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April 16


Hello, which answer is correct? Example A: You have nothing to do? —Yes, I have nothing to do. Example B: You have nothing to do? —No, I have nothing to do. 雞雞 (talk) 21:00, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

The question is incorrect. It should be "Do you have nothing to do?", and then the answer would be either "Yes, I have nothing to do" or "No, I have something to do." Now, it gets complicated with negative questions. "Don't you have anything to do?" would be answerd by, "Yes, I have something to do." or "No, I don't have anything to do." Yes = positive, and agrees with the verb in the answer. No = negative, and likewise agrees with the verb in the answer, unlike in Chinese, where 'dui' means 'yes, what you have just said is correct' and 'bu' means 'no, what you have just said is incorrect.', the same as with answers to positive questions in English. The problem here is that the OP's question translates directly from Chinese as "Don't you have something/anything to do?" as there is no way other than that to ask if a person has 'nothing to do'. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 21:24, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Yes would be affirming that you have nothing to do, so that's correct. However, some people tend to respond to prompts rather than the words within those prompts, so even some native English speakers might answer that question with "no, I have nothing to do." In this case, "you have nothing to do" and "do you have anything to do" both belong to the same prompt. What do I mean by prompts? When I was working retail, all the other cashiers would ask "How are you today?" I would ask "did you find everything alright today?" Most customers respond to me with answers appropriate for "How are you today?" instead of what I actually asked. Ian.thomson (talk) 21:29, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Maybe because your question was ambiguous. It could have meant "Did you succeed in finding the things you were looking for?", or it could have meant "Was everything in an acceptable condition?". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:44, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Neither of those questions concerns the customers' wellbeing, however. "I'm fine, and you?" is very much a response to "how are you today?" Ian.thomson (talk) 21:47, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
It could also be construed as specifically today, as compared to other days when they may not have had a satisfactory experience. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 23:11, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
I tend to answer such questions with "My parole officer has advised me not to discuss it." That usually satisfies'em. μηδείς (talk) 21:50, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
I love it when I go to the doctor and he asks me "How are you?" My answer always is, "You're supposed to tell me that." KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 00:38, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
That's old-school thinking, KT. Doctors are busy people and haven't got time for trivial details like signs and symptoms. In these latter days of internet-based self-diagnosis, you get to the point straight away and tell the doctor exactly what's wrong, and he/she says "OK, I'll prescribe X for that. That'll be $100 for my valuable time. Bye. Next." -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:12, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Wrong! My nurse-practitioner charges $80. μηδείς (talk) 01:39, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Ah, you poor people. It's free in the UK. :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 11:35, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Don't kid yourself. No charge per service =/= free. UK taxes, high by international standards, pay for your "free" health service, and they apply equally to the healthy and the sick. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 12:06, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Is that what you use for the "not equals" sign in Aussieland ? It's ≠ here, or perhaps ~= or != or <> if you lack that special character. StuRat (talk) 18:30, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
It's just my personal way. Thanks for the reminder about ≠. Now, I need to tell you that "Aussie" always refers to a person, not to the Great South Land. Imagine if I said I'm going to Yank or Kiwi or Pommie for a holiday.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:35, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
OK, I tacked on land. StuRat (talk) 22:06, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
On the principle that there "...followeth not the undoing of any man, but the loss lighteth rather easily upon many than heavy upon few" (the dictum underlying the Common Law relating to insurance). Alansplodge (talk) 18:07, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
I know, Jack. Plus, we have National Insurance, a bit like buying a pre-paid top-up regularly for a mobile you might only use half a dozen times in a lifetime. Immigrants who are not working and random foreign tourists here, however, do not have that problem. It's free for them, too. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 14:41, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Non-EU residents are supposed to pay for NHS treatment, but aren't often billed because of the admin costs. However, this is the subject of a recent clampdown - see NHS hospital patients may have to show ID to access treatment. Alansplodge (talk) 17:57, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I was going to mention that, but the situation is still slightly fuzzy, and is not being implemented just yet. We'll have to wait until Cameron and Clegg abdicate for everything to be sorted out. The two of them can't even decide which house to live at. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 18:49, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
"But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.". [1] Alansplodge (talk) 17:58, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Why has that beautiful poem never come my way before now? Thanks for sharing, Mr Splodge. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:40, 18 April 2015 (UTC)—
Nice one, thanks. Posted it on FB. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 20:46, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I thought KageTora might like it. I love the way that the worst thing that GKC can say about oppressive bureaucrats is "Their doors are shut in the evenings; and they know no songs." Shame upon them. Alansplodge (talk) 23:40, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for sharing that great poem Mr Splodge, I too have nicked it for FB. I must take issue with the above discussion, or part of it though: people who pay no income tax in the UK still contribute to the NHS and the other State institutions, as we still pay VAT: indeed, every time you buy anything you contribute because what you buy goes to pay other people's income taxes. (BTW this point gets conveniently overlooked so often it annoys me, so I do pick people up on it.) --TammyMoet (talk) 14:16, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

