Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2009 August 25

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August 25[edit]

Schwa vocalization in Hebrew pronunciations[edit]

I've noticed that the vowel shva is often vocalized in different locations in Ashkenazi, Sfaradi, and Modern Israeli Hebrew. Where can I find a detailed description of the rules for when shva is realized? Mo-Al (talk) 01:03, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

For classical Hebrew, See here, and here.
In modern Hebrew, the shva is realized in the following cases:
  • In each of the following consonants: l, m, n, r, when beginning a word.
  • In every consonant followed by an identical consonst.
  • In every consonant which does not end the word and which follows a consonant whose shva is not realized. This (third) case does not relate to loan words borrowed from european languages, e.g. in the word: Astronomy, etc.
HOOTmag (talk) 01:16, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

If you're interested, the classic philological article on Biblical Hebrew schwa was written by Noam Chomsky's father... AnonMoos (talk) 17:32, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Which one?[edit]

Suppose you were writing a story and there was a situation in the story where someone switched brains with someone of the opposite gender. Which pronouns would you use for each character? Jc iindyysgvxc (talk) 09:00, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Can you please not title your questions "Question". All questions are, well, questions, so calling a particular one "Question" doesn't add any value and makes it impossible to search for it by its subject matter. Unless, of course, the question was about the word "question", but that's not the case here. -- JackofOz (talk) 09:08, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
The last time I checked, "He" and "She" are determined by X and Y chromosomes, and other physiological details - not gray matter as such. Unless you buy into Henry Higgins' philosophy. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 10:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Switching brains would not create classic mosaicism, but the end product of this experiment would possess a complete body of XX and a brain of XY, and vice versa -- so we could therefor not determine he/she by chromosomes, per se. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 12:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
The same would be true if she got a liver transplant from a man, but she's still a she. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 19:46, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
There are many who are not as certain as you, Baseball Bugs. We do have an article on this - see Gender identity. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 11:21, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
The writer didn't say anything about which sex they identify with. If something's got male genitals it's a he and female genitals it's a she - unless they ask you to call them otherwise. So apparently the right answer is, "whatever pronoun they want to be called". The catch here is that we're talking about fictional characters in a story - so they're a little hard to ask. Conclusion: The author has to decide the answer. No one else can do so. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 11:31, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
"He, formerly she," or "she, formerly he," might work. Bus stop (talk) 12:56, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
If I were the author (which is what the OP asks), I would use the gender with which the character identifies. With two characters, this could mean that both ended up using the same gender, if one chose to continue his or her traditional gender, and the other instead identified with anatomy. Presumably other characters will go by appearance in referring to these characters, until they are told otherwise. John M Baker (talk) 13:48, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
How about "(s)he"? Bus stop (talk) 14:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
If I was writing this, I'd have the character point out what (s)he wants to be called early on. So, the choice is in the hands of the character. Vimescarrot (talk) 15:26, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
If I was writing it, I'd use their original genders all the way through the story, otherwise it might get confusing after they switch. Of course, other characters (who, presumably don't know about the switch) would refer to them by their present physical gender (and names), as said above. --KageTora - (영호 (影虎)) (talk) 16:16, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps you need a Gender-neutral_pronoun meltBanana
If I were the author, I would make the whole plot revolve around this question and ultimately leave it to the reader to decide. — Kpalion(talk) 16:55, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Brilliant! :) Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 19:44, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
You might try reading Orlando: A Biography and see how Virginia Woolf handled it. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 18:29, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Now known as "Who then is a lady".  :) -- JackofOz (talk) 21:00, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
In Robert A. Heinlein's I Will Fear No Evil, the ageing protagonist books a brain transplant and wakes to discover he is now inhabiting the body of his female secretary, who conveniently died at the right moment. The use of pronouns changes as the story develops, and "he" eventually becomes "she" to the author and other characters and even to himself, complete with a new name reflecting a third identity that has developed from the other two. Both original consciousnesses, male and female, remain in the body and have extensive and lively chats, so the references to gender are a little complex throughout. Karenjc 21:56, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
In that work there was an additional factor operating, which Heinlein deliberately avoided explicitly mentioning except in one place where it can easily be overlooked. Noticing it causes one to interpret a good deal of the book in an additionally nuanced light, and even prompt a re-read. I'm not going to be more specific here because that would be a spoiler, and I urge others not to do so, but I wanted to make the point that there are further depths to the novel than many people realise. He did something similar though more overt in Starship Troopers, which like most of that book's arguments and subtleties were omitted from (or reversed in) the execrable 1997 filmed version. (talk) 11:06, 26 August 2009 (UTC)the (talk) 10:42, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
My suggestion is to keep the gender identity of the mind of the person. If the person is narrating, they would refer to themselves with their psychological gender. Other people would likely refer to the physical attributes of the person. Consider the self-reference and preferred referrents of people whose physical sex doesn't match their psychological gender. Steewi (talk) 00:14, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree, using the self definition is always the prefered way to refer to others. --Lgriot (talk) 13:59, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Zdzisław[edit]

