Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2012 March 11

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Language desk
< March 10 << Feb | March | Apr >> March 12 >
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.


March 11[edit]

english sentece correction[edit]

sir i am a student.i am trying to study correction of sentences.but it is difficult to me to unders stand.because i have no more examples for each rule.so i am giving one rule along with example.you try to give some more examples. rule: when words are joined to a singular subject by1) 'as well as',2)'besides',3)'like',4)'inaddition to',5)'with',,6)'together with' 7)"and not" the verb should be in the singular. Incorrect :the president with his colleagues have offered to resign correct:the president with his colleagues have offered to resign to understand the above rule i want some more examples with the above 7 things .can you provide.? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Phani780 (talkcontribs) 00:31, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Not meaning to be snotty here, but your question is so poorly written it's hard to understand. You might want to learn how to use capitalization, spaces, quotation marks, blank lines, a spell-checker, and avoid run-on sentences before attempting more advanced topics. StuRat (talk) 05:12, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
So, I've tried to rewrite that into a readable question, using proper English. I had to guess at what the "correct" example is meant to be, since you listed the same answer for both the "correct" and "incorrect" versions:

English sentence correction[edit]

Sir, I am a student. I am trying to study correction of sentences, but it is difficult for me to understand, because I don't have enough examples for each rule. So I am listing one rule, along with an example. Please try to give me some more examples.

Rule:

When words are joined to a singular subject by
1) 'as well as'
2) 'besides'
3) 'like'
4) 'in addition to'
5) 'with'
6) 'together with'
7) 'and not' 
the verb should be in the singular.

Incorrect: "The President with his colleagues have offered to resign."

Correct: "The President, with his colleagues, has offered to resign."

To understand the above rule I would like some more examples with the above 7 phrases. Can you provide these, please ?

I'm sure you can find authorities which set out the "rule" as you have it. But native English speakers do not necessarily follow this "rule". Where the meaning of the whole expression is singular ("like" and "and not") I think all native speakers will use the singular; but with most of these conjunctions, the meaning of the whole expression is plural, and many native English speakers will use the plural, and say "The President with his colleagues have offered to resign". In some of the cases, many native English speakers will be unsure which sounds best. Oh, and I don't think you can use "besides" this way except "nobody besides" and "everybody besides", which will both usually be construed with a singular verb. --ColinFine (talk) 09:49, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
I think the plurality of the examples above is affected by the placement of commas. Without commas, "The President with his colleagues..." is plural (the implied meaning being: "the president and his colleagues") while "The President, with his colleagues, ..." is singular (the implied meaning being: "the president like his colleagues"). ie. both examples are correct. Astronaut (talk) 13:56, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
I think the OP had it right to begin with, commas notwithstanding. I can't imagine too many people would treat the subject as plural, unless they "overthink" it, in which case everyone makes mistakes. For more examples, all of the words except "besides" can be substituted into that sentence. You could also say "along with." Of all the examples, "as well as" is the most likely to cause problems, and a case can be made here for ambiguity. On the other hand, if you google "besides his colleagues" you will encounter a string of grammatical errors - a fair sign that it is incorrect in this context, plural or otherwise. IBE (talk) 01:08, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
How could the OP have it right, when they had the same example marked both correct and incorrect ? StuRat (talk) 23:04, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

To butter something with margarine[edit]

Here in Australia it's quite common, when ordering a bread roll or sandwich with some sort of filling, to be asked "Do you want that buttered?" If one says yes, the spread used will often not be butter, but margarine, or some blend.

My response is sometimes "Yes, buttered, but not margarined." It usually leads to blank stares, so I just give up.

Is this usage common elsewhere? HiLo48 (talk) 04:05, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes. In the US margarine is often called butter. StuRat (talk) 04:23, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
And to confuse the issue further, in the UK at least, many products that may be casually described as 'margarine' aren't - instead they are 'spreads': see Margarine. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:55, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Butter is also a verb.[1] So it is not entirely incorrect to butter with margarine. It could be misleading though. Bus stop (talk) 05:06, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
While I'd rather not get into a long-winded debate about it, I think that it should be pointed out that Bus stop's link seems to imply that 'buttering' without 'butter' is confined to bricklaying and metalworking: though I'd be inclined to suggest that in spite of the source cited, 'to butter' (or 'to butter up') is a much more general verb/metaphor. And see also [2] regarding the application of butter to parsnips:
Words are but wind that do from men proceed;
None but Chamelions on bare Air can feed;
Great men large hopeful promises may utter;
But words did never Fish or Parsnips butter.
AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:18, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Even in the noun form butter can refer to other spreads.[3] It is still misleading. Bus stop (talk) 05:28, 11 March 2012 (UTC)


