Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Language/February 2006

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February 1[edit]

Persian ast[edit]

Is Persian ast cognate with Sanskrit asti ? How much of Persian derives from Avestan/Sanskrit? deeptrivia (talk) 02:41, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

The answer to the first question is definitely yes, because Persian is an Indo-European language. I'd even say ast is cognate with Latin est and Greek esti(n). —Keenan Pepper 03:43, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
And don't forget English "is". -lethe talk + 04:01, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
And German "ist", I guess; but English and German are not classical languages. deeptrivia (talk) 04:13, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

{{PI:: By the way, I was just guessing that ast means "is", because of this Amir Khusro couplet:

Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast.

If there is a paradise on earth,
It is this, it is this, it is this (India).

Someone needs to verify this too. I know meanings of agar (if), firdaus (paradise), zameen (earth) coz these words also exist in Hindi. deeptrivia (talk) 03:53, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Persian is not derived from Avestan or Sanskrit, but it's closely related to them. All three are Indo-Iranian languages. I believe the grouping goes something like this:
               /           \
         Iranian           Indic
        /       \            |
Old Persian    Avestan     Sanskrit
And yes, ast is cognate with Sanskrit asti, Latin est, Greek esti, German ist, English is, Irish is, Old Church Slavic jestь etc. etc. All from Proto-Indo-European *h1es-ti. See Indo-European copula for more. Angr/talk 06:48, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Persian "nist"[edit]

Just like German, "nist" in Persian means "nicht" in German.

Helter skelter[edit]

See the definitions on --Halcatalyst 05:47, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

It's about a roller-coaster. --BluePlatypus 20:01, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
That's just what The Man wants you to think. It's really a call for race revolution! Follow me, children, and you'll see what wonderful truth is hidden in Beatles songs... --Charles Manson 20:58, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
It is actually a slide, not a roller coaster. Hence the lyrics, "When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide." --Kainaw (talk)
Look out! She's coming down fast! --DLL 17:38, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

pronunciation of vitor belfort[edit]

How do you pronounce "vitor"? well that word is from a MMA fighter named vitor belfort and he is brazilian, there's a hint for you.

This question was also asked, and garnered a few responses, at the Miscellaneous desk. GeeJo (t) (c)  11:36, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

adjectives with -of[edit]

Please tell me is ANY english adjective with -of? ..........-of? Thanx:)

"Aloof" comes to mind. JackofOz 06:22, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
"Proof" can also be used as an adjective. JackofOz 06:29, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
There are hundreds if you allow idiot-proof, fire-proof, waterproof etc. Apart from that, I can't find any. --Shantavira 14:31, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Wolof can be an adjective. — BrianSmithson 19:17, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
What about kind of and sort of? ᓛᖁ♀ 06:21, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
These are not adjectives. "Kind" and "sort" are nouns and "of" is a preposition.
The questioner has clarified (see below) they were after hyphenated words ending with "-of". JackofOz 06:42, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I think of is a clitic in these. In the right context, these phrases function as adjectives; there's a name for this kind of phrase, but I can't remember what it is. I'm not sure kind and sort even have an identifiable part of speech in the "kind of adjectival" usage. ᓛᖁ♀ 07:04, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
You may well be right about the clitics. And "kind of" could function as an adjective. Whether a part of speech is ever unidentifiable is one for the experts - but I doubt it. The next question is, can "kind of" or "sort of" be written with a hyphen (which you'd need for them to qualify as answers to the question, as clarified below). I'ts not the standard spelling, but I'd say it's possible. I'm sure there would be examples out there. JackofOz 07:50, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Three spellings, one meaning?[edit]

The article hello claims that hello/hallo/hullo is the only word with three variant spellings with the same meanings. However, my spell-checker allows Colourize, Colorize and Colourise (but not Colourize). Are there others? smurrayinchester(User), (Talk) 16:55, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

There are some Greek words whose proper English spelling is uncertain, for example I've seen paralipsis, paraleipsis, and paralepsis. —Keenan Pepper 17:08, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
The Greek diphthong epsilon iota is usually transliterated as 'i' in English (eg eidolon becomes idol, eikon becomes icon). Sometimes it emerges as 'ei' instead, so paraleipsis would be understandable. I suspect paralepsis is just a mistake, so this may not be a true example of a word with three valid spellings. Maid Marion 17:34, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually I just thought of encyclopedia, encyclopaedia and encyclopædia, so I guess there must be quite a few like that. smurrayinchester(User), (Talk) 17:21, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure I follow you here. Are you saying that the second and third versions are different spellings? It looks as though they are the same spelling, with just a different convention as to how the diphthong should be represented. Maid Marion 17:38, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Wiktionary appears to have encyclopaedia and encyclopædia as different words, although, as you say, it may just be down to conventions. smurrayinchester(User), (Talk) 17:54, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, computers have to deal with character sets which represent "ae" and "æ" as different set elements.But the Wikipedia article on æ implies that outside the UK, they are different letters, and inside the UK, they aren't. As I read it, anyway. Deborah-jl Talk 18:24, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Right, there are basically two uses 'æ' as in Old English and modern Scandinavian (Swedes use 'ä' for 'æ'), which represents the IPA 'æ' sound. That usage doesn't remain in English though. E.g. "brass" was "mæstling" in OE, and is "mässing" in Swedish. Then there's the Latin 'æ' as in 'Cæsar', which you still see in English today, although that wasn't as much of its own letter, but rather a ligature indicating a diphthong, similar to the Dutch 'ij', which they do usually consider to be one letter. Also, Spanish considers 'll' to be one letter. But English does not, even with borrowed words, so I wouldn't consider 'æ' to be a distinct letter from 'ae' in English. --BluePlatypus 18:49, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, 'colourize' would be a bit unusual because 'colour' is typical UK spelling and the '-ize' suffix with a 'z' is typical US spelling. 'colorise' would be untypical too. Almost any foreign word which requires translitteration usually has several spellings. Munich, Germany can be 'Munich' (English name), 'München' (German name), 'Munchen' (dropped umlaut) or 'Muenchen' (translitterated). The Russian composer Tchaikovsky has a name with radically different spelling depending on the language. ("Tschaikowski", "Tchaïkovski", "Tjajkovskij") And it's not just proper names of course, "Borscht" is also "Borsch" and "Borsht" in English. There's "queue" and "cue", which few people would immediately recognize as the same word. (except the former isn't used in the billiards context) Even fewer would recognize it's Scandinavian cognate (which preserves the original French pronunciation, where English preserved the original spelling). --BluePlatypus 18:30, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Re initial example, might I suggest colourize (Can), colorize (Amer), and colourise (Brit), whereas colorise wouldn't follow national conventions anywhere. Marskell 18:43, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Another example of a word with multiple spellings is "djinni". My Random House Unabridged lists six spellings, although the article genie claims that these cover two different meanings. The article yoghurt lists five spellings for that word, although I've only seen three of them anywhere else. For a still more spectacular example consider Hanukkah. ut of course these are words taken into English relatively recently from other languages; "hello" isn't like that. Hyphenation is another area that gives scope for many variations: a bylaw is also a "by-law", "byelaw", or "bye-law", but some would not count the hyphen changes as spelling variants. Still, I say the claim made for "hello" is bogus, and I'm deleting it now. --Anonymous, 06:10 UTC, February 2, 2006.
I've also seen Chaikovsky or some other spelling with a 'Ch', and possibly variations on that too. And I believe even with just a 'C' at the beginning (Caikovski or whatever). And in Dutch it can also be with 'Tsj'. This is in deed the name with the most spellingvariations I know of. DirkvdM 08:59, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
This lists no less than 78 (!!) known variants of the English spelling of the surname of the leader of Libya. It is suggested that his own preferred spelling is "Moammar El-Gadhafi". JackofOz 09:23, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Discussions of/arguments about spelling are never-ending. Of course, they can be fun. --Halcatalyst 22:20, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Which is why we have them. JackofOz 09:25, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

English -> German translation[edit]

How would one say "hunter-killer" in German? (esp. in the military sense, e.g. hunter-killer submarine) If no direct translation exists, a literal one would do as well. 17:45, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

According to this, the German term for the nuclear hunter-killer submarine is "Atom U-Boot-Jäger". I don't know about the more general "hunter-killer". Angr/talk 18:02, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
de:Atlantikschlacht translates it Jäger-Zerstörer ("hunter-destroyer"), though I think that's intended as a literal translation, not a German technical term. Angr/talk 18:08, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Jäger-Zerstörer will do nicely. Thank you! -- 22:53, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
But isn't Zerstörer the German term for "destroyer", the class of surface warship? -- Arwel (talk) 13:16, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, as well as the German term for the bomber destroyer airplane. Angr/talk 13:21, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I read Angr first example as the better: U-Boot-Jäger, a submarine hunter. The latter could refer to a surface ship or a bomber. --Gareth Hughes 13:27, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I was actually looking for a general term that could be applied to many things, to indicate they are used exclusively for search-and-destroy missions (e.g. hunter-killer drone, hunter-killer missile, hunter-killer spacecraft etc etc.) I guess, if Jäger-Zerstörer refers specifically to the ship/bomber destroyer, I could just use the more generic Jäger instead. Thanks for all your extremely helpful comments. :) 13:56, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think Jäger-Zerstörer does refer specifically to the submarine or the ship. I found it at de:Atlantikschlacht as a translation of the English term "hunter-destroyer", presumably provided for the benefit of those readers who don't know English. As such, it would probably be a very good German neologism to use to refer to anything used exclusively in search-and-destroy missions. Angr/talk 14:02, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

How to say...[edit]

If you don't mind to help me with other dumb question.. Some state of things in one place had already stopped existing, when a man came there. I suppose it would it be incorrect to describe it with "You have not seen it already." What would be correct? ellol 22:06, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Hm hm hm. Ellol, you're syntax is very hard to follow, but I would offer the following:
  • "You have not seen it already" is the Present perfect ("already" is poor diction but it still follows). The Present perfect is sort of like a past tense and it is hard (in my experience) for second language speakers to understand it. It explains things that are true now because of something that has "stopped existing" (in your words). But if I make you out correctly I think you're actually on the right track in getting this. "I have seen it," means that, at this moment, "my seeing" is true but the event which makes that true happened in the past. "You have not seen it already" means that, at this moment, "your seeing" doesn't include this thing because of things you have not done in the past. It's hard to describe the present perfect without using the present perfect, but I hope this helps. Marskell 22:25, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. I understand what is present perfect... What I need is probably "You were too late to see it". Although the words are completely different from the original russian text :-) ellol 22:48, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I ought to have said that my purpose was to make a good translation. ellol 23:02, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Note that already and yet have the same meaning but are used in different contexts. The negation of "you have seen it already" is "you have not seen it yet". —Keenan Pepper 23:16, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, thank you. It's just the situation that in russian you can say "You have not seen it already", and it would sound alike "You were too late to see it"... 00:01, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
It appears that the questioner is looking for the more common English phrase, "You just missed it." --Kainaw (talk) 03:33, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

The perfect tense(present perfect, ) implies that the action occurred just a short time ago often in context to another action. I had seen it (recently).As opposed to an action done I saw it (a long time ago). (reference)He had just arrived when the phone rang. He had just arrived when he saw it. Please see Present perfect.--Jondel 03:59, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

February 2[edit]

what are the goals of this site?[edit]

See Wikipedia. — Laura Scudder 01:12, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
You also might want to see Wikipedia:FAQ, especially Wikipedia:Overview_FAQ and Wikipedia:Contributing_FAQ. СПУТНИКССС Р 01:13, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
And Global domination.   freshgavin TALK    10:13, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
ROFL! --Halcatalyst 22:16, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

A blah-ese?[edit]

I used to think this was standard, then I thought it might be a UK/US difference, and now I'm wondering if it's just me. For nationalities ending in the suffix -ese (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc.) do you find it natural to say a Japanese when referring to a Japanese person? Of course he's Canadian, there's a brit over there and the like is fine, but I've always learned (or thought?) that -ese suffixed nationalities were treated differently, and whenever referring to a single person (they are Japanese would be OK) the word person should be used alongside.

I always thought it was dumb how a special rule existed for such a small portion of the worlds nationalities (though I didn't care that much), but now I'm seeing English textbooks made in Canada and the UK both with sentences like you know you're a Japanese if you say excuse me too much and it makes my spine crawl.   freshgavin TALK    05:59, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

"He's a brit", but not "he's a british". So it's not just -ese endings.--Prosfilaes 06:03, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
It all depends on whether the word is an adjective and a noun, or just an adjective.
"Canadian" is both an adjective and a noun. "He is Canadian" (adj.) and "He is a Canadian" (noun) are both OK.
"Japanese" is an adjective, but not a noun. "He is a Japanese person", and "He is Japanese" are both OK adjectival uses, but despite the textbooks, "He is a Japanese" (noun) is not OK, and your spine is doing exactly what it should. But trans-Atlantic usage may well differ.
I have no idea why words like "Canadian" have two functions but words like "Japanese" (and "British", thanks Prosfilaes) have only one. My reference source says that the -ese suffix is Italian in origin, and it notes the number of Asian places that are designated with -ese. Maybe there's a historical clue there. JackofOz 06:19, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
So then where the hell are all these he is a Japanese, I am a Chinese, and she can write with pencils sentences coming from? Not to mention I have a takatombo, see it fly. Does it fly? It can! Here it goes, let's watch it! Mr. Smith, it's cool!. Err... I shouldn't get started.   freshgavin TALK    10:10, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
(Too late) Writing found on the web, in newspapers, and even in textbooks these days, is no indicator of proper English usage/grammar/spelling. Just look at the questions we get here - some of them are all but incomprehensible. Someone has to protect our literary standards. If not us, who? If not now, when? JackofOz 10:24, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
If we can't trust textbooks or the president of the USA, than I think it's time we jumped ship and made our own language; one that's completely unintelligible if there's any spelling mistakes or a misuse of one of the 12 phases of the super-article the2.   freshgavin TALK    10:57, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
You could call your new language Pedantish. I notice the domain is still free. Angr/talk 11:04, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I personally think the -ese nouns are abominations (when I taught in China I tried unsuccessfully to teach my students they were Chinese people, not Chineses). It does have some respectable supporters though: [1]. And since Japanese etc. are certainly valid nouns when referring to the languages, I don't see why they can't be valid nouns when referring to the people. Or perhaps we could reintroduce 'Chinaman' to the language? (On a side note, I once met someone who considered 'Cantonese' a racist term, because it was similar to other debased forms of language like journalese). Mark1 11:16, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
In Taiwan,people think -ese doesn't have any 歧視 meaning,we don't care. But I'd listened from my Germany teacher. He said that -ese in German has a little 歧視 content. English and German are the same language system. (Like early China called English men "偀國人" not "英國人" in modern time.) But I'm not sure still.--HydrogenSu 12:24, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

That's a bit like Jew and Jewish. It's quite acceptable to call someone "Jewish". But call them "a Jew", and you may not be on safe ground at all. JackofOz 11:36, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Unless of course you are Jewish, in which case calling someone a Jew is quite normal. I once contributed to a discussion on a linguistics board about the use of "black", "gay", and "Jew" as singular and plural nouns. We agreed that while generic plurals like "Blacks/Gays/Jews were outraged at the verdict" were okay, specific plurals like "I met two blacks/gays/Jews at a party last night" were just as questionable (both grammatically and sociologically) as the singular "I met a black/gay/Jew at a party last night". (And who was the comedian who said, "I'm not a Jew, but I'm Jew-ish. I don't go the whole hog."?) Angr/talk 11:44, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Oi vey!
According to [2] the line was in Beyond the Fringe by Jonathan Miller. Angr/talk 14:21, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
  • In the most general case, it can always be offensive to turn an adjective into a noun when describing a person. Contrast "a Jew", "a gay", "a blonde" versus "a jewish girl", "a gay guy", "a blond girl". The problem is that you give the impression of defining the entire person by a single property; A blond person usually considers him- or herself to be a lot more than just their hair color. --BluePlatypus 18:13, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
That's right. In Australia, it is quite normal for red-haired men to be called "Blue", and nobody is offended. However, that is more an epithet than an adjective. We don't refer to a person as "a blue" (that's a noun that means a fight). JackofOz 19:27, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Haha you guys 'r crazy.   freshgavin TALK    04:50, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
We wear our craziness like a badge of honour. JackofOz 05:11, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
You're humorous!!--HydrogenSu 13:18, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Obsolete Japanese characters[edit]

The hiragana and katakana I learned contained no obsolete characters. However, I've been using some software to drill, and it includes ゐ / ヰ (wi, pronounced i) and ゑ / ヱ (we, pronounced ye). I'd like to learn how to write these characters in the proper stroke order, but I haven't been able to find anyting. Can any help (preferably with a link to a visual aid somewhere)? Thanks! — BrianSmithson 19:16, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Stroke order will give you the general principles, assuming that these characters are not exceptional. I doubt you'll find anything more specific, as learning to write obsolete characters may be something of a minority interest. Mark1 19:43, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
While not exactly 'obsolete', the characters are certainly rare ... usually appearing only in people or place names for 'nostalgic appeal', as in the comedy unit よゐこ. The stroke order for ゐ is, as you would expect, similar to の or ぬ, starting from the top with a small stroke to the right, and then down finishing off the same as ぬ (all in one stroke). I believe ヰ follows the same order as 年 (nen), so a left-right, a down, a tick, and a left-right (not 100% sure if this is the official order). ゑ is easy, same as る, and continue the last curl down to the left and then return to the right, drawing a lazy 'm'. ヱ is the same as ア with an extra stroke at the end.
And by the way, while ヱ is often romanized as ye (e.g. the beer company YEBISU), it is actually pronounced by most (all?) modern Japanese people simply as e. Hence the characters are considered obsolete, because they aren't pronounced anymore. And to such a degree that many (younger) Japanese people will disagree that they ever had a different pronounciation to begin with!
Useless trivia: The current Wikipedia logo originally contained the character ヰ, obviously a misinterpretation of the Japanese spelling of the word wikipedia, and was shortly after changed to what looks like クィ, which is a nonsensical character combination and was probably another effort at spelling wikipedia in Japanese with a ワィ, which is also nonsensical. (The correct character-combo should be ウィ.)   freshgavin TALK    04:47, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! Exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Merci beaucoup, er, ありがとうござます! — BrianSmithson 12:45, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
That would be spelled ござます ; ).   freshgavin TALK    03:28, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Plural verb agreement[edit]

Is this sentence correct: "Much of the east of Scotland (areas such as Aberdeenshire, Fife and Angus) are the major centres of cereal production and general cropping." or should the verb be "is". Is this a British/American English difference? Rmhermen 21:27, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

It's certainly not correct ('much' has to be singular). However, I don't think that Aberdeenshire and Fife could ever be considered one area, so it's hard to know what the writer is trying to say. Perhaps 'several areas in the east of Scotland, such as Aberdeenshire, Fife and Angus, are major centres...'? Mark1 21:51, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
The writer is trying to convey 2 concepts using only one verb. (a) The major centres of cereal production etc are in the east of Scotland. (b) Much of the east of Scotland includes/contains cereal production etc. Neither of these concepts necessarily implies the other. There could be much cereal production in the east but no major centres. And there could be two or more major centres there but without occupying much of the east. Try: "Cereal production and general cropping occupy much of the east of Scotland, including major centres such as Aberdeenshire, Fife and Angus." JackofOz 22:15, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
This is something of a repeat of "Agreement with brackets", from above, no? And I don't think we had an answer there. Jack's analysis and suggested sentence is right on, but whether the predicate should agree with the initial singular or the plural created by the bracket does appear to be unsolved. I'll say what I said there: "is (a) major centre..." sounds right. The predicate should agree with the initial subject: "Much of the East of Scotland" is singular and "to be" should take the "is" form regardless of brackets. But I don't rightly know, which is is why I asked myself and my analysis may indeed be more of an "American answer" than anything else. Marskell 22:32, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
As far as I know this isn't a cultural issue. The way it's written in brackets shows a broken thought (introducing a separate clause), and the verb after the parenthesis is part of the origial 'thought', therefore not effected by the statement in parenthesis.   freshgavin TALK    04:28, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

February 3[edit]

Spanish basic grammar help[edit]

If I'm trying to say:

Raquel and Bob are from Mexico

Do I say:

Raquel y Bob somos de Mexico. OR Raquel y Bob nosotros somos de Mexico

ALSO, is Nosotros somos de Mexico valid? Thanks.

Raquel y Bob son de Mexico. (Raquel and Bob are from Mexico), 'somos' is 'we are', 'nosotros' (we) can be used when you mean 'we', but isn't required. You could however say Raquel y Bob ellos son de Mexico (Raquel and Bob, they are from Mexico). BTW, there's a Language Reference Desk page, too. --BluePlatypus 02:18, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Um, this is the Language Reference Desk page. Angr/talk 06:28, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
It was originally posted on the Humanities page. Seems someone moved it. --BluePlatypus 17:25, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Isn't ellos redundant and possibly gramatically incorrect? --Nelson Ricardo 11:59, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it's redundant, just like the 'they' in the latter version. I don't think it's gramatically incorrect though. For instance, I've seen "Todos ellos son" used quite a bit, although "Todos son" is definitely more common. --BluePlatypus 17:25, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Thai translation[edit]

Les, a reader, has written to the help desk seeking a Thai translation for the following phrases:


PLEASE REMOVE YOUR SHOES. กรุณาถอดรองเท้าของคุณ

I have replied suggesting he might to hire a translator. However, I also said I would post it here in case anyone can translate. Capitalistroadster 09:32, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

In my experience, requests for translation on this page very often go unanswered. I'd suggest leaving a note on the talk page of one of the users at Wikipedia:Translators available#Thai-to-English or Category:User th-N. Angr/talk 09:45, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

For the words above, you can just say "กรุณาถอดรองเท้าก่อนเข้าโบสถ์" and "กรุณาถอดรองเท้า" (omitting "your" - "ของคุณ") because Thai sentences always omit pronouns. --manop 19:27, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Son of adjectives with -of[edit]

Thanx for all!:) But I meansuch word as .....-of. For example "crazy-of" :) (surely it's incorrect)

Surely you are right. In my opinion, there are no recognized English words at all that end with a hyphenated -of. JackofOz 12:37, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Such a suggestion is completely unheard-of. And anyone making such a suggestion would not be well-thought-of. Angr/talk 12:43, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Reminds me of someone who said to Yeats, "'Sugar' is the only word in English where su- is pronounced 'sh.'" And Yeats replied, "Are you sure?" --Halcatalyst 05:30, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
If our collective wisdom can't come up with a case, it's very likely there are no such cases. Short of scanning the entire lexica of the English-speaking world, it's impossible to say with absolute certainty. "Opinions" come in very handy sometimes. JackofOz 05:51, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
...but Angr just mentioned two. GeeJo (t) (c)  19:25, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
The thing is, Angr's examples are not exactly words, but rather linguistic constructions. I think the question has something to do with English being a Germanic language and hence susceptible to certain verb elaborations. I'm going to open a new topic on Germanic verb inflection. 'Cause I don't know. --Halcatalyst 19:58, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I think from a purely synchronic point of view "unheard-of" and "well-thought-of" can be considered straightforward adjectives. They can be used both attributively (an unheard-of plan, a well-thought-of man) and predicatively (your suggestion is unheard-of, he was quite well-thought-of), and can take comparative and superlative forms (more unheard-of, most well-thought-of [crucially not *best-thought-of]). Their etymology is unusual, as they originated as the past participles of phrasal verbs, which behave rather strangely in English compared to other European languages, but these forms themselves behave like normal adjectives. Angr/talk 21:21, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
This gets us into a completely separate issue, that of over-hyphenation. It is the greatest problem of our age. Just as apostrophe's' are being either ignored or misplaced, hyphens are now cropping up in places-where-they-just-don't-belong. Previously that would indeed have been unheard of, but now anything-goes. JackofOz 23:33, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
"Previously" as in when 95% of the population was illiterate? Angr/talk 06:54, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I blame you-know-who for that mess-up.   freshgavin TALK    03:25, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

German expression[edit]

Hi! I often here "sauber draufhalten" during fire fights. In the dictionary, it says "keep clean" or smthg. How does this pertain to a firefight? Maybe I am missing something? 14:12, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Hmm... I don't know much military slang in German, but my dictionary says draufhalten means "shoot", or more specifically "aim before shooting". So maybe "sauber draufhalten" means something like "(aim and) shoot cleanly", i.e. pay attention to what you're shooting at. Angr/talk 14:36, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Literally, it means "keep it on cleanly". Might refer to a gun's crosshairs in this context. DirkvdM 08:49, 5 February 2006 (UTC)


Anyone who has been to Thailand will know of the -shirt you can get in any market with the Red Bull logo on it (2 bulls facing each other with a circle sepearting them) usually white with blue sleeves.

