Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2010 July 27

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Language desk
< July 26 << Jun | July | Aug >> July 28 >
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.

July 27[edit]

Does Portugal have this problem too?[edit]

Hi all. As a speaker of "traditional', "British", "Commonwealth" English (however you want to describe it), I know the problems that variety of the language faces from the media and web saturation of American English. The differences may be only subtle between the two, but US English is different than/from UK English and its use subtly colors/colours speech and writing, as well as making projects like Wikipedia more difficult to organize/organise.

What I've wondered for a while, though, is does Portugal have the same problem with Brazil? Brazil has a considerably larger population than Portugal, and is one of the world's up-and-coming economic and media hubs (as the old joke goes, Brazil is a future world leader, and always will be). Do Portuguese speakers of the language have difficulties with the subtle differences which surely must exist in Brazilian Portuguese?

Thanks in advance, Grutness...wha? 00:28, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Might not be what you had in mind, but I'll answer from a Brazilian perspective. I'm half Brazilian and from what my Brazilian parent and relatives say, Portugal Portuguese & Brazilian Portuguese sound quiet different and it can be hard for them to understand Portugal Portuguese. They find Portugal Portuguese rougher (but they're biased, obviously). But even within Brazil there are many accents! For example in Rio there is no "ch" sound, this is replaced by a "t" sound, but up north in the country there is a "ch" sound and they don't use "t" as much...
There's no danger of influence from Portugal Portuguese, because Brazilians (based on anecdotal evidence from my family) mostly don't like the sound and so usually won't watch TV from Portugal. Hope someone can give you an answer from Portugal's point of view! (talk) 00:48, 27 July 2010 (UTC)TorreyOaks
I wonder if the same thing occurs within the Spanish language community? Spanish language novelas come from a variety of countries, do they use some sort of standard Spanish, or do Mexican viewers watch Argentinian shows with no problems with the pronunciation? BTW, "Different than" is substandard in American English, too. Everard Proudfoot (talk) 02:08, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I can only give you an anecdotal example about Spanish. One is that in Cuba that almost don't say the "s" in many cases, so "How are you?", spelled ¿Cómo estás? sounds almost like ¿Cómo e-tá? Another very obvious difference is the lisping of the "s" sounds in Castilian Spanish, which is typically not done in the western hemisphere. I think they can all understand each other reasonably well, though. Then there's Catalan, which is kind of a cross between Spanish and French, but that's another story. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:32, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, Bugs. Couldn't resist here. I spent two years in Spain, and I heard all sorts of stories about how the Castilian "zeta" began. I might just be overly defensive of the language because I speak it and enjoy it, but it's actually not a "lisp" any more than the "th" in English words like "think" and "thousand" are "lispy." Additionally, it's not pronounced on S's, but only on Z's and soft C's. So, a word like paciencia ("patience") is pronounced somewhat like "pathienthia" in Spain, where it's pronounced "pasiensia" almost everywhere else. However, I've always considered the zeta quite a bit gentler than the English "th" sound, in that the tongue barely touches the back of the teeth, if at all. It's pretty. It also allows, without relying on context, differentiating between words like (off the top of my head) casar ("to marry") and cazar ("to hunt"). When people I meet tell me that Castilian Spanish has that funny "lisp" thing, I try to remind them where the Spanish language originated. Oh yeah. Spain.  :-) Kingsfold (Quack quack!) 12:04, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
And again, I may just be over-defensive because my two years in Spain were spent in Catalunya, but writing that Catalan is a cross between Spanish and French is kind of an oversimplification. They're similar, but there's a lot more rolled in there than that. Fun to answer a question (or try to) about Castillian and Catalan today, though. Thanks! (Or should I say, "Grathias!" Ha! Ha!) Kingsfold (Quack quack!) 12:04, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Distinción makes Spanish very hard to understand for someone who is not a native speaker and who learned the language the seseo way. Rimush (talk) 13:56, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
See also Reforms of Portuguese orthography especially the reform adopted in 2009 where Portugal seemed to get more changes than Brazil's style did. See ther BBC article] which mentions some resistance in Portugal to "Brazilian spellings". Rmhermen (talk) 02:19, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
To answer another part of Everard's question, I'd say that Spanish dialects are almost perfectly mutually understandable, either in written or oral form. You will find "neuter" editions of novels, but you have to suffer dialectical novelas. The suffering part derives from the content, not the dialect! :(
And, since the phonetical aspects of peninsular ceceo distinction have been mentioned, let me tell you that, as a Latin American speaker with seseo, I find it fascinating and quite pleasant to my ear!
On a side note, I'm watching some Galician TV for a planned trip to Galicia, and I understand 98% of the stuff. I can't match that figure with the aforementioned Catalan, though. Pallida  Mors 16:04, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I remember my Portuguese ex-girlfriend was very cross that "Portuguese" on the web (and elsewhere?) often really meant "Brazilian". (talk) 03:24, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
The article Brazilian Portuguese discusses differences between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese.
Wavelength (talk) 14:32, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
In Portuguese Wikipedia (permanent link here),
"Portuguese articles can contain variations of writing, as European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese have variations in vocabulary and usage. Articles can contain written characteristics of one or the other variant depending on who wrote the article.
In 2005, a proposal to fork Portuguese Wikipedia and create a Brazilian Portuguese (pt-br) version was voted down by the Wikimedia community."
Wavelength (talk) 15:52, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

