Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Language/2006 September 29

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Definition of "actuarially"[edit]

I have searched and searched for a specific definition of the word "actuarially" and so far have nor been able to find a definition specifically associated with that word.

If someone could help that would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, Martha J. Hoover County of Sacramento

It is the adverb corresponding to the adjective "actuarial", as in "actuarial science", which means: related to whatever it is an actuary is supposed to be involved with. An older meaning than the one in our article is: a registrar.  --LambiamTalk 05:35, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Actuaries are involved in calculating the likelihood of risky events, such as the death of the holder of a life-insurance policy or pension. (Actually, in the case of pensions, the risk is that the pensioner will remain alive.) So, "actuarially" means something like, "according to the calculations of actuaries" or "from the viewpoint of calculating risk". Marco polo 17:52, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

in the works[edit]

Could anyone explain what does the phrase "the hub was in the works in New York" means?

"In the works" means "being worked on", or "being made". The meaning is pretty vague (unclear), so it doesn't always mean that "the hub is being made", as it can sometimes mean something closer to "we are thinking of making the hub". Hope this helps.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  05:43, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I suppose it could also be using "works" as a noun — a printing works, for example. The "hub" could then be the centre of a network of some sort — say, "the hub of the leaflet distribution network was the printing works in New York", or something of that sort. I suspect the first suggestion is probably better, though. Is there any context you can provide? -- Vardion 09:13, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
That's true, though since it's a well known English idiom, I doubt anybody would actually say that unless they were deliberately trying to be confusing.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  11:10, 29 September 2006 (UTC)


what is that eleven letter word that means a light fall of rain? 05:16, 29 September 2006 (UTC)ivanne

I can think of only precipitate.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  05:46, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I wonder if we ought to supplement {{homework}} with {{crossword}}. :-) --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 11:33, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Not while crossword questions are still considered valid!  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  12:09, 29 September 2006 (UTC)


What's the etymology behind the world "welterweight"? zafiroblue05 | Talk 07:45, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

See etymonline. Originally, it seems to have referred to a heavyweight horseman.---Sluzzelin 08:28, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

is this the correct trnslation[edit]

name-mithun verghis

class -9c

school -indian school al ghubra

topic -french project on indian cuisine


1 introduction

2 the recipe for samosas

3 the recipe for rice biryani

4 the recipe for gulab jamun

is this the correct french translation

nom- mithun verghis


ecole-le ecole indienne ghubra

regarder- dossier francais cuisine indienne


1 introduction

2 recette pour samosas

3 recette pour riz biryani

4 recette pour goulab jamun

these are indian dishes so i wouldnt be surprise if u didint know about them , but do tell me if it is correct and can u give me words which mean the same thing as bon apetite .sil vous plait!!Mi2n15 09:37, 29 September 2006 (UTC) dont delete out my name because i dont care if anyone sees it and alo class 9 in the indian schooling system is roughly equivilant to grade nine and the C is the section i am in Mi2n15 09:40, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't think "contents" is "contentu" and l'école follows elision. That's all I can think of, now... 惑乱 分からん 09:44, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I believe you're missing quite a few articles (le, la, un, une), not to mention that you seem to be using very little grammar where it's required. "dossier francais cuisine indienne" is nothing but "french project indian cuisine". I can't guess where you're supposed to be masculine or feminine though, so somebody else will have to point out which are which...  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  11:08, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
A translation from a French native speaker :

Nom : mithun verghis

classe : 9c

Ecole : Ecole indienne de ghubra

Sujet : Project Francais sur la cuisine indienne


1 Introduction

2 Recette pour samosas

3 Recette pour riz biryani

4 Recette pour gulab jamun

Lgriot 13:20, 29 September 2006 (UTC

I think "Indian School Al Ghubra" is the name of the school, and should perhaps not be translated (just like "Massachusetts Institute of Technology" is not translated into Institut de technologie du Massachusetts).  --LambiamTalk 14:20, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

but the accent marks could u tell me where to put them in the sentences pleaseMi2n15 14:01, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

In any case "français", with a cedilla under the "c". Also, it is "École", with an acute accent on the "E", but in French it is actually not uncommon to omit it on a capital letter, as you can see for instance here.  --LambiamTalk 14:29, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

i had no idea my school had an article about it i was thinking of starting one any way mr lambian it is a school any idea who wrote that article was it a recent addition or has it been there for a long time Mi2n15 15:11, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

If you go to the article on ISG and click on the tab labelled "history" near the top of the page, you can see the editors who contributed to the article. It was started some five months ago by user Ajelectrowhiz, who since did little else, but most work was done by user Rakeshsharma, presumably a pseudonym after the cricketer, or else the cosmonaut, or perhaps the film director.  --LambiamTalk 21:16, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I think that he is right to respell English "gulab jamun" as "goulab jamun" or even as "goulab jamoun" in French. "Gulab jamun" is not the original spelling in Hindi or whatever but an English transliteration. "Goulab" is the better transliteration into French for the same sound. Marco polo 17:56, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
No goulab in French, gulab should do. Also :
  • 2 recette des samosas
  • 3 recette du riz biryani
  • 4 recette du gulab jamun. -- DLL .. T 19:05, 29 September 2006 (UTC)


