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zurita2015 [userpic]

Dear linguaphiles, is there anybody among us who can understand spoken Basque and translate a few phrases into English or Spanish for me?

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

...should be used with subjonctif. But I came across a sentence that uses conditional:

Il est à craindre que les mineurs ne seraient pas prêts à accepter de différentes restrictions qui leurs impose le ministre.

Is it correct? If so, how it should be translated into English?

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

In some cases I have no doubts which form I should use, but in this supposed proverb: 'a wedding is often an end of a friendship' I'm not sure. Which one sounds better to a native speaker: "of a friendship" or "to a friendship"?

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

Recently I came across a few songs sung by Aleksei Kuznetsov. I fell in love and I tried to understand the texts. Could you please say if I'm right or wrong?

большой контрабас и тромбон с кларнетом
вздыхали по флейте зимой и летом
за витриною пыльной они проживали
о пустяках по вечерам толкoвали.

а флейта никак не могла решиться
не знала в кого из троих влюбиться
но когда звучал их квартет то поверьте
казалось звёздам что они на концерте

однажды пришёл покупатель старый
и тоненькой флейты с тех пор не стало
но не надо грустить, позабудьте про жалость
ведь нам на память эта песенка осталась

Current Mood: glad
Current Music: Алексей Кузнецов "Песенка таксиста"
jinantonix [userpic]

Hello!  Can someone who knows Swedish please translate what's being said in the video clip below, starting at the 38-second mark?


Tack så mycket!!

steepholm [userpic]

I've been trying to think of other contemporary English constructions that work like "to blame" in the sentence, "Who is to blame for this mess?" - where there is an implied passive (i.e. "who is to be blamed?").

So far, I can't think of any good examples. The nearest I've got is "to thank", albeit it sounds a little archaic: "Who is to thank for this mess?"

Interestingly, while this sounds semi-acceptable where "thank" acts as an ironic synonym for "blame", as in the above example, to my ear it sounds less so when used unironically: "Who is to thank for the lovely bouquet I found on my desk this morning?" This leads me to wonder whether its semi-acceptability in the negative example derives from a kind of semantic resonance with "to blame".

Anyway, I'd be interested in further examples or thoughts on this in general.

zurita2015 [userpic]

I'm translating an interview where the novel "Finnegan's Wake" is discussed.

Isn’t Joyce’s attempt to devote virtually an entire novel to the Unconscious more than a purely linguistic experiment?
Yes, of course. The wakeworld is only narrow in that it’s asleep, fixed on one set of impulses only, has too few characters.

I'm almost sure that Anthony Burgess meant by the "wakeworld" the world that one perceives while one is awake, as opposed to the world of dreams. Still, what if Burgess wanted to make a pun on "wakeworld" and the name of the novel? Does it seem to you it even remotely likely?

Brandoch Daha [userpic]

I've run into a few people from southwest Michigan who use "in a minute" or "for a minute" to describe a fairly long time. Has anyone else run into this?

Example, from a group that discusses local restaurants: "I haven't been there in a minute. I'll have to go in, get my fix and ask!"

Example, from a personal online chat with a different person: "U been doing the radio thing for a minut now"

Natasha Ivanovna Manteca Van Spluut [userpic]


Could someone translate 'Leopard's dream' (dream of the leopard) into Zulu for me? Thank you in advance :)

5x6 [userpic]

The question is: how likely is it that a sentence with an indefinite article in English would translate into Spanish with a definite article?

Specifically, consider the following situation. A book about medieval Spain describes how a local Jewess, in violating the contemporary norm, visits the town market (I am not discussing whether this is historically true, only the linguistic part). Somebody recognizes her, and yells "Look, there is a Jew here!". If that passage is translated into Spanish, should the indefinite article, like in English (una) or definite (la judia) be used? This is the first time this person appears in the market (and in the text), and there are no other Jews around in the market at that moment.


