Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2010 February 23

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Language desk
< February 22 << Jan | February | Mar >> February 24 >
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.


February 23[edit]

Goofy foot[edit]

What is the origin of this term? Specifically, why is the word 'goofy' used to refer to this stance? and is Goofy referring to the Disney character? the 'goofy' appearance of the person in the stance? something to do with left-footed people being goofy? -- œ 08:09, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Goofy foot redirects to Footedness which explains what it is (leading with opposite of "regular" foot) but doesn't specifically explain why it's called that. I don't see why it would be related specifically to the cartoon character Goofy as such. "Goofy" basically means "silly, only more so", and that's an old slang word for which the cartoon character was named. Reading between the lines, it's probably typical kids labeling anything nonconforming as being "wrong". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 09:12, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
The article on the character points out that he was originally called "Dippy Dawg", as he is an anthropomorphic dog, and "Dippy" is another adjective for a "Goof". Nowadays such a character would probably be called a "Retard" by politically incorrect kids. Edgar Bergen's dummy called Mortimer Snerd is a similar type, basically a not-too-bright country bumpkin type (Alfred E. Neuman is another example). There could almost be an article on "Goof"/"Goofy". In their "Who's on First?" bit, Abbott and Costello talked about the real-life ballplayers Dizzy Dean and Daffy Dean, and Costello mentioned their supposed "French cousin, Goofé Dean". Then there's the long-running series in Highlights for Children about two kids named "Goofus and Gallant", wherein "Goofus" is always messing up, and "Gallant" always does things the right way. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 09:20, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
According to The Goofy Foot Surf School the term comes from a Walt Disney cartoon in which Goofy surfs with his right foot forward. The surf school have the date wrong but it's true that in the 1937 cartoon Hawaiian Holiday Goofy can be seen surfing 'goofy foot' at 7:50. --Frumpo (talk) 15:14, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Very interesting! Thank you! -- œ 17:43, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

common imageries/metaphors for[edit]

friendship? lack of permanence? goodbyes?

thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 59.189.218.130 (talk) 15:05, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Friendship: sharing food/drink; hands clasped/together (e.g. hands in Claddagh ring); embracing happily/arms around shoulders; standing side by side[1]. Impermanence/transience: shifting sands (e.g. sandpainting in buddhism); mayfly; candle; memento mori (e.g. skull); wilting flowers[2]. Goodbyes: waving; kissing goodbye (e.g. at railroad, port, airport); embracing with tears; door closing[3]. --Normansmithy (talk) 17:36, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Thai (?) translation request[edit]

Hi Refdeskers, I got this t-shirt at a thrift store and am wondering what the logo says. I assume it's in Thai, but my ignorance in this area is both deep and broad. Thanks. --Sean 15:59, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

From the graphic alone, one can tell it's a Red Bull t-shirt. The Thai script says Krating Daeng. --Kvasir (talk) 16:07, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Dubious usage of (English) word[edit]

I found this question on the Miscellaneous Desk: "i m 18 year old,found that my protests are bigger than other boys.iask what i should do & hw is this possible bcoz whether by musterbation or something like that?" What is a "protest" as used here? And maybe someone could also say in what variety of English the word is used. Thanks in advance. Rimush (talk) 17:38, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Given the other spelling and punctuation slips, I assumed he meant prostate (perhaps it was autocorrected through the Cupertino effect). I don't know how he would know this. I think this is probably asking for medical advice, though, and if so should be removed. Marnanel (talk) 17:40, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't know, since it's plural and then the verb is plural too: "are bigger" Rimush (talk) 17:55, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps by some weird mutation of the word, testicles are meant. I draw this from the mention of "mastermusterbation". Still in the dark about "hw", though. Is that supposed to mean homework? Then how does homework relate to (possibly) testicular size and masturbation? The mysteries pile up... TomorrowTime (talk) 18:13, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
"hw" is surely "how". -- Coneslayer (talk) 18:17, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
(EC)I think he meant testes as well. Maybe he calls them protests because he wears jeans that are two sizes too small. And I assumed hw == how, bcoz == because. -- Flyguy649 talk 18:18, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
He just probably mistook the testes for prostate. Their anatomy may be a little off. You can blame that on whichever education system they receive.174.3.99.176 (talk) 19:26, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Why use "they" and "their"? Much as I like gender neutral pronouns, I don't think that's necessary in this case. — Sebastian 20:51, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Especially when you start off with "He just..." :P Rimush (talk) 21:12, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
I would have assumed the IP meant "their" to refer to the educational system in that area in general. Vimescarrot (talk) 06:53, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
you know, even when I was 18 I wasn't that much of an idjit. I suspect that was someone between 11 and 14 doing that adolescent 'let's see if I can fake everyone into taking my stupidity seriously' thing. If it were my kid I'd give him extra chores as penalty for publicly embarrassing the family. --Ludwigs2 07:05, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
What is the meaning of 'fake sbd. into doing sth.'? You mean 'dupe'? Anyway, by 'protests' I guess he meant his biceps. --KageTora - (影虎) (A word...?) 17:33, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Use of stock phrases by the media[edit]