On it there is some writing in Thai - does anyone know what it means? Thanks, Dan l'homme

Is it the same image as at Red Bull#Origins? If so, it says Krating Daeng, which is Thai for "red bull". Angr/talk 15:26, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

It is. Thank you I was always worried that it was a big Thai conspiracy and foreigners were walking aroung with "I'm a t**t" across my chest and they were all having a good laugh. If true it would have been quite amusing.

t**t... teat? tart? toot? What kind of curse is that - -;;.   freshgavin TALK    03:22, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Possibly twat.--Commander Keane 03:43, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

February 4[edit]

Term for Semantic Issue[edit]

So a long time ago I did a paper that was on the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and I got as sidetracked as usual and brought in references from more contemporary anthropologists regarding the tendency for people to view things through filter of their cultural baises. The example was of some area where for some reason Armenians were being discriminated against and one was moving a TV between his car and his apartment. The neighbors would normally compliment him on his new purchase, but since he was an Armenian some of the neighbors accused him of stealing it. So does anyone know the name for that term. I forgot it and can't find the paper (or the bibliography) it was a long time ago and I originally got the book at a very large library. Anyway, this concept's been on my mind lately, it'd be nice to have a name for it. Thanks. -LambaJan 05:46, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Might it be "implicit bias"? This has an interesting article on the IAT. JackofOz 11:27, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
That's a really good article. Thank you. -LambaJan 02:54, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Creative writing[edit]

Do grammarians feel constricted as creative writers? Is there a good web site or book which can aid their spontaneity and creativity?

Are grammarians related to planarians ? StuRat 18:37, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I assume you mean "grammarian" as someone well-versed in grammar. In which case: No, not at all. Why would it? I'd say it's quite the opposite. You need to understand grammar if you want to convey your message effectively. Perhaps you're thinking about modernist writers like James Joyce and E.E. Cummings who sometimes used irregular grammar and conventions. In my opinion that's not an excuse for not knowing grammar, though. Those writers didn't write that way because they didn't know grammar, on the contrary. They knew grammar well enough to be able to understand the effects of abandoning it for their irregular styles. There's a big difference between doing it intentionally and unintentionally, since the latter is going to fail to convey what you want. (Of course, from the standpoint of postmodern literary theory, that might not be a problem.) To draw a parallel to painting, Mondriaan painted this long before he moved on to painting this. I don't view spontaneity and creativity as opposed to convention. You need to understand the conventions before you can violate them. Of course, you could just write random nonsense, but that's been done already, so you'd actually just be following yet another existing convention. Being original is tough. :) --BluePlatypus 21:37, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I think you'd be hard up to find a true non-grammarian that was interested in creative writing. Generally the two go hand-in-hand, I'd say. I'd also say that times when I feel 'constriction' and have difficulty writing, it's usually because of my lack of experience in using English to explain concepts in a certain way, not because I'm being pressured to write correctly.   freshgavin TALK    03:20, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Could you please clarify that for my poor addled antipodean brain, Freshgavin. The first 2 sentences seem to be saying that a person would be interested in creative writing if and only if they are a grammarian. JackofOz 07:04, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Most good, creative writers would be interested in good grammar, otherwise message good over problem having the with be they. DJ Clayworth 16:25, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with that last statement. However having an interest in good grammar does not necessarily make you a creative writer. It might just make you an academic, or worse, a useless pedant like me. JackofOz 22:35, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I just meant that it's probably rare to find a person who isn't interested in good grammar (or who doesn't care; even promotes bad grammar) that is seriously interested in creative writing. Of course, I've seen a lot of kids writing poetry on Deviantart, Livejournal and the like, displaying horrible uses of grammar that I wouldn't expect of my sister, so I guess there's more of that than it seems. I just feel that of the people I know who have poor English skills (let's say, the rest of my family, who couldn't support their own arguments if they were at the top of Tokyo Tower in an earthquake) almost all of them are like that because of a complete disinterest in the language itself. Very "outward thinking" types. Hardly seems like the type of person who would want to display their mind in prose, to me at least.   freshgavin TALK    04:56, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Names of places that start with the word "The"[edit]

Why do the names of some places start with--or why did they once start with-- the word "The"? For example, The Bronx, The Yemen, The Ukraine, The Argentine, The Netherlands?

HD67.42.183.19 19:39, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Someone asked this quite recently: Wikipedia:Reference_desk_archive/Language/January_2006#Argentina.2C_Lebanon_and_Ukraine. Basically, however, it's because these are the names of regions (except the Netherlands, which is referring to a group of lands). [3] Markyour words 20:59, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks very much--this is useful. HD.

That's very interesting, I've never heard Lebanon or Argentine being referred to in that way. They also state that Canada in spanish is el Canadá, freaky!!   freshgavin TALK    03:13, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Ah, you're too young! Most of the thes have gone out of fashion. Markyour words 11:28, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

We need to convene an international body to study this issue, may I suggest locating it in The Hague ? StuRat 03:37, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Germanic verb inflections[edit]

For example, German: aufwachen, English: wake up. What is the term for a German particle, such as auf-? Why did it become two words in English? (English certainly has as many such expressions as German.) Could this have anything to do with the question above about English words ending in "of"? That is, English doesn't have any words ending in -of because the basic syntax changed toward much less inflection in terms of both prefixes and postfixes?

(Sorry for the delay in posing my question. I hit the enter key by mistake.) --Halcatalyst 20:13, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

In English auf is called a separable prefix; I don't know the German grammatical term. Of course aufwachen can become two words in German too- Wach auf! I don't quite understand the bit of your question about inflection in prefixes and postfixes- these don't get inflected in German either. Markyour words 21:55, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Halcatalyst, I think you are confusing two things here. Nouns and verbs and adjectives lost their endings but prefixes and suffixes were not inflected in Germanic languages (they are in Turkish for example). I imagine what happened was this. When English lost a lot of its endings the corollary was that our (sentence) word order had to become incredibly rigid compared with other related languages (to preserve meaning) so the idea of having this "up/auf" that could sometimes come before the verb and yet other times be miles away at the end of the sentence probably also started to sound "wrong" to English-speakers. So we fixed their position. But we werent bothered whether it came before or after (eg upload v load up), as long as the damn thing stayed put and didnt move around as the German "auf " did. See Isolating language. Jameswilson 00:43, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Hmm.. but Scandinavian languages are more similar to English grammar-wise (no cases), but I have the impression they still use more constructs like "aufwachen"; "opvågne" (which can also be "vågne op") than English does. How would that fit in? --BluePlatypus 03:47, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
It wouldnt. If so my theory must be rubbish LOL. Have the Scandinavian languages retained the "ge-" prefix for the participle? If so, maybe it was the loss of that in English that sparked the change. Jameswilson 04:19, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
OK, verb "inflections" was the wrong word for what I was trying to understand. Thanks to Angr for recommending the Phrasal verb article. So we have literal and idiomatic verb-particle constructions; the difference is that in German, compared to English, verb and particle are tied much more tightly (analytic vs. synthetic language). Simple enough. But I still have questions, so I'm going to start yet another topic. --Halcatalyst 05:50, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Nope, no 'ge-' prefixes, in general. Although one theory might be that those Scandinavian words are calques borrowed from German, with little respect to grammar. There certainly are a lot of German calques which don't quite make sense. E.g. Swedish "Riksdag" ("Reichstag"), where "dag" shares the meaning "day" but not the meaning "assembly". "ting" from the Norse "þing" would be the word. (Interestingly, "þing" in turn has the meaning "thing" shared with its English cognate, but not the meaning "assembly") --BluePlatypus 22:01, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Growl, not that either then! Right then here comes my third theory, which must be right. German (and Swedish sometimes, I've checked) retain the traditional Germanic preference for "Verb second" word order. Whereas English went the whole hog, ditched that and created a whole new set of word-order rules. Therefore, "opvågne" (with the verb-stem as the second element) continued to sound OK in Swedish, order-wise, even as other aspects of Swedish were becoming less synthetic. So there was no pressure to change it. Jameswilson 00:13, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, that sounds possible. Although just to be a pain, "opvågne" wouldn't sound OK in Swedish, since it was a Danish example. :) (Swedish is "uppvakna"). --BluePlatypus 02:50, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
English didn't entirely ditch V2 order. We do still have it in constructions like "Not only can I read IPA, I can write in it too", much to the annoyance of Germans learning English, who want to put the subject before the inflected verb everywhere except in questions, and so say things like "Not only I can read IPA, I can write in it too". Angr/talk 13:21, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Optative in German[edit]

I know that there exists a pseudo-cohortative mood in German (as in "Lesen wir!"), but is there a way to make impersonal optative statements, e.g. "May tomorrow be a beautiful day"? Is there a way to translate this literally, or do you have to say something like "I hope tomorrow is a beautiful day"? Bhumiya/Talk 20:06, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

You can translate it with the present subjunctive of mögen: "Möge morgen ein schöner Tag werden!" (usually written with an exclamation point). It sounds about as poetic/literary as "May tomorrow be a beautiful day" in English. Angr/talk 21:10, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, Angr. That's exactly what I was looking for. Bhumiya/Talk 21:49, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

February 5[edit]


This has probably come up before, but I couldn't find any discussion, etc. There are a number of semi-meta-esque wiki-words that I don't find in Wikipedia or Wiktionary such as 'Wikiwidow', which is the Wikipedia equivalent of a golf widow.

This can get into a slight larger question of whether these wikiprojects should be used to create new words simply by the fact of defining them. In the case of wikiwidow, it's certainly already in general use, but adding it to Wikipedia or Wiktionary might nudge it enough to "hockey stick", or grow rapidly in use.

From trolling Google, it looks as though this word was once in Wikipedia, but removed.

This may be what you saw referenced. It was originally created in the "Main Namespace" but due to popular demand it was moved to a "User Namespace".  ;-) hydnjo talk 01:02, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Such words are called neologisms and are deleted for the reasons you said: people believe they can nudge words into general use just by making articles for them. It's not a very encyclopaedic concept. Neologisms are probably the third most common type of page listed for deletion at WP:AFD, alongside nonsense pages and vanity.   freshgavin TALK    03:08, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Although Wikipedia widow is technically a Neologism, a word, term, or phrase which has been recently created, I believe that it serves a purpose. That's how new words or phrases come into being part of our language. Someone has to start don't they, or else we wouldn't ever have any new vocabulary. Oh, and so far as being the third most common type of page listed for deletion well, that's got something to do with tolerating articles devoted say, to obscure game characters and other such trivia. I have no problem with that mind you, it just seems that in that juxtaposition, strong argumuent against all neologism sounds hollow. hydnjo talk 03:45, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
And here are a few others: awkword, benefliction, coke machine, disintercourse, elflatulence, frequent fliar, gaseous shrapnel, hyperstrophe, in-a-gadda-da-meeting, junkard, killer egg, love mites, McFuck, noising, orchid algorithm, painter’s palette, quassa-nova, romantic fever, snossip, thumb-water, underunrepredepostoverantianalphabetingmentationalismistical, voice geometry, whitch, xebophone, yowyeel and zalapistra. hydnjo talk 04:48, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
New words come into our vocabulary by being used, not by being added to dictionaries and encyclopedias. Neologisms are made-up and are only limited in number by the imagination; game characters in commercial games have an objective reality outside of WP and are limited in number by the expense of making games. The vast majority of neologisms will never see print in anything professionally edited, and in ten years will probably be only remembered by thier creators, if by them. His argument was not against neologisms; it's against neologisms getting Wikipedia articles before they distinguish themselves from their billions of made-up siblings.--Prosfilaes 08:02, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I should have been more clear. I didn't mean that neologisms in general are discouraged, only obscure, unknown ones. 1337, lol, and the like often have a place, but if you take a look at AfD you can see how many rediculous additions there are every day; stuff like Poopoo Grandma's Panties Game. Words like 1337, and lol work their way into the language naturally, they don't need Wikipedia to help them along.   freshgavin TALK    04:40, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Possibly Polish[edit]

I have bought the DVD of the movie 'The Pianist'. You know the one on the Holocaust by Roman Polanski. There's a sentence on the DVD cover that read 'INDRUKWEKKENDER DAN SCHINDLER'S LIST!'. Could anyone translate it into English for me please. [BTW.. I think List and Pianist both are gr8 but S'List stronger] - saqib09

Even though I know no Polish, Dutch, or German or anything, I will totally embarrass myself by hazarding a wild guess: it's probably something like "If you liked Schindler's List..." or "More like Schindler's List". Watch me be totally humiliated by someone who can actually speak this language... СПУТНИКССС Р 04:31, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
"More impressive than Schindler's List", in Dutch. deeptrivia (talk) 05:04, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Not bad... СПУТНИКССС Р 21:22, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
... considering you don't know anything!   freshgavin TALK    04:31, 8 February 2006 (UTC) As per above comment by СПУТНИК

verb-particle constructions in English and German[edit]

Old English is a West Germanic language that got started about 600 C.E., as did German. German conglomerates verbs and particles (and often much more) into words, but English tends to string them out; this is explained as German remaining synthetic while English grew analytical. Is it simply a synthetic/analytic difference that in verb-particle constructions one says Ich gehe aus and I go out, but it's ausgehen vs. to go out? Gehe ich aus sounds normal, but Go I out sounds odd. Do the particles, tied more tightly to the verb, perform a significantly different kind of function, overall, in German than in English? That is, is the modification stronger or perhaps more subtle and flexible than in English? --Halcatalyst 06:36, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

  • I wouldn't say so. You get more flexibility in word order, but not in expression. Except for when you're writing poetry, in which case it might be of use. But I don't think the average German speaker uses a more nuanced language than the average English speaker. Languages find different ways of adding nuance. For instance, it appears to me that in most analytical langauges word stress is important. ("Are you leaving?", "Are you leaving?"), contrast to Hungarian (highly synthetic), where stress is always on the first word of a sentence, and sentence order can always be rearranged to put the word you want to stress first. --BluePlatypus 10:00, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I sort of disagree here. English has pretty good ways to indicate emphasis with other means than stress, that is, in ways that can be written too. Naturally, stress would still go to the words you want to emphasize even if it's clear from other signs. It's actually Hungarian where stress is more important, because that's the primary means to form questions. – b_jonas 13:08, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I didn't express myself well. I didn't really mean to say that stress wasn't important in Hungarian, rather to contrast the scheme of fixing the position of the stress and changing the word order versus having a rigid word order and changing the position of the stress. Naturally in written English you can emphasize without stress by chosing your words carefully, but it's done so often in spoken English that it can be difficult to convey a verbatim quote in print without italics or similar to indicate the stressed word. Not as much a problem in Hungarian. While stress is important for forming questions in Hungarian, in English but even more so in the Romance languages, intonation is used a lot instead. (E.g. "Estas bien" = "Are you ok"/"You're ok") In written language this is of course indicated only by the question-mark, which the user-friendly Spanish conveniently puts in front of the sentence, whereas the French expects you to be a mind-reader, waiting for you to get to the end before springing its surprize and informing you that you should've pronounced that last word differently. D'oh! --BluePlatypus 14:11, 6 February 2006 (UTC)


Hi Can you tell me the origin or history of the term "laughing Stock" Thanks Ray

How do I quote a quotation and a statistic?[edit]

I am trying to quote a quotation from "The Guardian". Can you show me how to quote this:

"Hello", said Bob, according to The example( or should I use an end note with a 1, and the bootm quote it. If I do that, what Should I say at the bottom. It's a quotation.

I also have a statistic, from the same article. Should I link it to the same endnote at the bottom? It's an essay. Thanks.

You would enclose the entire text in single inverted commas. It's a little unclear which are the words you're wanting to quote. I think they are "Hello", said Bob. If so, you would write:
The article said: ' "Hello", said Bob'
The colon (:) after 'said' is optional. It's hard to advise you about how to quote the statistic without seeing the actual example. JackofOz 19:58, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Pronounciation of "Bologna"[edit]

Hello...I'm wondering...why is "bologna" pronounced as "baloney"? And if possible, can we please get the IPA pronounciation on the article too? :-) --HappyCamper 23:02, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I have no idea, but it reminds me of a delightful joke: "Mein bratwurst has a first name: It's F-r-i-t-z! Mein bratwurst has a second name: It's S-c-h-n-a-c-k-e-n-p-f-e-f-f-e-r-h-a-u-s-e-n!" --George 00:17, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
The real pronunciation is closer to bolonya. A "gn" in Italian is like ñ in Spanish. --Nelson Ricardo 01:36, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Yup. I've long been a bit perplexed as to how the American pronunciation got so far off.. OED says "from earlier sense of "idiot" (probably influenced by blarney), usually regarded as being from bologna sausage", but that doesn't explain the quite bizarre change in pronunciation. It's not as if it's a terribly difficult name. --BluePlatypus 02:38, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't know if this is true in the US, but in Australia a lot of people almost seem to take a kind of pride in not being able to pronounce "foreign" words. It's a kind of inverse snobbery, I guess. Which is amazing since Oz is just about the most multicultural country on the planet. People now generally expect to work/associate with people from any non-Anglo culture you care to name, but as for pronouncing those foreign lingos themselves with any degree of ease - forget it. So pronunciations get changed to conform to the lowest common denominator. JackofOz 04:42, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
  • This seems to shed some light on it. Although I still don't get why Catalonia isn't pronounced "Cataloney".. :) --BluePlatypus 05:34, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

It's pronounced boloña and 'ñ' is pronounced like 'ni' so it is bolonia, but that works for spanish, I don't know for english. actually, for an english speaker it would be something more like : 'boh-loh-nia'--Cosmic girl 22:42, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Seeing the spelling "bolonia" made me think of how I have noticed that the spelling <ia> seemed to represent the pronunciation [i] on the census returns in some Southern U.S. areas in the early 1900s. Ardric47 23:54, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

I guessed boˈloɲə. I know not how accurate that is though. -lethe talk + 04:55, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

No. It should end in "ə" (IPA) but HappyCamper's question was based on the odd fact that we Americans pronounce it ending in "i". I think the whole IPA would be "bʌloŋi" as Americans usually say it (in English). Superm401 - Talk 23:24, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure but I think [ŋ] is incorrect? It would be quite hard for a NA'an to pronounce that word without a "g" somewhere in there. [bʌlo• ʊni]?   freshgavin TALK    04:28, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Put the Roman alphabet to rest and switch to some more sensible alphabet to permanently get rid of such confusion. deeptrivia (talk) 02:15, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Hey.. it's not the Latin alphabet's fault! It's the refusal to reform English spelling which is the main problem. --BluePlatypus 06:19, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Refusal? Who made that decision? Why wasn't I consulted? JackofOz 12:47, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Because you speak Australian.   freshgavin TALK    03:41, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
LOL. I support one letter - one sound. And no "silent" shit! deeptrivia (talk) 19:27, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

February 6[edit]

how do you pronounce schedule[edit]

The preceding unsigned header was added by (talk • contribs) .

Me, personally? User:Zoe|(talk) 16:38, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
You, uh, forgot to answer the question. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 21:33, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Me? I pronounce it "shed" (like a place to keep tools) "yule" (like Christmas, rhymes with "pool"), but I don't suppose that's how they say it round your way. Because of where I grew up, my emphasis is on the first syllable. Notinasnaid 16:42, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I usually just pronounce it "plan". Angr/talk 16:56, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
[4]. Markyour words 17:11, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I normally normally pronounce it "sked'yul" or "skedyul", but sometimes "shedyul" or (less commonly) "shedyule". Its always two syllables, but there isn't a definate pause between the two. Thryduulf 17:25, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
According to the OED, the pronunciation of schedule (subscription) is typically "Shed"+"yule" for Commonwealth English and "Sked"+"yule" for American English, so I guess it depends on where you are! Hope this helps, --Lox (t,c) 20:10, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I pronounce it "sked-jl", so that it ends with the same syllable as "cudgel", but I always feel like I'm pronouncing it funny. But other choices sound worse in my dialect (Central New York State): "sked-yule" sounds affected and "shed-yule" sounds completely foreignly British. So I guess it's a rare case where I can tell that I have an accent. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 21:33, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I pronounce it the same way as the user above. That second vowel, by the way, is called a schwa. -- Mwalcoff 23:39, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure it is a schwa. At least in my dialect, /skɛ.dʒl/ is a perfectly appropriate, vowelless pronunciation, provided you can find a syllabicity diacritic to go under the /l/. Pronouncing it /skɛ.dʒəl/ is, I believe, not even an option for me, it sounds so foreign. /skɛ.dʒul/ and /skɛ.djul/ are okay, though, and I could imagine saying /ʃɛdjul/ given proper motivation. Dave 23:49, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I say /ʃɛdʒl/. Does that make me weird? :) - ulayiti (talk) 17:40, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
I hope you don't mind that I added the IPA template so that all browsers/fonts (including mine!) could see your post correctly. If you object, I guess you could revert. And for the record, I say /skɛdʒuəl/ (when speaking carefully) or /skɛdʒəl/ or maybe /skɛdʒʊl/ (I'm not sure I got the right character for "Latin small letter upsilon"). Ardric47 00:07, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Is there a difference between /skɛ.dʒl/ and /skɛ.dʒəl/? Is it possible to say "jl" without inserting at least a bit of a schwa in between?

It's funny -- when I was teaching English in Prague, I asked my students to cross out the silent letters from a sentence. They crossed out all the schwa vowels. (In Czech, schwas aren't written, so you can have a word like "krk." -- Mwalcoff 02:45, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

(see above) Ardric47 00:07, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
"Proper motivation"? You mean if someone pays you? Angr/talk 06:07, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
skedjewool --Nelson Ricardo 05:26, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I pronounce it 'sked-yule', but that's only because I've lived abroad for most of my life (I'm a Brit) and it's easier for people to understand. I don't ever recall having ever used the word back home since moving away, as the conversation has never gone in that direction, but maybe people might think it's weird if I did. CCLemon 08:31, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I say ske'-dyu-uhl. Wierd, huh? My speech has been subject to numerous influences. --Halcatalyst 13:30, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I say ske-jull. I know many Canadians pronounce the "sch" as "sh." --Chris S. 22:21, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Yeah and a lot of them are old and don't have access to electricity!   freshgavin TALK    04:21, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, duh. It's clearly dangerous having electricity in igloos! Those poor Canuckians can't have their cake and eat it, unfortunately. --Chris S. 05:35, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Me and most of the people I know prounce the "sch" as "sk" and the "u" in -dule as a very quick diphthong of "oo" and "uh" KeeganB

  • My schedules often go skidule even though I don't skate on thin ice.

citing this website[edit]

The preceding unsigned header was added by (talk • contribs) .

citing this website[edit]

How do I site this as a reference APA style? Thank you —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Citation in APA style, as recommended by the American Psychological Association:
Plagiarism (2004, July 22). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 10, 2004 from

I really wish people would follow the links- it's sooo easy to find these things... СПУТНИКССС Р 22:46, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Speaking for youself of course. Some of us aren't as clever as you appear to be. Heck, I can't even make my sig look cute.  ;-) hydnjo talk 01:34, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Sputnik's signature doesn't look cute, it looks Communist!   freshgavin TALK    04:19, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
I think it's just confusing. The signature says "СПУТНИК СССР" in Cyrillic, but the username says "sputnik cccp" in Latin. What's it going to be? "CCCP", "СССР" or "SSSR"? --BluePlatypus 06:12, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
I was actually being typefacist in implying that any text resembling Russian looks communist.   freshgavin TALK    06:37, 8 February 2006 (UTC) Ooohhh the punnery!
Or maybe the choices are: "СПУТНИК CCCP", "Sputnik SSSR", and "Travelling Companion USSR". JackofOz 05:59, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
What about Cnythnk Cccp? O o;   freshgavin TALK    03:19, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

February 7[edit]


Good Afternoon

Please is it possible for somebody to tell me what SQ stands for on a menu in a resturant. I would really like to find the latin version if possiable please.

I have english versions: Silly Question Subject to Quotation Seasonal Quota

Your help in this will be highly appreciated.

Regards Natalie

Well in this restaurant it (merely) means Super Quality. It is not a standard abbreviation and could mean something else elsewhere. --Shantavira 13:08, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Soviet wolf poster[edit]

On the Aesop's fables page there is a Soviet propaganda poster that alludes to sheep in wolves' clothing. What does the Russian phrase on the poster mean? KeeganB

The image in question is 140px Angr/talk 21:31, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm just a beginner in Russian, so double check. I think it means "The enemy is sneaky. Be on the alert." --Chris S. 22:19, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

February 8[edit]

nunca jamás[edit]

what is the difference between nunca and jamás. I can't find anything other than they both mean never. Do spanish speakers have a preference?--God of War 23:25, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

From my understanding, jamás is more emphatic than nunca, thus it's used less. But you know, I am more likely to say es la casa más grande que jamás he visto (it's the biggest house I have ever seen) rather than ...nunca.... Also, you can use the phrase nunca jamás which means "never ever." --Chris S. 01:12, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

tha's right, 'nunca jamás' means 'never ever', but I don't think that jamás is more empathic than nunca because from my personal experience it's the other way around, nunca seems more empathic to me, and I also don't think that nunca is used less, I guess it just depends on the person...and about the house, yeah, in that case you should use 'jamas'. it's not a rule but it's more of a thing that you get used to with time.--Cosmic girl 20:36, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

By empathic, did you mean emphatic? Black Carrot 00:25, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

New York City dialects[edit]

Can someone please tell me the meaning of "He was givin' me the one-two look with his eyes"? --Ribsioli 02:03, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

My guess is that it alludes to a "one-two" or "one-two punch", which is a boxing term for a rapid pair of blows. So I take it to mean "He was looking at me like he wanted to punch me". --BluePlatypus 08:11, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

O RLY?[edit]

When someone says, "Are you busy?" and we respond, "No, not really." do we mean:

  • No, that is not true.


