Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2010 September 17

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September 17[edit]

US$ to £—help me get the most out of it[edit]

I have about 200 US dollars that I need to convert to GB pounds. I can afford to wait for a little while, and needless to say I'd like the exchange rates to be favourable when I do exchange. I realise in the current economic climate that "favourable" isn't necessarily "good", but I'd like to try anyway. My questions are: where do I start? What am I looking for? Where should I keep a track on the currencies moving? I have vague ideas on how to maximise, but no specifics, no idea how to go about watching the market, and I'm not even sure I've got the right "vague ideas". I've searched for some help, but a lot of it is about currency trading as an investment or hobby or career, and hasn't really helped me. Differentially (talk) 06:59, 17 September 2010 (UTC) Update: I can afford to wait for a little while before I exchange, and out of interest, and as a little game, and to learn, I'd like advice on where to start looking at the market, tracking the exchange rate, maybe reading up on the USD → GBP likelihoods. I am not looking to get rich quick, predict anything, or outsmart the market. Thanks. Differentially (talk) 08:32, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a crystal ball and neither is the Reference Desk. Exchange rates between currencies fluctuate every day, and lots of people with Harvard MBA's and highly paid jobs on Wall Street can't predict from one day or month or year to the next what the market will do, so you can't either. Besides, $200 is such a small sum, and those are two stable currencies, so in the course of any given week probably you're talking about essentially a few cents' difference, most of the time, or if you're really unlucky, a couple bucks at most. Why does this concern you so much? It's the cost of a cup of coffee. Trade your dollars for pounds at the nearest bank or airport, and enjoy your life. You aren't going to get rich or go broke with that little piece of change.
If you are a young person, as I suspect, instead of trying to conjure up a magic formula to save a few pennies, you would do much better to read up on sensible long-term investing; putting just a few dollars a month now into a well-chosen IRA or 401(k) plan - or the equivalent wherever you may happen to live - can easily turn into a million dollars by the time you are ready to retire, if not sooner - without having to wonder and worry about it, either: the magic of compound interest. That's the thing to focus your attention on, not trying to outsmart the market. Textorus (talk) 07:57, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
I appreciate your advice, but I believe you've misunderstood my post. I am not asking for any predictions on what the market will do. Nothing of the kind. I'm asking out of genuine interest how best to watch it, what makes a better exchange rate over a worse one: if I can learn something about it, and for a month or a couple of months enjoy watching the exchange rate fluctuations and seeing what happens, then it's worth that cup of coffee to me, even if, when I have to change the money, I don't end up getting any better rate than I can get now. I don't know where you got the idea that I'm a young person trying to conjure up a magic formula, or why you think it concerns me so much? I'd just like to see what I need to do to get the most out of it in the next couple of months, even if I don't end up doing so . . . it's not a big deal! I'm not trying to outsmart anything. I already do long-term investing. Thanks anyway, though. I apologise if I my original post was of the wrong tone. Differentially (talk) 08:18, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like you haven't considered the “time is money” factor. How much is your time worth to you. I'm not just talking about the puny amount that your employer might pay for an hour of your work but how much an hour is your own free time worth? The rate differences plus commission for a sum of 200 on any day will probably be way below this. Second: With that small amount you will not be able to negotiate a favourable exchange rate with your bank. I also know people who have found that come the day to convert the commission rate has suddenly gone up. I think it would be better to concentrate on finding who is going to offer the best exchange rate and fee now. Then think about how much interest you will be loosing on the amount sitting where it is now and decide if there might not be better things to apply one's time to. It is a worth while exercise when tens of thousands are involved but it's a form of gambling that most people loose out on (otherwise everyone would be rich currency traders). You'll spend hours on trying to save cents and still may lose. --Aspro (talk) 08:02, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