A word that means either a patronym or a matronym?[edit]

Is there a word that can refer to either a patronym or a matronym? -- (talk) 08:08, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Not quite sure what you are looking for. You mean like the word surname?--Shantavira|feed me 08:34, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I think he means a general term that refers both to a surname reflecting your father's given name and to a surname reflecting your mother's given name. But I can't help. I imagined something like "parentonym", but I only find it on a couple of Norwegian websites, so it's clearly an ad-hoc neologism in Norwegian.-- (talk) 11:27, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's correct to call it an "ad-hoc neologism". Those Norwegian websites to which you refer, pretty much confirm that "parentonym" is an established term in Norway (One is the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police, another is from the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Bergen. The word has also been acknowledged by the Norwegian Language Council. decltype (talk) 11:42, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
You're right. I didn't bother to actually read the google hits. Still, while the government has apparently introduced the term in 2002, it doesn't seem to have caught on very much anywhere.-- (talk) 12:59, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's reasonable to expect new Norwegian words to "catch on" anywhere outside Norway. It's not as if Norwegian is a widely spoken international language. Or are you saying it hasn't even caught on in Norway itself? -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 21:09, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I think the IP may have been implying the latter, but keeping in mind that parentonyms are unusual in Norway (for example, the notability of Audhild Gregoriusdotter Rotevatn rests in part on her parentonym!), I think the term is unlikely to occur outside of discussions directly related to the 2003 amendment to the Naming Law (which explicitly allowed parentonyms), and thus unlikely to garner a lot of google hits. decltype (talk) 16:13, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, patronyms may be little used today in Norway, but they are actually a very old tradition both in Norway and in Scandinavia (in fact, in much of the per-modern world), and remained common throughout Early Modern times, indeed as late as in the beginning of the 20th century. The reason why nobody has needed the cover term "parentonym" is probably because matronyms have been very uncommon. Even this is surprising, since matronyms tend to turn up wherever you also have patronyms, and one would have expected a cover term to have been devised at least in scientific circles. The OP's question was about English, and it is even more surprising that "parentonym" or something similar hasn't been created as a scientific term outside of Norway yet. Perhaps the right word is in fact out there and we just haven't been able to find it yet. -- (talk) 19:48, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Help translating from German, please[edit]

From this document I am having difficulty translating a very long sentence. In German it is:

  • Eine alte Tradition sagt nämlich, daß im Jahre 286 zu Trier unter Rictius Varus, dem Präfecten des Kaisers Maximianus, theils am linken Ufer der Mosel in der Nähe der Brücke, wo im Mittelalter die Kirche zum h. Victor gestanden, theils in der Nähe der St. Paulinskirche, wo ein Campus Martius als Lager und Uebungsplatz der Truppen eingerichtet gewesen, eine Cohorte der Thebäschen Legion hingerichtet wurde, weil sie Christum bekannte, den heidnischen Göttern nicht opfern und gegen die Christen, welche aus Furcht vor der Verfolgung sich zu den empörten Bauern (Bagauden) gesellt hatten, nicht kämpfen wollte; genannt sind nur ihre Anführer: Thyrsus und Bonifacius.