  • No, not very.

  freshgavin TALK    03:55, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I would say it usually means you are somewhat busy, but not too busy to be interrupted for some worthy purpose. StuRat 05:17, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Right ... but what I'm asking here is about the sort of dual-nature that the word "really" has. Technically it would mean the same as "truly" as the adverbial form of the word "real", but it also tends to mean something close to the word "very", as in "It's really tall!". It's not a critical issue but I'm just curious about the underlying (or original) meaning.   freshgavin TALK    05:38, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
"really" in this context is just a modifier to give emphasis, and in that sense it's rather disconnected from the use as an adverb form of 'real'. There's a trend in all languages that some words tend to go and become general emphasizing modifiers, and lose contact with their original meaning. I know a very clear-cut example from Swedish, "jätte" (giant), which often used in words like "jätteliten" (gigantically small) or "jättesmal" (gigantically slim) without sarcasm. (Unlike English terms like "fat chance!" which were originally sarcastic, although they're not always expressed that way longer). --BluePlatypus 08:04, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Nice examples. FRNKS!   freshgavin TALK    03:40, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Use of indirect object pronoun when speaking to a person in spanish[edit]

I hesitate to use the direct object pronoun when speaking to a person about any kind of interaction between us, even when there is no tangible direct object involved. For example: I would say 'Puedo ayudarle' not 'ayudarlo/la', or 'Le llamo' not 'Lo/La llamo' or 'Tan amable a verle' etc etc. I have seen this pattern, but some argue that a strict application of the direct object pronouns is correct.

Is my sense that the form used when speaking to someone really ought to be 'softened' to the indirect object misplaced or just wrong?

We need Cosmic Girl for this one really. In my experience part of the difference is regional. I learnt my Spanish in the north of Spain and it was always, always "-le" for a person but I've noticed in other places people use "-lo" with direct verbs. Jameswilson 23:35, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

ok, I'll try to answer this one, I don't know what the direct object pronoun is... but, It's A LOT more common to say 'puedo ayudarLO?' or 'LO llamo' o 'tan amable verLO' the other way isn't used much, at least here in Perú... but it's mostly used when speaking to someone you barely know and is in a somewhat 'higher status' than you, because of age or whatever... but saying things like 'puedo ayudarLO' as opposed to 'puedo ayudarTE' is already enough politeness, I think.--Cosmic girl 03:29, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

See leísmo. --Chris S. 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

arbiter and arbitrator[edit]

What is the difference between and arbiter and an arbitrator? We did look them up w/ wiktionary, but not quite satisfied. Thanks if you can help us...

My impression is that arbitrator is usually used in the technical sense of someone appointed to resolve a difference between parties in dispute. Arbitration, in a commercial context, is a recognised alternative to litigation. Whereas arbiter is, I think, never used in this technical, commercial sense, and instead refers to someone with the necessary taste, critical faculty or expertise to pronounce authoritatively on a disputed point. Both derive from the Latin verb arbitrari, to give a judgement. Maid Marion 13:56, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Both words come from the same Latin root. Arbiter originally meant judge, but could also be someone who witnessed a dispute between others. Therefore, in Latin, it could meen witness or umpire too. In some cases, the word is used to describe the organiser of something: arbiter bibendi is the master of the feast. This same root gives the deponent verb arbitrari, which was used in the narrower sense of judge, pass sentence or discern. From this verb is formed the perfect participle arbitratus, having judged. It is from this form that the English words abitrator and arbitration come. In English, I believe an arbitrator is one who facilitates arbitration: the non-legal, yet binding, resolution of dispute. However, an arbiter is anyone who has the final say in a decision-making process. However, the distinction between these two related words is not clear, and they are often used interchangably. --Gareth Hughes 16:14, 8 February 2006 (UTC)


please give me an explanation on what this phrase means:

"We dont need no education"

and please help me to understand why we need an edcation.

The phrase is a quote from "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II" a song by Pink Floyd on their album The Wall. As to why education is necessary, please read education. Angr/talk 15:49, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I can think of two good reasons why an education is needed:

  1. To know that contractions like "don't" contain an apostrophe.
  2. To know that "don't need no" is a double negative and that "don't need any" should therefore be used, instead.

Hope that I helped bring a bit of dark sarcasm into your world. StuRat 19:13, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

What you all don't realize is really how smart Pink Floyd is. I believe they intentionally phrased the lyrics that way so that the kids would go "Woo! Screw grammer! We dun nead no edumacation!" and the grammatarians would go "Tee hee, 'tis a doubling negativity! Little dos they knoweth that they are promotionizaling our causum!" and the only people left unhappy are all the foreigners that don't get either.   freshgavin TALK    03:30, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Hey! I'm one of those bloody foreigners and please don't tell me what I do or don't get! (Actually, I never looked at it that way, but that's not the point here.) DirkvdM 10:05, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
And it's foreigners who don't get either. Of course now you're going to tell me that was all clever and intentional, but I just beat you to that, so you'll have to come up with something different. :) DirkvdM 18:29, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I reserve my right to speak the modern language of Canadian youth! Either that or I blame the Australians!   freshgavin TALK    03:16, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
That band really had an activist streak. The lyric makes sense if you consider the next one: "We don't need no thought control." So it wasn't like they didn't need to be educated, but that they didn't need to have an education that was full of things they would need to unlearn later. -LambaJan 03:04, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Apparently we Australians have more influence in the world than we have been given credit for. Even quiet achievers appreciate acknowledgement, so thanks Freshgavin. JackofOz 07:37, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Don't take too much credit. I just live in a place where Ozzies are more numerous than my own kind their mannerisms are starting to seep into my routines. But you're welcome anyways. (And, as a Canadian, I'm proud to say anyways.)   freshgavin TALK    06:32, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
You must be mistaken, mate, we don't have mannerisms. It's all those bloody foreigners who have mannerisms, accents, idiosyncracies ...... Anyhow, I'll still consider you reasonably well educated despite this. Cheers JackofOz 06:50, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks ; ).  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  06:11, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Semi-deponent verbs[edit]

In answer to an earlier question on this page, Gareth Hughes gives a link to the article on deponent verbs. Out of curiosity I followed the link and came across a reference in the article to semi-deponent verbs in Latin. Apparently they are active in form in the present, imperfect and future, but passive in form in the perfect, pluperfect and future perfect. I can't for the life of me think of any such verb in Latin. Could someone enlighten me please? Thanks. By the way, perhaps we also need an article on defective verbs, which I see we don't have yet. I could write it in relation to Latin, but if the concept is relevant in other languages it will need someone cleverer than me.Maid Marion 16:53, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I can think of two, and found two more in my grammar, (given in the present and perfect tenses):
  1. audeo (I dare) — ausus sum (I have dared)
  2. gaudeo (I rejoice) — gavisus sum (I have rejoiced)
  3. soleo (I am unaccustomed) — solitus sum (I have been unaccustomed)
  4. fido (I trust) — fisus sum (I have trusted)
--Gareth Hughes 17:08, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Gareth. I'd never really noticed that the perfect active forms of such common verbs as these are missing. By the way, on soleo you mean 'accustomed' rather than 'unaccustomed'. Maid Marion 17:41, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Ah, yes: thinking too hard! --Gareth Hughes 18:47, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Couldn't resist one final point. Checking this out last night in Gildersleeve and Lodge I found the four verbs you cite, apparently the only ones of their kind. But they also mention the reverse case: revertor is passive in form in the present, but 'reverts' (ho ho) to active in the perfect (reverti). Maid Marion 08:36, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I can't say I've thought that much about it, but I would have thought that it was a straightforward third conjugation in reverto, which my little pocket dictionary confirms — very odd! I also thought that, if we allow compound verbs to be counted, we could have the semi-deponents confidere and diffidere. --Gareth Hughes 11:48, 9 February 2006 (UTC)


I am looking for anyone who might know something about the surname Mocio. We think is Polish but then we think it might have roots from somewhere else, as it is not very common in Poland either (one of us is Polish but can't find any information)and I can't find either. For example, if you seach for Mocio in an Italian website, you get results, but nothing really related to a surname. I can't find anything in genealogy websites either.

Anyone who might have an idea about meaning, origin, anything at all and solve the mistery?

thanks a lot :)

It seems Italian; when I google it some of the first results are for Stefano Mocio, the mayor of Orvieto. David Sneek 19:33, 8 February 2006 (UTC)


Can a frontispiece of a book be a quote or does it have to be an illustration?

I've found no references that say it can be merely a quote. But there's no reason why an illustration could not incorporate words. You could start off with a quote, illustrate the words, and that would qualify as a frontispiece. JackofOz 19:57, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

So, if I want to use only a quote and not an illustration, would I still put it where the frontispiece goes?

Yes, but you call it an epigraph, not a frontispiece. Angr/talk 20:25, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Hmm, this gives me another question: What do you call the title page that preceeds the title page? I mean when you have a page consisting of just the title (and possibly the author) followed by a more elaborate title page on the next page? I remember that there was a word for it in German, but what's the English word? Or does it qualify as a frontispiece as well? --BluePlatypus 06:41, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I think a frontispiece is by definition a picture. What's the German word? Angr/talk 06:49, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I think it's "half-title" (see here). JackofOz 07:16, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
As well as "bastard title" and "fly title". So many names, and I didn't know a single one! :) --BluePlatypus 07:43, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
"Schmutztitel" (dirt-title). --BluePlatypus 07:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Admissions of lack of omniscience lend a person a certain je ne sais quoi, BluePlatypus. JackofOz 07:55, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
My German dictionary glosses Schmutztitel as "half-title", so I think we have our answer. Angr/talk 07:46, 10 February 2006 (UTC)


I know he's French, and I know his name is French, but I'm trying to translate the 'du lac' bit into Welsh. Since I don't know Welsh, I used a translator. Going from 'of the lake', I get 'chan 'r llyn'. Using 'du lac', I get 'unrhyw llyn'. Which is a better translation? DuctapeDaredevil 20:58, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

And is there any way I can crush it into one word, like Bedwyr's 'Bedrydant', 'of the perfect sinews'? DuctapeDaredevil 21:02, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Welsh often signifies possession by placing the words together: y gath yr eglwys, the church cat. --Gareth Hughes 21:09, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but you don't double the definite article. It's cath yr eglwys, not *y gath yr eglwys. Angr/talk 06:09, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
But it's not posession. It's not Lancelot's lake, it's the lake he is from. DuctapeDaredevil 21:27, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't count either of them as a satisfactory translation - "unrhyw llyn" means "any lake", and I can't figure how you got "chan 'r llyn" - you don't get consonant + 'r anyway, and do you really mean "chan", mutation of "can", a song? I'd say "o'r llyn" anyway... - Arwel (talk) 22:07, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Like I said, I don't speak Welsh, so I used an online translator. (Sorry, just noticed the last part. Thanks!) DuctapeDaredevil 01:06, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Arwel. If the machine translator gave you chan as Welsh for "of", it's completely unreliable. (Even worse than most machine translators.) "Lancelot of the lake" meaning "Lancelot from the lake" is Lancelot o'r llyn, while "Lancelot of the lake" meaning "The lake's Lancelot" (possession) would be Lancelot y llyn. Angr/talk 06:09, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Thank you! DuctapeDaredevil 21:20, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I think "Prince Michael of Albany" says in his book Bloodline of the Holy Grail that du Lac was really a mistaken form of del Acqs. I have no idea whether mainstream scholars agree with this, though. Ardric47 00:12, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Coming a bit late to this, two things. First, there is at least one (and possibly more than one) web-based English/Welsh translation program whose results have been causing hilarity on Welsh mailing lists and and weblogs for a while, to the extent that people were feeding it song titles for entertainment. This looks a very typical sample of its output. Second, Lancelot apparently has his own name in Welsh: Lawnslot! This is according to Geiriadur yr Academi, which is a big English->Welsh dictionary. (Alas, it offers no opinion on du Lac, sorry.) --Telsa (talk) 16:35, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

February 9[edit]

Schwa accent[edit]

I am trying to convert a document from plain text that has the following note. (Note: Weston's first "Titan" above had schwa accents over the vowels, the second "Titan" had macron accents over the vowels). I found what the macron accent was but I can find no reference to a schwa accent that could be put over a vowel. From all I see a schwa is ə. Here is the lines the note is refering to with the macrons added in: M. Van Gennep in his Rites du Passage, that the original form was Titan, 'White-clay men,' which later became Tītān, 'Giants,' and she draws attention to the fact that daubing the skin with white clay is a frequent practice in these primitive rituals. Any help would greatly appreciated the full text is at s:From Ritual to Romance/Chapter VII#ref_16. The paragraph follwing the 16th footnote.--Birgitte§β ʈ Talk 00:52, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

It will be a diacritic that marks a reduced vowel. The IPA letter /ə/ is used to mark a mid-centralised vowel that is often called a schewa. The mark is probably a breve: ǎěǐǒǔ. --Gareth Hughes 01:08, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
What GH has shown there aren't breves ‹˘› but carons ‹ˇ›.
Schwa with macron ‹¯›: ‹ə̄›
Schwa with breve: ‹ə̆›
Schwa with caron: ‹ə̌›
As for the “schwa accent”, Wikipedia says:
“A mid-centralized vowel is a vowel closer to the center of the vowel space than some point of reference. That is, it is closer to schwa [ə]. The diacritic used to mark this in the International Phonetic Alphabet is the over-cross, [ ̽].”
Hence, it would be ‹Tı̽ta̽n›.
“The diacritic for [centralisation] in the International Phonetic Alphabet is the dieresis, < ¨ >.”
Hence, it might even have been ‹Tïtän›.
However, I seriously doubt that all this current IPA usage is of any help, seeing that Weston died in 1928. Wikipeditor 23:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

February 10[edit]


The internet has caused us to be very demanding of the written language, and in English this seems to cause a lot of problems with tone because there don't seem to be very many effective and well known ways of communicating the proper tone in English. So if I want to tell a sarcastic joke and make the person I'm writing to laugh, I'll probably make them upset because unless they know me in real life and know I wouldn't say that unless I was joking. So people invented emoticons to pick up the slack, but they're kind of annoying and not always effective.

So my question is: Are there other languages where tone isn't a problem and written internet communication is a lot easier? And what are the best mechanisms built into in languages to communicate tone? -LambaJan 03:13, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I don’t think there are any natural languages or Constructed languages which would fit the bill, not even imaginary languages (certainly not Klingon, for example. I suppose you could point to Formal languages, but in the end they can only tell you that 1=1.
Whether in speech or writing, in any human language, words and their meanings are only a relatively small part of what is communicated. Tone, gestures, eye movements, pauses and hesitations, and numerous other signals convey not only THE message but a host of sub-messages as well, most of them unconscious. In turn, what the hearer/reader understands is influenced by an equally vast complex of conscious and unconscious, intellectual and emotional, experiential and intuitive expectation. That’s why data communications are so much simpler. --Halcatalyst 03:51, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, simpler, but more difficult because most of those cues that you mentioned are lost in the transmittion. Is there any language that even comes close to accomidating this? I suppose it wouldn't have been so necessary in the past... But it would be nice to know about now. At least to know what mechanisms have been effective in this regard. -LambaJan 04:26, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
There are languages with more explicit moods than English (e.g. Japanese). Maybe tone can be conveyed more easily in these. ᓛᖁ♀ 04:56, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I kind of like the method used by one contributor here, fake HTML tags:

<sarcasm> George Bush is the guardian of our personal freedoms. </sarcasm>

StuRat 04:32, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Don't know if it can convey proper tone, but romance languages share many common words, these were collected and combined with an ultra simple grammar to produce < tada sound effect >Interlingua. And its very natural. No new constructed words are used.--Jondel 11:39, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
<sarcasmo> George Bush es le guardator de nostre libertates personal. </sarcasmo>
Some languages do use tone to do a lot more than we use it for in English, and in some writing systems (Burmese alphabet) these are marked. Other languages use grammatical particles (little words) to express shades of meaning that we cannot mark in English (this is especially true of some American languages, and borrowed in the constructed Láadan). In written English, we can use a number of features that suggest that the words are not to be taken literally:
  1. George Bush is the Guardian of our Personal Freedoms. (sometimes a bit too subtle)
  2. George Bush is the 'guardian of our personal freedoms'.
  3. George Bush is the "guardian of our personal freedoms".
  4. George Bush is the guardian of our personal freedoms.
You don't have to make your writing look like a markup language. --Gareth Hughes 13:34, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
The tonal languages use pitch to distinguish words, not to convey subtle meaning, as I believe LambdaJan was asking about. "Tone" is the speaker's attitude toward his/her subject matter or audience; it may be conveyed by word choice, as in
  • I am firm
  • You are stubborn
  • He is pigheaded
but more likely in non-verbal gestures, tone of voice, and the like. As mentioned above, there are also many ways to communicate attitude in writing.--Halcatalyst 16:53, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Dutch theme song[edit]

Anybody here know Dutch? I'd like a translation of a Dutch TV show theme song:

Je bent een bluffer, Je blijft een bluffer, Je droomt en bluft erop los. Je bent niet suffer Maar wel weel duffer Al ben je soms ook wel de klos. De wereld gaat niet goed Dus heb je een idee Hoe het leven anders moet, Maar hoe je ook bluft en doet, Het zit niet altijd mee.

[I made few minor corrections - DS]


You are a bluffer
You will stay a bluffer
You dream and bluff freely.
You are not more dozy
But a lot stuffier
Even if you're sometimes a sucker too.
The world isn't going well
So you have an idea
How life should be different.
But no matter how you bluff and act,
It isn't always going your way.
It doesn't make more sense in Dutch. David Sneek 07:15, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I appreciate the translation. KeeganB

There is, are?[edit]

Which is correct: "there is a man, a woman and a child in the buidling", or "there are a man, a woman and a child in the building"?

In US English, "are" is correct. StuRat 11:29, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
'are' because you are refering to (plural) a man, a woman and a child. --Jondel 11:34, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with that, up to a point. The verb in the expletive construction "there is/are" is governed by the subject that follows it. The subject in this example is not "a man", but "a man, a woman and a child". That is plural, hence the verb is "are". But there's the problem of euphony. "There are a man .." sounds ugly and takes effort to clearly enunciate, so most people would naturally say "there is a man .." or "there's a man ..", and only died-in-the-wool pedants would quibble. (These are the same people who would draw attention to the misspelling of "building" as "buidling".) To avoid the clash between theory and practice, it'd be best to recast the sentence. eg. "A man, a woman and a child are in the building". JackofOz 11:46, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Both are correct (from a prescriptive and otherwise POV). --Chris S. 13:35, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Thank you, JackofOz especially, and I am not correcting the 'buidling' typo because correcting it might render JackofOz's parenthetical illustration slightly less pointed.
Frailty, thy name is written humour. This was an attempt at taking the piss out of myself to balance out the lofty academic tone I had adopted. It was not a swipe at your spelling. I had to borrow that reference to make the point that this was not a point I was making. (I think I'm getting into this linguistic quicksand too deep, so I'll just stop now.) JackofOz 01:21, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I prefer the verb agree with the closest item (agreement by proximity); "There is a man, a woman and a child in the building." Think of the sentence this way: "There's a man, there's a woman and there's a child in the building." —Wayward Talk 19:02, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

India-born, Indian-born[edit]

Could someone explain the difference, if any?

The first means 'born in India', the second means 'born an Indian'. I've never actually heard the first one used, but it would be a reasonably way to describe e.g. the British people born in India during the Raj. Markyour words 10:22, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Also note that "Indian" can be taken in the US to refer to Native Americans. StuRat 11:27, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

"Indian born" doesn't seem to make sense if you're claiming it means "born an Indian". If someone's born an Indian (ethnicity), they're going to die an Indian, or any other ethnicity. User:Zoe|(talk) 04:18, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

It can also refer to their citizenship. A person born an Indian citizen who later takes out Romanian citizenship would be correctly described as an "Indian-born Romanian". This would not suggest that they have ceased to be ethnically Indian because, as you say, nothing will ever change that. JackofOz 06:30, 11 February 2006 (UTC)


Ok, I've looked everywhere to see the pronunciation of pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. I've used very ditionary at the library i could find. I'm geting kind of desperate. Please if you could help me I'd be thankful.

P.S. Don't ask me how I know that word.

As Sgt. Wojciechowicz on Barney Miller used to say when people asked him how to pronounce his name, "Just like it's spelled." Angr/talk 11:40, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Many problems become easier if they're broken into smaller, more manageable segments. Try this: pneumo - ultra - micro - scopic - silico - volcano - coniosis. JackofOz 12:07, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
You left out a no between pneumo and ultra. Angr/talk 12:47, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
The pneumo version is the one I've always known, and it gets 744 Google hits. But you're right, the pneumono version gets 26,000 hits. Which is all a bit academic now since we know it's a hoax word, so there's no such thing as the correct spelling (because if there were, that would make it a legitimate word.) JackofOz 00:54, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
I hate long words like this that really should be two words. Pneumonoultramicroscopic is an adjective, and silicovolcanoconiosis is a noun. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is the same way. There's no glue holding together supercalifragilistic and expialidocious. —Keenan Pepper 16:02, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Let's see: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis --> pneu-mo'no-ul'tra-mi'cro-scop'ic-sil'i-co-vol-ca'no-con'i-o'sis, since the syllable emphasisis is presumably similar to that of the word components when used elsewhere in English. Coniosis means "Any of various diseases or pathological conditions caused by dust." So the word refers to a lung condition caused by very fine silicon dust from a volcano. It's good to know what one is talking about; probably the word has a valid use in medicine, grotesque and comical as it may seem to us laypersons. --Halcatalyst 16:42, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Not really, it is a hoax, but see pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis and longest word in English, too. Rmhermen 17:53, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "a factitious word alleged to mean ‘a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust’ but occurring chiefly as an instance of a very long word." Note also that Keenan's complaint is right -- adjectives ending in -ic don't normally turn into prefixes without a change of ending. "Pneumonoultramicroscopicosilicovolcanoconiosis" would have been a more natural, or at least less unnatural, formation. But in fact -scopic- is really not contributing to the meaning anyway, and a scientist who was going to invent a word along these lines would probably omit it. Further, the order of the components is odd. "Volcanoultramicrosilicopneumonoconiosis" seems more sensible. --Anonymous, 02:04 UTC, February 11.
When you refer to the p45 article, you may realize that it was not a hoax. It was a funny hypothesis that made sense. Like poesis (poetry), you first imagine reality and then it becomes real. Hoaxes do sometimes. --DLL 13:41, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Pronounce it as new-moh-noh-ultra-microscopic-silicoh-volcano-con-e-osis. --Δ

What do you call...[edit]

Given that one collecting coins is numismatic, what would you call a collector of clean jokes or humor? Just curious--- Thank You- JAC, Pittsburgh, PA. USA

How about humorista? (modeled on turista) --Halcatalyst 03:48, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
I looked all over for a proper Greek word for this, but couldn't find one. Roget's Thesaurus lists humorist, wit, wag, joke, jester, funnyman, quipster, tease, teaser, gagster, gag writer, wisecracker, jokesmith, ironist, satirist, lampooner, caricaturist, cartoonist, comic, comedian, straight man, clown, buffoon. —Keenan Pepper 18:36, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
If a Latin root will do, we can turn to ludicrous << L. ludicrus << ludus, a play or game, and add a Greek suffix to derive ludicrousmatic. Perhaps that will do? Or ludichrismatic, maybe? ..."annointed with fun," a glaringly awful Greek-Latin amalgam which might strike some people as funny, and has the added advantage of sounding somewhat parallel to numismatic. --Halcatalyst 02:04, 13 February 2006 (UTC) (forgive me)
Actually, a collector of coins is a numismatist, so a collector of jokes might be a ludichrismatist. JackofOz 02:08, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
This user is in a great mood.

--Halcatalyst 04:55, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Thank you SO much. being a "ludichrismatist" is perfect. Whether it is in Webster's yet or not makes no difference in my situation. Way too long of a story but, I just needed a viable word and you have come through for me. Many thanks to you Halcatalyst. The best definition for me personally (meaning as a person) is 'Buffoon' but that is yet another story. ;)

English,Chinese Learning[edit]

--HydrogenSu 16:57, 15 February 2006 (UTC)


得糟糕!Dmharvey 15:51, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

It's ok. You've tried your best. Great. What you wrote have some grammar problem,like:
For the above,I try giving you totalls below which will be better.
The word 糕 can be ignored. Keep trying and you'll improve in 中文!
Might:In Taiwan,早點=早餐. In Mainland China,people say 早餐,not早點. And saying "早上好(Good morning)" not 早安(said by Taiwaneses).

--HydrogenSu 17:59, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

added newer comment of mine in:--HydrogenSu 15:17, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

You would never say "have some stuck" in any English, but would either say "have some trouble" or "get stuck". The phrase "advice in appropriate time" is also awkward, and you should say "quick advice", instead. Let's look at another one of your sentences:

The Chinese leader thought something hide in his mind:Wow......I don't understand what this tall white guy talking about in public.

That should be:

The Chinese leader thought to himself: "Wow...I don't understand what you're talking to the public about."