It's mostly for interest, call it a little game. I don't need the money in pounds at the moment, so I thought I would do something slightly more interesting with it for the next couple of months. I'm not quite silly enough to think I was going to get rich on $200. You say it would be hours, and that's the sort of information I was asking for. I was thinking of something like a good website that tracks the exchange rates, maybe with a few editorials and news pieces, perhaps some numbers. Though telling me that it's not worth it is useful information, too. Differentially (talk) 08:28, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Aspro is right. However, Differentially, if you just want to track the currencies as a hobby (which I guess is a little more exciting than stamp collecting), or to satisfy your curiosity, just google up "exchange rate dollars pounds" and you will find a long list of sites that track all that and will give you lots of cool graphs, charts, etc., all for free. U.S. magazines like BusinessWeek and Forbes, as well as the Wall Street Journal, have articles on all aspects of trading and international exhange, etc. etc., so google their websites. Beyond that, go to your local bookstore and browse through the Business section for books on currency exchange. Also, there are several well-known "financial advisors" who put out their own books, magazines, TV shows, and so forth, that you can easily google up as well. Have fun, mate. Textorus (talk) 08:43, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
P.S. - I see there are two inexpensive, mass-market books that ought to answer your questions and give you a good education in this subject: Currency Trading for Dummies and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Foreign Currency Trading. Those series are usually very helpful at making esoteric subjects understandable, so give them a try. Textorus (talk) 08:52, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
The Efficient Markets Hypothesis says that you cannot predict the exchange rate, or the stock market for that matter. However a lot of people make money out of promoting the belief that you can. As far as I know Warren Buffet for example makes investments in companies, not in the stock market. You could try simulating trading with imaginary money, but make sure you include the deal costs. The dealing costs alone would drain your money away. (talk) 10:25, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't the efficient markets hypothesis assume that everyone has access to the same information? Because that is not true. Also, EMH should prevent economic bubbles, which are known to occur. Googlemeister (talk) 14:33, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
No, it does not. Only the strong-form efficiency version implies that prices reflect all information, which is not the same thing as everyone having access to all information. See the relevant paragraph in the article. In any case, how is Mr. Average in Averagetown going to get access to genuine information ahead of the market? Even the big institutional investors cannot beat the market (study the statistics not the advertising hype), so even they have not found any 'system' that beats it. Day trading is notorious for people losing all their money (see the third external reference). EMH is consistent with "economic bubbles" as it indicates that markets move at random. Why should EMH "prevent economic bubbles" - please explain why you think that? The market reacts as new information comes in, so they are never going to be a smooth line. (talk) 20:11, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Plausible age for child to take "living together" (or any euphemism) literrally[edit]

