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sonhadora_18 [userpic]

I have a hard time narrowing down my language 'list' or the ones I aspire to learn. How do you manage to do this, or decide which languages you'd like to really focus on to acquire proficiency?

Is there a limit, for example, would anything over 10 be too many or unrealistic to attain fluency with? ( reading, writing, speaking. )
Just wondering! I tend to have this problem where I start to learn a language, then I start to learn another, and then I am exposed to yet another and just love the idea of learning all of them. However I think what would be far more satisfying personally, is being fluent and proficient rather than just getting by in so many languages. I'm just wondering what a realistic number would be!

avium concentus in agris [userpic]

I'm a fan of Chet Baker. Yesterday I bought this album, but I don't understand the title:


Surely it's some kind of pun?

EDIT: Thank you, everybody! So it's probably just the rhyme and that's it.

M. [userpic]

Hi everyone!

I have a Russian oral exam coming up, where I'm supposed to reproduce five short texts from memory that I've written on themes I've been assigned.

While the texts obviously have to be grammatically correct, we've been given to understand that we can basically do whatever we want to arrive at that end result, like taking entire sentences from Wikipedia or other Russian websites, asking for corrections from native speakers, and so on. The idea is to be sure that what you have is correct and then memorise it, so you'll have a small mental database of correct grammatical constructions, I guess.

As such, I'd be super grateful if any of you would be willing to take a look at what I've written and let me know what mistakes I've made, suggest more authentic sounding ways to phrase things, and whatnot.

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Thanks so much in advance for any corrections or advice you can give me! :)

karinmollberg (Mollberg is a C.M. Bellman quote) [userpic]

Is there a word or expression for in your or any of the languages you use? What is or are the (-s) and what do you perceive, is usually the general meaning? Has the meaning changed with time and if so, in what way? Is the expression applied differently in different situations? Does the expression or word(s) have a specific gender and in that case, which one? What do you think of the use of this expression, (where) do you see it in texts? Do you hear it spoken (about) and if so, in what context? I am not asking for exact scientific or linguistic knowledge but out of curiosity and inspiration (feel free to drift for fun, within courteous community limits;) for writing. Here are a few examples I've found, thought or knew of, so far:

In French it is "sister soul" (as in "soul sister"):
French: âme sœur /ɑm sœʁ/ féminin
1. Personne qui semble être faite pour convenir à une autre.

On croit trouver une âme sœur
Et l’on récolte une vestale
Qui vient vous faire la morale
Dans un hôtel sans ascenseur.

— (Léo Ferré, L’Inconnue de Londres)

In German it is "soul relative":
Allemand: Seelenverwandter (de) masculin, Seelenverwandte (de) féminin
that immediately makes me think of De Attractionibus Electivas as in Goethean

In Swedish the second part of the word (whereas själ = soul, the second "s" in "själs" is genitiv); "frände", covers both friendship, love and family:

A few examples From the French wikipedia entry on the subject:

Anglais: soulmate (en)
Espagnol: alma gemela (es)
Espéranto: intimulo (eo), intimulino (eo)
Grec: αδελφή ψυχή (el) (adhelfí psikhí)
Indonésien: belahan jiwa (id)
Italien: anima gemella (it)
Japonais ソウルメイト (ja) (sourumeito)
Polonais: bratnia dusza (pl)
Suédois: själsfrände (sv)
Turc: ruhsal eş (tr)

A text from 1871 From (18) to (21) it is explained what "other sister" or "other brother" means.

"Heavenly Brothers and Sisters
During life each Yezidi undergoes a ritual wherein they become bonded to a “brother” or “sister” from a family different from the one they are born into. The sibling relationship thus established is to assist the Yezidi in the next world. According to tradition, your heavenly brother or sister will be waiting to assist your soul when you depart from this world.
Each Yazidi also has a special relationship with another person who is chosen to be a brother or sister in the afterlife. This brother or sister is with the person in times of sickness or need in this life."


