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July 2014
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an interested bystander [userpic]

I am reading Kim by Kipling now and Kipling regularly comments that the orphan Kim, whose parents were Irish in India and who grew up a street child there, speaks in the vernacular, thinks in the vernacular, has to mentally translate from the vernacular when speaking to British officials etc. I am wondering what the vernacular means in the context of the late 19th century India - is it one of the languages of India (which?) or some local version of English?

Brandoch Daha [userpic]

So, I thought, what is this word giclée I'm seeing on advertisements for mass-reproduced art? I checked wikipedia.

The word giclée was appropriated by Jack Duganne, a printmaker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on the IRIS printer, a large-format, high-resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer they had adapted for fine-art printing. He was specifically looking for a word that would not have the negative connotations of "inkjet" or "computer generated". It is based on the French word gicleur, which means "nozzle" (the verb form gicler means "to squirt, spurt, or spray"). An unintended consequence of Duganne's choice of name was its problematic use in the French language since it is also modern French slang for male ejaculation.


Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I cannot find the meaning of this word. The online search tells me that the only source of this word is the preface to the Heptameron. Maybe it's misspelled?

The short stories which Master Francis scatters about his longer work are, indeed, models of narration, but his whole tone of thought and manner of treatment are altogether alien from those of the "ravished spirit" whom he praises. His deliberate coarseness is not more different from her deliberate delicacy than his intensely practical spirit from her high-flown romanticism (which makes one think of, and may have suggested, the Court of La Quinte), and her mixture of devout and amatory quodlibetation from his cynical criticism and all-dissolving irony.

Julie [userpic]

Are there any gender-neutral third-person singular pronouns in any Celtic language?


Panda Girang [userpic]


I know it's psalm 61 but that's about it.
I tried googling it but no result comes up... the psaume 61 (modern version?) seems different... I thought it will be easy to find hymn lyric but turns out it's not :(
Please help, thank you!

Julie [userpic]

what does the Hebrew in this graphic say?

may be NSFW

Svetosila [userpic]

Dear friends, I need to find a proper English term (can be British or American English, but something universal would be preferable) meaning the chief film editor (a person who directs... well... his subordinates who are film editors too).

I've read the relevant Wiki entry, yet I'm at a loss.
I need a term to convey the idea that nowadays a film editor's role has grown bigger, a term that would convey the difference between film editors and a person who directs them (just like a director of photography directs cinemathographers who work for him\her).

Actually, I'm trying to translate the Russian term режиссер монтажа (which is fairly new, by the way). The rough translation would be "director of film editing" (If I follow the "director of photography" model). 

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

From a Beckett's poem:

bon bon il est un paysCollapse )

I wanted to ask how you understand these:

1. grain de ciel as in a small part of the sky or texture (for example the film grain)? I go for part, as otherwise it doesn't make sense to me.
2. Is bien belle chose more or less belle than belle chose? Judging from bien aimer is less than aimer I'd say less.
3. Is 'spirale' a noun or a verb here? I think it's a verb.
4. How do you understand this verse "des microns des années ténèbres'
a) 'le temps des microns, le temps des années, le temps des ténèbres'
b) 'le temps des microns des années, le temps des ténèbres'
c) 'the time of microns of dark years'
or differently.
5. Can 'ténèbres' serve as an adjective in general? Or a verb in this context?

I know it's a lot of questions, but I hope that someone will have the patience to answer them.

Current Mood: mellowmellow
Current Music: Robert Plant "Darkness Darkness"
Brandoch Daha [userpic]

I was surprised to see the spelling "pedlar" for what I have always previously seen as "peddler". Is this a regional variance? I'm in the U.S.

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I wanted to ask if this construction has any name:

Francis had scarcely become King than he turned his eyes upon Italy, [...]

from the preface to the Heptameron by Margaret, Queen of Navarre.

Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Clannad "I See Red"
karinmollberg (Mollberg is a C.M. Bellman quote) [userpic]

In French I first came across "mon (petit) chou(cho)" and wondered, how a vegetable as endearing as cabbage came to be a term of endearment but there is a popular pastry with cream inside called "chou" and then it makes some sense, as "sweetiepie".

In the meaning of "teacher´s pet" and "blue-eyed boy" or "enfant gâté" it is more derogatory, even evoking an idea of inner rottenness while "my little cauliflower" sounds bittersweet enough as a combination of food and flower terms.

So far I know of "mon sucre d´orge" (my barley sugar, must not be misread as "d´ogre"), "mon trognon" (my fruit core) and "ma mie" which refers to the inner, softer part of bread (besides literally meaning my friend or love, from "amie"). Then ..."mon coco" (my egg) but there it already gets ambiguous for both egg and hen can only be food terms to carnivores or lacto-vegetarians.

If one starts looking at all the animal terms of endearment as main courses with the eyes of the carnivore predator this of course multiplies the possibilities but here I am mainly asking for food terms, firstly but feel free to add those animals that are often or can be eaten and no insult intended to anyone, on the contrary (cannibals need their protein too).

What terms of endearment that are or are related to food do you know of in your language(s) and what is their meaning?

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I'd like to ask which of the following versions is correct: une jupe peut être rouge ou orange, ...

1. ... à votre choix
2. ... de votre choix
3. ... selon votre choix

or maybe something else entirely.

Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: The Cure "Lovesong"
Monument [userpic]

Someone who's posting excerpts from their teenage diary on Tumblr has explained the cipher they used to keep it secret; I thought folk here might be interested as well.

allseeingusagi [userpic]

I just picked up another language, and it's Korean.
I've been studying for a little while, and I'm trying to keep myself interested.
Does anyone know a website or a twitter account I can practice/learn new words?
There are some people I follow who speak very briefly but their vernacular is weird sometimes.

Also, while I'm asking, know any places to build up your Japanese reading?
There were a couple of places that I used to visit, but I don't have the URLs anymore.

I don't necessarily want flash card places, though for Korean that might be helpful starting out.
If I'm not being clear, feel free to ask; it's 01:40, and I just crash studied for three and a half-hours.

Andrew [userpic]

Has anyone here ever completed an ulpan in Israel? I'm looking for one that lasts a few months, but googling is a bit overwhelming, so I thought I'd check for any personal experience here. I don't want to be on a kibbutz, and also I'm not Jewish.  I'd appreciate any stories or advice on where to start, besides just, you know, the internet. :) Thanks! 

mamcu [userpic]

I feel sure that most of you either knew this or don't care, but it interested me, so I'm sharing this on the plural of "octopus":

"The Oxford English Dictionary lists octopuses, octopi and octopodes (in that order); it labels octopodes "rare", and notes that octopi derives from the mistaken assumption that octōpūs is a second declension Latin noun, which it is not. Rather, it is (Latinized) Ancient Greek, from oktṓpous (ὀκτώπους), gender masculine, whose plural is oktṓpodes (ὀκτώποδες). If the word were native to Latin, it would be octōpēs ('eight-foot') and the plural octōpedes, analogous to centipedes and mīllipedes, as the plural form of pēs ('foot') is pedes." from Wikipedia

Cass [userpic]

Hi everyone,

I'm an MA student in Linguistics doing a survey on attitudes towards the construction (zo)(iets) van in Dutch. A few studies have been done on this construction (syntax, pragmatics, development), but to my knowledge no one has looked at speakers' attitudes towards it. I'm looking for both L1 and L2 (in fact I'm especially interested in language learner's attitudes) speakers of Dutch; any age/gender/linguistic background/variety spoken/etc. welcome.

My survey takes 15-20 minutes to complete and can be found here (

Thanks in advance to anyone who helps out! :) Историк-генеалог Семёнов Виталий [userpic]

jaderabbit [userpic]

Suppose that we are close friends and you give me a thoughtful gift. To me, is it "mi regalo" (because it's mine), "tu regalo" (because you gave it to me), or just "el regalo"?

