[edit]

Hi , I would like help in locating a copy of a Poem :An Ode to the Aunts : ...or more precisely the words to this poem ( Ode) . If you can help me please email me directly to [email removed].

I would be most appreciative of your help , as I am writing a story about my aunts , and would like to include this poem (ode ) .

Look forward to any help I can get .... Thanks etc Bruce Donaldson .

  • Hi, Bruce. Google seems not to have any link to any poem called 'an ode to the aunts' or 'an ode to aunts.' However, I might be dropping off by the British Library one of the days: if you have the name of the poët, I could try to search the poem. 15:35, 20 December 2005 Iinag

Translate "Sweetheart" into Malimiutun or Malimiut[edit]

I found the Wikipedia web-site via a google search and hoped to be able to translate "Sweetheart" or a similar term of endearment in to the Malimiutun or Malimiut Inupiatun language. More importantly, I'd like to be able to pronouce same. I'm not sure what terms of endearment would be common for this language. I hope to find a name for a new puppy. Would anyone be able to help? Thanks so much for any assistance offered. Cathy. M. -- 23:56, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

I can't help but you might also try posting on the discussion page for Alaskan Malamute or searching on the web for names for alaskan malamutes. Elf | Talk 18:17, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

December 20[edit]

Which Indian is sitting "Indian Style"[edit]

When I was in elementary school, the teachers were clearly under the impression that sitting "Indian Style" was sitting the style of Native Americans. Thanksgiving Indians, for example, sat indian style during thanksgiving pageants. However, I have to question-- is this sitting style named after Native Americans, or is named after the residents of India? Given the similarity to the clearly asian Lotus style sitting, i'm inclined to suspect it might actually be named after the asian Indians. Alecmconroy 06:55, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't have an answer to your question, but I did wonder the same thing myself once and came up with the same arguments on both sides as you mention. Eventually I decided it refers to both. --Angr (t·c) 08:34, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Most likely Native Americans, I'd think. If it referred to India, you'd think the expression would exist in British English and other languages. But it's an American expression. Also, they had chairs in India and didn't sit on the ground/floor as much as Native Americans. --BluePlatypus 08:07, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Good times. Is that noise thing with the hand and the mouth really from the American Indians, too? Maybe just one tribe? BTW, is there an accepted term for them that isn't clunky, stuffy, childish or confusing? I've heard Indian(confused with people from India), American Indian(by the naming conventions, technically someone with American heritage of some kind who moves to India), Wah-Wah vs Dot-On-The-Forehead(amusing and descriptive, but insulting), and Amerindian(retarded). I think Wikipedia would be the perfect place to invent and spread a good word for them, if one doesn't exist. (Edit: I missed Native American. Although it's unarguably the best of the bunch, I don't like it. It's too long and inconvenient to be the name for an entire continent's worth of people, and some people could argue it's not technically true. Maybe a short description would work, like white=Euro and black=African) 17:18, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

None of them really work very well in English. The three most prominent examples, 'Native American', 'Amerindian', and, simply, 'Indian', all make mistakes in the naming. The latter two, obviously, incorporate terms that imply that our local Cherokee, Blackfoot, and other tribes somehow managed to pop over for tea without the benefit of a jet aeroplane. 'Native American' in itself works best for now as a neutral term. The one caveat in that case is that whether those peoples are truly the first 'native' peoples in America has come under some dispute in recent years. Not much, mind you, but enough to turn some more scientific heads. For myself, I figure the Native Americans *are* what they say they are.
'Native American' is 'too long and inconvienient'?!?! Welcome to English, the language with the rather common and long compound words thanks to its Germanic origins.
As for the 'short descriptions' idea you provided above- at best it is racist. Not advisable for general use. Have you forgotten the Moors? The Turks? The Huns invading in the tens of thousands from the Asian steppes? In the other direction: have you ever even *been* to the Mediterranean? Start in Libya, Morocco, or Egypt, as examples, and begin walking south. You will be utterly amazed at the sheer variety of people you meet- and we are not talking just about something so bloody insignificant as *melanin*. You will find more human variety in Africa than anywhere else in the world.
Categorising humans is a thankless business. No matter what you use to divvy them up into neat piles of logs, they will find problems with the method used. Best to leave well enough alone unless you have something brilliant that can revolutionise the sciences of anthropology and ethnography.
P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 18:07, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
(Posted following edit conflict...) There's no such term that I've ever heard. Most seem to prefer Native American, just as African American is preferred by those of African ancestry, rather than "black". Used to be "redskin" for Indians--er, sorry, native americans-- but that's dating wayyy back. It's a difficult problem. How does one refer to everyone of all different ethnic and cultural backgrounds living in, for example, Asia? Asians. But "Americans" has been appropriated generally to mean citizens of the U.S., so that won't work. Australians call their native peoples "aborigines". Tecnically, this term refers to any peoples who have lived in an area since ancient times, but my impression is that most find the term to be insulting because of the way it's been used over time (that is, to be insulting...). Too bad Columbus thought he was in India instead of, say, Atlantis, then the Native Americans could conveniently be called Atlantians and it would have been so much simpler. (Although, in reality, over time that probably would've come to have pejorative connotations just as Indians and Aboriginals have.) Anyway, here in the US, pretty much everyone knows that one is referring to the american indian when one talks about "indians", in fact has to clarify when discussing indians who are actually from India, even here in Silicon Valley where there are many many Indian Indians. (Interesting, though, I think when one might mention "an Indian engineer", others would identify the origin correctly, although I think the tendency would be to say "an engineer from India".)
So, anyway, yes, sitting American Indian style. Elf | Talk 18:09, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
"Most seem to prefer Native American". According to Native Americans in the United States#Common usage in the U.S., a 1996 survey indicates more Indians prefer the term "American Indian" than the term "Native American". This jibes with what linguist friends of mine who have lived among American Indians report, namely that "everyone just says Indians". --Angr (t·c) 22:08, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
While it was called Indian style when I was in grade school in the 70's, my son is now instructed in school to sit "criss-cross applesauce". Less pejorative, but really odd. Rmhermen 01:35, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure why, but people who deal with kids seem to have this thing for weird words. I think they believe that's how kids like to be talked down to. I mean, talked to. The easiest way to tell someone to sit that way is, "Cross your legs" or "Sit with your legs crossed." Black Carrot 16:25, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
But crossing one's legs isn't the same as sitting indian style. I usually cross my legs when I'm sitting in a chair (one over the other). I wonder whether this is a regional difference? What do non-Americans call sitting on the floor indian style and sitting in a chair with one leg over the other? Elf | Talk 22:09, 23 December 2005 (UTC)


"Aithal" is a Greek word in "Old Chemistry Science", it is the name for a device which was used for sublimation of mercury, I am looking for its name in English. Javad Zaker

I think the Greek word you're talking about is αἰθάλη (aithale), which means "soot", but I don't know about its use in alchemy. —Keenan Pepper 19:04, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

quelles sont les verbes de l opinion

Is this a different question? Might I suggest fr:Wikipédia:Oracle? —Keenan Pepper 19:04, 20 December 2005 (UTC) suffixes only[edit]

please explain why we use jr. or sr. or numbers of same named males only. Why do we not refer to women who are named the same? I'm sure it has to do with feminine or masculine language usage but am unsure. thanks for your help.