Related to this former entry for food and cooking is also about chemistry & X-posted to linguaphiles

JA [userpic]

!ܫܠܡܐ ܠܟܠܟܘܢ

I haven't posted here in a very long time. I was wondering if any of you have studied or are studying Syriac? Are there any native speakers of Neo-Aramaic dialects? I'm currently studying it and have a few questions and I just wanted to know if this community would be a great resource, since I remember it being great for discussions on language learning and linguistics.

r_blackcat [userpic]

Господа русские или знающие русский, помогите подобрать английский эквивалент к русскому слову "видение" - но не в значение "прекрасное видЕние юной девы", а "ваше вИдение ситуации не совпадает с моим" или "у критика\режиссёра какое-то странное вИдение мира, созданного писателем". В данный момент меня не беспокоит, что фразы на русском подобраны коряво, меня интересует именно английский вариант. Я боюсь, слово "vision" не совсем точно. Нет?
UPD: Точный контекст: я пытаюсь написать англоязычному фанрайтеру, сказать ему, что его вИдение мира Книги Великого Автора очень близко к моему.

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I think I've heard an expression "une histoire tirée par les chevaux" for something along the lines of "tall/made up/contrived/far fetched tale/story".

Am I right, or did I misheard/misinterpreted?

Current Mood: curiouscurious
mamcu [userpic]

Kiva is an organization that works with microfinance organizations in many countries all over the world. Kiva works to attract small lenders in places like the US and Europe, who lend amounts like $25 to borrowers who need financing to start or continue very small business ventures.

I work as a volunteer editor of English-language loans, and I'm here today to ask if any of you have a few hours a week to translate Spanish-language loans into English. Here's a sample of a loan that's been published.

The work is done online, at your own pace, and if you want, there are online discussions with other volunteers about problems, questions, and sharing interesting thoughts.

I always feel happy when I've done some editing--I learn so much about how people live and work in the Philippines, Kenya, Tajikistan, and Samoa, and I'm so heartened to see how much energy and courage they have, and how much difference just a little support can make in their lives.

If you have any time to spare and have good Spanish and English skills, here's a link to more information about becoming a volunteer, and also I'll be glad to tell you what I can.

schnuffichen [userpic]

Hey linguaphiles!

I'm in need of some help with a research project. I'm a postdoc at the University of Potsdam (the one in Germany, though google keeps suggesting I work ta SUNY Potsdam... odd) and I'm doing research on syntactic processing, more specifically pronoun resolution.
I need some ratings for a few names I use in an experiment and I'd love your help with this. :)

Are you either
- an English native speaker with or without knowledge of German OR
- a German native speaker?

If so, I'd be grateful if you could rate a few first names on whether they seem male or female (or both) to you.

The survey should not take more than 5 minutes.

Thanks a lot in advance!

(crossposted at denglish)

Current Mood: curiouscurious
Таити. Райские острова и панды на бамбуке. [userpic]

In 1984, Frenchman Rivet
drew attention to the
coincidence of the main
words in the languages ​​of
the Indians of Tierra del
Fuego and the Australian
Firstly, nothing "random" in
the world there is, and
secondly the likelihood that
really random match at least
two pairs of simple words of
two syllables in different
languages ​​is as follows:
There are 6 basic sounds
that exist in one form or
another in every language in
the world. All other sounds
are descended from them.
Here they are: *p *k *t *n *r *w
and the only vowel of the Proto-language
neutral, "no quality" sound [ә],
"schwa". It is well heard in
Russian "khәrәshó", "good", and at
the end of French words in speech.
So, the probability that
coincided two pairs as
6x6 multiply again and get
on the 6x6 probability
English and Russian house
"kháta", & "beet' " and "beat"
coincided "by chance" = 1 to
1296. And if these three
pairs, it is already 1 to
And if their scores?
That is found Rivet
compliance as "random" as
winter snow in Siberia.
But he put forward the
theory of the settlement of
Tierra del Fuego from
Australia via Antarctica and
this was his undoing. They
all laughed and forgot his
discovery that so no one
Why are like those
languages? I think, for the
simple reason that all
languages ​​in the world,
except for the language of
the Bushmen came from
one of the world Proto-

Julie [userpic]

How do you say " They shouldn't be here" in any Celtic language ?