I had begun to ask about what age children can understand euphemisms, but - since I'm writing a scene here - it makes more sense to ask if it's plausible for a child of about 10 or 11 to think that. Note that this kid would not have heard anyone use the term living together in a negative way. There was an interesting study reported here that says other language, such as ironic or rhetorical, can be understood very young, but if it's still plausible that an older child could take the phrase literally, I'll use that. (If not, I have another idea.)

My slight sperger's (or whatever causes it) confuses things for me further, as I take things somewhat literally as an adult. So, it's hard to use myself as a gauge, and I don't want to have this character taking that much literally.

Thanks in advance. Oh, and P.S., nice change on how to put links in, I havne't been here since the change, I don't think. It really helps me to do it.Somebody or his brother (talk) 12:52, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry. What does 'living together' mean, if it doesn't mean 'living together'? What's it a euphemism for? 'Cohabitation', as per your link? 'Cohabitation' means 'living together'. Also, to take 'living together' literally, would mean to take it to mean 'living together'. So, really, I don't understand the question here. Are you asking what a plausible age for a child to understand the word 'living together' to have a shady meaning would be? I'm 37 and it hasn't happened to me yet. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 13:00, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Your example has me a little confused as well, but I'll at least let you know that my eight-year-old daughter is just starting to begin understanding that sometimes words and expressions mean more than what the word literally means. She would take "living together" to mean two people who happen to share the same house - sexual arrangements between the two would not even enter her head, so she likely wouldn't even attempt to "read anything into" it. But other euphemisms would be readable by her, yes. Matt Deres (talk) 13:51, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Matt; you answered my question. I think 10 would be plausible for such a misunderstanding. Inf act, I now wonder if *I'm* the one who has been reading too much into the term "living together" as used by some, as perhaps it isn't as common a euphemism for having sex as I think. But, in trying to make sense of the way people use language when they're *not* being literal (including sarcasm, irony, etc., explaining the link) perhaps I have begun trying to read too much into peoples' speech.Somebody or his brother (talk) 14:42, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
The euphemism you want might be sleeping together, which is so frequently a euphemism for having sex that non-sexual uses of it often have to be explained. It is also opaque enough that a child could misunderstand. (talk) 15:20, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Now, that would make the question make perfect sense to me, as 'sleeping together' can certainly have two meanings - one of which is sexual in nature, and the other merely indicating sleeping arrangements. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 16:37, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
"Living together" can have more than one meaning. "After dating for a few months, Tom and Katie are now living together" - does not just mean that they're sharing a house as friends and sleep in separate bedrooms, it means they live as a couple and would be assumed to sleep together and sometimes have sex as well. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:25, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Jack is right. In cases where the speaker wants to be certain of conveying the understanding that the two people are not sexually involved, American English speakers would probably say, "Tom and Bob are rooming together," or "Katie and Sue are roommates," if there's a chance that the listener would misconstrue the meaning of "living together" in that context. Textorus (talk) 00:37, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes living together for a couple will usually be taken as a step (way?) beyond sleeping together. In particular, if flat mates start having sex, they will still generally avoid describing their arrangements as living together. That will usually (but not always) be when they move in to the same room Nil Einne (talk) 07:27, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Which is odd, if you think about it. 'Rooming together' or 'being room mates' seems to imply they have the same (bed)room (+ extras), but it usually means the very opposite, they just live in the same house. 'Living together' seems to imply they simply share the same abode, nothing more - but it often means a whole lot more, including not just the same bedroom but the same bed (+ extras). Strange how we've perverted the language so. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:24, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

I recently got out of a situation in which I shared an apartment with a romantic partner, but we slept in separate beds in the same bedroom and never engaged in intercourse. When we wished to refer matter-of-factly to our living arrangements without implying sexual involvement, we usually referred to ourselves as "roommates." You might be interested to know I sometimes defined our situation, to myself, as "living together but not cohabiting" - "cohabiting" having, to my mind, more of a tawdry "shacking-up" implication than merely "living together." If my sister and I got an apartment together to share expenses, we might tell people we were "living together" but we certainly wouldn't say we were cohabiting. Beyond the general assumption that an unrelated male and female living under the same roof are probably "doing it," I doubt anyone would automatically take the term "living together" to imply sexual involvement, particularly between two individuals not known to have a romantic relationship. Of course, it's definitely possible to make "living together" take on a decidedly unsavory or titillating "shacking-up" tone with the proper vocal inflections. The age at which a child would be able to correctly infer the overtones of such a reference vary based on the child's intelligence, maturity, sensitivity, and background knowledge. (talk) 10:50, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

I disagree. Everywhere I've ever lived in the Southern United States, "living together" = sexual partners. Unless of course it's obvious that they aren't, as in the case of you and your sister, or perhaps a parent and adult child; though typically those situations are more often expressed as "X lives with his (relationship)Y" - depending on who owns the house, or who is financially stronger. Textorus (talk) 21:09, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
"Living together" is "Cohabitation" is "an arrangement whereby two people decide to live together on a longterm or permanent basis in an emotionally and/or sexually intimate relationship. The term is most frequently applied to couples who are not married." I do not see why any child would not take this "literally." "Sleeping together" as has been said is the term that some children might at some age stop taking so "literally." That age will vary according to culture, home environment, etc. But I think "sleeping together" is the right term to use for the OP's writing purposes. WikiDao(talk) 21:56, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Papal Visits to Britain?[edit]

I was just wondering something about this. The media are billing this current visit as the second in history, and the first 'state visit' (meaning he was invited personally by the monarch). But England's break from Rome wasn't until 1534, and we even had a Pope ourselves before that, it surely can't be the very first in history. What with it being all over the news it's a hard thing to Google effectively at the moment. Does anyone know when the last Papal visit to Great Britain was, before John Paul II? Dan Hartas (talk) 13:54, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