Or, now that I think of it, does it cease to be a gift once it's been given?

Any replies useful, particularly if you can tell me the dialect you're citing.

ain't no Houellebecq girl [userpic]

Hi linguaphiles,

I'm looking to get some bilingual Arabic / English poetry books (the sort with the original and the translation on facing pages) as a fun way to practice my Arabic reading and improve my vocabulary. I have just ordered Victims of a Map, and am looking for similar resources. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Also, I'd quite like the opportunity to browse books like this before buying them. Over the next few weeks I will be in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Can anyone recommend book shops with a wide range of different language resources in any of those cities?

Thank you!

Julie [userpic]

I just saw
given as gender-neutral third-person singular pronouns in Danish,
when I consulted google translate about this,
it did not recognise them in Danish.
It did, however, recognise them in Dutch.

So what's the truth?

miss chanandler bong [userpic]

Hi everyone,
I am currently preparing for the TRKI-3 test and have been going through a couple of mock exams recently. One of the tasks in the oral exam is to participate in a conversation with "friends" and to express the same opinion as them, only in different words. This is one of the cues:

- А вот прадедушка мне понравился! Такой здоровяк в свои 88!
- Точно! Как огурчик.
- ...

Three questions:
1) What exactly is the meaning of 'огурчик' here?
2) What other words are there to describe an old person that bears his/her age well?
3) What other ways of agreeing (in a very colloquial context) are there except for точно/совершенно верно? There are four of these cues altogether and I feel like an idiot repeating the same phrases over and over.

Спасибо заранее for your help!

nothx [userpic]

I have a feeling I will be going to Montreal for work-related reasons at the end of August for a week or so, so I thought I would use this as motivation to get myself back into studying French!

Last I tried to study French I got as far as Lesson 15 in Pimsleur's French. It taught me some basic survivor French, like "where is the bathroom" "how much is this" "what time is it" "I would like to..."
Lesson 15 is when a lot of numbers show up, namely numbers 11 through 19, followed by 20-29 in lesson 16 and then 30-50 in lesson 17.

The numbers are really hard for me to learn verbally (Pimsleur doesn't seem like the ideal way to learn numbers, though it has been helpful for learning phrases) so I found this online:
It is a simple flash with numbers, spelled out in french and then read in french. It's been really helpful for me so that I can rapidly quiz myself.
(Numbers are also important for me to know for work since part of my job involves retail/interface with customers)

Any beginner's resources for French studies very welcome.
Especially regarding French phonics / how to read French.

Also, is Quebec french very different from France french? Is there anything in particular I should look out for? I am assuming that Pimsleur's french is teaching me French as expected in France.

firiel11 [userpic]

Setting: A slum in Reykjavik, Iceland, in a paralell world with 19th century technology sometime in the far-future.

Searches: 19th century Norwegian thieves' cant, scandinavian thieves' cant, thieves' slang 19th century scandinavia,

I'm drafting a project based loosely on Oliver Twist but set in Iceland in a paralell world where trolls, dwarves and elves exist alongside magic, the Greenland Norse colony survived, Iceland has an indigenous troll population, is much larger, and never lost its independence and Reykjavik looks like Dickensian London. One of my protagonists, Bjarki (see here on little_details but idea has changed slightly since then) who's basically the Artful Dodger grows up in a thieves' den run by a dwarven fence called Thróinn who's basically a Fagin and a troll-woman called Gunna who takes in babies for money.

But even though it's fantasy I want to have some realistic details about what life was like in Scandinavian slums (in particular in Norway and Sweden) for the very poor. Specifically I want to know if there are any good resources for the Norwegian and Swedish equivalent of London thieves' cant that I could use as a model for the thieves' cant in my story, although going by how many immigrants this fantasy Iceland has and the extreme poverty in this Reykjavik there would probably be a bit of British influence on the slang people use.