Go raibh maith agat/ thanks .

Julie [userpic]

How do you say, "He makes me sad" in ...any of: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish, and/or Breton? And what does it literally mean in English?

Go raibh maith agat (Thanks).

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

Wiktionary says that ténèbres is plural feminine. I wrote a sentence with it: Les ténèbres sont tombées. but my teacher corrected it like this: Les ténèbres sont tombés. Could anyone explain it to me? I thought that you have to accord the participe passé if a verb conjugates with être.

Current Mood: awake
Current Music: Jacques Brel "Le prochain amour"
jiokra [userpic]

I want to start learning Swedish and am having a difficult time finding a grammar book to use. I'm trying to find one that is on par with Grammaire Progressive du Français, which I've been using to study French and it has been amazing. I linked to that book on Amazon so people can take a look and see what I mean. It's a book that is great for self-teaching since it provides a lot of explanations and exercises. It's also all in French so if there's a grammar book all in Swedish, that'd be amazing.

I like the format of books like Rivstart and Mål. Those books with a little more meat to them in the grammar explanations are what I'm looking for. It seems like with those books, they're suited better to be used alongside a class and not best for self-study. :/

Anyone have recommendations?

Da [userpic]

There's a linguistic process known as the "euphemism treadmill" by which words originally introduced as euphemisms for terms felt to be insulting or insensitive end up acquiring the same connotations and are replaced in turn by new coinages. A prototypical example in English is the evolution of terms for intellectual disability, which regularly have to be abandoned after being adopted as common insults.

The more general name for this process is "pejoration", which is a specific kind of
semantic change. It can operate not only on the level of individual words but also over whole phrases. For instance, it was once common in American English to respond to wishes like "Have a good weekend!" with "Same to you!" But "Same to you!" came to be used so often as a rejoinder to insults like "Go fuck yourself!" that it sounds rude even when used positively. Most people I know have replaced it in their speech with the wordier "You do the same!" or "Likewise!". "Your mom" is on a similar path; I don't think I would ever use it in isolation any more. (Compare abuela "grandmother", which so frequently appears in insults in Mexican Spanish that I've been instructed it's best to avoid it and use only the diminutive form, abuelita.)

It seems to me there's also a kind of "sarcasm treadmill" where certain apparently innocuous phrases are so frequently used sarcastically that it becomes impossible to take them a face value any more. "Thanks a lot!" is in this category, as is "Thanks for sharing!" (at least in my dialect). "Good job!" and "Well done!" are also problematic by themselves. "Bless your heart!" is a well-known example from Southern American English (although I still do hear Northerners misunderstanding the intent and attempting to use it non-sarcastically themselves). It can be okay in certain circumstances to ask someone if they're happy, but "Happy now?" is always sarcastic, as is "Proud of yourself?"

What other examples can people think of, either for English or other languages?

Gemini Artemis [userpic]

Hello, everyone! I'm translating a medical prescription in Japanese, but there are some kanji that I'm having trouble reading. Could you please help me?

 photo ReceituarioKanjiimage_zps70851083

(If you need more context, please let me know!)

Таити. Райские острова и панды на бамбуке. [userpic]

An article on comparative phonochronology


Что это такое?
Это способ определить,
когда в древности начали
расходиться единые
прежде языки.
Каждую тысячу лет в
языках изменяются в
среднем 14% согласных
звуков. Остаются общими
для каждой пары языков
86% согласных. Через 2000
лет их будет уже 0.86х0.86=
0.7396%. Через три тысячи
0.6361 и так далее.
Вот данные для русского,
английского, талышского,
одного из
"скифских" языков,
впрочем вполне живого и
андаманского языка
тьярава (джарава),
возможно древнейшего на
земле, о котором я писал
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avium concentus in agris [userpic]

As part of an art project students of my school sent letters to several politicians and decision makers, asking them to return the attached postcard with a statement. Now it was only to be expected that a few of the postcards didn't come back. We want to document those as well (blank postcards, with the name of the person that didn't reply). The Austrian term for this would be "Leermeldung". According to wikipedia Germans would rather say "Fehlanzeige". How do you say in English? We like the term "nil return", is it okay?

