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sonhadora_18 [userpic]

I just returned from a brief visit to Hungary which was inspiring indeed! One thing I love about travels ( I'm sure many of you agree )  is how many languages you can be exposed to just from the airport and flights.

I was talking to my friends that I'd visited and we were reflecting on this question - what is required in order to say confidently that you know a language? Is it really just as simple as knowing the basic phrases and communicating, without the literary components of reading and writing? Is it the literary that should be emphasized over listening and speaking?

 It was a question that made me reflect on my own personal language experiences. I objectively consider my progress thus far with the languages I have studied, and what I'd like to improve upon. For example, I'm comfortable saying that I'm proficient in French, Spanish, and Hindi. To me this means, speaking, reading, writing, and talking about practical things ( hobbies, family, buying something to eat or drink ) as well as more abstract concepts ( my emotions, how I feel about the environment, literature, religion. )

I'd like to improve upon and study more with Japanese, Korean, and Turkish so I can read and write fluently, as well as have more intricate conversations with native speakers. I think with time and diligent study, I can get there. One step at a time!

And though my experience was limited and I'd have to work the most extensively on these, I'd love to study more Hungarian and German! I may not  make much progress with these last two, since well, we only have so many hours in the day. And these languages are quite challenging with the grammar. I guess these two will be my very long-term goals.

I look forward to hearing you all share your thoughts on this and your personal language learning / progress as well =)

Tiny Tiny Court [userpic]

Have any of you read or ever used the phrase "to piece through [s.th.]"?

I've used it reasonably often in my writing, meaning to carefully examine something/carefully go through something (in a piece-by-piece manner, for example), and I have a clear understanding in my mind what it means, but I can find no record in any dictionary of this being a valid usage of piece as a verb, and now I have no clue where I came up with this phrase.

It feels archaic to me, or at least not 20th-century English, and I feel like I probably read it in a book set in the past? Googling it has proven difficult, but I've got a few examples supporting my meaning:

"...he returns to Sri Lanka, where he was born, to piece through the shards of his own family’s extravagant and wildly self-destructive history." (x)

"If it doesn't then you'll have to piece through the code or post the code so we can see what you are referring to." (x)

"Later, there will be plenty of time to piece through the "missing element," detail by detail." (x)

From what I've seen, it could have been a warping of 'pick through', but for me, 'piece through' has a much greater delicacy about it, being very careful. I would pick through a trash heap, but piece through a pile of old photos.

Is this a 'valid' usage? I've never questioned it before, but a friend noticed the phrase in my writing and asked what it meant (she's a non-native speaker and couldn't find it in her dictionaries, though she was able to divine its meaning from context).

avium concentus in agris [userpic]

When I was a little kid, my grandmother and my mum always warned me not to eat raw dough (which I loved) or else I would get frogs living in my stomach. Maybe this is a regional thing - I grew up in Carinthia, in the South of Austria - , because I only found this phrase referring to drinking too much water.

Are there any other kinds of frogs-in-the-tummy related warnings where you live?

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

I've been really interested lately in this idea or concept and I was wondering if someone could offer a simple and clear explanation of what vowel harmony is.

I've come across some dictionaries and articles online, such as wikipedia, that define it as a 'long-distance assimilatory phonological process.'

That's a bit complex for me, at least at the moment! I'm trying to break that down and understand it better. I think I understand assimilatory...meaning the idea that similar sounds maybe will be paired with others. Phonology is simply the organization of the phonemes or sounds....so what is meant by 'long-distance' with respect to language or linguistics?

I'm also curious to know if there's a finite list of languages that do embed or involve this aspect of vowel harmony? So far I have come across Turkish and Hungarian in my studies. I am guessing that similar languages ( like in the same language family as Turkish and Hungarian ) may also have vowel harmony.

I have also heard that of the languages in India, Telugu has vowel harmony, but I don't think any others do...at least so far I have not come across any that 'seem' to have this. I could be wrong though!

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

Hello all!

Thank you as always for the help, this community is a treasure chest =)

There is an independent coffee shop that I recently visited with a friend, and it was owned by a Japanese family. I heard someone order

私はいつも砂糖なしのコーヒーを飲みます. I think that this is what he said....I thought that, to express ' without ' as in, I want something without sugar, I would say the noun first, and THEN the item specifically that I don't want contained....

so I had thought, I'd say コーヒー砂糖なし お願いします.

Thank you alll! Sorry if my hiragana and katakana as well as kanji are not correctly used. Still learning, of course - Japanese is a beautiful but intricate language!

