Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2013 January 21

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January 21[edit]

Choose Your Own Adventure Book Cover Fonts[edit]

Hello, I was wondering if anybody here would know enough about fonts to tell me what fonts the cover of this book uses: Thanks! ChooseYourOwnFont (talk) 02:52, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

The always invaluable WhatTheFont! says it is either ITC Benguiat or Baldessare. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 02:59, 21 January 2013 (UTC)


About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet #00FFFF
Source [Unsourced]

Is the word aqua an acceptable word in Scrabble? I see this word in online dictionaries but I remember someone told us that this word is unacceptable and I forgot to ask that person why. (talk) 06:35, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm not a Scrabble expert, but it would be very strange if aqua were not allowed. If it were just used to mean "water" one could argue it was a foreign word, but it's also the name of a color, and in that sense it's clearly an English word. --Trovatore (talk) 06:42, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I would be very surprised if it weren't an acceptable word. Sure it's a foreign (Latin) word, but it does have a(n admittedly rare) usage in chemistry as a synonym for water, and is also the name of a colour. It's an English word, and it's not a proper noun. As a complete non-expert who hasn't played Scrabble in over a decade, I would rule this one in. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 06:45, 21 January 2013 (UTC)'
I suspect that its rare usage in chemistry is easily surpassed (in the UK at least) by its common usage in lists of ingredients for cosmetics etc. A moment's research shows that my supermarket own-brand anti-dandruff shampoo lists 'aqua' as its main ingredient, as does an expensive brand of 'Norwegian formula hand cream'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 06:57, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Come to think of it, I think I've seen that in the States as well, though not often. The chemistry usage I'm not so familiar with, though the strange one I have seen fairly often is referring to water as "moisture", as in "methane and oxygen react to form carbon dioxide and moisture". Not sure why they don't just say water — it seems to be one of these odd little discipline-specific affectations, like referring to the number 1 as unity. --Trovatore (talk) 07:31, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Here is the Hasbro Scrabble site and they certainly recognize it. Richard Avery (talk) 08:19, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Often you will find (aq) addended in certain chemical formulas. (e.g. NaOH (aq)) Meaning, of course, the substance is in aquaeous solution. Rare, as the IP and Evanh stated, this synonym is not. --Abracus (talk) 09:23, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Aqueous and aqua are not the same word. --Trovatore (talk) 09:33, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
The version Abracus used, "aquaeous", has 5 vowels in a row. Is that some sort of record? -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 11:12, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
'Queueing' is apparently accepted by the OED as a valid alternative to 'queuing'; there is also the legendary island of Aeaea, although that's a proper noun. AlexTiefling (talk) 11:18, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Speaking of discipline-specific affectations, Trovatore, I had never heard the word "redact" until I arrived in Wikiland. I'm proud to say I have never yet used it. When I remove an OP's email address, I damn well remove it! I don't "redact" it. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 09:26, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, I don't know that that's Wiki-specific. It might be an Americanism, I suppose. It's a pretty standard word used for what government agencies do when they release a document, but with parts of it blacked out. Did you see the Onion piece on how embarrassed the CIA was, when they found out they'd been using black highlighters all these years? --Trovatore (talk) 09:32, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
I used to do that job for a UK government agency. 'Redact' is a perfectly cromulent word, and it's strange to be so mighty proud of not using it. AlexTiefling (talk) 10:21, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
We all come to these things in our own time. I didn't need it before I'd heard of it, and I don't need it now. It seems our page header doesn't need it either: "Don't post personal contact information – it will be removed" (unquote). -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 11:10, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Heh, cromulent FreeMorpheme (talk) 12:50, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
"redact" and "remove" are slightly different in connotation. To remove entirely is to remove, if you remove and leave an indicator in its place that material was removed- whether by blacking out or inserting an editor's note like [redacted], [profanity removed], or [name] then you have redacted. HominidMachinae (talk) 05:48, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Then our page header needs tweaking, because we almost always leave a note explaining why we've removed an OP's email address, and that makes it redaction.
Also, I've heard probably hundreds of news stories over the years about someone gaining access to some official document only to discover the names or other juicy details they so sorely wanted have been "blacked out". I've never heard this described as "redacted", so it seems the general public is not aware of the word. Hence, it remains insider jargon, which is not good news for Outsiders. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 19:45, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Also, we are enjoined on Wikipedia to always leave an edit summary whenever we edit something. In many/mostcases, what we do therefore fits squarely into the definition of "redaction", but I've almost never heard it called that in my 9+ years hanging around this joint. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 23:42, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Possibly of interest to someone: The Italian word for "editor" is redattore, cognate with "redactor". -Trovatore (talk) 09:47, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Sterling Hayden has long been my favorite redactor. μηδείς (talk) 22:42, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
The OED says of redact: "classical Latin redact-, past participial stem of redigere to drive or send back, return, to bring back, restore, to convert, reduce, to bring (into a condition), to bring (under a category), to bring into line. ... The word apparently became obsolete in the mid 18th cent., and was reintroduced in sense 4 [to edit] in the early 19th cent. The dictionaries of Ash (1775) and Todd (1818) mark the word as ‘not used’.". The earliest usages (from the fifteenth century) all seem to be in the sense of "to collect together". The OED traces the chemical (apothecarial?) use of "aqua" to as early as 1398. Dbfirs 09:17, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
In French at least, éditeur means 'publisher' – which makes etymological sense; the roots mean 'out-giver'. (In Esperanto, 'to publish' is eldoni.) —Tamfang (talk) 21:28, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Definitely allowed. The chemistry usage of "aqua" as found in ingredients on cosmetics etc. specifically denotes purified water. As for "foreign words", if you find them in an English dictionary then they're allowed. - filelakeshoe 10:52, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