"State visit" means more than "invited personally by the monarch". According to interviews I've seen with Stephen Fry, a state visit is completely paid for with taxpayer funds. So, it may be the first time that the general public has paid for all air fare, hotels, food, etc... for a visit from the Pope. -- kainaw 14:15, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
'Britain' is generally used to mean The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the earlier United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; it is not generally used to mean Great Britain. So, this is the first state visit of a Pope to Britain, although it may not be the first to Great Britain. (If Stephen Fry said this state visit was completely paid for by the tax-payer, he was wrong: the tax-payer has paid for some, and Catholic parishes have paid for some. The furore a few weeks ago was because the parishes hadn't raised enough to cover all of their obligation, so the government paid the shortfall) (talk) 14:29, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
I very well could have misunderstood him. I've only seen parts of Fry's interviews on the subject. -- kainaw 14:35, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
State visit has nothing at all to do with funding. Read State visit, especially the first sentance, which describes what a state visit is. --Jayron32 14:34, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Popes never really travelled much; they had legates for that sort of thing, and they had better things to worry about (like remaining pope at all, especially since there were often rival claimants, and often outright war with the Holy Roman Emperor or various other states in Italy). Sometimes the popes went as far as southern France (and of course they actually lived there for awhile in the fourteenth century), but I don't think any went as far away as England, not even Adrian IV, although he was interested in what was going on up there (he gave papal blessing to the invasion of Ireland). Lots of popes were interested in England, but never went there themselves; Gregory the Great sent Augustine of Canterbury to set up the church there, and Innocent III put the whole country under interdict but send Guala Bicchieri to take care of all the details. Adam Bishop (talk) 14:38, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think you need include Nicholas Brakespeare (if you wanted to minimise the number) as I don't think he ever returned to the British Isles as Pope, so there was no "papal visit". - Jarry1250 [Who? Discuss.] 18:05, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

So, in a nutshell, it surely can be the very first state visit by a pope to Great Britain (= the UK in this context), and just as surely is. There were no papal visits to any part of what is now the UK before John Paul II, period. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:18, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Not wishing to be excessively picky, but why go with Great Britain there, which has a narrower meaning and required we to explain your non-standard use, rather than the shorter Britain, which is generally understood to mean the UK in this context? (talk) 21:57, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
When one says "Not wishing to be excessively picky, but ...", what one means is "Not wishing to be excessively picky, but I'm going to be anyway".  :) In his question, the OP uses, in turn: Britain, England, and Great Britain. It's not completely clear whether he was aking about papal visits specifically to the island of Great Britain (which includes England, a country with which he identifies himself), or to the wider polity known as the United Kingdom (which includes Great Britain, and is sometimes known simply as Britain). The first sentence of my answer was about state visits; the second sentence was about visits of any kind by a pope. There have been 2 papal visits to the UK or any parts thereof; there is currently under way the first papal state visit to the UK or any parts thereof. What do you mean by "required we to explain"? -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 22:26, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Not to be excessively picky here, either, but after the word 'required' in that sentence,, you needed a direct object, not a subject, and therefore should have said 'required us to explain', not 'required we to explain'. If you have a question regarding this, feel free to visit our Language Reference Desk. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 23:01, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant 'required you to explain'. I don't know how that happened! By 'I don't mean to be excessively picky' I meant 'If I hadn't just explained the distinction further up this section, and (I thought) unpicked why the distinction mattered in this case, and how the OP might be confused, I wouldn't have mentioned it at all...'. Given I had just explained the distinction, your use came across as deliberate use, and quite antagonistic towards the Northern Irish (and nobody wants to antagonise the Norhern Irish). So I thought there was probably some reason you'd chosen it, perhaps some point you wished to make, or perhaps Australian usage is different and you wanted to explain that. So I was giving you a chance to make whatever point it was you wanted to make. (talk) 13:08, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Considering the Pope isn't going to visit Northern Ireland, it's not really important now, is it? If you really want to split hairs, though, I say Jack was correct in what he said because the Pope's visit is limited to Great Britain, but is nevertheless a visit to the UK. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 15:54, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
No, I wasn't making any points. I certainly wasn't wanting to antagonise any part of Ireland. I was simply summarising the answer, and putting paid to the OP's assertion that "surely this can't be" the very first papal state visit to the UK. It is indeed the very first papal state visit to the UK. I wasn't particularly focussing on your earlier post, but now that I have, I see a problem with it. You say "So, this is the first state visit of a Pope to Britain, although it may not be the first to Great Britain." Do you see the problem? If there'd previously been a papal state visit to Great Britain, then ipso facto that would count as an earlier papal state visit to Britain. But you deny, quite correctly, any earlier papal state visits to Britain, which excludes earlier papal state visits to any part of the UK. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:13, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
I see, all is clear then! By saying 'it may not be the first to Great Britain', I was explaining that I cannot say for certain that it is: my knowledge of medieval history is not good enough, and the history is sketchy enough in places that I would always defer to someone more widely read in the area. However, the Pope has not had a state visit to Britain (the UK) since the UK existed, a nice closed area of time and space that we can examine exhaustively for state visits, and that is what commentators are actually saying when they say 'the first state visit to Britain'. In fact, they're especially saying 'the first state visit to England since Henry VIII split from Rome', but the state that the Pope is visiting is actually Britain, so they have to say 'Britain'. (talk) 01:48, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