April 17

In (the) hospital

I know that in the US people say that a person is "in the hospital", and in the UK we say "in hospital" - [2]. Which style is prevalent in Australia and New Zealand? Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:11, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

In the North of England (at least the North West), we use both, but certainly witha preference for the latter. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 12:36, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
In Scouseland it would be "ozzie" or even "in the ozzie". Martinevans123 (talk) 12:44, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Din' wanna confewze tings, lar. Sum pipl 'ere a forrenuz. In fakht, 'in ozzie' iz not az commun az 'in dee ozzie'. Ah'll ass me baird n see wo' she sez. :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 14:22, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
"Cairm down! Cairm down!" (... Dey do, doh, don't dey, doh?) Martinevans123 (talk) 15:23, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
The Scottish Corpus gives 23 occurrences of "in the hospital" and 64 of "in hospital", but it is obvious from the result the "the" version is more colloquial. The British Corpus gives 271 "in the hospital" and 1697 "in hospital".--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 16:22, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
'In hospital' down here. But are you sure the USians say 'in the hospital', outside of contexts where the particular hospital is specified? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 13:32, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, Jack, we do. We say "in jail" and "in school", but for some reason we use the definite article with hospital even if the particular one is unknown or unspecified. Deor (talk) 14:26, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, indeed. But you're just using one way to analogize... there are other analogies to draw. Do they say "He's in bathroom [or restroom/water closet/whatever]" in the UK? Or "I have a flat in city?" Or, turning it around, do they say "Let's go to hospital?" I suspect not for all of these, but someone will correct me if I'm wrong about that. I don't think this dropping (or adding, depending on your perspective) of articles follows any rules or patterns. I think it's just custom and accident of history, but I'd welcome refs to the contrary :) SemanticMantis (talk) 15:38, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
'in hospital' also occurs in Canadian English, at least in Ontario. Rmhermen (talk) 15:09, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
It occurs, but it's unusual. For me (SW Ontario), it's always "in the hospital". If I hear it without the article, I assume a foreign speaker who hasn't had all his articles returned during the customs check. Matt Deres (talk) 16:10, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
I was born in Women's and Children's Hospital in Detroit, due north of the SW Ontario city of Windsor, and grew up watching three U.S. TV stations and one Canadian station. Not surprising that broadcast language diffusion would allow Americanisms to seep across the border. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:16, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Actually it may be broadcast language where it differs. I keep hearing Ontarians denying that they use "in hospital" but it noticeably jumps out as odd when I hear it on CBC. When I check, for instance, a recent border shooting I find: U.S. sources: "the hospital" NY Daily News; "at a hospital", NY Times; "a hospital", USA Today; "to the hospital", WXYZ Detroit, "a local hospital", NBC; versus Canadian: "from hospital", CBC; and Toronto Star, "in hospital", CTV News and AM980 London. Rmhermen (talk) 03:10, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
As another Ontarian, to me "in hospital" sounds like the sort of thing very very old people would say, or "broadcast language", as you mention. "Two people are in hospital following an accident" for example, sounds very journalistic. If I was talking about a family member, I would of course say "in the hospital". Adam Bishop (talk) 14:21, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Adam, are you OK with "I almost bumped into novelist Margaret Atwood on the street today"? Or would you naturally say "... the novelist Margaret Atwood ..."? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:35, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Why would you say 'almost bumped into [smbdy]'? Would you have been in a car and nearly rear-ended the car in front? Or would this be in a supermarket, where you are too busy looking at the items on sale to care about your surroundings, but barely managed to not bump into someone else who was likewise not caring about their surroundings? Or does it mean you just happened to see someone whom you do not wish to talk to and were able to hide yourself from? KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 09:05, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Either would be fine in the US. StuRat (talk) 19:42, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
The first version is a bit more natural-sounding, but both would work for me too. It would be unnatural to have to describe who Margaret Atwood is, haha. In fact I actually used to live in the same neighbourhood as her... Adam Bishop (talk) 20:52, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I was assuming you were talking to an international friend who may have vaguely heard of her but wasn't sure what she was notable for, so you were just helping them out in order to avoid them having to ask and reveal their shameful lack of knowledge. Sorry. Perhaps I should have stated that assumption, but I assumed you would have assumed I wasn't talking about a fellow Canadian. Lesson: It's fine to make assumptions, as long as you don't assume that such assumptions bear any relationship to the truth.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 03:09, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Margaret Atwood transcends all borders and nationalities! (I'm pretty sure.) Adam Bishop (talk) 14:18, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