I'm pretty sure it has to do with primogeniture, or the fact that first-born sons inherited everything belonging to their fathers (apparently including their names) and daughters never inherited anything. Here's an article, referring to a survey on canadian attitudes, that says something about that:
The "father must be master" question has become legendary at Environics. We love it because it measures a traditional, patriarchal attitude to authority in our most cherished institution: the family. Sons inherit the land, starting with the first -- primogeniture prevents estates from being subdivided like amoebas. Sons inherit the family business as in Smith and Son. Sons, not daughters, are named "Junior" in the hope they will prove worthy of their father's aristocratic seed.[13]
Interestingly, I just saw Brokeback Mountain, in which the daughter of one of the characters is named after her mother and the dad refers to her as "Junior" throughout, although, as in real life, I got the sense that it was jokingly affectionate as opposed to her name necessarily actually having "Jr." appended to it. See also Suffix (name).
Elf | Talk 17:31, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Using Jr. & Sr. for males only is current practice, but in prior times no one would have thought it wrong to use them for females. (One of the accusers in the Salem witchcraft trials, for example, was Ann Putnam, Jr.) Nor does it have to do with primogeniture (the Jr. needn't be a firstborn son). In fact, in some instances Sr & Jr may not be related at all: they are merely one way of telling people with the same name apart. - Nunh-huh 17:45, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Patronymic and the rather poor Matronymic might also be of interest to you. MeltBanana 23:47, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

I had wondered this myself, and here is my conclusion. Say you have a Miss Jane Doe and a Mr. John Smith. Miss Doe marries Mr. Smith and becomes Mrs. Smith. Mr. and Mrs. Smith then have a child and name her Jane. The daughter's full name is Jane Smith. She cannot be Jane Smith, Jr. because neither of her parents is named Jane Smith. I see two exceptions to this. Number one, a name that is common to both sexes, such as Jordan, is in play. Miss Doe marries Mr. Jordan Smith and they have a girl that they name Jordan Smith. Is it possible to tack on Jr. to baby Jordan? The second exception is if the mother has the same name as the person she marries, such as Miss Jane Smith marrying Mr. John Smith. The couple then have a child that they name Jane. The child's last name is then also Jane. Here, is it also possible to tack on Jr.? In both of these cases, is the mother then Sr. if the daughter is Jr.? It's all very complex and I think it would be fun to know if this has ever happened in real life. --Think Fast 21:18, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I assume you mean "the child's last name is then also Smith." But I don't understand what you mean by " Miss Doe marries Mr. Smith and becomes Mrs. Smith.... neither of her parents is named Jane Smith." You just said that Jane's name is Jane Smith (or presumably she wouldn't be Mrs. Smith...she'd be Ms. Doe). Are you trying to say that a married name is only a pretend name? I have 25 years of history and a stack of legal documents that say that my name IS "Jane Smith" (OK, that's not the real one, but same concept). "Jane Doe" no longer exists. I certainly wouldn't be able to do legal transactions as "Jane Doe". So anyway--please clarify in case I misunderstood. Elf | Talk 23:58, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I noticed that too. If Miss Jane Doe marries Mr. John Smith and chooses to take his name, she becomes Jane Smith. Perhaps what Think Fast meant is that she doesn't become "Mrs. Jane Smith", she becomes "Mrs. John Smith". She can also use "Ms. Jane Smith" if she prefers. --Angr (t·c) 06:30, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I sort of see that point, except that it's incorrect--she becomes Jane Doe; "Mrs. John Doe" is a title or a courtesy, which she can use if she prefers, but it is not her name. Elf | Talk 16:54, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

I think the second part of the original question referred to 'why haven't I heard' rather than 'why don't we', and I think that the answer is that, although we may have girls named after their mothers it is so rare that none of us can think of any examples, and so female alternatives to jr. and sr. (or even jr. or sr. themselves) are not used. Givnan 07:46, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

IPA for French pronunciation of "Marquis de Sade"[edit]

I would like to add the IPA pronunciation of "Marquis de Sade" to the article. I read through some of the IPA articles, and came up with the following: /ma'ki.də.saːd/. Does that look right? Is it proper to separate the words with periods? Thanks, AxelBoldt 18:53, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

I think you need something for the r. According to French phonology and orthography, r can be a lot of things in different accents, but usually it's a uvular trill (ʀ) or a voiced uvular fricative (ʁ). —Keenan Pepper 19:17, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Yup, I think you're right, ʁ seems to fit. Thanks again. AxelBoldt 23:48, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

December 21[edit]

an unique OR a unique?[edit]

My guess is "a unique" ... but why? --Quasipalm 18:52, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Your guess is correct. When a "u" word is pronounced as though it begins with a "y" (yoo nique), it's treated more like the consonant sound of the y. So, a univerity, an umbrella, a usual day, an unusual day. Elf | Talk 19:07, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Makes sense. Thanks! --Quasipalm 19:28, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
"univerity" ==> "university". -- Jmabel | Talk 08:45, 22 December 2005 (UTC)


What language is written on the American Dollar?

American English, I assume. The mottos, however, are in Latin. Shimgray | talk | 20:25, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I need a translation[edit]

Novus Ordo Seclorum........What does this mean?

A new order of ages --Angr (t·c) 20:39, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
See U.S. one dollar bill#Reverse of current $1 bill for an explanation of all the mottos and symbols. —Keenan Pepper 21:11, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

(Where of course there is a link to the specific article on the expression) Stabilizer 18:49, 23 December 2005 (UTC)


I see references to "vetting" a person, e.g., for a judgeship or sensitive position. I would appreciate a definition of vetting.

  • Here's what Wikipedia has to say about using vet as a verb:

to vet was originally a horse-racing term, referring to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race. Thus, it has taken the general meaning "to check": "The attorney vetted the documents before using them to make his case." 'It's' is not a genitive 21:40, 21 December 2005

  • Also try reading the term as "conducting security clearance (in relation to)". If you come across "positive vetting", this is a more stringent process of actively checking a person's background by contacting and interviewing friends, previous employers, etc. Stabilizer 18:45, 23 December 2005 (UTC)


Why does BC stand for an English phrase, Before Christ, when AD stands for a Latin phrase, Anno Domini(In the Year of Our Lord)? 22:51, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Originally BC was AC, or Ante Christum (Before Christ). I suppose it was changed to avoid confusion. --Articuno1 23:24, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Presumably confusion that AC could stand for Anno Christi, "in the year of Christ"? jnothman talk 01:13, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Why is the Spanish word for 'left' (izquierda) from Basque, but the word for 'right' (derecha) is from latin? I guess it just happens sometimes that word-pairs get different etymologies. --BluePlatypus 16:29, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Read the Spanish Holy Bible where Christ says 'and seat at my left'. The word is something like 'siniestra'. (Right is something like diestra not derecha in old/bible Spanish)--Jondel 05:06, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

December 22[edit]

English Question[edit]

What is it called when you can spell a word fowards and backwards and it be the same word?? EX. Level,mom Thank you

Palindrome. Elf | Talk 00:26, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
PalindromemordnilaP :-) --hydnjo talk 02:12, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Aha!  ;-) Elf | Talk 05:16, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
And... not only words but phrases and sentences can be palindromes. The most famous is what the first man supposedly said to the first woman: "Madam, I'm Adam." Halcatalyst 19:18, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama! Ground Zero | t 19:36, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

OK, you palindromites, don't get too carried away repeating what's already in the article— Elf | Talk 23:14, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Palindromites, like Punners and Acronymists, not to mention versifiers, know no bounds. Halcatalyst 04:21, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
What languages do palindromists speak? Malayalam, Nauruan, and Ewe! And what kind of car does a palindromist drive? A Toyota! --Angr (t·c) 05:39, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

love and happiness in life[edit]

what is the relationship between love and fullfilment or happiness in life? --00:30, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

  • That's not a particularly linguistic question, anonymous friend, unless you're searching for a word that means 'the relationship between love and happiness', in which case, I have no idea. If indeed you're asking what extent love and happiness are related, it's more like a subjective philosophical question. I would say that the relationship between the two is incredibly strong, since, as pack beings, not many people can find happiness in the fate of being confined to being on their own. As well as the general joys of love, it gives a sort of self-validation to those being loved too. Iinag 01:52, 22 December 2005 (UTC)


What does punting mean?

Please see, as the many definitions each depend on the context in which the word is used. Grumpy Troll (talk) 08:22, 22 December 2005 (UTC).
Hey, whose side are you on, anyway? is, like, the enemy. Here at Wikipedia we direct people to Wiktionary. —Keenan Pepper 03:12, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
Please do excuse me and rest assured that I shall direct people to Wiktionary in the future. Grumpy Troll (talk) 08:03, 23 December 2005 (UTC).


Is is "enamoured with" or "enamoured of" ?