On Eagle's Wing[edit]

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A.E. Southon: On Eagle's Wing. What sort of novel this? Whoever the author, this A.E. Southon? Where accessible the novel? Doncsecztalk 15:30, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

The only reference on Wikipedia I can find to A.E. Southon is in the article The Ten Commandments (1956 film), where he is listed as one of the screenwriters. After doing some Google seaching using the phrase "A. E. Southon On Eagle's Wings", it appears that Southon's novel was used as one of many novels which were amalgamated together to form the script for The Ten Commandments film. this Book reference indicates that to be the case. So, based on this evidence, the novel is likely about Moses at some level. If you wish to purchase a copy, has several versions used. It does not appear that the book is currently in print, so you may not find a new copy. See [1]. --Jayron32 15:46, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Thus the author is an British. Thank you! Doncsecztalk 16:26, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry if I'm missing something, but I don't see where you're drawing that conclusion from. All I can tell from the sources given are that he's a Reverend, and that his first name was Arthur. Rojomoke (talk) 17:15, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Exactly Arthur Eustache [fina name :)]. What a pity, that there is no article about Southon in the wikipedia. Doncsecztalk 17:49, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

More information here - Arthur Eustace Southon, born London 16 February 1887, died Bristol 30 December 1964. He obviously wrote many books - I don't have a bibliography but this should be a start. And this suggests he was a minister at the Methodist Church at Froyle in Hampshire, 1915-19. Further research required! Ghmyrtle (talk) 18:09, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
and here, "..the distinguished Methodist minister and author The Reverend A.E. Southon [who] was a bible-thumping missionary in Nigeria and China..." This entry at the Portuguese Wikipedia appears to be wrong in relation to his birth details. Ghmyrtle (talk) 18:23, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Thank you the new infos. Doncsecztalk 18:32, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Stub article now created. Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:16, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
The LOC website lists the following books for Arthur Eustace Southon:
  • Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Mathews, Basil, 1879-1951. Torchbearers in China, by Basil Mathews ... and Arthur E. Southon. 1924
  • Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- This evil generation, by Arthur E. Southon. 1939
  • Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Gold Coast Methodism, by Arthur E. Southon. 1934
  • Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Whispering bush; true tales of West Africa, by Arthur E. Southon ... 1924
  • Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- On eagles' wings, by Arthur E. Southon, with preface by Leslie D. Weatherhead ... 1937
  • Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- God of gold; a tale of the West African coast, 1927
  • Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Southon, Arthur Eustace, 1887- Yellow Napoleon, a romance of West Africa 1928

Zoonoses (talk) 11:58, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Translations of Beowulf[edit]

Not sure whether Language Desk is more appropriate, but I'll try here first.

