Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2008 July 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Language desk
< June 30 << Jun | July | Aug >> July 2 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Language Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

July 1[edit]

difference between 'speak English , and speak in English'[edit]

Please explain me the difference between in the usage of'speak in English, and speak English' (talk) 00:27, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

To me they are the same thing. If you told me to speak English or speak in English I would interpret them the same way. "Speak in English!" as a command though sounds just a little clumsier than "Speak English!" but both ways are very acceptable to me. I think I use both interchangeably. --Falconusp t c 01:13, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
They often mean the same thing, but they can be different. "I speak English" means that I can speak English, but I may choose not to, if I want to. "I speak in English" means that not only can you speak English, but you actively do so. On their own, "Speak English!" and "Speak in English!" have the same meaning, but context will mean that you sometimes have to choose between whether you just want the ability (I speak English) or the action as well (I speak in English). Steewi (talk) 06:31, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Just to add that "Speak English" is sometimes used in a nonliteral sense—for instance, as a response to someone who is, in fact, speaking English but is using "highfalutin'" language or technical jargon. I don't think I've ever heard "Speak in English" used that way. Deor (talk) 12:00, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Is this a two-part phrasal verb?[edit]

I changed the article "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" to "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get out Of" some time ago on the basis that prepositions weren't capitalized. However, I can't help but wonder if the phrase "Get Out Of" is a two-part phrasal verb: where the preposition serves as an adverb and should be capitalized (as per WP:MUSTARD). I simply can't tell for the life of me if "Get Out Of" is a two-part phrasal verb or not, even after looking at other examples such as "Carry On Wayward Son" and "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)". Help? Xnux the Echidna 01:47, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

"Out of" is usually treated as a compound preposition, in which case out would be capitalized if one subscribes to the practice of capitalizing prepositions of five (or more) letters in titles (and of would of course be capitalized as the last word in the title). In a cursory examination, I can't find any WP:MOS guidance relating to the capitalization of prepositions in titles, but it may be there someplace. Or one can take out as an adverb (or part of a phrasal verb), in which case it would also be capitalized. I have to say, the version with lowercase out looks mighty odd to me, and I'd be inclined to capitalize it in any case. Note, however, the article We Gotta Get out of This Place, where out is lowercase, though I would capitalize it there, too. Deor (talk) 02:27, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
According to [1], get out is a phrasal verb, so out should be capitalized in both of the examples above. Of is a preposition, but it should be capitalized in the first example, "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" for being the last word in the title, as previously mentioned.--El aprendelenguas (talk) 18:45, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Repeating a word until it loses meaning[edit]

Why when you repeat a word over and over again it suddenly seems to lose meaning and starts to sound arbitrary? (Anglo-Saxon derived English words in particular do this for me—milk, cow, sheep, etc.) Why does repetition of a word seem to strip it of its semantic meaning, at least temporarily? -- (talk) 02:12, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Could be related to Repetition blindness. In general, a persistent sensory stimulus decreases in salience over time, and is ignored after a while (unless it is strong to the point of being unbearable). --Dr Dima (talk) 06:07, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, that's a great term to know! -- (talk) 00:59, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
You're welcome! --Dr Dima (talk) 01:06, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

No, no, no, no, no, no . . . DOR (HK) (talk) 10:29, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

"Teacher" in Sanskrit[edit]

Hello, all -

Does anyone out there know how to say, "teacher" in Sanskrit? If so, please let me know at <email removed as per wiki policy>