Both are acceptable. Note that "enamored" is spelt without a u. Grumpy Troll (talk) 08:17, 22 December 2005 (UTC).
Only in American English. In other countries it is spelled with a u. --Angr (t·c) 08:57, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Thank you for that Commonwealth English reference — is based solely on American dictionaries. Grumpy Troll (talk) 09:00, 22 December 2005 (UTC).
Oh, the irony of an American pointing out Commonwealth spelling to a Brit! ;-) Angr (t·c) 09:13, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Bowing to the o/ou differences in national custom, I note that the root of the word is Latin amor. The source for the word in English was Old French, which could equally have enamourer or enamorer (infinitive forms). Halcatalyst 19:14, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Be that as it may, the official Commonwealth spelling is with a 'u'. Givnan 15:52, 24 December 2005 (UTC)


what does nuerotic mean.. tells us that "neurotic" means "Of, relating to, or affected with a neurosis. No longer in scientific use." "Neurosis" means "Any of various mental or emotional disorders, such as hypochondria or neurasthenia, arising from no apparent organic lesion or change and involving symptoms such as insecurity, anxiety, depression, and irrational fears, but without psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. No longer in scientific use."
Please defer any future definition requests to If you use Mozilla Firefox, type "dict <word>" (without the quotation marks) in the address bar to obtain a definition of a word. Grumpy Troll (talk) 08:29, 22 December 2005 (UTC).
Another fine place for definition lookups is Wiktionary :-) Elf | Talk 16:58, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
For looking things up on Mozilla Firefox, you have to leave out the angled brackets above too, not just the quotation marks. To find the definition of word, you type dict word. --Angr (t·c) 05:36, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

double whammy[edit]

what is double whammy?

A whammy is a curse or hex put on someone ([14]), so a double whammy is twice as bad. Elf | Talk 16:56, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
  • A slang term which refers to a situation where two negative things happen at once, therefore (as noted by Elf) multiplying the effect of these things. However, a double whammy could possibly be a good thing, in team sports for example, if the other side scored two home goals... Stabilizer 18:38, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

translation and correct spelling of a city name[edit]

I need to know the official translation and spelling of Cologne (city in Germany) in Norwegian. There is a discussion it is the same as German Köln or Køln.

Thanks, Sabine.

Well, the Norwegian Wikipedia article about the city is called Köln. --Angr (t·c) 16:04, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I doubt there is any 'official' spelling. Köln and Køln are both just as correct since the German letter 'ö' is the same letter as the Norwegian 'ø'. "Köln" is more common though, since it's the original spelling and Norwegians don't have problems recognizing or typing the letter, but noone is going to be confused or say that it's "wrong" to write 'Køln'. (Swedes use 'ö' and not 'ø', and Norwegians often write Swedish names using 'ø' instead, and vice-versa.) --BluePlatypus 16:12, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Prince Philip[edit]

What language did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh learn to speak first? In other words, what language did his family speak among themselves? Greek? Danish? English? Zoe ( 17:43, 22 December 2005 (UTC))

I don't think it's greek, I'm quite sure it's danish or english.

According to "Elizabeth and Philip: The Untold Story" by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley":

  • his mother Princess Alice of Battenberg was born deaf and had to use sign language when she married Prince Andrew of Greece; so that was their way of talking to each other. Philip was raised to use sign language so that he could communicate with his mother
  • Philip was baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church, but never spoke Greek
  • English was his first language, German second and French third
  • no mention of Danish, which is not surprising since they were Danes in name only by this stage.

Presumably this means that he communicated in English with his father, however his father was an irresponsible playboy who had little to do with Philip from an early age. So who knows? JackofOz 04:00, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

I wonder which sign language his mother spoke. It's indicative of the widespread misapprehension that sign languages aren't "real" languages that the author of that book in one place says Philip used sign language as a child, but does not include it in the list of Philip's first languages ("English was his first, German second and French third"). --Angr (t·c) 05:30, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
Fair call, Angr. JackofOz 10:13, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
Alice:Princess Andrew of Greece by Hugo Vickers has no suggestion that Philip's mother actually spoke any sign language. She was either born deaf "due to the thickness of the Eustacian tubes" or had her hearing "damaged on one of her early sea voyages". The first mention of anything pertinent is when she was 2 years old when Queen Victoria writes "she is very slow in learning to talk, but on the other hand very clever with her fingers." But this latter refers to buttoning and tying knots, not sign language. It was not until she was 4 years old that anyone thought Alice had a serious problem, when her mother writes that she was "decidedly backward of speech, using all sorts of self-invented words & pronouncing others very indistinctly". It was Princess Battenberg, Alice's mother, who labeled the problem as deafness and took Alice to an ear specialist. Her mother taught her to lip read, and she followed conversations easily and by May 1889 it was noted that she was speaking "quite nicely at last". A physician was again consulted when she was eight to see if any operation would help. "By the age of fourteen there was a marked improvement, but it was not until as late as 1922 that Alice announced that she had heard a cuckoo for the first time." The family were told to talk normally and make no concessions to Alice. "Her lip-reading became so good that people put their hands over their mouths when imparting secrets across the room, aware that she could lip-read not only in English and German but in several languages." This seems to be the way she communicated at the time Philip, her last child, was born when she was 39 years old. If Philip indeed communicated with his mother in sign language, my guess is it was impromptu signs rather than a learned language, and I'm inclined to doubt there was very much signing going on. - Nunh-huh 22:46, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
Our article on Princess Alice says she was born with congenital deafness, no mention of any post-natal damage - and it cites Vickers' book as a source. So something's not right there. The fact that Vickers makes no mention of sign language is not necessarily a denial that she used one. JackofOz 00:49, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
I doubt that anyone really knows which explanation is correct, and both appear in Vickers, and on the same page. It's easier to say "born deaf", and it probably is correct, so the second explanation, apparently favored by some family members, gets lost by the wayside. And yes, I know, and I didn't say otherwise. Nonetheless, it's clear from Vickers that Alice mostly communicated by speaking, and by lip-reading. I suspect little consideration was given to other options, and that no one in the family was going to go out of their to make accomodations for her deafness. - Nunh-huh 01:29, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Fair call. But I wonder where Higham and Moseley got their information about the sign language - or were they making it up, perhaps?. They say, on p.72, "Using sign language, she had married Prince Andrew on 7 October 1903, at Darmstadt ...", and on p.74, ".. Philip was raised to learn sign language so that he could communicate with his mother". JackofOz 01:45, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
The two books are certainly telling different stories.... There were 3 marriages, 2 of them on the 7th, and Vickers doesn't mention signing at either of them, and says that at the Protestant rite at the Alte Schloss "Alice misheard the questions, and said 'no' instead of 'yes' when asked if she assented freely to marriage, and 'yes' instead of 'no' when asked about having promised her hand elsewhere". And when the Tsar (accidentally) threw a bag of rice in her face, she told him her opinion rather than making the universal sign I might have contemplated....- Nunh-huh 03:22, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

December 23[edit]


what does the word 'slam' mean? not like 'slamed the door' but like... in slang? if it means something bad, i'm sorry, i just don't know what it means, cause I speak spanish. thanks :)

In journalese, 'slam' is often used to mean 'publicly criticise', eg. "The Opposition today slammed the Government's policy of turning away refugees as inhumane". JackofOz 04:06, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
In American slang, it's meant "put down" for quite a while. OK, so what's "put down"? insult, belittle. Similar to "dis," for disrespect, which is much more recent. Halcatalyst 04:15, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

thank you :)


does anyone know what does tvoj rju zorak mean? i think it's an insult... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I need some help translating something: xio mien nwar. it is something a friend of mine is being apparently threatened with...i do not know what language it is but i would really like to know. Thank You!

Michael —Preceding unsigned comment added by Doorman7856 (talkcontribs)

are you being sarcastic? my question was sincere! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Please! i need this translation! tvoj rju zorak to english.

At Category:User sh-N, Category:User sr-N, Category:User hr-N, and Category:User bs-N you will find a list of native speakers of Serbo-Croatian, Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian respectively; maybe someone there can help you. --Angr (t·c) 19:46, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

I can't find a way to talk to them!

Decide who you want to ask, click on their User page, from there click on the "Discussion" tab to get to their talk page, then click on the "+" tab to ask a question on the talk page. --Angr (t·c) 07:36, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

thnx u rock

tvoj rju zorak has nothing to do with Southern Slavic languages. At least with languages listed above (except maybe Slovenian, who knows). I'd try with Eastern Slavic (e.g. Russian), or even more likely Western Slavic (Slovak, Polish..) languages. -- Obradović Goran (talk 00:53, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Only intelligible word for me is tvoj - yours. -- Obradović Goran (talk 00:53, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Thank you obradovic :) hey, one more thing! does 'ja se bogan' mean I am a god? or am I being so fooled... and also... is something like 'pozdam draj' bye bye?