The Polish Wikipedia page for this name doesn't appear to have an indication of the pronunciation, which I need to romanize transcribe transLITERate into Hebrew. IPA would probably do the trick. And as there are already ten English wikipedia pages beginning with Zdzisław, do you think it would be helpful to have a page here based on the Polish one? -- Thanks, Deborahjay (talk) 09:40, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

The PC I'm using now doesn't display IPA charecters correctly, so I will answer when I'm back home, in about five hours from now. — Kpalion(talk) 10:22, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
And you can also hear it here [1] --pma (talk) 11:26, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
OK, here goes: ['zd͡ʑiswaf]. I'd like to see it transcribed into Hebrew (BTW, you can't Romanize into Hebrew, only into the Latin alphabet). — Kpalion(talk) 19:16, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks -- and quite right! (My slip explained here.) I'll close off on the decision around Sunday when my boss, for whom I've gathered this info, is back in the office and can arbitrate. -- Deborahjay (talk) 21:16, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Small correction: it's ['zd͡ʑiswaf] if you use Firefox and ['zdʑ͡iswaf] if you use Internet Explorer. I don't know what it looks like in other browsers though. — Kpalion(talk) 07:58, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps זצ׳יסווף then?—msh210 00:49, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
What would you get, if you trancribed it back into Latin? Something like "Zdiswaph"? — Kpalion(talk) 07:16, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
More like "Zjiswaf" (or "Zjiswaph" if you like Greek endings). The "zj" conjunction is unknown in English, except in phrases such as "his joint". -- JackofOz (talk) 08:35, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood my question, Jack. I wasn't asking for an English "phonetic" transcription of Zdzisław. I am just curious what you would get if you applied standard rules for Romanization of Hebrew to זצ׳יסווף. I don't think the letter dalet (צ) is ever transcribed as anything different than "d". — Kpalion(talk) 12:43, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
(Ummm... dalet is [ד]; the [צ] is tsade, which had me going for a moment...! -- Deborahjay (talk) 13:37, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Why did I think it was a dalet? Well, it's been long since I was learning the Hebrew alphabet. Anyway, זצ׳יסווף would be "Ztsiswaf" then? Or "Zchiswaf"? — Kpalion(talk) 16:20, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I did indeed misunderstand the question. How unlike me not to be perfect in every way. :) -- JackofOz (talk) 12:55, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Pending the issue raised below re whether the transliteration should be purely phonetic and assuming it should be (as I did in making my suggestion), צ is /ts/ but צ׳, which is what I wrote, is /tʃ/, so I used it to approximate the /d͡ʑ/.—msh210 22:18, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

And I, again to my abashed dismay, miswrote the query even on the second attempt! What I need is to transliterate this Polish name into Hebrew, according to the convention of using the corresponding ("similarly appearing"?) letters while disregarding the pronunciation as would've been the case with transcription. E.g. lamed [ל] for the [ł] in the final syllable, which transcribed would be better approximated with double vav [וו], and so on. Sorry to have created such a mess; I hope you're all enjoying this anyway much as I appreciate your help! -- Deborahjay (talk) 13:37, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

