Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2008 November 13

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November 13[edit]

Japanese Calligraphy[edit]

How would you write "There is a badger in my beard" using Kanji? Black Carrot (talk) 00:21, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

私の髭に狸がいます。--ChokinBako (talk) 01:31, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Those translate to [I] [possession] [beard] [indirect object] [badger] [subject] [is (polite form)] [period], right? Why doesn't the subject come before the object? Also, should there be some kind of preposition, to indicate the relation between the badger and the beard? Black Carrot (talk) 07:39, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

There's no object. に means "at", "in".--K.C. Tang (talk) 07:47, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Isn't it [subject: 私の髭] [preposition: に] [object: 狸] [particle: が] [verb: います。]? Louis Waweru  Talk  09:25, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
狸 is the subject. 私の髭に is the predicate, merely saying where the badger is.--ChokinBako (talk) 09:54, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I see now, thanks. Louis Waweru  Talk  10:21, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I feel I should point out that badgers and tanukis are not the same animal (they're not even in the same family). Maybe you really wanted a tanuki, but if not, badger is アナグマ (穴熊). Also, while I don't think the requested 100% kanji is attainable in modern Japanese, we should be able to do better than the 33% of ChokinBako's translation. Perhaps 我が顎鬚に穴熊有り? It's a bit formal, but that seems well suited to the gravity of this pronouncement. I'm not fluent, so you should probably wait for an okay from a native speaker before you get this tattooed on your arm (which I assume is what you intend to do). -- BenRG (talk) 13:23, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Aye, well, I translated 'badger' as tanuki because badgers and racoons are not much different, especially to someone who has only seen them as roadkill.--ChokinBako (talk) 14:04, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
If it comes to that, tanukis aren't raccoons, either. Per Japanese Raccoon Dog: "Its Japanese name [tanuki] is also sometimes translated as 'badger' and often mistakenly translated into English as 'raccoon'." —Angr 14:20, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Here is another article. Raccoon Dog. Oda Mari (talk) 14:43, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think 有り can be used in this context. 私の顎髭に穴熊が居る。But most of the time 居る is written in hiragana, いる. As for 'my', there are choices: 我の,我が輩の,僕の,俺の,小生の, and 余の. Oda Mari (talk) 15:52, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
「有り」would be perfectly OK if taken in a Classical Japanese context, not modern Japanese.--ChokinBako (talk) 19:03, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

While I'm sorting through that, can someone recommend an online Kanji dictionary? The hiragana is no problem, but I'm not sure how to look up some of the other symbols. Black Carrot (talk) 21:27, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

You are right about the usage of 有る in classical Japanese, Chokinbako. And to other editors, sorry for my mistake. Oda Mari (talk) 17:29, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

May we ask precisely what you have been getting up to with this badger? It's not exactly an everyday occurrence.. for most of us. Try pointing frantically to the badger! GerbilsSendHamstersDeathThreatsInTheirMightyInterSpeciesFeud (talk) 00:47, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

minimal pairs?[edit]

in a phonological analysis for the words [mezi] and [mazI], would the e and a be considered different phonemes because they both occur in the same environment (m_z)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

This is a nonsense question. 'E' and 'a' are considered separate phonemes simply because they ARE separate phonemes, regardless of their environments.--ChokinBako (talk) 02:43, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
This sounds like a homework question.... I think the OP is possibly referring to a hypothetical language. I don't know what the different is between lowercase i and uppercase I in the transcription. As for the environments, they're not necessarily the same if /i/ ≠ /I/.--el Aprel (facta-facienda) 02:53, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

well, this is related to a homework question, I'm trying to figure out whether [e] and [a] are minimal pairs of each other or allophones. the immidiate environment is the same for both , the difference only kicks in on the letter after [i] vs [ı]. so should we consider [a] and [e] allophones? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:22, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

There isn't enough data to decide. It's possible this language has vowel harmony relating to advanced tongue root, but with only one pair of words in the data set, that can't be determined. —Angr 10:41, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
If you already know that [i] and [I] are allophones of the same phoneme, and that [mezi] and [mazI] are different words, then they are minimal pairs. Otherwise, you can't tell. jnestorius(talk) 13:17, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
This all, of course, assumes that the two words are separate lexical items. Steewi (talk) 00:06, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Given enough information, another possibility is that the two are near minimal pairs, which I've seen some linguists give when it's obvious that two sounds are contrastive but one or the other is so rare that a minimal pair just doesn't exist. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 02:02, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

English to Spanish Translation[edit]

Okay so I created a dialogue between three people needing to meet some requirements of my teacher, and I attempted to translate it. Could you guys please help me fine tune this because I know I made some simple mistakes. I'd really appreciate it, thanks guys!