I've never heard of her. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 08:58, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
"This is an aiport announcement. If you see an indefinite article in the departures lounge, please notify security immediately." :) In English, we can say 'He has gone to the airport,' even though there are multiple airports in my area alone. 'In the hospital', to me, would normally be for either a visit or as an out-patient. 'In hospital', on the other hand, would generally refer to the person being an in-patient. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 16:50, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
See also this previous thread on the same subject (I remembered it because I started it). Alansplodge (talk) 17:48, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
At a quick scan I didn't see anything in that thread about (the) sea, which seems to be the same issue. I always remembered it as "home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill", until I actually re-read it and noticed that the first the wasn't there. --Trovatore (talk) 20:35, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
That is because the sailor is not the actual house. 'Home', here, means 'at home', just with the 'at' missed out. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 11:36, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Hmm? Not sure what you understood, here.
Actually, I looked it up again, and I'm not sure which is the offical line. What I was remembering was that I first read it as "home is the sailor, home from the sea", and later found out it was "home is the sailor, home from sea". But when I searched it again, I found the version I remembered the first time. So maybe I just invented the "home from sea" version in my head? Not sure why I would do that, exactly. --Trovatore (talk) 18:11, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I misunderstood that you were saying that the word 'home' should have had a 'the' before it. 'At sea' is perfectly common, and I guess that 'home from sea' could be analogically acceptable. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 13:46, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Following up, though not sure anyone else cares, here's what happened. "Home is the sailor, home from the sea" is indeed the line from the piece I was thinking of, namely Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson. However, "home is the sailor, home from sea" is the first line of Home is the Sailor by A. E. Housman. So probably at some point I searched for the Stevenson line and found Housman hits, and mistakenly marked down in my head that I had misremembered Stevenson, which in fact I had not done. --Trovatore (talk) 03:10, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
I once spent six months in the hospital, although there were three of them, two unaffiliated. μηδείς (talk) 18:20, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I was in the hospital three times last year. Remind me to get the brakes on my mountain bike fixed. <- Now, here, nobody reading that sentence knows which hospital I went to, as I haven't specified one, but it is perfectly acceptable for me to use 'the' here. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 06:38, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Any Aussie worth his salt would say that without the "the", unless he were referring to a particular hospital. That's why we're special. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 08:33, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, in the UK, as iterated above, we can say it with or without the 'the'. We Brits are flexible. This is how we invented your country. :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 10:20, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Ha! We've taken it upon ourselves to relegate you from "mother country" to "foreign power".  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:29, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Ah, but you still have our flag covering part of yours, and you yourself even bear its name, dear Jack... :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 22:15, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Grrrrr ... -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:11, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
All the anarthrous cases are institutions, whether or not they are also places. So "to prison", "to school" are like "to choir practice" or "to tennis" rather than like "to the sea" or "to the house". This still doesn't answer the question of just which institutions are anarthrous, or the different answers to that question in different parts of the anglosphere. --ColinFine (talk) 11:26, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Helpful link. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:03, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Alternatively, use 'define:anarthrous' in a Google search. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 14:02, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

To <something or nothing> hospital

My edit summary here reminded me of the above discussion. In a similar case, where the identity of the hospital was completely irrelevant, would other ENGVARs say that he died:

  • on the way to a hospital
  • on the way to the hospital, or
  • on the way to hospital (my preferred version)? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:11, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Funnily enough, this very morning one of the anchors on Canada AM said someone was "taken to hospital". Adam Bishop (talk) 12:44, 20 April 2015 (UTC)