Also, it wasn't clear whether the "you" is the Chinese leader or the US President. StuRat 17:06, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
The Chinese leader is Hu. The US President is "who?". JackofOz 05:55, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
"Je vais chercher ___" means "I am going to look for ___". Ardric47 05:56, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I suggest that for the sentence,people cannot translate it as "I'm going to look for". 'Cause in French,there has no "phrases" in it. You shall say :"(C'est une supermarket.) J'y vais marcher.=I'm going there to buy something."--HydrogenSu 15:17, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I feel that En. always exists some trouble in it and makes confusing. That is while people is going to express "You / Your" of some of you. (1 or more You?) .....Woundn't it be 1? Or more?
If the same cases in French or in Chinese...etc--It's much better.
Vos calendiers ; Votre calendier ; Ton .... ; Ta.....
=Your several ones' cal.  ; Your.....
Not talking about 中文 here. 'Cause too difficult for most Westerns. --HydrogenSu 14:23, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
A western is a movie about cowboys, a westerner is a person of western origin. Don't worry, Chinese is just as difficult for me as English is for you : ).  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  19:04, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
And-d what I critized was for "Languages", NOT LIKE ... do it for a "PERSON".--HydrogenSu 14:27, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

February 11[edit]


Any idea what this word means in the following sentence. I can't see how it means "contemperary" in this context. whose gardens were kept forever green by the streams from the neighboring hills, and shaded with the trees sacred to Minerva and coëval with the foundation of the city, — whose circuit enclosed--Birgitte§β ʈ Talk 00:49, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

It means the trees existed when the city was founded. —Wayward Talk 01:24, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick answer. It is a rather obtuse way of wording, but obtuse seems to his style.--Birgitte§β ʈ Talk 03:53, 11 February 2006 (UTC)


Hi. Some time ago, I added a question at Talk:Missouri#Pronunciation about the pronunciation of Missouri. There were lots of non-IPA answers (i.e. ones that didn't really help me). The only proposed IPA was /mɪsˌsɚɹi/ and /mɪsˌsɚɹə/, both of which look kind of awkward to me. Could someone check these for accuracy, or provide correct ones? Thanks in advance. --Rueckk 12:48, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Done. Angr/talk 13:05, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks a lot! --Rueckk 14:06, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

February 12[edit]

Chinese head dress[edit]

What is the name of the cone shaped hat worn by chinese workers especially those working in rice paddies?

I've always heard them called coolie hats. Angr/talk 15:35, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

I associate those hats more with the Vietnamese than the Chinese. StuRat 21:09, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Language Academies[edit]

Why is that English speaking nations never bothered to create an institution for defining their language, like France?

Perhaps they feel, as I do, that any attempt to define the language will ultimately fail, as languages evolve over time. It's quite similar to planning a city, versus letting it evolve naturally. Planned cities usually outgrow the planned area and continue to evolve naturally, as would any language. StuRat 18:54, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
A language is shaped by its speakers and writers, then defined, in a limited and very technical sense, by specialists (linguists, lexicographers, grammarians, etc.). In France the Académie Française, which did once arguably fulfil a useful function, now neither shapes nor defines the language and is largely ignored. In short, I think that if English-speaking countries felt the need for such institutions, they would have them. - Mu 19:24, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps because we fear people might enforce its rulings... --Gareth Hughes 19:25, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
French doesn't have a body for 'defining' it. The French academy makes recommendations (which few care about), and print dictionaries, but they don't define the language. Neither does a dictionary: definition is in usage. Linguists don't make up words to be included in a dictionary and used by the people. It's the other way around; people use words and the linguists put them in the dictionary. Most institutions don't even make recommendations, the Swedish Academy, heavily similar to the French one, are satisfied with awarding Nobel prizes, publishing dictionaries and a century-long project of creating an etymological one. But they don't even try to make recommendations on usage. That said, there are some instances where it's successful, as with the Icelandic language committee. Most European languages have had several official spelling reforms. English could certainly use one. Paradoxically, English is very liberal towards introducing new words, and very conservative towards spelling. Which makes for the massively inconsistent English spelling. --BluePlatypus 21:20, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Part of the reason for that is that the pronunciation of many words has changed over time (and continues to do so, and at a seemingly increasing rate). To try to keep pace with pronunciation changes by constantly altering spelling would not be a good idea. The inconsistency of English spelling is a part of the charm and challenge of the language, and moreover it keeps a lot of teachers and linguists employed. JackofOz 22:23, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
The opinions of the various national academies do carry a certain weight in society though. I remember a Spanish girl, who was being teased about her southern accent, replying that she was "permitted by the Real Academia" to pronounce "Z" as "ss" not "th" because she was from Andalucia and it was an officially-sanctioned regional variation. This was said spontaneously in the middle of a normal teenage conversation about something else entirely. So obviously she at least had been conditioned into thinking that these things matter. Jameswilson 00:37, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Oh definitely! Since the rise of modern society, up until the late 20th century, regional dialects all over Europe have been in trouble. Ranging from having low status ("You sound like a farmer!") to being banned outright (Franco's Spain). Institutions have played a very important role in helping increase the status of and promote dialects, as you point out one of the many examples of. But there's of course a bit of difference between an institution telling someone to be proud of how they speak and telling them to speak differently than they do. --BluePlatypus 17:59, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. The main problems in English are loan-words (which English alters the spelling of less than other languages, and I believe I can prove that), and the retention of archaic spellings from before spelling had been regularized. All languages have shifting pronunciation, so that's not a problem particular to English. --BluePlatypus 17:59, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
OK. Let's say we decide to reform English spelling to better reflect pronunciation. Next question: which pronunciation? There are so many local varieties of spoken English that it would be impossible to ever reach consensus about which is the "correct" one. To have a different spelling for each different pronunciation of the same word, would be a recipe for confusion far worse than that which obtains today. JackofOz 21:52, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
On one hand that's true; on the other, beyond wide spread and consistent vowel shifts and likewise consistent pronounciation of r issues, the major dialects of English are fairly consistent in broad pronounciation. If you largely take a pass on the fine details of vowels (since there are way more vowels in English than we have vowel letters to spell them) and leave the r's alone (since they represent one pronounciation, and where they are lost and found in other dialects is fairly predictable), you could devise a better spelling that better represents all major dialects of the English language.--Prosfilaes 22:18, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
But is there really a great desire for change? Really? I think that there is such a huge amount of intellectual capital invested in our love of words and their lore, that any serious impetus for change would be resisted very strongly indeed. I've read many proposals for revised spelling, but have never been attracted to any of them because, well, they just don't look right and they don't produce the right feeling in my breast - which is the best explanation I can give. Once a person has a reasonable grasp of any written language, they no longer perceive words letter by letter but as discrete word-units. Make any change to the "look" of those units - however well justified that may seem - and you're in for trouble immediately. A spelling such as "yoosij" (instead of "usage") looks foreign to me, and I have to consciously process the meaning before I move on the next foreign-looking word, which makes for a slow, unpleasant and tiring experience, exactly the opposite of how reading should be. So spelling reform is really only pandering to those who have not yet started to learn the language, to the complete disregard of the billions of people who already have. Think of the huge issues it would create, far worse than any issues it would seek to address. Would the whole of English literature need to be re-spelled retrospectively? If so, who would have that unenviable task? If not, we'd have 2 separate canons of writing co-existing, which would inevitably create "us and them" issues. There is a significant right-brain, emotional, gestalt component to reading, speech and communication generally, which is not commensurate with the entirely mathematical, logical, left-brain approach that some proponents of spelling reform advocate. JackofOz 23:38, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Now we're at the heart of the issue; people aren't happy with change. Responding to the non-emotional parts of your post...
It's true that those who know English know would have to relearn spelling, but that would be a one time event. Every child has to tediously learn the connection between the written word and the spoken word, in a way that's much more complex than any other language written with an alphabet, and those billions of children outnumber the current speakers of English.
Yes, the whole of English literature would need to be re-spelled; a respelling of the Book of Mormon in Deseret took a couple hours (John Jenkin's page) for a first attempt; I suspect a computer program could assist a human to do most books in a couple minutes. The only problems would be printed books and books that aren't in regular spelling. A successful conversion would convert everything in print and everything digitalized in a few years. Many libraries I've see replace large parts of their collection every few years; in a decade or two, many public libraries would have the bulk of their material in modern spelling. I don't think it would be hard enough to master two orthographies that there would be a significant us versus them.--Prosfilaes 02:46, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Language and communication is an inherently emotional subject. Ignore that at your peril. You're dead right - people aren't happy with change (and with a colossal change such as this, they would be well justified in their resistance). That is a major issue that anybody seriously contemplating this sort of project would have to think long and hard about. You're way ahead of me on the technical side of doing the respelling. The billions of people I mentioned are not just the people for whom English is their sole or primary language, but also the people for whom it is a secondary or other language, or who have learnt it to some degree but who use it only occasionally. They live in every country on the planet, and they would all need to be re-educated. Best of luck to anybody undertaking this project. JackofOz 03:55, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
But whatever figure you give for the number of people today, you have to figure that people will continue to be born and continue to learn English. And the people for whom it is a secondary or other language are the people who would benefit most, for whom it is the most troublesome to have to learn the spelling and pronounciation of every word seperately, unlike in Russian or German.--Prosfilaes 06:32, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
That's right. Look, I just think there is no case for anybody embarking on this. Inconsistency is not a reason for the sort of change I think you're suggesting. Humans are brilliant at tackling complexity and inconsistency. The law is a colossal minefield of inconsistencies, but our whole society is based on it. Language learners have to remember thousands of words and rules as it is, most of which have exceptions, so why is remembering these pronunciation-spelling disconjuncts a hugely greater burden? They're no worse than the verbs of motion in Russian, which still elude me. Even if there were a compelling case for spelling reform, the spread of English throughout the world means that the sorts of international cooperation you'd need would make Kofi Annan extremely envious. JackofOz 07:44, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
If you want an example of a centralised spelling reform, look at German spelling reform of 1996, an attempt to make the (also somewhat archaic) German spelling rules more consistent. The controversy has still not died away, and the result is a mish-mash between people using the old and the new rules. — QuantumEleven | (talk) 08:33, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Humans have a pain learning English spelling. Note how many adult native English speakers have trouble with spelling? Do you really think that learning 10,000 words of written English partially disjoint from spoken English is no big deal? Vocabulary is one of the hardest things of a new language. To be entirely honest, the US and UK could push it through together. It'd be just like metric and the Gregorian calendar; the big boys pick it up and everyone else has to follow or be left behind.--Prosfilaes 19:08, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but that's normal. 10 years isn't that long in these terms. It takes a few decades for any such reform to reach full impact. And to answer some of the points above: Noone would have to re-learn spelling, because the new spelling would be more intuitive, since it'd be more consistent with the rest. As for burden: Why make things more difficult than they need to be? Should things be difficult for the sake of being difficult? I just don't buy the arguments. It can be done. It has been done. And English does have less consistent spelling than most languages. None of the counterarguments raised so far are specific to English. Other languages have local variations in pronunciation as well. Other languages have shifting pronunciations too. Other languages have inconsistencies too. But English has a singularily inconsistent spelling. So, please phrase any further arguments as "Unlike other languages, spelling reform can't be done in English, because unlike other languages English..." --BluePlatypus 11:51, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, they'd have to learn the new spelling, both the principles behind it, and to recognize it fluently. It has been done, but the major written languages, like German, have made minor spelling changes, and the languages that have changed scripts (which this would be almost as bad), like most of the Turkic languages, have had generally low levels of literacy and not a large body of widespread literature.--Prosfilaes 19:08, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
  • The German spelling reforms (a) seem to have been low in number compared to the task faced by reformers of English spelling and (b) were confined to 4 countries, compared with hundreds.
  • The Gregorian calendar hasn't been universally accepted, after 424 years.
  • Metric is a country-by-country thing (the USA, for example, is still holding out). Don't expect to change English spelling in only one country at a time. It's effectively the language of the world.
  • Nobody has suggested making things any harder than they need to be. Spelling and pronunciation of many words has diverged over time because the pronunciation keeps changing. That divergence has occurred gradually, word by word. Spelling reformers are about making massive changes in one fell swoop.
  • BluePlatypus, if your last sentence about phrasing was a request, I must graciously decline in order to retain my independence. If it was a command, I refuse. JackofOz 20:20, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I refuse to permit the world to hold my language hostage. Any group has the right to deal with their language as they will. If the US wants to change the spelling of their language alone, then we have that right. More realistically, the half-dozen countries that actually speak English natively--the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa (and arguably India)--can and should feel free to make any such changes and the rest of the world can deal. I don't see any difference between this and metric and Gregorian reforms. Yes, countries could hold out at their own expense, but the only major non-metric country is big enough to ignore the rest of the world.
You forgot Australia. JackofOz 10:29, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, USA or any country can change its spelling, so off you go then. I'll be the first to congratulate you if you can achieve what you're suggesting. But I wonder this: if the USA has held out about the metric system, why would she be so willing to embrace spelling reform? JackofOz 10:29, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you've suggested keeping things harder then they need to be. There is no reasonable non-flag day solution to this.--Prosfilaes 04:11, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
That is a flawed argument, which I'll now formally dub the "Prosfilaes Proposition": Those who oppose an idea, no matter how ill-founded the idea may be and how sound the objections may be, are responsible for denying the alleged benefits of the idea to the intended recipients of those benefits. That doesn't wash with me at all. It is up to you to demonstrate this idea has merit. I remain unconvinced.
An abstruse statement like "There is no reasonable non-flag day solution to this" (whatever it means) is certainly no exemplar of the simplicity and ease of communication you seem to be advocating. JackofOz 10:29, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
I have to ask, do any of you actually want to change spellings? I don't have any problem with a rousing theoretical debate, but I hǎv tū wǔndr ūaē ěnē nātiv spēkr wūd wǒnt ěē pyrlē fōnětik sistǔm. Even if the vowels were fudged, it'd look ridiculous, and I just don't see the benefit. Black Carrot 23:01, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
How can you say it would look ridiculous without even looking at it? I think writing English in Tengwar would look beautiful; it might be ridiculous, but that's a different matter. You don't see the benefits in making literacy in English vastly easier to obtain by children and students?--Prosfilaes 04:11, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
My question wasn't whether it'd look ridiculous, that was just an opinion I tossed out while I was writing. And no, I don't really see the benefit. My question is, does anyone actually want the change? Apparently at least one person does. Black Carrot 04:12, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Eww, missed this thread and I wrote (part) of forty pages on it! An Academy along the lines of that in France was discussed in Great Britain and was rejected in part as violating Anglo-Saxon notions of liberty. Deploying rather dubious logic, British nationalists felt that French attitudes toward language reflected an absolutist and sycophantic culture which they actively sought to avoid. Standardization did occur of course: first, via the printing presses in London and also through a series of dictionaries and grammars culminating in Johnson's dictionary. Marskell 10:58, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

World records and firsts[edit]

Two questions below. Jay 19:11, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

  1. A world record according to the article is the "best performance in a certain discipline". If a person did something unique in the world for the first time, would that be a world record ?
  2. Words corrsponding to best - fastest, highest, busiest, longest, shortest, etc. - would come under the umbrella word "superlatives". What similar category would the "first" words come under ?
1) Yes, but perhaps a somewhat meaningless record. To be a record it of course has to be recorded, so the word does imply that it has to be something worth recording, something someone cares about. 2) "First" doesn't have a superlative form because it's not comparative. It stands for itself: You can't be "more first" or "less first". So "first" is an absolute adjective. --BluePlatypus 21:26, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
1) Hasn't World Record lost the literal meaning of "recording" that you've mentioned and come to mean a recognition of abilities and events as the definition suggested ? 2)Oh ok, I omit the words "similar category". What general category would the word "first" come under, if I go by Wikipedia:categories naming ? Jay 22:11, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
"First" is an ordinal number. Angr/talk 22:30, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Great! Thats a good one. Jay 08:39, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
If the word "record" has lost its meaning in that sense, give an example of a record which isn't recorded? (Impossible of course, since you'd be recording it in doing so) But there are record-books specifically for these things.. and in most people's minds being in "the record books" is what makes a record a record. --BluePlatypus 17:50, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
You're right about that. We sometimes lose sight of the obvious! Jay 08:39, 18 February 2006 (UTC)


From whence comes the term "Crackers"? As in Georgia Crackers, or those little square things we eat?

The edible crackers are so called because they can be cracked, unlike bread. For the people, see White cracker#Etymology. —Keenan Pepper 23:09, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

"Should salt-free saltines just be called ines ?" StuRat 06:00, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Only if they're "100 per cent salt free". JackofOz

For ever and ever.[edit]

One frequently hears the expression "for ever and ever", especially popular in Catholic prayers. Why the redundency? The only explanation I can think of is that one forever would be forever in time and the other forever would be forever in distance. Any body have any other thoughts on the subject?

IIRC, in Catholic prayers it's usually a translation of Latin in saecula saeculorum, literally "into ages of ages". Maybe whoever first translated it into English decided to mimic the repetition of the Latin word by repeating an English word. Angr/talk 22:28, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
It's a form of emphasis; the theological meaning can be taken as "beyond the ages," that is, eternal. As a religious formula, the expression is similar to Jesus' admonition to forgive "seventy times seven" = always. --Halcatalyst 01:50, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
The repetition also occurs in other languages, it's not just an English thing. JackofOz 01:53, 13 February 2006 (UTC)


what about them? СПУТНИКССС Р 23:56, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Oh, buy, oh, buy my poems: a penny a line! --Gareth Hughes 01:01, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
sp: biro-poems? --Gareth Hughes 01:03, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Something by a Confessional poet? --Halcatalyst 01:43, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
SSSR, what is exactly a bio poem, before we tell about them ? Biographical poetry ? Maybe a new genre. Let us create categories : auto biographical poetry, pseudo b.p., bio elegy. Or biological : cell poetry, plant poems, dipneustosarcopterigyc ballads ... --DLL 18:57, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

February 13[edit]

organogram, organigram[edit]

Anybody knows anything about these words?

This was the very first hit on my Google search. JackofOz 05:51, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I would have thought 'org chart' was preferred. That's the wording always used in Dilbert. Black Carrot 22:23, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's short for an organizational chart. StuRat 00:12, 15 February 2006 (UTC)


We have words such as carnivorous, omnivorous, icthyophagous etc. Can anyone suggest a plausible similar word that might mean 'leg-eating'? DJ Clayworth 16:50, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, one could make up the word crurivorous, I suppose. Google does not show the existence of that word, though. Angr/talk 18:09, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
'Tis a fine word, and will bear repetition. =P —Keenan Pepper 01:27, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Actual existence isn't an issue here. I just need something plausible-sounding. Thanks. DJ Clayworth 22:43, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I was going to suggest podophagous, or podivorous (even though it's mixing roots, it does have a nice ring to it), and found a Google hit to support it, but then i checked it and it turned out to be "arthro-podivorous" and i was disappointed. I did find this great site though, so all's well that ends well. СПУТНИКССС Р 23:21, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
If you'd rather it had Greek roots, I think skeleophagous is the way to go. Angr/talk 07:03, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I think podivorous will do nicely. Thanks to all. DJ Clayworth 18:22, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
"I asked my friend if he was podivorous, and he admitted that he was a bit of a 'leg man'." StuRat 00:09, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Grumble. Should be pedivorous. —Keenan Pepper 03:43, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Or crurophilous [5] JackofOz 03:58, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Can those figures of speech help : anthropophage, hemiphage, semivore, plantivore, jamoncome ... --DLL 18:44, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

February 14[edit]

"Summer Reunion"[edit]

Some friends and I want to name a reunion we're planning for this summer, and we'd like the name to mean "summer reunion" (or something along those lines) in a foreign language but also be aesthetic and relatively short. Any suggestions, polyglots? ;-) Thanks, anon.

How about "Estival Festival" in Latiny English? --Gareth Hughes 01:54, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I like that! But if you prefer "aesthetic" to "esthetic", then you may also prefer the spelling "Aestival Festival". If you move to French, you can get the same meaning -- still a festival or fair rather than a reunion as such -- with similar repeated letters, but no rhyme: "Fête d'été" (pronounced like "fett-day-tay"). --Anonymous, 02:56 UTC, Feb. 14.

Greek/English word overlap.[edit]

In English, "Right" can refer to both the direction (Opposite left), and the idea ("Correct", "Ideal", etc). My question is: Is there any word in Greek, or more importantly a common word that can also do this? Thanx 02:45, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

That relationship is present in many languages. I think the Greek word ορθος (orthos) is what you're looking for. —Keenan Pepper 04:41, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
That was a rather orthodox answer. It's ironic that left frequently has a much more sinister meaning: [6]. StuRat 00:02, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
GRR! Here I thought I'd found ANOTHER plot-hole in Quest of the Delta Knights! 01:49, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


I've checked a number of Spanish dictionaries and there is no definition for cantador. I think it's a variant of cantante but I'm not sure. Anybody know the meaning? KeeganB

From "cantar" ("to sing") you add the "-dor" making it an occupation and you get "cantador" ("singer"). --BluePlatypus 11:55, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
My not too big (Prisma) Spanish - Dutch dictionary has the following translations (trans-trans-lated by me into English): Cantante: singer, Cantador: street singer, 'songsinger', Cantaor: flamenco singer, singer of Andalucian folk songs. 'Songsinger' is a literal translation. It suggests a more casual singer of easy tunes. The variation with the dropped 'd' is a consequence of the way the language is pronunced in southern Spain. DirkvdM 12:14, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Ah. I retract my last answer. I thought he was asking what "cantador" meant, but now that you point it out I realize that it's this subtle difference between 'cantante' and 'cantador' that KeeganB was after. --BluePlatypus 12:53, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

It's the first time I ever hear the word...maybe because it's spanish from spain... but it seems like its meant to mean singer but the way a child who is learning to speak would say it. --Cosmic girl 14:36, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Same difference between toreante which is a cowboy and toreador which is a street bull killer ;-). --DLL 18:35, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

on discourse analysis[edit]

Dear Sir: I am writing to inquire if notes about Brown and Yule's book (1983)'discourse analysis' are available in your website. I am now preparing an exam about discourse analysis and I would like to read some introduction notes to the book. Since that book is often chosen as a textbook, I wonder if there are notes (e.g. summary or lecture notes) on that book available on the internet. I tried to search for them on the Wikipedia but I failed to find any. Could you please give me some information about how to get them if you happen to know it?

Thank you for your attention to my inquiry.

Your faithfully, Luise Tsai

Sorry, we don't have notes about textbooks here. This is an encyclopedia. We do, however, have an article on discourse analysis, if that helps. Angr/talk 22:50, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Dr. vs Dr[edit]

Does the contraction of Doctor have a period? If it makes a difference, I live in the southern United States. Black Carrot 22:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

In the U.S. (northern as well as southern), it does. In British English, it does not. Angr/talk 22:44, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

I would expect that only female doctors would have a period. :-) StuRat 23:50, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Unless they were (pregnant/prepubescent/menopausal/sterile/freakishly skinny). € = ) Black Carrot 00:13, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
I haven't run into a prepubescent female doctor since I was prepubescent myself. StuRat 05:57, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

A related question. I read a grammar rule in a dusty book a few years ago related to periods and abbreviations. The rule was that the period is only used to represent missing letters. For example, it is not used in Doctor since the first and last letters are present (D****r). This rule allows the differentiation between Fr. (FRiar) and Fr (FatheR). Does this grammar rule have any substance (in British English at least, since that what I try to speak)? --Commander Keane 06:23, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

There are missing letters in both the 'Doctor' and 'Friar' cases. Are you talking about missing terminal letters?
If that was ever a rule, it has certainly gone by the board now. The abstruseness of the distinction would escape all but the most knowledgeable grammarians. Whether a period is used at the end of an abbreviation comes down to style. Fr and Fr. could both mean either Father or Friar nowadays. JackofOz 07:19, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
"The Maori of New Zealand had a reputation for disliking Christian missionaries, when, in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. They were actually quite fond of missionaries, especially a nice fat friar served on a bed of wild rice." StuRat 05:17, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
It certainly was, and is a rule in British English that contractions that end in the same letter as the original word do not take a contraction. It isn't just relativley uncommon words such as Dr and Fr - the much more mundane Mr and Mrs are also covered by it. Has it gone by the board now? Well, it may not be widely known but, at the same time, there is still awareness of it in certain circles. Publishing houses are aware of it and often include (and explain it) in style guides. In my experience academics (in the UK) tend to be aware of it and call themselves Dr rather than Dr. with a full stop. The rule is straightforward and regular - but probably has no bearing on US usage. Mattley (Chattley) 09:01, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

The Oxford Style Manual on the subject:

Oxford Style Manual (2003), 3.2: Punctuation. Traditionally, abbreviations were supposed to end in full stops while contractions did not, giving both Jun. and Jr for Junior, and Rev. and Revd for Reverend. Handy though this rule is, common usage increasingly fails to bear it out: both ed. (for editor or edited by) and edn. (for edition) end in a point; Street is St. with a point to avoid confusion with St for Saint. —Wayward Talk 09:31, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

February 15[edit]

Four and Forty[edit]

Does any one know when and why we stopped using the U in Forty? I believe that it was still in use in the late 14th century with Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales..

Fourty was displaced by forty in the 18th century. That's a pretty vague time period, I admit, but the best I can do at the moment. JackofOz 00:27, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Apparently, the "o" and "ou" spellings co-existed for a while. Shakespeare spelled the word "fortie" in Coriolanus. -- Mwalcoff 04:56, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

This is a side comment, but if 40 were still spelled fourty, there would be no number whose letters in the English spelling occur in alphabetical order. The change to forty has put 40 in a class of its own. Aren't you glad you read this now. JackofOz 06:00, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I have looked every where that i can think and no one seems to know WHY is was dropped.. something that i had never even noticed until my nephew brought this question home for his assignment. The truth must be out there!!

