Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Language/September 2005

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Featured articles in other languages[edit]

I'm actually trying to compare the featured article pages between the different language wikipedias (see Wikipedia:Featured articles in other languages). Could you please translate the pages names of the different FAs?

Arabic: ?????? ??????
Dutch: Etalage
French: Articles de qualité
German: Exzellente Artikel
Italian: Articoli in vetrina
Portuguese: Os melhores artigos
Spanish: Artículos destacados
Tamil: ????????? ??????????

I've only been able to translate the Arabic name (Chosen articles) and the French (Quality articles). Thank you. CG 08:09, August 28, 2005 (UTC)

The German name is "Excellent articles" (Artikel can be both singular and plural), and I think the Portuguese one is "The best articles", but my knowledge of Portuguese only stems from similarity with other Romance languages which I know better, so don't take my word on that. By the way, the Swedish equivalent is Utvalda artiklar, which means "Chosen articles". 08:47, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
Actually, the Portuguese is "Our best articles". Circeus 19:11, September 4, 2005 (UTC)

Hello, Cedar guardian. First of all, 'Etalage' means 'Window' in Dutch. 'Articles de qualité,' I guess that you can guess that that means 'articles of quality.' German has already been mentioned; Italian's 'articoli in vetrina' is 'Articles in the window.' 130.238 is right about the Portuguese. The Spanish is 'outstanding articles.' Now, that leaves only Tamil. IINAG 10:04, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Might be worth looking at Wikipedia:Babel for an active Tamil-speaking user and asking them. Shimgray 15:13, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
The Italian is also equivalent to "articles in the window" (as in a display window on a store, presumably). And yes, you have the Portuguese right. -- Jmabel | Talk
The Dutch etalage is only used for a shop window, not for all windows (a window is een venster, like French fenêtre and Latin fenestra). Babelfish is a bit too simple for this (the French word etalage gets translated as display). Figuratively, it is used for something that is put on display, something that is highlighted. Fram 11:43, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
The Dutch word etalage (or the Flemish synonym uitstalraam) can be translated as display window. JoJan 16:12, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
"display" would probably not be an incorrect translation of "étalage" (which takes an accent BTW). It refers to any display of merchandises offered for sale. The word also cover the place (either a window, table, shelf etc.) where it is done (which is the meaning borrowed by Dutch AFAICT) and the action of doing so. The Spanish is "Notable articles" Circeus 19:11, September 4, 2005 (UTC)
In fact, "Os Melhores Artigos" (Portuguese) would mean "The Best Articles". In Spanish, "Articulos Destacados" would mean something like "Articles in the spotlight". This is all I can say to help. Milena 19:58, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

Questions from my students[edit]

I teach English in Japan. Every once in a while, my students ask me a question which I simply don't have an answer for… Do you know?

  1. We don't "ride an airplane from X to Y," we "fly from X to Y." But what if we took a boat? "Ride a boat" sounds just as "off" to me as "ride an airplane"… I thought maybe "sailed from X to Y," but that doesn't sound quite right for all forms of boating. Does a cruise ship or a motorboat "sail?"
  2. If you have both sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, what is the proper way to refer to them collectively? "Children-in-law?" That sounds iffy to me.

I know that, like most things in English, the answers to these might be subjective, but that's okay; I still welcome any input you may have. Thanks. Garrett Albright 15:06, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Hmm, one more from me that I just thought of… We pluralize "son-in-law" by saying "sons-in-law," but how would we make it possessive? "Son-in-law's X" sounds right to me, but would it actually be "son's-in-law X"? Garrett Albright 15:21, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

I think you got it right when you said "took a boat", but "take" implies a scheduled service (you wouldn't use it to refer to your own boat), and most scheduled boat services are ferries, so "take a ferry" is the more usual expression. "Ride", on the other hand, has connotations of doing it for pleasure, or for its own sake, as in "going for a boat ride, cycle ride, etc." Unfortunately, English does not have a word for everything, and "children-in-law" is not in the OED. It's meaning is clear, however, so I can't imagine anyone objecting to it. Shantavira 17:23, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
Garrett: No, it would definitely be "son-in-law's"; the hyphens effectively make this one word. Shantavira 17:25, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
1. Boats: "How about a ride in my motorboat" or "we rode the ferryboat" would be fine but ride sounds wrong when referring to a boat after it becomes a ship. "We sailed on the QEII" or "we a cruised on the Disney Magic" is appropriate after the boat becomes a ship. Defining that transition is of course subjective (when does a pond become a lake?). You can of course sail on a sailboat of any size. All of this is my subjective opinion. ;-)
2. In-laws: First the easy one, just think of son-in-law as one word so the possessive would be son-in-law's as in this is my son-in-law's wife boat. As for a collective for the kids-in-law anything as such would seem contrived unless they are kids. For the adults the simplest thing would be to not concoct a collective at all and just say: "These fine folks are my daughter(s)-in-law and my son(s)-in-law. hydnjo talk 17:43, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
Re the possessive, you don't need to think of son-in-law as a single word, because English puts 's at the end of the whole noun phrase, not just the end of the word. Eg we can talk about, say, the various queens of Europe (many queens, one Europe); but we'd talk about the queen of England's castle (the castle belonging to (the queen of England) ). Likewise, your several sons-in-law (many sons, one law, if it helps to think of it that way) but your son-in-law's children (the children of (your son-in-law) ). --Zeborah 23:38, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
It's appropriate to say "we boated from x to y". Superm401 | Talk 00:52, August 29, 2005 (UTC)
Unless we did it on a raft. ;-) hydnjo talk 01:31, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
I would say sons- and daughters-in-law over any other construction, despite potental confusion with sons and daughters-in-law without appropriate context. I agree that referring to them as children is undesirable when there's another option (afterall, it's not like you raised them so they don't have to put up with being called kids like yours do), especially an option that avoids an awkward, made-up word. I agree that son-in-law's is the right possessive, which leads to entertaining things like my sons-in-law's cars.
I also think that took a boat is best for any situation when you're describing going from point A to point B, but inappropriate for describing a pleasure trip from A out around a bit and back to A. Rode a boat is acceptable but not optimal. Sail a boat feels good for any sailboat trip or pleasure cruise, but wrong for non-sail-powered, businesslike transportation from A to B. — Laura Scudder | Talk 07:15, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
    • It might feel wrong, but "sailed" is the generic term for a vessel of any size. For example, "The Queen Mary sailed from Southampton". President Bush honored the veterans who sailed with Nimitz. Just do a google search for any ship name followed by "sailed" and you'll get hits. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 21:35, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
Amazing that this comes up in an ESL class, I commend you and your students. I'm not sure that these subtleties would even come up in an EFL class. Good for you and your students. They do ask some questions at the margins which means that they are paying attention. I'm glad that you're having fun. hydnjo talk 03:58, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Looking for a meaning for word[edit]

Tian Tian

Could you be more specific? In what context does this occur? If it's supposed to be Chinese, it could mean many things, depending on how it's originally written. One possibility is Tian, but there are many others. Also, Tyan is an electronics company; they make motherboards and stuff like that. --MarkSweep 03:39, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Googling "tian tian means" indicates it's "more and more". Shantavira 17:36, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

"Tian Tian" as a name (or adjective) can mean "Sweetie" or "very sweet" in Mandarin; it is also the Chinese name for Britney Spears. Also, as an adverb it can mean "every day". ~ Dpr 07:20, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Featured articles in other languages 2[edit]

Could you translate more titles of FA pages in other language:

Czech: Nejlepší clánky
Greek: ?p??e?µ??a ????a
Esperanto: Elstaraj artikoloj
Finnish: Suositellut sivut
Hebrew: ?????? ???????
Indonesian: Artikel Pilihan
Icelandic: Úrvalsgreinar
Interlingua: Articulos del septimana
Japanese: ?????
Norwegian: Utmerkede artikler
Polish: Artykuly na medal
Romanian: Articole de calitate
Slovak: Najlepšie clánky
Slovenian: Izbrani clanki
Serbian: ?????? ????????
Swedish: Utvalda artiklar
Tamil: ????????? ??????????
Thai: ????????????
Tagalog: Mga napiling artikulo
Vietnamese: Bài vi?t ch?n l?c
Chinese: ????

All these pages were taken from the interlanguages links in the WP:FA page. Could you just check if they really point to the right page? Thank you.
And one more questions (sorry guys :)), the translation of the French Articles de qualité is Quality articles or Articles of quality, or it's the same? CG 16:44, August 29, 2005 (UTC)

  • Hello again, CG. The Czech (and the Slovak) is probably best translated as 'Select contributions.' I do not speak Esperanto, but I guess it would translate as 'star articles.' The Finnish seems to be 'recommended articles' (although I swear that I have seen the word 'sivut' used for 'skirt.') The Indonesian is 'choice articles.' The Icelandic is like 'top-drawer exhibitions.' The Norwegian is 'super articles', and Swedish is similar. The Romanian is 'articles of quality.' The Polish: 'medal articles?' The Japanese is like 'formidable/outstanding articles.' The Slovenian is 'Select contributions' too. Finally, out of the ones that I can do, the Interlingua is 'articles of the week.'
PS. Articles de qualité can be translated as either quality articles or articles of quality. There is no differentiation between the two, as far as I know.IINAG 10:08, August 30, 2005 (UTC)
The Tamil translation is correct. The link is ta:????????????:????????? ??????????. -- Sundar \talk \contribs 10:16, August 30, 2005 (UTC)
And that translation would be? I don't see it anywhere, sorry. - Taxman Talk 15:29, August 30, 2005 (UTC)
My mistake. I didn't read the question properly. It means "special articles/essays". -- Sundar \talk \contribs 18:43, August 30, 2005 (UTC)
  • The Finnish translation says "Recommended pages". Where have you seen "sivut" used for "skirt"? Not in any Finnish text, I should hope. "Skirt" in Finnish is "hame" or "mekko". JIP | Talk 03:44, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
  • The Polish one says 'winning (or champion) articles'. Proto t c 13:12, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Thank you all for you help. Just one question: from where are you getting the translation? Is it from your knowledge of the language? Or from your knowledge of a similiar language? Or by using a translation software? Please could you specify because there is some conflicts. For example, The swedish Utvalda artiklar is translated as "Chosen articles" by a user and "super articles" by another one. Which one is right? CG 08:53, September 3, 2005 (UTC)

I'm a native Tamil speaker, so you can trust my translation. ;) -- Sundar \talk \contribs 09:49, September 3, 2005 (UTC)
The Sweedish Utvalda artiklar means "Selected (or choosen) articles". The Norwegian Utmerkede artikler means "Excelent articles". I'm Norwegian so I understand Swedish (and Danish) too. --Sherool 18:33, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
  • The Hebrew means "Recommended Articles" in the plural, or it could also be translated as "Suggested Articles". Fluent Hebrew reader, not machine translated. Sputnikcccp 15:47, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
  • I asked my friend and the Chinese version says "Special Menu" or "Special Index", with the implicit meaning that the listing would contain "special articles". --HappyCamper 16:04, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Poems, lyrics and songs[edit]

What's the difference between a poem, a lyric and a song OR what's the difference between a poet, lyricist and songwriter ? I understand that lyrics and songs are meant to be sung. Can a poem be written with the same purpose ? Jay 18:37, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

  • A song is words plus music. The lyrics are the words. Sometimes lyrics are poems. Sometimes not. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 21:29, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
    • Isn't it technically true that the correct word is "lyric"? A "lyric" is all the words of a song, correct? Zoe 22:06, August 30, 2005 (UTC)
      • All the words of a song can be correctly referred to either as "the lyric" or as "the lyrics" - at least, so Merriam-Webster's 11th says. I think the plural form is slightly more common. - Nunh-huh 22:17, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
        • Oh, sure, it's most common, I didn't realize that both were correct. Zoe 22:50, August 30, 2005 (UTC)
          • It may be one of those niceties that's disappeared through misuse and therefore become acceptable. I'm saving my powder for "hopefully".... :) - Nunh-huh 22:55, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
            • How about "I could care less"? Zoe 04:57, September 1, 2005 (UTC)
  • Would music here include the tune ? If a song is sung to a tune but with no accompanying music, would it still be a song ? How does this compare to a poem that is recited ? Aren't most poem recitations done in a singsong way ? Jay 17:36, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
    • A tune is music; singing is applying music (a tune) to something. Whether the music is with voice or instruments doesn't matter, it's still music. So, if it's sung, it's automatically musical. As for poetry recitations-- I dare say that it's sad but true that many recitations are done in a nearly singsong way, but a well-read poem usually sounds like natural language. Poets and lyricists do very similar things, although a lyricist might be more likely to write words to fit an existing tune or with the intention of having a tune put to them. I always think of a songwriter as one who writes both words and music, but Encarta defines lyricist as "1. songwriter: a writer of words for songs, especially popular songs, 2. lyric poet: a writer of lyric poems". Elf | Talk 21:46, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Building height in Amercian English[edit]

Reading the Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans article, I've seen a few instances of residents being advised to go the second story of their building. I changed the first instance to storey, but I've since seen several more occurences of this. Storey is the correct spelling in British English for floors of a building, story without the 'e' is correct for other uses (e.g., in the context of a novel). Is this distinction made in American English or is story used in both contexts? Thryduulf 10:23, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I can't speak for Americans, but I am pretty sure that "storey" is the correct spelling in this case. Ground Zero | t 13:36, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
  • According to, 'story' is not listed as an acceptable replacement for 'storey,' neither in US English or the English of elsewhere. I guess that it was just a spelling mistake. IINAG 13:41, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I think you have made an error in construicting your search. I belive that "story" is the normal U.S. spelling for this term. The following online dictionary citations seem to support this:

Main Entry: 3story
Variant(s): also sto·rey /'stOr-E, 'stor-E/
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural stories also storeys
1 a : the space in a building between two adjacent floor levels or between a floor and the roof b : a set of rooms in such a space c : a unit of measure equal to the height of the story of a building one story high
(Storey goes to this same entry)
n. pl. sto·ries
A complete horizontal division of a building, constituting the area between two adjacent levels. The set of rooms on the same level of a building.
n. Chiefly British
Variant of story2.
n. pl. sto·ries
A complete horizontal division of a building, constituting the area between two adjacent levels.
The set of rooms on the same level of a building.
n. Chiefly British
Variant of story2.
story (LEVEL)
noun: US FOR storey
story2 one horizontal division of a building; floor.
Story (Page: 1420)
Sto"ry (?), n.; pl. Stories (#). A set of rooms on the same floor or level; a floor, or the space between two floors. Also, a horizontal division of a building's exterior considered architecturally, which need not correspond exactly with the stories within. (Written also storey. )
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. sto·ries
1. A complete horizontal division of a building, constituting the area between two adjacent levels. 2. The set of rooms on the same level of a building.
storey. Chiefly British Variant of story2
(N. Amer. also story)
noun (pl. storeys or stories) a part of a building comprising all the rooms that are on the same level.

I hope that is sufficient evidence. DES (talk) 14:29, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I consider myself a rather well-read American, and I've only ever encountered storey in British writing, never in American. — Laura Scudder | Talk 15:01, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Laura is absolutely right; "storey" is never used in American writing.--Pharos 16:17, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I almost "fixed" story to storey in a Wikipedia article but thought to look it up before saving it and was astonished to learn that "story" is the normal U.S. spelling—and further, that both forms come from the same root and that the spelling difference appears to have had an arbitrary origin. Amazing what you learn when you try to write for an encylcopedia. Sharkford 04:49, 4 September 2005 (UTC)


I need some help here. The following sentence feels and sounds wrong to me, but I am unable to explain why:

Joliette was a federal electoral district represented in the Canadian House of Commons, and located in Quebec.