That's what I wanted to ask you actually – whether the transcription was supposed to be purely phonetic or to take into account the historical reasons why the word is written the way it is. The current pronunciation of "ł" as [w] is a result of l-vocalization that occured during the 20th century, but "ł" used to be pronounced [ɫ] in the past, so it makes sense to render it with a lamed (like in בלגן, from Polish "bałagan"). And the "w" is normally a voiced [v], but it becomes devoiced at the end of a word; so it would make sense to render it with a bet. Of course, that's an opinion of someone who speaks Polish, but not Hebrew. I have no idea how you will transcribe "dzi", so I'm still curious about the final result. — Kpalion(talk) 16:16, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
As a Hebrew speaker, let me give you the final result: זג'יסוּאף.
  • The English letter j is transcribed into modern Hebrew alphabet as: 'ג (notice the apostrophe).
  • The English letter w is transcribed into modern Hebrew alphabet as: וּ (notice the interim dot).
  • The English letter f (ending a word) is transcribed into general Hebrew alphabet as: ף.
Remarks: the English ch is transcribed into Modern Hebrew as 'צ (notice the apostrophe), or as טש or תש in Classical Hebrew. 'ג (for English j) is used in modern Hebrew only (and for loanwords only), since neither English j nor French j exist in Classical Hebrew (whereas French j is transcribed as 'ז in modern Hebrew. notice the apostrophe).
HOOTmag (talk) 10:15, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

I would treat the "dzi" the same as English "jee" in a word like "jeep". Doesn't Hebrew use ג׳ to transliterate the English j sound? If so, how about זג׳יסלװ? For the -sław part, I'm relying on the fact that the Polish town of Jarosław is called יאַרעסלאָוו in Yiddish, and that Hebrew loanwords from Slavic languages are usually filtered through Yiddish. +Angr 10:31, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

The Hebrew transcription for zjiswaf is זג'יסוּאף. See above.

OP's conclusion incorporating today's Hebrew transliteration of Polish for inline-text names—that is, representing the orthography rather than the phonology—we're aided by the page on Polish phonology and particularly regarding the voiced alveolo-palatal affricate. (The page of IPA for Hebrew being less useful on the "zdz" combination.) Sp we're going with זדז'יסלב. With thanks to all who've contributed to this discussion! -- Cheers, Deborahjay (talk) 10:00, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Note that זדז'יסלב will be pronounced by every Hebrew speaker as: Zjeeslav, while every word pronounced as Zjeeswaf will be transliterated by every Hebrew speaker as: זג'יסוּאף.
  • Modern Hebrew tends to transliterate foreign names in accordance with phonology rather than with orthography (unless the foreign name has a traditional transliteration, e.g. London, transliterated - since 14th century - as לונדון, which is therefore pronounced: "Lohndohn" by every Hebrew speaker, rather than: "Lunden"). The reason for this is the modern Hebrew speaker's desire to be able to pronounce the foreign word correctly, i.e. in accordance with its original pronunciation. Orthography has never been an interest: it has no formal status, and very few Hebrew speakers are really aware of the ortographical "rules", considered by Hebrew speakers to be unstable and to have been determined by no authoritative body, so considering them can't be useful in any context. Just as no English speaker will transliterate the Hebrew word עליו ("on it") as alayv (i.e. considering the third letter י), but as: "alav" or "a love" (because the letter י is not pronounced). In modern era, what one cares (in transliteration) is phonology, rather than orthography.
  • English j is generally transliterated into modern Hebrew as 'ג rather than as 'דז (although both alternatives are consistent with Hebrew orthography, the second one is considered by modern Hebrew speakers as clumsy and archaic, while Classical Hebrew has no traditional transliteration for english j). Just as Russian ч is generally transliterated into modern English as ch rather than as tsh (although both alternatives are consistent with English orthography).
HOOTmag (talk) 12:31, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Combining similar syllables in spoken english?[edit]