I am looking for a discussion of the translations of Beowulf. Somewhere I remember reading a commentary to the effect that we would think very differently about this poem if the translation used words such as brigand, chieftain, loot, skirmish instead of warrior, knight, spoils of war, battle. Does anyone know the quote? BrainyBabe (talk) 17:16, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

There's little inflation in Seamus Heaney's 1999 translation. And it's got the original text on the facing page, so that you can check from time to time whether he's making you "think differently". --Wetman (talk) 22:35, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
I have the Heaney version if there are any passages you'd care to check out. More to the point of the question, Heaney mentions in his long introduction that he specifically tried to translate "Beowulf with a prejudice in favour of forthright delivery" (page xxviii), but he doesn't really critique previous translations as far as I can see (When I read the book, I honestly did try reading the introduction, but it became interminable and I ended up just skimming it - mea culpa!). Also, he continues to use words like warrior, hero, etc. rather than the more earthy ones BB mentioned, so he apparently felt that those sorts of terms were honest translations. If I get time later, I'll post a couple of direct translations he provided (I've got some RL stuff brewing and hunting down the OE letters will be time consuming!). Matt Deres (talk) 15:46, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
It's been a while, but I have read the whole thing in Old English (with the help of a crib), as well as a few translations. I'm fairly certain that words like "warrior, knight, spoils of war, battle" are appropriate translations. DuncanHill (talk) 15:59, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Have you seen the link in our Beowulf article to Beowulf Translation What difference does it make? ? (talk) 16:04, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
I think the responses are all missing the point of the question. As I read it, the discussion BB recalls is not about the accuracy of different translations, but at a different level: not whether it would or wouldn't be accurate to write "brigand", but how the poem as a whole would strike us with such choices. It's not really about translation at all, and you can imagine doing a similar transformation on a work in Modern English: it's just that because for most of us Beowulf needs translation anyway, it's easier to contemplate doing it. Come to think of it, stage directors frequently do this sort of thing when they set Shakespeare or other classics in a completely different social milieu. I haven't an answer to the original question, though. --ColinFine (talk) 16:55, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Or in other words, would Beowulf strike us differently had it been written by Grendel's mum? DuncanHill (talk) 21:05, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
One man's freedom fighter is another man's insurgent, rebel, guerrilla, terrorist. Most of history and much of fiction is written by the victors. I think that's the point of the quote that was proposed by the questioner, although nobody seems to know where it's from.Textorus (talk) 04:43, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, though the same could be said of any battle, fictional or historical. I assumed that Beowulf was being singled out because there might be an argument that the translators were taking something that was ambiguous and putting spin on it to make it seem more heroic. The fact that Tolkein was one of the early trumpeters of the poem's significance and that he tended to shoehorn his characters into the veriest good and the veriest evil also arouses suspicion; did his influence unduly shape the words used by translators? Not only do I not know the answer to that; I also don't know if anyone else criticized him for doing so (which seems to be the literal question here) :-). So, I'm actually not being very helpful at all in answering the question, but Heaney's text is line-numbered in case anyone wants my help in doing a little OR. Matt Deres (talk) 00:59, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks all. As usual, the desks are discursive, thought-provoking, and knowledgeable. The above doesn't quite answer my question, as I am looking for one particular essay or commentary that made the point about different translations and the atmosphere they cast, but nonetheless I appreciate your suggestions. BrainyBabe (talk) 22:35, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
I feared as much :-/. FWIW, in searching I came across this site, which compares various translations and talks about how even simple phrases can be interpreted differently by different people. Even the very first word in the poem, "Hwæt", gets translated as four different words by four translators. Little wonder that concepts as complex as heroism would cause trouble! It's not an essay, though. Matt Deres (talk) 22:02, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Check over answers[edit]

Hello everyone. Quick question: On a test, what are some good strategies for checking over answers for mistakes? I know all the material, so many of the mistakes would probably be careless errors, which no matter how careful I am I cannot prevent all of them. If it helps we can assume we are talking about a standardized test such as the SAT or ACT. thx —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:36, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Um, try using your eyes, and read the questions and your answers again. Sorry to sound flippant, but I'm really not understanding the point of your question. When I was in school, when I got to the end of a test, if time allowed I went back to the top and re-read every question and answer; what else would or could anyone do? Unless you are talking about double-checking math answers, in which case someone else here with better math aptitude might know some tricks. Textorus (talk) 23:49, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
I go over answers backwards (OK, it's been many years...) to avoid the same sequence of patterns of thought. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 00:06, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
In my experience (OR alert!), first answers are much more likely to be correct than anything being second-guessed. When I reviewed my answers, what I spent the most time on was making sure I hadn't misread the question the first time. Don't change your answer unless you're quite sure you made a mistake; if you know the material as well as you say, you're generally better off to trust your instincts. I've actually tried Googling a bit to get you a reference (the advice I gave certainly came from someone else; I didn't make that stuff up), but I'm getting drowned out by sites talking about reviewing for a test, which is completely different. Matt Deres (talk) 01:07, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
During tests, I sometimes made a small mark next to the questions that I wasn't sure of so I could go back and review those first if there wasn't enough time to go through all the answers.Sjö (talk) 19:18, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Holidays for dates[edit]

