Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2008 November 26

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November 26[edit]


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Does this symbol resemble any character in Chinese? It's easier to see in the edit screen. It's like the letter A with a hat and second crossbar. Black Carrot (talk) 02:58, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Looks a bit like 瓦 in Seal Script … Anyway you never have a triangle in Regular Script--K.C. Tang (talk) 03:24, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm no expert at this; but I can't see that it looks like 瓦 in Seal Script, KCT. Doesn't look like anything much to me so far, after browsing through some reference works that I have to hand. Anonymous, what is the source? What is the context? Can you give any more information at all?
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 06:55, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Why, of course it doesn't! In fact it looked like Phoenician to me :-)--K.C. Tang (talk) 07:25, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Meh. I'll see your Phoenician, and raise you one Naxi script.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 08:19, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

There isn't really a source, I just think it's a cool symbol and was hoping it meant something. Black Carrot (talk) 09:08, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Ah, an invented symbol? Right. No problem.
KCT and other sinophiles, take a look at this site. Pretty amazing, yes? Click your way to thorough analysis of each character! I love it.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 20:33, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
And before you do anything rash, look at this page also :) TomorrowTime (talk) 20:39, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Since it's invented - If you love this character, you may also enjoy these:
, , and . — Sebastian 20:45, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Japanese translation[edit]

I would like help to translate this sentence into Japanese: "What is this uneasy feeling all of a sudden?" I think it's one of these:

  1. 「行き成り、この不安な感じは何ですか。」
  2. 「この行き成り不安な感じは何ですか。」
  3. 「この不安な感じは行き成り何ですか。」

-- 04:47, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

行き成り is not used when you talk about yourself and usually written in hiragana, いきなり. '急に不安な感じがしてきたんだ。これはなんなんだ?'. '急に不安な感じがしてきて、わけがわからない'. 'なんなんだ? 急に不安な感じがしてきた' Is the speaker a male or a female? Is the speaker talking to her/himself? Or to whom? As Japanese is a contextual language, if you want the correct translation, the context is needed. Oda Mari (talk) 05:33, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
What Mari said. A bit more context would help, and you should avoid excessive kanji use - I noticed people learning Japanese often use kanji in places where the Japanese would normally not even consider using them (hey, I used to do that myself). I had a friend who insisted on writing おかしい as 可笑しい after learning those kanji - eventhough the Japanese almost never write it that way, and some would not even be able to read the kanji.
Anyway, to answer your question to the extent that it can be answered, I'd say the second option would seem most correct of the three, but it still feels weird, and I doubt any native speaker would use it. Mari, what say you? TomorrowTime (talk) 09:11, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Okay. Male speaker, speaking to himself. Thanks for the help and tips.-- 11:03, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I'd say the most natural sounding way of rearanging the sentence would be: "この不安な感じはなんですか、いきなり?", but that's just me. TomorrowTime (talk) 11:26, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Addendum. You could consider using 気持ち instead of 感じ. TomorrowTime (talk) 11:53, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
As I wrote above, いきなり is unnatural and not a good choice in the context. 突然 or 急に is my choice. Your translation is understandable, but unnatural and odd. いきなり不安な感じは is wrong. いきなり/急に/突然不安な感じが is acceptable but I don't use いきなり. When talking to yourself, we don't use ですか. We use だろう or なんなんだ. How about these? 'なんで、急に不安な気持ちがしてきたんだろう?', '急に不安になるなんて、どうしたんだろう?', '急に(突然)不安感に襲われるなんて、どういうことなんだ?'. Oda Mari (talk) 14:58, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
'突然、わきあがってきたこの不安感はなんなんだ?' might be better. Oda Mari (talk) 15:09, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Primary Sources concerning the Mongolian Empire's Legacy[edit]

Where is the best place to find primary sources concerning the Mongolian Empire under Genghis Khan and its influence on world history? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:23, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

George Lane's Daily Life in the Mongol Empire sounds fascinating.[1] Also try [2]. The Travels of Marco Polo is slightly later but probably of value. --Maltelauridsbrigge (talk) 12:48, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
The Secret History of the Mongols? Adam Bishop (talk) 20:38, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
See also The History of The World Conqueror, but this should be a Humanities question.--K.C. Tang (talk) 03:22, 27 November 2008 (UTC)