With some tweaking, an online translator gave me this:

  • An old tradition says that in 286, Rictius Varus, the prefect of the emperor Maximian in Trier, and partly on the left bank of the Moselle stood near the bridge, where in the Middle Ages, the Church of St Victor, partly in the vicinity of the Paulinskirche St., where a Campus Martius as a warehouse and training ground of troops have been set up, a cohort of Theban Legion was executed because they confessed Christ, the pagan gods and sacrifice not against the Christians, who for fear of persecution revolted to the were peasants (Bagaudae) joined, did not want to fight, only their leaders are called: Thyrsus and Boniface.

And, largely ignorant of German and not entirely understanding what's going on, I've come up with this:

  • An old tradition says that in 286, Rictius Varus, the prefect of the emperor Maximian, was stationed in Trier, where a Campus Martius as a warehouse and training ground of troops had been set up (where in the Middle Ages, the Church of St Victor, partly in the vicinity of the Paulinskirche St., and partly on the left bank of the Moselle, stood near the bridge). A cohort of the Theban Legion, along with their leaders Thyrsus and Boniface, were executed here because they confessed Christ and would not sacrifice to the pagan gods against the Christians, who for fear of persecution had revolted and joined the peasants (Bagaudae), but did not want to fight.

May I please request improvements, suggestions, corrections, advice? I'm not sure my "translation" is accurate enough, nor that it even mostly reflects the author's intended meaning. There also seemed to be a verb missing, relating the prefect to the Campius Martius, so I added "was stationed". But I clearly need a German speaker to make more sense of this! (For context, I've got all of the text and a rough translation here.) Thanks, :) Maedin\talk 12:03, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

This is what I've come up with (also inspired by what you already had): An old tradition says that in the year 286, under Rictius Varus, prefect of the emperor Maximian, a cohort of the Theban Legion (only their leaders, Thyrsus and Bonifacius, are named) was executed in Trier, partly on the left bank of the Moselle (near the bridge, where the St. Victor’s Church had stood in the Middle Ages), partly near the St. Paulin Church (where a Campus Martius had been set up as a warehouse and a training ground for the troops), because they had converted to Christianity, did not want to bring sacrifices to the pagan gods, and did not fight against the Christians who had joined the outraged peasants (Bagaudae) out of fear of persecution. Rimush (talk) 13:50, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
That's excellent! It's so much better than what I got, :) Thank you! Maedin\talk 14:49, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I think Rimush's translation is basically right, but he missed the last phrase, which means: "only their leaders are named: Thyrsus and Bonifacius". Marco polo (talk) 19:21, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Hmmmm? It's there? "...a cohort of the Theban Legion (only their leaders, Thyrsus and Bonifacius, are named) was executed in Trier..." Maedin\talk 19:25, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
If I were translating this professionally, I would break it up into three or four sentences, as the original author should have done. There's simply no excuse for this kind of writing. +Angr 19:37, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
@Marco Polo: I added it in there somewhere, because I took some inspiration from what Maedin had done himself herself. @Angr: I agree, such sentences are not even fit for German :D Rimush (talk) 21:46, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I am a "herself", :) And yes, there are several sentences in the document that are desperately too long. Once the more literal translation is completed, I intend to edit for style. Can't guarantee that I'll improve it much, but I'll try! Maedin\talk 05:54, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
All the more glad to have helped you if you are a "herself" :P Rimush (talk) 08:19, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Is it only me who finds that creepy? (talk) 21:12, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Is chivalry now so dead that people find it creepy? +Angr 09:03, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Out there in the real world, it's understandable that a heterosexual man might be more interested in helping a female than helping one of his male "competitors". But here, it's an absurd and weird distinction to make. Much of the time, we have no idea of the user's sex, and it shouldn't make any difference to anything. To say one is more glad to have helped a user if they happen to have certain bits one is never going to see but not other bits one is never going to see, is folly. It just creates first- and second-class users. It has nothing to do with chivalry. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 21:24, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

May I suggest a few further tweaks:

"viz.: An old tradition says that in the year 286, under Rictius Varus, prefect of the emperor Maximian, a cohort of the Theban Legion (only their commanders, Thyrsus and Bonifacius, are named) was executed at Trier, partly on the left bank of the Moselle (near the bridge, where St. Victor’s Church would (later) stand in the Middle Ages), and partly near the Church of St. Paulinus (where a Campus Martius had been established as a camp and a training ground for the troops), because they were of Christian confession, did not want to bring sacrifices to the heathen gods, and did not want to fight against the Christians who had joined the rebellious peasants (Bagaudae) for fear of persecution. Ehrenkater (talk) 16:19, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

I can only agree. And I sure hope you're a native speaker. And maybe you could help with the rest of the translation on that talk page. Rimush (talk) 18:02, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
That's a good improvement on Rimush's already good work. Thank you, too! It's probably not worth you German speakers having a look at the rest until I've done more of the grunt work, and at the moment I'm only half-way through the document. Of course, you're welcome to, but I don't want you to waste your time with the rubbish beginnings, :) Maedin\talk 19:20, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

British accent[edit]

Hey all! I'm an amateur thespian and I've got a part in a play next month. The trouble is, I play a British character whereas I'm just a stupid Yankee ( ; ) ) and I can't quite seem to get the accent down. I also sometimes mix up a British accent with an Australian accent because I've been exposed to Australian English more than British English. Any tips on how to "sound British" (i.e., how to pronounce certain vowels, stress, how a setnecne goes "up and down",etc)? This accent has to be really convincing like people might think I'm really from England because this is a major play and it will have professional critics and everything. And also can somebody give pointers on the differences between AuE and BrE? THanks so much! (talk) 15:54, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

I can think of two pieces of advice:

1. DON'T over do it. Keep it simple and subtle. (ie don't copy Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins :) 2. Pick up a copy of a nice British film from the local video store, or tune in to some BBC on your computer. Or listen to some Youtube clips. The best way to pick up an authentic accent is to listen to someone speaking it. By the way, does your character in the play come from a specific region of Britain? Duomillia (talk) 16:22, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