You can do something in a nonchalant manner. Can something be done in a "chalant" manner? Why is there no such word (at least in English)? Dismas|(talk) 22:19, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Solutely not. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:30, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
nonchalant/nonchalance aren't listed there, but there are other examples in our article unpaired word.
The verbs nonchaloir and chaloir both once existed in French, but in French too, only the negative form "nonchalant" has survived as an adjectival gerund, so it's an unpaired word in French as well (though there is the noun "chalant" as a rare variety of chaland, which has the same roots, but isn't the antonym of nonchalant). ---Sluzzelin talk 22:56, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Hmmm... sounds like "chalant" is dyscromulant. Or should that be noncromulant? Or incromulant, etc, etc? --Shirt58 (talk) 02:33, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
None of the above. Whatever the prefix may be, the ending is -ent, not -ant.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 08:36, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Well I know you are all upside down, Jack, on your side of the world, but what on earth are you saying? Dbfirs 09:06, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I think the confusion comes because you only have one vowel in your six letter username. :) See cromulent. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 09:23, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank, KT, and apologies to Jack. I see what he was replying to now (It's not a word in my dictionary). Dbfirs 09:35, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Why Aye, yee should get yeeself a be'ah one then :) Or does Biffa Bacon count as a dictionary up there? :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 09:46, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I had to look that up because I'm a long way from Newcastle (actually nearer to Scouseland linguistically). My dictionary has "cromlech" but is probably waiting to see whether "cromulent" takes off as a word. It's only in Wikipedia and Wiktionary that I have ever see it, though it's possibly more common on the other side of the pond where it was invented. Dbfirs 10:46, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
As Wiktionary says, it was a humorous neologism by some random American comedy writer, and I have only seen the word used twice - both times here on the Ref Desk, and actually both times in recent weeks. I doubt the word will take off, as its meaning (as stated in Wiktionary) is far too broad. And sorry for the Newcastle reference, but anything further up north than us up north is Geordie :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 11:41, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Oh golly, golly gum-drops. This little koala suspected that "dyscromulant", "noncromulant" and so on might be misspelled when the browser spell-checker put wavey red lines under them. But as an arboreal herbivorous marsupial, I'm rather nonchalent about these sort of things. Phascolarctos cinereus aka --Shirt58 (talk) 12:44, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I unagree, the term cromulent is certainly less dispopular on the side of the pond where it was coined than on the other side of the pond where it was invented. Given it is a millennium old, it's dislikely to inappear. μηδείς (talk) 18:06, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Given the British term for grammatically correct, "glamourous" has taken on other meanings, one needs such a term as cromulent. μηδείς (talk) 18:18, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I note that Wiktionary has yet to create an entry for the old Scots term glamerous (noisesome). Dbfirs 19:28, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
That term "nonchalant" means "not caring".[3] So you could theoretically say you're doing thinks "chalantly", but you would be more apt to say "caring" or "careful". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:57, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Or "undisinterested". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:27, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, that's just silly. μηδείς (talk) 20:34, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
You undismisunderestimate Jack's wisdom, Medeis. And what the hell has that map got to do with this thread? KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 06:33, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. But wisdom? Must be the Wisdom of the Ancient.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 08:26, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, you must admit, you are no spring chicken, are you? Or would that be a spring Echidna, whatever the bloody hell that is? :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 09:37, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
All that matters is how one feels. I, for example, feel like a healthy young man. (His name must be Sebastian and he must have emerald green eyes.) :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 09:53, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, that rules me out on all four counts. :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 10:16, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Ah, so your name is Sebastian! μηδείς (talk) 04:08, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
No, just the 'man' bit applies to me. At least, the last time I looked. :) KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 04:56, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

April 18


Is the verb to disallow computer-speak or formal language? How does it differ from forbid or deny? In my dictionary it is "refusing to allow". Is it more like a technical restriction? Driving under influence may be forbidden by law but can be "disallowed" by hiding the car keys? Is that it? Please advise me about the correct use. --Pxos (talk) 07:28, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