Тануръ [userpic]

Hi everybody,
I heard today a language that I could not recognize at all. Recorded it a bit.
I am curious what is it? Farsi? Albanian? Starting from 9th second.


aduial_eternal [userpic]

Image under cut...Collapse )
This little note is on the back of an old photo. I purchased an entire album of vintage photos, and this is one of the few with anything written on them. I think it's German, but I could be wrong. I'd be really grateful if someone could tell me what it says.
Thanks in advance!

Current Location: Alaska
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: Washing machine
lamperouge_0 [userpic]

Hello, I am a little confused about using the phrase 気になる

I know that Xが気になる means "bothered by X" or "concerned about X." However, what does it mean when you say [verb]気になる (for example やる気になる)? Could you explain it to me (preferably with some example sentences) or point me to a website that does? Thank you.

John Kelly [userpic]

I'm studying Indonesian and have finally managed to recognize this pun in an improvised conversation between a pair of clowns and a traditional Javanese singer (pesinden) who happens to be from Los Angeles (her name is Megan C.D. O'Donoghue and her career is remarkable in itself).
Early in the conversation one clown tells the other the singer is from "Amerika Seringat."
She politely corrects him: "Amerika Serikat."

Serikat: union, united
Seringat: sweat
Oops--on further investigation, the language is Javanese, not Indonesian. (They're very close--I'm not the first to mistake one for the other.) The pun would almost work in Indonesian: it would be serikat/keringat. Both languages seem a bit casual about initial [t]/[s]/[k].

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

Hi all, Thank you for the Japanese help re: my last post!

I am using the Genki textbook right now with a Japanese class. We are doing chapter 8 and 9 (review of the last, studying and doing homework for both chapters) and focusing on the short form of verbs, nouns and adjectives.

Is this something that is considered informal? How and when would I use these short forms, in the adequate or appropriate manner?

I'm not sure if I am forming these sentences correctly, please correct me if I'm wrong.

' I ate ' for the regular form is 食べました

And for the short form is 食べた.

To say ' I came ' for the regular form
And for the short form,

Thank you all! Just trying to understand...that the short forms can be used for verbs, nouns AND adjectives, but the basic meaning I think is not changed...so therefore I wondered if this had something to do with formality and situation specific context.

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

Hello all,

I'm going to be seeing some Hungarian friends in about 3 weeks and I'd like to learn a little bit of the language before then.

Could anyone please explain how or why words change their endings in Hungarian? I'm trying to figure out the basic principle. For example,

if I say ' The pillow is beautiful ' I would say

 A párna szép.

But then if I want to say ' I want a pillow ' why does the word have to change?

Szeretnék egy párnát.

Also, I wasn't sure if Hungarian had definite or indefinite articles for nouns, so I didn't quite understand the ' A ' part, before 'pillow.'

Thank you all! It is indeed a hard language but very poetic!

whswhs [userpic]

One of the books I'm currently reading is a translation of Shui Hu Zhuan, one of the four classical Chinese novels. It seems to have an amazing number of titles in English translation: Water Margin may be the commonest, but I've also seen Outlaws of the Marsh, All Men Are Brothers, The Marshes of Mount Liang (the title of the version I'm reading), and others.

I'd like to know what the Chinese title actually "means": that is, stipulating that there are philosophical problems about translation, (a) what is the closest we can come to a literal English translation of the words of the title in the sense in which a Chinese reader would take them, (b) what English phrase or sentence with those words would be syntactically equivalent, and (c) what, if anything, do the words connote or allude to that's important to getting what the phrase means?

I have tried to figure this out by the crude expedient of pasting either the hanzi or the pinyin transliterations into online dictionaries—but of course that gives me long lists of possibilities. My best guess would be that the words are the ones that mean "river lake biography," because that would fit in with a phrase that keeps turning up in the novel, "the fraternity of the rivers and lakes," meaning the outlaws the novel is about, rather as if someone wrote a novel set in medieval England called "Greenwood Tales." But I could be all wet; it isn't as if I had actually studied Chinese, let alone older forms of Chinese!

Can anyone enlighten me?

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

I'm a little confused when I use だと思います, and just と思います when trying to say ' I think ' something in Japanese.

It seems that this verb phrase always comes at the end of a statement. So is this correct, to say

' I think he is a Japanese student '

私は彼が日本の学生だ と思います

To use adjectives, would the 'DA' go away, so you would have:

I think cats are cute.

私は猫がかわいい と思います.