Why do we say 'reiterate', as in 'say again for emphasis', but we don't normally say 'iterate', which would logically mean 'say for emphasis'?--ChokinBako (talk) 13:36, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, "Iterate" means to do or say something again. So "reiterate" is to do something again and again. I guess that's where it gets it's emphatic usage. Fribbler (talk) 14:15, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Right, emphasis is implicit, only a connotation, of the word reiterate. The root of the word iterate is the Latin iterum, meaning "again". Marco polo (talk) 14:19, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) Though reiterate is used far more often, we do occasionally say iterate — mainly in a more technical context, however. Kenneth G. Wilson (author) writes that the usual distinction is between iterate meaning "repeat" and reiterate meaning "repeat again" (is there a verb "peat"?), BUT that "most Standard users make no such distinction", and reiterate "usually means only 'repeat' whether once or many times". The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (1993, ISBN 1567312675) ---Sluzzelin talk 14:23, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
See Iteration and Iteration mark. -- Wavelength (talk) 17:02, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
The use of the prefix re- isn't restricted to cases of simple repetition. Consider reinforce, react, reassure, review, and dozens more in which the action may well be taking place for the first time. Here is part of SOED's entry for "re-":

1 In vbs and vbl derivs. of L or Romance origin, denoting (a) motion backwards or away, as recede, remove, revert; (b) reversal, withdrawal, as recant, redeem, resign, revoke; secrecy, as revert; (c) opposition, as rebel, reluctant, resist; (d) negation, as reprobate, reprove; also w. frequent. or intensive force, as in redouble, redound, regard, research.

Only after that does SOED cover the repetition meanings:

2 In vbs and vbl derivs. of L or Romance origin, or formed in Eng., in which it denotes repetition, as reassess, redecorate, revise; often with the added sense of a return to an earlier state, as in rebuild, recross, re-establish, renovate, revitalize.

3 Prefixed to ns. to denote repeated or renewed supplying, treating, etc., with what is denoted by the n., as regrass, rewire.

¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 21:37, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
If I recall correctly (and I should considering how many times I use this anecdote at parties), there is no lexical or connotative difference between iterate and reiterate (especially in common usage). Despite the added morpheme, reiterate does not have added emphasis in comparison to iterate. Another strange thing about this pair is that reiterate came into English usage first (around 1525) and iterate came about through backformation soon after. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:08, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Ahem, what kind of parties? Julia Rossi (talk) 22:58, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I was worried about the same thing, Julia. My goodness, how we must be vigilant to maintain a proper tone around here.
Æ, have you got a source for that? OED says nothing about iterate as a back-formation. The verb iterate is said to be "[... Preceded in use by iterate ppl. a.; see prec.]" One duly sees prec. and finds this: "[ad. L. iterāt-us, pa. pple. of iterāre: see next.]". I'll check through my other etymological resources.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 23:38, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Just as I thought. No support from etymological dictionaries: Chambers, Partridge, Skeat, Oxford, nor even Shipley's gloriously rambling excursus. What sorts of, um... refreshments were consumed at those parties, Æ?
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 00:08, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I usually say "if I recall correctly" when I don't remember my source or when it's too inconvenient to access it again. In this case it's the former, though I do remember hearing it rather than reading it. So maybe it was NPR or a language-related podcast.
The parties I go to serve pleasant and informative conversation. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 00:19, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Such a relief it is to receive that reassurance, Æ. That's my kind of party, too.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 00:28, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Me, three.  :) Julia Rossi (talk) 02:03, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree that "reiterate" appears to be a redundant form of "iterate". Perhaps we should redouble our efforts to figure out why this word is used. StuRat (talk) 02:12, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
It's like "refried beans". Doesn't mean fried twice. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 15:55, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
So, you mean 'quadruple our efforts', StuRat?--ChokinBako (talk) 17:20, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Meh, anyone who merely redoubles their efforts is hardly what I'd call fully committed to an outcome. They don't appear to have even considered retripling, requadrupling, ..... or whatever it takes.  :) -- JackofOz (talk) 19:09, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't know where you eat, but in the Latino neighborhoods near the Michigan Central Terminal, refried beans (frijoles refritos) are in fact cooked twice. --- OtherDave (talk) 23:42, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
The terminology is explained at Refried beans#Language.
-- Wavelength (talk) 01:35, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
In math, if you're referring to an algorithm involving a step which may be performed several times, you might refer to the step being "iterated," say, n times. The first time the step was performed would count as the first "iteration." If n = 1, then there would be no repetition involved, and the step would have been iterated once. Of course, the word "reiterate" would never be used in this context, so I'm not claiming that the words can be contrasted. Still, this is at least one case in which the re suffix is omitted for a principled reason. (talk) 06:51, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Ditloid riddle[edit]

