Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2010 January 10

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January 10[edit]


I'm American. When I refer to someone who sells antiques, I call them an antique dealer. Would someone from the United Kingdom who also speaks English call them an antiques dealer? Is there a regional variation of this word? Dismas|(talk) 11:29, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

I think I (in the UK) would also say "antique dealer", consistent with the more common "antique shop". I see that their trade organisation is The British Antique Dealers' Association. The singular form is more usual in general, as in "shoe shop", "second-hand car salesman", "drug dealer" etc. AndrewWTaylor (talk) 11:50, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
If it's of any interest, in Australia antiques dealer or just antique dealer could be used. Maybe with an "s" a bit more imho. ps. Don't worry about being American, we understand. It's alright. Face-wink.svg . -- (talk) 12:33, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
I (from the UK) had heard a few times the term 'antiques dealer' with the -s, and thought it was purely American. --KageTora - (影虎) (Talk?) 14:21, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Noun adjuncts were traditionally mostly singular. -- Wavelength (talk) 16:46, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Hm. Is the dealer an antique, or is he/she dealing in antiques? The answer will determine whether there is an "s" or not. --TammyMoet (talk) 20:00, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Beat me to the punch (line)! That's a common amusement with the noun adjunct, that it can be taken as an adjective or otherwise ambiguously. Another example that came to mind was "horse doctor", and a mental picture of Mr. Ed wearing a stethoscope and scrubs. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:32, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
The example we had in our (amazingly boring) grammar textbook was "walking stick". TomorrowTime (talk) 09:42, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Between the walking stick (device) and the walking stick (bug), it gets more interesting. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:21, 11 January 2010 (UTC)


I know that the internet has created new usages for various aspects of language, sometimes to reflect spoken language, sometimes out of efficiency. So things like texting cause shorthand uses like '4' for 'four' and 'l8r', etc.

So why, with all this, is there a tendency for some users to over-punctuate????? Do they really need all the question marks??? I need to know!!!Aaronite (talk) 19:01, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

I have always seen it as mostly a joke, just like 4 for four or for, just because the Internet language is more between friends and therefor less serious sometimes. The Great Cucumber (talk) 19:07, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
I see multiple question marks as a form of accentuation, or stress. They're communicating that they're more baffled than the use of merely one question mark would convey. They're saying not just I don't know the answer and I want you to tell me, but I REALLY don't know the answer and I REALLY want you to tell me.
It's not over-punctuation because there is no such general phenomenon. Rather, there's a general phenomenon of under-punctuation. Typically, we'll see 3 or more sentences run into one continuous stream of words, with no caps, commas, full stops, apostrophes; and wide use of the fantastic new words im, cant and dont - except, and this is a very important exception, they will go out of their way to write the possessive pronoun its, which should NOT be written with an apostrophe, as it's. Go figure. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:15, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Don't forget "alot" as one of the new words. While I kinda understand "dont" or "cant", I just can't grasp how people can presume "a lot" is written "alot"... TomorrowTime (talk) 09:45, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Because it is very often used like an adverb, not a noun phrase (e.g. "I like skiing a lot"), so people assume it's a single word. Similar to the way you just wrote "kinda" as a single word. And it's older than the Internet (at least, than widespread awareness and use of the Internet); I remember having to be told by my teachers in the 1970s not to write "alot" as a single word. +Angr 13:48, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
It seems like texting in general tries to keep words as short as possible, in part because of the tedium of typing them with two thumbs or whatever. However, once one is positioned on the question mark, it's pretty easy to hit it several times, for whatever degree of emphasis. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:28, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

:I disagree, Bugs. At least on all the phones I've had in the UK, it's actually time consuming to type multiple '?'s in succession, as each time I try to get to the '?' I have to go through half a dozen other punctuation marks I never use first. --KageTora - (影虎) (Talk?) 21:28, 10 January 2010 (UTC) And as if to make a point, Wikipedia gave me a superfluous colon there. --KageTora - (影虎) (Talk?) 21:29, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

In my world, it's for emphasis, in part because the game doesn't allow anything to be written in all-caps. Caps are bigger, but large amounts of punctuation take up more space. Consider also that people that do this don't think about doing it, they just do it. You're at the end of the sentence. You write your question mark. Wait, I know - more question marks! Make it...just...MORE! Vimescarrot (talk) 22:58, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
So really the simplest explanation for why they do it is that they like doing it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:16, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
That is true for at least one nontechnically savvy friend, who uses inappropriate multiple question marks without any special emphasis being intended. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:37, 11 January 2010 (UTC)????
of course the internet has also brought about the issue of underpunctuation as well astronaut talk 02 07 12 january 2010 utc

peanut allergy sufferers in asia language help[edit]

I am about to go to vietnam, laos, cambodia and malaysia in about 3 weeks. I suffer from a peanut allergy and I am concerned about communicating this to other people. I cant find a reliable free translation site and need to know how to say "i am allergic to peanuts and will die if i eat them" or something similar to get the point across in all the languages spoken in the countries above?