SS1: Cinderella! Where are you?

SS1: Cenicienta! ¿De dónde estás?
C: I am in the living room, shaking the rugs.
C: Estoy en la sala, sacudo las alfombras.
SS2: Well come to my room right now! I need you to clean it.
SS2: Bien vienes a mi cuarto ahora mismo! Te necesito para limpiarlo.
C: But I am very busy!
C: Pero estoy ocupadísimo!
SS2: Too bad! You have to hang up my clothes, dust, and vacuum.
SS2: Que Lástima! Tienes que colgar mi ropa, quita el polvo y pasa la aspiradora.
C: You are so lazy.
C: Eres tan perezosa.
SS2: I demand an apology.
SS2: Exijo una disculpa.
C: Ugh. I’m sorry.
C: Ugh. Lo siento.
SS1: Enough! You have to scrub the chamber pot also!
SS1: ¡Basta! Tienes que fregar la cámara tambié!
SS2: Yeah! I forbid you to enjoy yourself.
SS2: ¡Sí! Me prohíben a divertirte.
C: This is ridiculous and is not fair!
C: Esto es ridículo y no es justo!
SS1: I suggest you start immediately. You have a lot of chores.
SS1: Le sugiero que comienzas inmediatamente. Tienes muchos quehaceres.
SS2: Yes, and we have to get ready for the dance.
SS2: Sí, y tenemos que alistarnos para el baile.
C: Dance? I didn’t know there was a dance.
C: Baile? No sabía era un baile.
SS1: That is because no one invited you.
SS1: Eso es porque nadie invita a ti.
SS2: And it’s better if you stay home.
SS2: Y es mejor si quedarte en casa.
C: But I want to go, I even have a pretty dress!
C: Pero quiero ir, tengo un vestido bonito!
SS1: I just remembered, you have to feed the dog, too.
SS1: acabo de recordar, tienes que darle de comer al perro, también.
SS2: And take it for a walk.
SS2: Y lo sacas a paseo.
SS1: Cinderella, please don’t forget to make my bed.
SS1: Cenicienta, por favor no se olvide de tender mi cama.
SS2: And to peel the potatoes for dinner tonight!
SS2: Y pela las papas para la cena de esta noche!
C: Ay ay ay! What an ugly joke…
C: Ay ay ay! Que un feo chiste...
SS1: I’m sorry Cinderella, but we are being serious. The lawnmower is broken too so you need to fix it.
SS1: Lo siento Cenicienta, pero estamos serios. La cortadora de césped está roto demasiado y necesita arreglarlo.
SS2: Did we tell her she has to water the garden with the new hose?
SS2: ¿Dile que tiene que regar el jardín con la manguera nuevo?
SS1: No, I forgot.
SS1: No, me olvidé.
C: What, do I need to plant some trees in the garden too?
C: ¿Qué, debo plantar algunos árboles en el jardín también?
SS1: That is a good idea! Yes, yes!
SS1: Es una buena idea! Sí, sí!
C: But I was joking!
C: Pero yo estaba bromeando!
SS2: Did you empty the cesto?
SS2: ¿Te vaciar el cesto?
C: Yes, last night. I still need to recoger the dirty dishes and wash them, but you can clean your own room.
C: Sí, anoche. Necesito recoger los platos sucios y lavarlos, pero puedes limpiar su propio cuarto.
SS1: Cinderella we are tired of always taking care of you, you need to learn some responsibility.
SS1: Cenicienta estamos cansados de siempre cuidamos a ti, necesitas aprender alguna responsabilidad.