Sorry, but once again... that isn't South Slavic (Serbian, Bosniak, Croatian..). Since it is Slavic, it sounds familiar to me as a Serb, and if I would know what it means, everything would fit, but I can't translate it by myself. Ja se is I am, and bogan.. hmm, in Serbian bog means god, so it might have the same root, but then again, it is very possible that it has nothing to do with god. -- Obradović Goran (talk 22:30, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
I feel pretty silly though to guess like this, since on this Wikipedia there are hunderds of people who know exactly what it means (you only need to find them), and there is no need for guessing :] -- Obradović Goran (talk 22:30, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

What does Oindrila mean[edit]

You are making a wonderful effort in compiling different sources of knowledge. I needed some help and it would be nice if you can help me sort this out. I was wondering about the meaning of the bengali name Oindrila. Does it have the same meaning as Aindri, which means Lord Indra's wife. 05:47, 23 December 2005 (UTC)raju

According to this site, Oindrila is indeed "another name for the wife of Indra", and it does seem to be Bengali. - Mu 11:38, 23 December 2005 (UTC)


I found this on the russ page: "The word rus comes from Latin, Cornua Depositurus, to put aside one's horns"

What do you mean by "put aside one's horns?" - God of War

Apparently in a Danish tradition Norwegian students would be obliged wear a horn on their forehead until they passed their exams. Weird. David Sneek 16:00, 23 December 2005 (UTC) (This is actually explained in the Russ article...)

German translation please[edit]

Hello, this is KeeganB. If it isn't to much trouble, can some one help me with this German paragraph:

Unsere waren werden auf freiwilliger Basis von einen staatlich geprüften Lebensmittelchemiker , der als Sachverständiger öffentlich bestellt ist, laufend überprüft.

Merry frickin' Xmas and a drunk new year!

babelfish gives me this: Ours were for freiwilliger basis of a nationally examined food chemist, who is publicly ordered as an expert, constantly are examined. :) sorry - God of War

Our goods are regularly inspected on a voluntary basis by a nationally examined food chemist, who is publicly appointed as an expert. --Angr (t·c) 08:20, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

origin of a word[edit]

i would like to know the origin of the word"fuck"-- 12:18, 23 December 2005 (UTC)mavfkcvk

Look in a dictionary, or see fuck. --Heron 12:25, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

essay help[edit]

my english teacher gave me an assingment to write an essay on

"In all Commonwealth societies, customs and traditions help people to navigate a passage through life. In your experience, does this statement ring true? " can you guys help . im not asking you guys to write an essay all im askink s please could you give me a few hints, tips,points or even give me a start. please!!!!-- 12:23, 23 December 2005 (UTC)john james

A good place to start would be Commonwealth of Nations. Read through this and other related articles, then form your opinions based on what you've learned (and whether some of those customs and traditions have really helped you in your life). --Deathphoenix 16:07, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
The assignment is asking you to reflect on whether social customs and traditions have helped you make your way in life. So, think about those which have actually affected you in your life. They might involve family, religious, school, or even friends. Think of a few significant related incidents and how you might organize them around a central theme, or thesis. That's how to get started. Halcatalyst 16:31, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
  • And maybe wrap up with some thoughts on whether the philosophical, legal and political "traditions" of such societies allow individuals contained within them to freely navigate their own passages through life. Stabilizer 19:14, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

one word for[edit]

what is the english word for "killing of a God"

Deicide --Angr (t·c) 14:49, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Politely insincere responses to social greetings[edit]

There is apparently a collective term for PIRtSGs (eg. responding "good" to "how are you?", when you are unwell). I only know this from having stumbled across the specific WP article on it some months ago, and I've been looking for it off and on ever since. Does anyone know it, or can they find and identify it here? Etiquette, greeting, stock phrase, links thereto, WikDic entries (eg. how are you?) and Cat:Greetings and Idioms have not led me back to what I'm looking for. 20:05, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

I'd have said it was "stock phrase"; so I plugged "how are you" (with quotes) into the search box and eventually came up with Phatic. That what you wanted? Elf | Talk 22:16, 23 December 2005 (UTC) (PS: I just went back & added links between the 2 articles.)
  • This must be it. Thanks very much for tracking it down, and growing the web! Bravo. 05:37, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Spanish pronunciation[edit]

How's /la.ʎo' as an attempt at a transcription of how a Spanish speaker might pronounce "La Llorona"? I'm aware that because of yeísmo the /ʎ/ might well be realised as various other things, but I thought /ʎ/ would be best in a phonemic transciption as a kind of standard, even if most Spanish dialects these days are losing that exact sound. Am I right, and is the rest okay? I ask because our article on La Llorona currently advises the reader that it's pronounced "lah yoh-roh-nah", which to my eye looks like /lɑː.jəʊ.ɹəʊ.nɑː/ and needs replacing with something less hopelessly inaccurate. — Trilobite 23:41, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

/ʎ/ seems most appropriate to me. Keep up the good work! —Keenan Pepper 01:48, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
I just corrected it to /la joˈɾona/. I think /ʎ/ is inappropriate since La Llorona belongs primarily to Mexican folklore, and Mexican Spanish doesn't have a phoneme /ʎ/. --Angr (t·c) 09:05, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Great, thanks for that. — Trilobite 18:08, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

December 24[edit]

Math and Language Art Scores in Native American School[edit]

We are searching for answers to how to increase our reading and math scores with our students. Many of our students are from disfunctional families and very low income with alcohol and drug probems galore. Lack of money for social services and other agencies, makes our job even more difficult. I know it is a very broad question question without details, but where do we start??

I am not expert here, just someone who considers self very informed on spectrum of topics. My suggestions include:

  • These problems are not unique to Native American Schools, but any place schools are located in areas of the poorest of the poor. There must be educational associations where institutions and professionals with similar needs help each other.
  • my sister teaches high school college preparatory math. You might get some ideas from her web site.
  • Extracurricular activities can increase student skills in relevant areas. Volunteers to supervise the kids need not be 100% taken from the teaching staff, but can also call on parents and local industries.
    • I am now over age 60 but still have fond memories, of when I was active in such school functions as Chess Club and Junior Achievement.
      • While School Busses are usually reserved for transportation at beginning and end of school day, and to take the sports teams to play other schools, we managed to get the use of a School Bus one time so our school could participate in a Chess Tournament Match played with other regional schools. We enthusiasts for "mind games" like to think that they help develop logical thinking.
      • In Junior Achievement, local companies provided adult sponsors who taught uas about how companies are capitalized (We sold stock to friends, family, and classmates, then a year later delivered dividends.), moving on to the basics of Capitalism and Commerce. This is not exactly what you were asking for, but I think it might be constructive exposure to help your students get a leg up in a competitive world.
  • There are interest groups associated with the various disciplines of education. Teachers in various areas might seek out such organizations.
    • Reading for the Future is an organization to try to help educators select Science fiction novels that present Science in a non-controversial manner, and inspire the students to greater interest in learning. Their efforts include donating suitable books to school libraries, and developing tests to make sure the students adequately absorbed critical contents of the books. Even if you do not accept the latter, getting additions to your school library may be worth checking out, since any reader enthusiasm can improve language skills for book livers.