Dropping extraneous letters happens all the time. Even whole syllables can be dropped, as in a "plow left by the piano in the lab by the gym" versus "a plowshare left by the piano-forte in the laboratory next to the gymnasium". StuRat 06:38, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
That's a little different, I think. Those are all abbreviations of words by removing syllables, not individual letters - so we still have piano, not pino or pano. Curious that fourty became forty, but fourteen didn't become forteen. JackofOz 07:34, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Also, plow is not a contraction of plowshare. A plowshare is a part of a plow (the part that does the cutting). Angr/talk 10:39, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Plow was also spelt plough. The fact is that writin' follows speech in english (not in french, as there is the Academy.) Dropin' riten leters is a very comon tendency in evry languaj. --DLL 18:27, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I find the spelling eighty (instead of eightty) wierd. – b_jonas 19:29, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Siddham script[edit]

I want a font for the Siddham script. No luck on google. Where should I be looking? deeptrivia (talk) 02:55, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

One of the external links in the article is which has a link that supposedly includes Siddham in their Mojikyo fonts package. - Taxman Talk 19:22, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

right and left[edit]

Looks like you forgot to ask a question. Try the search box. —Keenan Pepper 05:27, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Which, interestingly enough, is on the left.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  06:24, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Oh wow. Maybe that's why they were confused. =P —Keenan Pepper 15:05, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
  • C'est moi le coupable. There's a peculiarity in the question prompt above. If you type in the question and hit Enter, the page disappears. (In many systems, an example being Microsoft Outlook, hitting Enter in such a situation takes you to the edit box.) This "feature" no doubt accounts for many of the titles without questions we see. Maybe someone can fix this.
  • That's what happened to me. --Halcatalyst 17:52, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
It's MediaWiki bug #4273. —Keenan Pepper 00:04, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad to know it's in process. Meanwhile, I promise not to forget to remember! --Halcatalyst 02:54, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

So here's the question. in French and English, there's a definite, uh, prejudice in favor of right/droit. "Tu as droit" (you're right}, "J'ai le droit" (I have the right), etc. In English we even use gauche (left) to mean awkward, unsophisticated. Is this the case in other languages? I suspect it might have something to do with righthandedness being more common and thus might be a factor in "prejudice" against lefties. --Halcatalyst 17:58, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Not to mention "sinister". JackofOz 20:10, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Or, on the other side, "dextrous." -LambaJan 05:02, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
It's not the case in Tagalog. Left is kaliwa, right (direction) is kanan and rights (those granted by law) are karapatan. The rootword of the latter is dapat meaning "should" or "must." --Chris S. 23:36, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
So here's the German: Sie haben Recht; Sie sind im Recht; Sie sind korrekt; Sie haben Rechte. (You are right; you are in the right; you are correct; you have rights.) Of course, we also say "you are correct" in English, especially when we want to sound a little Prussian <g> or maybe mathematical. I'm beginning to wonder: is this an Indo-European thing? --Halcatalyst 01:47, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
In Dutch, 'right' in the sense of 'law' is 'recht', whereas in a dexterous sense is 'rechts'. But 'recht' can also mean 'straight'. And 'being (in the) right' is 'gelijk hebben', which literally means 'having equal'. Apart from that sounding a bit odd (even in Dutch, now that I think of it) I wonder if it's an indication of the Dutch mindset. Sort of like "equality is just(ice)". Which indeed sounds like a very Dutch attitude.
In Spanish, 'derecha' means 'right hand side' and 'derecho' can refer to both meanings (too bad, they've got the vocabulary to make a clear distinction but they don't use it). 'Being right' is 'tener razon', literally 'having reason' (which makes a lot of sense). I think 'being in the right' would be the same. Oh, and ther's another a/o ending thing: 'derechero' means 'just' or 'righteuous' and 'derechera' means 'a straight road'. So there's an interresting overlap between Dutch and Spanish. DirkvdM 09:56, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

In classical Japanese (and I assume Chinese as well) right or left doesn't seem to carry any of these meanings, although recently western uses have seeped in (particularly left and right wing) and may be influincing the language through those ideas.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  16:19, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Though political appellations are interesting, what I most want to understand is more general possible cultural preference, expressed linguistically, for "right" vs. "left." Thanks, Halcatalyst 19:45, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

A few idle thoughts:

  • The political left/right divide. I know this has its origins in the seating arrangement, relative to the Speaker, in the French assembly (?), but that still leaves the question as to why those sides were chosen in the first place.
  • Most writing systems are left to right, but I’m intrigued as to why Hebrew and Arabic go the other way. They have no higher a proportion of left-handers than any other society. Do they?
  • The idea of the right-hand side of the road being the "right" (= correct) side for cars has become predominant, but traditionally road users stuck to the left [7].
  • The left hand has traditionally been seen as unclean because of the connotations associated with personal hygiene. Interesting, isn’t it, that wedding rings are worn on that hand. Maybe that's why the majority of marriages go down the toilet. JackofOz 00:23, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
The chances of losing the ring increase when you use soap, but that would also solve the uncleanliness. I'm not sure if there's a point to this remark, though. DirkvdM 07:44, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Maybe not a great deal. Just helping to fertilise thought processes. JackofOz 07:53, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Spanish ao[edit]

Seeing the word "cantaor" made me curious: When Spanish speakers drop the "d" in between vowels, are the wowels still pronounced seperately or are they made into a diphthong? For example, is it can-ta-or or can-taor? KeeganB

They'd still pronounce it as three syllables. (can-ta-or). And the d is sort of dropped but not all the way dropped, sort of. I don't know how to describe it. Proto||type 13:01, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, Spanish d is often changed from a voiced dental plosive to a voiced dental fricative, and it may be even further weakened to some kind of approximant consonant. See Spanish phonology. —Keenan Pepper 15:11, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

When saying it in syllabes it will always be 'can-ta-or' (3 syllabes), but if you just say it like a word its cantaor, all in one time...and it is this way with every single word in which this dropping of the 'd' occurs...this is way more usual in spain, but in latin america it's sometines said for joking purposes or for slang. --Cosmic girl 23:39, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I've understood that in Latin America the Spanish pronunciation is regarded as a colonial thing, used only by people who regard themselves as an upper class. At least, I heard this in Mexico. Any truth in that? Though that will probably be less true for the 'ao' thing because that is rather colloquial, not quite Castellano. Oh, and I now wonder how correct that article is. 'Castellano' refers firstly to the region in Spain (and the language spoken there), secondly to the official or 'upper class' version of Spanish and thirdly to the Spanish language in general. The article, however, puts the third (and derived) meaning in the forefront. That's wrong, isn't it? Maybe an English (US?) misuse of the term? DirkvdM 10:03, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

February 16


can someone please translate this phrase into German?

eternal Glory awaits you! thanks

Google Language translation translates it as "Ewiger Ruhm erwartet Sie", which translates back as "Eternal fame expects you". --Canley 04:33, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
"Glory" is a difficult word to translate into German. In religious contexts, which is what this sounds like, it's usually either Ehre or Herrlichkeit: "Glory be to God on high" is Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe, while "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory" is Denn Dein ist das Reich und die Macht und die Herrlichkeit. In other contexts, Ehre can also mean "honor", and Herrlichkeit can also mean "magnificence, splendor", so the answer depends on what kind of "Glory" you want to say is waiting. Is it the honorable kind of glory, or the magnificent/splendid kind of glory? h, well in that case I think Canley's original suggestion of Ruhm is the best. However, I would still go with the familiar pronoun dich rather than the formal Sie. (See T-V distinction for a discussion of this issue.) So the best translation is Ewiger Ruhm erwartet dich. Angr/talk 06:10, 17 February 2006 (UTC)


How you call in English the words wich have the same writting and a different reading?

Homographs. Angr/talk 06:42, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Perils of using a weird and ambiguous alphabet. deeptrivia (talk) 12:46, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Hey, don't blame the alphabet, it's the English language that's weird and ambiguous! - ulayiti (talk) 20:09, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
The very fact that the alphabet can be interpreted in different ways in different languages is a flaw. A letter should mean the same sound both internally (if you speak 'c' and 'h' together fast, it doesn't produce 'ch') and geographically ('j' sounds widely differently depending on whether you are in Germany, France or Spain.) deeptrivia (talk) 20:23, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
The 'ch' argument is in itself flawed. Letters are symbols that represent sounds. Defined combinations of letters represent other sounds. As long as the relationship between the combination and the sound is well-defined, there's no issue. In English 'ch' produces a certain sound. That sound is obtained differently in other languages ('cz' is Polish, 'tsch' in German, a single letter in Russian, etc), The same principle applies in mathematics. "2" and "6" both represent certain quantities, but "26" has to be interpreted as a single entity, not as either 2 or 6 or 2+6 or 2*6. JackofOz 22:03, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
It's counterintuitive to have some definition of 'ch' other than 'c'+'h', because that defeats the purpose of a phonetic alphabet. 26 not an entity independent of 2 and 6. It is always 2*10+6, and similarly any "xy" is always 10x+y (completely predictable, no ambiguity). On the other hand, the 'tsch' in German has not 't' sound, no 's' sound or 'c' or 'h' sounds. There is no logical mapping from 'tsch' to the sound it stands for. So an axiom has to be added (Whenever you see tsch, pronounce it as च), which is equivalent to adding a new letter to the alphabet (why not add a letter instead?). I agree that in English, the situation is even more pathetic because these axioms are self-contradictory (but vs. put: 'u' stands for different sounds!) Anyway, sorry for discussing all this here, which is not the right place :) deeptrivia (talk) 23:07, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
You're right about what 26 means mathematically. I'm talking from a psychological/symbolic perspective. 26 is a different animal than either 2 or 6. In the same way, "ch" represents a different sound than either "c" or "h". "Chin", considered as a discrete symbol (which we call a 'word'), represents a different thing than the symbol "chop". The whole symbol has to be considered, not just the component parts. Perhaps it's about me being a big-picture guy and you're maybe a detail guy. The world certainly needs both. JackofOz 01:21, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Hey, who ever said language development was logical? --Halcatalyst 01:38, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Exactly. Well, it's logical to a degree, but not to the degree favoured by peepul hoo advekait speling reform. JackofOz 01:58, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
According to my knowledge,ex:French, made its grammarical rules by scharlars of the french government in about 875 A.D. So French has many complicated rules in it,especially its "verbs".--HydrogenSu 15:03, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
-removed bold. -LambaJan 07:13, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
The argument isn't flawed, because 'ch' is not always 'ch' as in 'church'. Which is why a seperate letter would help spelling and pronunciation. It would get rid of ambiguities like 'Christ', 'loch', 'Chianti' etc. The problem is that English borrows words and keep the spelling despite the differences in spelling conventions. Russians, having their own set of characters fitted to their own phonemes, never have that problem, since all words need to be translitterated anyway. In general, they have easier spelling and easier pronunciation. --BluePlatypus 13:55, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
We could debate this forever and probably get nowhere, Blue P. I'm curious, though, exactly what changes would you make if it was up to you? JackofOz 14:14, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
  • The problem is not only with English. Compare 'ch' in French "chrétien" and "chine".
  • In a logical and ideal world, a scientifically sound alphabet like Devanagari will replace other alphabets, and solve all problems, lol :)) deeptrivia (talk) 15:21, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Solutions are only required where a problem exists. There is no agreement (and I doubt there ever will be) that there is any problem to solve. Not everything humans do can be reduced to a question of logic. You could replace all "non-logical" spellings today, and tomorrow I guarantee you some words will have changed their pronunciations already. JackofOz 00:33, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Once you replace the pseudo-phonetic script with a real phonetic script, there is no scope of change in pronunciations. If at all the pronunciation changes, people automatically start writing it in the new way. These are not speculations, but this is what is true about languages that use real phonetic scripts. And another useful side effect: no need to ever learn any spellings (we never have to learn spellings in Hindi. If you can speak it, you can write it, 100% of the time with 100% accuracy. No scope of making any mistake!) deeptrivia (talk) 02:31, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
PS: And yeah, I agree there's no problem for humans. We can all learn rules and exceptions, and spellings, and which letter is "silent" and all. So it's fine, and of course I'm not serious about changing scripts, because it won't be worth the effort. However, if from the beginning a good phonetic script had been the most popular one, it would have been good for computers (they won't have had to learn new rules, and zillions of exceptions for each language for text to speech conversion), and for children (they won't have had to learn spellings and pronunciations.) That's all. deeptrivia (talk) 02:45, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
PPS: None of my comments are to be taken seriously :)) deeptrivia (talk) 01:34, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Now that you mention it, what is the official English pronounciation of Loch? I have a scottish father (just one!) and so I've always known it by the Scots pronounciation, though I seem to remember people pronouncing it as lock, and sometimes lawh with a little puff at the end.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  16:12, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

You can always choose an easier to pronounce synonym, like fjord, LOL. StuRat 16:41, 17 February 2006 (UTC)


What does 'limber' mean? it's not on wiktionary.--Cosmic girl 16:44, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

It means fit and flexible, but is only used as a noun in American English. — Gareth Hughes 16:56, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I think you mean "adjective." Nevertheless, Merriam-Webster lists it as a noun, and adjective, and a verb. --LarryMac 17:13, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

thanks :) --Cosmic girl 17:47, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

So was Twiggy limber lumber ? :-) StuRat 06:33, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't look for a dicdef on Wiktionary anyways. It hasn't reached fruitition (fruition?) yet and, quite frankly, sucks. Save time and use which has an infinitely faster loading interface and a handy spellcheck applet.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  18:57, 17 February 2006 (UTC)


הספשייל קיבל נעימה משל עצמו

If you don't get a timely response, you might want to try asking one of the people at Translators available. GeeJo (t) (c)  22:31, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
It means, "The special received pleasantly from himself"?? That doesn't make any sense. Maybe I'm reading it out of context. СПУТНИКССС Р 23:02, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

It means "The special got its own theme". The special - probably a t.v special. Theme - a song. Omer Enbar 12:26, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

February 17[edit]

Orgin of Idiomatic Expression, "Hot Dickity Dog".[edit]

I have been looking for the orgin of the idomatic expression "Hot Dickity Dog". Can anyone help?

There was a pop song in 1950's called Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom), but I don't know if this song came before or after the phrase "hot diggity dog" (which is how I've always heard the second word). I guess it was a US #1 hit for Perry Como. Abe Simpson used the word 'dickety' because "the Kaiser had stolen our word for '20'." --LarryMac 21:29, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
This probably originated in surfer slang: 'Hot dog!' said to compliment a trick. 'Doggers' are multicolored swimming trunks. I can't imagine a surfer saying 'diggity.' Unless Ned Flanders went surfing. -LambaJan 08:24, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Lost: One of Them[edit]

Do these symbols mean anything? --Phil 1970 21:05, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Egyptian hieroglyphs - can be phonetic characters, logographs, representing a word, and determinatives. --DLL 22:09, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I didn't notice them on "Lost" (maybe I'm not up to that episode yet), but for over 5 years those symbols have been appearing when I key in my password to access my Lotus notes email system at work. Is it just a coincidence that "Lotus" is an anagram for "u lost"? JackofOz 23:19, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
The first glyph is the phenome "s" (and the pict. represents "folded cloth"), the next is the phenome for "w" (and the pict. is an abbr. of a pictogram of a "quail chick"), the next is "DA" (and the pict. is "fire-drill"?). I couldn't personally figure out the bird one, because there are 60 different pictograms for birds. The glyph on the far right means enemy/death. Also, I found a link to a photobucket image that was posted on that image page (this one), it seems to have things figured out...? — TheKMantalk 04:22, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

On a quick glance, I'd say it says it's time for bed.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  11:15, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

According to KMan's pic, I think it means 'die.' -LambaJan 21:40, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

"dream" in different languages[edit]

are the terms dreams (sleep phenomena) and dreams (aspirations, intentions) closely linked in most/many languages? why might this be? -Don nsh de la vega

I believe it's because when we plan for something, we are indeed daydreaming.--Cosmic girl 23:23, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Synchronicity yet again. Only half an hour ago, I reverted an edit to Pyotr Tchaikovsky that said his Symphony No 1 is subtitled "Winter Dreams". The correct translation is "Winter Daydreams". Russian makes a distinction between the two concepts and Tchaikovsky's intention was quite clear. However I am sure these ideas overlap in spoken (and written) Russian all the time, just as they do in English.
They don't, however. I thought it was quite poetic that in English they do. --Ornil 19:47, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Seeing images while asleep, and seeing images while awake (whether it be actively planning some future event; longing for some seemingly unreachable "dream"; or just idly daydreaming about whatever comes up) have many things in common. The direction in which the image is sent may be different, but they are all communications from one part of the mind to another. I think that most languages would accommodate this reality. JackofOz 23:44, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
One of the most common names for boats ? ... The Wet Dream. StuRat 06:11, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Ooh, you are naughty!! JackofOz 06:21, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

In Arabic the two are forms of the same root Ha-Lam-Mim. Interestingly, other words relating to that root are about puberty, mammary glands, a whole host of virtues related to gentleness, and a kind of Egyptian cheese. You can make of that whatever you like. -LambaJan 07:32, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

In Japanese, the word for dream is probably even more closely linked to aspirations than it is in English. It doesn't have as much of the negative "unattainable" connotation, so you probably wouldn't hear someone saying "it's nothing but a dream" in the same way you would in English.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  11:13, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Which brings up the interesting variation, pipe dream, meaning a completely unattainable goal. These are supposed to be hallucinations one has when smoking a controlled substance (opium, originally). StuRat 17:39, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
In western culture, a dream was a message from the gods, now, it has been related to (unconscious) desires by happy Sigmund : the link between the two meanings, phenomena and intentions, still lives. Maybe then should we invoke the collective unconscious at an universal (or cosmic) level about that link. --DLL 21:46, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
I think some dreams have significance that, if one so wishes, can be interpreted by such manners. I also think that some dreams are mere fantasies that should be given no credence. -LambaJan 06:33, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

February 18[edit]

adverbial "to"[edit]

I came across the sentence:

"I'll just push the door to."

in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

I would like to know:

1. How common are these type of sentences?
2. When are these typically used?
3. What are other verbs with which the adverbial "to" may occur?

kind regards Vineet Chaitanya

Another example is "I came to", meaning "I regained consciousness". JackofOz 07:45, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Must be a British-English thing, since the sentence "I'll just push the door to" is not normal in US-English. StuRat 07:46, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

This is what the 2002 Oxford dictionary says:
  • adv. 1 in the normal or required position or condition (come to; heave to). 2 (of a door) in a nearly closed position.
These types of sentences really aren't very common, but they're common enough for a native speaker to understand them. 'To' is much more often used as a preposition that helps to introduce the object. -LambaJan 07:59, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Another one that probably had a verb origin is the noun "lean-to". JackofOz 09:14, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

And likewise the noun a "set-to" (a dispute, argument), but it's no longer used as a verb.

To be clear, "push the door to" means you push the door closed 99%, but you dont then turn the door-handle. So the door is still "free". Jameswilson 02:41, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

  Thank you very much for the observations. I developed "a feel"

for this kind of constrction mainly by the comments of Jameswilson and LambaJand, but all other comments have also contributed to it.

Vineet Chaitanya

Possessive form of United States and correct form of %'s[edit]

How is the possessive of "United States" written? I've been getting conflicting answers, and never really bothered to question it. Is it " United States' " or not? Also, say I have a range of percentages to describe. Would I write "between 10-13%" or "10%-13%?"

If it's a possessive you're after (as opposed to the adjectival use of the term, eg. the United States Government), an apostrophe is absolutely required. There's only one possible place it can go, after the 's'. Thus: Belgium's population is 1234 but the United States' population is 5678.
"Between" ... "and" ... is the standard expression. If you use "between", you can't get away with not using the word "and" (eg. "between 10 and 13%", or "between 10% and 13%"; or in less informal writing, "between 10 and 13 per cent").
The second option you gave, without "between", could be "10-13%" or "10%-13%". JackofOz 09:28, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Because "United States'" is kind of ugly, 90% of the time it will be paraphrased "... of the United States", so instead of United States' economy: the economy of the United States.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  11:08, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely right. But there are times when the possessive can be used, and the question was about the correct spelling in such cases. JackofOz 11:26, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Of course. I just couldn't/can't think of any.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  14:01, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

In this case the possessive is formed by adding an apostrophe only, United States'. This rule applies when the name of a place or an organization is a plural form ending in s even though the entity is singular. As to your second question, I like to repeat the symbol when it is closed up to the number, e.g., 10%–13%. —Wayward Talk 11:25, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for all the help folks, it's very much appreciated. --Impaciente 19:32, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

SVO - SOV[edit]

Are there any natural languages that don't limit themselves grammatically to an SVO or SOV form? (Subject, object, verb or subject, verb, object) For example; a language that could switch the verb placement arbitrarily, as we often do with Subject and Object for empasis and prose.

If not, any conlangs that do?  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  11:20, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't know about "arbitrarily", but the modern Celtic languages mostly have VSO order, and other permutations are found as well, but they're rarer. Angr/talk 11:57, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Being an inflected language, word order in Russian is much freer than in English. The word that carries the strongest emphasis is usually placed last in writing (in speaking this is not always so; vocal stress is used instead). The relationship of the words to each other is obtained from the word endings, not their order. JackofOz 12:26, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
That's basically the same as Japanese then. You can't (technically) move the verb though; it acts as an anchor to the sentence. Can you with Russian?  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  13:59, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely. There is a "usual" order (SVO) in standard Russian - although there is a lot of debate about just what that is - but words can appear in any order depending on context, style, nuance, emphasis and idiom, and Russian speakers have no difficulty understanding the meaning. See Lambajan's quote below, which applies to Russian as well. JackofOz 21:47, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

My native language, Tagalog, has primarily VSO or VOS word order. By using an "inversion marker" (the word ay) or a pause in speech (or no pause!), then the word order can be SVO, OVS, and OSV (with pronouns). There are cases in which they are used but overuse tends to be frowned upon (roughly like how people view overuse of the passive in English).


VSO: Kinain ni Juan ang isda. (Juan ate the fish)
VOS: Kumain ng isda si Juan. (Juan ate some fish)
SVO: Si Juan ay kakain ng isda. (Juan ate some fish)
OVS: Ang isda ay kinain ni Juan. (Juan ate the fish)
OSV: Ang isda ay aking kinain. (I ate the fish)

--Chris S. 17:26, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

What about Latin and Hungarian language? See also Word order in Latin (and perligata) – b_jonas 19:19, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

From Linguistic typology:

Some languages that are inflected are difficult to classify in the SVO typological system, because virtually any ordering of verb, object, and subject is possible and correct. All we can do for such languages is find out which word order is the most frequent. For example, in a non-inflected language, the subject and object of a sentence are determined by word order; in an inflected language, the determination may be made by affixes applied to nouns to designate their grammatical roles. In such a system, fixed word order is not necessary to determine meaning (although highly inflected languages do sometimes develop normative word orders). Inflected languages without a fixed word order include Latin, Polish, and Greek.

-LambaJan 21:36, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

February 19[edit]

Need thesaurus-type help..."embody"[edit]

The thesaurus isn't helping. I need:

  • An antonym for "embody". Something that says "misses the point of, goes against", "big, unintentional insult", "doing something in someone's name, that is actually against what they stood for, but with good intentions". Closest I could come to it was parody, except that that is perhaps there's a word that means "unintentional parody"...or other more accurate words?
Would "misrepresent" be what you're after? JackofOz 00:47, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
"Unintentional misinterpretation" ? StuRat 10:44, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I have a humorous example: "The Princess Di memorial has been overrun by tourists. The solution ? Land mines, of course." StuRat 10:35, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
  • This one's not a necessity...but if anyone has any great words other than embody that means "do something, in someone's honour, that accurately represents their ideals"...that would be great.
"Commemorate" ? StuRat 10:35, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Finally, the best thing ever would be a word that means "something which has both the previously described qualities"
"Combination" ?

Thanks in advance! bcatt 00:39, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the help so far, however, I'm not sure if they will quite work. It may be helpful if I provide a sample of the sentence I am trying to construct (you can't look it up in the article because it's not finished and not posted yet):

Strangely, this institution both embodies Dohm's ideals by providing a professional, university-level education to women, and contradicts her ideals by focussing on those occupations considered "women's work".

The institution in question named the school after the subject of the article in honour of her work...yet it both supports and contradicts her work...the contradiction is not intentional, but it quite blatantly flies in the face of what she worked toward. Maybe I am just being too much of a perfectionist and I should put it into the article the way it is and see if anyone comes up with omething better within the article itself? It just sounds repetitive and simplistic to me. Thanks bcatt 19:16, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

The word "strangely" implies some sort of a paradox, as if this present state of affairs is unexpected. However, it seems she had at least 2 separate ideals, (a) providing a professional, university-level education to women, and (b) providing them with an all-round education that doesn't focus solely on those occupations considered "women's work". It is possible to fulfil one of these while still having some way to go on the other. Maybe expressing the concept in a slightly different way would do the trick. Rather than making a contrast between what the institution does and what it fails to do, as if these were all part of the one thing, you could describe it is going only part of the way towards fulfilling Dohm's ideals, or being at different stages with different ideals. Or something like that. JackofOz 19:36, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Sorry for the lack of computer hung and I lost 2 days worth of edits to the just working on getting it back to where I had it (among other things)...I'll get back to this when I've restored the lost info...thanks for your suggestions so far. bcatt 00:16, 21 February 2006 (UTC)


Can you please translate:

terze rime

lettere familiari a diversi

into English for me? Could you also tell me what language those phrases are written in? Thank you.

It's Italian, but those don't seem like complete sentences to me. I'll let someone who actually speaks Italian translate them... :) - ulayiti (talk) 01:31, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
They are the titles of Veronica Franco's books of poetry. Terze rime is the plural of terza rima, a form of verse. Lettere familiari a diversi means "familiar letters (written) to various people". —Keenan Pepper 02:59, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Latin translation[edit]

Can someone please translate this phrase into Latin? "In every place where necessity makes law." Thanks.