I know I have many puncuation errors, capitalization errors, etc., but they are not important and you can just ignore them. I just want to make sure I translated it as accurately as possible. Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:05, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

This is quite long. I don't have time to edit it, I doubt that other Ref Desk editors will have time, and in any case, helping people complete their homework is outside of Ref Desk guidelines. We are happy to help if you have a specific question, for example about something you don't understand from your assignment, but we can't help you complete the assignment. I've noticed several errors just looking over your translation, but you are clearly at a stage where you are meant to learn from your teacher's corrections. So that you do not start out with an error, I will just point out that you translated the first line "Cenicienta! ¿De dónde estás?" This means "Cinderella! Where are you from?" or "Cinderella! Where do you come from?". "Where are you?" would be simply "¿Dónde estás?". Marco polo (talk) 21:45, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh, wow. Thanks Marco polo! I didn't realize how long it was until I posted it, but this is mainly due to the way I tried to make it easier for you guys by putting a line in English, and showing my Spanish translation beneath it. And I understand fully well that Wikipedia discourages its reference desk editors from doing someone else's homework, but I figured since I tried it already to the best of my ability that counted as me doing my own homework. You guys would just fine tune it =]. But thank you again for the change right away, and if anyone does find time just to skim through it and make a few corrections I'd really appreciate it. -- (talk) 04:02, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
My Spanish is way from anywhere good, but my suggestion would be to look at whatever Grammar book came with class material and look at verb-forms (If you do have the time, scoot over to your library and see if they have a book on that. There are some that have lists of common verbs and their forms.) Then look at what function the verb you are using in English has and see what the equivalent would be in Spanish. "I shake" is not the same as "I'm shaking". Some verbs have the same form in English but serve a different function: "I come", "you come" is a regular activity, "Come here!" is an instruction. Are the Spanish forms the same for both functions for this verb? You won't be able to find all the fine variations, but should find a few things you can improve. As Marco said this is a learning exercise not a "I have to get it perfect for max points" type of task. BTW: What makes such tasks so difficult for students is that you devise the dialog in your native language and then translate. If such task comes up again, an easier way is to look at what vocabulary and situations you have dealt with in class already and concoct a conversation from those. (talk) 06:11, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
You made simple mistakes because that's the stage you're at – learning. Just say we fixed it for you, then you're giving a false impression you might have to repeat later, and I can't see us fixing stuff for you over and over. ¿Entienda? (and that could be wrong – I have no idea) Julia Rossi (talk) 07:13, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

J→E: 感動の定期演奏会バトル[edit]

I'm having trouble with 定期. I was looking at 演奏会#定期演奏会 and I didn't really understand that either. Can someone please take a look and explain, or translate, that section for me? Thank you. Louis Waweru  Talk  08:10, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

I looked up 定期 in my dictionary, and the first hit was "定期演奏会 - subscription concert" with a further explanation in Japanese about how this is the sort of concert where can only get tickets with a reservation. TomorrowTime (talk) 08:16, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, so do you think that's implied in English (that it cost money or is by reservation only)? Can I just say "the battle of the deeply moving concert"? Louis Waweru  Talk  09:14, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the context this is used in - it could mean "the moving competition of the subscription concerts" (IMO バトル would probably translate better to "competition", but it could depend on the context again), or it could mean "the competition of moving subscription concerts", and possibly, some other meaning could be wrung out of the phrase as well :) Re: "subscription concert", lets hear from a native English speaker about that. To me, it doesn't really sound explanatory enough, but maybe that's just me. Let's have someone confirm the word. TomorrowTime (talk) 09:33, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Ah, sorry I never heard the term before so I didn't look it up. Apparently "subscription concert" and "non-subscription concert" are commonly used in the orchestra world. Thanks again. Louis Waweru  Talk  09:46, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
What are you all talking about? 「定期」means 'regular'.--ChokinBako (talk) 09:51, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't know! =) I think the Japanese wiki agrees with his dictionary though. I can find "regular concert" in google, too. I simply have never heard these terms before, so I really don't know. Louis Waweru  Talk  10:02, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
定期演奏会 is a subscription concert held regularly by a standing orchestra, brass band, ensamble, choir, etc. See these. [1] and [2] Oda Mari (talk) 15:18, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
ChokinBako, of course it means that, I was just quoting what my dictionary spat out. By the way, I asked for a native speaker confirmation, because I fully get the concept of a "subscription concept" (called an "abonma" in my mothertongue, Slovene, and a very commonplace word at that), but I never before heard this supposed English equivalent, and wasn't sure if it meant anything to your average Joe the wikipedian. TomorrowTime (talk) 19:20, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

How do you pronounce "Aegeus"?[edit]