Is there a word for the phenomonon where, when spoken, the trailing syllable or consonant of a word can be swallowed up by the following one? For instance, 'space station' may be spoken not as two seperate words but as 'spae station', with the 's' sound at the end of space eaten up by station.-- (talk) 12:15, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't know if this is a "formal" term, but one term to use could be "slurring". One example: "World's Championship Series", which was shortened to "World's Series" and then became "World Series". Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 12:21, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
It's a kind of assimilation I guess...--pma (talk) 12:42, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
That article is certainly a mouthful. But it explains or suggests the explanation of some things. Oddities such as how "and per se and" became "ampersand". Also how, in Spanish "tan bien" became "tambien". Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 13:35, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Assimilation wouldn't be quite correct with the example given, since the last sound and first sound of space and station are the same. English typically doesn't have gemination, the phenomenon of pronouncing a consonant extra long, except across word boundaries and even then it's not always present. Another thing about English that might explain what the OP is asking about is referred to in English phonology as articulatory overlap which is described as seeming to be assimilation, but is actually starting to articulate one consonant before finishing the articulation of the other. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 13:40, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
..the trivial assimilation ;) --pma (talk) 13:57, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Sandhi. --ColinFine (talk) 18:53, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I would never call it sandhi. Sandhi refers to combining two sounds to create (what is usually) a different combination, which is not what the OP is asking. Like, in Korean, 'cup ramyeon' (instant noodles) becomes 'cum ramyoen', because the 'p' gets changed to 'm' before certain voiced sounds. I tend more to agree with "I'm a sausage' above (sorry, can't pronounce the username). --KageTora - (영호 (影虎)) (talk) 19:19, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Am I a sausage? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 02:39, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Isn't this merely a form of elision, or does that word not work for you? Jwrosenzweig (talk) 21:30, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
This has happened in English in the past. The word "uncle" used to be "nuncle". The word "apron" used to be "napron". But "a nuncle" became "an uncle" and "a napron" became "an apron". Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 19:09, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Same with 'adder' (the snake) which was originally 'nadder'. --KageTora - (영호 (影虎)) (talk) 19:39, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Did French borrow oncle from English, then? If so, what was the older French word? —Tamfang (talk) 02:03, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

(out, late reply) Regarding the "space station" example given... this is simply consonant lengthening. The first /s/ doesn't disappear (ie, you don't have /speɪ steɪʃn/), rather, the two are pronounced as a long s: /speɪsːteɪʃn/. This happens pretty much any time two adjacent words or morphemes start and end with the same consonant, you can hear it yourself pretty easily by making up nonsense compounds: bob ball, rat top, hall lord, etc. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:34, 1 September 2009 (UTC)


I watch the show Man vs. Wild hosted by a South African fellow. Because of the nature of the show, he often has occasion to say that this vine or that rock is slippery, except that he says "slippy", and he says it often, distinctly and consistently. Is this just him or is this in widespread usage in South Africa and possibly elsewhere?-- (talk) 13:27, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

"slippy" / "slippery" - no real difference in meaning in the UK at least. (talk) 14:06, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
What about 'Slippy - the bust kangaroo' - roadkill in Australia.  :) --KageTora - (영호 (影虎)) (talk) 16:05, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I was surprised when I heard an American use 'slick' in this sense: I had only ever heard it in its transferred sense. --ColinFine (talk) 18:55, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean by "its transferred sense", but "slick" is often or at least sometimes used as a synonym for "slippery"; as in the midwest, "with today's snow, the roads are slick, so drive carefully." Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 21:37, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
That's the sense he was referring to. The transferred sense is referring to a person with certain skills or behavior as "slick". --Pykk (talk) 12:22, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation, since none of the previous comments said anything about referring to a person. Usually "slick" in that "transferred" sense is a bit derogatory, as with Bill "Slick Willie" Clinton, meaning someone who's kind of "slippery" or hard to pin down; although there's also the old and fairly positive greeting, "Hey, 'Slick', what's up?" That kind of thing. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 05:16, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
That'll teach me to assume everybody will understand me. Yes, by "the transferred sense" I meant its application to people and to processes, schemes or activities. As Bugs says, applied to people it is not usually complimentary, but applied to processes or (eg) campaigns it can be. But I had never heard it in the literal sense of 'slippery' until the occasion I was mentioning. --ColinFine (talk) 19:31, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I thought Man vs. Wild was hosted by a British guy...Bear Grylls? (talk) 02:12, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Google as a verb[edit]