It's a bit technical, but you might find IPA chart for English dialects useful.--Shantavira|feed me 16:26, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Australians are prone to high-rise terminals. Kittybrewster 16:39, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
  1. Research your character. As part of your usual research, think about what kind of British accent they are likely to have. This doesn't have to be too arduous: is there a character with a similar background in a British film or TV series? Go with that accent.
  2. Research that specific accent. If you've picked a British celebrity or character with a lot of available footage of them talking, you can listen to that repeatedly and work at mimicking it. If you're mimicking a particular person, you're more likely to stay in the accent.
  3. Don't try for a 'generic British' accent, since you'll go all over the place and slip into Australian. Pick an individual, and stick with it. (talk) 16:43, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
You might search the archives at for a story they ran a year or two ago about a coach who specializes (specialises) in teaching British actors how to speak American, and vice-versa. The first thing American clients ask her, she says, is to make sure they don't sound like Dick ("Chim-Chim-Chimeree") Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. —— Shakescene (talk) 16:48, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I just read this talk page discussion. ---Sluzzelin talk 20:50, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Here's the link: . (For a particularly horrid example of Britons Americanizing Badly, see the earlier episodes of As Time Goes By.) ¶ I have to second what everyone else here has said: please be more specific about your character's geographic origins, class and occupation. Just as there is no such thing as a generic "American accent" (broadcasting schools teach something Midwestern like Walter Cronkite from Missouri, Dick Cavett from Nebraska, Johnny Carson from Iowa or David Letterman from Indiana, on the theory that it's equally understandable in all parts of the U.S.), there's no single "British accent". This was brought home to me rather vividly in May when the BBC showed returning officers with authentic local accents announcing the General Election results of individual constituencies from Land's End to John o' Groats and from Belfast to Brighton. If your character is from the classes which use Received Pronunciation, London, the Home Counties or the Southeast (not East Anglia), I could give you some pointers, since I was born in London and have lived in the U.S. since 1960, but those pointers might be worse than useless for other parts of Britain. After all, as you can learn from The Story of English (which I highly recommend watching), many individual features of what's considered an American accent originated from somewhere in the British Isles. ¶ And having crossed the Atlantic thrice between the ages of 6 and 11, I instinctively and patriotically resisted re-Americanizing after re-Anglicising, so although I've done my share of acting in public, I still, after half a century in the 'States, don't trust my ability to reproduce an American accent believably on stage. Break a leg! —— Shakescene (talk) 20:42, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
And, of course, if varies with time, but there's a limit to how accurately you can represent that. The typical middle-class southern accent is much more Estuary in general than 10, 20, 30 years ago. But picking a likely individual to mimick gets around all of this. (talk) 21:09, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
The most recognizable British accents in North America are Received Pronunciation, or RP, and Estuary English. (Scottish English accents are also recognizable in North America, but they are somewhat complex and varied, and therefore difficult to zero in on.) Unfortunately, English accents vary both by region and by class. You might want to cultivate an RP accent if your character is an educated member of the upper middle class. If your character is lower middle class and could be from Southeastern England (including London), Estuary English could work. If your character is clearly working class or underclass, you are going to have to choose a heavier regional accent, such as Cockney on London's eastern periphery, or perhaps a northern accent such as Scouse. Probably the best suggestion is to pick a character from a British film whose persona is close to the one you want to emulate and to closely study and emulate that person's speech. Marco polo (talk) 19:17, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
To British ears, Americans trying to do a "British" accent, even professionally, often sound ludicrously wrong (and no doubt the opposite is also true). For example, lurching between upper-class RP and Cockney in the same sentence. As others have said, there is no single British accent, but see American and British English pronunciation differences for some specific points. In particular be careful of the short "o" sound, as in hot, and other vowel sounds, and note that British speech is generally non-rhotic - e.g. "caught" and "court" are exact homophones. AndrewWTaylor (talk) 20:05, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I think you meant only one 'non' there, Andrew. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:20, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Oops: non-non-non-rhotic it is - corrected. AndrewWTaylor (talk) 08:01, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
They aren't exact homophones in my (roughly) RP accent. The vowels are very slightly different ("court" is slightly more rounded than "caught", that's the only difference I can pin down, but I think there is more to it than that). --Tango (talk) 00:21, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
They are very far from homophones in my local dialect, and I certainly wouldn't pronounce them identically in my attempt at RP. There are some English dialects in which they are homophones, but I don't think RP is amongst them. I can't imagine the queen or most BBC announcers pronouncing caught and court identically. Dbfirs 13:03, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I suspect you just imagine them as different in RP (I've come across something like this before). Daniel Jones' pronouncing dictionary of RP (1958) gives [kɔːt] for both, with an additional possibility [kɔət] for "court" given in brackets. The latter pronunciation is, I believe, old-fashioned RP (and observable in old Cockney, too) - and it was old-fashioned even back then.-- (talk) 15:56, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm not imagining it. I pronounce them differently. I would probably transcribe them into IPA in the same way, but IPA doesn't precisely determine pronunciation (and isn't designed to). --Tango (talk) 16:22, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