Таити. Райские острова и панды на бамбуке. [userpic]

A post about Andamanese "palaeolithic" languages problem.

Оригинал взят у maumu в Самый древний в мире язык

Какой язык самый древний в мире?
Сейчас склоняются к тому что это язык островитян с Андаманских островов в Индийском океане.
По меньшей мере 60-65 тысяч лет они жили без контакта с внешним миром.
Этот язык, его называют "палеолитическим", по моим подсчётам имеет не более 400 основных корней, а звуки "тья" и "дья" встречаются ещё только в языках аборигенов Австралии.
При этом система гласных из шести звуков абсолютно идентична современной русской:
А [a]
Э [e]
И [i]
О [o]
У [u]
Ы [ɨ]

В английском, например, эта система состоит из 12 гласных звуков:

[ɑ:] far
[æ] hat
[ʌ] hut
[e] red
[ə] to (reduced)
[ə:] sir
[ɪ] sit
[i:] meet
[ɔ] pot
[ɔ:] for
[u] put
[u:] food

не считая 8 дифтонгов.
То есть в русском и английском из 16 гласных звуков общих только два, [e] и [u], хотя это родственные языки.
А с "палеолитическим" андаманским у русского абсолютно идентичная система гласных.
Вероятность этого 1 к 6.000.000.
Я сейчас занимаюсь этой проблемой.
А есть ещё сентинельский андаманский язык, из которого неизвестно вообще ни одного слова.


Запись сделана с помощью

Marcus L. Rowland [userpic]

If anyone's learning Russian and looking for something fun to read, the web comic Girl Genius now has a Russian version - Russian fans have translated every episode of the strip, the translation extends to things like signs and graffiti in the background of scenes. I should emphasise that I'm not a linguist and have no idea how good the translation is, but I thought it would probably be of interest here. is the main site and English version
girlgeniuscomic is the Livejournal feed of the comic, updated three times a week is the Russian version.

Thanks to murgatroyd666 for pointing this out.

later - forgot to say that they're hoping to have a French version on line soon.

Oryx-and-Crake [userpic]

Dear linguaphiles,

What puns/allusions/jokes do you see in the following credits to a musical CD?

Imagene Peise - Piano Ominog Bangh - Laughing/Crying Glider Synthesizer Shineyu Bhupal - Drones, Sitar, and Baritone Tambura

Imagene Peise obviously means Imagine Peace, but everything else baffles me.

Thank you!

好きな同茶 [userpic]

Some comments say it is French. I didn't understand any word in woman's French but heard "watch!" or something very close.

Could somebody write what does she say, please

Misprinting of the bear is Delphic too -)

booq [userpic]

Hi everybody:

I humbly need your help as to where does normally tip of shoulder situate. My writer puts it as From the ear the pain passes down to the clavicle and tip of shoulder. Is it in the middle of deltoid or somewhere between upper spine and neck?

Lots of thanks in advance!

Whodunnit? [userpic]

first aid bag

I'm trying to get hold of one of these. It's a vintage first aid bag from the Swiss Army. The site where I originally saw it has sold out, so I'm keeping an eye on ebay in German speaking countries. I'd probably call this thing a Sanitätstasche. Searching for that on ebay gives me both modern first aid kits and the kind of army surplus thing I'm after, but not the exact bag. Armeetasche gives me things along the right lines too, but not the exact thing. Any more ideas for search terms?

ain't no Houellebecq girl [userpic]

Hi linguaphiles,

I'm a native English speaker and I do occasional freelance proofreading for academics. A regular client (Italian but working on Brazil) has just asked me whether there's a word in English for the unskilled labour of carrying heavy goods (he's writing about  dockworkers, but it doesn't necessarily have to apply only to that context). His suggestion was 'carrier', but I don't think that really works in English, though 'goods carrier' might. I also thought of 'porter', but that doesn't necessarily imply heavy lifting.