Юлия Гофри [userpic]

A friend who is trying to learn English through Duolingo surprised me today by mentioning that "mouse" has a colloquial meaning I never heard before - a black-eye.
I was wondering how common the usage is and why I never heard it  before (I live in the US Midwest region). The examples I've found online mostly mention it in a sports context, such as "a boxer is going to have a mouse there."  Is this the area where it's mostly used?  Or is it more specific to a geographical region?  Have you ever heard/used it?

kindmemory [userpic]

Is it "les petites pommes du juillet" or "de juillet"?

Pervy Nine Fancier [userpic]

Hi! I came across this community and am intrigued. I'm getting my MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) right now in a program that requires a lot of credits in linguistic disciplines. I've taken classes in phonetics, phonology, sociolinguistics, first language acquisition and second language acquisition. I also lived in Japan for a while and speak incompetent Japanese. I'm looking forward to seeing what this comm is all about.

I was also hoping perhaps someone could help me out. I'm writing a story right now with an Italian character, and if there's anyone out there who speaks Italian, I'd love to pick your brain about some terms and phrases.


piperki [userpic]

Lately, I've been meditating on the word grab. It seems to have nearly replaced other verbs such as take, choose, lift etc.

Welcome to my office--just grab a seat.
Grab a card and scan it to join our program!
Could you grab some eggs out of the fridge?
Just let me grab a couple of dresses to try on.

My sense of grab is that it doesn't have a positive connotation--it's negative if someone grabs you by the arm, but I suppose these days my friend wouldn't just take my hand as we walk through the park, he'd just about have to grab it. One might grab the arm of a person about to tumble off the side of a ship, or grab the pitchfork from the leader of an advancing mob, and it would be a sudden, violent action. But no more?

When did grab lose its negative connotation? When did it completely substitute for other perfectly good verbs?

I'm trying to translate "The Dude Abides" to latin. The best I can come up with is "vir commorror" but I'm not sure of the proper case to use.

5x6 [userpic]

"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?

Da [userpic]

How would you expand the Internet acronyms "smh" and "smdh"? And where do you remember first encountering them?

ringlat [userpic]

(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.

rhiannon_black [userpic]

What language is this and what does it say?

Thanks for your help.

mystery box.JPG

avium concentus in agris [userpic]

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!" :-)

Dyzzet [userpic]

Crimean Tartar language. What if a man wants to sing this? Should he change the lyrics?

Yaşlığıma toyalmadım
Men bu yerde yaşalmadım
Yaşlığıma toyalmadım
Men bu yerde yaşalmadım

Г-н Фаршеклоакин [userpic]

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?

steepholm [userpic]

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?

whswhs [userpic]

( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )

Garonne [userpic]

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.

claudialc [userpic]

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?


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Antje [userpic]


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.

Many thanks!

blackxlupin [userpic]

Hi everyone,

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!

perpateticien [userpic]

Hey guys,

Can you help me translate these three pages please?
Thank you!




topum [userpic]

Anyone can translate the text on this page (or at least some of it)? I wonder where this page is from.

zurita2015 [userpic]

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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Г-н Фаршеклоакин [userpic]

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.

kindmemory [userpic]

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.

r_blackcat [userpic]

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.

booq [userpic]

Hi everybody,

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.

Kolobok [userpic]

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.

topum [userpic]

This was in Thessaloniki. Anyone can translate it?
Many thanks.

JR [userpic]

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 :)

topum [userpic]

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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Kengwen [userpic]

What is your favorite non-English word starting with a G?
With a K?

What does it mean, and what language is it?

avium concentus in agris [userpic]

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!

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

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?

Current Music: Led Zeppelin "Good Times, Bad Times"
Alex [userpic]

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!

steepholm [userpic]

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?

whswhs [userpic]

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!

Oryx-and-Crake [userpic]

Dear linguaphiles,
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?

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

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?

Current Music: Bryan Ferry "The Right Stuff"
dragondances [userpic]

Hello linguaphiles!

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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