You know, the king of Athens? When I first heard the Theseus and the Minotaur story, the person who told me it pronounced it like (sorry, I don't know IPA) "eye-gefs" or "eye-gevs" or something like that, so that's how I've always said it. But most people I've talked to about this pronounces it something like "ey-gee-ous" (I'm really terrible at this phonetic-writing thing, sorry), sort-of like it's spelled. Can anyone clear this matter up? Belisarius (talk) 08:30, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

The second pronunciation sounds right to me. I'll take a guess that the person who first read the story was seeing it as AEGEVS, with a V instead of a U, which could have led to the incorrect pronunciation you describe. --Richardrj talk email 09:17, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Guessing but if you say e-jee-en for Aegean Sea, would you say E-jee-us in English? The Greek seems to use the soft "g": Αἰγεύς, possibly eye-gee-ous. But I'm really terrible at this too. Julia Rossi (talk) 09:55, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
These classical names always have nativized English pronunciations based on the traditional English pronunciation of Latin. I'd pronounce it "ee-JEE-us". The classical Greek pronunciation would be something like "eye-GEOOS" with a hard g and an "eh-oo" diphthong that doesn't exist in English. The modern Greek pronunciation would be something like "eh-YEFS". It sounds to me like the person who the OP first heard pronounce the word was aiming for a compromise between Ancient Greek and Modern Greek, but doing that when speaking English sounds pretentious at best, and ridiculous when it's not even consistent for a particular period of Greek. ("eye-gefs" uses the classical Greek pronunciation for the first three letters of the word and the modern Greek pronunciation for the last three.) —Angr 10:48, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I rarely find myself disagreeing with the contributions of Angr, but in this case I do. The main point about the pronunciation in Ancient Greek, Modern Greek and traditional English pronunciation is that the word is two syllables, not three. In Ancient Greek, something like eye-geus, in Modern Greek something like ay-yefs (the pronunciation of the gamma in Modern Greek being notoriously difficult to capture), in traditional English ee-juice.Maid Marion (talk) 15:54, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I've never heard anyone pronounce it with two syllables in English. I would also use Angr's "ee-jee-us" pronunciation. The only -eus ending that is one syllable is "Zeus". Adam Bishop (talk) 16:36, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I would disagree with this. I pronounce Theseus, Perseus, etc as two syllables (ie the eus bit is one syllable) --rossb (talk) 21:05, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
There probably are a few people who do this, but I'd suggest the majority would say "thee-see-us" and "per-see-us". If they were intended to be pronounced as 2 syllables, they'd be spelt Thesus and Persus. But they're not. There's a wine popular in Australia called Mateus Rosé, which many people pronounce "ma-TOOS", but I always insist on "ma-TAY-us". -- JackofOz (talk) 22:00, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
FWIW, I also pronounce Aegeus with three syllables, but as /eɪdʒiːəs/, corresponding with my pronunciation of Aegean. Algebraist 16:47, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
That captital E up there was me confusing the name capital and having it turn out like an emphatic. Interestingly, the closest I can find to the two-syllable way is "aegis" (ee-jus|ˈējis) via Latin from Greek aigis "shield of Zeus." So for me, Aegeus is e-JEE-us. My first thought on the v/f sound was as per Angr's view that it's a modern Greek mix on the word. Gotta watch those Greeks. Julia Rossi (talk) 21:35, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
According to the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, two-syllable pronunciations like "thee-suice" and "per-suice" are more common in British English, while three-syllable pronunciations like "thee-see-us" and "per-see-us" are more common in American English. Aegeus isn't listed in the dictionary, but I assume that Brits would tend to say "ee-juice" while Americans would tend to say "ee-jee-us". (Or with "ay-" as per Algebraist.) —Angr 21:39, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
For me it's most important to determine first where the stress falls, yet this question is less commonly asked or answered. The questioner does not ask about stress in Aegeus, and while some of those answering here indicate the stress, no one addresses it systematically.