Um, I'm not sure how much sense that makes in English, but here's a literal translation: "In omni loco ubi necessitas legem facit". —Keenan Pepper 05:08, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Or more briefly, "Ubique necessitas legem facit". --Anonymous, 23:40 UTC, February 19, 2006.
Anonymous, I think you mean 'ubicumque'. Maid Marion 12:44, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Dang, so I did. Sorry about that. --Anon, 05:26 UTC, February 24.

February 20[edit]


term for last letter in a word

Um, the "last letter of a word"? Is there even a term for the first letter in a word? In Hebrew (and Arabic too, I think), some letters get a special form, called a "sophit" when they are the last letter of a word, like Mem, Nun, or Kaph. СПУТНИКССС Р 02:17, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
The first letter is, of course, the initial. I suppose you could use "final" or "terminal" for the last letter, but I wouldn't expect people to understand it as a noun without context. Some alphabets include letter-forms that change according to their position in the word (for example, see Arabic alphabet and the Greek letter sigma); then the form used at the start of a word is called the initial form, while the one used at the end of a word is called the final or terminal form. --Anonymous, 06:17 UTC, 2006-02-20
I've never heard of it used quite like this, but maybe they're looking for "ultimate" (cf. "penultimate" and ante-penultimate" for second-last and third-last). JackofOz 06:32, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
As JackofOz suggested, my old classical Greek textbook used "ultima" for the last letter, "penult" for second to last, and "antepenult" for third from last. Give that a try. --George 06:51, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
I thought those referred to syllables, not letters. —Keenan Pepper 17:47, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
It could refer to the last member of any sequence. "Ult." was also used to refer to the previous month, in formal correspondence. JackofOz 20:22, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
You're right; it was syllable. But I think it would work just as well. --George 06:58, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Translation of Aramaic Lord's Prayer[edit]

Hi, I'm not very active here, I'm mostly active on the Dutch wikipedia so I don't really know how things work around here, so please tell me if I'm in the right place ;)... but anyway I'm looking for the translation of the Aramaic Lord's prayer, there are various translations, some say it's a gnostic version and yet other say it's not so I have no idea, is there anyone here with knowledge of Aramaic or Hebrew (which I've been told looks quite similar). You can answer here in or on my talk page. Thanks in advance!! - Sεrvιεи | T@lk page 09:40, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Abwoon d'bwashmaya
Nethqadash shmakh
Teytey malkuthakh
Nehwey tzevyanach aykanna d'bwashmaya aph b'arha
Hawvlan lachma d'sunqanan yaomana
Washboqlan khaubayn (wakhtahayn) aykana daph khnan shbwoqan l'khayyabayn
Wela tahlan l'nesyuna. Ela patzan min bisha
Metol dilakhie malkutha wahayla wateshbukhta l'ahlam almin.
Yes, Aramaic is rather similar to Hebrew, but it's kind of hard to read it transliterated into English letters. I tried, and got about as far as: "Our father, who is in heaven, your name is holy, and your kingdom will come..." and then I decided to look elsewhere for it. On Wikisource, I found this:
"Our Father, who is in heaven
Sanctified be your Name!
May your kingdom come;
May your will be done,
Just as it is in heaven,
So also upon the earth.
Our Bread, which is from the earth,
Give us day by day.
And forgive us our sins,
Just as we should forgive our debtors.
And do not bring us to trial,
Rather deliver us from evil."

Hope that helps! СПУТНИКССС Р 13:45, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Hi thanks for the info and the effort! But the weird thing is that I also get that translation if you compare the words to Hebrew, but here they give a completely different translation... :S.. PS I don't know if this is the Aramaic script or Hebrew, it looks quite similar to me... - Sεrvιεи | T@lk page 21:36, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks so much for the replies! :) may be it's an idea to simplify the text of Abwoon... I already did this on the Dutch version of the Lord's Prayer, in it's current state it's quite unreadable for anyone I think ;) - Sεrvιεи | T@lk page 08:59, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
The version above is a bit odd, and I'm not sure where it comes from. The article on the Aramaic language makes explicit the quite different dialects that have existed over time. You'll also find a link there to a sung version of the Lord's Prayer in Classical Syriac. The image description page, writes out the text in the Syriac alphabet, transliterates it and gives a translation. — Gareth Hughes 12:22, 23 February 2006 (UTC)


hello ,

i find it in several wikipedia articles where it says : " sanskrit " then writes the word in a script that seems like Devanagari , what does that mean ? is sanskrit written in devanagari ? + i need someone to give me the devanagari equivelant for the following words ( i cant find them in wiki ): Agni, Varuna वरुण, Rta, Soma, Rudra, Vishnu विष्णु, Prajapati, Samhita, Brahma Sutra ब्रह्मासूत्र, Yoga Sutra, Yoga Vasishta, Atman, Samsara, Kshatriya, Shudras, Artha, Kama काम, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Samadhi, Devadasis, Samnayasin, Sadhu, Swami, Yogin, Mudra, Mantra,

thank you Hhnnrr 09:52, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, Sanskrit is mostly (though not exclusively) written in Devanagari. Here qre the transliterations in order: अग्नि, वरुण, ऋत, सोम, रुद्र, विष्णु, प्रजापति, संहिता, ब्रह्मसूत्र, योगसूत्र, योगवशिष्ट, आत्मन्, संसार, क्षत्रीय, शुद्र, अर्थ, काम, कर्मयोग, भक्तियोग, ज्ञानयोग, रजयोग, समाधि, देवदासी, सन्यासिन्, साधु, स्वामि, योगिन्, मुद्रा, मन्त्र deeptrivia (talk) 13:40, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Translations of the Week[edit]

The following translations of the week are:

1 sight
3 lucky

Please add translations to these words. --Dangherous 15:51, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

February 21

Hypothetical situation - who's right?[edit]

Person A asks person B a question. Person B gives person A an answer. Person C, who was sitting next to person A, says to person B, "that's not right because..." (person C is cut off by person B). Person B says "you're not a part of this conversation" (with the general tone meaning 'stop talking to us')

Is person B correct when saying to person C "you're not a part of this conversation"? Flea110 02:15, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't see it as a question of right and wrong. In some contexts B may be well justified in excluding C from the conversation. In other contexts it might be considered incredibly rude and inappropriate for B to speak that way. It would depend on the circumstances. JackofOz 04:45, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Well logically, C just made themself part of the conversation, and B acknowledged this by responding to them. If C really was not part of the conversation, neither A nor B would have been able to hear them. Of course, most conversations do not in practice have predetermined parameters like that. A & B should really have defined the participants in the conversation before even starting it, but since when are human beings logical? This raises interesting ethical issues about truth. I think one could argue that at least in the interests of truth, C is right to intervene (assuming the're right!). --Shantavira 10:42, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Depends. Are these people strangers or acquainted? --Nelson Ricardo 00:15, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Seems more like a rude/rude issue than a language question. Call in Miss Manners. --Halcatalyst 05:12, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Hebrew translation help, please.[edit]

I am looking for a translation of a word: ויכלו That is vav-yod-kaf-lamed-vav. It is from the second chapter of Genesis, the first verse. The KJV renders it as part of "Thus the heavens..." Because of the context I'm guessing the first vav is an "and," so the word is actually: יכלו yod-kaf-lamed-vav, but I can't find that in my dictionary. Neither can I find: יכל yod-kaf-lamed or כלו kaf-lamed-vav. It is quite possible my non-Hebrew eyes are not seeing them rather than their not being there, but if you can help me out I'd appreciate it.--Pucktalk 03:12, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

The "ArtScroll Tanach Series" published by Mesorah Publications Ltd. of New York, translates it as "were finished." The translation of the entire verse is given as "Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array." In their explanatory notes they comment that the literal translation of the letter "vav" of ויכלו is "and" rather than "thus."

Yes, ויכלו waykullû means 'and they were completed' (the verb usually comes before the subject in Biblical Hebrew). The verbal root you need to look up in a dictionary is KLH. It is the pu‘al third-person masculine plural imperfect form of the verb. However, preceded by the conjunction -ו, it is perfect in meaning. --Gareth Hughes 16:44, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

When or while?[edit]

Is either of the following sentences more correct (when or while)? Can I say in both ways?

- There may be painful sensations when food is going down, particularly when swallowing larger pieces of food.

- There may be painful sensations when food is going down, particularly while swallowing larger pieces of food.

Askeles456 04:33, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Both correct, but there is a subtle distinction. With "while swallowing" it's very specific: there is only pain during the actual act of swallowing. With "when swallowing" version, that might be true, but it also might be correct that the pain continues for some time after swallowing. (However, if the pain after swallowing was the most significant, then I would expect "after swallowing".) --Anonymous, 09:40 UTC, February 21.

While both are grammatical, they are also slightly awkward. Perhaps you could simplify the sentence, e.g., "Swallowing food, particularly larger pieces, may be painful." —Wayward Talk 09:56, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Loonshit[edit] lists the word "loonshit" as a synonym for "ground," but then doesn't list it in its dictionary. How is the word pronounced, "loon-shit" or "loons-hit"? And above all, what does this word mean? zafiroblue05 | Talk 07:29, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

This says "Shorelines often consist of exposed bedrock interspersed with sections of sand, gravel and cobbles. The profundal sediments usually consist of soft organic material, colourfully referred to as "loonshit"." It seems to be a Canadian word, and the reference to colourful suggests it's pronounced loon-shit. JackofOz 08:10, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
As for the origin: Loons (there's one on the dollar coin, Canada's full of them) are seabirds. Seabirds have a tendency to defecate copiously on exposed land near coasts. Guano is a dirty-coloured organic material. Put one and two and three together, and you've got Canadians referring to some types of sediment as "birdshit" because, well, it looks like birdshit. Shimgray | talk | 18:10, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
You say "Canadians" but I'm sure you mean "Manitobans" or possibly something much more specific like "UMan. Manitobans under the age of 25 that enjoy fart jokes". To most Canadians, loon shit is just plain, old, loon shit.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  08:15, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Aw, now you're going to have to change your template about never, ever making definitive statements.  :-) JackofOz 10:29, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

How do you pronounce the name Jeanna Giese?[edit]

I'm on my way to write this article in hebrew, but I'm not sure how to pronounce it. Omer Enbar 11:08, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

נראה לי שאם תכתוב ג'ינה יהיה בסדר... תוסיף אולי הערה למאמר בעברית שאתה לא בטוח שכך כותבים את זה, ואם זה שגוי בטוח יהיה מישהו שיתקן.
-- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 16:46, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Slang terms for maturbation[edit]

Are there any slang terms used to describe female masturbation?

Yes. See here [8]. Mattley (Chattley) 18:42, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Fungible people[edit]

A recent Dilbert focused on the definition of fungible as in oil. My understanding is that it refers to items that are functionally and commercially equivalent. Oil is fungible because it has the same functional and commercial value regardless of who you buy it from. That made me wonder if it would be proper to refer to people as fungible. For example, bad web designers are fungible. There is a vast supply of them and they provide the same functional and commercial benefit to your company. Janitors, cashiers - well, all the McJobs are fungible if the word is used in this manner. So, is this a proper use or am I really stretching the definition? --Kainaw (talk) 19:36, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I'd agree about bad web designers, but if you think that cashiers and janitors are interchangeable, that there is no difference between the best and the worst, then I don't know that I can agree. Does taking a McJob equate with being worthless? Notinasnaid 19:40, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

No. "Fungible" does not equate to "worthless". Oil is not worthless. I meant to use it as "interchangeable". I work in a hospital. It is full of "fungible" people because of the structure. It doesn't matter what nurse you see - she will still have to ask the exact same questions and fill out the exact same forms. It doesn't matter who draws your blood, it will go to the exact same computer and get the exact same results. It doesn't matter who does your billing. It will go to the same clearing house and come back to the same database. That is what I meant by "fungible" in the employment sense. --Kainaw (talk) 19:48, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I still can't see that this is a correct application of the term. You aren't considering all the stake holders. Even though to the hospital administrators, nurses with a given qualification set might be interchangeable, to the patients, they will respond differently (all the way from very positive to very negative) to a nurse who is quite competent medically. And there are [rare] bad nurses, who will eventually get sacked, who are therefore not interchangeable either. Clearly (it seems) nobody who deals with customers can be considered fungible, unless you don't care about the customer. The closest thing I can think of is a person who is employed (a) to do a specific task (b) have no scope to vary in quality or quantity by the end of their shift (c) work alone so they cannot affect other staff. Even then, they may fail at (a) and need to be sacked. As far as I know, surly and unco-operative oil is not a problem. Of course many employers have the belief that employees are fungible, and this is why they have trouble keeping staff. Notinasnaid 20:02, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Fungibility is not an either/or quality- there are degrees. Web designers of a certain standard are fairly fungible, although they would still vary slightly in terms of punctuality, sociability, body odour etc. You would have to define the standard more tightly than 'bad', though- there are very wide variations in degree of badness. Even then, workers will never have the same level of fungibility as oil or other commodities, so (the short answer) is yes, you would be stretching it. Markyour words 19:52, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Does the word have any colloquial connotations? --HappyCamper 15:43, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
No. I'd never heard of the word at all, I must admit. "Can people be turned into fungus?" Jameswilson 00:07, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
They sure can. Just toss a corpse onto a bunch of mushrooms and watch the magic. Black Carrot 00:42, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I use the term commodity to describe the same thing. Whole cow's milk, for example, may be considered a commodity because one gallon is pretty much the same as another. I didn't think oil was quite a commodity because of difference in grades, such as light sweet crude and North Sea Brent. StuRat 04:41, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

February 22

faith in or faith of?[edit]

I've heard it argued that what is usually translated as "faith in Jesus Christ" in Romans 3:22 would be more accurately rendered as "faith of Jesus Christ." Is there any validity in this reading? (I was going to give the Greek text of the verse from a web site, but it came out as "dikaiosunh de qeou dia pistewV ihsou cristou, eiV pantaV touV pisteuontaV: ou gar estin diastolh:". If that helps.) --Halcatalyst 05:25, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, I'm pretty sure "ihsou cristou" (ιησου χριστου) is in the genitive case, which is usually translated "of", but the cases don't exactly correspond to English prepositions. —Keenan Pepper 05:30, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Both the objective and subjective genitive are possible translations. So it's up to the translator(s) to decide. —Wayward Talk 08:00, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Seeing as I really don't like the computer-garbled Greek above, here is the verse in Greek: δικαιοσυνη δε θεου δια πιστεως Ιησου Χριστου εις παντας τους πιστευοντας. The noun phrase Ιησου Χριστου is clearly in the genitive case as has been mentioned above. The genitive construction might be used to parallel the first noun phrase of the verse δικαιοσυνη δε θεου ('but righteousness of God'), with 'through faith of Jesus Christ'. The root πιστις/πιστευειν is repeated in the final noun phrase εις παντας τους πιστευοντας ('to all who believe', 'to all believers'). This makes clear that the semantic nuances of πιστις cover English 'faith', 'belief', 'trust' and 'religion'. It could be translated as the 'religion of Christ', 'faith worthy of Christ' or 'Christ's faith in the faithful'. The entire verse is built around progressive parallels: it is rhetoric. This parallelism is made more clear by the ommission of the word Ιησου (to have the more succinct δικαιοσυνη δε θεου δια πιστεως Χριστου) in Codex Vaticanus. However, the word is usually retained as it is supported by all other witnesses. --Gareth Hughes 13:23, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Thank you, all, for your responses. --Halcatalyst 16:07, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Surely "faith of" can't be right. Expressions like "(have) trust/faith/confidence" normally require "in" in English - indeed to "have the trust/confidence of somebody" means the exact opposite - ie, they trust you. Jameswilson 00:13, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

The Greek genitive case can be objective, and unlike English there is no preposition used here (no in or of). Greek could say through faith in Christ, it's δια πιστεως εν Χριστω. However, that is not what the verse says. The pistis Christou appears as the channel through which the righteousness of God is given to all believers. Traditionally, we understand the intermediate act to be faith in Christ. However, it could be interpreted that the act of Christ's faithfulness is the intermediary of God's righteousness to all believers. This interpretation avoids the repetition of the believers' faith (plural, it's not individualistic, it's shared faith), and introduces the vital act of Christ's faithfulness into the equation. --Gareth Hughes 00:37, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Right, I'm with you now. Are you satisfied that "faith of Christ" conveys the second possible meaning efficiently to an English reader though?

  • It certainly passed me by on first reading. Until you explained it I certainly didnt get the idea that it was trying to convey the second meaning at all - in fact I understood quite the opposite. I just assumed it was a slightly "off" translation of the first meaning (and mentally corrected the preposition). As you can see from my previous comment (above).
  • Maybe you need to spell it out with "faithful Christ" or "Christ's faithfulness"? Jameswilson 04:52, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
In context you could append the, so "the faith of christ". I don't think it's too difficult to catch that the meaning is christ's faithfullness when it is worded like this.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  08:02, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
The lack of the definite article in this clause is quite striking, and there are all sorts of nuances that can be implied by the presence or absence of articles. However, the Greek for faithful Christ is πιστος Χριστος. Literally, πιστις Χριστου is faith of Christ or Christ's faith, which can be taken objectively as well as subjectively. However, there are examples of the faith being used in a passive sense in Greek, which would better be translated faithfulness in English. An example of this is Romans 3.3, which has την πιστιν του θεου, and can only reasonably be translated as the faithfulness of God in English. Note the two definite articles though. — Gareth Hughes 12:15, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
You know, I've been immersed in studying non-Indo-European languages for so long that some times I forget that I should really be paying attention to how I translate the definite article—that I can't just throw it in there when context seems to dictate so.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  14:50, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I appreciate this discussion very much. I heard a religious studies professor discuss the passage. He referred to the Greek; and his interpretation, which surprised and intrigued me, was that Paul was saying the faith of Christ (manifested in what he did, up to and including submission to crucifixion) brought about salvation. Period. So the old controversy about believers -- whether for them faith or works is most important -- would be moot. (Maybe they could agree that faith and works are one and the same.) I liked that insight, and since I also like language and layers of meaning, it's appealing that there is a subtlety in the Greek. Thanks to you especially, Gareth. Now the question is -- and I'm sure there would be much theological controversy here -- would the Romans to whom the letter was addressed have had any difficulty getting the point? --Halcatalyst 22:52, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I do not believe that the Greek grammar and vocabulary are all that complicated for someone who knows Greek. The style, however, ranges from the poetic, through rhetorical to a rather unfettered train of thought in different parts of Romans. Many of the Christians in Rome at the time seemed to have roots in the Eastern Roman Empire, and would have some understanding of the language. It might be best to look at the entire sentence.
Greek text notes fairly literal translation
Νυνι δε χωρις vομου the phrase νυνι δε introduces a progression of thought; the first genitive pair χωρις vομου appears; vομος here refers strictly to Torah Now without the Law
δικαιοσυνη θεου the second genitive pair is the subject of this sentence; no article is used, perhaps for poetic reasons the righteousness of God
πεφανερωται the main verb, and the only finite verb; perfect passive of φανεροω: denoting a present state resulting from a past action: could be translated 'made clear, visible, manifest, known' has been made manifest
μαρτυρουμενη a participle introducing a subordinate clause, which seems to interrupt the flow; the perfect passive of μαρτυρεω; feminine singular nominative in agreement with δικαιοσυνη; evidence is given for the argument in hand having been witnessed
υπο του νομου και των προφητων, straighforward agents of the passive participle; the Law and Prophets refers to the entirity of Hebrew scripture; Hebrew law required two witnesses by the Law and the Prophets
δικαιοσυνη δε θεου after the interruption, the subject is restated; the enclitic δε is added as a new beginning (and) the righteousness of God
δια πιστεως Ιησου Χριστου the phrase we've been troubling over; I suggest that this is the counterpart of the subject, and is the third genitive pair through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ
εις παντας τους πιστευοντας. the plural masculine participle of πιστευω 'to believe, have faith'is the ultimate object of the sentence to all who believe

The last phrase of verse 22 (for there is no discrimination) is often translated as being part of the next sentence, but it could just as easily belong to this one. The central movement of the sentence is based around the genitive pairs: "without the Law, the righteousness of God, through the faithfulness of Christ". That is saying that the Law is no longer the intermediary of God's righteousness, but Christ's faithfulness is. The little aside tells us that the Law and the Prophets are witnesses to this. The main verb of the sentence is clearly πεφανερωται (has been made manifest). Thus, this second mediation of divine righteousness, through Christ's faithfulness rather than the Law, is made manifest (presented and displayed that it might be known) to all who believe. The believers' faith mirrors Christ's faithfulness. We could read Christ's faithfulness as a full and complete practice of the Law, thus making its further practice unnecessary if we share in his faithfulness. I quite like adding the 'no discrimination' bit to 'all who believe': faith that leads to righteousness is open. — Gareth Hughes 00:52, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I stand in awe. --Halcatalyst 04:21, 24 February 2006 (UTC)


what is ppepparspray? TEL MNE NOW I HAVE A Ficcing esiay due! NOW NOW NOW!


Talk nicely or you'll be sent to bed without your supper. JackofOz 08:28, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
You need to be more clear. Do you want information about PPEPPAr spray (polyphenyl ether, polypropylene and argon), or PPEPrEr spray (polyphenyl ether, praseodymium and erbium)? Who's Mne and why does he want a ficcing esiay? GeeJo (t) (c)  08:57, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
See our article on pepper spray, and learn to spell. --Shantavira 11:34, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
You've got to be careful when ficcing esiays of any kind. Maybe you should suitly emphazi them first, for safety reasons. Proto||type 12:18, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Quit sending such stupid questions to my wikapedia. I try unbuscribe but it not let me unsubbscibe. Please unsubscibe me NOW! ([9]) – b_jonas 18:02, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
At least this outfit is different from the customer "service" software connected (in the US) to 800- numbers, which software is so confused it is rarely of any use to the customer, and often includes no way to reach an actual person, leaving the customer no alternative except to hang up. Which may be the actual purpose of the software. --Halcatalyst 23:39, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
"Welcome to Uranus-Hertz Corp. Your call is important to us, although obviously not important enough to actually hire sufficient staff to answer it. Come to think of it, your call isn't very important to us at all, and neither are you. If you have any complaints, we will be glad to connect you to our call center in India, where they will promptly disconnect you. Actually, it won't be all that prompt, you will have to listen to off-station MUZAK for several minutes first." StuRat 04:27, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
If we need an example of how not to ask a question, this should be it. The title Question conveys nothing about the subject, the language is unintelligible and rude, and the question itself is vague and could be easily answered with a simple search. —Keenan Pepper 00:23, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I say we spray the kid who asked it with pepper spray until he asks nicely and learns how to spell. StuRat 04:23, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Does pepper spray taste good in salsa? Mmmm. Salsa. Black Carrot 13:18, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Help with grammar used in a sentence![edit]

Which sentence is gramatically correct? 1. Is the credit card in your name? or 2. Is the credit card on your name?

We are struggling with this argument at work for a while now, since this is part of a script that agents speak when attending to calls with suctomers on the phone. Thanks!

The first one. —Wayward Talk 10:16, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Your name is on the credit card, but the credit card is in your name. JackofOz 11:17, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
A credit card cannot be "on" your name. --Kainaw (talk) 16:09, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Could be 'under', though. Markyour words 16:16, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks! and if I were to add" Is the card 'registered' on your name" would that be correct or would that also need an 'in' instead?