Am I the only one who doesn't believe these linguists are being completely serious about their jobs?  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  11:16, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Phew! You mean Þorn. No, you're not. Well, maybe you are.--Shantavira 11:37, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
If there's a good joke in that paper, I couldn't find it! Notinasnaid 11:44, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Thats a hell of a size paper for a spoof.--Light current 13:17, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Ain't þat þe truþ! Hyenaste (tell) 01:01, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Michael Everson is an active Wikipedia editor, and also has an article devoted to him; you could ask him, if you really felt it would be worthwhile... AnonMoos 21:50, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't detect any levity in it. ColinFine 22:39, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

If these linguists are just being sneaky and not entirely serious,does that make them cunning linguists? :) Lemon martini 09:44, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

It doesnt seem to mention cuneiform writing.8-)--Light current 15:34, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
The only effective counter to a cunning linguist is a master debator.  ;)
I only wish our keyboards had a key we could press to get þorn. Would make life so much easier for those of us interested in this sort of thing. The Jade Knight 00:53, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

how to more use wikipedia[edit]

hello wikipedia,I am anubhav rai,iam tecnical student, my branch is mecanical enginiaring.My quz is ,how to use in wikipedia my reletiv branch.plz help me...,,,,

First you need to be able to spell correctly so that you can look up things like mechanical engineering 8-)--Light current 13:19, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Try Portal:Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. See what links from there. Good luck! ---Sluzzelin 15:08, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

seems like u need some help in english . will you be embarassed to take help from a ninth grader???Mi2n15 15:19, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

If we have a Wikipedia in your native language, you might want to use that version until your English improves. StuRat 18:27, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

french translation[edit]

can u trnslate the following lines into french

these are samosas

this dish is also a desert. it is alled gajar halwa.

gulab jamuns in a basket.

a mixture of spces ; this is an integral part in the indian cuisine . a painting of an indian woman about to serve food. introduction to indian cuisine thank you (sil vous plait)Mi2n15 13:57, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

I'll have a go but this may not be 100% correct - doubtless others will correct any errors:
ce sont des samosas
ce plat est aussi un dessert. il s'appelle gajar halwa
des gulab jamuns dans un panier
une mélange d'épices; c'est une partie intégrale de la cuisine indienne.
une peinture d'une femme indienne qui est sur la point de servir un repas
un introduction à la cuisine indienne --Richardrj talk email 14:17, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Corrections: un part integral; sur le point; une introduction (but I'd actually leave out the article, just as in English).  --LambiamTalk 14:48, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't question that it should be "un part intégral", but shouldn't there be an accent over the "e", as I have placed it? Marco polo 17:48, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
As an additional note, merci is French for "thank you", not s'il vous plaît, which means "please". -- the GREAT Gavini 16:01, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Juste one last correction to the correction: "une partie intégrale" was correct in the first place, this is feminine. Lgriot 18:39, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Still some more : halva is french, not halwa ; un mélange, not une. And, for a photo legend : des samosas should do, or voici des samosas, and, yes, leave out the articles. More : leave out "une peinture", giving femme indienne sur le point de servir un repas. -- DLL .. T 19:00, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Define term: Contracting Provider[edit]

I'm searching for a really good definition of the term Contracting Provider as it relates to the healthcare industry. Can you help me?

Vickie Fins [e-mail removed] Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plans Studio City, California

From the "BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas" website: "Contracting provider - Any licensed provider of health care services who has signed an agreement to accept the BCBSKS allowance as payment-in-full for covered services. Types of contracting providers include (but are not limited to) hospitals, medical care facilities, pharmacies, ambulatory surgical centers, doctors, other licensed or certified practitioners (as described in the contract) and providers of ambulance services." One would assume this applies to insurance providers other than BCBSKS. Thedoorhinge 20:46, 29 September 2006 (UTC)


Is the word "working" in the sentence "The man working at the library is my father" a present participle? I assume it's the same as "The working man is my father," which would be a present participle, correct? No need to provide me a link to the participle page, I have read it. Thedoorhinge 18:57, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it is.  --LambiamTalk 20:53, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Signing letters[edit]

Why are letters often signed with adverbs implying honesty; "Yours truly", "Yours sincerely", "Yours faithfully"? I would have thought that simply "From" or "Yours" would be adequate, or perhaps one asscoiated with the theme of the letter. smurrayinchester(User), (Talk) 19:03, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Still an improvement over the 19th century "I remain your obediant servant." For hundreds of years there has been "ars dictaminis" which was flowery insincere boilerplate used to begin and end letters. Some suggested closings can be found at Personally, I like "Peace on you, and peace on your family!" Edison 20:23, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
WP's articles on valediction, sincerity, and Sincerity and Authenticity might give you some more ideas.---Sluzzelin 20:40, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Or if it was a nasty letter it would probably be:

Piss on you, and piss on your family! 8-)--Light current 21:04, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it does assume a non-native speaker of English pronouncing it.Edison 20:34, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
If you want to keep it simple, then why write even 'yours'? What does that mean? Do you give yorself away (literally) to the person you write to? And even 'from' is pointless. I always just write my name. If that. Quite often I end with a simple 'D.' because my name is already in my email address. Nowadays, however, most of the time I end with four tildes. DirkvdM 07:54, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Many non-native speakers will use "Yours truly" or "Sincerely" thinking that they are the most common/natural ways to sign letters, because that's what many/most high school English texts will tell you. I always tell them to just use "from", or to use nothing at all.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  16:46, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Are you suggesting we should stopping saying "How are you?" when we mean no such thing? I don't believe that markers are civility, for what's worth, are meant to be taken literally. In fact, very little in any language, as actually used, is meant to be taken literally. Blondlieut 22:35, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Excellent, Freshgavin! We should all make such efforts to make foreigners look like rude clods. --Nelson Ricardo 23:45, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Rude? The only situation where I would ever use "sincerely" would be in a very formal business-like situation, whereas I would only ever use "yours truly" if I was writing to a very intimate friend. I can't see how "from" used in an average informal situation could ever be interpreted as rude.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  08:02, 2 October 2006 (UTC)


I was asked in my multicultural class to describe my "culture". What does that mean and what is included in this? -- 22:29, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

I would have thought they would have covered the definition on day one. It includes language, foods, clothing, religion, attitudes towards women's and children's place in society, morality, music, art, ethnicity, etc. That should give you something to talk about. StuRat 22:42, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
But men's place in society isn't part of culture? --Ptcamn 01:12, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that too. It doesn't vary as much as women's place, though. For example, there aren't any societies where men are required to keep covered from head to toe to keep from tempting women into an uncontrollable urge to rape them, and are not allowed to drive or travel without a woman's permission and a woman relative present, and are not allowed to get an education, and their testimony in court is worth half as much as a woman's. StuRat 05:27, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Mens' place can be rather interesting too. i.e. monkhood, penis cutting as a rite of passage, barmitzvah — X [Mac Davis] (SUPERDESK|Help me improve)09:25, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
"Multicultural" means something like: "composed of many cultures". So if you put some Inuit, Xhosa and Tuvans together, you have a multicultural gathering. The Inuit could talk about inuksuit and walrus hunting, the Xhosa about iimbongi poetry and preparing umphokoqo, and the Tuvans about khuresh wrestling and throat singing (and all about many other things). See also our article on Culture.  --LambiamTalk 23:44, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
My cultural anthropology professor once quoted a loose description of culture as "any activity that isn't nature." I think everything that's been mentioned fits. --Kjoonlee 03:08, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Your culture is not what you think or do but what the people around you think and do. Whether that surrounding is of your own choice is a different matter. If most people around you behave in one way and you find a sufficiently large group of people that think differently then you've got yourself a subculture. DirkvdM 08:06, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
In my social studies classes, we define culture with the acronym "FREEPA": Family, Religion, Education, Economics, Politics, and Arts. I would use that as a broad basis of the kinds of things that vary from culture to culture; although, the other things mentioned are equally as valid. —Keakealani 04:11, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

The Oddysey of Homer: name etymology[edit]

In the book The Odyssey, Odysseus meets a cyclops by the name of Polyphemus. "Poly" means "many," so I assume "phemus" means something. What does the name Polyphemus translate to in ancient greek?

Here is the etymology from polu-, much; + phēmē, saying, report.--Andrew c 23:09, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

"au" dipthong[edit]

Pronounce it like "ow, I just stubbed my toe on the coffee table!" is there a single character I could find on my computer's character map that would represent that same sound? --Kitty who? 22:51, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

With dipthongs, there are always two sounds so I don't think that there is one character to represent both, unless there is some digraph that I am unaware of. IPA uses two characters, so I'm out of ideas.--Andrew c 23:12, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Icelandic uses á for it. --Ptcamn 01:10, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, Ou (digraph) doesn't give much more relevant information.--Andrew c 02:10, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
In English it would be /aʊ/ using IPA (but /æɔ/ in Aussie English), which unfortunately doesn't exist on most Character Maps. "Ow" is probably the best to represent the sound to non-IPA speakers, since "au" is ambiguous with the sound in fault. I don't think there's one single, universal, unambiguous symbol for, y'know, that sound. -- the GREAT Gavini 07:10, 30 September 2006 (UTC)


Is the root Cepha (head) related to Cephas?--Lkjhgfdsa 23:48, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Did you read the name section of that article?--Andrew c 00:04, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
That root is more like kephal-, from Greek kephalē, meaning "head". Cephas is from Aramaic kepha and means "rock". Since Greek is an Indo-European language and Aramaic a Semitic language, the words are from two language families that have no established relationship, and so cannot be expected to be related, even with similar meanings. Combined with the actually unrelated meanings, it is safe to say that the similarity is a coincidence.  --LambiamTalk 00:19, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Thanks.--Lkjhgfdsa 00:47, 30 September 2006 (UTC)