I cannot agree with Angr's ee-JEE-us. Even if we analyse the Greek word as trisyllabic, the Ancient Greek accent (and therefore the Modern Greek stress) would fall on the third syllable. But this is irrelevant for English stress, as Angr knows full well. Angr also knows that, the second syllable being short (an open syllable, and an epsilon), the English stress would be on the preceding syllable. So it would be EE-jee-us, to modify Angr's representation. Whatever other decisions are made in fact, the stress in English falls on the first syllable of Aegeus: except for those rare souls who stress Greek words in English words as in Modern Greek (that is, the stress falls on the syllable that bears the ancient accent).
As for the pronunciation of the first syllable in English, that is a matter of convention and choice. I aim for consistency. I pronounce the ae in vertebrae /ai/ (as in aisle); and I would pronounce Aegeus accordingly.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 23:16, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
The stress of Aegeus is on the second syllable in my (southern English) idiolect. The OED seems to agree (it doesn't list Aegeus, but has Aegean as ee-JEE-un). Algebraist 00:13, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
But Aegean gives us no secure guidance, Algebraist. That is an adjectival form, with a different etymological trajectory. It would be almost like stressing antipodes on its last syllables because we stress antipoDEan as we do.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 00:49, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Noetica is right that Greek names in -eus are usually stressed on the syllable before the -eus in English: Odýsseus, Mórpheus, Pérseus, Théseus, Órpheus, Prométheus, Próteus, so indeed Aégeus would better fit the pattern than Aegéus. —Angr 06:41, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Can't seem to log on for some reason, but this is MaidMarion again. I'm very surprised that there is any controversy about this. Firstly, the pronunciation of Aegean has no bearing on the issue. The English 'e' here represents a diphthong in the original Greek, whereas in Aegeus the original Greek is simply an epsilon, which combines with the upsilon to form a diphthong. That's why nobody I know who understands anything about Greek - and this includes the many distinguished Classicists I speak with regularly - would dream of pronouncing Aegeus as three syllables (to be honest, it sounds plain ignorant). Similarly, I have never heard anyone with Classical training pronounce Perseus or Theseus as three syllables - again, it would sound as though the speaker simply does not know the origin of the name. Someone earlier said that Zeus is the only name where the eu is pronounced in English as one syllable, but this is quite wrong: we can add Proteus, Odysseus etc (surely nobody has ever heard the pronunciation Od-yss-ee-us??) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:46, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, yes, actually; I say Od-yss-ee-us myself and always heard it pronounced that way by my teachers at school and my professors at university. See my comments above about the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary; it may be a trans-Atlantic difference. But I studied Latin at an American high school and Classics at an American university and had ample opportunity to hear well-educated Americans pronounce these words - and Morpheus, Perseus, Theseus, Orpheus, and Proteus are all 3-syllable words and Odysseus and Prometheus are 4-syllable words. The -eus ending is usually rendered as disyllabic [-i.əs] by Americans (at least, maybe others as well) with training in Classics, and not as monosyllabic [-(j)uːs] (with the exception of Zeus, which is [zuːs] for us yod dropping types). Your experience may differ from mine, but that doesn't mean mine is nonexistent or that the people I've met in my lifetime are less educated than the people you've met in yours. —Angr 11:02, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
That's astonishing Angr. Please don't think I disparage your experience: if that's what you have heard, then so be it. But I have attended numerous international Classics conferences, invariably full to overflowing with US scholars, and I have never heard any variation in usage in this area. Though you do remind me of a variation that struck me recently when I was watching a TV programme about Thermopylae: the US scholars to a man referred to the Greek leader as Lee-on-EYE-das, following the Greek accentuation, rather than Lee-ON-i-das, which is universal here in the UK. So maybe, as you suggest, there are some unexpected trans-Atlantic variations. But be careful: if you come to England and lecture on someone called Ee-GEE-us your audience is likely to snigger! Maybe my US listeners have been sniggering at me all these years when I refer to Ee-juice. Maid Marion (talk) 13:35, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I hope you pronounce the upsilon in Odysseus and the aspirated tau in Theseus, Marion; you wouldn't want us to think you are ignorant... Adam Bishop (talk) 16:05, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh dear, now