I hope you not mind me touching up the header. User:AlMac|(talk) 06:34, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

December 25[edit]

"Chicago" accent[edit]

Is there a such thing as a Chicago accent? I heard a lot of people say that he/she has a "chicago accent". --hello, i'm a member | talk to me! 02:13, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Accent is an ill-defined term when it's used in that context, but the simple answer is yes. Anybody who speaks in a manner that makes their Chicagoan heritage visible is using a Chicago accent. —Dave 03:10, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
Would you (or anybody else) mind clarifying? I get what you mean but I can't dechiper it well. --hello, i'm a member | talk to me! 04:43, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
It is my understanding that there is indeed a Chicago accent. I can't really isolate any characteristics of it, but I know some people from Chicago that sound like they're from Chicago, you know? Incidentally, I had a teacher who claimed to have a "Chicago accent," but really just had a speech impediment. --ParkerHiggins ( talk contribs ) 04:45, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
From what I understand, the fronting of /a/ (so it sounds close to /æ/) is one of the most salient features. Dave 05:16, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
That's just one part of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift to which the Chicago accent is subject. Subjectively, I also have the impression that there is a distinct Chicago accent, but in the recently released Atlas of North American English by William Labov et al. there don't seem to be any characteristics of Chicago English that aren't found in southern Wisconsin and southern Michigan too. Maybe they just weren't looking for what we're hearing. --Angr (t·c) 07:33, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Dave, when I first moved to Chicago, my roommate introduced himself, so I thought, as "Ran." Sez me to me, maybe Randall? Turns out his name was "Ron." Halcatalyst 05:46, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm no linguist, so I can't do the thing with special characters to indicate pronunciation, but there's a sterotypical pronunciation of "Chicago" as Chicaaago", as Angr indicated above. Thre's also the pronuncation of "The Bears" (as in Chicago Bears) as "Da Berss". User:Zoe|(talk) 01:42, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Selous Scouts[edit]

Does anybody know the etymology of the word "selous", as used in Selous Scouts? Was it the name of a commander or a place? "Selous" doesn't seem to be a word in English, could it be an African word? —DO'Neil 06:51, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Could it be a misspelling of "zealous"? --Angr (t·c) 07:37, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
Nope. The last link on Selous Scouts points to Selous Scout site, which tells us it is named for Frederick Courteney Selous. I imagine the article could use a link to that... --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:18, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Origin of the expression "fill your boots"?[edit]

I'm wondering what the origin and/or where the expression came from.

  • This site [15] has an interesting reference --Tachs 09:30, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Variations of the word Saint as used in naming cities.[edit]

Many cities, esp. in the southwest are named San or Santa,etcetera. Examples are: SanFrancisco, Santa Ana, Saint Louis. Can you tell me what language each of these derive from? Thank you, W. S. Carter MD

San and Santa are Spanish; Saint and Sainte (as in Sault Sainte Marie) are French. Both derive from Latin sanctus (masculine)/sancta (feminine) "holy". --Angr (t·c) 23:07, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
The generic Spanish form of the Spanish word for "saint" is santo. That's a masculine noun, so a female saint is santa. However, before the name of a male saint, this is usually shortened to San, hence "San Francisco", "San Diego", "Santa Ana", "Santa Barbara". However, if a male saint's name begins with To or Do, the full form Santo is used. Thus, "Santo Domingo", "Santo Tomás".
Saint Louis was originally settled by the French, so the "Saint" there is also French, though it's now pronounced as the English word. User:Zoe|(talk) 01:43, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
Saint in French is also gendered; a female saint is a sainte, abbreviated Ste, thus Sault Ste. Marie. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:04, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
And in Portugese, the other big group of Catholic city-founders, a word meaning saint is São, as in São Paulo or São Tomé and Príncipe. I think that this is just for male saints; all of the female saint-cities I know of in Brazil are santas.ByeByeBaby 18:20, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

December 26[edit]

Why did the chicken cross the road?[edit]

Ok, I know the language category is a longshot here, but it was my best guess. Does anybody know any story at all for the origin of the "Why did the chicken cross the road?" joke? There's a small subsection on the joke on joke, but it describes what the joke is, not where it comes from. Thanks in advance! --ParkerHiggins ( talk contribs ) 08:01, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't know how to track backwards the history of a joke, and I wasn't there when it was thought of, but the best guess I've ever been able to come up with is that it was a riddler's joke. Example riddle: What has one head, one foot, and four legs? A bed! So, you ask, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" They think for a while, trying to figure out what clever thing you came up with, then say, "I give up. Why?" "To get to the other side!" This would, I'm guessing, be followed by a prolonged and extremely spastic giggle. It's funny, of course, because you're breaking the rules of riddles by giving the actual answer, and it takes the other person by surprise. Another example, from a different genre (racial jokes), goes, "What do you call a black guy flying a plane?" "What?" "A pilot, you racist!" Because the origin of the chicken crossing the road has been forgotten, and due to its nature and form, I would further suppose that it was mainly popular, in its heyday, among young children, many of whom are quite happy to repeat something another child thought was funny whether they understand it or not. This is behavior you don't usually see in adults, and even less so in teenagers, both of whom fear the embarassment of telling a joke that turns out not to be funny much more than children do. Black Carrot 20:03, 26 December 2005 (UTC)


what does konichiwa mean

"Good Afternoon". Babelfish didn't find it, but Google for konichiwa translation found several answers. HFuruseth 13:36, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
It is, incidentally, Japanese - こんにちは。In case you didn't already know that. --George 21:22, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
Why not try Wiktionary --Gerard Foley 22:21, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
Literaly, it means 'This day is...'.--Jondel 17:34, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
There are differences in the practice of Romanizing Japanese words and phrases, but the generally accepted spelling is konnichiwa, as Gerard Foley explains above, with a double N in the middle there. Additionally, you're looking at three words here (well, two words and a particle), so you might also try it as kon nichi wa. The kon is "this" and the nichi is "day," as explained by Jondel. The wa is a particle generally okay to translate as "is." Mitchell k dwyer 22:00, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Desire to be eaten[edit]

Is there a fancy word for the desire to be consumed by some other human or an animal? This condition made it into the news three years ago. – 22:19, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Phagophilia? —Keenan Pepper 22:36, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Motto of the Pythagoreans[edit]

How do you say "all is number" in Ancient Greek, as Pythagoras would have said it? —Keenan Pepper 23:05, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

St Andrews says "Number rules the universe". Is it more accurate (and easier to search for a translation) ?--Harvestman 12:06, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

December 27[edit]

(no questions today)

December 28[edit]

Female Saints[edit]

Since Santa is used in the Spanish language to denote a female Saint, eg. Santa Barbara, why is Santa Clause used to designate Chris Kringle who is clearly a man?

This is discussed in the second paragraph of our article on Santa Claus. --George 04:55, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

difference between "demonstrate" and "show"[edit]

what is the difference between "demonstrate" and "show"

They are close synonyms. I would say demonstrate is slightly more formal, and show has a stronger connotation with vision (you "show" something with a diagram but you "demonstrate" it with an argument). Besides these subtle differences, there is an important usage difference: show can take an indirect object. I showed him the picture is idiomatic English but *I demonstrated him the picture is not. —Keenan Pepper 06:09, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Doesn't "demonstrate" also imply function? i.e. not simply displaying something to be seen, as with "show" - as you note, a visual context; demonstrate implies an action, or a method, or something conceptual in addition to something that can just be seen.
Further note, as is usual in English there's a difference in context between a word of Latin/Romance and/or Norman origin (demonstrate) and its correspondent from Anglo-Saxon (show); beef/cattle, mutton/sheep, poultry/fowl etc.
When I saw this in my watchlist I couldn't help but think of the Missouri state motto, proudly displayed on its license plates, "Show Me". Story goes there was this troop of guys on a work gang who'd never seen a shovel before and asked how to use it....joke was told to me by a Missourian, so the putdown is autologous.Skookum1 07:12, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Checking Wiktionary [[[16]]] [17] will help to get more precise information. "demonstrate" is only one of the meanings "show" expresses. --Tachs 07:38, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Thinking finer, "demonstrate" indicates a purpose and implies a result whereas "show" may or may not carry a purpose or end in a result. --Tachs 07:15, 29 December 2005 (UTC)


New Trends in Syntax

This question no verb. —Keenan Pepper 15:16, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
This not even question. JackofOz 15:27, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Depending on how much you already know, you might try a newer textbook on the topic - there's a new edition of this one [18] coming out next year - or drop by your local college library to read the journals in the field (search on "lingsuitics" or "syntax" in your local library's periodical catalog). -George 22:21, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Phrase Origin / Meaning - "The Full SP"[edit]

I've heard this phrase for Years, and understand that it means to Give information with ALL the Details. Where does "The Full SP" Originate? and What does the "SP" Stand for?

