"Sue Perkins @sueperkins
@realdonaldtrump Scotland voted Remain, you weapons-grade plum."
What did she mean? Is it some sort of insult in UK? or in Scotland? If so, is there any plausible etymology?
How would you expand the Internet acronyms "smh" and "smdh"? And where do you remember first encountering them?
(Mods: Can you add a "pidgin" or "Chinook Jargon" tag?)
Hi, I've recently begun learning Chinook Jargon (Chinuk Wawa), I was just wondering if anyone else here is or would be interested in learning it so we can practise together? It was a pidgin (and is now a creole, but I don't have the book that teaches the modern language) that was extremely widely used near the Pacific Ocean around Canada, Washington and Oregon until around the 1930's, so much so that it actually still appears a lot in place names and product names today. There's a lot of example images, grammar and sentences on the Esperanto Wiki page, but the English page is more lacking.
I've been learning it all from this guy's blog here, but after watching the movie "Across the Wide Missouri" which has about half its dialogue in the language, I realized that the spelling-versus-pronunciation problem feels a lot bigger than I thought. I think part of the problem is, the spelling people have been writing down is based off natural-feeling English spelling and I was reading it as if for example, the vowel sounds were all set. So ideally I'd want someone to practise writing with and maybe to trade audio recordings with (I think voice chat is a bit too much to ask for).
I wanted to get good enough to hopefully be able to write stories in it, but I feel too awkward being in the Facebook group and really wanted a more "safe" and "normal" place to talk about it, like Livejournal! Also if anyone has any questions about it even if they're not interested in actually learning it, I think I understand enough of it now to be able to answer some.
What language is this and what does it say?
Thanks for your help.
Constantin Schreiber in "Marhaba, Flüchtling!" says it's harder for English speaking people than for Arabs to tackle the German "Fälle, Artikel, Geni" (p. 82). So he (and his editor) got the plural of "Genus" wrong. No big deal, but awkward / ironic in a sentence about grammar. When I showed this to my lovely fellow teachers, not one of them knew the correct form. They even refused to believe me when I told them it's (genus, generis, neutrum, therefore:) "Genera", until I showed it to them in the dictionary and felt like the pedantic idiot I am. So apparently that's arcane knowledge and I should just chillax about it, as my pupils would say. "O tempi, o mori!" :-)
Crimean Tartar language. What if a man wants to sing this? Should he change the lyrics?
Men bu yerde yaşalmadım
Men bu yerde yaşalmadım
I'm trying to figure out what part of speech is "go" in an interjection "Go <team name>" (ostensibly, it is an imperative verb). Perusing online dictionaries, like here or here I couldn't find an appropriate definition. Any clues?
I was talking with a Japanese friend, and she used the expression "I got surprised", in reference to an unexpected event. I corrected her to "I was surprised", but she insisted that she had heard US friends say "got surprised."
My first question is, is that actually a common usage in the US? I'm from the UK, where I'm pretty sure it's not.
My second question is a more general one about the rules for choosing between "got" and "was" in such expressions. "I got depressed" sounds fine to me, but "I got happy" doesn't. Why so? And are norms in this area on the move?
What does the English word 'weeknight' mean to you?
The word 'weekday' means Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs and Fri. That's clear.
According the dictionary.com, 'weeknight' means 'any night of the week, usually except Saturday and Sunday'. According to Miriam- Webster, it's 'a weekday night', with weekday defined as above. So it's Mon-Fri nights.
But I've just realised I always use it to mean Mon-Thurs nights, or Sun-Thurs nights, not Mon-Fri nights. As in:
"I don't go out on weeknights, because I have to work the next day."
Anyone else using it like that? And if not, can you think of some other expression for Sun-Thurs nights?
There's also "school nights", which does mean Sun-Thurs nights, but I've never liked using that except for schoolchildren.
I'm writing a story with Russian characters and want to make sure that I'm using proper diminutives for them: I have a Валентин (Valentin) and initially, I thought that Валя (Valya) would be the right short form, but now I'm wondering if Валик (Valik) would be more likely because it can't be so easily confused with Valentina.
I also have an Иннокентий (Innokenty) and have been using Кеша (Kesha) as his diminutive, but am wondering if it's too associated with parrots (and cats?) for people to use that one much. If so, what would be used instead? And just how unusual is Innokenty as a name in Russia? Would you ever meet an Innokenty under the age of thirty these days?
In a Downton Abbey episode of season 6 someone says "It's not a Penny Dreadful with confessions from the box." They were discussing a police investigation or trial or something.
What does it mean in this context? When I try to google it, all I get is results for the TV series of this name, which I never watched, so I have no idea what it is about.