That's true, but at least distinguishing between minimal pairs is a must. The transcription in Daniel Jones' dictionary was intended, among other purposes, to reflect RP as accurately as possible, also with a view to the teaching of foreigners. The transcriptions in more recent English textbooks that I've seen don't show a distinction between 'court' and 'caught' even as a possibility as Jones does. If you really do pronounce them differently, perhaps your form of RP is unusually archaic in this respect.-- (talk) 17:19, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I'll listen carefully to some RP speakers to determine whether I am wrong, but I'm sure I can tell the difference, even in "Queen's English". Are you sure that you are not just imagining them to be the same because they are homophones in your dialect? Dbfirs 17:32, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, IPA should be able to distinguish between minimal pairs, but it isn't perfect. The difference is really small in my accent (which is RP with a few influences from rural Sussex/Hampshire). --Tango (talk) 17:41, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree that IPA doesn't seem to make sufficient distinction. Wikipedia shows the same IPA but distinguishes in its "rhymes with" section. Would pronounce re-taught as a homophone of retort or awe as a homophone of or? Dbfirs 17:52, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm not a native speaker of English (but no, as a matter of fact I do not make any distinction in my pronunciation of these pairs, nor am I used to hearing any difference from South Eastern English speakers). More to the point, all the descriptions that I've ever seen or read have confirmed this coalescence (while some have noted the existence of the older [ɔə] version). Wiktionary also explicitly notes that 'court' rhymes with words in -aught in non-rhotic dialects. As for "Queen's English", it's precisely the type of variety where you may expect the distinction to be preserved, because that's a conservative, even archaic feature: [kɔət] for "court" is closer to the original rhotic pronunciation, with the schwa standing for the /r/; [kɔːt] is a later simplification. The pronunciations of these two words (try not to look at the spellings on the screen at first) are, IMO, good examples of the usual absence of a distinction.-- (talk) 20:59, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I have to admit that your examples sound remarkably similar when spoken by that speaker, though I would have liked a video to see if the lips were in identical positions. There is a difference between the vowels of "ough" and "or" in many dialects of English (independent of rhoticity) but perhaps you are correct in claiming that some speakers of RP (those whose natural dialects do not distinguish?) pronounce them as homophones. Dbfirs 02:38, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Ooo, subtle class judgement. Nice. RP is the accent I have always spoken with, although it has acquired some Estuary elements over the years, like most Southern accents, mostly following attempts to acquire an accent that let me fit in better at school. My parents both speak RP. My mother's parents both speak RP. I can't be sure, but following mothers' mothers' mothers' back as far as I can go, they all look solidly middle class and most likely spoke RP or the precursors of it. In brief, this is not something I put on over some other 'natural dialect': it is my mother tongue. Caught and court are complete homophones for me, only distinguished by spelling and context. They are complete homophones for my mother, who does not have my Estuary influences. re-taught and retort are not homophones for me, but that's because re-taught has more stress on the first syllabul, making it a full vowel and not a schwa. The second syllabuls are identical. Now, can we move on from tiny differences that apparently no one can hear except the speaker? (talk) 11:01, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
OK then, evidently I don't speak RP, but if it doesn't make such distinctions, then I prefer to speak clear English. Dbfirs 17:45, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Okay! (talk) 21:11, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks to you and to for your information, and apologies if my responses appeared rude. No personal attack was intended. Perhaps, as a "Northener", I'm not qualified to comment on RP because it developed from a Southern dialect. I've noticed that I've recently developed a slight rhoticity (not present in my local dialect) in my pronunciation of some words. Perhaps this also influences the vowel. Dbfirs 22:06, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Speaking of non-rhoticity, one interesting problem with Americans aiming at South-East English is that they are unable to be quite consistent in it. They will take the pains to pronounce some of the more central, emphasized words as non-rhotic, and yet inadvertently pronounce some of the "small" function words rhotically. Dick van Dyke in the Chim Chim Cher-ee scene sings "In this ole wide world thers no 'appiah bloke", making "happier" non-rhotic, but forgetting to adjust his "there". Similarly, Jack Nicholson in the film adaptation of The Who's Tommy sings "he heahs but cannot answuh to your call", "his eyes can see, his eahs can hear, his lips speak".-- (talk) 16:15, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Conversely, British speakers trying to do an American accent sometimes put in a post-vocalic R where it is not needed - for a famous example see Cliff Richard here. In the chorus at 0:37 he definitely seems to sing "Son, you'll be urr bachelor boy." AndrewWTaylor (talk) 11:58, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, for an even clearer example - Paul McCartney here sings "there were bells | on a hill, | but I never heard them ringing, | no, I never heard them at all | - till there was you; | there were birds in the sky, | but I never SOAR them winging, | no, I never SOAR them at all | - till there was you." This is natural - after all, for a non-rhotic speaker with intrusive R, there is no underlying difference between "saw" and "soar" - both display an [r] only before a vowel: "what I saw-r-and heard"; "to spread one's wings and [sɔː]".-- (talk) 15:20, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