Does anyone know of any resources or examples? Thanks in advance!

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

Could someone please tell me what is a difference between:

1. Je n'aime pas tes souliers, mais tu en as des autres.


2. Je n'aime pas tes souliers, mais tu en as les autres.

Are they both correct?

Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Jefferson Airplane "White Rabbit"

Toic (or toich) is a word used in South Sudan to describe a kind of seasonally-flooded grassland associated with the Sudd marshes. Can anyone here tell me how to pronounce it?

Thanks in advance!

The Nat That Walks By Herself [userpic]

"Topping it the nob/knob"--Aubreyism or historical phrase? Thanks in advance.

at least 10% Discocunt [userpic]

Hello Linguaphilists...

I have a colleague looking for information about the challenges that L1 Arabic speakers have when communicating in English, particularly in terms of directness/indirectness and whether they get read as being too indirect and unhelpful by English speakers.

This came about because I was talking about how much more direct German can be than English, and that even though I speak German and know that "Klar, wir treffen uns am sechs Uhr" is a perfectly ordinary sentence, I can still get a bit taken aback when I hear a L1 German speaker say exactly the same thing in English ("Right! We'll meet at six!"), because in English I'd expect to hear it phrased as a suggestion. ("Great, so we meet at six?") So it's that kind of thing - particularly around how Arabic phrasing can sound "off" in not necessarily identifiable ways in English. He's not mentioned any particular dialect, so any versions or Arabic or general Arabic stuff would be helpful.

Thanks very much!

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

A sentence like this:

Un des passangers tombe sous un wagon de métro et meurt.

my teacher corrected like this:

Un des passanger tombe sous un wagon de métro et meurt.

I don't understand why. In all the languages that I know it doesn't make sens logically. It's one of the passengers, one of many, so why singular? She couldn't explain it to me, just said that it's ok.

Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Current Music: The Doors "The Soft Parade"
amaiakuyume [userpic]

Does 憑き纏って (or whatever its dictionary form is) mean something like "to haunt"?

Context #1: 振り返れば、当時から事務所問題ってのは必ず憑き纏っていたこと。
Context #2: 義経に命を救われて以降、常に義経の側に憑き纏っていることから「陰」と呼ばれている銀髪の物ノ怪。

Panda Girang [userpic]

jitsu wa something something?
please help, thanks!

5x6 [userpic]

How would you formulate the difference between catastrophe, calamity and disaster?

Drama Shark [userpic]

If so, I'd be supremely in your debt if you could give the following passage a run through with a red pen. A bit of background that may help: this takes place in 1889 in the fictional county of Barsetshire. To simplify things, I've decided to represent the rural dialect of said county with that of 19th century Wiltshire.

As for the four characters, William and Frome are upper middle class men from the city of Barchester who've gone into the country to hunt, John is William's servant and assistant, and Sam is a friend of John's. (Frome brought a man along, too, but he has no lines in this scene.)

The tale of the old AbbeyCollapse )

Muse [userpic]

Thank you for your help:

Kiitos avustanne
Kiitos avustasi

Which of these is correct? Or if both are correct, for which situations or in which dialects?

Kiitos! :)

M. [userpic]

Hi all!

I downloaded a Russian vocab flashcard app recently (Russian Words, by sensus lingua) and have run into a confusing issue with it. Everything looked legit enough (to my A1 level eyes, haha), and there seemed to be a good deal of overlap with the basic words I had already learned elsewhere... but then! As one of the cards contained an error (the flipside, which was supposed to contain the same Russian word as the front + its translation, showed a different Russian word instead) I googled both words to resolve my confusion, only to find that neither of them appear to be existing words! Google Translate didn't understand either one, Google proper found only 6 results for one and 200 for the other, and autochanged both of them into other words.

The words (or "words") in question are безудобный and безкрасочный, one or both of which according to my app should mean "colourless". Does anyone know what might be going on here? They sure look like Russian adjectives to me, but apparently they aren't. Is this just a different Slavic language? If this app has been lying to me I'd better start double checking everything I've learned so far!