I've always assumed that "aqua" is put on ingredients lists because it sounds fancy and complicated. Manufacturers don't want to draw attention to the fact that their product is mostly water. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:38, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
No, "Aqua" appears in the INCI ingredients list, and my impression is that some national regulations require names from this list. The Canadian labelling guide, for example, specifies that cosmetics may be listed as containing 'aqua', or both 'water' and 'eau' (or all three). --ColinFine (talk) 10:43, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Trovatore says "it's also the name of a color", but surely that's just Microsoft using it as an abbreviation of "aquamarine", and does not mean it should thenceforward be acceptable in Scrabble. Sussexonian (talk) 12:51, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Is this a sentence?[edit]

With a dozen officers paving the way. I have been told to put this sentence on the end of some copy and it strikes me that it isn't a sentence, and is more of a lead-in to a full sentence. 'It has a verb in, so it's a sentence and is fine' was the reply. Is paving a verb in this context, not a gerund? My knowledge here is a bit shaky. FreeMorpheme (talk) 12:36, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

It's not a sentence, because it doesn't have a main verb. ('Paving' does appear to be a gerund and not a proper verb here, but it's entirely possible to have a phrase with an active verb that's still not a valid sentence - for example, if it starts with a subordinating conjunction and never returns to the main clause.) That's not to say one can never employ fragments. Not at all. But I'm struggling to work out how the fragment you've offered would make a sensible addition to some prose. Your editor is wrong and you are right. AlexTiefling (talk) 12:46, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, that's sweet music to the ears of the griping artworker. Although the fact I will end up putting it in without arguing about it will feature greatly in my Two Minutes Self-Hate later on. FreeMorpheme (talk) 12:59, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
The fragment in question reminds me of some things I've seen in works of fiction in the past. It's not too uncommon to see something like that appended to the end of a short story or a chapter of a novel, usually to add a bit of dramatic tension or reveal something unexpected about the events that have just transpired/are about to transpire. Typically it will lead off from the last sentence in the way that a dependent clause normally would, but often stands on its own as a one-sentence paragraph. I personally almost never use it, but only as I feel it is a cheap way of getting across what should be clear from the surrounding prose (if you're doing your job correctly), and not necessarily because it's grammatically incorrect. All that said, it's not a sentence, and your editor should be ashamed of himself for thinking otherwise. Fire him promptly. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 13:21, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
With relish and no regret. Wait ... -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 20:51, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it's a sentence. But why would there be an absolute requirement for a proper sentence? Putting that sentence fragment "on the end of some copy" would I think impart emphasis to the information contained in that sentence fragment. If that is so, is that emphasis important to the overall "copy"? Bus stop (talk) 21:03, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
The distinction is between (a) utterances that are sentences, and (b) utterances that are appropriate in a piece of writing. Some examples of (b) are not examples of (a). The person who claimed With a dozen officers paving the way is a sentence is clearly wrong, but that doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't belong in the text in question. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 21:27, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Point of order, paving here is a participle, not a gerund. (talk) 10:04, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