What (if any) is the difference between these two verb pairs:
- печь / испечь
- выпекать / выпечь
For example, why is выпекать used instead of печь in this sentence:
Каждый пекарь выпекает хлеб по какому-то рецепту.
Can I use them interchangeably?
Thanks in advance!
Anyone can translate the text on this page (or at least some of it)? I wonder where this page is from.
I'd like to ask native English speakers (especially Americans from East Coast):
what could be any possible explanations for a guy calling his girlfriend by the nickname "Bean"?
They are characters in a short story by a contemporary American writer. Both live in New York, she is in her early twenties, he is 34. The author doesn't really describe her looks except he says she has freckles.
So I've consulted slang meanings of the word "bean" and I've got some possible explanations but nothing definite.
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I've been pondering the word "handshake". In English, it refers to the movement, in some other languages - to the tactile interaction (e.g. Handschlag, serrement de main).
I wonder if there is a clear "move/touch" linguistic boundary, or if it's arbitrary.
Is this a word in any language whatsoever? I was at church, speaking in tongues. I'm newish at it and it sounded rather dubious. I looked for it on the internet, and it looked like a term used in some sex ads, like personal ads. I was afraid to click on the link to see what it meant. I have heard of people in churches channeling the wrong spirits. I am pretty sure this is not a spirit I was meant to hear from. Would like some idea of what I said that day.
'Homonisha' is the word I saw when I Googled it. 'Homonishia' is what I heard in church.
Dear linguaphiles, please help to clarify this question.
The Wordreference dictionary gives the pronunciation of "live" as "lɪv" without differentiation between verb and adjective. And on the same page the HarperCollins gives different pronunciation - "lɪv" for verb and "laɪv" for adjective. Does it mean that adjective "live" could be pronounced both ways?
UPD: ok, simplier question: how should be pronounced "live" as an adjective?
UPD2: Thank you everyone! All doubts are cleared.
Would you please explain
1. what does "Looking at smth close-up" mean? Does it mean close to smb's eyes or just staring at smth attentively?
2. is stepping hard equal to stomping?
Many thanks in advance.
Hi all. Please help me with commas in this text.
My friend which is non Russian-speaking asked me how to pronounce the vowel ‘Ы’ in Russian.
The simplest advice I found in Internet is to take a pencil between teeth and to say ‘И’ ([i:]) while trying not to touch the pencil with the tongue. Lay down the tip of the tongue otherwise you will say ‘И’ anyway. When you remember the feeling try to do it again without pencil.
Any advice about grammar are welcome too. Thanks.
This was in Thessaloniki. Anyone can translate it?
This is a book created with YouAlign. Only thing you need is a file with the text in language 1 and a file with a text in language 2. The website looks at the content and aligns so that it matches line by line (it's meant for translators, but my main interest is in creating bilingual books). I accidentally tested this because my Italian translation was missing a line, so YouAlign just made the spaces between paragraphs bigger so that the texts would stay aligned on its own.
Files need to be smaller than 1MB (try deleting the covers ebooks sometimes have inside if you're over the limit) but other than that and no locked PDFs, it takes a bunch of formats with no problem. Have only tried Latin script languages, it might have issues alignigning stuff like English and Chinese or Russian and Portuguese, for alll I know. Hopefull not :p
If you want to check out some ready made bilingual ebooks, try Farkas. They even have a program to turn the books into ebooks, something I haven't yet figured out how to do with YouAlign generated files (feel free to enlighten me!)
Hope you find this useful :)
We saw this tree during our trip to Moldova. I think this is Russian though. Does anyone know what it means?
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What is your favorite non-English word starting with a G?
With a K?
What does it mean, and what language is it?
My coworker Willi is drafting a new concept for arts education at our school. One term that he uses is "Kulturbausteine", literally "culture building blocks", meaning: elements of cultural education.
Is "culture building blocks" comprehensible? Is there a better translation?
EDIT: Thank you all!
I am listening to some Russian handbook CD, and the guy who reads pronounces "по-русски" as if there was an 'e' at the end. And also the equivalents of "in English", "in German" with an 'e' at the end.
I haven't heard it ever before. Does it indicate that this guy is from some part of Russia, is it some dialect, or something else entirely?
I work at an animal shelter, and two of our volunteers (a married couple) brought in a huge basket of Easter candy for us today. They are Swedish, so I thought it would be nice if we wrote them a thank-you note in Swedish. So on that note, would anyone be able to translate the following into Swedish for me? Edits for clarity are welcome:
Dear Per and Maria,
Thank you so much for the lovely basket of Easter candy! It was very thoughtful of you and everyone really enjoyed it.
