Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2007 October 21

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October 21[edit]

the eme meme[edit]

phoneme, morpheme, lexeme, sememe, grapheme — Does anyone know where the eme element comes from? —Tamfang 05:48, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

well -eme is so widespread because of the emic and etic distinction that Kenneth Pike introduced, (could this be a backformation?), but where the original -eme in 'phoneme' came from, I can't say. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drmaik (talkcontribs) 06:00, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary it comes from a Greek word phonema "a sound".[1] The word is not in the online version of Liddell & Scott, but corresponds to a regular way of making a Greek noun out of a verb. According to the same source, "morpheme" (or rather French morphème) was formed in analogy.  --Lambiam 12:14, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Φώνημα is in the online version of Liddell & Scott; see [2]. —Angr 12:37, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Magellan discovers . . .[edit]

It seems to me that the word "discover" is not the right word to denote places and cultures that are encountered by explorers in whatever age. "Discovery" should apply to something or place or culture that were truly unknown, uninhabited and undocumented at the time of the first encounter.

So Columbus undertook to explore over the Western seas and encountered the Bahamas and through further exploration he landed on inhabited land that was eventually named America. I know that we conventionally apply the word "discover" to that historical act, but to me it doesn't sound accurate.

But I concede that if a place, thing or culture enters the written historical record for the first time, it may rate as a "discovery".

Robertg69 14:17, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Did you have a question, or did you just want to start a debate? Because as mentioned at the top, the latter is inappropriate at the Reference Desk. —Angr 14:24, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
I think the implied question is "What is a more appropriate word for this situation?" It also says something about not biting newcomers at the top of this page :) DuncanHill 14:27, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Tricky. From Colombus's point of view, he "discovered" lands he didn't know were there. No problem so far. From the natives' point of view, they discovered a guy in silly pants on the beach. Hmmmm. I think the problem is not so much in the word "discover" as in what we mean by "America" or any land. We don't like the Eurocentricism in speaking of discovering people, but if we think of the landmass itself and use the tiny bit of intelligence it takes to remember that we're talking about Europeans in the age of the great ships, I don't see a problem. I hesitate to suggest PCisms for workarounds, and I can't think of a word that covers all the bases. So far. You've put a bug in my ear.
(There is a clearly implied question: Is there a better word?) --Milkbreath 14:50, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
One could say "Columbus discovered America for Early modern Europe", just as one could say "Leif Ericson discovered America for the Norsemen" or that the "Paleo-Indians were the first discoverers of America". Or that "Zheng He discovered Africa for Ming China."--Pharos 15:01, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Me, again. I think there are two contexts. The Europeans were the ones who connected the world up by sailing all over the place and establishing contact. Credit-where-credit-is-due makes it just fine to say that they "discovered" places. I mean, what did the Aztec map of the world look like before Cortez? The Europeans of that time discovered lands that not only they but nobody else knew about. They discovered them for everybody in the end.
On the other hand, if you teach an American fifth-grader simply that "Columbus discovered America", you're giving him a biased view that won't fly nowadays. I don't think it would be PC to say that Columbus opened America. That's my answer, for contexts having to do with world view, "opened".
And, by the way, a fool-proof way of avoiding debate is to not participate. --Milkbreath 15:52, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Or, you could say that Columbus's discoveries brought America into the "Old World" ecumene (that's a high-relevancy concept, surely).--Pharos 17:14, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
"Encounter" is a word I've frequently heard used in this context recently. Wrad 19:22, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
"Columbian Exchange" is a very similar sort of terminology to encounter.--Pharos 19:45, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

B&M is a bit of a dog-a-lot shop[edit]

Is the phrase "dog-a-lot shop" known/accepted as meaning a shop, typically with varying and unreliable variety of stock (i.e. they might have sold something a few weeks ago but wont have it again for the foreseable future) at low prices? Mum says that she got it from her mum... --Seans Potato Business 21:44, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Never heard that precise term, but I sometimes encounter shops selling stuff using a "dogalogue", a punning variant of "catalogue". -- JackofOz 23:55, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

's- prefix for Dutch municipalities?[edit]

What does it mean? For example, 's-Gravenhage or 's-Hertogenbosch. Also some have a nickname like Den Bosch; what does that mean? Thanks. —MC 22:15, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

The 's appears to be a contraction of Dutch des. From 's-Hertogenbosch: The city's official name is a contraction of the Dutch des Hertogen bosch - "the Duke's forest" I gather, then, that Den Bosch simply means the forest. HYENASTE 02:06, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

The Dutch definite article used to have distinct case forms (like modern German) -- see Archaic_Dutch_Declension#Definite_Articles. These have become obsolete in the modern language (compare Dutch declension), but such forms (or fragments of such forms) survive as relics in some Dutch placenames... AnonMoos 07:58, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

spanish translation[edit]

how would you say an allowance in spanish? like money to your kids?CholgatalK! 22:28, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

According to Google's language tools, it's just paga. According to my Merriam-Webster's dictionary, it's mesada. I remember hearing another word for allowance on a TV show from Spain, but it's not coming to me right now. Hopefully later someone will post a more definitive answer for you.--El aprendelenguas 22:38, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
It's a difficult thing to translate, because it's not common for kids in Latin American (I don't know about European Spanish) families to have a weekly allowance. When they need money for something, they ask their parents for it. There would probably be a word for it in US Spanish by now, but it might vary a lot. I certainly didn't learn one in Chile. 02:11, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
wordreference suggests paga ("per un niño") as well. Discussions [3] [4] [5] mention paga as commonly used in Spain, or paga semanal for weekly allowance, paga mensual for monthly allowance. mesada and domingo (Mexican usage, literally Sunday) are mentioned too. Pocket money is translated as dinero suelto, but the meaning is loose or petty change not allowance, see es:Dinero suelto. ---Sluzzelin talk 14:11, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
My mom is from Chile, and thanks El aprendelenguas, that's the word that i was trying to remember, i think it's the best one because it can be used in allowances given to children or say your company gives you an allowance for a certain amount of car rental or cell phone usage.CholgatalK! 23:05, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

funny how it kinda means every month, but not monthly like mensual would meanCholgatalK! 23:06, 22 October 2007 (UTC)