"Was" is doing double duty here: it is the predicate of the main clause of the sentence, and part of the compound past formation of "to locate". Why can we not do this? Thanks. Ground Zero | t 13:36, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I see nothing wrong with this, although I think it would read better as "Joliette was a federal electoral district represented in the Canadian House of Commons. It was located in Quebec." DES (talk) 13:46, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Do not fear the semicolon - "Joliette was a federal electoral district located in Quebec; it was represented in the Canadian House of Commons". Proto t c 14:00, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I'd be tempted by: "Joilette was a federal electoral district in Quebec that was represented in the Canadian House of Commons", or (and this one might not be correct) "Joilette was a Quebecoise federal electora district (that was) represented...". Thryduulf 14:06, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
In my opinion, it's awkward because it's cramming two unrelated ideas into one sentence, which is tricky to do smoothly. I think it could be done better with parenthetical commas: "Joliette, located in Quebec, was a federal electoral district represented in the Canadian House of Commons." My toonie. Garrett Albright 17:51, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Well, the comma shouldn't be there; in this position it either signals that the "and" represents a third item in a list or that the text after the comma is a self-contained phrase (argh, missing my vocabulary for this--a sentence within a sentence) but there's a verb missing--so it's not clear whether the "located in quebec" belongs to the "was" verb or to the "represented" verb, which makes one stumble as one sorts it out; in this case, it just happens to mean the same thing logically either way, but it's not the best phrasing. Elf | Talk 22:01, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
I'd go with Proto's suggestion, except that I'd also remove the word "located" which seems redundant. Loganberry (Talk) 03:18, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
The biggest problem with this sentence is that the words "a federal electoral district" and "represented in the Canadian House of Commons" are saying the same thing twice. Go with one or the other. I like "Joliette was a Canadian federal electoral district, located in Quebec"; deleting "located" wouldn't hurt, but I think it reads better with it. -- Anonymous, 00:28 UTC, September 7, 2005

Word generator[edit]

Is there any sort of program to generate meaningless words according to an existing language's syllable rules? I tried making my own (using what I know of Finnish syllable rules), but the resulting words look much too silly, I can't imagine them being any Finnish words, even if meaningless. JIP | Talk 16:58, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I wrote something that vaguely fits the bill a number of years ago, based on an idea in ... Scientific American, maybe? The program takes as input an integer (k) and a (large?) block of text. Then it analyzes the text and records the number of times that each sequence of k letters occurs. Lastly, it creates a new, arbitrarily long output text probabilistically, using the frequencies it got from its analysis. Essentially, it repeatedly does the following: look at the last k-1 characters output, and consider all possible sequences of k characters that begin with those k-1 characters. Choose the next character randomly, according to how common each of the sequences of k characters is. Toss in a few special cases to deal with the beginning and end of the text, and you have an interesting random-text generator. If k is 1, then you get random sequences of letters, with letter frequencies the same as in the input text. If k is 2 or 3 you get things that look vaguely like words, which is probably what you want. When k gets up around 6, you get mostly real words (with some long non-words) thrown together in interesting, semi-comprehensible order. By the way, the program is long gone, so I can't give it to you. — Nowhither 17:38, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
Have a look for text generators based on Markov chains, which is presumably what Nowhither is talking about. You can also write one yourself easily, it's not too difficult. Dysprosia 01:40, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
The captcha generator for the Kareha image board script does something like this. It generates words like "infom" and "kumement" and "exege." You can see it in action here (be warned that some of the links at the top link to NSFW boards). However, if you don't know Perl, modifying the script for your own use won't be much fun. Garrett Albright 06:40, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Word for a sort of decoration[edit]

I want to know the word for a sort of decoration. It is worn on the head and passes over the top of the head. It is horseshoe-shaped. -Juuitchan

Tiara? Thryduulf 17:13, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
No. It is worn over the head in almost exactly the same way as headphones. It is also flat: it does not stick up like a tiara. A 199-cm-tall lady wearing one of these would not have to duck walking through a 200-cm high doorway.
Is it worn basically to keep the hair in place? It sounds like what I'd just call a headband -- usually made from plastic covered in material and/or decorations of some kind. The ends rest just behind the ears. --Zeborah 19:48, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
This sort of hair band is usually known as an alice band in British English, after the eponym of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland who was often depicted wearing one. Bovlb 20:23:16, 2005-08-31 (UTC)
this image [1] shows what is variously known as an alice band, hair band and head band. The only one of these names that exclusively relates to this item though is alice band. Thryduulf 20:26, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
That is exactly the item I was asking about. -J

aswell or as well[edit]

Which is correct? I have always used 'aswell' but recently someone changed an edit containing 'aswell' to 'as well'. Can someone clarify this? Thanks in advance. Forbsey 17:04, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

AFAIK "as well" is correct. I have never seen "aswell" used in any sort of English writing and to the best of my non-native knowledge, it is an incorrect spelling. JIP | Talk 17:12, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I've certainly never come accross aswell in British English, its always two words. I can't think of an occurence of it as a single word in American English, but I'm not going to categorically state it never happens there. Thryduulf 17:15, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
"Aswell," "alot," "ofcourse," "afterall," and "alright" all are abominations to mankind and are not to be used. Coincidentally, I posted a similar question to this in a Usenet group four and a half years ago. Garrett Albright 17:44, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Interesting. Thanks for that! Forbsey 18:05, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Well, Garrett, I think many people would disagree with you concerning "alright". It's listed in a number of reputable dictionaries (although some do call it "nonstandard" and a couple call it "slang"). See . Certainly, the rest are not standard English, though. — Nowhither 18:09, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

If I stumbled across "aswell" while reading, I would mentally pronounce it a-swell and wonder what it meant. Zoe 05:01, September 1, 2005 (UTC)

The grizzled old captain stumped up onto the rolling deck of the ship. "The waves are large this morning, are they not?" he said to the first mate, who was leaning against a bulkhead. "Aye, sir," replied the mate, "the sea is indeed aswell." ;-) — Nowhither 17:27, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
Heh. That sounds about right.  :) Zoe 19:00, September 1, 2005 (UTC)
Nah! Nowhither is kidding us. But aswell does appear in the OED as an obsolete spelling of "as well", with a quotation dated 1596. Shantavira 12:19, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

vocab question - Hip hop slang[edit]

There is a certain hip-hop phrase that sounds like this:

"word is vaughn" ? not sure of the spelling but that is what it sounds like.

Wanted to info on the meaning, actual spelling etc Please advise att: <email address removed>


Dan Bucciarelli <email address removed>

  • Hey, Dan. I don't think that it is a good idea to post your e-mail address here. This place is really public, open to the view of all sorts. Furthermore, any response that you get is going to be here. I cannot find that word in the urban dictionary. In what song(s) does the word feature? We could check the spelling thus. IINAG 17:24, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
  • The phrase is likely "word is bond".

Year ranges[edit]

Any thoughts on "He was president from 1969–1982"?

This rubs me the wrong way. I figure "He was president 1965–1982" is fine, and so is "He was president from 1965 to 1982". But the nonparallel construction of the first example is icky.

Nowhither 21:54, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

  • I agree with you that "He was president from 1969–1982" is non-parallel. But "He was president 1965-1982" is not a complete sentence in my books. I would go only with "He was president from 1965 to 1982". Ground Zero | t 21:58, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I think the general principle is that the en-dash date format is akin to an abbreviation, and most abbreviated constructions don't fit in regular prose. "He was president 1965–1982" doesn't look good for the same reason "Before he was pres., he was gov. of Mass." looks weird. sɪzlæk [ +t, +c, +m ] 07:54, September 1, 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree that in prose text the construction with the dash doesn't work well. However, I do think that "This activity took place during 1993-4" is an acceptable shorthand for "This activity took place during 1993 and 1994." In a table or bulleted list "President: 1965–1982" seems fine to me. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Ranges for more info on this. DES (talk) 14:37, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
    • I agree with you on that point. There are exceptions to every rule. sɪzlæk [ +t, +c, +m ] 01:38, September 2, 2005 (UTC)


You might find the Wikipedia article on the Spanish language and/or the Spanish Wikipedia useful. Other than that, please ask a specific question. Thryduulf 16:20, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

meaning of words[edit]

what is the meaning of following words?

- quintessential

- concomitantly

- whapping

  • Here's one site that searches multiple dictionaries simultaneously: Elf | Talk 22:04, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
    • Quintessential means to be the perfect example of something. For example, 'The Ferrari F393 is the quintessential sports car'.
    • Comcomitantly means to happen as a consequence. For example, 'I drank to much red wine - concomitantly, I feel sick'. The word 'consequentially' is more used nowadays.
      • Actually Comcomitantly means happening at the same time not as a consequence. The association with red wine is good as it was often used by to describe the blood and body of christ in the Catholic mass Comcomitant with the bread and wine i.e. they are all the same thing
    • 'Whapping' is either a mis-spelling of 'whopping', which means 'huge', or it's a portmanteau of clapping and whacking, and would mean something similar to the both of them. I suppose it could also be a mis-spelling of Wapping, which is a place in London. Proto t c 09:37, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Japanese Name Help[edit]

So let's see if I have this right. Ichiro means "first son," from "ichi" meaning 'one' and "ro" meaning 'son.' So would "seventh son" be Shichiro? Thanks. --Brasswatchman 04:53, September 2, 2005 (UTC)

I suppose, but I live in Japan and I've never heard of a "niro," "sanro" and so on… It would probably be an odd name. Garrett Albright 06:34, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Though you do occasionally get strange "logically numerical" names in English - I've worked with a woman called Tertia, who did indeed have two older sisters - so it's not that unprecedented. Shimgray 12:56, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Was her nickname Trey? --Juuitchan
Number names were very common in Ancient Rome -- Quintus, Sextus, Septimus, Octavius, etc. Zoe 20:37, September 2, 2005 (UTC)
According to one of the articles, it was common in Japan, too - see Japanese names#Customs. I thought that this name might be an interesting one to give an only child - which suggests a Western influence, stemming from the common belief in a seventh son being lucky or somehow magical. The only downside I can think up is that "Shichiro" is kind of long on the tongue. Thanks. --Brasswatchman 04:03, September 3, 2005 (UTC)
It's shorter than Brasswatchman ;-) Shimgray 11:47, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Heh. Fair enough. :) --Brasswatchman 02:56, September 4, 2005 (UTC)
You're largely correct, though "ro" doesn't really mean "son", it's just a name. Also, there's often another syllable at the beginning, for example "Shinichiro" for a first son. "ji" (meaning 'next') is used for a second son, e.g. "Bunjiro". Then the standard numbers are used, so a seventh son could indeed be named "Shichiro". --Auximines 21:07, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
Fantastic. Thank you all very much. --Brasswatchman 23:15, September 4, 2005 (UTC)
On second thought, just one more thing: how would "Shichiro" be pronounced? Shi-chi-ro? Or Sh-ichi-ro? Or something else that I'm not thinking of? Thanks. --Brasswatchman 23:16, September 4, 2005 (UTC)
Shi-chi-ro. "Sh" is not a valid syllable in Japanese (well…), and "ichi" is actually two: i-chi. And besides, "seven" in Japanese is correctly pronounced "shi-chi" (or "na-na," because the Japanese like to have at least two ways to pronounce just about everything, just to make things difficult for foreigners trying to learn the language). Garrett Albright 18:40, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
In normal speech the first vowel in shichi is reduced so that shichi ? is pronounced something like /??t?i/ or even /?t?i/. (I guess that similarly shichiro ?? is pronounced something like /?t?i?o:/ but I'm not sure.) Gdr 19:11:35, 2005-09-06 (UTC)
Fantastic. Thank you all very much for your help. --Brasswatchman 16:26, September 7, 2005 (UTC)
Careful - the term is not 'reduced'. The correct term would be devoiced. See Natsuko Tsujimura's 'The Handbook of Japanese Linguistics'. I took her class - she's wonderful! --coolsnak3


Moved from Wikipedia:Ask a question. Bovlb 08:49:06, 2005-09-02 (UTC)

What is the meaning of the word ARNOLD?

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 2005-09-01 22:08:30 PDT

  • It means 'strong as an eagle', and is German in origin. IINAG 09:27, 2 September UTC

Pronouncing Ich and Ach (German)[edit]

[x] and [ç] in IPA. Could anyone present some tips on pronouncing these? I am not sure if this is the best place to ask this; if it is not, please tell me. Mga 01:19, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

A while ago I asked this somewhere (I forget where) and I got this response: It's kind of hard to explain. There's a sound file of it at
, maybe you can get it to work for you (I can't get it to open, but maybe that's just me). Basically, you have your tongue in the same position as for the English "y" sound of yes, but it's voiceless. If you say the "hy" sound of a word like human (assuming you don't pronounced that "yuman") and raise your tongue just slightly so as to make the noise a little louder, you're making the voiceless palatal fricative a/k/a ich-Laut. That help? --Angr/t?k t? mi 23:53, 20 July 2005 (UTC) . --HappyCamper 01:40, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
In my experience, the pronunciation of the "ch" in "ich" varies significantly. The pronunciation as you describe it seems to be the most common, but I have also heard native speakers pronounce it similarly to the English "k". — Nowhither 03:32, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
For "ich-Laut" (IPA: [ç]), it helps if you start by pronouncing a "sh" sound (as in English "shirt", IPA [?]), then slowly move your tongue back and up. The ich-Laut is difficult for English speakers to pronounce at a native level because it is a palatal sound, and our only palatal is "y" ([j] in IPA), which is articulated in a completely different way. Don't worry if it sounds a little bit like [?]; as English speakers, we haven't learned to distinguish between [?] and [ç].
For "ach-Laut" (IPA [x]), start by pronouncing an "h" sound. Raise the back of your tongue, but not so high that it touches the roof of your mouth. (In that case, you'd get a [k] sound.) If you pronounce the sound continuously, it should sound a bit like a cat hissing. It helps if you don't think of it in terms of "k". The only reason borrowed German words contain [k] in place of [x]/[ç] is that [k] is the closest English sound in that articulatory position. sɪzlæk [ +t, +c, +m ] 06:09, September 3, 2005 (UTC)

I still cannot get it right, but I will keep trying. Thank you all. Mga 12:50, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Something approaching the [ç] sound can in fact be found in (British) English at the start of the words Hugh, huge, humorous etc. Dictionaries tend to give the pronunciation as [hj], but the initial voiceless [h] causes devoicing and the actual pronunciation is more like [] or [hçj]. [ç] is the voiceless equivalent of the voiced palatal fricative [?] which to English (or German) ears is pretty much the same as [j]. Try saying i-hugh and then dropping the "ugh" to be left with ich. Several German dialects use [?] rather than [ç] so you are unlikely to be misunderstood if you stray too close to the [?]
For [x], I'd start from [k] and lower my tongue a little rather than the reverse, but I guess that's a matter of what suits you best. Valiantis 15:09, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Names in the UK[edit]

I'm writing an article about an English fellow of the 17th century. He had the same name as his father; should I title the article William Hustler, Jr. or William Hustler II? --Merovingian (t) (c) 11:07, September 3, 2005 (UTC)

You should strongly avoid using titles like this unless the person themselves actually used them, in my understanding. To the best of my knowledge, neither style was at all common in England of the period - "Jr." certainly is an Americanism - and as such it'd be pretty silly to call them that. Please avoid it unless you know it was used. (If nothing else, even if it's intended as a disambiguation, it could easily be taken for the name...) Strictly speaking, though, suffix (name) may help explain the difference between the two.
I'd recommend using something like William Hustler (surgeon) or William Hustler (1832), changing disambiguator as appropriate - or even just William Hustler, since we don't have an article on the father either. Shimgray 11:46, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Alright, thank you very much. --Merovingian (t) (c) 12:10, September 3, 2005 (UTC)
In England we might use "the Younger" and "the Elder" (see e.g. William Pitt). Public (i.e. private!) schools sometimes used "Major" and "Minor". We never use "Junior" or "II", they're both Americanisms. --Auximines 21:11, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
"Never" is too strong. For example, the winner of the 2001 and 2002 British Hill Climb Championships was the Scottish driver Graeme Wight Jr (who spells his name like that, ie Jr rather than Jnr, jun etc, and without any punctuation). He is very rarely known as plain "Graeme Wight" because that name is used by his father, who competed alongside him for a while but does not call himself "Graeme Wight Sr". There's also W. G. Grace's son, who shared his name and is widely known as "W. G. Grace junior". Loganberry (Talk) 23:57, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes, it must be used sometimes in the U.K. because I see British publications have a distinctive abbreviation for it—Jnr—even in reference to Americans. In the U.S. and Canada it is alwas Jr, with or without a period. I have never seen jun and might not have recognized it without the above education. The advice to use only styles which the subject would have endorsed is the right answer, but more narrowly it should be said that Jr is used when one's name is identical to one's father's, II when the namesake is a more distant ancestor. Sharkford 00:44, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Arabic origin of fennec[edit]

Moved form Wikipedia:Translation into English:

Strictly speaking this is not a request for translation of an article, but I don't know where else to put this. In the fennec article the following appears: The name "fennec" apparently comes from the Arabic word for fox. Can an Arabic speaker verify this and expand or delete as appropriate? -EDM 16:02, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

I'm a native arabic, and i don't think i've ever heard the word "fennec" in my life. i'm deleting this section from the article.--Amr Hassan 12:09, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
It could be possible even if you're a native arabic. The arabic language is very complex, for example, did you know that there's more than 200 words that means "lion" in arabic? CG 12:28, September 3, 2005 (UTC)
According to], it comes from Arabic fanak, but it doesn't explain what fanak means. Zoe 19:05, September 3, 2005 (UTC)
According to an arabic dictionnary, ??? (fanak) means (This is an approximate translation):
An animal species from the Canidae family and the Carnivora order. Similar to a fox. He has large pointy ears, soft furr, agile legs. He wanders from sunrise to sunset. He feeds on birds, insects and reptiles. His habitat is the African continent and the Arabic peninsula. His furr in one of the best {Persian).
So "fennec" comes from the Arabic "fannak" which according to the last word comes from Persian.
Please add this conversation to Talk:Fennec and the information to the fennec article specifying the source. CG 20:32, September 3, 2005 (UTC)

al-Munjid fi al-lughah al-‘Arabiyah al-mu‘asirah. Beirut : Dar al-Mashriq. 2001. ISBN 2-7214-2228-6. 