hey again. I should be studying but this thing in my history book intrigues me. Often it will say things like "And they were back before Thanksgiving" or even "On the Tuesday after Good Friday" in the text with no explanation, and these are about relatively recent events in the main prose, not events whose exact days are unknown, or in quotes. This reminds me of some primary sources when we read it will have something like "A fortnight before Michaelmas" or some holiday and in a footnote the editors say "[holiday] was the feast of [purpose] on [date]" or even "[holiday] celebrated [purpose] but its exact date is unknown/has been lost". Why do textbook writers still use holidays as benchmarks? Even for history students it is imprecise and confusing (I, a Buddhist, don't know when Good Friday is, for example), and they can't expect people in the future to understand it. thnx agn —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Typically this would be taken to mean these days have significance for the characters or persons (fiction or history), and/or if it's a date no longer celebrated often also insisting in setting the ambiance. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 00:01, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
They use those terms because those are (or were in the historical period under discussion) major holidays that are or were used to mark time in Christian societies. Good Friday and Thanksgiving and others fall under the heading of moveable feasts, which even Christians don't know the date of in any particular year without consulting a calendar. The same is true for most other cultures, I'm sure; so instead of wondering why the world was not set up totally for your private convenience, you would do better to make yourself a short list of major Christian holidays and their approximate dates: e.g., Good Friday/Easter = March/April, Thanksgiving (U.S.) = late November, etc. Which is, in fact, how even Christians mentally think of those dates when they read them in historical works. Many times, the precise day of the year is not as important as knowing the general season; or in the case of British universities, the fact that the academic year was divided into terms named for saints' days, like Michaelmas, which started way back in the Middle Ages, long before anyone knew you had a preference about it.
I personally can sympathize with you, though. I have no clue when Ramadan or Rosh Hashonah (sp?) are supposed to occur, for example. But I don't take it as a personal affront when I see references to them in books; I know I can always use a reference work to find out the exact dates, if it's truly important to do so. Most of the time, it's not. Textorus (talk) 00:05, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Of those mentioned so far, Ramadan is different because it's not even confined to an approximate seasonal recurrence -- it can occur at any month in the year... AnonMoos (talk) 01:09, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, not really, it only occurs during the month of Ramadan :) Adam Bishop (talk) 02:38, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
"Why do textbook writers still use holidays as benchmarks?" What would you rather see them do, WikiDao(talk) 00:11, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Obviously the OP wants to see them use day #'s, like Day 3 for January 3rd, etc, up through day 365. (talk) 09:14, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
A Buddhist unfamiliar with Christian holy days will find the article Good Friday helpful. A Christian unfamiliar with Buddhist holy days will find the article Vesākha helpful. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 14:14, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
This page[2] gives the calender dates for Easter Sunday from 1583 to 2999 should you ever need this information. Alansplodge (talk) 16:39, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
84.153, what? Why wouldn't they just say "January 3rd" or "May 15th" or "November 22nd" in the books? Rimush (talk) 17:07, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
(Tongue firmly in cheek) While we're on the subject, why do history books about China say crazy things like "this event happened during the Ming Dynasty"? That just confuses people who aren't Chinese, how do you expect me to learn Chinese history talking like that. And why do history books have all those strange Chinese characters in them, isn't that insulting to people who can't read Chinese? And what's up with those weird names like "Kangxi Emperor" anyway? Why don't they just say Old King Snortwhistle instead? Besides, emperor is a totally outmoded concept - they should just say "CEO" and not confuse people in the future. Waaaah. Textorus (talk) 19:25, 18 September 2010 (UTC)