Richard W, Cardiff, UK

I think SP stands for state of play, but I'm afraid I can't prove it. Try Googling for the phrase. --Heron 22:08, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
Since you're asking from the UK, I assume you've been hearing it in the context of horse racing, where SP stands for starting prices, i.e. the odds you get when laying bets on all the horses. -- Arwel (talk) 02:23, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Translation to Latin[edit]

What's the best Latin translation of "all your base are belong to us?"

Well, since it's bad English grammar it should be translated as bad Latin grammar, right? I remember some T-shirts at NJCL that said "Omnes vos castris sunt nobis" or something like that. —Keenan Pepper 18:06, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

crossword help[edit]

can u guys help me with a crossword becuz im stumped with these words

1 midday break for meal (5,8)
2 independant state since 1993 ( 5,8)
3 capital of georgia ( 8 (**s*k***))

-- 19:44, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

-- 19:42, 28 December 2005 (UTC) plz guys i need ur help badly please

It's odd, neither Atlanta (Capital of Georgia (U.S. state)) or Tbilisi (Capital of Georgia (country)). It could be Mtskheta, a former Georgian capital, if that 'k' is in the wrong place. 2. is Czech Republic. smurrayinchester(User), (Talk) 21:55, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Neither is it any of the previous capitals of the U.S. state: Savannah, Augusta, Louisville, and Milledgeville. --Angr (t·c) 07:13, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
First might be lunch something or something luncheon but I'm not coming up with any good combos. Elf | Talk 22:41, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Could it just possibly be "petit dejeuner"? JackofOz 22:51, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Shouldn't be, since that's a morning meal, not a midday meal. -- Jmabel | Talk 08:59, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
You're probably right. It was just an idea that happened to fit the gaps. JackofOz 09:16, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

I hope they're not trying to claim that the capital of Georgia is Tashkent. User:Zoe|(talk) 19:59, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Cruciverbalists are humans, too. Sometimes you have to give what you know is the wrong answer, and pander to the mistaken assumption implicit in the question, just to get the damn thing out. JackofOz 23:54, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

thanks a lot for the help-- 05:27, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

English to Greek translation[edit]

What is the Greek word for "beautiful"?

καλος/-η/-ον should do. Flag of Europe and Austria.svg ᓇᐃᑦᔅᑕᓕᐅᓐ 20:57, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Surely ομορφος/η/ον would be a closer translation.

December 29[edit]

Pronunciation of "La Marseillaise"[edit]

How do you pronounce "La Marseillaise"? Neutralitytalk 07:10, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

In French, /la maʁsejɛz/. Anglicized pronunciation /lə mɑɹseɪˈjɛz/. --Angr (t·c) 07:16, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
I can't read IPA... Neutralitytalk 00:08, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Then roughly, lah mar-seh-yezz. --Chris S. 00:17, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks --Neutralitytalk 02:23, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Is this statement redundant?[edit]

Would defining something as a "porous mesh" sound redundant to a native speaker's ears? Thank you folks for any answers. -- Rune Welsh | ταλκ | Esperanza 11:16, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

"Porous" suggests the liquid slowly seeps through, whereas with a mesh the liquid would fall right out. Unless it was a very fine mesh, of course. Then, I suppose it would be considered "porous". But otherwise, they seem to be distinct concepts. JackofOz 12:50, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
What's it being used for? 01:44, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
The Raney nickel article. -- Rune Welsh | ταλκ | Esperanza 11:50, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Sounds fine. 20:41, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

German to English Translation Request[edit]

I am working on a biography of Christian Knorr von Rosenroth. Unfortunately most of what I've found on the web is in German. Specifically I've found two web pages that look to have the information I need, but Google's translator mangles them badly. Neither is very long and if someone could translate them for me I'd be very grateful.



Thanks --Pucktalk 17:46, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Here goes, Puck, ........, but it's a good bit longer than you made out!

Knorr von Rosenroth (pseudonym: Rautner, Peganius), Protestant theosopher/theosophist, poet and alchemist,born 15/16.7.1636 at Alt-Raudten (near Wohlau, Silesia), the son of a parson, Abraham Benedikt Knorr von Rosenrath (1594-1654) and Susanna Neumann; confirmation of noble title (i.e. the right to use 'von Rosenroth' in his surname) in 1668; confirmed in the right to pass on his title to his heirs 1676; married on 17.7.1668 in Regensburg Anna Sophia Paumgartner/Baumgartner .....(etc.) (who died 1696); he, Christian Knorr, died 4/8.5.1689 in Gross-Albershof near Sulzbach (Upper Palatinate) - The Thirty Years'War and the Counter-Reformation in his Silesian homeland marked Knorr's childhood. After attending school in Fraustadt and Stettin, in order to prepare for the political post at court that his father had intended for him Knorr went on to Leipzig University, where he studied theology, law and jurisprudence, history, philosophy and classical and modern languages. In 1660 he gained his master's degree with a dissertation on ancient numismatics. Knorr then turned to natural philosophy (i.e. sciences), alchemy, hermetic literature and the Kabbala. He came into contact with Mennonites, christian Conventicalists (??), theosophists, exponents of the Kabbala, followers of Paracelsus, and pansophistical invetigators of the natural world. As a consequence of his meeting with Franc. Merc. van Helmont, the confidant of the Count Palatine Chr. Aug. zu Sulzbath, who had recently converted to Roman Catholicism, Knorr was named as Court and Chancelry-Advocate (1668) in Sulzbach; Knorr, however, remained a (Lutheran) Protestant. The count's residence in Sulzbach was a place of experimental and speculative investigation into the natural world, alchemy and Kabbalistic practices. Above all, Henry More, the English philosopher of the Cambridge Platonist School, greatly influenced Knorr's mystical spiritualism. Besides occasional poetry (e.g. in celebration of aniversaries and special events, for pageants and comedies, etc.) and translations (e.g. the 'moralising' poems of Boethius) Knorr published collections, translations and commentaries on scientific and philosophical works. By these means he aimed to draw more closely together pansophistic research and christian mysticism. Through his compendium of works on Jewish mysticism with the title 'Kabbala Denudata' (The Kabbala Laid Bare) Knorr wished to prove that the core of the Kabbala was essentialy Christian. From amongst his songs 'Morgenglanz der Ewigkeit' (The Bright Dawn of Eternity) was adopted for the Protestant (Lutheran) Hymnbook. Knorr became an individual on the road from orthodox Protestant belief to Pietism in an intense inner love for Jesus, and a spiritual companion of Scheffler and Franck. Among its typically Baroque characteristics one may find in Knorr's work and thought tendencies which point forward to the Age of Enlightenment.

Hope this is enough to be going on with...... I'll tackle the rest tomorrow! Geoff.powers]], 20:30, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Thank you very much. There really isn't any need to do the rest. It is just a list of the books and poems he wrote. I have found most of them elsewhere. This is more than enough. It probably won't be necessary to do the other link as it is more of a time line and I think I can calibrate it with what I have here and via google. You've been so helpful. --Pucktalk 21:18, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
BTW, if you ever make it to the U.S. and are in the Washington, DC area leave a message on my talk page. I owe you a drink or two or three. I'm serious.--Pucktalk 22:34, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
I'll bear that kind offer in mind, Puck, though I don't know when I may get to the US next. (I live in the UK.) Anyway, it proved an enjoyable exercise from my point of view, and rewarding in itself, especially as I'm currently re-visiting the history of the Reformation and general European history of the 16th and 17th centuries. Good luck with your research! Geoff86.136.247.177 18:40, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Chapters in an article[edit]

One thing I've wondered about for a long time. When writing an article, you have a chapter, and subchapters in it. Once you have written the subchapters, is there any way to go "back" to the main chapter? For example:

About doohickeys[edit]

Doohickeys are really good things, yadda yadda yadda. They come in three varieties:

Red doohickeys[edit]

About red doohickeys.

Green doohickeys[edit]

About green doohickeys.

Blue doohickeys[edit]

About blue doohickeys.

As well as the three main colours, doohickeys are used in fetzing veebles, yadda yadda yadda, etc.