Adam is sniggering at me! (talk) 16:14, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Adam, if Maid Marion was doing it proper, what was you sniggering at? Deor (talk) 21:26, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Fwiw, I accept in good faith what Maid Marion says but I'm in complete agreement with Angr here regarding actual usage. For non-classicists, who comprise the vast preponderance of people, it's asking too much to expect them to know that the -eus in Amadeus is two syllables but the -eus in the words we're talking about is only one, which is why hardly anyone (in relative terms) actually does. Classicists are welcome to stick to the "proper" pronunciation amongst themselves, but whether they like it or not, the standard and dominant pronunciation of Odysseus has become Od-yss-ee-us. Similarly for Pro-mee-thee-us and Pro-tee-us, etc. One might ask what business non-classicists even have in using these words to begin with, and if they are so impertinent as to use them, how dare they deign to decide for themselves how they're pronounced. Ask away, but usage prevails over theory in the end. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:36, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Fair comment, Adam Bishop and JackofOz. Maid Marion nods perceptibly on this occasion. The points she makes were pretty well covered already (for example, this remark of my own: "But Aegean gives us no secure guidance, Algebraist. That is an adjectival form, with a different etymological trajectory"). It is a courtesy to read and acknowledge, rather than make points freshly as if they were one's own. But of course, threads get tangled and hard to read through, and we must all (peccadillists that we are) forever show forbearance.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 21:57, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I hope my comment didn't seem too snarky. I was joking but it doesn't seem that way now that I read it again. Adam Bishop (talk) 22:29, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Adam, no problem. I know you were joking. Noetica, I knew you had already made that point, but I added detail to explain what you meant by the different etymological trajectory. Jack, I understand perfectly what you are saying and I'm not trying to alter common usage. But we have a duty on this desk to explain to the original questioner what is 'right', even though common usage does not follow the 'right' road. If the original questioner wants to know the answer so as not to appear ignorant in talking to classical folk in the UK (and in fact just generally well educated folk over here) then what I have said will help him/her. Once again, I can't seem to log in, but you know who I am! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:56, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
And one final point that might help the original questioner. If you come across these names in classic English verse you must either mangle the metre or pronounce the -eus as one syllable, as the poets themselves evidently did. I found an example of Prometheus in Byron and an example of Proteus in Wordsworth to illustrate this. I searched for examples in more modern poets, and especially US poets, in the hope of dating the change of usage identified by Angr and Jack, but without success. I suspect it arises in the century just finished, coinciding with the mournful decline in interest in things Classical. Ho hum ... it's dispiriting to find that nobody is much interested in the subject you've spent most of your working life seeking to promote. Maid Marion (talk) 19:40, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Just as a matter of interest, Maid Marion, do classicists pronounce "protean" with 3 syllables or 2, and "promethean" with 4 syllables or 3? -- JackofOz (talk) 19:43, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Protean is 3, promethean is 4, no problems with diphthongs here, mercifully Jack. I'm sorry I raised the temperature earlier Jack, and I certainly meant no disrespect to you or Angr (I nearly always agree with both of you). But I think it's worth fighting for stuff that is 'right', and we should not succumb to a modern usage that denies readers the chance to understand why Aegeus is pronounced as it is by Milton, Wordsworth, Byron and anyone who knows the Greek. (I know that Angr knows the Greek too, and I now realise that there are reasons other than ignorance why someone should travel a different path.) Maid Marion (talk) 22:26, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Nothing to apologise for, MM. It's an interesting discussion that bears deeper investigation. I asked about protean and promethean, fully expecting you to give the answer you did. Which makes me wonder why the classicists don't insist on preserving the diphthong with the adjectives, as they do with the nouns. -- JackofOz (talk) 04:11, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Did X use the word Y?[edit]