The two of you are such wonderful volunteers and real assets to the shelter. We really value your dedication to the dogs, and your positive attitudes are so encouraging when we are having a rough day. We are very lucky to have you, and we hope you continue to volunteer with us for many years.
With love from [our names]
Thanks for your help!
Americans! Do people in your country generally pronounce "pundits" as "pundents"? I ask, because I heard it not once but twice in this video. First at 0.57, the female Trump supporter says it. I dismissed that, because of course anyone can stumble over their words, especially in moments of high excitement (and she seems as if much of her life is spent in that state). But then the presenter of the clip does it too, at 2.36.
Is he just subconsciously echoing her pronunciation, or is this now a thing in the States?
Recently I've had occasion to look at the marriage ceremony in an older version of the Book of Common Prayer. And one thing, in particular, struck me: The groom's vow ends with "to thee I plight my troth," but the bride's with "to thee I give my troth."
Why the difference in words? What exact difference in meaning does it convey, and why does it need to be there?
I have a guess, but I'd rather hear what others think uninfluenced by my own speculations.
Thanks to anyone who answers!
I am currently reading That's not English by Erin Moore, a book about differences between BrE and AmE. What she describes mostly makes sense, but one chapter surprised me:
In English English, quite means "rather" or "fairly", and is a subtle way of damning with fair praise. To an American, quite simply means very, and amps the adjective. No subtlety there.
An English author receives an editorial letter from her American editor who "quite" likes her new book. (Insult!)
An American student finds it impossible to get a job in the UK based on the glowing recommendation letters submitted by her professors, whose highest praise is "quite intelligent and hard-working". (Shock!)
An English houseguest confesses to being "quite hungry" and is served a steak of punishing size by an oblivious American friend. (Horror!) And so it goes.
My question is to the native speakers of British English here. Is this true? For some reason, I either never came across such usage in BrE (and I read a lot of British literature), or overlooked and completely misunderstood the sentences with "quite" all my life (which does not sound very probable to me, because if you completely misread a sentence it will sooner or later clash with the remaining text and then you'll notice).
If you think what the author says is true, have you ever had misunderstandings in communication with AmE speakers, similar to what is described above?
Johnny Marr about his co-operation with Bryan Ferry: Bryan Ferry was an old hero of mine and it was great to work with him, but the end result was…he’s a bit blow-waved.
I suppose this isn't a compliment, but was it meant to describe the character, the music, or something else?
My in-laws recently gifted us with a folding screen, which has a cherry blossom design and some writing in what I'm guessing is Japanese?
Any ideas what this could mean? I just hate to be the person who has a decoration and no idea what it says...
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I'm having trouble with the word мероприятие in Russian.
In my bilingual dictionary (Russian-Dutch), it says it's a kind of organized activity like you do when on school trips, but that certainly doesn't seem to be a 100% match, if it's correct at all.
I've looked it up in several monolingual dictionaries, but all I get is this incredibly vague definition that reads like it could refer to just about any "action," but looking at example sentences, I don't think that can be right. And I can't seem to gather a rudimentary understanding of the word just reading through example sentences, either.
I'm really stumped. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
I recorded a short extract, just one page, from a book
on reality TV talent shows (a rather cynical look at them,
too) - and would like to invite comments on the reader's
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Hello all! I am having trouble finding the best Japanese word for "real," as opposed to fictional. Imagine you were to tell someone that comic books are not real. The word "real" has many translations, and I can't find the appropriate one in this case.
Many thanks in advance!
In the sentence Отец глаз не сомкнул всю ночь, is глаз an accusative singular (because it's a direct object) or a genitive plural (because of the negation)?
I've seen a few film adaptations of Ilf and Petrov's works and from what I've gathered Ostap Bender's shoes were described as "апельсиновые". Now, in English translation I found that they were raspberry-red. O.o What's more, my Russian teacher told me that you cannot describe the colour with the adjective апельсиновый, only food.
So, my question is, in the books, what word is used to describe the colour of his shoes?
I have an account of Dutch 18th Century criminal procedures in which the letters R.O. are regularly inserted after the title of the prosecutor ("de eisscher R.O. deede zeggen.." "Mr Pieter Galle, Advokaat Fiscaal R.O. Eisscher in cas crimineel", etc.); could anyone please tell me what these letters stand for?
I was told that the word синиец means devil (one of the synonyms) and comes from the name of the colour cиний. But I can't find it in any on-line dictionaries (although I found it in some literary texts). In what contexts it's used? Is it an old word, or made up recently? And why is it derived from "blue"? I mean, the logic behind it.