That would be "in" as well. We often say "in name" in English, for example "I know of him in name, though I have never met him". Registered in name doesn't mean literally that the name is on or in the credit card, but rather that when the card was registered, it was registered in terms of one's name, or using one's name.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  07:56, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Suctomers. Now there's a word that was just waiting to be invented! (I mean no offence to the questioner. You have created something wonderful.) --Heron 20:46, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

"ya" and "yah" in Arabic[edit]

What does appending "ya" or "yah" to the end of an Arabic word mean? What is it a transliteration of? It seems that it is trying to use English syllables to approximate a certain sound...which is it on the IPA? --HappyCamper 15:47, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

It is most often seen in the ending of feminine adjectives, where its standard pronunciation is /ija/. If you have some context, it might be easier to speak about an individual case. --Gareth Hughes 15:53, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
It has to do with the article Al Askari Mosque - this morning, it was written as Al Askariya Mosque and moved to the new location - the reports in Western media seem to defer to Al Askari Mosque, but I have also seen a minory use the latter. --HappyCamper 18:45, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Ah, I believe that the feminine ending here is mistaken, as al-Askari is being used as a proper name (referring to Hasan al-Askari) rather than an adjective. I suspect the actual Arabic name is ḍarīḥ al-‘askarī. --Gareth Hughes 20:17, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
darih? I figured it would be masjid. -LambaJan 03:25, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Masğid usually refers to a small place for prayer, ğāmi` is a bigger mosque, but often shrines and tombs are referred to by different names. In English, we tend to call every Muslim holy site a mosque without distinction. — Gareth Hughes 12:32, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

MES character encoding[edit]

What does MES mean? I think it is describing some kind of character encoding standard, but I'm not sure. If anyone knows, we might want to add it the MES disambiguation page. --Gareth Hughes 16:00, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

  • I think you mean the Multilingual European Subsets? [10] I'll add it to the disambiguation page. --RiseRover|talk 21:34, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for enlightening me. The PDF you linked to provided sufficient information to verify that this indeed the correct interpretation. --Gareth Hughes 23:10, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

meaning of words[edit]

i want to know the meaning of the words cinea corporis,cinea cruris,cinea cedis

Check your spelling. I think you want these articles: tinea corporis, tinea cruris, tinea pedis. --Shantavira 18:50, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

foreign language name[edit]