Request for translation from Arabic[edit]

Originally at Wikipedia:Translation into English
Moved to Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language:

اكتشاف المزيد من ابر البترول

(Added July 25 by anonymous user, who also deleted the Catalan section.--Prosfilaes 01:09, 26 July 2005 (UTC))

A machine translator reads that as "The more discovery which sharpen the petroleum". I'm not sure if that's relevant or not. grendel|khan 13:48, July 28, 2005 (UTC)

It means "Discovery of more oil wells". By the way, I strongly recommend not to use machine translators, they are really inaccurate. One example is they missunderstood the Arabic word ابر which could be equally translated into "wells" or "needles" which could explain the word "sharpen" used. CG 11:52, September 3, 2005 (UTC)
he got "discovery" and "petroleum" right, didn't he? Of course MT will fail, but if you have no other options they can be really helpful. You have to do a lot of guesswork, of course. And with unvocalized Arabic, I'm surprised the translator did even as much as it did. dab () 17:33, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Does that mean that, in some culture, wells were traditionally thought of as wounds in the earth? If so, that's interesting. Question: Is this well/needle double meaning only applicable to the world used for oil wells? Or is this word used for water wells as well? And does it actually refer to the well, or is it more properly the drill that makes the hole in the ground? — Nowhither 21:04, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Oups, I think I made a mistake. The world إبر does mean "needles" and not "wells". The world "wells" is translated آبار. But in some dialects it could become very simiar to the first one. I think the mistake came from the sentence in arabic itself: it should be: اكتشاف المزيد من آبار البترول , unless the author wanted to use the world needle, and the sentence becomes: The discovery of more needles oil? Improbable, but still need to be verified by another arab-wikipedians. As for your analysis on the cultural relation between well and needle, I think it is unprobable, first, because there's really not a double well/needle. I showed that these two worlds have similarities in their plural form and not singular, and even their plural form are different. Second, the Arab people who used to live in desertic areas saw the wells which were a source of water as a blessing more than the wound in the earth. CG 09:49, September 5, 2005 (UTC)

Ah, another beautiful theory destroyed by ugly fact. :-) — Nowhither 19:44, 5 September 2005 (UTC)


Could you give me a meaning for Good Health in the Seneca language? My friend lives in Canandaigua, N.Y. and is starting a practice for holistic medication and living. Any ideas for a business name?

  • Go to Hol, What the Hol, variants thereof
  • Hol Body Health
  • Intercontinental Holistic Mission
  • An Apple a Canadaigua (okay, that's a stretch)
But seriously, sites like this and this give several good examples of why you really shouldn't use words in a foreign language as "decoration." Besides being disrespectful, it can be quite embarrassing if you get it wrong. Garrett Albright 17:14, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

In-law question[edit]

Sort of a follow up to Garrett Albright's question:

My mother calls her son-in-law her son, and her daughter-in-law her daughter. Instead of mother-in-law, they both call her mom. I call them my brother and sister. My mother calls them both her children.

I've always thought that pretty much everyone referred to their family like this, because that is how we talk in my family.

The reason I bring this up is because I was reading Garrett's question, and I was wondering why nobody suggested just calling your "children-in-law" your children.

Is this uncommon? --Scapegoat pariah 19:26, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

I doubt you'll find concrete stats on it, but I don't think "everyone" does it. I think there was an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" or some other popular sitcom dwelling on the discomfort a character feels when his mother-in-law demands he call her "Mom", rather than by first name (too informal for many, even in current North American culture) or Mrs. X (far too formal for many North Americans). To appear as a plot element suggests that it occurs but is not universally accepted. Now, are you also saying that she'd introduce her son-in-law to a third party as "my son"? And that you'd introduce him as "by brother"? That, I think, would be less common. And besides, she's going to have to explain why her daughter married her own brother...Sharkford 05:02, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
My mother would introduce my sister's husband as her son, if she were showing a friend a photo of him or something like that. I think she would only specify that he is her son-in-law if her friend looked confused when she mentioned her daughter. And I would do the same.

Now that I think about it, I call my friend's mother "Mom". Is that uncommon? I can't really call her by her first name (her children don't ever call her by her first name, so how can I?) so what is commonly done? Mrs. Friendsmomslastname? --Scapegoat pariah 06:56, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

It's not uncommon, if you're from India. Also, it's considered discourteous to call an elder person by name in India. -- Sundar \talk \contribs 05:13, September 6, 2005 (UTC)
Interesting. I actually did call some of my friends' parents by their first names, and my parents' friends, too. In the English-speaking U.S. and Canada I'd bet on finding this evenly split with Mrs. Friendsmomslastname. I am aware of folks calling their in-laws Mom and Dad in direct addresss, but not on reference, and (as Laura suggests below) I would personally not be comfy with it. As for "that's my daughter, and that's my son, at their wedding", I don't think I've heard of that. But there's lots I haven't heard of. Sharkford 03:32, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
I've never met someone who called friends' mothers "mom" in my experience (from big city in the South). All my friends use Mrs. X at first and then first names as they get to know them. The only exception is my Indian friends, who always call eachother's mothers Auntie. So it's all highly dependent on the culture, but where I came from Mom was off-limits for any but your mom. — Laura Scudder | Talk 17:36, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
Heh, personaly adress even my own parents by first name. In fact the only relatives I regularly adress by "title" are my grandmothers. But I'm a little odd that way, not sure why. My younger sister use mom and dad despite everyone else in the house adressing each other by name, and that's definently the norm. Spesifying in-laws are pretty much the norm too (although we one word "titles" for them. For example "svigermor" = mother-in-law, "svigerinne" = sister-in-law, "svoger" = brother-in-law etc.), we have terms for aunt/uncle-in-laws too, but they are rarely used and most commonly only refered to as simply aunt/uncle unless there is some need to spesify that someone is not blood related. --Sherool 23:56, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
In the UK, "auntie" and "uncle" are often used for long-standing close friends of the family, generally who've known the child since a very young age - not the parents of friends in particular, but it could be. This generally causes a little bit of awkwardness later on as the child figures out which ones to stop addressing as relatives. (The proper term for this, apparently, is fictive kinship. I've never known anyone who'd address a friend's mother as their own (or, at least, it never came up in conversation). Certainly I'd always do the "Mrs. X" then later first name thing, but this has pitfalls - I know at least one parent of a friend who I think I've permanently avoided addressing by name, because I didn't know her surname (she was divorced) and wasn't willing to use the first name without going through the little ritual! Shimgray 01:39, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
As Laura mentioned, that's the same system Indian Americans use to address friends of parents or unknown elders in general sometimes. I'd always wondered the origins of that, since no one else I know uses that in the US. I didn't know if it was from the British, or if the analogous terms in the Indian language such as Mamaji, Masiji, etc were in common use and the practice came from that. Back to the original question, I think it depends on the closeness of the family. I think some do and some don't refer to in laws as mom or son, etc. - Taxman Talk 16:28, September 6, 2005 (UTC)
It seems to be very individual among Americans. My mom-in-law referred to me as her daughter, but I always referred to her as my mother-in-law or by her first name. I believe that my parents refer to their sons-in-law as sons-in-law, not as sons. We grew up calling my mom's cousin "Aunt" because she was about the same age as our other aunt and it was less confusing at the time than trying to explain about second cousins or once-removed cousins... Some people I know do have their kids call very close friends "aunt" or "uncle"; my brother-in-law, however, who had 6 siblings, absolutely prohibited his kids (with my sister, who had 4 siblings) from calling their very good friends aunt and uncle because he thought they had plenty of "real" aunts and uncles already and didn't want to further confuse them. Elf | Talk 20:44, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
"Aunt" or "Uncle" for "complex relation but older" is fairly common; my grandmother's sisters were my aunts, and their children my uncles, despite technically being great-aunts or something-cousins. It's all the same to a kid, really - they're relatives, they're older than you, you act respectful and they send you birthday cards. :-) As far as the close-friends thing goes, I've been thinking; maybe four couples were given courtesy recognition as aunt/uncle, though I can't remember when I stopped using that to address them. More than half a dozen cases, ten or so people, is uncommon SFAIK. There's probably voluminous sociology texts written on just this subject... Shimgray 23:29, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Blue hair in Serbo-Croat?[edit]

I saw this paragraph in Wikipedia:

In Serbocroatian, the word "plav" (for males) or "plavusa" (for females) is used to describe blondes. This may be because blondes commonly have blue or green eyes. Therefore, blonde hair is "plava kosa" (lit. "blue hair"). A blonde female is sometimes referred to as a "plavokosa", or "bluehaired-one".

What if she actually does have blue hair?

In English, the word "black" is used to describe people with brown skin. I suspect the answer to your question is similar to the answer to the analogous question in English; if you need to refer to someone with really black, obsidian-black skin, you'd would say really black, or obsidian-black.--Prosfilaes 03:45, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
I presume there's a Serbocroatian word for "dyed". Sharkford 05:04, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Unicode troubles[edit]

Is there any program that can turn poorly rendered coding (from Japamese, Chinese, etc.) (i.e.: ƒA[ƒ€ƒXƒgƒƒ“ƒO) into the characters/letters they're supposed to represent? Tim Rhymeless (Er...let's shimmy) 06:46, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Is this an interwiki issue?--Pharos 07:28, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
No, more likely it's an issue with Rhymeless's web browser encoding settings. Some Japanese/Chinese/Korean/etc webmasters assume that their audience's web browsers will use Japanese/Chinese/Korean/etc character encoding settings by default, so they don't follow the good practice of defining it themselves. Tim, what web browser are you using, and what page are you trying to look at? Garrett Albright 08:39, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
This isn't actually a problem with *my* browser; my primary concern has to do with poorly-encoded files received from other people. I'd just like to get my mp3s tagged and filed correctly. Tim Rhymeless (Er...let's shimmy) 09:12, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
You can use recode, or iconv, or save the bytes to a file and try to open on vim, or save the bytes to a file, open on Mozilla Firefox, and use View>Character Encoding>Auto-Detect>Universal. I'm sure there are countless other ways to do it. --cesarb 16:15, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
What do you mean by saving the bytes to a file? -Tim Rhymeless (Er...let's shimmy) 03:29, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Saving the characters to a file without any further encoding (because if you use UTF-8 as your default encoding, like I do, each of these characters are represented by several bytes). One simple way to do it is to save using a single-byte encoding, like for instance ISO8859-1. --cesarb 15:59, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Russian textbooks[edit]

Can anybody recommend a good school-style textbook for learning Russian, hopefully appropriate to middle school/early high school? Tim Rhymeless (Er...let's shimmy) 06:47, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

There's a pretty straightforward set of introduction textbooks called ??????: When in Russia that would be appropriate for that level of expertise (it is used in colleges but it is really very basic and I doubt any different than what would be used in a high school). It is published by McGraw-Hill. If you search on or for "NACHALO" you should be able to find copies of it, new and used. It is good enough quality to be used at the University of California, Berkeley for undergraduate and graduate courses. --Fastfission 16:59, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Sandwich, Diesel, Spoonerism[edit]

how did sandwich, shrapnel, diesel, spoonerism and nicotine become apart of our language

Do the Sandwich, Shrapnel, Diesel, Spoonerism and Nicotine articles help? (More names that became words: [2]). David Sneek 08:30, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
They are not apart of our language. These are all still valid English words, not separated from the language at all. That being said, check out Wiktionary:sandwich, Wiktionary:diesel, and Wiktionary:spoonerism for etymologies of those words, and Nicotine#History and name for the etymology of "nicotine." Shrapnel has etymology in its first paragraph. Looks like these are all words named after people. Garrett Albright 08:36, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
I think he or she means "a part of our language"... David Sneek 09:04, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
And I think he or she played you for fools - this is obviously a homework assignment, and one that's really not that hard. - IMSoP 18:14, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
But it does allow me to mention a wonderful book Oh Thou Improper, Thou Uncommon Noun by Willard Espy which is simply full of such words and their histories. DES (talk) 18:42, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Word for this concept?[edit]

Is there a word for the concept of hearing of a parody or other derived work of some fictive story (book, movie, TV show etc.) before hearing of the story itself? JIP | Talk 14:29, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

  • In the case of most of the parodies I've seen on MadTV of shows I've never seen, I'd say "good luck" probably applies. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:45, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
  • I've never heard a word for that, but it seem to happen more and more. A related phenomenon: knowing a melody only as a sample in new song, but not knowing the original song. ike9898 17:05, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

If the phenomenon needs a name, I propose "Father William effect", since almost everyone encounters Lewis Carroll's parody "You are old, father William" in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland before they come across Robert Southey's original, "The Old Man's Comforts And How He Gained Them", if indeed they ever read the latter. Gdr 22:40:52, 2005-09-08 (UTC)

"Treibhireas Bunaiteachd" (Chivas Regal seal)[edit]

At the top of the seal that appears on a bottle of Chivas Regal whisky are the words "TREIBHIREAS BUNAITEACHD". Can anyone identify this language or translate the phrase? Also, what is the correct pronunciation of "Chivas"? (I've always pronounced it "shih-vahss" but suspect that's incorrect.) -- Avocado 01:25, September 5, 2005 (UTC)

  • Sounds like Gaelic. I don't know what it means. "Chivas" is probably pronounced "shih-vah" without the "s" sound at the end. JIP | Talk 05:02, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
    • It's Scottish Gaelic for "Honesty Constancy". Treibhireas is pronounced /'t??r?ev?r??s/ and bunaiteachd /'pun?t???xk/ with an unaspirated P (and yes, that final /k/ for the letter D is correct!). Longman's Pronunciation Dictionary gives /'??væs/ and /'?i?v?s/ as the possible pronunciations of Chivas. I don't know anything about the origin of this name, but even if it is French, names in French often don't follow the spelling rule that final S is silent (e.g. Saint-Saëns, where the final s is pronounced). --Angr/t?k t? mi 06:25, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
    • At least in California, Chivas is pronounced "SHEV-us". Zoe 22:11, September 5, 2005 (UTC)
  • It's 'she-vass'. Like 'She-Ra', but with a 'vass' instead of a 'ra'. Proto t c 09:59, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Actually it's 'shivas'; a short 'i' sound as in 'ship', and a schwar sound for the a as in the e in 'water'

Mass of etymological sources over time.[edit]

I wondered if there's any easy way to grasp the number of available English etymology resources (ie written works) available to those working on English dictionaries over time.

Obviously, now, they are too numerous to quantify, but there was clearly a point from which very few survived.

Is there any kind of database with figures from earlier times or (would almost be too good to be true) a graph?

Not quite the same thing, but even a chart showing the number of references used in the OED by year would be interesting to see.