From Cinema to English Vocabulary[edit]

Film titles like Catch-22 have found a meaningful place in English vocabulary and some others like Rain Man have connotative significance in (American) English. How many more of these movies do you know? Thanks for any comment or reference. --Omidinist (talk) 18:14, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

I thought "Catch 22" came from the name of the book. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 19:38, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. My response to the OP was 'There's a film of Catch-22?' I think answers to this question will mostly reveal the shallowness of people's pop-cultural references rather than the (genuine) depth that the cinema has brought to our language. (I write as one who took many years to realise where the phrase 'Play it again, Sam' had originated.) AlexTiefling (talk) 19:46, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
You are correct, but I think that cinema and television, for obvious reasons, have much more influence than books in today's English. In the case of Catch-22, I have read the book and have seen the movie. The former is a masterpiece and the latter looks like a trite joke. But I thought perhaps the movie had been the major force behind the spread of the term. --Omidinist (talk) 20:28, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
I think in this case, no. But it's hard to know; the book was certainly very well-known and celebrated already, but that's not to say the movie didn't have a strong effect on people's use of the term. AlexTiefling (talk) 20:37, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
The (other) OED describes the phrase as "in widespread use only after release of movie based on the book in 1970", though it doesn't provide any evidence one way or the other. The OED itself cites the novel in 1961, and the next citation is from 1971. "A Catch-22 situation" is first cited in 1974. AndrewWTaylor (talk) 21:20, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
ObPersonal, but I'd disagree with the OED. I read the book (which was on UK school syllabuses at the time) before the film (which I've never seen) came out, and am quite sure that the term 'Catch 22' was widely understood and used in the UK pre-film. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 13:54, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

To the original question, Lolita is a possibility, but was it from the book or the film? CambridgeBayWeather (talk) 18:22, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