The ITV News just had a story about the world's tallest dog, and towards the end the newscaster said '[Dog's name]'s height is matched only by his fame.' I guess this means the dog is very famous, but he is defintiely not the most famous dog in the world even though he may be the tallest. Is there a name for this type of gibberish or is there a name for the phenomenon whereby newsreaders churn this kind of stuff out? --KageTora - (影虎) (A word...?) 18:58, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Journalese might help answer your question[ish]. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 19:03, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
...no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language", 1946. Tempshill (talk) 20:09, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Cheers! Why didn't Journalese spring to my mind as it should have? And the quote is perfect....Thanks! Just as a side note, I forgot to mention that the story did not go onto to clarify what it meant by that phrase and no further mention of fame was included, meaning that the whole broadcast ended with a random incorrect statement to round off a totally mundane and pointless news story. Thanks. --KageTora - (影虎) (A word...?) 01:57, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
I think we're being a bit hard on the newscaster here. The quote isn't gibberish; it doesn't mean "he's both the tallest and the most famous", it means roughly "his tallness is a distinctive and defining feature, the only other feature he has that's such a big deal is his fame". Sure, it may be a little flowery and unnecessary, but it's certainly not gibberish. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 07:19, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Etymology of Forever 21[edit]

What is the etymology of 21 in "Forever 21"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.3.99.176 (talk) 19:19, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

My guess is that 21 refers to the age. Not sure if there's a source. --Kvasir (talk) 20:09, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Modified version of the phrase "forever young", which is another way of saying eternal youth --Polysylabic Pseudonym (talk) 06:50, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Word for something[edit]

hi, im looking for a word or concept to describe this; when someone deliberately does something 'bad' that will probably have detrimental effects, often in the long term, and they know will be 'bad' and 'wrong' in the eyes of others. It will often have a significant emotional effect on others, and possibly themselves as well, in a personal way, however they do it anyway, probably for the 'buzz' or even the challenge of 'fixing' what they have done and it might make them feel good in the short term'. (I'm not talking about something like taking heroin, for example.) Maybe something like destroying a war memorial, or even getting themselves in a difficult, yet no necessarily dangerous in the short term, situation, such as going to prison, just so they can escape. An extreme example would be to 'destroy the earth' just so they can try an survive.

Any ideas?, thanks, --86.141.136.150 (talk) 19:47, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm not at all sure how the destruction of the Earth as a strategy for survival works, but maybe you're talking about Opportunistic behaviour. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:06, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
malicious, perhaps? — Sebastian 20:18, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Two subsets of what you describe are Hero Syndrome (e.g., fire-fighters who are also arsonists) and Münchausen syndrome by proxy. Also, thrillseeker. In erotic literature (and real behavior) there is hurt/comfort, a form of bondage/domination or sado-masochism (though that involves two people). Another example might be the rapist who fancies himself a "gentleman" (at some point in his relations with his victim), a type described by profilers. There is no single word or phrase which describes all manifestations. 63.17.65.39 (talk) 03:18, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Or naughty, perhaps? 195.35.160.133 (talk) 13:06, 24 February 2010 (UTC) Martin.
Sounds like a real-life version of an internet troll. 75.62.109.146 (talk) 08:22, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Is this fromOvid any help? Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor. (I see the better way, and approve it; I follow the worse.)hotclaws 19:55, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Possessive apostrophe in a resume[edit]