Any ideas? I feel like I might be blanking on something really obvious...

mks135 [userpic]

Hello, everyone. I'd like to ask all Russian-speaking people in this community and those who are interested in the Russian language. The question is: How would you explain to a foreigner the difference between the Russian words "русский" and "российский". Both words are translated as "Russian", but how would you explain how not to confuse them? What is your variant of their etymology and usage?

sammason [userpic]

Were you 'immersed' in a language (or more than one) in early childhood, allowing you to grow up bilingual, trilingual or whatever? Did you immerse your own kids? What's it been like, during and after the immersion?

I wasn't immersed so for any language tuition that I've ever had, I've been past the early years. Learning in middle childhood or later there's no doubt that things are more difficult. But some people make it a lifelong professional interest, or hobby, to learn many languages.

To this comm's Moderator: please may we have a 'language immersion' tag?

little panda [userpic]

What does this say?

Image under cutCollapse )

iddewes [userpic]

This is a fairly unimportant thing to post about, but I am curious!
My German husband calls these Wiener Würstchen. In the UK they are usually just called hot dogs or hot dog sausages, I guess, at least where I have lived, but when I lived in Canada we called them wieners (and the hot dog included the bun). I have it in my head that they are called wieners in Canada and Frankfurters in the US (and apparently in Austria?), but just wondered if North American native speakers here could say what they call them? ;)
 photo 10708635_294913967373513_7414286816577986936_o_zpsdb1fd28e.jpg

sammason [userpic]

When does English use a double consonant? If something is decorated with jewels, is it jewelled or jeweled? If something stops moving, has it stopped or stoped? I (native English speaker) wouldn't write 'stoped' because that would change the pronunciation. Nobody, I think, would write 'stopt' but a few centuries ago that might have looked right.

Scheherazade [userpic]

So, in the United States, clothing manufacturers and department stores divide their women's clothing into three categories: Juniors, for young women with slim busts and hips; Misses, for women who've developed more post-teenage curves; and Woman/Women, which is the same as saying "plus sizes." And each of those has a "Petite" subcategory for short women.

Do any other places in the world have categories like this? I feel like I've only seen physical measurements or basic small-medium-large categories elsewhere.

Whodunnit? [userpic]

Hi, I'd like some input from native French & German speakers here. It's for some product descriptions for an online shop. The site I use lets you add translations for any other languages you speak. Most of the other items in the shop are zines in English or art prints, so there's either no point having a blurb in other languages or it's simple sentences about the measurements/material. I have no problem handling the customer service in FR & DE, I'm just not used to the specialist job of writing marketing blurb in those languages and feel these product descriptions could do with a bit of tweaking/removing silly mistakes, and could probably do with being a bit clearer.

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Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I wanted to ask you if a sentence "We would have been discovered long time ago." is "Nous aurions été découvert il y a longtemps." in French?

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: The Rolling Stones "Jumpin' Jack Flash"
Zsófi [userpic]

In what cases can you use would after I wish/if only? I've found contradicting information about this.

e.g. Is the sentence "I wish I would pass the exam" correct?

panjomin [userpic]

A question for non-US speakers of English:  Do you know, or use, the term "biracial"?  I'm trying to determine if it's primarily or exclusively a US term.  Thanks in advance!

FNU NMN LNU [userpic]

Quoting Wikipedia about the legacy of Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv: His name also lives on in Israeli slang: It was used as a verb—lehizdangeff—which means "to walk down Dizengoff," i.e., go out on the town.

Why lehiZDangeff, and not "lehiDZangeff", following the consonant order in the name? If it is due to phonotactics, are there other examples of metathesis in loanwords?

sammason [userpic]

I like this linguistic family tree.

Tabouli the animate salad [userpic]

What would a character say if they were angry someone hadn't contacted them, and wanted to list all the avenues they could have used? I want her to say something like:

"You have my address, my email, my cell, my Facebook, my Tumblr *and* my Twitter!"

Would she say that? Do you have to say my Twitter feed, my Tumblr blog, my Facebook address or can you just list them the way I have above? I don't use Twitter or Tumblr myself, and really have no idea!

All advice welcome...

khh1138 [userpic]

Dear Linguaphiles, could you help me with a work decision?

We make educational videos for YouTube (our channel is called Socratica), and so far we have mainly been working in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.  We are in the process of hiring a German Translator and German actors to work on our channel in German.