Not sure if this goes in which section, but I need some help on a ditloid riddle. It's "9 = P in a D at BS". I have absolutely no idea what this might be, so any suggestions are appreciated. Are there any tips/suggestions/advice on how to solve some of these? thanks (talk) 20:31, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Nine players in a diamond at a baseball stadium? —Tamfang (talk) 21:24, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
No, probably not that. The ditloids are usually more exact than that; it says "at BS" not "at a BS" . ALso, its usually its a common saying or association. We don't say "players in a diamond"... I mean it could be, but there may be a better fit... 01:55, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Maybe BS is a game of some sort you play, and 9 is the number of Points you score when you achieve whatever goal is called "D" in that game... 02:08, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
See FHOF: CLUE-1 (Game). -- Wavelength (talk) 19:13, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
If Wavelength's link was supposed to give the solution, I missed it... Nine = Pennies in a dime at (somewhere that shortchanges you, or takes a 10% fee)?? --NorwegianBlue talk 21:01, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
No, it was only meant as a related site of interest.
-- Wavelength (talk) 22:20, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
At List of baseball parks by capacity,
number 14 is Busch Stadium and number 48 is Botchan Stadium.
-- Wavelength (talk) 23:18, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Looking for a word[edit]

A specific word to describe a closed jar of pickles in vinegar, used for ornamental purposes. The pickles comprise of a colourful mixture of chillies, peppers and possibly olives, cut carrots and onions. There is an English word (possibly of Spanish/Italian descent) for this which I knew long ago, and it's bugging me now! Sandman30s (talk) 20:49, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I think it's Giardiniera. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:28, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks but that's a new word for me. Definitely not what I was thinking of. Sandman30s (talk) 20:06, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Ornamental pickles in a jar, eh? It seems that someone had a slightly different interpretation of this idea. La finta giardiniera? Real pickles presented ornamentally are as elusive as beastorns; there have been sightings on the Web. Beastornamental pickles?
Apparently ornamental giars of pickles are traded in New Zealand. Gwinva, what does field intelligence report there?
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 20:38, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I see. I had not fully divined your attitude towards the contents. I was, of course, referring to the contents rather than to the ornamental display thereof. I wouldn't have the foggiest, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they just called them "jars of giardiniera", or jar-jar for short. I can imagine a certain much-married Hungarian actress ordering them: "Zis is Zsa Zsa, darlink, and I vant to order some jar-jar". -- JackofOz (talk) 22:02, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I've seen them around, but cannot think of a name other than decorative/ornamental pickled vegetables. One such example is here: [3]. Gwinva (talk) 01:10, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
My goodness, this is going to bug me for the rest of my life! Sandman30s (talk) 12:54, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
And, it's definitely not that picture of a dill or something green in a jar. The one I bought a long time ago was taller and had far more colourful contents - red and orange chillies and peppers and possibly onions. It was labelled with this mysterious word and was a brilliant name, which I double-checked in a dictionary at the time. Sandman30s (talk) 12:59, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
There's also potpourri, though that's perhaps restricted for an open bowl, not a closed jar – b_jonas 11:26, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Lotus in a Pond[edit]

Can anyone tell me what meaning is conveyed by:

"to act as a lotus in a pond" ?

(Or "to behave as a lotus in a pond")?

Also is there a specific culture that this expression originates from?

Thanks, CBHA (talk) 21:35, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi CBHA, basically it means to rise above the world of matter and be spiritually open/spiritually progressing. It's a significant and many-layered symbol in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. This site[4] explains symbolism of the lotus in Buddhism – scroll down to "lotus". The Ashtamangala or eight symbols of Buddhism has one sentence on it; Sacred lotus has more[5] and there's Padma (attribute) related to it. Julia Rossi (talk) 00:42, 27 November 2008 (UTC)