I would really appreciate any help! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:35, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

You may want to ask this question on this site. There are professionals there who will be only glad to help and, to be honest, I believe you will have a better chance of getting an answer there in all four languages, whereas here, you may only get some of them. You may want to point out that you need it in native script as well as romanisation so that you can show it to people rather than just relying on your own pronunciation, which leaves room for (possibly disastrous) misunderstandings. In the meantime, you may want to directly contact people here on Wikipedia who speak those languages. Here are the lists for Cambodian (Khmer), Lao, and Vietnamese. Sorry, I can't find a list for Malay speakers. Good luck! --KageTora - (影虎) (Talk?) 22:50, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Since this is life-or-death for you, I would be very careful about trying to generate an accurate response on the internet, especially because there may be more than one language or dialect in the specific cities you are visiting. If you cannot hire a qualified local translator to accompany you at all times. Your IP locates to the UK - I'd try to talk to a real person at the relevant embassies of each country - they are supposed to be there to serve British nationals visiting those countries.
British Embassy in Vietnam
British Embassy in Cambodia
British High Commission in Malaysia
British Embassy in Thailand (there is no embassy in Laos)
(P.S. advice out there on the internet varies widely, right up to including the suggestion to stay home as peanuts and peanut oil are so widely used in cooking in this region. See [1] [2] [3]. This website sells pre-translated allergy cards, but I can't find the languages you need. Carry a picture?-- (talk) 22:55, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
SelectWisely (as in the last link from 174) offers most if not all of your desired languages, although it looks like you'd have to talk to them (they are special order). They offer picture cards, and I would recommend carrying a picture card whether you buy one or make it yourself. I've had good experience with SelectWisely in the past, and would recommend emailing them to ask about your specific languages: they specialise in communicating this very information as clearly as possible. Obviously, this would cost more than making the cards yourself.
I assume you already have a MedicAlert of some kind: don't forget to wear it! And make sure you have a prescription for your epipen with you, at the very least: you might need to prove to security that the needle and container of liquid you're carrying are legal medication. I've heard this sometimes involves a trip to the airport pharmacist to verify the equipment! (talk) 23:31, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Rendering of an Hebrew word in English letters[edit]

How would I write the Hebrew word for decay (ןוריקב) in English letters? And how would I pronounce it? And is there a website where I could easily find this out if I have this question about other Hebrew words? (talk) 23:06, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

You seem to have got the letters in the wrong order: it's ריקבון which is (right to left) r-y-q-a-b-v-n. But it's actually pronounced 'rikavon'.
It's actually a bit difficult to transliterate if you don't know the language. You can look up the consonants here for example, but everyday Hebrew doesn't write most of the vowels. This works because there are standard patterns for the vowels depending on the function of the word, but it makes it very hard to know how to pronounce or transliterate it if you don't. Actually my dictionary prints it as רקבון, without the 'y': that has been inserted as a helper to show that the first vowel is 'i'; and the second to last letter is sometimes a consonant 'v', but often functions as a vowel 'o' or 'u'. So this word could have been various other things such as 'rayakavon', 'rikabaven' or 'reyakobavan'; but a Hebrew speaker (which I'm not, really) will recognise it as 'rikavon'.
Sorry I can't be more helpful. --ColinFine (talk) 00:06, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the correct spelling is רקבון, or ריקבון in Ktiv male. It's pronounced something between "rick-a-von" and "reck-a-von", with rick like the name Rick, a like in "argument", and o like in "port". You can spell it "rikavon" or "rekavon" in English. By the way, ריקבון only means bacterial decay, rot. There are different Hebrew words for different meanings of "decay". --Dr Dima (talk) 09:37, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Two points to clarify the above:
  • rikavon is a transcription (as this word is pronounced) and might indicate that the first syllable is stressed. The first vowel is best represented with the English letter "i" and pronounced as a "short [i]". riqavon is an alternative transliteration (particularly a convention among linguists, to represent certain letters without actually resorting to IPA symbols) indicate that the second consonant is qof [ק] and not kaf [כ].
  • This word, besides biological decay, is often used in the figurative sense, e.g. for moral decay. -- Deborahjay (talk) 12:12, 15 January 2010 (UTC)