Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2008 April 23

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April 23[edit]

sapir-whorf hypothesis[edit]

Can you suggest some books which are available in inndia on sapir-whorf hypothesis? (talk) 06:30, 23 April 2008 (UTC)remi

Well, online retailers such as Amazon deliver to everywhere in the world, including India. So it's just a question of finding the right book on there. Shipping will be expensive, though, I guess. --Richardrj talk email 09:11, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
To the best of my knowledge, he hasn't published a book but Daniel Everett has studied an interesting tribe called the Pirahã which seem to lack some features in language (and maybe thought) that were assumed to be universal which touches on some of the same issues as discussions of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. Although I don't think you should be leaping to use any new and amazing tribe as proof of some overarching theory given what history has taught us about problems in ethnography and such.-- (talk) 11:40, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

slightly different muddy brown

muddy brown

Also, note that the strong form of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis - that language determines and limits thought - is maintained by only a very small minority of linguists. The fact that (most) people can perceive a difference in colours such as the two on the right even though they do not have specific names for these colours is a fairly conclusive disproof of the strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. On the other hand, the weak Sapir-Whorf hypothesis - that language influences thought - is more moderate and more credible. Gandalf61 (talk) 13:38, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I think that's going a bit far. I don't think even the proponents of the "strongest" version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis would claim that. They might claim that speakers of a language which has distinct words for those two colors would see them as less similar than speakers of other languages, but not that the others wouldn't be able to distinguish them at all... -Elmer Clark (talk) 01:26, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I can tell you that the names of those colours are "dark taupe" and "medium taupe". Now that you know those names, has your perception changed in any way ? Do the colours suddenly seem less similar to you ? I would be very surprised if your perception has been changed by learning names. Or suppose you learned names for these colours, but later found out that you had learned the wrong names - would that change your perception of the colours ? I doubt it.
And yet proponents of the strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis regularly claim that monolingual speakers of a language that lacks words for numbers greater than two (such as the Pirahã language) are unable to consistently distinguish between groups of, say, four and five objects because they have no names for higher numbers. Framing a parallel proposition about colours (or you could equivalently use tastes or smells or textures or any other area where our sensorium is much richer than a lay-person's vocabulary) simply highlights the absurdity of this claim. Of course we can perceive, remember, distinguish and generally think about many things for which we do not have specific names. Gandalf61 (talk) 10:39, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

linguistic relativity and linguistic determinism?[edit]

i read on wiki that orwell's 1984 is an example for linguistic determinism.can we consider malayalam novelist o.v.vijayan's novel "the saga of dharmapuri"as an example for linguistic determinism and linguistic relativity?remi —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:53, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Need 'one word' for a meaning[edit]

Hi I want to know if there is one word for the meaning "even before asking" in english. The sentence could be, Thanks for the bonus that was given to me "even before asking".

Regards, Guru ````````` —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:59, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

The word "unsolicited" is often used in this context. For example "I received a generous bonus and it was unsolicited." However, if you are acknowledging a generous action it would be more appropriate to use "prompt" and say "Thanks for the prompt payment of my bonus" or "Thanks for the prompt reply". Dolphin51 (talk) 08:16, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

<moved from Help desk Julia Rossi (talk) 11:06, 23 April 2008 (UTC)>

Other ideas: "preemptive", "anticipating a need". Probably other stuff with "pre" at the beginning... --Masamage 20:55, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Some bonuses are paid automatically; that is, there is an understanding that unless you've slept with the Managing Director's spouse or set fire to the building, and you've done a reasonable year's work, you'll be paid whatever bonus has been agreed up front (usually some percentage of profits). If that's the case, there's no need for any qualifying adjective at all. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:50, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
So, Thanks for the unexpected bonus? Or, surprise bonus? Spontaneous or automatic sounds too factual. "Unasked" exists but like uninvited, it sounds unwanted. Unexpected has a welcome ring to it, even "welcome bonus" is nicely unsolicited. Whatever comes next will add to your point in the first statement. Julia Rossi (talk) 23:46, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

South Wales[edit]

Hello everybody! Does anybody knows what is the etymology of "Deheubarth" (a former kingdom in South Wales)... Wikipedia articles about Gwynedd and Powys give a full explanation of the origin of both terms, but there's nothing like that in the Deheubarth article... Thank you very much (forgive my English, I'm Catalan). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:37, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

We are all from Barcelona here. We know nooothing!
Which does not, however, prevent anybody from answering queries about the touristic marvels of Deheubarth and the royal couple of Basil and his dragon. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 20:24, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Oh it is a very ancient and mystical online welsh dictionary showed it to be a word meaning roughly "southern region" or just "south". Oh, those welsh!  ;-) Fribbler (talk) 23:44, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

In an attempt to un-confuse our curious questioner, I should point out that Cockatoo's comment "We know nothing!" is a catchphrase of the Barcelona waiter in the British sitcom Fawlty towers. Double happy St George's Day to you, one day late. BrainyBabe (talk) 06:27, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Treatment of the plural representation of a singular concept[edit]

I'm trying to clean up Tier 1 capital and the following is part of a sentence therein.