I should add that this isn't an area of expertise of mine, so if it's a silly question then, well, it's because I'm silly. --bodnotbod 15:47, September 5, 2005 (UTC)

Basically, what you're asking for is the amount of written text in the English language recorded from any given year, listed over time? It's an interesting thought, and I'll see what I can find. The OED thing won't quite work, though, because they pick an earliest use and then a representative selection later on, so that'd be a surprisingly flat graph. Shimgray 23:22, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

there are sample corpora like the Helsinki corpus, designed to cover a stretch of time. Keeping track of all texts will become practically impossible from the 16th century or so. The Old English corpus is quite small, 30M or so, so it is easy to keep track of that. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is an excellent source for drawing graphs over time (although it is rather too small, of course, to allow safe conclusions). See here for an example where I drew graphs showing the rise of the English article and some pronouns in the ASC. dab () 11:01, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Another inane Spanish translation request[edit]

Yes, it's just what it sounds like. My Spanish textbook gives the definition of "listo/a" as "smart", but I distinctly remember hearing "listo" used in a Spanish TV program to mean "ready". It also comes up on to mean "ready". Is what I've heard before right, or is my textbook right, or both? Hermione1980 21:15, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Wouldn't "smart" be "elegante"? Zoe 22:15, September 5, 2005 (UTC)
I don't know. There again, FreeTranslation translates "elegante" to "elegant", but it's not infalliable. (I'm near the beginning of a college-level Beginning Spanish course, so I have no clue.) Hermione1980 22:27, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Easy: ser listo means "to be smart", while estar listo means "to be ready". Flag of Austria.svg ???????? ?–? 22:17, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Ah, okay. I don't understand why it has two radically different definitions, but it does, so I must live with it. Thanks! ::copies translations to Notepad for future reference:: Hermione1980 22:27, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Because of the significant grammatical difference between 'ser' and 'estar'. You probably need to read up on this soon. There are a lots of adjectives with a non-trivial difference in meaning when used with 'ser' or 'estar': try 'aburrido', 'interesado', 'negro', 'orgulloso', 'vivo', 'cansado', 'violento'... the list goes on... --Ngb ?!? 22:34, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

I'd always thought that ser listo had connotations of "clever", more than just plain smart, but I don't read a lot of Spanish either. Incidentally, that difference between ser and estar is probably important enough for an explicit explanation somewhere among our spanish language or spanish grammar articles. - Taxman Talk 16:17, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

  • It can be closer to clever or smart, depending on context, probably tending a little more toward clever, quick-minded. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:57, September 7, 2005 (UTC)

To be "clever" or "smart" is to be "in charge", or "ready" for anything. The meanings are not 'radically different' at all, it's all a question of being 'inherently' "ready" (ser), or 'occasionally' "ready" (estar). dab () 10:54, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Communication with or without -s[edit]

Can someone help me to explain when to use the word COMMUNICATION with or without an -s

In a company name is the proper word Communications or communication?

example: Jones Communication Ltd

Grateful for any help


John, the form with the s would be the most popular here. Communication is the transfer of information: either by language, waving flags, e-mail or so forth. The s simply marks the plural. If a company uses the plural in its name, it suggest that the company's business is numerous forms of communication (at least two). However, the singular, witout the s, does not necessarily imply that the company deals with only one form of communication. The singular noun can be understood to stand for all types of communication — a collective noun. Thus, less can be more: a 'communications' company may deal in a number of forms of communication, but a 'communication' company deals in communication. Clear as mud? Gareth Hughes 13:04, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Just to add that both forms are in use - neither is right or wrong, but an Internet search brings up six times more references to "Communications Ltd" than to "Communication Ltd". Shantavira 17:29, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
What makes it "right" or "wrong" for a company name is what the company calls itself. Unless you're trying to make up a new company name--in that case, yeah, you'll have to decide what it is that you're dealing with, as discussed above. Elf | Talk 20:32, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
In my opinion, communication connotes the abstract concept of sharing information, while communications connotes the study of communication, or the industry involved in communication. So if I were to name a business, I would name it XYZ Communications, not XYZ Communication. —Bkell 22:02, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Translation for "search" in Arabic and Greek[edit]

Can someone give me translations of the word "search" (as a noun) into Arabic and Greek and into any other language? -- Sundar \talk \contribs 14:15, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

Well, I can tell you that "to search" in Spanish is "buscar". Zoe 07:13, September 7, 2005 (UTC)
Spanish: búsqueda. German: Suche. Too lazy for more right now. ^^;; Flag of Austria.svg ???????? ?–? 09:16, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Arabic: ???‎‎ — ba?th. Greek: ??e??a: erevna. Gareth Hughes 10:28, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Advice: go to the Wikipedias in other languages and record their term for the 'search' button. — mark 10:42, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
see also [3]. ([4] verb). dab () 10:49, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
That won't always get you the noun, though. At Irish Wikipedia the search button says "Cuardaigh", which is a singular imperative verb form. Also, some of the smaller foreign Wikipedias are designed by people whose command of the language in question is not always impeccable, so you can't be sure that what they use is really accurate. --Angr/t?k t? mi 10:59, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks everyone. -- Sundar \talk \contribs 04:37, September 8, 2005 (UTC)

Letter ayn in Arabic[edit]

Does an IPA symbol exists for the letter ;ع (ayn) called "laryngeal voiced fricative". I searched but it seems like not, maybe because this sound isn't used in any Indo-european language. CG 11:50, September 7, 2005 (UTC)

The IPA symbol ? is used for the voiced pharyngeal fricative (Arabic ayn). --Angr/t?k t? mi 11:54, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
No really? I've saw it but I though it was an exclamation mark showing that there was no symbol. lol. CG 20:07, September 7, 2005 (UTC)

I would like also to know if it's only used in Arabic? CG 20:09, September 7, 2005 (UTC)

The exclamation point (!) is a different phonetic symbol. ? isn't used only in Arabic, but Arabic is certainly the most widely spoken language that has it. Biblical Hebrew had it (I think some Mizrahi and Sephardi dialects still do), and some Northeast Caucasian languages have it, for example. --Angr/t?k t? mi 20:41, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Thabk you for the info. But I meant interrogation point not excalamation. CG 08:59, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
  • Let me enlighten thee. I was born in Iran, and attended school there for five years. Also, my former name began with ;ع.  ;ع exists in both Farsi and Arabic. (Farsi and Arabic use the same alphabet and sounds, except that Farsi has four more letter.) My name was Ali. Ali begins with ;ع I haven't spoke Farsi for more than six years, but I remember this stuff. The sound of ;ع is close to \a\ as in the first syllable of Ali and master. However, there is one problem because \a\ is a two-step sound. First, you open your mouth wide and then you end it in a schwa \?\.  ;ع does not have this schwa. If you speak Arabic or Farsi, you know that ther is another letter that look like l with the same sound as ;ع, or rather the converse since ;ع has the sound of l.


Farthest v furthest[edit]

Four men are in a line:


Is man D farthest or furthest from A? Alternately, is this just a toss-up? Both are superlatives of far but I'm not seeing much on their respective connotations — Lomn | Talk / RfC 20:46, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Originally (wayyyy back) they had the same origins, but FARther/est has come to be associated with distances and further/est with increases in any other kind of dimension ("he was further confused by the answers to his question"). Elf | Talk 20:52, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks! — Lomn | Talk / RfC 21:16, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

I think there may be American and British English differences going on here too; I have been told by Brits that British English speakers would almost never use the words farther/farthest, only further/furthest. --Angr/t?k t? mi 21:26, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

I confirm that in British English, farthest in particular looks very odd and I would have assumed it was a miss-spelling of furthest had I not read it here. --Nantonos 21:46, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
  • D is farthest from A becase of the distance. Furthermore, the distinction of farthest and furthest is not a toss-up. Further is used to specify degree; hence, we shall not discuss this matter further.


The Island of Chuuk[edit]

I had recently looked up on the Island of Guam and I was very shocked to see under unofficial languages listed Chuukese as a language used so that if a homeless person talks to you you could pretend not to understand english. Yet you have a whole page on the Island of Chuuk. If you would like to know more about the Island I would suggest you talk to Mr. Sachuo at the University of Guam. I am sorry I dont know his first name but I do know him as a respected Chuukese educator at the University of Guam. If you can not contact him I would also suggest Mr. Robert Balajadia at the Guam Community College. When I was in high school he was my Chamorro Studies teacher and I am pretty sure he can guide you in the right direction.

Someone must have cleaned that up because I see there are a lot of recent edits in that area and I no longer see the material that you're talking about. Elf | Talk 00:22, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Etiquette and Manners[edit]

In traditional Iranian culture, it is a custom to once or twice refuse to take something if asked to do so on an occasion to show politeness. For example, if I go to a relative's house and the host asks me to take an apple or orange off the table to eat, then it is polite for me to first say no but say okay when asked to take the fruit the second or third time.

Is there an English word to describe the behavior of wanting to take something but not doing so at first out of politeness?


I don't think there's exactly a word for it, but you could perhaps say it is an act of modesty. Or, for an outsider to follow this behavior, it would be an act of polite deference to the foreign culture; like how I had to get used to taking off my shoes when entering other people's apartments in Japan. Garrett Albright 04:16, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
  • You don't take your shoes off normally when entering apartments or houses? Curious. That would make for rather dirty floors with bad weather, wouldn't it? ;) Flag of Austria.svg ???????? ?–? 07:18, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
    • That's what welcome mats are for. --Angr/t?k t? mi 07:37, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
See also the Come to Dinner game. Bovlb 05:32:27, 2005-09-08 (UTC)
    • Also in Finland, people take off their shoes when entering private apartments, regardless of whether the apartment is their own or not. When entering public buildings such as schools, offices or shops, people keep their shoes on. I seem to remember Finland and Japan are the only countries in the world where people don't wear shoes at home. JIP | Talk 09:09, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
      • That's too much of a generalisation ;) Most people here in India, at least the hotter parts of South India do not wear shoes/chappels in homes, temples and sometimes in schools. -- Sundar \talk \contribs 09:13, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
      • OK, so that makes Finland the only non-Asian country where people don't wear shoes at home. JIP | Talk 09:18, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
      • Ya. :-) -- Sundar \talk \contribs 09:25, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
    • I find the mere thought of routinely wearing shoes at your or someone else's private home strange. Doesn't the floor get dirty? Don't your feet get cramped? When you first get out of bed in the morning, and get dressed, do you immediately put your shoes on, and only take them off when going to bed at night? Or do you wear shoes in bed too? JIP | Talk 09:32, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
      • That all depends on the climate. In places I've lived (Texas, Southern California, Colorado) you would take off your shoes only if the weather outside was particularly wet. For most of the year it's warm and dry, so you only track a little dust in with you, which easily sweeps off the mostly non-carpeted floors. I know in places like Michigan, floors are more often carpeted for warmth, and shoes come off more often because there's more slush and mud and carpet to dirty. — Laura Scudder | Talk 19:49, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
    • Here in Germany, many people don't wear shoes at home, but it's far from universal. Some people ask you to take your shoes off when you visit; most people don't. Even after eight years here (I'm originally from the U.S.) I'm still surprised when people ask if they ought to take their shoes off when they visit me. I always say they can if they want to but they can leave their shoes on if they want to, too. --Angr/t?k t? mi 09:42, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
    • Here in Austria, I'd have said it's almost universal you don't wear shoes at home yourself. When visiting someone else, it's usual for the guest to ask whether they should take their shoes off, and for the host to reply that they needn't. Many people still take them off, just because it's more comfortable that way. ::shrugs:: I definitely wouldn't agree with JIP's generalization, though; I've been to Spain, Sweden, and the UK a number of times, and my host families there did (of course ;)) take off their shoes at home. Flag of Austria.svg ???????? ?–? 12:33, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
      • When I was seven, my family lived in Vienna for a few months and I went to an Austrian school. There we had to take our shoes off and wear slippers in the building. I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever heard of. (And going to school on Saturdays completely scandalized me!) --Angr/t?k t? mi 18:14, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
    • In the U.S., it mostly holds true that people include donning shoes as part of getting dressed. And, once dressed, they usually stay dressed. So, when I wake up in the morning, if I just hang out in my bathrobe, I might wear slippers if it's cold but go barefoot otherwise, but when I get dressed for the day, my shoes go on and stay on (unless they're horribly uncomfortable, in which case they'll probably come off as soon as I get home). Do floors get dirty? Well, as mentioned, most homes have mats outside the door for wiping one's feet and many have another inside the door. If shoes are oozing mud or water, yes, people will probably take them off inside the door. This varies from household to household, although the only places I recall encountering specific directives to remove shoes when you come inside are people with white carpets (or valuable ones, such as collectible persian-style), Asian homes, and some first-generation European homes. Elf | Talk 17:40, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
      • Curious. In Canada, shoes come off pretty much universally, although on floors instead of carpet they might be left on if you are just rushing in and out again and it is summer and dry. In the winter it would be very dirty and wet, and your feet would get awfully warm awfully quickly. I've always figured that the northern U.S. works similarly. I can't tell what part of the U.S. you're from, but I have a hunch it is a place that doesn't get a lot of snow, maybe? — mendel 18:08, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
        • Have lived in upstate New York, Colorado, and California.:-) In the winter in snow, many people wore boots or various shoe protectors, which did come off when you came inside, just like your coat and hat did. Sure, I'd always take of my shoes if I was likely to track icky wet crud into the house, and I think most people would. But otherwise, shoes pretty much stay on. Elf | Talk 19:00, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
          • Also here in Florida -- at least in my social circles -- sandals are popular, and it's pretty common for those to be taken off in the house. Especially when I lived on the beach and they would often be covered in sand. (Personally, I never wear shoes in my house unless I'm planning to go out soon.) Mindspillage (spill yours?) 18:30, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

I heard once that this same custom used to hold in some continental European countries. The problem was, when exchange students would go to the U.S. and stay with host families, they would politely refuse the first time they were offered something. But Americans take such a refusal at face value, and don't offer again, so the poor kids would go to bed half-starved. --Angr/t?k t? mi 06:15, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

This kind of false refusal for politeness' sake happens in Indian culture too. -- Sundar \talk \contribs 08:05, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
I know of many people of Scandanavian descent in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area who practice false refusals, so it is not unheard of here. In general Americans consider it polite to offer more food than the guest can eat, so that they have to leave leftovers on the plate; whereas in many parts of Europe it's impolite for the guest to not clean the plate. So I would suspect that some students starved while others gorged depending on the combination of customs. — Laura Scudder | Talk 19:49, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
As many know, these back-and-forths for the sake of politness also occur with tremendous frequency in Chinese culture. At formal occasions, much more food is provided (e.g. on the table available to be eaten) than can be eaten, and it is a shameful thing for the host if all the food provided actually is consuming, implying that there was "not enough." In normal occasions, guest will be offered to take something many times, and it would not be polite to consistently and enthusiastically take the food offered the first time, every time. Therefore the same effect occurs in the West/US as with the European students mentioned by Angr above. Also, sometimes hosts will personally add food to guests' bowls (functionally equivalent to a plate in the West) so they can be assured the guest will take it. Personally adding food to a personal's bowl can be a sign of affection, kindness, or respect. Obviously, for Westerners in situations when people choose their own portions, or when eating Chinese-style, to have food be "forced" onto your plate would be a bit uncomfortable, but in Chinese culture it is necessary because of the possibility of refusals. --Dpr 03:08, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

In many parts of the United States, there is a small entryway called a mud room. It may have benches, but will certainly have hooks and possibly racks, where coats, jackets, umbrellas and muddy shoes or boots are removed and stored prior to entering the main part of the house. Zoe 21:47, September 8, 2005 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Kegon[edit]

What is the proper pronunciation of the name of the Japanese Buddhist sect Kegon? Thanks, anon.

華厳 is pronounced like [kegõɴ], or in some dialects, [keŋõɴ]. Note that the terminal [ɴ] causes the preceding [o] vowel to be nasalised. See Japanese phonology for details. Gdr 22:17:26, 2005-09-08 (UTC)

About Cockney?[edit]

I would like to ask wheter cockney is a dialect or a slang?