This is of course with an ' i ' adjective. (cute)

With a 'na' adjective, does the 'DA' still go away? So to say:

I think I like this coffee. (To me, this coffee is liked)

私はこのコーヒーが好き と思います

Thank you all! I enjoy learning more about the Japanese language so much, but sometimes these grammar aspects can get tricky.

The Tick [userpic]

I was looking through Starbucks's Taiwanese site and came across a really confusing page. The heading, for people who don't want to click, is 糕點新品 (which Google Translate said meant "new pastry," and underneath it are three items: a Mediterranean shrimp salad, a cherry and tomato cup, and a mango chiffon cake. I'll admit I'm coming at this from an American perspective, where we usually group food based on similar ingredients or courses (like appetizers, fish, desserts, pasta, etc.), but can anyone explain why these things are grouped together? Is Google Translate's "new pastry" accurate?

Khlela [userpic]

I'm working on something and wanted some feedback. I'm needing to do some translations that simply state "I speak..." Like "I speak French" - "Je parle français".. But I wanted to double check my translation on the following. If you are fluent in any of the following can you let me know your thoughts on accuracy?

Thank you in advance!

I speak Vietnamese
Tôi nói tiếng Việt

I speak Cantonese (Traditional Chinese)

I speak Japanese

I speak Tagalog
Ginagamit ko tagalog

I speak Arabic
 أنا أتكلم العربية

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

I wasn't sure if these are sometimes considered the same grammatical / verb tense.

In Turkish next week we're going to learn about the present tense, not the present continuous which oddly enough they teach before all other verb forms ( the V - ing form, like I am studying, I am going to school, I am eating. )

I thought aorist signified something to do with the past, according to the Greek language - but maybe the aorist tense has a different meaning depending on the language?
Thanks guys! Just wanted to be prepared for the grammar lessons that await me. =)

mavisol [userpic]

"Savings from thermal insulation, thousand rubles" - does it sound OK?

The meaning: savings are presented in thousands of rubles (3,000; 15,000, etc.)

"Average construction costs (as percentage of total project costs)" - OK? Is "as" needed here?

Many thanks to all who care to reply!

Ei tea kust ilmunud nagu poleks midagi juhtunud [userpic]

Hope this is appropriate. I'd like to meet someone who can help me with my Norwegian in exchange for my help with Russian, Ukrainan, Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian etc. From time to time I need assistance in translating rare words which cannot be found in a dictiontary or hard-to-crack passages. If you are game, please kindly PM me. Many thanks in advance.

Sushidog [userpic]

Hi all,

I'm new here, and I did check the community rules to see if this is outlawed and I couldn't see anything about it; my apologies if this is inappropriate!
I work in psychology, and am putting together a set of studies looking at the perception of particular types of speech; specifically, the way we speak to children and babies as opposed to adults. I want to collect some preliminary data (which will be used more to guide the actual research than as anything publishable), and I specifically need some English-speaking participants from, and living in, the US and/or Canada, because one of the things I'm looking at is cross-cultural differences. If that's you, and you wouldn't mind spending 20-30 minutes completing a speech rating task, I would be enormously grateful! You'll need a computer (not a phone or tablet) with speakers, and which can handle Quicktime and .wavs. If you have all that, using IE or possibly Firefox (but not Chrome, which doesn't seem to play well with Qualtrix), you can follow this link to the task itself. You don't need to give a real name, a nickname is fine; it just means I can check for duplicate data, and that you can withdraw your data later if you choose to do so.
Once I have some data, if anyone is interested in hearing a bit more about the research, I'd be happy to tell you about it!
Many thanks!

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

Hi all,

My Korean language class is coming to an end this semester ( basically the equivalent of Intermediate or level 200 ) and I've got my final exam next week.

I'm trying to get some of the rules straight for verb conjugation. I feel it's a little slippery with my understanding of Korean verbs, because there are the dictionary forms, the formal and informal, and plain forms.

I'd like to know if anyone has found a good and simple breakdown of these verb forms and how to keep them straight. For the most part I think ( and am very thankful of course! ) that Korean is quite regular and when the rules are learnt, they usually stay that way!

mavisol [userpic]

I realize that this question is slightly off the community's subject, but still...

Please recommend sites where one can listen to radio productions of plays, adaptations of literary works, etc. Any English speaking country of European heritage.