A minor example is E.T. IBE (talk) 18:44, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Lolita and E.T.? Do they have connotations that have made them worthy of having seperate entries in an English language dictionary? --Omidinist (talk) 19:32, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
WordWeb defines Lolita as "A sexually precocious young girl" as does Oxford Dictionaries. See Lolita (given name)#Usage as a word and Help, my name's Lolita. CambridgeBayWeather (talk) 21:46, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
In a somewhat convoluted form, Hell's Angels (film) could be a case...the film is from the 30's, and the founding members of the notorious motorcycle gang were fighter pilots from WWII (with fighter groups being named Hell's Angels, you get the idea...). Lectonar (talk) 22:02, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
King Kong is another case. Lectonar (talk) 22:09, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
All Quiet on the Western Front but I think that one may have fallen out of favour. Star Wars for Strategic Defense Initiative, Dr. Strangelove and Strangelovian. CambridgeBayWeather (talk) 23:34, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
All Quiet on the Western Front, the book, was on my school syllabus and I think I did see the film (not sure). But another unclear example, I think. Rmhermen (talk) 05:38, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the book was on the school syllabus in Germany too, so I think it is more the book than the film. Lectonar (talk) 07:57, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
How about Rambo for a war veteran unable to integrate back into civilian society who turns to violence ? StuRat (talk) 05:57, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
The term must have an entry for itself in an English Language Dictionary. Otherwise it is supposed that it is not current in the language, in spite of its connotations in people's minds. --Omidinist (talk) 10:14, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
On the other hand, lexicologists/-ographers/-ostrophists can't have their fingers on every possible pulse, and they are, by definition, always behind the 8-ball. The presence of a word in a dictionary does indicate its acceptance, but its absence does not necessarily indicate its rejection. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 19:23, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
But its absence shows that it has not yet been accepted as a lasting lexical entity. Time will decide its fate. --Omidinist (talk) 04:39, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Again, that depends on which dictionary one is using. We've talked here previously about how people say "That's not a word, it's not in the dictionary" (my bolding), as if there is only one dictionary in the world, and the one they happen to own is it. My first port of call on many language questions is an excellent dictionary I bought in late 1974 or early 1975. What it does have is still great information, but I am well aware it is thoroughly out of date, and it would be folly of me to deny the existence of words like "ipod" or "rap dance" or "internet", based on their absence from my dictionary. Other dictionaries surely have those words. And these days, lots of words and expressions end up on websites rather than a traditional paper book. Some would say "The Urban Dictionary" is not a dictionary at all. Others would strongly disagree. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 20:38, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
[See Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2009 February 19#The dictionary.
Wavelength (talk) 20:45, 25 January 2013 (UTC)]
Ah, yes, thank you, Wavelength. Still most enjoyable reading. Such memories .... -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 21:16, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Any definition difference between lights and colors[edit]

For a while when people refer me talking about lights they usually mean I am talking about colors, since I talk about blue lights, yellow lights and red lights a lot, and colors of street signs and traffic light poles in every city, I would normally think there would be difference between lights and colors. Is there actually virtual difference between lights and colors or there is not much difference. Even if people tell me there is no significant difference between lights and colors I will still try to think there is a difference.-- (talk) 20:49, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

You should read up on Color vision. In the strictest sense, color is either a) a wavelength or b) a mixture of wavelengths which are perceived by our eyes as such. Our eyes have four types of vision cells in them: one type (the "rods") detect the intensity of light, but are not "tuned" to any one wavelength (they respond to a broad range ofwavelengths) while the other three types are the "cones", each of which is "tuned" to a specific range of wavelengths (that is, the effective range of each cone is a narrow band of frequencies, centered on a specific wavelength). Now, what we perceive as any color depends mostly upon how strongly each of the three types of cone cells is stimulated. By mixing the input signals of the three cone cells together, our brain constructs a color for us of what we are seeing. Now, the thing is the brain can't tell if the stimulation is caused by one wavelength, or by several. So, there are actually different ways that can stimulate the cone cells in exactly the same manner; for example a specific mixture of red and green light will be perceived as identical to a pure yellow light, because the red/green mixture and the pure yellow stimulate the cone cells in exactly the same way. Furthermore, we can actually perceive more colors than exist in nature. There are non-spectral colors which cannot be reproduced by a single wavelength of light; the purples which are formed by mixtures of red and blue light cannot be reproduced as a single wavelength, for example. --Jayron32 22:36, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
I'll address the semantic aspect possibly involved in the situation you describe. The way a traffic signal with colored lights works, one bulb at a time is illuminated ("on") behind a translucent colored disc which shines brighter than the non-illuminated ones at that time. In American English (to which my personal knowledge is limited) we refer to "red light" and "green light" for "stop" and "go" respectively - because when that signal is "on," that color is illuminated. Outside the traffic signal context, a "red light" on some electrical or electronic devices can indicate a warning. When someone says "We've got a green light [for our project]," it indicates permission to proceed, taken from the traffic signal context. -- Deborahjay (talk) 05:59, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
There can be a meaningful distinction, not always made, between a coloured object which is only seen by reflected light (originating from the Sun or an artificial light source), and a (usually artificial) 'light' – such as a traffic control lamp – that generates and radiates its own light. However, the word "light" is used in a range of related meanings which can often become confused, and the exact meaning being conveyed in any instance is heavily dependent on current/local idiom and context: these may confuse a non-native speaker of English. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 14:04, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