Hi I'm trying to find out if "Moufka" is a name in any language. My search so far has come up only with a vulgar slang word in English. If i'm not in the right place for this type of information could someone direct me on where I might find information. thanks.

```` Google sez "did you try ... Mufka. Which is polish and a name given to people as to dogs ... --DLL 21:31, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

New words for Esperanto?[edit]

Are new words being developed for Esperanto or is it a dead language? Toasthaven2 18:43, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

An extinct language has no native speakers. Esperanto is estimated to have more than two thousand according to the article. As far as vocabulary, I don't know about newly developed words, but the article has this link that may be useful. -LambaJan 19:21, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Sudoko is a new word in Esperanto. Like any language still in use, from Latin to Chinese to English, speakers are coming up with new words as new concepts demand them.--Prosfilaes 06:09, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
That's one of those words that seems harder to pronounce than it looks. The English language spelling is sudoku, but most people tend to say sudoko (or soduku, or soduko). Has Esperanto changed the spelling? JackofOz 19:56, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Esperanto has a pretty much rigid rule that all nouns have to end in o... AnonMoos

Techniques for vocab memorization[edit]

I have a knack for languages and have studied several ancient ones, but I'm finding Akkadian gets less and less useful as the years pass. Fortunately I'm headed to Japan in about six months, so it seems a perfect opportunity to try something a bit more modern (that isn't high shcool Spanish and German).

A problem I've always had, and what this question is about, is that I have no patience for vocabulary. I absolutely love perfecting an accent - irrationally so, in fact - grammar can be fascinating, but rote memorization of words just kills me. I've done it, I have the flashcards to prove it, but I hate it. So I'm wondering if anyone here has amusing techniques they've found useful. I have flashcard software on my computer, which I like more than paper cards, but is there other software you'd recommend, websites, books, or any other ideas? Thanks a bunch. --George 19:33, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I found this linkword site the other day [11] and tried out the Italian demo. I wasn't entirely convinced, but I haven't forgotten the words yet... Mattley (Chattley) 19:39, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I'd poked around at various mnemonic techniques - James Heisig's "Remembering the Kanji" is a fabulous book along those lines - and I think that may be what I need to use more. The fact that there are previously existing systems for it is good to know. I'll do more looking for them. But I'm still happily seeking more suggestions! --George 21:00, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm currently having a crack at Japanese myself. I tried mnemonics for remembering the sound of the words, but because Japanese phonology is rather impoverished, I soon ran out of English words I could associate the Japanese ones with. 'Remembering the Kanji' style works are very good for establishing connections between the meaning, the character and the pronunciation. My main technique is to get lots of practice using the words in context, but you may already have thought of that. Markyour words 21:06, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I have the same problems with memorization. The best solution I've come up with is applying it to my daily life. I mark everyday household objects with their foreign names (not reccomended with pets!) and try translating basic thoughts and phrases in my head while I'm doing day-to-day things. As for writing, it helps to keep a daily diary. Even if your entries consist of the date and your eating habits, or other banal facts, the repetition is useful. I guess these seem like pretty basic ideas, but they've helped me out a lot! Наташа ( UserTalk ) 21:25, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
A slightly simpler idea is to try commentating on yourself (with nouns in Japanese) as you do everyday things. Look up the words you don't know, and you'll soon learn the words for everyday objects.
Slumgum 21:28, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I use a program that is essentially a flashcard system in learning Hindi words, but i find an even more effective technique is to use simplified readings geared for a beginner if I can find enough of them. I find it's a lot less dull to go through a reading and refer to a vocab list or dictionary as needed, than it is to just rote memorize the list. It seems to take a lot less repetitions to memorize all the words perhaps because they appear in context. It also helps learn the grammar if only by exposure, and allows for lots of repetition to get the words you do know into long term memory. So I'm always on the lookout for these readings, sometimes just called readers. Though that article is about those geared for teaching reading skills, not aquiring another language. - Taxman Talk 21:45, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I watch children's cartoons, like Schnappi for German --HappyCamper 21:54, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I've been working for a few years on learning to memorize things without mnemonics or repetition. I've practiced this chiefly by taking no notes in any of my classes, and not studying. To give you an idea what that means: I'm in high school, and this semester I'm taking 6 AP classes. I've never taken fewer than four. I'm doing fine in all of them, except English, which is a different problem. None of my teachers ever like how I write. I've also done my best to figure out how the learning itself operates. I don't know a lot about cognition yet (one of my classes this semester is AP Psychology, so I will soon), but here's the view from the trenches: you're pulling on the wrong muscle. The best analogy I've thought of is learning to wiggle my ears. For awhile, I couldn't do it. Then my brain figured out which muscle it was supposed to be contracting, and now it feels perfectly natural to visibly wiggle them. I think what's happening is that instead of wiggling your ears, you're tilting your head, or moving your jaw, or raising your eyebrows, all of which people will do while trying to learn. Instead of ordering your brain to soak in information, which it is quite capable of, you're telling it to do something totally different, with the result that nothing useful happens. Then you bypass that and train yourself the hard way, forcing your brain to go through the slower processes it uses to recognize consistently presented information. Then when that takes too long, you give yourself bracing during that training period by accessing the information through tortuously indirect channels like 'apple = first thing in list', with the understanding that eventually you won't need that anymore. To go in the right direction, consider: nobody ever has trouble learning to play poker. People have an infinite capacity for memorizing baseball scores without repeating them. My dad says, back when the best TV programs (like The Wizard of Oz) only came on once a year and VCRs hadn't been invented, they'd memorize entire movies in just a few viewings and spend the rest of the year reciting them. Just relax, stop trying to pull your head to the side, and do what comes naturally. Learn to play a game, and watch how effortlessly you learn the rules. Then try to feel how you do it, and do the same thing with vocab. This generally involves, for me, just looking at the word as though it were a word in English I'd never heard before, like 'mellifluous' or 'fungible', find out what it means, then remember it for later. (mellifluous - musical sounding - was a vocab word two years ago, and fungible - any unit of a tradeable product being indentical to and tradeable for any other unit - was in Dilbert a few days ago) --Black Carrot 22:53, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Hey, I just noticed that one of the earlier questions is about fungibility. What a coinkidink. Black Carrot 23:37, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Quite the opposite for me. I excel in vocabulary first then grammar or comprehension. I walk around or ride the bus with a pocket dictionary and build dialogues(with simple grammar). I skim through the dictionaries many times. I've learnt Spanish and Japanese this way. I create 2 or 3 sentences associated with the new words . Tedious but effective. I of course do other language-learning stuff like reading, watching DVDs in those languages, grammar drills , etc.Remembering Kanji is a faboulous book. A light reading book is Read kanji today by Ken Walsh.--Jondel 05:23, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Since you're actually going to Japan, you don't have to worry so much about remembering vocabulary, because it will be all around you. I have a horrible memory as well, but I've set myself up in a way that I am constantly studying, whether I think I am or not. When you buy a cell-phone, get one with a dictionary installed. When you're on the train and you hear something or you see an ad and you wonder what it means, you can just whip out your phone and look it up (and it looks 100x less nerdy than whipping out an electronic dictionary). That way you'll learn things from repetition; you'll experience the whole "I've heard this word before, what was it?" a few times and eventually it will burn itself into your brain without any concious literal studying. I also have an annoying habit of reading everything that's set in front of my eyes, so much so that I often get headaches when walking around in countries where I can't understand the text. This habit really helps me learn to read quickly, though.

Needless to say, the longer you stay, the more accustomed to Japanese you will be, and I find remembering words has become incredibly easy now. Good luck!  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  06:54, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Nice replies. – b_jonas 17:55, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok, George I'll turn the question on you then. What techniques do you have for perfecting an accent? Many people speak a second language for years and still have a strong accent. I've seen for sale some English language tools that claim to have sets of drills that can make someone sound perfectly accentless (in American English in this case), but I didn't know if the claims were reliable. - Taxman Talk 14:53, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for all the great answers. I'm poking around at some of the suggestions even now. As for your question, I should make it clear that perfect is of course probably impossible. By "perfect an accent" I mean "get it as good as a non-native speaker can ever hope without actually moving there and hiring a diction coach" - which IMO is really quite good, better than we're commonly lead to believe, but certainly not absolutely flawless. Flawless is beyond my "poor graduate student" resources at the moment, and probably a moving target anyway. My criterion for basic success is when a linguistically-inclined (and honest) native speaker spontaneously tells me "Wow, you have a really good accent." That doesn't mean I stop working, but it's a good basic goal.
All that said, I don't have any shockingly groundbreaking techniques. As I mentioned, for some reason I'm predisposed to enjoy learning the funky sounds of other languages; that helps a lot. I focus quite intently on this applied phonology when I first begin studying a language, usually spending a couple of weeks on the basic sounds before I delve into the language itself. I start with books and articles on the language's phonology and watch/listen to audio and video of native speakers. And of course a real live native speaker is vital: I find a friendly one and make it clear that they shouldn't cut me any slack, then I squawk phones at them for as long as they can stand me. As I continue to learn I just keep up the same work, only then with sentence-level sound patterns and whatnot. Basically, the only secret is a lot of work.
I don't know about automated drills to get rid of an accent. You can make yourself quite clearly understood with solo practice, but I see two problems. First, the longer you've spoken a language the "wrong" way, the harder it is to completely overhaul something as basic as pronunciation. That's why I start focusing on it even before the beginning. More fundamentally, though, neither you nor any software can hear the subtle oddities of a foreign accent as well as a native speaker. Though they may not be able to tell you what you're doing wrong unless they're a linguist or a diction coach, they can tell you that you're doing it. That's vital. --George 18:19, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I'll have to work on that, though I tried reading the phone article and was completely lost on the differences between phones, allophones, morphemes, etc. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but those articles are currenlty heavily geared to people that already know the material. But your comment leads me to another question. I wonder what techniques professional diction coaches use, and how they learn to do it. - Taxman Talk 16:53, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Word for being looked at[edit]

Does anyone know of a word for 'the feeling of being watched' or 'feeling someone's eyes on the back of your neck'? Black Carrot 22:15, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Paranoia? СПУТНИКССС Р 22:19, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I think paranoia overstates it. That implies something about the watcher's perceived intent. I don't know of a word for this feeling, but if there isn't one, we should definitely make one up. Magnofratation, perhaps?

I mean when they're actually looking. You know how in books they say "then he felt that someone was watching him... He turned around, and there was the Vampire!!11!!!1!"? Well, I want to know what the word for that alleged sense is. And if there isn't one yet, I agree we should make one. Black Carrot 22:59, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

The scientific term for the belief that you can sense being watched is 'idiocy'. ;) Markyour words 23:06, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually, there's mounting evidence that it's not idiocy. Not that it's relevant to the question, since loads of words exist for things that don't (like military intelligence, heh) but check out and follow his references. Black Carrot 23:39, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I bet they either make some noise, or you feel the heat off them, or there is some other rational explanation. Or perhaps their radio is playing Somebody's Watching Me ? StuRat 04:12, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

It can be demonstrated quite easily that it's a real phenomenon. Just look into the back of a stranger's head in a public place, and watch what happens. JackofOz 01:49, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Have you done that? Black Carrot 03:01, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Many times. JackofOz 05:03, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Though there's not many strangers to look at in Jack's neck of the brush.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  06:46, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
That's because we're the friendliest nation on Earth, and nobody stays a stranger for very long. If you're not Down Under, "where the bloody hell are you?" (wink). JackofOz 08:19, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

So, we've got 'magnofratation' and... nothing else. Any other ideas? Black Carrot 00:11, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

How about a short noun phrase, like 'feel eyes,' or 'sense eyes.' As in "He sensed eyes while menusing the digester's read." -LambaJan 04:47, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
To stop my "nomination" winning by default, I hereby withdraw it. I would not seriously suggest such an uneuphonious word. I was merely thinking aloud about latinisms and big brothers and that was all I could come up with. Just imagine, "I was sitting in the cafe quietly reading my paper and sipping on my coffee, when I experienced magnofratation". I don't think so. JackofOz 05:00, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Don't worry, it was just a glance from the menuser. -LambaJan 07:08, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
What does it mean to 'menuse'? I've looked it up on everything I can think of, and apparently neither that word nor any form of it has ever existed anywhere, ever. Black Carrot 13:14, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
It existed on the reference desk; there was a question recently about a verb meaning "to be seated (in a restaurant), peruse the menu and order." I can't find it in the archives, but I think the above editors are hoping that, with repeated use, it will become suitly emphazied. --LarryMac 15:59, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Building on the sense-eyes thing, how about gazefeel? Sounds a bit too much like goodspeak, though, which would be doubleplusungood. How about stalkersight, to bring out how it usually refers to realizing someone's following you? Black Carrot 13:14, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

February 23[edit]

Dates in Spanish[edit]

How to write the date in spanish. Can you write today's date(Febuary 22nd) in spanish, in a full form.

Here's a hint. Every page of Wikipedia has links to other languages (unless those pages haven't been added yet). The language links are at the bottom of the left-hand column: click Español for Spanish. So, first find the article February 22 in English, and click the language link. It doesn't write out the number in full, so look at the English article 22 (number) and click the language link there. Now, you've worked out how to do that you can flick between English and Spanish Wikipedia articles to help you learn the language. — Gareth Hughes 01:05, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
A google search for -how to write dates in spanish- gives [12] as its third result. Look towards the bottom of that page, and it explains it. Black Carrot 02:11, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Spanish is my native language and I don't agree with the formula "Hoy es martes, el veinticinco de marzo" mentioned in that link. We'd say "Hoy es martes, veinticinco de marzo", without the article. However we would say, "sucedió el veinticinco de marzo de 1989", for example.--RiseRover|talk 12:36, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

You should just say 22 de febrero. :|, I didn't understand all that went on in this question...--Cosmic girl 22:56, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

So to actually answer the question, it's veintidós de febrero. Proto||type 12:56, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

What is the easiest language to learn besides English?[edit]

EMAIL (email deleted) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

You know, I tried looking for an article titled hardest language or easiest language, but there are none; perhaps a new article is in order sometime. Anyway, it's rather difficult to gauge the ease and difficulty of a language. Theoretically, linguistis consider all languages of the same difficulty level - they have their share of easy and difficult grammatical features.
But anyway, the easiest language for an English speaker should be something that's closely related to English, like perhaps Scots or Frisian. I've not studied either of these, but I have found other languages like Afrikaans, Norwegian, and Swedish to be easy for me (but I haven't had the committment to learn them seriously). To me, I find Romance languages easy but when I started learning the first one (Spanish), I had a very difficult time grasping the different tenses and moods (especially the subjunctive).
Even then, it depends on what works best for you. If grammar gives you a hard time but absorbing vocabulary is a breeze, then perhaps you may find Mandarin and Indonesian easy. If the vocabulary is an obstacle, but pronunciation and grammar aren't, then maybe French. In my experience, people like Spanish because of it's relatively easy pronunciation - but even then, they don't even pronounce it correctly. --Chris S. 03:04, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken, English is actually one of the hardest, or possibly even the hardest language to learn. bcatt 01:58, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, I've heard that Japanese is the hardest major language to learn (but this was from English speakers, so it's hard to be sure), but I've read that there are countless tiny regional languages, like the ones spoken by hicks along the Spanish/French border, that are even harder just because they're such an insane mixing. As far as pronounciation, I think Spanish is the easiest, and French isn't too bad. Black Carrot 02:06, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
When you say "Spanish/French" border you make me want to think of either Basque, Aranese, or Catalan. Basque is decidedly difficult, but it doesn't fit the description of "insane mixing." Catalan has been described as a mix of Spanish and French - I speak Catalan, and that's true on some level because you get casa petita (small house) while it's casa pequeña in Spanish and petite maison in French. But no, I don't see Catalan being any harder than French or Spanish. Aranese is no different either. --Chris S. 03:04, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
That some words in Catalan have evolved the way some Spanish words have and some others have evolved the way some French words have doesn't make Catalan a "mix" of the two languages. It's like saying that Dutch (since it's so popular in the answer to this question) is a mix of German and English. Which is so wrong... --RiseRover|talk 18:22, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
That may be so, but whenever I see Catalan, it strikes me as a mixture of the two. I can reasonably understand some Catalan due to it's similarity with Spanish, but it still seems like the differences are in the French direction. They don't seem Italian, Portuguese, English, or anything else, they seem French. And for the purposes of a term as innacurate as a 'mixture of two languages', having some words developing in the way of one language and others developing the the way of the other seems about right. - Taxman Talk 14:47, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I definitely agree with you there, but I think what I wrote wasn't that clear. Yes, Catalan evolved into its own rather than being a random creole based on Spanish and French. However, whenever I describe to the average American - who has no idea what Catalan is - what Catalan is, I give them an analogy saying that it's like French and Spanish mixed together. BTW, have you seen Essentialist Explanations? It's rather funny. With regards to Catalan, one person says it's basically "bad Spanish mixed with even worse French" while another says "Catalan, as everyone knows, is essentially Spanish spoken by Poles." :-D Visca el franco-castellà català! --Chris S. 04:48, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

For me (an English speaker), Chinese was very easy to learn as far as in reading, writing, and grammar. For speaking and hearing, it has been extremely difficult. --Kainaw (talk) 02:31, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Your question can be interpreted in two ways.
"What is the easiest language to learn." Natural languages are burdened by historical developments that make little sense. So an artificial language like Esperanto should be a lot easier. Both the grammar (often the biggest problem) and the vocabulary are much easier. I have a Dutch-Esperanto-Dutch dictionary. The Dutch-Esperanto part is the same size as any other dictionary in the series (and incomplete at that, as they all are). The Esperanto-Dutch bit is one third that size and complete. Words are formed totally logically. One might call it a scientific language. And that section includes the grammar (just a few pages) - try that with any natural language. Also, rules concerning pronunciation are very liberal; you may pronounce it any way you wish. A natural language that approximates that is Indonesian because that is a 'lingua franca'. It is used as an intermediate language between the Indonesian islands. Actually, it is a foreign language for most islanders. For the same reason Swahili should be easy I suppose. And pidgin English perhaps?
"What is the easiest language to learn for a native English speaker." Which seems to be the question you meant to ask. You already mention Frisian and Afrikaans. My first reaction was 'Dutch', which is very closely related to those two. A native English speaker once told me Dutch is the language closest to English. Then again, actually learning it would require practise. And the best practise is to be had among native Dutch speakers. But if Dutch people find out you're a native English speaker, they'll instantly switch to English. If you argue that you're trying to learn Dutch they will ask you why. If all Dutch speakers speak English better than you can ever hope to learn to speak Dutch then what's the point? DirkvdM 10:04, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Dutch being very closely related to English would explain why Dutch speakers apparently speak English very well. Why wouldn't it work just as well in reverse? and particularly if the English speaker has gone to the Netherlands or acquired Dutch speaking friends specifically to practise the language and learn it? Do the Dutch have an advantage through their long exposure to English through TV, movies etc, that is not matched by the relative lack of exposure to Dutch for English speakers? JackofOz 12:34, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
I imagine that's one of the main factors, some other ones being that English learning materials are generally much easier to obtain and (one must assume) are of greater quality[citation needed]; that there is a much stronger desire to learn English in the non-English speaking world than there is a desire to learn non-English languages in the English speaking world (sadly, unfortunately); and Bill Bryson often mentions the "jaw crunching" constructions of Dutch and German words which seem to bedruggle English speakers whereas Dutch speakers don't often whine about "jaw crunching" English words, though there are more than a few (for example, "strength", which becomes a 6-syllable word when a Japanese person tries to pronounce it).  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  14:03, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
I always enjoy telling Japanese friends about the Dutch word "angstschreeuw" ("cry of fear"), with eight consecutive consonants. David Sneek 18:12, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Clearly the language of your girlfriend/boyfriend. ;)--RiseRover|talk 18:18, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

It depends on what language you speak, if you are an english speaker then german should be easy...if you speak spanish, then french and italian are easy...but any language that has the same alphabet as mine seems easy to me...that's why I'd love to learn russian but it scares me :|.--Cosmic girl 22:58, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Myth, myth, myth. English is not "easy." Anyone have a sure-fire way to teach English adverbials to second language speakers? I'd be damn curious cause it's damn hard. You know, an easy way to sum up "recently," "basically," "practically" or even "most of the time" to a new English learner? No, you don't have an easy answer, because there is none. You can learn baby talk in any language. I speak baby-talk Arabic to taxi drivers everyday, and they speak baby-talk English back to me. Neither understands the other language. The idea that "English is easy" is a very very unfortunate idea. Marskell 23:11, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
It's all POV, but since English is the global language, it's so much easier to pick up words and phrases. In actual fact, the huge amount of influences upon it - and the fact that there's over 2000 different syllables - make it hard to perfect, even for a native.
Slumgum 23:22, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
We can accept that access to learning materials/everyday words and phrases/second lang tutors/media etc. is greater for English than other languages without accepting that there is something inherent to English that makes it easier to learn than other languages. There isn't. Indeed, the Latinate vocab probably makes it harder to learn English comprehensively than, say, a cousin like Dutch. I suppose that was my point (put better having thought about it). Marskell 23:40, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
The questioner wasn't specific as to what level or type of learning he/she is talking about. Children aged 5 have all learned their native languages to a certain level. Their vocab might be limited by comparison with that of a university professor, but they can conduct conversations fluently (and often incessantly). They cannot usually read or write yet, but within a year or so that comes, again to a certain level. Does it take a Finnish child longer to reach equivalent stages of language development than it does a Swahili child or a Chinese child or a French child, or do children in similar types of environments tend to "learn" at the same rate? If the answer is yes, that would suggest that, to a child learning their native language, no language is inherently any more difficult than any other. But to adults it may well be quite a different story. Many people I know or know of, who learned English later in life, have said that they became confident in their use of other foreign languages far earlier than with their use of English. Funny spelling is often mentioned as a bit of a stumbling block, but the great number of often confusing and contradictory idiomatic expressions that English employs, and all their local variants, is far more difficult to master. Not that English is the only language to be idiomatic, but it probably outdoes most others, particularly with the colloquial spoken language, because it has borrowed from so many other languages. JackofOz 08:03, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
We're #1! We're #1! Black Carrot 13:05, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I'd suggest Indonesian, as mentioned above, for most English native speakers. It uses the same alphabet, has less sounds (phonemes) with not a lot of sounds that will cause major problems for English speakers (especially if you can roll your "R"s), is almost 100% phonetic, and has a more straightforward grammar (especially the spoken form). --Singkong2005 talk 03:06, 3 August 2006 (UTC)


What's the etymology of the name of the Iranian town Nishapur. It's a Sanskrit word that means "City of Night". Is that the source for that name too? How come a Sanskrit name still survives in Iran, when so many of them, like Prayag have been changed in India? deeptrivia (talk) 03:28, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Oh, okay I read more about the name. It's a very deceiving name, since it's hard to believe the town is not in India! deeptrivia (talk) 03:32, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't know. But Singapore is a name of Sanskrit origin and it's not in India. Sanskrit has had some influence in South and Southeast Asia - even in many Philippine languages one will find Sanskrit words. --Chris S. 05:05, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
In southeast asia, yes, but in the southwest, beyond Baluchistan, I wasn't sure. In any case, it turns out to be derived from the name of a king called Shapur. Thanks for your comment, though. deeptrivia (talk) 12:23, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Marngrook or Marn Grook[edit]

What is the correct spelling of this word/phrase?, considering that there a far more polysyllabic S.E.Australian aboriginal words than monosyllabic. Please see discusion page for Marn Grook. Lentisco 03:43, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

New Question: word "analysis" origin[edit]


do the word "analysis" has greek,latin or other roots?

thanks for your help!!


Greensboro, NC, USA

"Medieval Latin, from Greek analusis, a dissolving, from analein, to undo  : ana-, throughout; see ana- + lein, to loosen; see leu- in Indo-European Roots." So, basically Greek. --Halcatalyst 05:03, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
And here I thought it was a shortened combined form of "anal electrolysis". StuRat 04:04, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Captains Courageous fishing terms: strawberry bottom[edit]

The story "Captains Courageous" uses a lot of nautical and fishing slang that I can't find any definitions for. One of the characters, Dan, talks about "strawberry-bottoms", and when another character, Harvey, touches the strawberries, the effect is "as though he had grasped many nettles". Can someone tell me what a strawberry-bottom is and what those ocean strawberries are? Thanks...

from Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling: "The hook had fouled among a bunch of strawberries, red on one side and white on the other - perfect reproductions of the land fruit, except that there were no leaves, and the stem was all pipy and slimy.

"Don't tech 'em! Slat 'em off. Don't -"

The warning came too late. Harvey had picked them from the hook, and was admiring them.

"Ouch!" he cried, for his fingers throbbed as though he had grasped many nettles.

"Naow ye know what strawberry-bottom means. Nothin' 'cep' fish should be teched with the naked fingers, dad says. Slat 'em off ag'in' the gunnel, an' bait up, Harve. Lookin' won't help any. It's all in the wages."

from the context I would guess that they are soft corals in the genus Gersemia. these grow in deep cold waters, like those of the Grand Banks, and are a habitat for cod and other food fish. —Charles P._(Mirv) 19:28, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Strawberry Shortcake's butt ? StuRat 03:45, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Gersemia sounds right, looks right (, but Strawberry Shortcake's butt sounds better. Did you get that from Thanks to ya both!


On talk:James Blunt, someone was shocked that Blunt pronounced "you're" as "yaw". This is how I've always said it, but according to the replies, this is just a British thing. So, how do Americans pronounce it (and no IPA, please). smurrayinchester(User), (Talk) 18:50, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I've always heard it pronounced as yoor or yur. Black Carrot 19:58, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Most American accents, Boston and older New York being notable exceptions, are rhotic, meaning the letter "r" is pronounced in nearly all positions. See Rhotic and non-rhotic accents. --Nelson Ricardo 00:06, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
This isn't an answer to the question, but some Brits (Scots?) pronounce it to rhyme with "sewer". —Blotwell 07:35, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
You need IPA or something like it to answer this question properly. Your asking for no IPA is a bit like asking why cafe isn't pronounced kayf, but requesting no one talk about French! You need a fixed base to talk about pronunciation, and linguists usually use the International Phonetic Alphabet to do so. This eliminates the 'rhymes with...' and 'like yaw' statements, which are essentially misleading (the sounds represented are pronounced differently by different speakers). Here is the linguistic answer, and I'll provide all the links so that the IPA can be fully interpreted. In General American, you're is pronounced /jɔɹ/ (click on each letter for its article). This is how someone from the US who is considered to have a fairly 'neutral' accent would say the word. In Received Pronunciation (you can consider it General English English if you like), the letter r is not pronounced in some words, especially after a vowel. In RP, you're is pronounced /jɔː/ (this shows that the r is not sounded, but lengthens the vowel instead). It is this sound that an American might interpret as yaw. In fact in RP, the words you're, your, yore and yaw are all pronounced alike. Now, as we're talking about James Blunt, it might be good to say something about his accent. He comes from Wiltshire (where I live too), where traditional West Country dialects are used, and the pronunciation would be quite similar to GenAm here. However, as with most middle-class people from the region, his accent has little regional quality, and RP or close-RP is the more frequent pronunciation. — Gareth Hughes 15:18, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! It's just that I can't read IPA, but that was actually very clear. Thanks! smurrayinchester(User), (Talk) 09:52, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

A WIKIPEDIA glossary?[edit]

Is there a kind of glossary with all terms of wikipedia listed? as for exemple "clean up", "wikify", etc?

Wikipedia:Glossary. --cesarb 20:52, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

-cles in Greek names[edit]

What does the -cles ending of Greek names (i.e. Pericles, Damocles, Sophocles, etc.) mean? KeeganB

Not to mention Testicles. JackofOz 21:47, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, the manliest hero of them all. GeeJo (t) (c)  22:11, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Don't forget Johncles
Slumgum 22:14, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
And of course the Chronic - WHAT? -cles of Narnia! --LarryMac 05:29, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
And those two really cool guys Popsicles and Icicles. JackofOz 07:23, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
κλεος, kleos, glory. --RiseRover|talk 22:46, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the reply. KeeganB

February 24

Dutch language[edit]

Hi, I've started studying German today on the Internet, and I took a quick look on some of the other language guides available on the site (, I took a glance on the Dutch language guide over there, and there's one thing that makes me wonder. How is Dutch so much different to German? It's basicly only Low-German vs. High-German, right? When someone speaks Dutch, I sometime may mistake it for English (for some sentences, like "the weather is good"). Also, it doesn't have the complicated and so many combinations of adjectives/nouns/definites/genders inflecting each other which the Dutch language is far from being. In Dutch, if I remember, there are only two genders, there's only 2 articles (each for both gender, and don't forget the definite/indefinite, which makes it 4), adjectives are simple except for one small rule for some exceptions. The pronouns also sound much more similar to English than German does. In fact, if you'd ask me, I could argue that Dutch is the most similar Germanic language with English. My question is: how did the languages evolve like this? How come two clsoely related languages (Dutch and German) are so different? How did a relatively geographically isolated language like the English language end up so similar to Dutch (at least to my ear)?--nlitement [talk] 22:43, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I've always thought that Dutch = (English + German)/2 .Anglo-Frisian languages and English language might show you that their roots are the same.
Slumgum 23:03, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Ah, yes! It is the sprachbund, right? Thank you very much! Been wondering for a while now :) --nlitement [talk] 23:06, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
No, its the fact that they are all part of the same family which is important, as Slumgum said. In this case they are all part of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic languages family. So that makes them pretty closely related. Originally people in England spoke Celtic languages (completely different) but when the Frisians, Angles, Saxons, etc arrived in England from across the North Sea they brought their own Germanic languages with them.
  • The Sprachbund thing is something different. Thats when languages from different (unrelated) families have some unexpected similarities because of geographical proximity. Jameswilson 00:11, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
It might be interesting to note that some Low German dialects are essentially unintelligible to German speakers who are not from Northern Germany and have not been exposed to these dialects. That is, even languages that are usually considered dialects of German have no mutual intelligibility with standard German. My explanation would be that the dialect continuum has been politically divided into two standard languages. The Low German dialects did not, however, factor into the developing Standard German language. Maybe something similar happened during the formation of the modern Dutch language, but I'm not quite sure on that. Anyway, this might lead to two pretty closely related languages developing in very different directions. --Rueckk 02:04, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Many of the similarities you might find between Dutch and English are not the result of a simultaneous development, by the way. For example, in the early twentieth century the masculine and feminine nouns in Dutch did not yet fall together in the common gender they form now (leaving aside a few exceptions). At the time, articles were inflected in a way that made the language look a lot more like German ("des", "den" and "der"), but now this has almost completely disappeared. David Sneek 16:41, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

The thinking voice[edit]

When someone who has the misfortune to have a speech inpediment is thinking. Do they think with the impedement or with what would have been their 'normal' voice?

I don't have a speech impediment, but when I hear my voice recorded, it sounds nothing like my thinking voice, which is less nasal. Weird. :-D --Chris S. 23:32, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't even know, but if I'd guess, I'd say no. I think it would be another disorder then. Speech disorders sound more like physciological to me than psychological. --nlitement [talk] 23:37, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Nope. I don't know about people whose speech problems are based on mental problems, but I have just about every impediment there is (slurring, lisping, weak r's, etc) that isn't based on deformity or damage, and my mental voice is just fine. At least, I think it's fine. As a matter of fact, you could be right. I'd never paid attention to it, but in fact some of those show up weakly. I don't think it has to be that way, though. I can imagine talking like Michael Jackson, and no problems show up at all. I'd say what little does, in my own internal voice, comes from the habit of hearing my voice (just as the high-pitchedness in my imagining of Michael Jackson exists because he really does sound like a girl) and from the tendency I have (and most people are, from what I've heard and read, the same way) to ever so slightly shape my mouth and throat into the words I'm thinking. Restrictions on what I can shape can effect what I imagine, which is why my internal voice doesn't ever have slurring (which is saliva's fault, the bastard!) but can have a weak r. It don't have to, though, and plenty often doesn't. However, the internal voice is a fairly amorphous thing in anyone. Detection, or detection of the lack of, something as small as, say, a weak r is tentative at best.
This is actually an interesting experience, since I'm used to thinking about things like this from the outside (does a deaf person dream in sign language?), and it's easy to forget the person I'm thinking about is just a normal person, and basically the same as me. Black Carrot 00:03, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
When you get to a certain stage in learning a foreign language you start having dreams in that language, so maybe deaf people do do that. I'd be surprised if it applied to speech problems though. Jameswilson 00:15, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
All I know is that I used to stutter, and I never did that while thinking. Excessive thinking on what I was going to say led to stuttering, though. Make of that what you will. --Rueckk 01:39, 24 February 2006 (UTC)


What Author Can be a Combination of Jorge Luis Borges and Edgar Allan Poe?

It doesn't matter how many times you ask it. —Keenan Pepper 00:25, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I can. --Cosmic girl 17:33, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

That's decidable (or falsifiable). --DLL 23:34, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps Robert Louis Stevenson, and if you want to get really low, Goethe, Shakespeare, or Khayyam The Ronin 00:52, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

I'd still put my money on Cosmic girl though, seen as how she's still alive.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  10:30, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Help requested for various languages[edit]

There is a need for editors that can speak a number of languages to help finish off the last of the articles we are missing that were included in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. We can hopefully finish them off before hitting 1 million articles in A number of the last few articles are towns or other terms from various countries that could be made quick work of if people knew the language, could check for the article in that language's Wikipedia and follow those external links or maybe just have resources of their own. The language skills that could be helpful are Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and even Indonesian, Arabic, Persian and maybe a couple others. Try to find a few additional sources to verify the material and go as far past a stub as possible. Thanks all. - Taxman Talk 15:07, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

You can find the list of missing articles here.David Sneek 18:33, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Oh, yes, well, the link to it--who needs that? :) Thanks. The other thing I should note is the project guidelines are that so much has changed since 1911 that it's not usually a good idea to copy much from the 1911 version depending on what additional sources agree with. - Taxman Talk 19:37, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I can help, what do I do?...I saw the link but I don't understand what has to be done.--Cosmic girl 16:58, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

It's more or less finished... David Sneek 19:53, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Please take time to read Wikipedia:WikiProject_Missing_encyclopedic_articles#Guidelines. Then search, from the above link, a 1911 article and the WP one. If the latter exists, read, correct or complete it ; if not, begin hard work. Good luck, take care. --DLL 21:32, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks all, the initial list is done, and now we're going through making sure the created article's are up to date. That can still use a lot of people with other language skills. - Taxman Talk 16:21, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

School period[edit]

What is a school period called in Dutch and American English? deeptrivia (talk) 16:30, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

In Dutch it would be "trimester" or "semester", depending on the kind of education. David Sneek 16:51, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I mean a "school period" within a schoolday. Something like number of 30-40 minute durations the day timetable is divided into, so that one subject is taught during the same period every week. (Something like "the fifth period every Monday, Wednesday and Friday is Maths.") In India a schoolday normally has 8 periods of 40 minutes each. Is there any such concept at all in these countries? There must be. deeptrivia (talk) 17:18, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Aye, we have periods in the UK — 5 to the day when I was there. I'm pretty sure it remains period in American English as well (an example). GeeJo (t) (c)  17:20, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! Waiting for a Dutch translation :) deeptrivia (talk) 17:23, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
As a point of interest, I had hour-long periods rather than the forty-minute ones you had, or the 49-minute ones shown in the link. So it seems I had 20 minutes less education per day than you, and 43 minutes less than in the U.S. :) GeeJo (t) (c)  17:28, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Add to it the fact that in most schools in India, either only second saturdays, or second and fourth saturdays are off. deeptrivia (talk) 17:42, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
In Dutch it is called a "lesuur" or simply "uur", though it does not usually take an hour. David Sneek 18:02, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
In the U.S. it is also less than an hour but sometimes called that; period is common too. Rmhermen 18:07, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
For what it's worth, in my high school (in Canada) we used "period". It was easier to describe a class as being in "3rd period" or "period 3" than to say it started at 10:24 a.m. (I don't remember the actual period times offhand, but they were not in multiples of 5 minutes). In my early schooling, when all subjects were taught in one classroom, schedules were not announced to us at all, so the concept didn't arise. When I went to university, we didn't use "period" but just described everything by the time of day. --Anonymous, 22:28 UTC [15th period, or so :-)], February 24, 2006.
In Ohio many schools have moved to block scheduling, leading many students to refer to a period as a block. -LambaJan 03:44, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Pronunciation of BIll Kazmaier's last name[edit]

How do you pronounce Kazmaier.... is it Kaz-meyer or Kaz-mere?

Thanks, 19:25, 24 February 2006 (UTC)Brian

It's a German name, so it'd be more like "Kats-myer" with a long 'a' as in "bar". --BluePlatypus 19:46, 24 February 2006 (UTC)


What is the origin and etymology of the word Courtesan, does it relate to a courtier, and thus a court or palace etc. Or to form artisan. Apparenty it has origin in the word cohort from latin how could this be if this means a miliary Roman unit? 19:59, 24 February 2006 (UTC) Markyour words 20:10, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

help wanted[edit]

Your help is needed at the humanities reference desk here on the origin of the name "Belgium." --Halcatalyst 22:46, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

February 25[edit]

Hisself vs. himself[edit]

I found myself debating with myself as to why it is considered correct English to say "himself" rather than "hisself". I considered that fact that, when adding the prefix to a "-self" word, we use a possessive form: myself, not meself; yourself, not youself; yet there is inconsistency with "himself" (as well as themselves, of course). So why is this inconsistency present? Who made the rationalization of using "himself" instead of "hisself"? It doesn't make much sense to me. Daltonls 06:21, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

For 1st and second person pronouns you use the possessive (myself, ourselves, yourselves), while for third-person pronouns you use the object form (himself, herself, itself, themselves). I don't know if there's any "logical" reason for this difference, but it's consistent. AnonMoos 11:18, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
The OED explains all. Self was originally an adjective, and the pronoun before it - him, etc. - was originally a dative. The original pronouns before self were me, you, him, etc. Me got modified to my and you to your for reasons of euphony. This process happened over about a thousand years - some of the OED's citations are from the 10th century - so it's a matter of usage rather than logic. Him didn't get modified because it sounded right as it was. Hisself is an archaic dialect form based on the incorrect assumption that self is a noun. --Heron 12:14, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

If you want a real pronominal conundrum, then ask yourself what the counterpart of "mine, yours, ours, hers, theirs" is for the third person neuter singular pronoun "it"... AnonMoos 12:51, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

It's "its", isn't it? "This footprint is hers; this next one is yours; but that pawprint is its". It sounds odd not because it's ungrammatical (it's not) but because it's highly unidiomatic to use "its" as a predicate. JackofOz 11:28, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, if it's clear what the predicate possessive form of "it" theoretically should be, but on the other hand it's almost impossible to construct any sentence containing this form which would actually be naturally uttered by a native speaker, then it's rather difficult to say that it's part of the language. But if it's not part of the language, then it leaves a gap in the paradigm. That's why it's a conundrum... ;-) AnonMoos 18:14, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps it's because the correct answer to that question was his right into Early Modern English. The usage of its grew to cover most of the meanings, but not really this one. Perhaps this why native English speakers prefer to rearrange a sentence to avoid using its in this way, it just feels wrong. — Gareth Hughes 19:27, 26 February 2006 (UTC)


What is the vernacular for people who identify the origin and/or value of historical objects?

Appraisers? AnonMoos 11:14, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Archaeologists? Slumgum 19:50, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Antiquarians? JackofOz 19:53, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

"Starling's song"/"Conlang telephone"[edit]

I've found various references to this but can't find a page on it here. Can someone help? --[[User:4836.03|4836.03 (talk contribs)]] 07:44, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

  • I don't know what Starling's song is, but I've played a few rounds of Conlang Telephone in Lojban. You take an text and pass it through a chain of translators, with each translating the text they receive from one language to another (usually alternating a natlang and a conlang, like English and Lojban), and you observe what happens to it. Here's an example of a round. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 08:19, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
A starling is a songbird. --BluePlatypus 18:10, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't think it "usually" alternates between a natlang and a conlang. There's been about a dozen conlang relays on the conlang list that go from one conlang to another.--Prosfilaes 07:11, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Starling's song was a text used in one. See [13]. Rmhermen 22:06, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

February 26[edit]

Grandparents in German[edit]

I'm learning simple German, and I'm currently learning about families. In German, my granddad would be mein Opa and my grandma would be mein Oma; however what would you say if you had two granddads and two grandmas? Computerjoe 12:35, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

According to forums I could say: Meine zwei Opas (or Grossväter), zwei Omas (or Grossmütter) [14]. Computerjoe 12:52, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
'My grandads' and 'my grandmas' sound odd to me in any language, since those aren't the pairs they usually come in. In English I would use 'both': 'both my grandads are still alive'. In German I think that would be 'meine beide Opas'. Markyour words 13:14, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Thank you Mark. I haven't used my grandads in any context apart from my grandads are called..., I have generally said something along the lines as I have two grandads. Computerjoe 13:47, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
It's meine Oma and meine beiden Opas. Apart from that, you guys are right. --Rueckk 17:34, 26 February 2006 (UTC)


In the first two acts, macbeth seems to be a man wrestling not only with his conscience, but also with some force of evil outside himself. Even by the end of act II, it is impossible to decide whether he is a weak man or one who has genuinely surrendered himself to evil.

Discuss, do you agree or disagree with the fact that he is a weak man or a man who has surrended himself to evil?

To order people to discuss something when you have no actual power over them is slighly tacky. Also, this smells like a homework problem; can't you just buy the Cliff Notes?--Prosfilaes 19:43, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

I think SparkNotes may help your problem. It's free. The Ronin 00:49, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Latin Translation[edit]

Can anyone translate "Pie Iesu domine, dona eis requiem" for me? Black Carrot 21:51, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

"Merciful/Good lord Jesus, give them rest". --BluePlatypus 21:56, 26 February 2006 (UTC)


Hahahahaaaha. I get it. Bonk. Proto||type 16:18, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and also see Dies Irae. Proto||type 16:24, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Requiem is also appropriate. JackofOz 19:37, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
While we're at it, it's worth pointing out that nearly every word there has an English cognate. "pie" is the origin of "pious", "dona" of "donate" and "domine" of "dominate". See folks? Latin isn't so bad. Except the grammar. :) --BluePlatypus 07:40, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Not to mention requiem and quiet. Maid Marion 16:09, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Stats for langages spoken by Britons?[edit]

I'm looking for some statistics giving details for how many people in the United Kingdom speak various languages. The official Census does not collect this data, except for Welsh and Scots Gaelic, and while the Languages in the United Kingdom article lists a number of languages spoken in London, and while I've found London figures on the website of CILT, what I can't find anywhere are similar details for other areas or - especially - for the country as a whole.

What I'm looking for is how many people speak French, Polish, Punjabi etc in Britain - just a list of languages and a figure given for each would be fine. Ideally what I'd like would be something akin to the statistics collected by the Canadian census, but I would settle for some sort of reasonable estimates of, say, the top 20 languages spoken in the country, so long as there were some actual numbers there, and not just an ordered list of language names. Do such figures exist, and if so where? Loganberry (Talk) 23:31, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately there just isnt any official list - as you say the census doesnt collect those figures for non-indigenous languages. for example gives loads of figures for ethnic group, country of birth, religion but nothing whatsoever on language. They offer cancer advice in
  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Greek
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

(alphabetical list) so they must be the top 12 in that city, but no figures. Jameswilson 00:22, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I think chances are slim, given that it seems to be impossible to find data even about the number of people living in Germany broken down by nationality, which would seem much easier to verify than what languages a population speaks.—Wikipeditor 00:36, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
That seems like a separate issue. The US census has information on the languages spoken by respondants. I can't remember which article linked to it, but it was a pretty detailed breakdown of first and second language including analysis of households that had no English speakers over the age of 13. But if the British census doesn't include that information, you'd have to look for estimates by other sources if there are any. - Taxman Talk 16:39, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your replies. "Estimates by other sources" would be fine, except that I can't find any! I find it very hard to believe that nobody has ever made such estimates, but they don't seem to be easily available. It would be nice if the 2011 Census included this question, but I suspect the governmental response to such a request would be "It would cost too much".... I did somewhere see that a nationwide (at least in England) survey of the languages schoolchildren spoke - presumably an extension of the London one that is available - would be started next year, but obviously that's not a lot of use to me now! Anyway, thanks again and maybe I'll just move to North America instead... Loganberry (Talk) 21:30, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

February 27

Words with same spelling[edit]

I have lived abroad for many years and my Enlish language is a bit rusty. Is there a specific name for words spelt the same but with totally diffent meanings? Thanks for any help given Lynne.

Homonym. —Wayward Talk 12:21, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
As the article also says, "homograph" is the more specific (but less common) term, since "homonym" also applies to words with different spelling but the same pronunciation. E.g. witch/which. --BluePlatypus 08:27, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

The phrase 'dribs and drabs'[edit]

Dear Wikipedia, Please could you tell me where the phrase 'dribs and drabs' originates. What is a 'drib' and what is a 'drab'? I think it has a textile connotation but please clarify if you can thanks anne clarke

See here. --BluePlatypus 19:13, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
It also has the meaning of certain kinds of events happening intermittently, e.g. The party started at 8pm but people were still turning up in dribs and drabs until 10. In own personal folk etymology I always assumed "drib" was short for "dribble", and "drab" was a play on words. JackofOz 19:33, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

By the way, see also Apophony#Ablaut-motivated compounding - AnonMoos 07:40, 3 March 2006 (UTC)


Is Halakha, meaning Jewish Law, a proper noun, should it be capitilized? The Jewish Encyclopedia seems to take the view that when it refers to Halakha as a whole (even if preceded by "the"; ie "the Law"), it is capitalised, whereas one may refer to "a halakha" (not sure about "the halakha on eating milk with meat"). They use "halakic" with a lowercase h. What do we do with other legal canons: do we refer to "US Law" or "US law" (I assume the latter); similarly "the Law"; the article on Islamic Sharia seems quite inconsistent here. Jon513 15:44, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I would usually use the capital Halakha when referring to the body of Jewish law, in the same way that one would refer to Torah or Tanakh. It is a proper noun in the sense that there is only one of it (apart from squabbles over definitions, theoretically there should be one Halakha). However, for a specific instance of Halakha, I would write halakha as I would write mitzvah. I would follow exactly the same reasoning for Sharia. Of course, neither Hebrew nor Arabic has capital letters, so this is not an issue in the native orthography. That is probably the reason why we see these words capitalised inconsistently, which leads to this question being asked and the inconsistencies we see in the Sharia article. — Gareth Hughes 15:58, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Specifically, it should be capitalized. When generally speaking, however, I believe it is normal. The Ronin 00:48, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Ronin, just to be clear, are you said the oppisite of what Garzo said? Jon513 15:29, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Synonoums and other slang terms of the word 'lesbian'?[edit]

Does anyone else know a compilation of slang or general synonoums of the word lesbian, or a specific kind of lesbian? 16:26, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Wiktionary has a short list. GeeJo (t) (c)  20:08, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, so many that the dykes are overflowing. StuRat 11:05, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
That's the worst pun I have heard in my life! Kilo-Lima Vous pouvez parler 14:48, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

February 28[edit]

MMORP termilogy[edit]

I would like to know where do the words buff, nerf, sap,and reroll come from. It is for a study of the creation of the vocabulary so if somebody could give me their etymology, it would help me a lot.

thank you Aurélie

If you go to our Etymology article, you will find not only general information but links to many other related topics and references, such as Lists of etymologies. You can probably find a slang dictionary that will help you with your specific terms. --Halcatalyst 23:27, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Putting slang dictionary into a search engine, Urban Dictionary, for example, will get you a slough of hits. --Halcatalyst 14:38, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
See Buff (MMORPG terminology) (and Debuff (MMORPG terminology)), and Nerf (computer gaming). Category:Computer and video game gameplay has a lot of these. There's no article on reroll, but it just means 're-rolling', as in rolling the dice again, if the first result was not satisfactory. It now means repeating any random generation of a set of numbers (say, if you character in an MMORPG's random stats were not good enough - an example of this is in Storyteller System. Sap comes from one of the actual meanings of the word 'sap' (see [15]) - the word can mean to unsettle or weaken (ie, sapping a player's magical shield) . Proto||type 15:10, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Urban dictionary is trash. You're not going to get much etymology info there, just nerds writing the exact same one line definition over and over again, with more !!!1!11!!one!s at the end.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  10:15, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

American slang[edit]

Hi, there are two phrases in american slang where I have always been wondering about the meaning. The one is "It's the other white meat" - What is? And what is the actual white meat? The article wasn't really helpful.
The other is "getting to second (third, whatever) base"? Which base is which? And for the record: I'm not talking about baseball-rules. Wink wink. ;) Thanks, Lennert B 20:41, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

See Baseball euphemism for part b of yor q. As for part a, it's in a |Bloodhound Gang song, so I'd like to know too.
Slumgum 21:18, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
"The other white meat" was originally a marketing slogan used for pork, by the National Pork Board. Chicken (or perhaps poultry in general) is the actual white meat. "The other white meat" has, of course, been co-opted by many others.
There was a recent question on the baseball terminology on one of the ref desks, but ultimately I think the questioner was sent to the euphemism article --LarryMac 21:55, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

See Baseball euphemism. —Wayward Talk 23:26, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

The implication, by the way, is that it is "as good as white meat".  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  10:31, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I always thought the phrase 'the other white meat' referred to human flesh; this is the context the Bloodhound Gang used it in. Proto||type 13:59, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
They may have, but it's definitely derived from the original pork advertising reference. White meat has less fat and is considered healthier. Pork producers reallized they were losing sales due to people wanting a healthier alternative and the perception of pork being bacon, etc and being fatty and unhealthy. Various breading and other techniques were used to produce leaner pork (nearly as lean as white meat turkey, chicken, etc, I think), and that led to the marketing campaign. From what I've read it was very successful. But it's also kind of funny, so people have adapted the phrase to various uses, including a play on the words themselves. You see it come up in lots of contexts. - Taxman Talk 16:16, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
In the movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, the character of Fat Bastard (who supposedly eats babies), refers to babies as "the other other white meat". --Canley 04:53, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, wooo!  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  10:12, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

How do you say Happy Birthday in Marshallese?[edit]

Ijaje, which means 'I don't know'. It wasn't on the only online resource (here) I could find. Try asking on the Marshallese wikipedia ([; there's only five articles on it, but someone there may be willing to help. Sorry. Proto||type 13:59, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

en.Wiktionary doesn't know it either. – b_jonas 12:38, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
There might be a certain way of saying "happy birthday" in Marshallese, but a direct translation of the words "happy" and "birthday" gives: "monono" "ran in lotak". — TheKMantalk 13:12, 3 March 2006 (UTC)