Influenced by a question above, does anybody find it interesting that we use 'google' as a verb (e.g. "What's a verb?" - "Google it!") even when we are using a different search engine, such as Yahoo? Why don't we say "Yahoo it!". --KageTora - (영호 (影虎)) (talk) 15:10, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

For the same reason that when someone sneezes, I hand them a Kleenex, even if its a Puffs. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 15:13, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Are there any others like this? I can think of 'Hoover' for vacuum cleaner, even though mine has a name I can't read (I'm in Korea). Slightly related question, why did Google change the spelling from googal? --KageTora - (영호 (影虎)) (talk) 15:19, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Biro. For some people, Transit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vimescarrot (talkcontribs) 15:21, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
From the references section of Google, I pull this explanation for the origin of its name. Vimescarrot (talk) 15:23, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm sure I've heard this called something before. Brand idenficiation and brand association should both redirect there, unless it doesn't have a name. Vimescarrot (talk) 15:24, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

I can think of "Band-Aid" (bandages, to the point where TV commercials call it "Band-Aid Brand") and "Alpo" (dog food, probably because it sponsored 60 Minutes for a while). I'm sure these aren't the only other two. Xenon54 (talk) 15:31, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
for me: Jell-O, even when it's name-brand gelatin, as well as Kleenex and Band-Aid, and yes, Google as a verb is a standard word in my lexicon. (I don't use Yahoo! or Ask or any of those anyhow.) L☺g☺maniac chat? 15:34, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Some people refer to pencils as derwents, after the name of the manufacturing company. Bus stop (talk) 15:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
They're called genericized trademarks. "Victrola" was an early example, if I remember correctly. — jwillbur 15:49, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Vaseline was patented even earlier, in 1872. "Googling" gives 5 times as many hits as it does for petroleum jelly. I suspect not all of the 2.5 million hits refer to the Unilever product with a registered trademark. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 17:00, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Ooo PS: Of course, I wanted to write Google™ing. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 18:29, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Aspirin and Heroin were both trademarks of the Bayer Corporation. --LarryMac | Talk 17:29, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I know we've plenty of examples, but I remember being shocked as a kid that Popsicle was a brand, not a generic name for a frozen sweet thing. Jwrosenzweig (talk) 21:32, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't know if "freeze pop" or "freezie" is a trademark but that's what I call the little flavored-ice-filled plastic things. L☺g☺maniac chat? 14:44, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Google sued over it, because as a noun, it can remain a trademark. If it is widely used as a verb, it's considered in the public usage, and loses its trademark status before the usual period/controls, IIRC. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 18:11, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Sued who? You can't sue the general public. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 19:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Another notorious example is Xerox as in "could you xerox this for me, please?" It might be of interest that the operators of the Lizzie Borden museum in Fall River, Massachusetts, have just trademarked the name "Lizzie Borden" with the U.S. Patent Office, according to this morning's Boston Globe in order to prevent anyone else selling something called "Lizzie Borden" or in one case to persuade a competing Fall River attraction to change its name to "Forty Whacks" †.

↑ For those unfamiliar with the reference:
Lizzie Borden with an axe
Gave her father forty whacks
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her mother forty-one.