It's formal enough, its use goes back centuries, such as in the King James Bible [4]. Its main use is in language referring to laws or rules - we say in football that a goal is 'disallowed' if an infringement of the rules occurred, such as offside or a foul. In computer-speak it's used as the opposite of 'allow'. Here are some examples of its recent usage from Google Books. Mikenorton (talk) 07:57, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
... and in your car keys example, "prevented" would be more appropriate in your sentence. "Disallow" goes back to Middle English in the fourteenth century, but in modern English it tends to be used more in the context of rules and regulations. Dbfirs 09:02, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
To me "disallowed" is the softest way of saying "forbidden", "refused", or "denied". For example, the IRS may say that a particular deduction is disallowed. That doesn't mean a prison sentence if you used it, just that you have to recalculate your taxes without that deduction. StuRat (talk) 16:55, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
To "disallow" is to do the opposite of allowing.[5]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:54, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
To "dis aloud" means to insult audibly. μηδείς (talk) 17:59, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

April 19

Migratory possessive

This is a rather silly question, but I'm mainly wondering whether any academic studies treat this matter. There's a commercial on U.S. TV for some prescription drug, featuring Arnold Palmer and two other guys as shills. The last line spoken by Palmer is "Like your guys(') score", referring to the supposed bad golf scores of the other guys. (There's no telling whether he's treating guys as possessive, since the pronunciation would be the same either way.) Now, personally, I would treat "you guys" as a unit and say or write "Like you guys' scores"—note the plural scores—as a Southerner would presumably say "Like y'all's scores". I assume that Palmer is just saying what he was told to say, but the question is, Has any linguistic scholar noted this sort of use of the possessive (personal) pronoun when one would expect only the following word to be possessive in form? I'm finding it a hard thing to search for. Deor (talk) 02:58, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

I have increasingly heard "your guys" as the possessive form of "you guys" during the last ten or twenty years, and frankly it's an abomination, but that's English for ya. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:22, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
It's either that or youse guys's. Take your pick. μηδείς (talk)
"Like you guys' scores" is nonsense English. "Like your guys' (or guy's) scores" is perfectly acceptable, assuming that the first person pronoun "I" is left out (which is common) and you are talking to the manager and not the guys themselves. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 07:30, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, took me a while to understand it. I suppose it's possible, as in "You people's attitude towards..." could be used. In the example that Deor has said, I believe it should be plural, as "You guy" is not a phrase in the singular, whereas "You guys" is perfectly normal. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 07:36, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
I've normally heard it when someone is addressing a group, like in a meeting, and says "your guys stuff" instead of "you guys' stuff". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:10, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
I just saw that commercial for Xarelto five seconds ago, and at the end Arnold Palmer says to Kevin Nealon and Brian Vickers, "Like your guys' scores." Palmer did use the plural scores. (video)    → Michael J    19:47, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Yep, that's an example. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:39, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
You're right, Michael J, and I was wrong. I failed to pick that up when sitting across the room from my TV set. Doesn't change the main question about "your guys", though. Deor (talk) 10:22, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
The Grammarphobia Blog suggests that "your guys" comes about by analyzing "you guys" as two words in apposition. I'm not 100% convinced this is the correct analysis, but it is plausible. Either way, the existence of the blog post serves as evidence that the phenomenon has been discussed by at least some people who write books about English grammar. --Amble (talk) 23:30, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
What's going on here is that in some varieties of English (including my own, when in a familiar and not professional context), you guys is a 2nd person plural pronoun. (It may once have been used only when speaking to males, but it has become gender-neutral.) In this construct, guys is a particle or modifier that makes you plural. The possessive form of you is of course your. The base form in your guys is your. Guys is tacked on to indicate a plural number. I agree that, from the perspective of standard English, this is an awkward form. That said, I have probably used it because it solves a problem in standard English. That is, there is no possessive pronoun to use, when speaking to more than one person, to indicate that something belongs to more than one of them. Marco polo (talk) 15:05, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

April 20

English/Chinese proverb

Many little things done in many little places by many little people will change the face of the world is supposed to be a Chinese proverb.