ETA: I don't know how it's spelled, I've only heard it, not seen it. Maybe it is синец (without the second "и").
On a Russian-language translators' forum, we had a curious discussion. The question is as follow: In an American text written by a prison psychologist, the author lists situations in which inmates may need psychological help. One of the item on the list is interviewing for "privileged committee seats."
It appears that this clause can be parsed in three different ways, all grammatically acceptable.
1. "interviewing for committee seats, which are privileged compared to not being on such a committee." That is to say, people are interviewing for being members of inmates advisory committees; being a member of such a committee is a privileged position in prison.
2. "interviewing for special seats on the committee, which can be called privileged". For instance, there may be an Advisory Committee of 22 members, including the chair, the vice-chair, the secretary, and the scribe; these four positions are considered "privileged" and interviewing for such positions is especially challenging.
3. There is a typo (or a common mistake), and the author meant "privilege committee seats". This assumes that there is a so-called Privilege Committee advising the management about inmates' privileges", and people are interviewing for seats on this committee.
So my question is, when you first read this sentence, before perusing these three options, what is your immediate understanding? Do you feel that one reading is much more natural than the others? Do you feel they are all about equally likely? Or that there is one that is hardly possible, but the other two are equally acceptable?
1. Writing "Diarmuid and Grania":
Yeats, if we are to believe [George] Moore, which is always perilous, burst into Moore's bedroom at Coole - about 1898, that would have been - with this proposal: that Moore should draft the play in French; that Lady Gregory should put the French into English; that Taidgh O'Donoghue should then put the text into Irish for Lady Gregory to reconvert into Kiltartan English, on which Yeats would then put style, "a last and immortal relish." This makes a kind of crazy sense: the French for construction, the first English only for Taidgh O'Donoghue's eye, the Irish for root idiom, the second English for "PQ" (Peasant Quality), the "style" to give Yeats after all something to do.
Hugh Kenner: A Colder Eye. The Modern Irish Writers (very funny book)
2. Performing it:
For instance, the name of the country Eire he wanted pronounced something like "Oorchah." A character played by Henry Ainley was named "Caoelte." This we had been pronouncing at rehearsals "Kaoltay," but Yeats said no, it ought to be "Wheelsher." So it went on right through the cast ... Everyone was in panic ... Harry Ainley went through the evening being called successively "Wheelchair," "Coldtea," and "Quilty."
Matheson Lang, who played Niall in "Diarmuid and Grania".
Yeats was right. Brendan O Hehir says that "Caoilte" sounds like "Queelcher" and "Eire" like "Errchuh."
When did you first become aware that there were other languages in this world besides your native language? Or did you even have this experience (as opposed to always knowing as far back as you can remember)?
I don't necessarily mean the first time you were exposed to other languages, I mean the first time you gained a conscious awareness of the distinction. For instance, for those raised multilingual from birth on, there may have been a moment where you met a new person and realised for the first time there were people who understood one of your native languages but not the other(s).
Do you remember it? What was it like?
In this video of a witness testimony at the George Zimmerman trial, the interpreter uses usted (as to be expected) until about 23:30, at which point he has a brief moment of clarification with the witness regarding pronouns in her testimony, and switches to addressing her with tú. He uses tú for the rest of the testimony.
What motivated him to do this? I am student interpreter and non-native speaker of Spanish, and am interested in the intricacies of formal and informal second person pronouns. Can any native Spanish speakers/interpreters shed some light on this situation?
Hi I saw this graffiti in Athens and I want to know what it says. Is it Arabic? Can anyone here translate it?
I've always thought that the plural of "foot" is "feet", no matter in what sense the word is used. However, today I've came across a site that states: "The wandering albatross has the largest wingspan (up to 12 foot) of any bird." Is there anything to this particular use that requires singular form?
I have to write a phonetic spelling for the name "Chana", which I'm deducing is from Hebrew.
1. Is the initial CH actually as in 'loch'? If so, I usually substitute H. However, some sources say it should be a "SH" or "K" sound instead. Thoughts from someone who's familiar with this name? (note that I'm probably writing this phonetic spelling for a native speaker of Australian English)
2. Also, I've found all manner of contradictory suggestions for the pronunciation of the first A. Some say a long 'a' as in 'father', others say 'aw' as in 'dawn', still others say it's "SHAY-na", which would make that A as "ay" as in "day".
Help! I assume the issue here is that different people may have anglicised the original pronunciation differently. I'll put in a note to tell them to contact the person and ask what she prefers, but I always like to put down a suggestion in case they can't get hold of her.