We used margarine a lot when I was a kid, and we always said we had "buttered" it. I've never heard anyone say they "margarined" anything. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 09:50, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
A similar bit of confusion pops up when those of us who live in Vermont go to other places and ask about the syrup being served at restaurants. For in Vermont, "maple syrup" is not maple flavored syrup that was made with corn syrup, it is syrup that came from a maple tree. I've known a few people who have made their breakfast ordering decisions based on whether the syrup came from a maple tree or a corn stalk. Dismas|(talk) 07:52, 11 March 2012 (UTC)


If "butter" has come to have a wider meaning than "churned cream", (and it appears it has), then to claim that "butter" cannot mean "margarine" is simply false to fact. You may choose to continue to make the distinction, but that doesn't mean that anybody else is going to organise their language round your preferences. Sorry. --ColinFine (talk) 09:53, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
If that's the case, we'd better update our Butter article. HiLo48 (talk) 10:00, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

HiLo, maybe you'll get fewer blank stares if instead of trying to make "margarine" into a verb you reply with "Yes, but please use real butter rather than margarine". Angr (talk) 09:55, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

You mean I should stop being a pedantic smartass? HiLo48 (talk) 10:00, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Only on occasions when actually getting what you want is more important to you than being a pedantic smartass... Angr (talk) 12:20, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Is not "buttering bread" the same sort of thing as "pulling the chain" in a toilet (no longer have a chain pull) or dialing a number on a phone without a dial. Despite the use of modern spreads and margarine it is just habit to say "have you buttered the bread" even when not using butter. MilborneOne (talk) 14:17, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Exactly, the action (buttering - verb) is no longer strictly associated with only the specific substance (butter - noun). Roger (talk) 15:30, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
A similar thing happens is you ask for a Coke in a restaurant, they (usually) will ask, "Is Pepsi okay?" Coke sends out undercover people to make sure if they ask for a Coke they get one, or are informed the establishment doesn't have it, I don't know what they do if they don't get Coke when they ask for it, it's not like they can fine the place. 69.62.243.126 (talk) 21:02, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
If a restaurant is claiming they are serving a Coke and aren't, I think that is illegal, so they could threaten to report them to the law if they don't reform. StuRat (talk) 22:13, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Things can get complicated in the southern US, where "Coke" and "soda pop" are often treated as synonyms. "What kind of Coke do you want with that? Pepsi? RC? Dr. Pepper?" ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:15, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
(side comment) HiLo, try to find any product in an Australian supermarket that is actually called margarine. I mean like on the label. You might get a surprise. IBE (talk) 01:23, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Fool: "Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she put ’em i’ the paste alive; she knapped ’em o’ the coxcombs with a stick, and cried ‘Down, wantons, down!’ ’Twas her brother that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay." King Lear, Act II, sc iv, l 99. Off to the supermarket to check that out.--Shirt58 (talk) 04:12, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Coincidentally, a BBC article published today sheds some light on this question. In a discussion of classic British foodstuffs, they refer to Jersey Black Butter, a spiced conserve containing apples, cider and licorice. Nothing at all like what we would usually consider butter or even margarine. According to the article the name dates back to the 15th century, back when anything spreadable was called 'butter' (at the time, probably closer to the French beurre). So to the claims above, that 'buttering' no longer implies the use of butter made with churned cream, either this change happened a very long time ago, or it never meant that in the first place. AJCham 19:54, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Which might explain peanut butter, apple butter, etc. StuRat (talk) 22:50, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Initial Epenthetic /e/[edit]

I have noticed that in Spanish, an epenthetic /e/ is added before an initial /s/ followed by another consonant, which similarly affects the pronunciation of certain foreign names/words (e.g. "Steven Snyder" would sound like "Esteven Esnyder"). Is this specific mechanism unique to Spanish, or does it also exist in other languages native to the Iberian Peninsula? 173.52.209.154 (talk) 07:39, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