In general, is there a way to find out if author "X" used the word "Y" in their writing, short of reading their entire works?

For example, to find out whether Shakespeare used the word "dairy" in any of his works, there are electronic transcriptions of his works that can be searched.

What about the case of authors whose works are still in copyright? For example, is there an easy way to find out if Truman Capote used the word "morphodite" in any of his works?

Thanks, CBHA (talk) 23:19, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

What you're looking for is a Concordance. Such things exist for some authors and do not for others. --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:40, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I believe you can search through Google Books, and if you're lucky you may find a definitive answer. It's a long shot but it only takes a minute or two so I say try it anyways. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:58, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
If it's a renowned author then most of his/her works should be available in electronic form. So you wouldn't have to read through their work, but "search". (See if your library has CDs or join a site that offers e-books). Since some of those transcriptions tend to be rife with typos, your result might still be off, even if more complete (and possibly more expensive) than a Google Book search. (talk) 05:02, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
This seems like an interesting and useful function. I suggest that you register at Main Page - Wikisource, and then visit Wikisource:Scriptorium - Wikisource, where you can ask about its existence or request its implementation. (How much time would you require to search by yourself through all the works listed at Author:William Shakespeare - Wikisource?)
-- Wavelength (talk) 06:41, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think you have to register to ask a question at Wikisource's Scriptorium, and if you're interested in Truman Capote (currently a red link at Wikisource), you won't have much luck there anyway, since his works are all still under copyright protection. —Angr 13:45, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
When the word to be searched for is a rare one it's worth trying your nearest copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, since that illustrates each definition with a small collection of usages. It tells us that Capote used the word morphodite in The Grass Harp: "1951 T. CAPOTE Grass Harp (1952) i. 3 One of the stories he spread, that Verena was a morphodyte, has never stopped going around." --Antiquary (talk) 21:13, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Poems about insanity[edit]

Are there any poems centered around the theme of insanity? (talk) 23:47, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

[3] This link has a suggested start of about 350 poems. You'll have to sift through it. They're amateur poems, though. If you're looking for references for an assignment, it's a little more difficult, but there is a lot of it out there. Emily Dickinson might be a start. Steewi (talk) 00:11, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
My personal favorite is Thomas Hardy's "The Interloper". Deor (talk) 00:14, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

The Raven? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:41, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Much of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poems could be argued give insight into the unbalanced mind. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is quite psychologically disturbing, to say the least. Coleridge was a famous opium adict (think: heroin) and some of his poems were expressly about his drug addled visions i.e. Kubla Khan... 03:49, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I think it's quite a stretch to maintain that either "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" or "Kubla Khan" is a poem "centered around the theme of insanity". Deor (talk) 03:59, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Everything by Sylvia Plath? —Angr 06:44, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
A Season in Hell aka Une Saison en Enfer by Arthur Rimbaud is a take on someone unravelling under stress. Hilda Hilst wrote about it, but in Spanish. Julia Rossi (talk) 06:50, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Really? She usually wrote in Portuguese. —Angr 07:48, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
That's the kind of information the article needs, (done) thanks Angr, Julia Rossi (talk) 08:18, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
IMHO the best, most moving treatment of this subject in English is I Am by John Clare. Click the wikisource link at the foot of the article for the text. A lot of his other poems cover the same theme. --Richardrj talk email 08:36, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
For an example of "outsider poetry", Ernst Herbeck (one of Leo Navratil's patients) is worth mentioning. Unfortunately the article links to very literal English translations of some of his poems, lacking the direct and immediate effect of the original.
Another "outsider" (of course they are "insiders" in this context) who was more known for his visual art was Adolf Wölfli, but he also wrote and recited poetry. Rilke read Morgenthaler's study on Wöfli in 1921, shortly before his own remarkable and intense creative thrust allowed Rilke to complete the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus, which both include evocations of insanity, though here too it is a stretch to claim that they "center around the theme of insanity". Still: "For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure, / and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us." ---Sluzzelin talk 11:43, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I was thinking of Rilke too. One of his poems seemed to resonate very strongly with Leonard L in Awakenings - mind you, he wasn't even remotely insane, just physically ill (a hangover from encephalitis lethargica), but because of the nature of his illness he was being treated in a place where people with mental illnesses were also being treated, and by the same staff. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:11, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
If Leonard L was portrayed by Robert de Niro in the movie, and if I recall correctly, then said poem was "The Panther - In the Jardin des Plantes, Paris", 1902, from Rilke's Dinggedichte. A very famous and very depressing poem. ---Sluzzelin talk 21:25, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's it. The panther being trapped in its cage reminded Leonard of his desire to communicate as against his experience of being trapped in his own psyche and being unable to communicate. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:38, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Opium Wars[edit]

Is it just me or does the following sentence from the lead of the above article seem wrong: "British smuggling of opium from British India into China and the Chinese government's efforts to enforce its drug laws erupted in conflict of drugs."? Fribbler (talk) 23:50, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

It's not just you. The sentence goes all to pot near the end. CBHA (talk) 00:13, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
concur —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:54, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Should "of" be "over"? Should in be into, and conflict be war? And what kind of conflict – full-scale, all-out war? Julia Rossi (talk) 07:03, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I've fixed it. Marco polo (talk) 03:03, 15 November 2008 (UTC)