—— Shakescene (talk) 19:10, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Names of programs like TeX, LaTex, Zip... are used as verb --pma (talk) 21:15, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
The funny part is Yahoo tried to get people to use their name as a verb. Remember their TV commercials? "Do you Yahoo?". APL (talk) 23:45, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I can't say that I use it, but strangely "Yahoo it" doesn't sound odd to me. I just prefer Google, so I google things. Falconusp t c 02:46, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Sheet-rock is used alternative to drywall. Both are used as verbs. Nouns that are used as generic forms include Styrofoam, scotch tape, Levolor blinds, Clorox. (talk) 15:00, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Also duck tape, Windex, Sharpie... what was the original question anyway?! (rehtoric) L☺g☺maniac chat? 17:21, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Not sure how relevant this is, but around here the color blue is associated with 2% milk and green with 3% so much that we say "blue milk" and "green milk" even though the liquid isn't colored . . . L☺g☺maniac chat? 17:25, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
"Duck tape" is a brand name, but the generic name is "duct tape" - as in using it on air ducts. Oddly enough, "duck tape" is another example of the phenomenon mentioned elsewhere here, where "space station" is often spoken like "spay station". Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 17:58, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
In the southern U.S.A., at least, "Coke" is used as a catchall for any kind of cola. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 17:59, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
"Duck tape" is the original name of the tape (as it's fairly waterproof) It's not a sloppy pronunciation of 'duct tape', rather 'duct tape' is a misinterpretation of the original name. It's not actually a recommended type of tape for use on ducts. --Pykk (talk) 01:54, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
According to the article on duct tape, that claimed origin is by no means a certainty. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 05:13, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I also quite often run into use of the verb "to photoshop" meaning to modify an image, regardless of the program actually used. If I recall right there's a rather petty page on Adobe's website somewhere warning people not to misuse trademarks in this way. ~ mazca talk 10:28, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I also sometimes call small collectible cars matchbox cars even though Matchbox is a trademark . . . also, Lego or Duplo for any sort of small building brick . . . or Germ-X for any hand sanitizer . . . or . . . or . . . This discussion could go on forever. L☺g☺maniac chat? 14:40, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Since this is the language desk, I'll mention anagram being used as a verb. If you don't believe me, check our article - it's used that way in the form "anagramming", and also "... several London newspapers pointed out that "Nessiteras rhombopteryx" anagrams into "Monster hoax by Sir Peter S.". -- JackofOz (talk) 21:00, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
If "program" can be both noun and verb, there's no reason "anagram" can't be. That's one excellent anagram. You might have heard about how "Princess Diana" = "Ascend in Paris". Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 21:09, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with the verb "to anagram". But "If program can be both noun and verb, there's no reason anagram can't be" would be a justification for turning any noun into a verb. "Don't disturb me, I'm Wikipediaing right now" or "For lunch today, I pizzaed but my friend MacDonaldsed" - no, I think not. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:41, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Never rule anything out. English speakers are famous for butchering being creative with the language. :) Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 21:45, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, around here "to book" means to read, and "to Wiki" means, well, you know, and "to tree" means to ascend a dendrite, and "to paper" means to write something down (as in "Oh, that's a good idea." "Think so?" "Yeah. Paper it.") . . . I think that's all . . .
No, seriously, they don't, don't believe that, but I think I have heard "paper" in that way at least once. (They probably will in a few years though . . . :P) Yeah, people have this thing with butchering being creative with language - we have 133t5p34|<, and texting language (which I can NOT understand!), and street slang (ditto), etc. . . . . . L☺g☺maniac chat? 22:16, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
In my daily diary (which I, admittedly, write in a tongue-in-cheek style), I have been known to use "Wikipediaing" to describe my evening's activities. Actually, I tongue-in-cheekify it even further by using a diaeresis: thus "Wikipediaïng. Silly! Hassocks5489 (tickets please!) 22:11, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Google (verb) has its own article, BTW. AlmostReadytoFly (talk) 11:12, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
So does Photoshop (verb). On Wiktionary: photoshop as a verb and google as a verb . . . L☺g☺maniac chat? 15:21, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Part of this is turning two-part vowel/noun combinations into nouns-used-as verbs. It's an observable process: "to knife" was invented by George Orwell in Newspeak (in 1984) because of Newspeak's purpose of word economy; there are many more that we do without thinking now. All "to [g]oogle" is is the same thing just with "to put into Google", just with something that happens to be trademarked. - Jarry1250 [ In the UK? Sign the petition! ] 15:40, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Swedish question[edit]

Do any Swedes at any time colloquially say, for example, nyan or gamlan instead of den nya or den gamla? I think it would be a fairly obvious colloquial shorthand, but as a non-native Swedish speaker, I'm not sure if it's actually used. JIP | Talk 18:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