I don't know the extent to which other languages productively add /e/ before /s+C/ (C = any consonant) in foreign names and modern loanwords (one of my favorite Spanish words is esnob 'snob'), but certainly as historical sound change, adding a vowel before s+C clusters is fairly common. In the case of Spanish, it actually originated already in Vulgar Latin, and is found in all the Western Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, French, etc.). It also happened (independently of Latin) in the Brythonic languages and in Turkish (e.g. İzmir from Smyrna, and probably İstanbul from (Con)Stantinople, although the popular etymology of İstanbul from Greek is tin polin 'into the city' takes the /i/ sound from the original language), but nowadays the stereotype of Turks speaking German is that they break up s+C clusters (rather, "sh"+C clusters) by putting the vowel after the "sh" sound rather than before it (e.g. pronouncing Schwein 'pig' as "sha-vine" rather than "shvine"), so maybe it's no longer productive in Turkish like it is in Spanish. Angr (talk) 09:42, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
In antiquated Italian (but seldomly used nowadays) it's usual to sometimes add an "i" before "s-consonant". I understand it as a way to make it easier to pronounce when you have a consonant-ending word before it. For example, Spagna (usually "Spain" in Italian) turns into Ispagna, or Svizzera (Switzerland) into Isvizzera as in: "in Ispagna" (in Spain) and "in Isvizzera" (in Switzerland). --151.41.163.244 (talk) 12:10, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Turkish has İspanya for Spain, İsviçre for Switzerland and İsveç for Sweden (Addendum: And İskoçya for Scotland. --Theurgist (talk) 00:19, 12 March 2012 (UTC)). Also Avusturya for Austria and Avustralya for Australia. --Theurgist (talk) 22:09, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
But I believe that the 'v' is very weakly pronounced in those words - an approximant rather than a fricative. --ColinFine (talk) 22:21, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
That's possible. The 'v' in those words looks like an epenthetic consonant separating the vowels. It resembles the 'v' in Arnavutluk (Albania; Arnavut + -luk). --Theurgist (talk) 00:05, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

My pocket Catalan dictionary doesn't list any sc, sp or st words, but does have for example esnob and espaguetis, which are quite suggestive. Portuguese likewise has espaguete and esnobe, but then also has slogan and spray. (I don't know where to check the pronunciation.) As for Galician, this dictionary gives two pronunciations of slogan, smóking ("tuxedo"), snob, spaghetti, spray, sprint, squash, status, stock and stop, both with an initial e and with a more authentic English/Italian/Latin pronunciation (in multiple respects, including the lack of an e), while snobismo only has e and statu quo and stricto sensu are given only without e. The dictionary says the following about foreignisms:

  • Nos estranxeirismos que conservan grafías non adaptadas seguiuse o criterio de representar a pronuncia da lingua orixinal en primeiro lugar, e a seguir unha pronuncia adaptada total ou parcialmente á fonética galega. A utilización dunha pronuncia máis achegada á lingua orixinal ou máis adaptada depende da situación e do contexto, polo que corresponde á competencia pragmática e sociolingüística do falante elixir a forma adecuada. Non obstante, ha de terse en conta que se trata sempre de formas que non están integradas nin graficamente nin fonoloxicamente. 96.46.204.126 (talk) 05:41, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Historically, French went through a similar process as Spanish, although they have since lost the /s/. For instance: {eng state, spa estado, fr état}, {eng study, spa estudiar, fr étudier}. The epenthetic e has clear phonetic reasons--these languages don't have as many syllable-initial consonant clusters as English, so speakers find it easier to add another syllable (thus splitting the /s/ and /t/ across two syllables) rather than try to pronounce the cluster. rʨanaɢ (talk) 06:04, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
The situation in French is of course quite different from Spanish - you've got scolaire, spécial, station, etc., pronounced without an e. I see from my Petit Robert that "special" was especiel in 1130, but must have been borrowed straight from Latin again, around 1190 apparently. A number of other words - e.g., estature (12th c.), espatule (1377), escorpium (1119) "scorpion" - later lost their es. How did this come about? Why did French follow a different path from Spanish? 96.46.204.126 (talk) 07:35, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
In European Portuguese, the e before s+C clusters has been deleted again in pronunciation, but not in spelling, so that words like estado and esposo are pronounced [ˈʃtadu] and [ˈʃpozu]. Angr (talk) 14:48, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
That's interesting. Do you know about Brazilian Portuguese? Given this problem, I probably should have pointed out that in Catalan the e is pronounced in these kinds of words, according to the dictionary I have. So it seems that Catalan and Galician essentially agree with Spanish. In fact, like Galician, Spanish allows both pronunciations: the Oxford Spanish Dictionary lists /(e)sˈlip/, /(e)sˈmo(ɤ)/, /(e)sˈtatus/, etc. Does anybody know whether the e-less pronunciations in Spanish are concentrated in some countries only? 96.46.204.126 (talk) 17:21, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
In Brazilian Portuguese, the e is pronounced /i/, so estado and esposo are [iʃˈtadu] and [iʃˈpozu] (or [isˈtadu] and [isˈpozu] depending on accent). I assume that the e is optional in Spanish only in recent English loanwords like slip, smog, and status; surely no Spanish speaker drops the e in older words like estado and esposo, do they? Angr (talk) 17:47, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
That's correct, except that it's loanwords from any source, not just English (e.g., scherzo, slalom, spiedo, spútnik, statu quo). I had assumed status was from Latin, not English, but perhaps I'm wrong. Wherever the e appears in the spelling, I can't imagine anybody would drop it. 96.46.204.126 (talk) 18:40, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I was using "English" very loosely. I didn't really mean to be claiming that Spanish has borrowed status necessarily from English rather than directly from Latin, or that recent s+C words from other languages wouldn't be treated the same way. Angr (talk) 19:04, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
All right. I've asked a question about this at the Spanish reference desk. es:Wikipedia:Consultas/Consultas lingüísticas#E inicial en la pronunciación de préstamos que empiezan con s + consonante. 96.46.204.126 (talk) 19:16, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Spanish-English translation[edit]