It is a dialect which has its own slang. The two terms are not exclusive. Garrett Albright 05:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
As I understand it, it's a dialect (which incorporates slang - Cockney rhyming slang) and an accent, too. splintax (talk) 15:42, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

treibhireas bunaiteachd[edit]

This is the seal of Chivas Regal scotch whisky. What does it mean? Regards Donald Sinclair

We've actually already answered that question on this page! It's Scottish Gaelic for "Honesty Constancy". Treibhireas is pronounced /ˈtʃʰrʲevərʲəs/ and bunaiteachd /ˈpunətʃʰəxk/ with an unaspirated P (and yes, that final /k/ for the letter D is correct!). --Angr/tɔk tə mi 05:57, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

short German to English translation needeed[edit]

I´m looking for a kind person to translate the few German sentences in article Anuschka Tischer. The sentences are in italic and are titles of Tischer´s works. Cheers. Doidimais Brasil 04:13, September 9, 2005 (UTC)

Done (though I'm not at all sure this person is notable enough for an encyclopedia article). --Angr/tɔk tə mi 06:06, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Is this Farsi correct?[edit]

The above sentences was found in a New Zealand "How to vote" leaflet. Is it supposed to have so many "a" in it? Thanks. 05:00, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

  • I haven't written or read anything in Farsi for ten years, but I recognize some of the words, and it looks correct to me.


I don't know any Farsi at all, but I'm pretty sure there aren't supposed to be Latin letters like "a" stuck in the middle of words otherwise written in the Arabic alphabet. Try posting the question at Talk:Persian language as well as here. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 06:04, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

"Cædmon" etymology from proto-Welsh[edit]

If anyone has a clue about this, see Talk:Cædmon regarding an undefined ("private use area") Unicode character. Also asking at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Humanities. -- Curps 15:23, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

The transcription of Welsh from any period will only require those characters properly defined by Unicode. There will be absolutely no need to use this character (). The supplemenatary private use area does not have any universally assigned characters, so its use is not appropriate on Wikipedia. Gareth Hughes 17:07, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I've taken care of it. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 19:25, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

question for the "slang" reference expert[edit]

Hi, just read you excellent synopsis on HIP HOP MUSIC and it did answer many questions we had about slang and origns BUT we still have one questions: What does rgt mean, as in, "My favorite rgt right now are the Cornerstone mix CDs."

I don't know, but I'll make some guesses:
  • There is a company called "RGT Music" ( ). Perhaps their works were what was referred to.
  • Some people use "RGT" to mean "Reggae Torrent".
  • It could be a typo, which should have said, "... favorite right now ....".
By the way, there is nothing wrong with asking your question here, but you might get better answers at Talk:Slang used in Hip-Hop Music. Also, please sign and date your posts on discussion pages (like this one). Uses four tildes in a row: "~~~~". — Nowhither 17:21, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Professional Designation Order[edit]

What is the correct order for professional designations, political designations and academic designations? Which one comes first? Thanks, Jana

Hallo, Jana! Have a look at style (manner of address). It doesn't answer your question, but might be the place to start researching through the many Wikipedia articles which are linked from that article. The only combination I know about is Rev Dr or Revd Dr — the Rev(d) always goes first. Gareth Hughes 18:03, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I happen to know that its always 'General Sir not Sir General. I think Sir generally comes last, e.g. His Excellency Sir... and The Hon. Sir. Thryduulf 22:01, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Also: Admiral Lord Nelson not Lord Admiral Nelson. ("Lord Admiral" might get confused with Lord High Admiral, which is an office rather than a title, and in the UK is now vested in the Queen.) Another example: Rt. Hon. General Sir George Hewitt, KCB. Loganberry (Talk) 23:27, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks - what I am really looking for is someone who would be say, a lawyer who is also a member of government. What would the proper order be - John Smith, MLA Q.C. or John Smith, Q.C. MLA? Jana

In that case it would be John Smith MLA QC. The order is determined by the Order of Precedence that is issued (in Australia) by the Governor-General's office, Canberra. JackofOz 06:26, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

"Zion in Hebrew"[edit]


I can't seem to find my son's name "Zion", written in hebrew and arabic on the internet. Can anyone please show me or tell me where I can find it? Thanks for any help you can give me.

Sincerely, Zion's mommy

In Hebrew, that would be ציון, pronounced /tsiˈjon/ in Standard Israeli Hebrew. For Arabic, I'm not sure (since it's a Hebrew word, not an Arabic one), but my best guess is صيون --Angr/tɔk tə mi 21:08, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
In Arabic, it's صهيون (S.uhyûn), following the Aramaic. - Mustafaa 13:21, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Anglified Japanese to pictogams[edit]

In the article Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea I added mention of the Japanese title of the show, wich is aparently "Acirckadia Monogatari" (acording to a comment posted on the Internet Movie Database entry on the show), what I was wondering is if anyone could "translate" that anglified (or whatever the term is) title into proper Japanese pictograms? --Sherool 00:55, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

  • "Acirckadia" is not possible in the Japanese syllabary. Possibly "Acirokadia" or "Acirakadia"? -- Jmabel | Talk 04:40, September 10, 2005 (UTC)
    • I'm assuming "Acirckadia" was a mistake for "&Acirc;kadia", i.e. "Âkadia". The circumflex is often used to denote long vowels in romanization of Japanese; Âkadia is just the "japanization" of Arkadia (the place mentioned in the show). As a foreign word, it wouldn't be written in kanji ("pictograms") in Japanese, it would be written in the katakana syllabary, thus: アーカディア. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 06:54, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
      • According to this IMDB entry, it should be "Arkadia". So "アルカディア物語" would correspond to that. However, googling seems to show that the full title is おにぎり・アルカディア物語 (ONIGIRI ARCADIA MONOGATARI) but unfortunately I can't read Japanese, so you'd have to confirm that. -- Curps 07:36, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
"おにぎり?” Onigiri? Garrett Albright 15:45, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
Hmm, yeah rice ball? Seems an odd word to put in the title... --Sherool 16:05, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Japanese is not written in pictograms, but in a combination of logograms and letters. See Japanese writing system for details. Gdr 11:38:56, 2005-09-10 (UTC)

Thanks for all the info :) --Sherool 15:52, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Capitalization of terms based on names[edit]

If a word is based on a person's name (eg Marxist, Darwinian, Satanic), does the new word get capitalized? Andjam 16:18, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Normally, yes. This is how any dictionary will show them. But there are a few words that become so familiar that people forget they are based on a name. Biro and hoover (at least the UK) spring to mind. Shantavira 17:08, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Names in the International System of Units are an exception; thus newtons after Isaac Newton, pascals after Blaise Pascal, etc. Gdr 18:39:34, 2005-09-10 (UTC)

And then there are cases like "mesmerize" and "pasteurize" which are not capitalized. User:Zoe|(talk) 04:57, September 12, 2005 (UTC)

Hot as floogins[edit]

I have heard the expression all my life of "hot as floogins." It is used widely in Louisville, Kentucky, the birthplace of my mother. My father used it also and he was raised in Richmond, Virginia. I have spent quite some time searching for the origin, as well as the correct spelling, of the word. Can you help me in this? 19:17, 10 September 2005 (UTC) K. Mize, Houston, Texas

No I can't really help, but I did some searching, and I found a number of uses of "cold as floogins". I would guess that "floogins" is a highly nonstandard word, and so the spelling is whatever you say it is. — Nowhither 06:21, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

latin translation[edit]


i wonder if anyone can help me find the latin or idealy ancient latin translation for the name tracey?

The name Tracey is a spelling variant of Tracy, which originated as a French last name derived from either of the towns Tracy-Bocage or Tracy-sur-Mer. These towns apparently get their name from the Latin name Thracius meaning "Thracian", so I suppose you could use Thracius as the Latin equivalent of the boy's name Tracy and Thracia as the Latin equivalent of the girl's name Trac(e)y/Traci(e) etc. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 01:07, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

"It was built"[edit]

How do you say "The house was built by A as a gift to B" in English, when the intended meaning is that A didn't actually put the bricks and mortar in place himself, but instead paid a bunch of people to do so? JIP | Talk 06:11, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

In my experience, sentences like that are usually written with the intent of communicating the meaning you mentioned above. But they are a little ambigious, I suppose. If you want to be absolutely clear, you could say, "A had the house built as a gift for B". — Nowhither 06:19, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
I'd say "A had a house built for B" or just "A built a house for B". The second one sounds more natural, assuming of course that A isn't a builder or something where the chances are quite high that he really did put the bricks and mortar, as you put it, in place for B himself.

Similarly when I say "My company mandates formal dress code Monday to Thursday", would it by any chance mean I own the company, while what I intend to say is that I work for the company. Jay 11:59, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Don't think so. Possessives are odd. Consider: my dog, my foot, my bus, my mother, my company, my house. In each of these, "my" can have a slightly different meaning. — Nowhither 12:17, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
"I have a body like Cindy Crawford's. It's in the trunk of my car." =) JIP | Talk 14:12, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
 :-D — Nowhither 17:45, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Pronunciation of the word "garage" (British)[edit]

What is the correct British pronunciation of the word "garage"? I'm not sure if it's "ga - rahj" or "ga - ridge" or what it is. Thank you,

-- 11:14, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Try this link [5] you will get the play back as well : JA

(At least) two pronunciations are common in England: [gæˈɹɑːʒ] and [ˈgæɹidʒ], which have reduced forms [gəˈɹɑːʒ] and [ˈgæɹədʒ] respectively. The former is typically used by speakers of Received Pronunciation, the latter by speakers with other accents. Gdr 11:42:55, 2005-09-12 (UTC)
Yes, though what isn't very common is what we Brits tend to see as the American practice of stressing the second syllable; I've only heard that rarely in the UK. Loganberry (Talk) 11:49, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
(In the UK) the second syllable is stressed when the word is used as a verb, instead of the more usual noun. There are quite a lot of words that employ this device in speech, e.g. contrast, refuse, discount, subject, record... Shantavira 13:53, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
"To garage a car" is pretty unusual in my experience; we'd say "to put the car in the garage" or some such. And on the few occasions I have heard it used, it's still been with the same stresses as the noun; maybe it's just too rarely used as a verb here to have a standard pronunciation. Loganberry (Talk) 15:05, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
I recall reading a novel from the 1930s, in which the differing pronunciations of this word in particular were a significant indication of social class. I can't say if this was accurate for the 1930s, much less for the UK today, but other things I have heard and read make it seem reasonable. BTW the novel wss Busman's Honeymoon by Sayers. DES (talk) 14:19, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
In my experience the second syllable is always stressed when pronouncing garage with a "French" /ʒ/ (noun or verb). However, I'd suggest that one also finds [ˈgæɹɑːdʒ] (i.e. stress on the first syllable, "long" a and ending in the sound normally ascribed to j) and that this is more common nowadays than [gæˈɹɑːʒ] among RP speakers. The use of the "French" pronunciation would, IMO, be old-fashioned or determinedly U. I'd suggest also that [ˈgæɹidʒ] (shouldn't that be [ˈgæɹɪdʒ]?) is probably becoming increasingly more widespread. In my experience, the stress does not shift to the second syllable when garage is used as a verb (whether pronounced [ˈgæɹɑːdʒ] or [ˈgæɹɪdʒ]), so this is clearly not cut and dried. (I think people tend to say park/put the car in the garage to avoid having to decide on the pronunciation of garage as a verb!) Valiantis 17:48, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
In the U.S., FWIW, the French pronunciation is pretty much universal (give or take that ɑːdʒ vs. ɑːʒ: the latter is not in everyone's phonemic vocabulary), and the verb is pretty universally understood, but not commonly used. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:07, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Logographic writing systems[edit]

Does there exist any language in the world that is currently in use today besides the Chinese language (as well as the ones that derive from it such as hanja kanji etc.) that uses a logographic writing system (each symbol represents a morpheme). I know that there were logographic languages in the past (Aztec, Maya etc.) but they all went extinct. Is there any logographic system besides the chinese one that made it to the present day? --Quantum bird 01:20, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

See Logogram and List_of_writing_systems#Logographic_writing_systems. Yi script would seem to be such a system not derived from Chinese. Please post questions at the bottom of the page in future.-gadfium 03:26, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
The old Yi script is no longer in active use, and in modern Chinese the one character = one morpheme relationship is not so strong either. A lot of Chinese characters are used solely for their phonetic value. So, arguably, the answer is none including Chinese. However, you might cast a gander at Blissymbolics. --Diderot 15:24, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Why have most logographic writing systems become extinct? Is is because it is not as effecient as alphabetic and other sysyems? If this, is the case why is the chinese the exception (over a billion people use it, more so than english?) --Quantum bird 20:50, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

You've asked a doctoral thesis of a question. The short answer is yes, logographic systems are awkward and difficult to manipulate, and the transition path from logographic schemes to relatively phonetic ones is well marked and has been rediscovered and repeated all over the world by totally unrelated peoples. Why did no one in China discover these principles? They did, many times. Take a look at Fanqie, the principle used for indicating pronunciation in Chinese dictionaries before Zhuyin. Chinese philologists knew of phonetic and phonological writing schemes, probably as much as 2000 years ago. But they never adopted them.
Okay, now, here's the POV part: There are two reasons for this:
  1. China viewed itself as a world encompassing empire, and therefore adopting a phonological writing scheme meant emphasising certain parts of the empire over others. This problem was especially acute under the Qing dynasty, since the Qing themselves were not Chinese and did not have a domestic power base. The Chinese leadership imagined itself to possess the perfect interlingua - a written language which they falsely thought to exist apart from any particular form of speech. To some extent, this myth persists even today, even in nominally communist China. It is totally false and always has been. Still, it is a potent myth about Chinese that has not lost its power for all that it is false.
  2. China was, and in many ways still is, a highly technocratic society. The structure of written Chinese poses a real barrier to the development of mass literacy, because it takes years and years of education even to develop the most basic literacy in Chinese. Many well educated Chinese prefer to write in English, because it's easier to write in a foreign language than in the uniquely awkward writing system associated with their native language. Because it is so hard to master reading and writing, the rule of the technocratic class goes unchallenged. China is far too economically complicated a society to allow illiterates to rule, and it has been that way for centuries if not millennia. China's uniquely complex writing system reinforces the rule of the few who have mastered it; the writing system cannot be reformed without the consent of the technocratic class; ergo, Chinese logographic writing persists. Mao was the last man to actually have the means and the motivation to change the Chinese written language, and his efforts were stymied by the technocratic class that even he, radical peasants-and-workers communist that he was, depended on to rule the nation.
--Diderot 16:23, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

[d]/[D]/[z] and [l]/[r][edit]

Does there exist a language which distinguishes all three of "d", "dh" and "z" from each other, yet does not distinguish "l" and "r"? Or do all languages which distinguish "d", "dh", and "z" also distinguish "l" and "r"?

What's the "dh" in your transcription? Can you give the IPA symbol? — mark 12:57, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
depending on what you mean by 'dh', Proto-Indo-Iranian may have been such a language. dab () 13:05, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Given the [D] in the heading I assumed "dh" was meant to stand for ð in this question. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 13:49, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
I assumed the same as Angr, having seen renderings of Icelandic place names such as "Siglufjörður" as "Siglufjodhur". Also since "t" is the unvoiced alveolar plosive and "d" the voiced alveolar plosive, "th" being the unvoiced dental fricative would lead to "dh" being the voiced dental fricative, ð in IPA. The question that the OP seems to be asking is (and I use IPA here)

Are there any languages that differentiate

  • d - voiced alveolar plosive
  • ð - voiced dental fricative
  • z - voiced alveolar fricative

but do not differentiate

  • l - alveolar lateral approximant
  • ɹ - alveolar approximant

I presume any language that fulfils the last two (l and ɹ are not differentiated) would use the Alveolar lateral flap.. I'm not a linguist though. splintax (talk) 16:07, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

What I *really* meant was: are there any languages which have a thorn/edh sound which is a phoneme in its own right (rather than as an allophone of something else), and yet do not distinguish "l" and "r" (as Japanese does not distinguish them)? I think that this sort of sound system would sound quite exotic and charming.
Burmese has phonemic /θ/ but does not usually distinguish "l" and "r" ("r" does not exist except in some loanwords). "ð" on the other hand is very rare as a distinct phoneme in Burmese, but fairly common as an allophone of /θ/. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 12:51, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

The influence of the USA on New Zealand English[edit]

Please answer the following: 1) To what extent has the USA influenced the owrds Kiwis use, through music? 2) What patterns can be seen in the United States influence on New Zealanders speaking English? 3) What words, terms and phrases are directly derived from the USA, that we use in NZ English? 4) To what extent does the USA influence the particular way that subcultures in NZ speak?