Hello! I'm in the process of writing out a resume for a friend of mine, who is going into the cosmetology business, and have a pretty specific grammar/punctuation question. How would I best phrase "expertise in men's and women's hairstyling," if I wanted to stress the fact that she has experience in cutting hair of both men and women AND do so in a clear, concise manner appropriate for a resume? Is the way it's phrased above correct? Thank you! AlexHOUSE (talk) 20:12, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

They're both exactly correct, as far as the apostrophes go at least. It seems like a nice, concise way of making such a claim on a resume. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:15, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Awesome, thank you. A friend of mine (an English major, nonetheless) recommended I drop the 's from "men's," but I knew enough to at least avoid making this girl sound like she had "plenty of experience with men (...) and women's hairstyling." Thanks again! AlexHOUSE (talk) 20:25, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
It's easy to get confused these days, when we often see stores advertising things like "mens' clothing", or "mens clothing" (that latter one might be nice if one wanted to dress up one's mind - Mens sartoria in corpore sartorio and all that). Once upon a time, store signs could be trusted to be spelt and punctuated properly; not anymore. I don't know where your friend is coming from with "men and women's hairstyling". -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:44, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
It's not unusual for people to say something like "We're going to Bob and Alice's house for dinner." I assume the "men and women's" thing is the same kind of error; treating the "pair" as a unit that only needs to be pluralized at the end. -- Coneslayer (talk) 20:54, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
"Bob and Alice's house" is understandable, as the house is presumably owned jointly by Bob and Alice - if not necessarily "owned" in the strict legal sense by them both equally. The property might be entirely in Alice's name, but the home is still theirs jointly. But that doesn't apply to "men's and women's hairstyling", because the clients are always separate. A hairdresser might style the hair of a man and a woman who are a couple, but not while they're both sitting in the same chair at the same time. -- 202.142.129.66 (talk) 22:10, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
They must have a very select clientele. Clarityfiend (talk) 22:46, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Last I checked, all Siamese twins were also identical twins, which makes them the same sex :) AlexHOUSE (talk) 23:11, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
They could be having an identicoincestofraternosexual relationship.  :) -- 202.142.129.66 (talk) 00:32, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
They could, but that wouldn't change the fact that they would be the same sex. Now, if they were having a identicoincestofraternotranssexual relationship, then we would be in business. --Tango (talk) 01:19, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, of course! **(slaps forehead)** I can't imagine what I was thinking. :) -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 11:35, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Some Italian[edit]

Hi. I am studying Italian in my spare time and, on reading some Italian texts, have a few questions I would like to ask.

"Qualche volta..." - Does this translate as 'some times', as I suspect, and if so, why do you not make volta plural?

"...ogni giorno..." - Does giorno not need to be made plural when using ogni? Would you only make it plural if you attach a finite number to the description, ie seven?

"...molto esigenti..." Does molto not have to agree with esigenti?

"...molti viaggi...", "...molto dinamica..." I can't derive a pattern for when molto agrees and when it doesn't. Help?

"...famosi uomini politici..." As I understand it, uomini is the noun meaning 'men' as opposed to the adjective meaning '(plural) male' but if so, why are the adjectives famosi and politici sandwiching the noun as opposed to both following it? Is this standard when using two adjectives on the same noun? What happens if you want to use three or more?

I think that's all for now, though I may be back later with more. Thanks for your help. 131.111.247.136 (talk) 21:24, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