What the Bible's book are most translated?[edit]

The UNS's statistics says that at least one portion of the Bible was translated into 823 languages as of December 31, 2011. Wycliffe Bible Translators give a greater number, about 2,800 languages. I suppose the Lord's Prayer is the most translated verses of all. But what about the entire book? It seems that this must be one of the Gospels, but which one?--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 22:37, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Psalms is also very widely translated, and is also current concurrently in several different versions of the same language; even the most traditional Church of England church has two different versions of psalms, in different forms of Early Modern English. Of the Gospels, Mark is sometimes chosen for its extreme brevity and directness, and John for its clearer, more refined doctrinal emphasis. I wouldn't like to conjecture which of them is most translated, although I vaguely recall a particular effort a few years ago to distribute lots of copies of Mark. AlexTiefling (talk) 22:52, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Just speculation; but I suspect that the Gospels and Psalms are the most translated, followed by the rest of the New Testament. Many "pocket" bibles I have seen consist mostly of just the four Gospels and Psalms. I wish I could find it (a Google search turns up "The Bible is the most translated book in the world" pages when you try "What is the most translated book of the Bible", so the search for the specific book gets confused) but I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Gospel of John is usually the first book to be translated into a new language. Then there is The Jesus Film Project, which has translated a film based on the Gospel of Luke into something like 1000 languages. In actuality, the place to direct any inquiries about translations of the Bible would be Ethnologue; perhaps there's a way to contact someone there to ask your question. --Jayron32 22:56, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
All these guys say it's Mark. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 05:33, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't call that "all these guys". It's two sources, copied over 6 different websites. But it's something. --Jayron32 05:51, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
I guess it would also depend on what timeframe you're looking at, and how you define "translations". It's rare, at least in the past century or two, for Christian and (to a lesser extent) secular translators to mint a new translation of individual books rather than the entire canon. Even if the books are released in a piecemeal fashion, the goal is almost always to produce a complete Bible. That fact basically gives a baseline number of translations that include the entire Protestant canon (the Apocrypha will be underrepresented here, for obvious reasons); if 99% of translations are of the entire bible, it's translations of individual books that make the difference as to which has been translated "most".
If we're discussing individual units distributed, then I'd say the gospels probably win, with Mark possibly being slightly ahead (a short aside here: I was actually really surprised to see Mark cited as the most translated gospel; I would have expected John). If, however, we're discussing "translations" as individual literary works, counting each unique rendering into another language as a "translation", then things become significantly more complicated. Should the Diatessaron be considered a translation of the Gospels, for example? And what about translations of that document? Can the Targums be thought of as translations of the Pentateuch in the same way that the NIV is? The definitions are ambiguous; that's the main problem. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 07:52, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
At least it's enough to count only by languages and books. To count all the different translations together by languages, books and translators is another task and, I think, more difficult. I suppose the languages still having only a portion are small minority/tribal ones. Though you gave a new idea to me, is it possible that one book draws translators' or writers' attention much more than others? --Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 22:02, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, I suppose if you're a Christian missionary your attention will be more likely to be drawn to the gospels rather than, say, the Book of Esther. Of the gospels, like I said, I would have expected John to be the most translated, due to its Christological implications, upon which much emphasis is placed by pretty much of the Church. Matthew has always been the most popular in missions to the Jews in particular, but I really don't know how or why Mark would manage to be the most popular among translators. If we're just counting languages, I am 100% certain that one of the gospels wins it. I'm just not sure which one. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 00:20, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, I have not thought of using the quotes. So I myself guessed it could be also Luke (apart from obvious John), but honestly I do not know why I thought about Luke, but not about Mark.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 22:02, 22 January 2013 (UTC)