Your time is most appreciated.


You may want to start by reading NZ English and US English. splintax (talk) 16:10, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

languages in cigarettes[edit]

I found some new foreign language cigarette packet warning signs to add to my collection, 2 of which I wasn't sure of the language: The 2 are:

1. Smēķēšana nogalina/ Smēķēšana var izraisīt lēnu un mokošu nāvi (I'm guessing at Czech/Slovak/Slovenian, not quite Polish)

2. Το κάπνισμα κατά τη διάρκεια τηξ εχκυμοσύνηξ.../Tütün içmek öldürür (both on the same packet)(Educated guess says Greek and Turkish , so I'm guessing they came from somewhere like Cyprus). Cheers to Angr in advance, who seems to be answering every question on here at present :) --Wonderfool t(c) 11:15, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

I would agree with Cyprus for (2), but am inclined to suggest Latvian or Lithuanian for (1) — the hooked k represents palatalisation in these langages. Gareth Hughes 11:47, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
(1) must be Latvian because Lithuanian doesn't use the letters ē, ķ, ī, and ā. You're both right about (2). --Angr/tɔk tə mi 12:05, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
Just enter "Smēķēšana var izraisīt lēnu un mokošu nāvi" into Google search and note all the .lv websites. That should answer your question. -- Curps 22:10, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Speaking of which, I found an inconsitency in Finnish cigarette warning signs. As you know, Finland is bilingual, with 94% of people speaking Finnish and 6% speaking Swedish. Well, Finnish cigarette warning signs say:

  • Älä pakota lapsia hengittämään savua in Finnish: "Don't force children to inhale smoke"
  • Låt inte barn andas rök in Swedish: "Don't let children inhale smoke"

This means Swedish-speaking people are stricter than Finnish-speaking people. Finnish-speaking children can inhale smoke out of their own free will. Swedish-speaking children can't. =) JIP | Talk 19:38, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Its like this time I was travelling Eastern Europe with a friend, and we had 6 foreign languages (en, es, fr, de, ru, it) between us. The signs in the train were in 10 or so languages, and of the languages we understood, the translations were all slightly different: Some said "Don't stick your head out of the window", other "It is completely forbidden to stick your head out the window", "We don't recommend sticking your head out of the window", "Keep head inside the carriage always". Like that the sign-writers took into account the culture of all the countries, and figured out how best to instruct them to not do something. I think it was Russian that had the strictest warning! --Wonderfool t(c) 10:59, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Another UK-US English difference[edit]

A quick question

"I wrote my mother" - US English
"I wrote to my mother" - UK english

The US version looks wrong in the UK, as we still keep the preposition (in much the same way that both the UK and US would say "I spoke to my mother" rather than "I spoke my mother"). But does the UK version look wrong to a US eye, and if so how? Shimgray 11:49, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

I think both are equally acceptable in US English. Do you not use prepositionless indirect objects at all in British English? Can you say "I wrote my mother a letter"? Can you say "I gave John a book"? --Angr/tɔk tə mi 12:14, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
We would say "I wrote my mother a letter", but not, say, "I wrote my mother that I needed more money". Wrote seems to be a case where we keep the preposition in circumstances Americans don't, though I'm not completely sure why. Shimgray 12:19, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
The OED entry for write (section 23b) says of using it with a prepositionless indirect object "rare until c. 1770; freq. from c. 1790; often regarded as commercial or colloquial in U.K.; standard in U.S." Some examples, many of which are from British authors, are:
  • 1611 - Ussher - Together with ... Mr. Cook's Books you wrote me of
  • 1672 - anon. - Being in hast, have not tyme to wright any body else
  • 1763 - E. Carter - I writ you from Amsterdam
  • 1795 - Nelson - As I write you, ... I shall not write Mrs. Nelson this day
  • 1892 - G. & W. Grossmith - I wrote Merton to that effect
  • 1928 - D. L. Sayers - He wrote me yesterday and said he'd accidentally left a bag in the cloakroom.
So it looks like an innovation that got started shortly before U.S. independence and then caught in the U.S. much more widely than in the U.K. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 12:46, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
I frquently hear (in the US) and would easily understand both forms, but would consider "I wrote to my mother" slightly better style, and prticularly in more formal writing, a preferred choice. In everyday speech and the kind of casual writing that echoes such speech, the shorter form seems often to be prefered. DES (talk) 13:40, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
Similarly, in the UK if you said "I mailed my mother today.", then you would need quite a large package. Bovlb 18:53, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
That sounds ridiculous in US English too, unless you're using "mail" to mean "e-mail". Similarly "I messaged my mother today" or "I texted my mother today". --Angr/tɔk tə mi 19:12, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
In those cases the rule of grammer is simple: Don't verb nouns. :) DES (talk) 18:48, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Grandparents in English[edit]

The debate about brothers-in-law and what not abowe got me thinking. Are there any single English words to distinguish wich "side" the grandparent is on? I Norwegian we will as a rule use compound words such as "mormor" (mother-mother) or "farmor" (father-mother) and so on, but I have the impression that such constructs are not used in English and instead you have to spell it out like "maternal grandmother", "my mothers mother" or "my grandmother on my mothers side" and such. --Sherool 22:48, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

  • That's right -- English has no such words. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 22:59, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Argh, edit conflict; I was just going to say "That's right -- English has no such words." Elf | Talk 23:18, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
  • What's the Norwegian word for "grandmother", "grandfather", or "grandparent" when you don't know whether it's a paternal or maternal grandparent, or when you don't know which sex is being referred to? (In other words, how would you translate: "My grandparent was a zoo-keeper."). - Nunh-huh 23:23, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
    • The "generic" words are "bestemor" (grandmother), "bestefar" (grandfater) and "besteforeldre" (grandparents). Grandparent (singular) gave me some pause, parents translates as "foreldre", but the singular form is virtualy unused. For example a single parent is usualy described as a single provider rather than a single parent, and in most other contexts the sex would be known and the gender spesific word used, so I had to look it up. "My grandparent was" translates into "Min besteforelder var". zoo-keeper is a bit tricky. An example of an English "word" with no good Norwegian equivelent. Would probably have to rewrite into something like "dyrepasser i en dyrepark" (literaly: animal-tender in an animal-park), though "dyrepasser i en zoo" would probably have been acceptable too (I'm no linguist).
      Anyway as mentioned these are all basicaly compoind words (wich are not hypenated in Norwegian). So for grandparents you basicaly take "beste" and add either "mor" (mother) "far" (fater) or "forelder/foreldre" (parent/parents). For one more generation back you replace "beste" with "olde" with either mother or fater to get for example "oldemor" (great-grandmoter), for each generation after that you add "tip" in front. For example "tiptipoldefar" equals great-great-great-grandfater. A slight curiosity is that if you refeer to an aunt of a grandparent then a "grand" prefix is used in Norwegian too for example "grandtante" (literaly grand-aunt), it's not a very commonly used term though, at least not among younger generations. --Sherool 00:54, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for that! (I didn't mean for zoo-keeper to be a stumper, I was interested in the "relationship words"). I wonder if we shouldn't have an article or a list or table somewhere of such "relationship" words in various languages. It would be very useful information, and would be good to have all together in one place. (e.g. for French: petit-fils = "grandson", arrière petit-fils = "great-grandson"; 'beaufils" = "son-in-law", but also sometimes "step-son", cousine germain = "first cousin"; parent = "parent" but also "relative"). - Nunh-huh 01:07, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Maternal Grandparent means mother's parents.
  • Paternal Grandparent means father's parents.
  • I am living in America, and of Scottish descent, so I not really sure if this is a standard of USA or of Scotland AlMac|(talk) 07:46, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm an Australian and this is the standard over here too, and I assume the rest of the English-speaking world, "maternal" meaning "mother's" and all.. ;) splintax (talk) 16:17, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

'Most Translated Document' problem in UDHR article[edit]

Hi. This issue has been under discussion over on the Talk page for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article. The Guinness Book of Records says the UDHR is the "Most Translated Document" in the world, translated into 321 languages and dialects. Yet the same source describes the Bible as being translated into "2,233 languages and dialects."

Tonight I've tried to be NPOV, describe the issue, and include footnotes to both citations on the Guiness website. My guess [note emphasis... :) ] which led to the wording I used tonight in the article --- my guess is, the Guiness people decided to not include religious writings within their usage of the term 'document'.

Aside from emailing Guiness and asking for clarification, is there any other place this problem could be resolved? As I mentioned in the Talk page discussion, if we leave the 'Most Translated Document' citation out, someone will likely come along and add it. If we leave it in, people will likely continue to object. For myself, I'd rather settle this ASAP and do more work on writing articles. :) Any help you can provide would be most appreciated! Cheers, Madmagic 01:30, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

I would guess that "most translated document" doesn't exclude religious writings per se, but does take an overly narrow definition of "document" as "single thing, not a book"... Shimgray 12:30, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Certainly. Guiness has no reason to exclude religious writings. I imagine they would say that the UDHR is the "most translated document", while the Bible is the "most translated book". Still that usage of the word "document" is odd. Probably what happened here is that some Guiness flunky wrote the section using his own private, somewhat nonstandard, version of the word "document", and the Guiness editors didn't catch it. Let them know, and they might change it.

As for what to do on Wikipedia; that's tricky, since we have a clear, authoritative reference for the UDHR being the "most translated document", and authoritative references are what Wikipedia is supposed to be based on. But here is my suggestion: Change "It appears Guinness does not include religious writings ...." to "It appears Guinness does not include lengthy works ...." and move the whole discussion to a note at the end of the article.

Nowhither 18:58, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure whether it's relevant, but the count for the Bible brings up a number of questions, like whether that number is for a complete translation. More pedantically, translations have been done from the English, the Latin and various editions of the original Greek and Hebrew texts. (I suspect there have been non-academic translations from the Septugiant and non-English vulgar languages, too.) In this sense, the Bible translations are not translations of one document; they are translations of a collection of similar, related documents.--Prosfilaes 20:15, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
I am a Christian, but I know that there are more Muslims in the world in more countries than Christians, so I suspect that the Koraan has been translated more than the Bible. AlMac|(talk) 07:49, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
You sure about those figures? Whitaker's says a billion or so Muslims, versus... hmm, doesn't give a single figure for Christians. 80m Anglican, 40m Baptist, 840m Catholic, 70m Lutheran, 60m Methodist, 300m Eastern Orthodox, 34m Oriental Orthodox, 100m Pentecostalists, 12m Seventh Day Adventists, 11m Latter-Day Saints, 6m Jehova's Witnesses, plus a few sects where figures not given or world adherence below a million - so it totals about one and a half billion. Don't know of a breakdown by country, but I suspect it's a wash either way these days - there's not many places you can't find at least a small population of missionaries.
As for the Koran, it's been translated into a wide range of languages, but it should be noted that the original text, in Arabic, is considered significantly more important to the faith - other versions are sort of a retelling rather than a literal translation - so there's a lot less of an impetus for translation. Shimgray 12:51, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
All sources disagree with you, so that's an bit unreasonable. The use of pure reason over factual analysis should have gone out with the Middle Ages.
Factually, you're wrong; there are 2.1 billion Christians in the world, compared to 1.3 billion Muslims (according to Religion, which does give a unified population for Christians). More over, the use of language is different in Christianity and Islam. Even in the Catholic Church, the use of Latin as a liturgical language has declined in favor of indigenous languages, and Protestants have always used the native tongues, especially including the Protestant missionaries that have translated the bible into the most of those 2000 languages. It is no coincidence that possibly the most important institute studying minority languages around the world, the Summer Institute of Linguistics, has as a primary goal to translate the Bible into those languages. The first Bible typeset in the US was into a Native American language, and the first work typeset in many Native American languages, the first work typeset in a vast number of minor historically unwritten languages is the Bible.
Islam, on the other hand, considers the original Arabic text of the Koran and Arabic itself to be especially holy. Most Muslim translations of the Koran are not labeled as translations; they usually include the Arabic text along side the translation and call themselves merely aids to the interpretation of the Arabic. Historically, Arabic spread along with Islam, and even in countries where Arabic is not native, the Koran is still usually taught in Arabic. You can become a Muslim without knowing Arabic, but you will usually be encouraged to learn it. Islam does not have the massive drive towards translation that Christianity (especially Protestant) does and hence doesn't have nearly the number of translations.--Prosfilaes 13:19, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

In general, Christian and Bahai missionaries appear to be very concerned with getting their holy texts out in the native language no matter how few speakers it may have (bordering on obsession in the case of SIL), while Muslim missionaries are usually content to proselytize in the main local trade language (say, Hausa or Malay), and the fact that salat can normally only be done in Arabic reduces the urgency of detailed translation. The Bible is the most translated, but not necessarily the entire Bible: the missionaries often stop after completing a couple of the more essential books, understandably not wanting to confuse people with the Book of Kings or Leviticus ;) . My guess is that the most translated book would be the Gospel of Mark. - Mustafaa 13:29, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Back to the UDHR article... it's been edited several times since I posted here and unfortunately the edits didn't solve the problem. :(
To summarize: if we leave the Guinness reference out, people will put it in. If we include the Guinness reference, people will continue to object that the Bible (and other religious writings as well, some of which are shorter, single documents -- please see the "Most translated???" discussion on the UDHR Talk page for several examples given) -- have been translated into more languages and dialects.
I'm thinking, after following this discussion on the Talk page for some months and then posting here, is that it might be the simplest path to email the Guinness folks directly and ask them to explain what their category of 'Most Translated Document' in their reference work actually means -- to them. Before emailing Guinness, I'll check the Wikipedia criteria for citations by email, and do my best to make this problem stop being a small but recurrant nail in my shoe. ;)
Thank you very much everyone, for all your comments and suggestions. :) Cheers, Madmagic 05:28, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Grammar of a sentence[edit]

Which of the two sentences has correct grammar:
For instance the US, despite being one of the most rapidly growing countries in the world, still have 70% of the forest which was there 400 years ago when America was first settled.
For instance the US, despite being one of the most rapidly growing countries in the world, still has 70% of the forest which was there 400 years ago when America was first settled.
Thanks! --Fir0002 10:11, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

In this case most writers would choose has — 'the US still has'. Only when you unpack US as United States would the plural verb, have, start to look more appropriate. However, even if the subject is strictly plural, it is generally treated as a singular proper noun — it is the name of a country. Also, think about changing most to more — you are comparing countries' growth rates. Gareth Hughes 10:30, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Although not absolutely necessary, consider changing which to that as the relative clause is restrictive on forest. Gareth Hughes 10:35, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
There should also be a comma after "instance." "For instance the US" is a run-on clause. Garrett Albright 11:08, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
No grammatical advice from me --I agree with the comments above--, but I'd strongly recommend changing "first settled" in "colonized by European countries and companies" ... Benne 17:22, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

I agree with the comments above. See FAQs page on why "that" is appropriate above, and not "which". While it is not necessary to change it, it is never encessary to fix grammatical errors -- just a very good idea. Ground Zero | t 18:17, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Note that "United States" was I understand, commonly treated as a plural noun prior to the American Civil War, and commonly treated as a sigular noun afterwards. If this is accurate, then the change in usage parrlleed a change in political theory and to some extent political reality. DES (talk) 18:56, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't recall ever seeing "The United states have ...." although I suppose it is a possibility. "The US have ...." does sound awful, however. I would not be surprised if usage is different in English-speaking regions outside the US, however. It is certainly different in other languages. For example, in French, one always says, "Les États-Unis ont ...." — Nowhither 19:27, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Note also the common term "these United States", used more frequently earlier, I believe, but also in more modern times (e.g. Reagan's first inaugural address: "These United States are confronted with...". I think it likely, then, that, "the United States have also used to be more common. — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 14:44, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
Putting it all together, we are suggesting that the sentence be: For instance, the US, despite being one of the more rapidly growing countries in the world, still has seventy percent of the forest that existed 400 years ago, at the time of European colonization. Gareth Hughes 14:57, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
Treating United States as a plural noun has political overtones in some quarters, and is just weird in all others. Consider: *The United States are a big country. It doesn't sound right, so no one talks that way. Unless you are trying to flog a States' Rights version of American federalism - a position strongly associated with the belief that the second and tenth amendments are more important than the Commerce clause, the first amendment, the ninth (especially the ninth), and the thirteenth through seventeenth inclusive - steer clear. It's strange and funny sounding, and the only real rule of syntax is to not say funny sounding things unless you intend to. --Diderot 16:43, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
Sorry to butt in, but 70% sounds way high for virgin forests. If that was just an example, ignore me. Otherwise, I'd be interested to see the source, if you have it. Superm401 | Talk 22:43, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Sexist terminology[edit]

There is no reason to genderize Wikipedia-related websites as "sister" sites. Like ships, hurricanes, countries, radio stations, etc., websites are inanimate objects or entities (commonly run by men) and applying female names or pronouns to them is simply gratuitous sexist stereotyping. The fact that the practice remains common simply testifies to the persistence and trivialization of objectification of women.