For the "famosi uomini politici": think of it like in English, see "uomini politici" as one word ("politicians") - "famous politicians" = "famosi uomini politici". That aside, I don't know why it's like that in Italian. In Romanian we say "oameni politici faimoşi", but that might have to do with how adjectives are generally placed in Romanian (since "oameni politici" is still kinda treated as one word). Hope this makes at least an ounce of sense. Rimush (talk) 22:35, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the standard order of adjectives in your last phrase would be ...uomini politici famosi.... The only adjectives that normally precede the noun are adjectives describing beauty, age, goodness, or size (which you can remember by the acronym "BAGS" — see this source). Some adjectives, such as famoso, may optionally precede the noun for purposes of emphasis. So, for example, if you wanted to say in Italian "Most politicians are X, but famous politicians are Y", you could put famosi before the noun in the second phrase to emphasize the distinction. Marco polo (talk) 01:58, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
  • That's difficult to explain. It's like English: every time ("ogni volta"), but instead of every, is some. "Qualche" is always followed by a singular noun. I understand that's quite strange but this is it.
  • "Ogni giorno" means every day, so it's just like in English. "Ogni" is always followed by a single noun, like every.
  • "Molto" means a lot but with a somewhat uncountable meaning. It can be followed by adjectives or nouns: "bello, brutto, buono, fame, sete, caldo". "Molto freddo" means very cold, "molta sete" means a lot of thirst. It's never followed by a plural adjective or noun. When it's followed by an adjective it's always male ("molto freddo", "molto fredda"). It can be male or female in accordance to the following noun ("molta fame", "molta neve", "molta pasta", "molto sonno", "molto fango").
    "Molti" is it's plural form, and it means a large number of and it's followed by plural nouns (never adjectives): "molti gatti", a lot of cats, "molte rane", a lot of frogs.
  • That's difficult too. Let me try to make some examples: "A me piacciono gli uomini politici famosi" (I like famous politicians). You could say (but that's more rare) also "A me piacciono i famosi uomini politici". You say "Gli uomini politici famosi mangiano le mele", "famous politicians eat apples". But also, more rarely, "I famosi uomini politici mangiano le mele". It's just a matter of different nuance of meaning (does this expression means something in English?). It's the same difference between "quel grande gatto" or "quel gatto grande" (that big cat). In the first sentence you emphasize more the adjective "grande". Here is a good internal link: [4].
    That reminds me of a famous advertising emphasizing the difference between a "un pennello grande" (a big paintbrush) and "un grande pennello" (a great paintbrush): in this case the position of the adjective change the meaning.
    Good luck with your Italian!

--151.51.1.230 (talk) 05:56, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

french[edit]

in french there are two ways tomake the future tense, I remember from high school languages. There are the form aller verb and verb+future ending (-ai, -as, -a, etc.). So I could say (excuse my french is not so good, correct me where I make a mistake) "Je vais aller aux vacances" or "J'irai aux vacances". Or I could say "Je vais lui envoyer une carte d'anniversaire" or "Je lui envoyerai une carte d'anniversaire". But what's the difference? How do I know when to use the "aller" form and when to use the simple form? Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.229.185.139 (talk) 23:07, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm a French major, but I'm still not done with my basic classes, so don't take my response as gospel. I believe that aller+verb is usually used for something that is closer in the future, and that verb+future-ending is used for something more distant. I don't think there is a great distinction between the two, and I don't think that the usages are set in stone. Again, that's just my impression; it may or may not be correct. Falconusp t c 23:27, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
From what I remmember and what impresses me is that le futur simple expresses more certainty than with "aller" (futur proche). Falconus is correct in that le futur proche is for something closer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_verbs#Tenses_and_aspects . The difference is as ambiguous as in English: I am going to do it. vs. I will do it. --Kvasir (talk) 23:35, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
They are in large part interchangeable but the simple form is more formal and more appropriate in written language while aller + verb is much more common in daily communication. Check also http://french.about.com.--Dpr (talk) 23:38, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

The form with aller is both closer in time and less formal--i.e., you would use aller for something like "I'm going on vacation next week". Both of the examples you gave above sound a bit strange and jilted with the simple future (irai/envoyerai), those are for more distant or more abstract things. For things that are even closer than what you would say with aller, you can just use the normal present form. For instance, Je vais au cinema après le dejeuner for "I'm going to the movies after lunch". rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 07:17, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

In French we say aller en vacances not aller aux vacances. The future of envoyer at the first person is j'enverrai. The word aller as a semi-auxiliary verb is used at the present tense to express the near future or a distant future if ineluctable. My reference: Grevisse. Le Bon Usage, 12th ed., §790 a). Neither J'irai en vacances nor Je lui enverrai une carte d'anniversaire sound strange to my (French) ears. In this case the usage of the simple future is not related to formality or abstraction. (Aside. To be very polite or to attenuate my purpose, one can use the simple future instead of the present: Je vous prierai de bien vouloir…) As you mentioned it, one can use the simple present for the near future, but your example could be misleading as you use the verb aller. A better example?: J'arrive dans cinq minutes.AldoSyrt (talk) 10:22, 24 February 2010 (UTC)