See the problem? (It's evident in this Reference Desk question too.) How is the paragraph starting "As well as..." going to go to "About doohickeys." instead of "Blue doohickeys."? — JIP | Talk 23:18, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

The solution to the problem, of course, is to discuss doohickeys in general first completely, before getting down to the specifics. --Angr (t·c) 23:55, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
Or add another subhead, like

Fetzing veebles[edit]

One can also have something like an indented list with extended discussion if the discussion is no more than one paragraph per item, as in:
Red doohickeys
yadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yaddayadda yadda yadda
Green doohickeys
yadda yadda yadda

And then return to the discussion about fetzing veebles. (In context other than Wikipedia, the formatting might be like that or like a bulleted list.)

Elf | Talk 01:01, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
As you know, the basic problem is that sections of a chapter are marked at their start by a heading but are not marked at their end. So if you want some material that comes after the last section you have, it really has to be in a section. Sometimes it is useful to use a section heading like "conclusion" or "summary".
  • Chapter 2. About doohickeys
    • 2.1 Introduction (optional heading)
    • 2.2 Red doohickeys
    • 2.3 Green doohickeys
    • 2.4 Blue doohickeys
    • 2.5 Conclusion
(Section 2.1 starts at the beginning of the chapter and often goes untitled, and unnumbered if you're doing numbers, but it doesn't have to be that way.)
Your only real alternative, if the material is of chapter length and you want that sequence of presentation, is to introduce another level of grouping:
  • Chapter 2. About doohickeys
    • 2.1 Introduction (optional, as above)
    • 2.2 Types of doohickeys
      • 2.2.1 Red doohickeys
      • 2.2.2 Green doohickeys
      • 2.2.3 Blue doohickeys
    • 2.3 Conclusion
However, this only works if you are willing to have that many levels of section. I've used a style of numbering common in technical writing, which makes the section nesting clear; in other works you may just use different typography for the section headings, and the reader may be more easily confused. Then again, the reader may not care.
--Anonymous, 04:10 UTC, December 30, 2005

December 30[edit]

English Language[edit]

How many words are in the English language?

Three. (the...English...language...) Or else read English_language#Number_of_words_in_English. Elf | Talk 01:05, 30 December 2005 (UTC)


does the phrase 'tax avoision' exist?

Jekyll and Hyde[edit]

Yes? Do you have a question? User:Zoe|(talk) 17:27, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
This is a reference desk! May the person refer to "a novella written by Robert ..." and ask more after ? --Harvestman 11:55, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
I know we all like to be helpful, but for our New Years resolution for 2006, I vote that entries like this, ie. words without meaningful questions, be simply removed forthwith. Trying to guess what the person is wanting is just a waste of time. There are rules about asking questions on this page, and the rules are clearly spelt out. We should not be complicit in helping people to break the rules. They have to meet us half way if they want a meaningful response. JackofOz 01:26, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
Second the motion. Halcatalyst 20:42, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Series years[edit]

Do I write ...Goals for 2006-2008 or ...Goals for 2006-08?

Either way is acceptable, but I would write "2006–2008" because it's only two characters longer and it's more clear. —Keenan Pepper 19:17, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
On the other hand, I would write 2006-08 because it's perfectly clear as it is. There is no ambiguity. It's also 2 characters shorter, which is icing on the cake, but that wasn't germane to my choice. JackofOz 23:17, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
According to Chicago, it would be 2006–8. 100 or numbers divisible by 100, use all digits, e.g., 1100–1113. 101 through 109, 201 through 209, etc., use changed part only, e.g., 101–8, 1103–4. 110 through 199, 210 through 299, etc., use two or more digits as needed, e.g., 321–28, 1087–89, 11564–615, 12991–13001. If three digits change in a four-digit number, use all four, e.g., 1496–1504, 2787–2816. —Wayward Talk 01:01, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
What is "Chicago"?
The Chicago Manual of Style. GeeJo (t) (c) • 23-11-2014 08:56 (UTC)
Thank you. JackofOz 03:22, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
I say it depends on what you're writing. If it's something formal, you can still use words and be concise. May I recommend "Goals for the period beginning 2006 and ending 2008?" Of course that's wordier than what you have, but what you have (and, respectfully, what the others suggest) is basically abbreviated writing, and you should avoid abbreviations in formal writing. Mitchell k dwyer 22:10, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Wordier? I would say ghastly. Go with one of the original two choices, or with 2006–8; it doesn't much matter which. (I think 2006–08 looks better than 2006–8 if there will also be other year-pairs where the tens digit is different, like 2008–10, but that's a matter of stylistic preference.) As to the puncuation, an en dash (–) is what's usually recommended for ranges, except in a typewriter/ASCII environment where a hyphen (-) is used. Personally, I think it's over-fussy to make a distinction. --Anonymous, 20:20 UTC, January 1, 2006.
I agree, 2006–08 looks best. As for avoiding "abbreviations", you might as well write "Goals for the period beginning in the year two thousand and six and ending in the year two thousand and eight." --Angr (t·c) 06:23, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
As I said, I think it depends on what's being written. "Ghastly" it may seem to you, and it would seem so to me, too, if it were in the header of a column on a chart, but within the body of a paragraph of formal writing, the 2006-08 thing is repugnant. As for spelling out the years, as suggested by Angr, of course that's not appropriate, but to this reader's eyes, it's a heck of a lot less offensive than what's being recommended. Good writing is concise, but it is never cheap. Mitchell k dwyer 09:28, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Meaning of term[edit]

What is the meaning of the phrase 'Mortimer's fork'?

Are you thinking of Morton's Fork, perhaps? Or if you're referring to chess, you might mean Mortimer Trap GeeJo (t) (c) • 23-11-2014 08:56 (UTC)

tools bar menu[edit]

the language bar in the toolbars menu at the bottom in the screen is not found?and not found in the menu list of toolsbar to be restored or put can I reload the language menu bar?

the language menu bar is which change from arabic to english..

You don't say which operating system you are using, but presumably it's some version of Windows. See this website which lists how to activate the Arabic language options in a variety of Windows operating systems. --Canley 01:35, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Toe Tag[edit]

Does anyone know where the term "toe tag" came from?

Well, it refers to a tag identifying a dead body which is placed on the toe, so that's pretty much it. --Canley 01:29, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Word usage: Kabbalah[edit]

I am trying to clarify how the word Kabbalah is used. I'm going to state my current understanding then ask a question or two.

What I think I know:

When used as a noun to describe the body of knowledge or the practice there are three forms, each of which has variants:

  • Kabbalah. Used when discussing the traditional Judaic mystical system. It has variant forms of Kabala, Kabalah, Kabbala, Kabballah, etc.
  • Cabala. Used when discussing the Christian interpretation which emerged in the Thirteenth century. It also has variant forms similar to those of Kabbalah.
  • Qabalah. Used when discussing the Hermetic interpretation which emerged in the late Sixteenth century. It has variants similar to the previous two.

If anyone has comments about my understanding I would appreciate it.

What I'm not sure about:

  • When used as a noun it should always have an initial upper case letter. Or am I wrong about that?
  • When using it as an adjective or and adverb should it have an initial upper or lower case letter? Which is correct Kabbalistc and Kabbalisticly or kabbalistic and kabbalisticly?

I ask this because the Kabbalah, or in my case, the Qabalah, is an interest of mine and as I peruse Wikipedia's growing collection of articles on the subject I see mixed case and spelling, often in the same articles. I'd like to try and clean up a few, but I'd like to be certain I'm not doing it for no good reason.--Pucktalk 22:02, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Your distinction on the basis of spelling might be useful, but its not one you can count on others to observe. Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate dictionary simply gives "cabala" as a variant of "kabbalah" and says of the latter only "often capitalized". So it's not a matter of right or wrong, but one of style. - Nunh-huh 00:26, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Ok, that makes sense in an unsatisfying sort of way. Would I be stepping on toes if I at least edited for consistency on a given page? When kabbalah and cabala are used in the same article with no reason, e.g., the ones I mentioned above, using a single term for each instance would seem to be more stylisticly reasonable. On Isaac Luria, for instance, the term kabbalistic and cabalistic are both used and it seems the only difference might be who did the editing.--Pucktalk 10:39, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
I'd say consistency is important within an article. Notice that Kabbalah lists alternate spellings but then (so far as I can see) uses Kabbalah consistently, so other articles should just pick one and go with it. — Laura Scudder 23:57, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

My (limited) understanding is that there is no agreed-upon set of rules for Romanizing Hebrew; thus the multiple spellings of Hannukah, for example. I'm guessing that this explains the multiple accepted spellings of Kabbalah. Since they are all accepted, you might do well not to "correct" other spellings, unless a disclaimer is placed in the intro explaining the different accepted spellings, and then saying something like "for consistency's sake, _______ will be used in Wikipedia." Mitchell k dwyer 22:14, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Well, though most dictionaries do seem to say, or at least imply, they are interchangeable, in actual usage there is a distinction. Most folks I know who practice the Hermetic variety use Qabalah to distinguish it from the purely Judaic variety because there is a world of difference. While I've not heard any Jewish Kabbalists say it, the impression I have is they'd like to keep the distinction as well. For many years clueless people referred to Rock and Roll as Jazz, something that players of neither liked. It's all music, but we ain't all playin' from the same page.--Pucktalk 18:35, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

December 31[edit]

Translation of this phrase[edit]

I was wondering if people could translate the following phrase accurately into any languages they might know -- sites like BabelFish butcher the language. I'd really appreciate it, and I'm especially looking for Swedish, French, and Dutch translations. Thanks.