This woman gets mighty tired of hearing that Katrina flirted cruelly with her victims along the Gulf Coast or that Ophelia continues to ply her trade at sea while threatening to wreak her wrath ashore. Yacht racing rules penalize the yacht for her violations as if no man were at the helm. Mother ships provide support services. Daughter cells are spawned by mother cells. Mother Nature is often a destructive force.

So give us a break. Edit out "sister" and substitute "related" or "allied" or whatever term factually describes what you are talking about.


Twiss Butler

Sounds like someone's got a problem with something other than Wikipedia. Personally, I find nothing offensive about a project whose stated goal is to become the largest repository of free information in the world using "sister project". Humans personify things, which means assigning genders. Get over it. — Laura Scudder | Talk 18:02, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Hurricanes are no longer named using female names only. They are now named with alternating female and male names. Mother Nature is both a destructive force and the source of all life. I don't think that the use of "Mother Nature" reflects badly on women. Father Time is wearing us all down, isn't he? As far as Wikipedia's sister sites, there is nothing derogatory about the use of that phrase. We like our sister sites. They are a part of the big, happy Wikpedia community. To be sure, there is a lot of sexist writing and use of language out there that demeans and marginalizes women, but this isn't it. Ground Zero | t 18:17, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Like Ground Zero above, I hardly see how referring to the other projects as "sister" projects "objectifies women." As the Sister disambiguation page notes, "sister" is a pretty common name for related projects, cities, colleges and so on. "Allied cities" would mean something else entirely, as would "related cities".
I'd say far and away the femenine references are positive, not negative. "Mother Nature" is almost always a nuturing force; ships are beautiful, and things to be respected; our mother tongue is the language we first learned and are most fluent and eloquent in; our mother country is that which we came from, and yearn to be back in. Note nowadays the term "Fatherland" is almost always associated with Nazi Germany.
Note also that our language, English, comes from other languages where these nouns were always gendered. Navis, Domus, Lingua, Terra, (Boat, home, language, earth) in Latin are feminine.
So sure, these terms continue the stereotype that women are nurturing, life giving, beautiful and to be respected. Personally, I don't find those stereotypes too offensive, though that could well be because I am a man. Regardless, terms such as "allied" or "related" hardly mean the same thing. — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 13:53, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
If we were to use the term brother sites would that trivialise or objectify men? Perhaps we should prefer sibling sites. With regard to single cells, daughter and mother are more accurate terms than son and father, as maleness (as far as the Y chromosome is concerned) can be regarded as a genetic defect which only occurs in more complex animals :) Valiantis 20:10, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
With all due respect to Ms. Butler, I think people who have something against any vestige of gender references in language should be glad they speak one of the minority of languages that doesn't put a gender marker on all words. What would they do if they spoke Spanish? Take the "a" or "o" off every word? Incidentally, there used to be a radio station aimed at men in Toronto which was described as a "brother station" by other stations owned by the same company. It sounded ridiculous. Mwalcoff 15:18, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

is this correct[edit]

The three secretary's computers were stolen.

No. "'s" is not used to form plurals. It could be "The three secretaries' computers were stolen." In general, to form the possesive of a plural noun ending in s, and a trailing apostophe. If the plural form does not end in s, add "'s" to the plural form. It might be better to rewrite, for example "The computers assigned to the three secretaries were stolen." DES (talk) 19:11, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Well, it might be strictly correct, but highly misleading, if the intended meaning was that one secretary had three computers, and they were all stolen. In that case, I would say, "The secretary's three computers were stolen". And, I agree, if there are three secretaries, then it is "The three secretaries' computers were stolen." — Nowhither 19:18, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
I have always assumed that " secrearies' " is really short for " secretaries's ", but that the second 's' is omitted because of the preceding 's' because it would look ugly or one might be incined to pronounce a double 's' or something. Is this true? DirkvdM 19:53, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
No. --Anonymous
IIRC, the use of an apostrophe at the end depends on whether or not the word is pluralized. For example, "Mr Coutts's cat" is correct, if the cat's owner is Mr Coutts, but "secretaries'" is always correct, because the word "secretaries" is plural. splintax (talk) 16:27, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
This is right as far as it goes; however, if the plural does not end in an S or Z sound, then it's made possessive by adding 's, the same as the singular. Conversely, if a singular does end in an S or Z sound, it may be made possessive either by adding 's or just by adding an apostrophe. Both forms are widely used, and many people who use one of the spellings use the pronunciation that would logically go with the other one.
Ordinary Possessive
Singular Plural Singular Plural
cat cats cat's cats'
ass asses ass' or ass's asses'
man men man's men's
--Anonymous, 04:55 UTC, September 17, 2005

A Chinese and a Japanese translation[edit]

How would you say "the devil's kitchen" in Chinese, and "the multimillion-dollar hunt" in Japanese? I don't need to know how to pronounce the expressions, I only need to see the written form. Thanks, anon.

P.S. My friend and I are writing a fiction story that takes place in Tokyo, so I'll probably be requesting many such Japanese translations in the future.

I don't know the answer to your question, but I suggest to you that it might be a somewhat misguided one. Languages differ in many usage and cultural details that a simple translation may not deal with. What you really need is not just an answer to your question, but an extended conversation with a couple of native speakers. You need to know not just how to translate some particular phrase, but how to say something that might reasonably appear in some particular place in your story. Those are not the same thing. — Nowhither 01:18, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
Good advice. In case you decide to ignore it, "the devil's kitchen" is literally, "阎王的厨房" (simplified) or "閻王的廚房" (traditional). - Nat Krause 02:06, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
More specifically though, it should be "恶魔的厨房" (simplified) or "惡魔的廚房" (traditional). "閻王" is the Chinese equivalent of Hades. --Plastictv 02:57, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

english litleture translater in hindi language[edit]

hi i have been serching the net to fine any english litreture (friction or non friction) into hindi but has no luck,please can you suggest any such work in form of books,junorals or internet sites. suboor

you might have better luck searching for translations of

  • fiction
  • non-fiction

You could start with

  1. Google
  2. Teoma
  3. Vivismo
  4. Dog Pile
  5. There are LOTS more search engines but since I had no trouble whatsoever finding places on the web that do hindi translation, perhaps you should post a question on the reference desk asking for a guide to using search engines effectively
    1. There are search engines aimed at people in different native languages ... if you want to find things in a second language that you are not good at, it can be ineffective for you to try to translate words into that second language then try to use a search engine designed for that language ... you are better off using a search engine designed to work in a language you are good at, then using the translation tools available on the internet to get to the language whose info you looking for

Also check sites in nations that speak hindi such as India. AlMac|(talk) 07:53, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

'Once upon a time'[edit]

What's up, homies. I was surprised to find there wasn't an article entitled Once upon a time, giving information on perhaps the most frequently used and famous opening line of fables, novels and mythology, ever. And conversely, one entitled Happily ever after, or And they all lived happily ever after. Now, I've stuck them on the requested articles, but figure I wold like to start working on them. Unfortunately, what I could write off the top of my head would be enough to get it past speedy deletion and on to VfD, but that would be about it. I've poked around the internet, but 'Once upon a time' seems to be such a frequently used term (over a half million hits), I can't find anything about the actual history., usage, applicaiton and mythos of these terms. So, my question is twofold: 1) Are this 2 articles actually encyclopaedic? and 2) Can someone help me out? A few links in the right direction, or even start the article and I'll chip in, whatever. Proto t c 10:25, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

To be honest, I've actually had that exact article stubbed in my Sandbox for many months now, but never got around to turning it into an article (and certainly wasn't able to find anything on its history as a story opening). If you were to start the article (which could definately be encyclopedic), I'd be happy to help out. — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 13:28, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
The usage is discussed at some length in J. R. R. Tolkien's essay "On Fairy Stories". You coulkd do worse than read that for a starting point. DES (talk) 15:42, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
I think such material is better treated as a whole, possibly as a section in storytelling or within something like stock phrase (since they only occur and make sense within classical tales). Circeus 15:50, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Don't forget that the use of fossilized phrases to open and to end stories is universal (i.e. not only found in 'classical' Western tales). I agree with Circeus that a good context might be Storytelling. Some examples:

  • Ekoti (Mozambique, Bantu): Rakú z'éepo waarí-vó oswááipu nwúlw'eéne saána 'Once upon a time, there was a truly great friendship...'.
  • Iraqw (Kenia, Cushitic) tokaro-yâ 'once upon a time (standard opening phrase); aa fák 'it is finished' (common end to a story).
  • In oral literature, phrases like "I remember something that our father told me and that is this:" are common (Iraqw: Kar aníng te-'ée' to-ká a inhláw ar aakó doo-rén ni alki'-a i tí). Endings are often like "Such is the story that our father told us" (Iraqw: a-n ti'itá-r akóo doo-rén na alki'íit).
  • Another nice one, from Goemai (Nigeria, West Chadic): Tamtis noe lat/ dok ba mûaan yi wa 'My tale has finished, (it) has returned to go (and) come home.'

mark 12:20, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Oh, Uncle Mark! Tell us some more, please! Gareth Hughes 12:34, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Mi Mark ní mùùrà ngà kɔ́ — my name is Mark and my story is finished... (Nafaanra, Ghana, Senufo) — mark 13:26, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for all the comments, guys. And yowch, that Storytelling article really needs writing in the correct style; it looks like a cut and pasted essay. I've started the article, please lend your expertise. Especially Mark, as it definitely needs a section on 'fossilized phrases' in other languages. I've cut and pasted the ones used here. Proto t c 14:52, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Classical Arabic: kân yâ mâ kân fî qadîmi zzamân wal`aSri wal'awân... (There was, oh what there was / there was or there wasn't) in the oldest of days and ages and times...
  • Algerian Arabic: Hajitek ma jitek I've told you what's coming (?)

Both expressions are kind of obscure, and don't seem to make total sense; however, the former is paralleled by the Kurdish and Neo-Aramaic equivalents "there was, there wasn't" (I can't remember the exact expressions, but I think they were respectively hebûd nebûd and ithwa laythwa.) - Mustafaa 13:38, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

French Sign Language books[edit]

Hi there, I want books in French Sign Language but I can't find one. Thanks, Michelle

I don't speak French, but searching for "Langue des signes française" returns this list: [6]. French sign language also links to a wikibook at our sister project: [7]. — Laura Scudder | Talk 16:26, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
You can also go to or and type in the query "French Sign Language". You'll find a lot of excellent results. — Stevey7788 (talk) 00:32, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Use of Apostrophe[edit]

Hi, I've had an ongoing debate about whether or not a specific phrase requires an apostrophe. When writing "The waters edge" is water a possessive noun or does edge merely reflect a geographical location, i.e. the edge of the water. Should it be "The water's edge" of "The waters edge." Any insight would be most appreciated. Best wishes, Barry Jones

"The edge of the water" is a possessive: the water possesses an edge. Thus "the water's edge" in any case. — mendel 19:41, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
I believe the apostrophe is required. As discussed in The American Heritage Book of English Usage, although it is a "possessive construction," this particular form is showing description more than possession. LarryMac 19:44, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes, certainly. The phrase "edge of the water" is a possessive phrase (the edge belongs to the water, and not to the tree to the sky), as is "water's edge". They mean the same thing. "Waters" is plural, and is used only in flowerly language ("the crystal waters of Lake Memphramagog"). I don't know where "waters edge" could be used. Even if we were talking about the edge of more than one water, it would be "waters' edge". Ground Zero | t 19:49, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
You'd use it if "edge" were a verb. "The waters edge ever upwards", shivered Jim. "We're surely doomed!" Tonywalton Pentacle 1.svg | Talk 20:37, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
It should be the water's edge. The clitic 's does not only indicate possession as in ownership, but diverse (and often vague) relationships of belonging. If you can write the X of the Y (as in the edge of the water) then this will demand an apostrophe if you rephrase this as the Y's X (as in the water's edge). The only senses that I can make of the phrase the waters edge are waters provide a border or waters move cautiously :) Valiantis 19:52, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

honorific titles[edit]

In Botwsana, women are called Mma, men are called Rra. What do those titles stand for?

Hello, I knew nothing about your question, but I decided to try to figure it out anyway. So, I did a little research and asking around. For what it's worth:
  • First of all, it is awfully hard to get a straight answer from anyone about these words, however ...
  • It appears to me that they are just words, and don't stand for anything (just like the English "Mister" doesn't stand for anything). They are generic, respectful titles for women and men.
  • ... but then I really don't know what I am talking about.
Nowhither 00:33, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

When I read the title "Mr." I can pronounce it "Mister" If I read "Mrs." I can say, "Missis" When I read "Mma" or "Rra" I don't know how to pronounce it. Does anyone else know? I find the titles in the very popular books by Alexander McCall Smith so I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders. JH 9:30 pm, Sept. 17, 2005

There is a discussion here that seems to answer everything. Gareth Hughes 17:00, 19 September 2005 (UTC)


Wiktionary:meeting Thank you, Rra Gareth. Mma Jean


Are there good puns on my name in other language? A portmanteau of wonderful and fool. I figured "Foumidable" works in French, but stumbled in German&Spanish. --Wonderfool t(c) 10:59, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

In German, you might try Wundernarr, which combines wunderbar (wonderful) and Narr (fool). I can't guarantee that it might not have slightly different secondary associations than Wonderfool. Valiantis 12:44, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

The or the?[edit]

It has always been disputed over the use of 'the' in our writing in class. What I mean is whether the 'the' before some nouns, should be in capital letter (The) or left as a "small letter" (the). For example, should it be The United States of America or the United states of America? This has widely been disputed in our essays and writings etc, and I hope you can help me solve this little problem. --anonymous

Generally, the "the" is not capitalised. In this case, a quick glance at style guides suggests that it's definitely lowercase unless explicitly known otherwise (for example the title of a book which is known to include "The"). So "the United States of America". Shimgray 13:25, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Chicago Manual of Style says that "the" should not be capitalizaed, even if is considered to be a part of the name.

See here:

Q. Are there any exceptions to paragraph 8.180 in CMS 15, which states that the “the” in newspaper and magazine titles should be lowercase and roman? I’ve seen some publications keep the article uppercase (i.e., The New Yorker). Thanks for your insight.
A. It has been our policy for decades to recommend that any initial “the” in the titles of periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) be subsumed by the surrounding text or simply dropped, depending on circumstances.
The New Yorker’s cartoons are great for people on the go, like me. I can justify the subscription without having to feel bad about not reading the articles.
When I read the Times, I pretend not to see the crossword puzzle. I have enough work to do as it is.

Ground Zero | t 16:58, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

However, Wikipedia has articles on The New Yorker and The Times (etc.), presumably on the basis that the article is part of the title, so clearly this is not a cut and dried issue where the name of newspapers and magazines is concerned. The Times' own style guide insists on the capitalisation of the article in most circumstances [8], whilst its rival The Guardian insists on lower-case for all newspapers (including itself) [9]. Valiantis 16:54, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
The fact that it is not a cut and dried issue is the reason that it is part of style guides. That's what style guides are for: to avoid endless debates over what is right, by making a decision which style will be used, in advance. If we were writing for the Times (of London) we would write The Times; if we were writing for the Guardian we would write the Guardian. Since we're writing for the Wikipedia we use its style guide (which fortunately does not state that we capitalize and italicize the name of a publication according to what its own style guide would prefer!) <g>. - Nunh-huh 02:08, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
OUP, for what it's worth, says go with "the Publication" except for a small number of exceptions - it notes "The Times and The Economist are to be exceptions, as those publications prefer to have it so." Shimgray 09:16, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

How about the Beatles?