No. E.G. (talk) 00:29, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
No, not in general. In colloquial speech 'den' is often omitted though, "Har du sett [den] nya bilen?". Of course, saying "den nya" is already shorthand in itself. As an aside, it might be worth mentioning that these definite adjectives originally have an -e ending if the gender is masculine. "den gamle mannen", "röde baronen", but that's falling out of use. --Pykk (talk) 12:16, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
To the original question: I think some variants of trøndersk (a dialect of Norwegian) might do that, don't know if that's relevant. Jørgen (talk) 09:24, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Translation from Czech[edit]

is anyone able to translate this Czech conversation into english for me please? It may be partly in Slovakian

"no jo ..zase se chlastá a ž "to si pis "Kto to fotil??? Márnosť.....vymažte to....." "Zmazat......vyzeram tam ako keby som mala 150 kg......a to mam jenom 130 :-))) "jde vydet ze se u nas mas dobre...pise Marketa" Rada by som vedela, kde si pochytila tolko mudrosti.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:05, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

It doesn't seem very coherent, but using Google Translate and my knowledge of Polish, a closely related language, I get something like this;
Yeah... Back to drinking and eating... What?
You bet.
Who took this picture(s)? Vanity... Delete it...
Delete... I look here as if I weighed 150 kg... And I only weigh 130 :-)))
Looks like you are doing well with us... writes Marketa
I would like to know where you became so wise...
I can't guarantee it's 100% correct. Hopefully, a native Czech speaker will help here. — Kpalion(talk) 07:45, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Here's a list of Czech-speaking Wikipedians: Category:User cs-N. — Kpalion(talk) 07:52, 26 August 2009 (UTC)


In the movie "No Country for Old Men", they use the word "jackpot" to apparently mean "bad situation", as in the dialog "I don't wanna get into no jackpot here" ... "You don't know it, but you're already in a jackpot, I'm just trying to get you outta it.". Is this a new usage of the word ? Or was it some other word I mistook for "jackpot" ? StuRat (talk) 21:08, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Did you try turning the DVD subtitles on? (talk) 10:50, 26 August 2009 (UTC) Martin.
No, I watched on Netflix streaming video, which means no subtitles are available. StuRat (talk) 14:46, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
This screenplay says it is indeed "jackpot". --Sean 14:22, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Interesting, has anyone else ever heard of this usage of the word ? Do we need to update the Wiktionary definition to include this usage ? StuRat (talk) 14:46, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
I never have. This page mentions the "trouble" sense of the word. --Sean 15:54, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
The OED 2nd ed. explains (s.v. jack, sense 34) that the term originally referred to the pot in a hand of draw poker in which one needs a pair of jacks or better to open the betting. Since such a pot was likely to grow during successive deals in which no one held such "openers", the figurative use of the term to refer to a large amount of money or a large prize of any sort is understandable. However, the OED also includes a second figurative sense, not defining it itself but supplying a quotation from Louis E. Jackson and C. R. Hellyer's Vocabulary of Criminal Slang, with Some Examples of Common Usages (1914): "a dilemma; a difficult strait; a retribution; trouble; an arrest". I could speculate how that figurative sense arose—after all, in a hand of jacks-or-better poker the winner may win a lot; but the other players may lose a lot, so that participation in such a game may be viewed as a ticklish situation—but your guess is probably as good as mine. Deor (talk) 16:23, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
And, of course, I started typing that before Sean posted the link above. Could have saved myself the trouble. Deor (talk) 16:27, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
It is slang term from the Western US, according to volume III of the definitive Dictionary of American Regional English (1996). They don't get the connection with the other meanings of "jackpot" either. They have some quotations over more than 100 years, the most recent being 1987. If I can locate the actual citations it will soon be in en.wikt. DCDuring (talk) 23:10, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

OK, good work guys. Let me know when our Wiktionary entry has been updated, then I'll take a look and mark this question as resolved. StuRat (talk) 12:59, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, it looks like the definition has been updated, so I'll mark this Q as resolved. StuRat (talk) 20:20, 29 August 2009 (UTC)