(a) Can anybody here confirm that?
(b) Into which aspect of Chinese philosophy would this proverb fit?
(c) Any person with Chinese as mother (or father) tongue who could give the Chinese translation for further research?
(d) All wrong? A Westerner invented it and made it more interesting as "Chinese proverb" (as it is also found occasionally als "African proverb"?
Very curious... GEEZERnil nisi bene 08:12, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
I would be more curious to know why you have linked to a Danish Google Books site which has nothing to do with the question, but rather more about primary health care. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 13:53, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Sorry. When you search this sentence, it is mentioned (and shown) as chinese proverb in this book. GoogleBooks! I'll get back at you!!! GEEZERnil nisi bene 05:43, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
It is not obvious to English speakers with no knowledge of North Germanic languages, but if you click the little button on the linked Danish page labeled "søg" ("search"), you will find a snippet from this healthcare text that quotes the supposed Chinese proverb. I can read Chinese and have come across a number of Chinese proverbs, and this does not sound like one to me. They are usually pithier and less optimistic. However, I cannot say with certainty that it isn't a Chinese proverb. Marco polo (talk) 14:55, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Cheers, Marco. I do actually understand Danish - how else would I have been able to identify the language and not mistake it for Norwegian? I just wasn't sure how to use the site. KägeTorä - () (もしもし!) 04:59, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  • The phrase "Old Chinese Proverb" is subtext for [citation needed]. Meaning, when you append the phrase "Old Chinese proverb" to a bit of Wisdom, what you mean to say is "There's this aphorism that no one knows the origin for, so if I just call it an "Old Chinese proverb", I can get away with sounding wise or learned." That's all it means. --Jayron32 15:04, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Oh, come on. You make it sound like there's no such thing as an old Chinese proverb! I take your point, and often these claims are unsourced/uncited, and cannot be traced to any old-ish texts.
But that doesn't mean that the claim of "Old Chinese Proverb" is never true. Consider a counter-example. A Chinese friend told me a story that her parents told her. She didn't give it any source, other than her parents told her it was an old story. With a little bit of googling, I found this nice page [6], telling various versions of the "Taoist Farmer" - though most of the cited sources are modern. A little more searching and I'm fairly confident the tale is contained in Huainanzi, which is a few thousand years old, as translated here [7]. Probably, it would be better described as a parable rather than a proverb. If you want a more canonical proverb, how about "To be truly happy and contented, you must let go of the idea of what it means to be truly happy or content.", from Liezi. Here's a whole list of proverb-ish quotes from old Chinese texts [8], including Tao Te Ching, Zhuangzi, and the aforementioned Liezi. Granted, I don't read any sort of Chinese, so maybe all these translations and attributions are lying to us, but that doesn't seem parsimonious to me :) SemanticMantis (talk) 16:51, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
@SemanticMantis:, now this is spooky FUNNY ! I wrote the article about the parable of the old Daoist for the de:WP. :-) In the original it is called something like Good luck in bad luck - and bad luck in good luck. Feel free to use it. ;-) GEEZERnil nisi bene 05:51, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
The Chinese have proverbs, and Albert Einstein[9], Winston Churchill[10], and Abraham Lincoln[11] all said witty things. I just take no belief such attributions as true or false without further proof, given the number of times it's wrong. It's not that all of them are always false, it's that the truthfulness of it is undetermined. Or to put it more succinctly: I didn't say I knew it was wrong, I said I didn't know if it was right. That's all [citation needed] means, after all. --Jayron32 19:14, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Fwiw, some related Chinese proverbs. I cannot personally verify the veracity of the site, but it looks more credible than most lists of Old Chinese/African/Jungle Sayings. Abecedare (talk) 19:29, 20 April 2015 (UTC)


How do you pronounce Sasseneire, a mountain of the Alps? Analphil (talk) 16:00, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Youtube is often a great tool for this kind of information: see this video around 0:12. - Lindert (talk) 16:19, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
As I suspected: /sas nɛʁ/ —Tamfang (talk) 06:34, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Year in article head

Articles for Bandy World Championships have recently been moved from (e.g.) Bandy World Championship 2015 to 2015 Bandy World Championship. Is this due to some rule in the Manual of Style which I can't find or is it a general linguistic rule for English? Skogsvandraren (talk) 16:50, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

It is more common, in English, to put the year first. You could put the year last, but then I'd put parentheses around it. StuRat (talk) 17:11, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't know of a general rule, but this is consistent with individual instances of the FIFA World Cup (e.g. 1966) and Olympic Games (e.g. 2012), whose titles have the year first. AndrewWTaylor (talk) 17:17, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(events)#Conventions is the relevant guideline. AndrewWTaylor (talk) 17:40, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
That's how it's usually done with the sports seasons, tournaments and championships articles on Wikipedia. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:14, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

April 21