Opinions differ - which is why style guides were invented. - Nunh-huh 02:08, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Lincolnshire village.[edit]

At it's foundation in 1142 the Cistercian Abbey at Revesby in Lincolnshire was given all the land in the villages of Revesby, Thoresby and Stichesby by the earl of Lincoln. Please advise me of the current spelling of the village refered to as Stichesby and it's location if still in existence.

The Popular Dictionary of English Placenames lists no "Stichesby", but there's a "Stickney" in Lincs. This doesn't look like it, though - it's derived from OE "Stichenai" as opposed to "Resuesbi" and "Toresbi". I suspect that Stichesby has ceased to exist in the intervening timeframe. Note that according to [10] the village of Revesby itself was depopulated at the time; it's possible the other villages they were granted the land of was also empty. Shimgray 15:39, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

plural of ethos?[edit]

Is ethos its own plural? Or is ethoses, ethoi, or anything else its plural form? And if ethos is strictly plural, what is its singular form?

  • Ethoi. It doesn't seem too widely used, though. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 16:20, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Off the top of my head, I think ethos is third declension neuter → ethē (εθη) would be the plural. Gareth Hughes 16:36, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
  • I've found one note that says in passing that it's ethoi[11], one that says it's ethe[12], one that says it's ethea[13] but so far I haven't found a clear authoritative reference. Elf | Talk 18:12, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
    • it's ta ethea, ta ethē, depending on dialect[14][15], from swedh-es-h. But since the question was probably for the English plural, we should answer that there is none. You can't have several ethoses. dab () 18:29, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
      • Waiiiiiit--so there's only one ethos in the whole universe? That really simplifies things, doesn't it! I no longer have to worry about what the other guy, group, or terrorist is thinking! Elf | Talk 19:14, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
      • it should be added that ethea is very rare, compared to ethē, so the latter is standard. It should also be added that the plural is much more rare than the singular even in Greek (about ten times fewer hits in TLG). In English, use ethe if you want to sound highbrow, ethoses if you don't have such ambitions, but only use ethoi if you want to make a complete fool of yourself. dab () 18:50, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
dab is correct. Let me point out that ethos in English means "moral nature", "morality or the lack thereof". In Greek it can mean either the same or, far more concretely, a mere custom or a habit. The plural ethē almost always means only the latter, therefore it is inapplicable to the English meaning. An awkward situtation not easily resolved, due to the expressive poverty of the English language.  :-PP Chronographos 19:57, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Pronouncation of the word 'gatecrasher'[edit]

How to pronounce correctly the word 'gatecrasher' both in english and american?--Ilya

Received pronunciation = /ˈɡeɪtˌkɹæʃ.ɚ/ or /ˈɡeɪʔˌkɹæʃ.ɚ/
General American = /ˈɡeɪt.kɹæʃˌəɹ/
Gareth Hughes 21:22, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Sorry to correct you, Gareth (especially two days late), but it's:
Received Pronunciation = /ˈɡeɪtˌkɹæʃ.ə/ or /ˈɡeɪʔˌkɹæʃ.ə/
General American = /ˈɡeɪt.kɹæʃ.ɚ/
--Angr/tɔk tə mi 16:05, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

More French pitfalls[edit]

There are some words in French that have no conjugation in certain tenses. For example, there are two verbs: "clore" (to close) and "traire" (to milk (a cow)); which for all dictionaries under the heading past historic, have N/A as an entry. Why is this please? Guesses lead me to thinking: "Its because of the way they're spelt. All logical ways of forming the past historic have been already taken by other, more important words" or "its because they're not very important words - who would ever write about milking a cow in a historical context anyway?". Can anyone shed any light on this? --Wonderfool t(c) 22:05, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Who would ever write about milking a cow in a historical context?[edit]

Would you write about milking a cow in a historical context? Answers below please. -WF

No, I don't imagine I ever would. Garrett Albright 14:22, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
The past historic (which is also sometimes - more usefully - called the preterite) is used in written French to express completed actions (there is no need to have an historical context). It is often the standard tense of narrative in novels. In spoken French (and in less formal written French) the perfect tense is used instead. So one might quite legitimately want to write he milked the cow in the past historic if you were writing a novel (even if the context was not historical). I'd suggest you might, in this case, have to cheat with a perfect - il a trait.... As for clore, my grammar (Byrne & Churchill 4th Ed.) marks this as little used, even in literary style, other than in the infinitive [clore] and past participle [clos], so you would probably say il ferma or il clôtura or some other word meaning 'close' depending on context. (My French is mediocre so I imagine someone else may be able to give more specific examples). Valiantis 17:39, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
For clore, Valantis has the right answer. Clore is never used as an active verb. The past participle, clos(e) operates as an adjective in modern French, but is sometimes used in the past perfect, but only a bit poetically or legalistically (En quittant sa femme, il a clos ce chapitre de sa vie.), and the infinitive is still used in certain constructions where it acs as a particple, e.g. Le procureur a essayé de clore l'enquête. Closing in this sense, is only used in a perfective manner. It always indicates a distinct event in time and is never used in the present tense. For traire, I couldn't say. --Diderot 11:09, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Meaning of " de parvis grandis acervus erit "[edit]

On the google toolbar, if you go help, about google toolbar, there is the words "de parvis grandis acervus erit" any one know is meaning, and what language it is?

Thanks Brian New Zealand 23:48, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

It's Latin. Roughly: "From small things a great accumulation will be made". Perhaps the Google motto?? - Nunh-huh 00:39, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
It is not a Google motto (the corporate motto is Don't be evil). For more detail about your Latin phrase, see this message board thread. Ornil 05:09, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
...which apparently requires a subscription. Shimgray 19:41, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

what is chuchu?[edit]

We would need some context to give you a good answer. Where did you see the word? In any case, it might be:

  • the sound a steam train engine makes
  • the old spelling of a Malay word for "grandchild" (I believe they now spell it "cucu").

Nowhither 00:45, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps you are looking for Cthulhu, the monster in H. P. Lovecraft's writings?-gadfium 01:59, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

It's a vegetable. --cesarb 03:36, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

English version: Chayote. --cesarb 03:44, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Seeking a Compliment / Denying What is Obviously True[edit]

Is there a word for seeking a compliment? I'm asking more on the lines of denying what is true.

For example:

A skinny girl saying, "I'm Fat", or a beautiful girl saying, "I'm so ugly," obviously waiting for someone to say, "No, you're no-o-o-ot."

Is there a word for that?

I can't do it in a word... how's "ploy for sympathy"? "manipulativeness"?- Nunh-huh 03:28, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

The phrase I would use is "fishing for compliments", but there's no single word that I know of.-gadfium 04:42, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

"put oneself down"? Shantavira 12:58, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
I would say "trolling for compliments", but it has the same meaning. User:Zoe|(talk) 22:49, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

On a similar note, I've at least once found myself wanting to say "No, I'm an amateur" to anyone who said I was an expert, and "No, I'm an expert" to anyone who said I was an amateur. Is such a combination of humility and pride common, or is it just me? JIP | Talk 13:15, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

No, that's called being awkward :)! (And yes - I do it too) --Celestianpower hab 18:29, 20 September 2005 (UTC)


i was wondering what "loathing" means?

Greetings! "Loathing" simply means disliking greatly. May I refer you to should you need the definition of a word or a term? Also noteworthy is Mozilla Firefox's lookup feature, which allows you to obtain a definition by typing dict loathing, should "loathing" be the word you need the meaning of. Grumpy Troll (talk) 10:27, 17 September 2005 (UTC).

definition of garde bien[edit]

I would like to know the meaning of this phrase "garde bien"

"Garde bien" translates to "keep well" in French. Grumpy Troll (talk) 17:07, 17 September 2005 (UTC).

The Frug[edit]

I was looking up novelty dances of the 1960's, and I need to know how to pronounce "The Frug". Is it Frug as in rhymes with rug? Or is it froog, as in frugal?

The latter: Froog. If you don't know, there's no easy way to find out, unless you ask your parents<g> - since it's not in the dictionary. Still, here's a reference - an a ref for the Watusi, the Freddy and the Jerk<g>. I can't think of a thing "frug" rhymes with. Not "moog", which rhymes with "vogue"..... - Nunh-huh 23:59, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
There's an Iranian drink called "doogh".
NAH-nanana-NAH-nanana-NAH-nana-NAH-nana-NAH-nanana-NAH. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:21, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
Damn! I can hear it! I can sing it! but I can't NAME it! Even Google fails me now except for:

<large>Na Na Songs</large>

  1. Steam Na na na na kiss him goodbye
  2. Cake Short skirt/long jacket
  3. Banana splits Banana splits theme
  4. Blink 182 All the small things
  5. Sha na na Blue Moon
  6. Talking heads The book I read
  7. Brady bunch Time to change
  8. J Geils Band Centerfold
  9. Roxette The look
  10. Wilson Pickett Land of 1000 dances
  11. The Na-Na song Sheryl crow
  12. Batman theme Batman theme
  13. Journey Lovin', touchin' squeezin'
  14. The Band The night they drove old dixie down
  15. Oasis All around the world
  16. Beatles Hey Jude
(unsigned, but apparently User:Nunh-huh)
Very good, very quick on the uptake. Further free association trivia: the Seattle band The Picketts (who probably deserve an article, but just barely) took their name because their lead singer is Christy McWilson. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:47, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Thank You! I suppose it could rhyme with "droog", a fictional slang term from "A Clockwork Orange". Or was it "droogies"? Or both?

droogies, yes, sorry, no rhyme!
Both. The slang used by Alex and his droogs is called "Nadsat", and is based on Russian, in fact. "Droog" comes from the Russian for "friend" ("друг", pronounced "droog"). Other Nadsat terms from Russian that come to mind are "kleb" for "bread" (Russian "хлеб", roughly "chlyeb"), "moloko" ("молоко", "milk") and "lomtik" for "slice", as in "great lomtiks of toast" ("ломтик", "slice"). Nothing to do with the Frug but interesting, maybe! Tonywalton Pentacle 1.svg | Talk 21:02, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

As for my parents, that was WAY after their time. My older sisters' both agree with you, though.

The article you referenced spelled it two ways: "The Frug" and "The Frugg".

Well, for what it's worth, the number in the Broadway musical Sweet Charity is spelled "Rich Man's Frug". - Nunh-huh 04:18, 18 September 2005 (UTC) (P.S. "It's the latest, it's the greatest, Mashed Potato, ya, ya ,ya")

what is the meaning and spelling of complacent[edit]


  1. Contented to a fault; self-satisfied and unconcerned: He had become complacent after years of success.
  2. Eager to please; complaisant.

Grumpy Troll (talk) 22:02, 17 September 2005 (UTC).

what is a verb modifier

An adverb?? AlMac|(talk) 02:23, 18 September 2005 (UTC)


Have noticed on a number of times in reading the newspapers the word "stouch" appears. There is no guide within the sentence/paragraph that leads to an understanding/meaning of the word. Your advice please.

David F

I just tried several dictionaries and web searches and wasn't able to find anything. Could you perhaps post a sentence from your newspaper using this word? Garrett Albright 18:42, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
Same here, but I'll make a few guesses:
  • It could be someone's name. A web search finds a number of people with the last name "Stouch".
  • is the website of "Soft Touch Technology, Inc.", which is "dedicated to personal and corporate wellness", whatever that means.
  • There is also ; this appears to be an Italian firm specializing in web-based education software. Can you read Italian?
  • It could be a misspelling (or misreading), for example, of "slouch".
Nowhither 23:20, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
I think it's more likely a misspelling of "stoush", meaning a fight. Australian colloquial. JackofOz 06:41, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
Context would be very helpful, because probably someone did not get the word quite right. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:46, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Latin phrase--Minneapolis motto[edit]

The motto of the City of Minneapolis as found on its seal is En Avant. I am assuming this is Latin but I am not sure. What does this mean? 04:41, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

It's French, meaning "Forward". Why, I have no idea. :) - Nunh-huh 04:52, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
I believe it began as a reminder to people concerning which direction to drive on the public roads. ;-) — Nowhither 19:15, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

turkish word[edit]

The Turkish word for word is eitherkelime or sözcük. Gareth Hughes 17:31, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Short French translation needed :D[edit]

What is the most grammatically correct way to say in French, "Cheese-eating surrender monkey(s)"? :D --Miborovsky Namechop.jpg 07:50, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

(See [16].) One could translate "cheese-eating surrender monkey(s)" as « singe(s) de capitulation mangeur(s) de fromage » (include s in parantheses for plural). Grumpy Troll (talk) 09:08, 18 September 2005 (UTC).
Miborovsky: It is very difficult to translate connotation and context. By translating the phrase to French, you deprive it of its cultural context, and thus render it basically meaningless. Not only is the phrase likely to be unknown, but also this sort of usage of the word "monkey" probably has no counterpart in French, and I doubt that a native speaker of French, seeing "mangeur(s) de fromage", thinks, "Oh, that's a humorous reference to French people". The only place I would use a French translation of the phrase would be in an article, written in French, describing recent political columns & such in the U.S. I would offer a translation to my readers to let them know what "cheese-eating surrender monkey(s)" literally means, and then explain the connotations. However, if you need translation help, then it is clear you will not be writing any articles for French readers. I suggest, therefore, that there is no way you can use this French translation without making yourself look silly. (But you are of course free to do that, if you wish.) — Nowhither 23:07, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
The French press translated it as "primates capitulards et toujours en quete de fromages". (Lit: capitulating primates always on the lookout for cheese) --Diderot 16:52, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
Singes capitulards fromagivores ? -- Curps 19:43, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "Durkheim"[edit]

Hi there. How do you pronounce the surname of the sociologist Émile Durkheim? Thanks. — Jason, 10:20, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

I would pronounce that "Durk-hime". Grumpy Troll (talk) 10:49, 18 September 2005 (UTC).
With the "u" being between the English "Dirk" and "Doom", closer to the first. -- Jmabel | Talk 03:56, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
Well ol' Émile was French an' all, so he'd have pronounced it something like dewRk-emm. (For "R" make a sound like you're clearing your throat.) Still, my Anglo profs always pronounced it like a Anglo-German name: dirk-hime. --Diderot 16:24, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Summary points or discussions on William Wordsworth's poems[edit]

i need to know where to search for summary points or discusions on the poems like "lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey","the world is too much with us;late and soon" and "three years she grew in sun and shower", written by romantic poet William Wordsworth.

You need to do your own homework! -- Jmabel | Talk 06:48, 20 September 2005 (UTC)


why does vapours come out from the surface of ice?

I think what you are referring to is evaporation. If this isn't correct, then please ask a more specific question on the science section of the reference desk - Wikipedia:Reference desk/Science. Thryduulf 17:10, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Books and people[edit]


I would like to know how people feel about books.

Thanking you, --anon.

I like them. — Nowhither 19:09, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
First I look at them. Then if the owner will let me, I'll feel the top edge to see if it was machine or hand cut. If the binding is leather, I'll feel the embossing. The pages themselves are interesting to feel, to see whether the paper is smooth or rough. Feeling books is all very well but I prefer to read them, or at least put them on my shelves in the hope that one day I will. Why do you ask? Notinasnaid 20:06, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
I think the word "about" in the original poster's statement was an important one. :-) Of course, you may disagree .... — Nowhither 20:17, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Ah, but you can "feel them about", can't you? ;-) --Fastfission 01:41, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
I am a book-a-holic. AlMac|(talk) 21:03, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
We be thinkin' books arrr the kind of ballast can be thrown overboard with the scurvy knaves what brought them aboard. Avast. Elf | Talk 22:01, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
Maybe so, but I'd keep the navigation charts. — Nowhither 19:13, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -- Groucho Marx -- Qaz 06:53, 20 September 2005 (UTC)


Would you like fries with that? — Nowhither 23:24, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
We have an article on hamburgers. Personally, a hamburger from McDonald's is often a bit of comfort food when I'm feeling homesick here in Japan. However, one has to be careful, because, both at McDonald's and at other hamburger stands, the Japanese have a nasty habit of putting egg on hamburgers. Garrett Albright 04:05, 19 September 2005 (UTC)