Thanks very much in advance for any clarification you guys can give me! <3

Edit - mystery solved! My app was lying, or at least it doesn't have any more of a clue about prefixes than I do. Boo! Thanks so much to everyone who commented! :)

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

An English Question.

What does the word fey mean to you and how would you use it? Please don´t look it up before answering, native speaker or not. I ask because the way I´ve heard and seen it used, does not seem to correspond to what I find at looking it up.

Thank you so much all for your responses! This is why I love this community.

Added afterwards (not to influence anyone´s responses in advance):

Since someone suggested, I would be "fey" or by all means "fay" (I would not have noticed the difference in pronounciation in spoken English) at a private conversation, I´ve been asking native speakers and others what they think of this word. I must have read it in some writer´s works before but not taken particular notice.
the "otherwordly" sense and "elf-like" were mentioned in variations at asking about it. Then, at looking up "fey" in an old dictionary (pocket Thesaurus; not on the net) I found out about the "doomed" or "fated to die" meaning and can only hope, the speaker was unaware about those meanings or rather not going in that direction...nor indeed insinuating my natural gaiety would be anything negative to be ashamed of (special thanks to muckefuck).

All in all, a fairly fey choice for a supposed compliment and somewhat contra-productive as such even if providing food for thought (the dinner itself being mediocre).

Laudre [userpic]

This is meant to be a humorous/parody pop-up error message in a computer program. I'd like it to read:

"If you can read this, something has gone terribly wrong."

If possible, I'd like it to be in slightly broken Russian, with any mistakes the kind you might see from someone whose L1 is American English; if so, please explain the mistakes (just so I know what they are).


EDIT: fixed subject line!

Heather [userpic]

I went to a Korean festival yesterday and noticed these boxes piled up behind a display booth.  The English translation has me stumped as to what it could be, and I'm hoping the Korean words above it say what it is.  There was nothing at the booth itself that seemed remotely close to this description. What was in these boxes? (May or may not be SFW?) Thanks!

Picture of boxes...Collapse )

Mx. Jack Beloit [userpic]

Can someone tell me what this t-shirt says? (I think it's Chinese or Japanese.) Possible translations I've come across online are "danger" and "terrible" but also "big changes" or "drastic change".

ETA: I mean the writing on the t-shirt the guy on the right is wearing.

Юлия Гофри [userpic]

Something that was mentioned to me before but I never thought to check the truth of this statement, until now.

To those who speak British English: is it true that the idiom "to knock someone up" only means "to get somebody pregnant" when used in American English?
In support of that, neither Merriam-Webster nor Oxford dictionary mention that meaning, at least not their online versions.  The Oxford dictionary, in fact, mentions a completely different meaning, something to do with the sports.
Can someone answer that?
I was also kind of curious as to what other idioms exist in one but not the other.

M. C. A. Hogarth [userpic]

I've been researching articles and for some reason (are they less glamorous or something?) they get little love in comparison to discussions of pronouns, adjectives, etc. So I have come to Livejournal, which has never failed me for thoughtful discussion. How do articles work in the languages you speak? Do you need them? Are they tacked onto the nouns, hang out by themselves, vanish when inapplicable? Are they gendered? Numbered? Definite or not? I am all ears, and grateful for the education. :)

Hello linguaphiles,

Anyone can help to identify that language?

The very first impression is that it sounds a bit semitic but I might just be a first impression.

Thanks in advance for the time spent,

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I am reading a chronicle from the beginning of the XX century and found this word: архипастырь. I suspect that it means an archbishop, but the dictionaries tell me that an archbishop is архиепископ. Is this some kind of slang, or an unofficial name?

Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Current Music: Песня про зайцев
Oryx-and-Crake [userpic]

Preferably a native speaker of English. Please see the original and the Russian translation under the cut.
There will be some kind of payment involved.
Read more...Collapse )

Thank you!