"Let the truth be known, though the heavens fall." ---Anna Knols

  • french :
"Faisons connaître la vérité, le ciel dût-il s'écrouler!". -- Harvestman 11:48, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Malayalam :

"Aakaasam idinjaalum, satyam purathu varatte." Aakaasam = The heavens; idinjaalum = even if fall; satyam = truth; purathu = out; varatte =let come Vsjayaschandran 10:48, 31 December 2005 (IST)

  • Swedish: "though" has no good direct translation, so I'll give you two attempts: "Låt sanningen vara känd, om än himlarna faller" ("Let the truth be known, if yet the heavens fall"), or "..., även om himlarna faller" (".., even if the heavens fall"). Both are about equally close in meaning, but the former is more in-line with the lofty tone of the original. --BluePlatypus 19:03, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  • In Latin, "veritas sciatur, etsi caelum cadat". —Keenan Pepper 19:06, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Here are mine in Tagalog, Spanish, and Catalan. Keep in mind that I speak only Tagalog as a native language, so the other two need native speaker verification/improvement.
  • Tagalog: Nawa'y malaman ng lahat ang katotohanan, kahit mahulog ang kalangitan.
  • Spanish: Que se sepa la verdad, aunque los cielos se caen.
  • Catalan: Que se sàpiga la veritat, encara que els cels cauen. --Chris S. 19:58, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Spanish (enhanced version): Deja que se sepa la verdad aunque los cielos se caigan. -- 20:58, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  • It would go against my honour to leave a list of translations without a Finnish one, so here goes: "Tulkoon totuus tiedetyksi vaikka taivas putoaisi."JIP | Talk 23:39, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Pig Latin: Etlay ethay uthtray ebay own-nay, othay ethay evens-hay allfay. 02:04, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Sanskrit

"Satyameva jayate." This Sanskrit phrase is widely known in India. It means, "Truth will triumph." It has a tone of finality but does not contain the "let the heavens fall" part. Vsjayaschandran 12:22 1 January 2006

  • Dutch: "Laat de waarheid aan het licht komen, ook al zal de hemel vallen." David Sneek 09:25, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks a lot, everyone! I didn't think I'd get so many responses, I really appreciate it. :) --Anna Knols

Reported speech/Indirect speech[edit]

Has there been a relaxation of reported speech/ indirect speech rule? Sentences such as "The president said the committee is going to meet on Thursday" are frequently found in newspapers these days.Should they not write "was going to meet" instead of "is going to meet?

  • As far as my knowledge of English goes, the subordiante clause will follow the tense of the principal clause. Hence the correct form should be "The president said the committee was going to meet on Thursday" or "The President says the committee is going to meet on Thursday" --Tachs 17:20, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
"are going to meet on Thursday" sounds fine to me (not from a prescriptive point of view, mind you,). Saying "were going to meet" sounds as if they aren't going to do so anymore. --Chris S. 20:01, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
If the actual words spoken by the president were "The committee is going to meet on Thursday", this would become, in reported speech, "The president said the committee would meet on Thursday". JackofOz 01:20, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
How does the word 'that' count into this? It seems more natural, and perhaps more proper though I don't know the rule, to say either, "The President said that the committee is going to meet on Thursday," or, "The President said, 'The committe is going to meet on Thursday.'" Also, is committee in this case considered sigular or plural? Is the committee going to meet or are the committee going to meet? 02:11, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
In your example, "The President said that the committee is going to meet on Thursday," that is a conjunction. Using that as a conjunction is usually a matter of personal preference. However, it is recommended when a time expression comes between the verb and the clause, e.g., "The president said yesterday that the meeting would be delayed." Committee, in American English, is singular. —Wayward Talk 06:50, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
  • I would disagree with JackofOz. The direct speach for "The president said the committee would meet on Thursday" is the President said, "The Committee will meet on Thursday". Many of the grammatical rules are not followed strictly in practice and this may be pardoned as long as the message is conveyed properly. After all, communication is the first and foremost function of language; aesthetics trails communication--Tachs 10:25, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
    • I was perhaps being a little over-correct. "The president said the committee was going to meet on Thursday" is also quite acceptable. But "The president said the committee is going to meet on Thursday" would be wrong. JackofOz 11:48, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
  • I say that both of those are correct, but there is a distinction. The "was" version is reported speech: it talks only about what the president said, with no further implication. The "is" version contains additional information: it talks about what the president said and implies that if it was true when she said it, then it must still be true. --Anonymous, 18:27 UTC, January 1, 2006.
I think you misunderstand the conventions of reported speech in English. Direct quotations, ie. words put in inverted commas to show they are being quoted exactly as they were spoken, cannot be changed, otherwise this would be lying to the reader. But words that are being indirectly quoted can be changed, as long as the meaning is not changed, of course. Both versions above are indirect quotations because they do not use inverted commas and do not claim to quote the exact words the President used. In indirect quotation, there is more licence to adjust the tense of the original verb to suit the sentence in which the indirect quote appears. It's not a question of truth or otherwise. After all, any statement about a meeting that is going to happen on Thursday (ie. in the future) is a prediction, not the "truth". If Thursday hasn't happened yet, "The president said the committee was going to meet on Thursday" means that the committee is still scheduled to meet on Thursday. It doesn't mean that the meeting was scheduled to meet when the President uttered those words but has since been called off. But if Thursday has already come and gone, saying "The president said the committee was going to meet on Thursday" would be a bit ambiguous. It would be better, in that case, to say "The president said the committee would meet on Thursday". JackofOz 00:42, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

  • As a final cover, allow me to post a few examples of the direct/indirect forms of speech, tense-wise.

Direct Speech : The president said, “ The committee meets on Thursday” Indirect / Reported Speech : The president said the committee met on Thursday.

Disagree. "Meets" has present tense form, but future tense meaning, ie. "will meet". This would be converted to "would meet".

Direct Speech : The president said, “ The committee met on Thursday” Indirect / Reported Speech : The president said the committee had met on Thursday.

Direct Speech : The president said, “ The committee will meet on Thursday” Indirect / Reported Speech : The president said the committee would meet on Thursday.

Direct Speech : The president said, “ The committee will be meeting on Thursday” Indirect / Reported Speech : The president said the committee would be meeting on Thursday.

Direct Speech : The president said, “ The committee was meeting on Thursday” Indirect / Reported Speech : The president said the committee had been meeting on Thursday.

In the final example which is the past continuous tense form, though the sentence is grammatically correct, it is ambiguous (as Jackofoz pointed out). Better writers of English are the ones who are able to convey the precise meaning in flawless language. --Tachs 06:56, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Tachs. I agree with all these except the first example. Oh, to be a writer of flawless language. One can but try. JackofOz 07:20, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
Wayward- Are you certain that 'committee' is formally a singular in this sentence? In English class, we were forced to learn the difference between the singular use of a collective word and the plural use, and in any situation where all the individuals in the group are being referred to individually(the people in the committee are getting together), the word is plural: the committee are meeting. If it was something they did as a true group(the committee, by a vote, decided to uphold the decision), it would be singular: the committee upholds the decision. Or am I mistaken? 16:51, 2 January 2006 (UTC)