Can some editor translate following text from [4]

Colegas necesitamos su ayuda, somos Arafael y MarshalN20 necesitamos la ayuda de todos los peruanos para que cambien el título del artículo de wikipedia sobre la chalaca, bloquearon el artículo y quieren dejarlo como chilena no dejemos que esto pase, protesten todos en la página de discusión el mundo tiene que saber que la chalaca es peruana carajo!!

--Best regards, Keysanger (what?) 16:51, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

"Colleagues, we need your help. We are Arafael and MarshalN20 and we need the help of all Peruvians to change the title of the Wikipedia entry on the chalaca. They locked the article and want to leave it as chilena. We must not let this pass. Everyone protest on the talk page. The world has to know that chalaca is Peruvian, damnit!!" Angr (talk) 17:49, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
That's one way to spread the protest around, eh? That reminds me: Does anyone know what would be the Mandarin characters for "Help! I'm a prisoner in a Chinese bakery!" Google Translate has it as 救命啊!我是一個犯人在中國焙烤食品 but I wonder if that's totally correct. You never know bout Google Translate. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:10, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Google Translate is rather worse for Chinese than it is for European languages - the sentence you posted means "Help! I'm a criminal in a baked product in China" 59.108.42.46 (talk) 07:33, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
my attempted translation is "救命!我被囚禁在一个中式面包店" (native speakers please correct me if I'm wrong) 59.108.42.46 (talk) 07:39, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I think the Google Translate result states: "Save me! I am a convict at China [i.e., the country] baked goods!" — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:59, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Bugs, if this is referring to the joke about the fortune cookie message, it may be helpful to note that fortune cookies are American, not Chinese. I also don't think they are baked per se - aren't they made in waffle iron-type things in a factory? A more likely message might be "Help, I'm a prisoner in an American fortune cookie factory!" --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 12:13, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Yeh, except that wouldn't be funny. Chop Suey is American too - supposedly a product of Chinatown in San Francisco. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:18, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Chop suey isn't so sure about that. Rmhermen (talk) 17:18, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
(To Bugs) Would this do for your purpose? "救命!我被关在幸运饼干厂里了!" -- that's literally "Help! I've been locked in a fortune cookie factory!" (I have used a more idiomatic way of saying "I am a prisoner in..." than 59's contribution above). --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 19:26, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
(To Rmhermen) I'm not sure about the claims in chop suey -- the dish by that name in Chinese consists of offal and various animal organs, that there is a dish by the same name in China does not mean American chop suey is not an American innovation. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 19:30, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Just don't confuse American chop suey (the kind served in American-Chinese restaurants) with American chop suey, which is not served in any Chinese restaurants I have ever been in. --Jayron32 04:12, 14 March 2012 (UTC)