Юлия Гофри [userpic]

Hello everyone.

Recently, I was trying to find an information on what is supposed to be a famous quote, and ran into a dead wall.

There is a saying in Russian that is, interestingly enough, attributed to Napoleon.  The first and famous one. I was unable to find a specific source (like a reference to a specific letter or such.)
When I tried to search for that same expression in the English segment of the Internet, I came up with nothing.
I asked a French-speaking friend to do the search in French, which I am assuming Napoleon used when saying this - same result.
The saying, when I translate it from Russian, goes something like this:

"The people who do not want to feed their own army will end up feeding somebody else's [army]."
(In Russian: "Народ, который не хочет кормить свою армию, будет кормить чужую.")

Keep in mind that the version I translated into English was (supposedly) translated into Russian from French, so the original might sound somewhat different.
However, the only Napoleon quote I have found on this topic is about the army marching on it's stomach, and, unless the translator was way, way too creative, I don't think that is the source.  It's not like it couldn't have happen, of course.  There is a Russian idiom "to feel in another one's plate" which means "to feel out of place" and was supposedly born as a mistranslation of some French expression.  It could also be mistakenly attributed all together.  Still, if this is, indeed, the case, I would very much like to know.
Does anyone have any information on the topic?

Laura 真理子 [userpic]

Long time since my last activity in this community. Hello again :)

I am hoping that someone can help me convert pinyin "tian qi jiu" into (coherent) Chinese logograms. Either simplified or traditional will do. Also, it would be helpful, if you could include add the tone to each syllable so I could pronounce it at least somewhat understandably!

Background to my request...Collapse )

Thanks in advance!

The Midnight Rider [userpic]

So, I'm writing a story set in Argentina (in Corrientes), but I'm having some trouble with use of the word "gringo". From my googling, which wasn't particularly helpful, I saw that it's used in Argentina, but I can't really figure out what connotation is has. I'm familiar with how it's used in Guatemala (i.e. to mean white but also outsider/intruder), and that's the meaning I'm trying to convey. Is "gringo" the word I want, or is there a more appropriate one for Argentina?

jaderabbit [userpic]

I'm researching for a story about a fictional family that speaks Castilian Spanish at home in the U.S. The family spans several generations, with a matriarch who's near the century mark. I have never been to Spain--just to Mexico, which has rather different dialects--and my Spanish is rusty besides.

I'm not clear about where the usted and divisions fall in Spanish Spanish (and I understand there's some argument as to what qualifies as castellano). Would the elderly woman be to everyone because they're family, or would she be usted to everyone because she's the oldest? Does run both ways between parents and children, or do parents remain usted even to adult children?

I'm aware of vosotros, but I've never used it outside of a classroom. I understand that it's something like "y'all," but I'm not clear as to when it would be appropriate to use it in a family group. Can you use it even if you're the youngest adult addressing a group of older ones?

Any guidance would be most welcome!

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I've been told that with the names of professions (and nationalities and religions) you can use the indefinite articles or nothing, depending on the structure.

With personal pronoun there is no article, e.g.:

Il est acteur. (Il est français. Il est catholique.)

With c'est there is an indefinite article, e.g.:

C'est un acteur. (C'est un Français. C'est un catholique.)

My question is: if I use a personal pronoun and have an adjective next to a noun, do I put an indefinite article, or not? Does it depend on which one is first? E.g.:

1. Je suis chanteur. no article
2. Je suis [un?] chanteur célèbre. noun + adjective
3. Je suis [un?] excellent chanteur. adjective + noun

Current Mood: sillysilly
Current Music: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds "The Weeping Song"
bibah003 [userpic]

He taught me to not lose hope.

He taught me not to lose hope.

Is there a difference in meaning between these two sentences? I think I always hear the form of the second sentence being used to imply the same meaning as the first sentence, but for some reason, it occurred to me today that it might not mean the same. It hurts my head when I try to understand it.

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