Thanks. . . . —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:36, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Guru? Julia Rossi (talk) 06:30, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
This[2] gives 'aacarya' meaning 'religious teacher', 'adhyaapikaa' for a 'lady/female teacher', 'anuuchaanaM' as 'teacher(?)', 'guru'/'guruH' as (among other things) 'the title given to a preceptor or teacher', jñaanakIrti 'a Buddhist teacher', paNDita - "a scholar, a learned man, teacher, philosopher, a Pandit", suucaka "pointing out , indicating , showing; the manager or chief actor of a company ; a narrator , teacher ; the son of an A1yogava and a Kshatriya1 ; a Buddha ; a Siddha ; demon , imp ; villain , dog ; jackal ; cat ; crow ; needle ; balustrade , parapet ; kind of rice". Many of these appear to be metaphorical words applied to teachers. Aacarya, anuuchaanaM, adhyaapikaa and guru appear to be the most general. Steewi (talk) 06:43, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Additional: Capeller's dictionary (searchable at [3]) gives adhyaapaka, aacarya and guru as the most general translations, with aacarya applying to religious teaching, and adhyaapaka applying to general teaching. There is also caraNaguru "a Vedic teacher", baalaadhyaapaka "a teacher of boys" and bhrtakadhyaapaka "a hired teacher". Steewi (talk) 06:52, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Baby, Baby![edit]

While trying to learn German for an upcoming vacation to Germany, I was surprised to find out that the German word for "baby" is "baby". After checking the German Wikipedia for Baby, I see that the disambiguation page there says that a baby is more properly called a Säugling. So where did the German use of the word "baby" come from? Is it borrowed from the English language? Or did we borrow it from them (it doesn't sound very German)? Dismas|(talk) 10:11, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

According to Kluge's etymological dictionary, it was borrowed from English in the 19th century, supposedly because at that time English nannies had a very high reputation in better-off German families and brought part of their vocabulary with them. -- Ferkelparade π 10:44, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
My Duden speculates it may be an echolalian term, based on the infant´s baba-babbling. In this case, strictly speaking, it´s neither English nor any other language proper. Maybe it is an early attempt at a critique of life outside the womb.
"Baby" is used - almost always - in colloquial German. "Säugling" is the formal term which you may find in official documents, medical contexts and the like. There is also the term "Kleinkind" (= small child), but again, this is rather formal.
Rather surprisingly, I still see many an English nanny in my neck of the woods (Vienna), but Google just discovered that there is an English kindergarten up the road, presumably for diplomats, UNO staff kids and the like.
Enjoy your stay in Europe, Dismas... --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 09:19, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't think you'd find many lexicographers agreeing that "baby" is not an English word, Cookatoo. Of course it's an English word - regardless of its origins. -- JackofOz (talk) 11:30, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Happens thy know[edit]

I once said to someone in a Yorkshire accent "there's 'out so queer as folk" and they replied in a similar accent, something which sounded like "happens thy know, lad" but I find no Google hits for the phrase "happens thy know" which might indicate that I misheard. Perhaps someone can offer a likely alternative? ----Seans Potato Business 10:34, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

No, you heard correctly. - X201 (talk) 10:48, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
No, he didn't. It's more like "happen tha knows". --Richardrj talk email 10:53, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
In case the meaning is not clear, they meant "it is likely that you would know about that". Possibly they thought that you were making fun of their own accent. Gandalf61 (talk) 11:10, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
After Gandalf61 but a different spin: In this context, wouldn't the response be the equivalent of the Yank expression, "Takes one to know one!" or possibly, "Look who's talking!" .. or is that utterly obvious? -- Deborahjay (talk) 16:35, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

word meaning[edit]

What does 'humdinging'mean?And how can it be applied? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:42, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Amazing, superb, exceptional.[4] The tennis match between Hewitt and X201 was a real humdinger - X201 (talk) 10:49, 1 July 2008 (UTC)


Is there a word for the same area of the body that refers to a male?TX —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:07, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Sagittal Abdominal Hair probably. Or in slang terms, "Happy Trail". Fribbler (talk) 13:21, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I've heard the more alliterative "treasure trail" for that. But I've never heard "rumauli" before; I wouldn't have had any idea what the OP was asking about. —Angr 15:04, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
"Treasure Trail" too actually, yeah. I didn't know what rumauli was either, and I should have posted a link to my source of enlightenment. So here it is! [5] Fribbler (talk) 15:11, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Also, way into the slang and/or disturbing end of the spectrum, "crab ladder". --LarryMac | Talk 13:22, 3 July 2008 (UTC)