We sent our translator candidates the following passages from our English channel and asked them to translate into German.  We have narrowed it down to two candidates, but we are having a hard time picking between them.  We're looking for someone who gets the technical language correct (we make a lot of videos about math and science), but ideally also doesn't sound too stiff or robotic.  If you speak German, could you weigh in and say why you prefer one candidate over the other?  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!
Here are the translation samples...Collapse )

La Reine Misère [userpic]

I know that Welsh speakers get used to all sorts of dreadful language errors being seen in public places, caused by nobody bothering to check with a native (or, sometimes, even a semi-competent) speaker.

If you haven't already seen this one, reported by the BBC and currently trending on Facebook, you may well find it amusing...

archaicos [userpic]

Question for native speakers of English.

It arises from this label on a vending machine:

Picture!Collapse )

Which makes little to no sense to me. If the product is free, why is there a device preventing me from obtaining it?

A friend of mine has suggested that the product becomes free once obtained (legally or not). But by that same logic you could be washing clean dishes because, um, they become clean in the process of washing. Right?

Is that a case of wishful thinking? Or is it more like someone tried to save space and ink, which resulted in this backwards logic? What is it?

petrusplancius [userpic]

Does anyone know anything about an implement called a Büschelhaue, what it looked like, what it was used for?

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I was wondering if anyone could help me with a line from one of Vysotsky's songs: "И позывных не передавать". I can look up each word separately, but I still don't know what they mean together and in the context of the song.

Сыт я по горлоCollapse )

Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Angelo Badalamenti "The Nightingale"

Hello linguaphiles!
I've recently had some problems with an instruction booklet, and one of the puzzling things was the expression "bull wheel". I would like to know if you people, especially those of you who use English on a daily basis, would recognize this expression?
Thanks in advance!

ETA: The instruction booklet belongs to a toy/alarm clock, and the "bull wheel" in question seems to be the two wheels that gets the thing moving. Maybe the writer of the booklet wanted to form an association to the wheels of industrial or agricultural machines, the design looks a little bit like that. I haven't read all the languages, sadly I'm not that gifted, but the "bull wheel" returns in at least the German and the Swedish translation, where it makes even less sense.

Thanks for all the answers and comments!

Tabouli the animate salad [userpic]

Hi, linguaphiles. I'm currently applying the pre-publication edits to my debut novel (very exciting!), and my editor has asked me to change the phrase "in the buff", meaning "naked". According to her, "in the buff" might not be understood by American readers, and needs to be changed to ensure the book stays accessible to the US market.

I'm scratching my head here. I'm Australian, as is my editor, and I always thought this was an American idiom! I put out a call on Facebook to my American friends there, and they say as far as they know, no-one in the US would have a problem understanding "in the buff". Any US linguaphiles out there who can confirm this? Also, any substitutes anyone can think of that have the same light-hearted feel and are US reader-friendly?

Asma Siddique [userpic]

Hello everyone and good evening, Asma here.

I'm a big fan for learning langauges. I know number of them in different levels, my goal is to be able to speak 6 languages before turning 30. It shouldn't have to be perfect, if I can get the correct grammar and enough vocabularies for general conversation that would be satisfying. Currently I got into French, one thing I noticed about it is the reading, it's rather challenging for a beginner since there are many silents in the words. Can anyone give me any good site or even suggest me any books?! I looked up sites online but they aren't much. I believe a site would be better since I can hear to the audio for the words but a books won't be a bad idea either.

Thank you for your help in advance.

Panda Girang [userpic]

I love this guy but it's difficult to understand what he's singing.
I tried googling the lyric but came up with nothing.
Please help, thanks!

((a few lines of lyric that I understand))Collapse ) Историк-генеалог Семёнов Виталий [userpic]

This helps a lot in historical research.

I understand German, so no need to translate, I need just to type

Rachel [userpic]

This script is from CSI 15X03 episode. Again.

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sorry, my English is terrible.
Thank you for help

Rachel [userpic]

Hi, I need your help.
I have a question. This script is from CSI 15X03 episode.

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Thank you.

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