Risk-weighted assets are the total of all assets held by the bank which...

Now Risk-weigted assets obviously refers to more than one asset but it is one concept so do I stick with are or should I change to is?
Zain Ebrahim (talk) 18:32, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

"Are" is correct. Deor (talk) 18:44, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
although you could possibly singlify it with quotes, like "risk-weighted assets" is the...... if you really wanted to for some reason. seems inferior, though.Gzuckier (talk) 18:47, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. What if "Risk-weighted assets" actually refers to a number? So for example: "The Risk-weighted assets is/are R105bn."? It isn't the case here but I'm just curious.
Zain Ebrahim (talk) 18:49, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Still "are." Generally, a plural subject requires a plural verb, even if the verb is followed by a singular complement. Deor (talk) 18:55, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks.Zain Ebrahim (talk) 19:00, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, you'd say "they are X", "I am X", and "you are X", never "is". kwami (talk) 20:40, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Given the sentence in the article that precedes your fragment, why not just Risk-weighted assets are all of the assets held by the bank which ...? resisting the urge to respond to kwami with "we are X together" --LarryMac | Talk 20:59, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

two Russian questions[edit]

I have two pretty specific Russian-language questions for someone who speaks the language better than I.

  • Grammar: In Pushkin's poem "Я памятник себе воздвиг нерукотворный" ([1]) I found this line: "Хвалу и клевету приемли равнодушно". I am guessing that the word приемли has something to do with принимать, but what part of speech is it?
  • Pronunciation: In a line of Lermontov's poem "Бородино" there is this phrase: "ведь были ж свхатки боевые". Would the ж in this case be voiced or unvoiced (in other words, is it pronounced "ведь были ш свхатки боевые"?)

Thanks! Lesgles (talk) 20:30, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

1. приемли is a verb, it is indeed an archaic imperative form of принимать. 2. Both would be correct; it seems to be a question of personal choice. Usually the sound would be somwehere in the middle of ж-ш continuum. Hope this helps. --Dr Dima (talk) 21:33, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Cпасибо! Lesgles (talk) 03:24, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I've never heard of partial devoicing in Russian. As far as I know, ж would be fully devoiced for any Russian speaker during natural conversation because of the voiceless с. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 03:51, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
That was my first assumption. I hesitated, though, because the word "ж" is simply a shortened form of "же", in which the ж would of course be voiced. Lesgles (talk) 01:48, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Well I guess we'll have to hear a native speaker on the matter. If anyone gives you a dirty look when you pronounce it as ведь были ш свхатки боевые you'll know why. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 06:00, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
From the Russian ru:Википедия:Форум/Вопросы: По литературной норме, несомненно, здесь глухой звук [ш] (на конце фонетического слова и вдобавок следующее фонетическое слово начинается с глухих согласных). --Mitrius 06:49, 26 апреля 2008 (UTC) So ш is right. They also noticed that I had made a typo in the word "схватки". Lesgles (talk) 18:52, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Fun with Latin[edit]

For obscure reasons, I would like to know how to say "Your face" in Latin. Also, can I drop any noun-phrase into the noun-slot of any Latin sentence and have it be grammatically correct? Muahaha and thank you, Masamage 20:53, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Hello Masamage, Your face roughly translates into Vestri visio in Latin. The answer to your second question, I cannot help you. Adam (Manors) 22:20, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Facies tua would be better, I think. As for your second question, Masamage: I believe the answer is yes, although, depending on what you mean by "noun-phrase," it may need to be inflected in accordance with its function in the sentence. Deor (talk) 00:05, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Or "aspectus tuus", or "os tuum", or if you use visio then "vestra visio". For dropping noun-phrases into a sentence, it depends - if you are willing to make up Latinish words/phrases then you probably always could, but if you are trying to use classical words and phrases, then no, you often can't do that. Adam Bishop (talk) 01:21, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Colleagues, let us not forget vultus (vultus, vultūs, m., "features, expression, air, countenance, face"). So vultus tuus might be apt, depending on the exact purpose and context that Masamage en(um...)visages.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 00:03, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for all the responses. :) Which of these would be the least formal? Like, the equivalent of "Oh yeah? Yer face!" in English. (I promise I am not in middle school.) --Masamage 02:55, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't know, maybe facies. Or "frons". Adam Bishop (talk) 03:20, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
I thought "frons" was "forehead". Anyway, my vote is for either "facies tua" or "vultus tuus". —Angr 19:13, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
Is that pronounced fah-see-ehs? --Masamage 18:31, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

wheezing in spanish[edit]

is it catarro?Latinlover-sa (talk) 23:50, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

I would say dificultad para respirar. Jadeo is also a possibility, especially if the breathing difficulty is related to some (physical) excercise: jadear usually implies that the open mouth is used to breath.
By the way, catarro stands for a cold with associated expectoration. Pallida  Mors 16:58, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
For what it's worth, my English-Spanish dictionary gives resuello ruidoso. Deor (talk) 23:59, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Sounds good to me :) Pallida  Mors 01:30, 26 April 2008 (UTC)