I listen to ebooks and am currently listening to the whole Audrey Maturin series. I have noticed a lot of Britticisms have been creeping into my speech. Yesterday I caught myself saying "Ahoy there the rowboat" and then I realized from where they have come. This is important to me as my ex is a Brit. Sesquepedalia—Preceding unsigned comment added by Sesquepedalia (talkcontribs) 16:50, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

That would be Aubrey, Sesquepedalia. Audrey is a female name. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 21:12, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
"Ahoy there the rowboat" isn't British, it's archaic naval jargon combined with odd grammar... what were you trying to say? --Tango (talk) 21:19, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

¶ A long discussion of various British accents and standards, yet not a word back from 64.... (or any IP beginning with "64.") to tell us if any of this is helping him or her to perform better in a play this month (August 2010), or what might be able to help him better. Has she or he registered under a non-IP name in the meantime? —— Shakescene (talk) 20:45, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

XVIII century translation, please[edit]

Hello. I am a french contributor, and trying to translate this text, the highlighted part of the sentence has absolutely no meaning for me. Can you translate it in french, or in modern english. Thanks.

« ANNE, by the Grace of God, &c. To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting: Whereas Our trusty and welbeloved subiect, Henry Mill, hath by his humble peticon represented vnto Vs, That he has by his great study, paines and expence lately invented and brought to perfection an artificial machine or method for the impressing or transcribing of letters, singly or progressively, one after another, as in writing, whereby all writing whatsoever may be engrossed in paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print; that the said machine or method may be of great vse in settlements and publick recors, the impression being deeper and more lasting than any other writing, and not to be erased or counterfeited without manifest discovery. »

Dhatier (talk) 16:45, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

"By his humble petition, [Henry Mill] has represented to Us". rʨanaɢ (talk) 16:47, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Great and fast. Thank you very much. Dhatier (talk) 17:01, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
And if you need that clarified further, it only means "Henry claims that he has..." DaHorsesMouth (talk) 01:36, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Languages of Russia[edit]

I'm trying to find a good map of Russia with regional languages marked. A map similar to this one ([1]) would be amazing. -- (talk) 20:49, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

This may help. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 20:58, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
And here's the European Russia counterpart on the same site. Oddly enough, Ossetic is neither on the map nor on the list.-- (talk) 15:54, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Ethnologue only features "Osetin" as non-immigrant language under Languages of Georgia and Languages of Turkey (Asia)]. On ethnologue's Languages of Russian Federation (Asia) Ossetic is mentioned as an "immigrant language" with an estimated 515.000 speakers. Perhaps they exclude what they consider immigrant languages from the maps? ---Sluzzelin talk 22:20, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
No, Ossetic is not an immigrant language, it's the native language of North Ossetia, which is a constituent republic of the Russian Federation, and it is located in the European part, not in the Asian part. It really should have been on the map here, right beside Ingush, Kabardian and Balkar. I guess the folks on Ethnologue just hate Ossetes. :)-- (talk) 15:31, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

"100 percent" in Spanish[edit]

Which is the correct expression for "100 percent" in Spanish: cien por ciento or ciento por ciento? (talk) 23:53, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

According to this site[2] it's cien por ciento. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:04, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Is that a good source? According to some Spanish-language websites, the Royal Spanish Academy apparently considers ciento por ciento the correct usage. Can someone verify this? (talk) 05:29, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I've never heard ciento por ciento till now. A site says it's common in Mexico. Then again, someone also says that their dictionary mentions cien por cien, which is also supposedly correct. Rimush (talk) 08:16, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Maybe both versions are acceptable in some sense, as their meaning would be clear to a Spanish speaker, but cien por ciento might be the "more correct" way to say it. A word that is used as a modifier in front of a singular masculine word (as opposed to the normal positioning afterwards) often drops the trailing "o". As an example, you would say buena suerte ("good luck") but you would say buen viaje ("good trip" i.e. "bon voyage") rather than bueno viaje; although if you said bueno viaje I'm sure you would be understood, it just might evoke a snicker. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:51, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
My copy of Diccionario de la Lengua Española, published by La Real Academia Española says ciento por ciento but I have usually heard cien por ciento and cien por cien in conversation in Andalucia (where they tend to be more relaxed about these things). Richard Avery (talk) 15:25, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
cien por cien, cien por ciento or ciento por ciento are all acceptable, cf. [3]. For these cases, I can't help recommending the DPD (Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas, published by the RAE). Pallida  Mors 17:46, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Of course, each region or dialect may have a "more preferred" choice. Here in South America, cien por ciento or cien por cien are used. Pallida  Mors 17:53, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
This discussion also serves to illustrate the apparent "limitations" of Spanish vs. English. Cien por ciento would literally mean the redundant sounding "[One] hundred per hundred". In English it sounds a little more elegant somehow: "One hundred per cent". However, that's just a fancified way of saying "One hundred per hundred." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:00, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Agreed Bugs, but a language that has different words for an outer corner and an inner corner can't be all bad! Richard Avery (talk) 21:48, 28 July 2010 (UTC)