Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2011 November 10

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November 10[edit]


Hi. I was reading The God of Small Things and there is an expression I don't understand: it is "[Estha and Rahel] shiver their legs" and occurs variously as "Do they shiver their legs? Like clerks? Yes, but Sophie Mol doesn't" etc. and seems to be associated with "clerks". This is never elaborated upon further and there is no context that is useful in understanding it. What might it mean? Thanks. (talk) 04:13, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

I think it might refer to the way some people bounce their legs up and down while sitting. That could be seen as vulgar or bourgeois (hence the clerks) in the same way that blowing spit bubbles is. (Here is a link to the page, in case someone has a different interpretation.) Lesgles (talk) 04:52, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
A good guess. The OED is not as helpful as I could wish. Does anyone have a dictionary of Indian English to hand? OED:
v. 2b. To cause (one's jaws) to tremble (obs.); to pour out or give forth with a trembling motion.
Google brings a reference to traditional English folk-dancing collected by Cecil Sharp:
an old dancer of North Leigh (Oxon) casually remarking, " You must step out forward; you've got to shiver your legs in the capers - that'll fetch out the sweat on you."
Perhaps an Indian development from that sense? BrainyBabe (talk) 13:33, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

JonBenét Ramsey[edit]

I'm translating her article into my language, and just want to ascertain whether this pronunciation of 'JonBenét Patricia Ramsey' is correct or not, /ʃonˈbɛneɪ pəˈtrɪʃə ˈræmzi/. Thank you so very much :)

--Aristitleism (talk) 06:30, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

No, the initial "J" isn't a /ʃ/, which is generally represented by "sh" in English. In JonBenet Ramsey's case, when I have heard it pronounced it is either pronounced with a /ʒ/ (the "French" J sound) or the harder /dʒ/ sound (the "English" J sound). The first "e" in the Benet part can be /ɛ/ as in "best", but I think it may be closer to /ə/ as you used in Patricia. The rest looks good. --Jayron32 06:46, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
I have no idea how the family pronounced it, but I believe most of the media pronounced "JonBenét" with stresses on the first and third syllables rather than the second. The pronunciation given in our article JonBenét Ramsey looks odd to me, as a vowel isn't usually reduced to /ə/ in a stressed syllable. Deor (talk) 10:12, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The pronunciation given in our article puts stress on the first and third syllable. The stress mark in IPA precedes the stressed syllable, unlike the stress marks in most American dictionaries' systems, which tend to follow the stressed syllable. The vowel of the first word shouldn't be /o/; it should be /ɒ/ in a pan-dialectal transcription and /ɑ/ in General American. Basically the first syllable of the name is identical to the name "John", as JonBenét was named for her father John Bennett Ramsey. Angr (talk) 10:28, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The stress in the article's pronunciation was changed after I posted the comment above. Deor (talk) 11:03, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Ah, yes! I've changed it, for I initially inserted it and just wanted to know if it is correct. Should I remove it provisionally? --Aristitleism (talk) 11:43, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I hadn't noticed that. Anyway, I've changed it to what I've always heard, namely /ˌdʒɒnbəˈneɪ/. Angr (talk) 11:08, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
According to this CNN clip (around 1:47-1:50), Mrs Ramsey said "JON-BAY-NAY" (or "JON-BA-NAY", maybe). I can now tell that "J" in "JonBenét" is English "J". --Aristitleism (talk) 11:58, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

How do stone profoundly deaf people learn to read and write?[edit]

When most people first learn a to read and write (excepting languages using logograms) they already speak the language and start with the phonetic interpretation of each character or characters. Punctuation frequently follows pauses in speaking, tone indicators for questions, etc.

Someone who is stone profoundly deaf would not have any concept of the phonetic meaning of letters, and would not even know the language they are trying to learn. This sounds like an almost impossible task, but since many stone profoundly deaf people read and write as well as hearing people they must manage it somehow. How do they learn to read and write a language they have never heard? -- Q Chris (talk) 13:32, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

It's a good question, and I don't have a ready answer, but I would point out two things: firstly, many generations of deaf children have been ill-served by the education system, have not learned to read and write well, and have suffered under the handicap of poor levels of literacy for the rest of their lives; and secondly, the term usually used in the literature is "profoundly deaf", which will lead you to more resources. You might want to start here. BrainyBabe (talk) 13:39, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks there are a lot of good resources at your search link. I apologise if I was using an offensive term. -- Q Chris (talk) 14:03, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Reading can be taught through the "whole language" approach where they learn the whole word visually and are taught its meaning.[1] Manipulative Visual Language can be used to teach deaf people about the sounds of words, but it doesn't seem to be very common.[2] American Sign Language doesn't have a commonly-used written form and can't be directly represented in English words (see American_Sign_Language#Writing_systems), although it can be easily communicated via video, so for a profoundly deaf person raised with ASL as their first language, learning to write requires learning a second language (i.e. English). --Colapeninsula (talk) 14:01, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

The English word CANARD[edit]

Wikipedia defines only the Aeronical definition of the word CANARD. The RANDOM HOUSE DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 2nd Ed, Unabridged, CR 1987, has three definitions.

Definition 1: a false or baseless, usually derogatory story, report. or rumor.

Definition 2: Cookery; a duck intended or used for food.

Definition 3: Aeron; ----similar to Wikipedia's description----

Please Include the 1st teo definition on your site. Thanks, Dick Duane Phoenix, AZ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:34, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

We do. If you enter "Canard" in the Wikipedia search box, you will go to the disambiguation page Canard, where there's an entry reading "Hoax, an unfounded or false, deliberately misleading fabrication, a false report, also called a 'canard'". Deor (talk) 23:41, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
There's no requirement for Wikipedia to have every definition of every word: Wikipedia is not a dictionary. --Colapeninsula (talk) 23:22, 11 November 2011 (UTC)