Many thanks in advance!

lamperouge_0 [userpic]

I am having a little trouble with this phrase: 意思表示

The situation is that the character turns down his friends request, and then thinks 「

I looked up 意思 and 表示, and the dictionary says they mean 'intention' and 'display' respectively, so I guess the phrase means 'display of intentions,' or something. I translated the sentence to mean 'I want you to forgive this display of intentions at least' but I feel like 'display of intentions' sounds weird in English. Would there be a better way to translate this?

a man of wealth and taste [userpic]


As an intermediate learner of Russian, I'd like to be able to watch some of my favorite TV shows (or movies) in Russian. However, I have absolutely no idea as to how to get my hands on the Russian dubs for e.g. Lost, Six Feet Under, Desperate Housewives, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, House, Grey's Anatomy, Friends, etc.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to just buy region-free DVDs with the Russian dubs and/or subtitles for these shows, but eBay isn't helping. Any other places you guys can think of? I would also be fine watching or downloading them online, if (a) I could be sure it was legal and (b) I knew where and how.

This may seem dead simple to many of you, but keep in mind the following limitations:

1) I live in a Western European country and do not have a credit card or PayPal account (and considering some of the things I've read about the service, I'd prefer to keep it that way, if at all possible). I usually pay for things by bank transfer. I believe this means Amazon is off the table?

2) I am majorly technologically challenged. As in, I know what a discman is but I stopped following new technology shortly before the rise of MP3. I've heard of things like "Torrent" or "Apps" or "Netflix," but I have only the vaguest idea of what they mean. If anybody could explain to me how to legally access shows in Russian, step-by-step, the way you'd teach your 87-year-old grandmother, I'd be thrilled!

Any help at all would be much, much appreciated. :-)

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

I am reading a very good book about language and the mind - it is not too technical which I like!

I just wanted to make sure I am understanding some of these theories correctly.

- What is linguistic relativity and determinism - are they essentially the same thing?

Is the main premise to the S-W hypothesis that, our language is responsible for our thoughts and/or the WAY we think?

So...if my native language is English, and another's native language is French, our very cognitive abilities will be different and there is no way to reconcile this because of the language difference?

Does every language have its own accompanying thought process then?

Thank you all!

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

My mom loves Sanskrit and I wanted to make her a birthday card with messages in this language. But I'm unsure if Sanskrit has such colloquial phrases
( the daily ' hello, how are you ' / ' where are you from '  and 'Happy Birthday, best wishes!' among other things. )

I used to think it was only used for religious purposes, but I Have heard that there are some villages in India that are trying to revive this as a spoken language.

If anyone has ideas on how I can find some Sanskrit phrases, I'd greatly appreciate it! I am told ts a  tough language with a very challenging grammar. Hindi is apparently a breeze in comparison! The similarity because of the shared script is deceiving. ;-)

Also, is there a specific word to describe this phenomenon, of a language becoming more like...'in style' to speak and communicate? I can only think of the word 'Renaissance' but I was wondering if there was a better word and one specific to language revival.

Kake [userpic]

Hello! I'm a local historian working on a series of articles about London Road, Croydon, and I could do with some help interpreting an archived shopfront image from Google Street View.

The shopfront in question is the yellow one on the left in this Street View image. Could someone give me a transcription and translation of the non-English words on the frontage, please?

This restaurant is no longer open, but I suspect from its name and the dishes it used to serve (I've seen an old takeaway menu at the local archives) that the chef was Kurdish. The restaurant that replaced it and is still there today is definitely Kurdish.

Thank you for reading!

JR [userpic]

I'm currently teaching English as an Additional language to kids and it bothers me how uniform the examples/pictures are. The most diversity that every shows up in books is people of different countries/ethnicities. That's to say, everybody is straight, able bodied, etc.

Anybody have recommendations of either books or material that don't erase everybody else?  The only thing I have found so far that at least doesn't refuse to accept diversity is duolingo, which accepts alternative pronouns for translated sentences, and that is quite little, really.

Thanks in advance,

artKouros [userpic]

Hi - On my way to work I drive past a Dairy Queen (it's a old fast food chain in Texas) and I see this odd sign:

Can anyone read the swirly bits (Arabic maybe???) in the oval above "monkey ism"? Is anyone familiar with the symbol of the scale with 16 directions?


The Tick [userpic]

I was tutoring someone recently for the SAT writing section, and we came across a sentence that went, "Such-and-such happened during the World War II." It was not underlined (one of those "Which part of this sentence is incorrect?" questions) and so was clearly correct, as far as the boook was concerned. I mentioned it because I'd seen a couple other grammar mistakes in the book, and but my student said she'd heard that phase before. I can't imagine that this is correct, though. I could see "during the Second World War," but "during the World War II" seems really wrong to me. Has anyone heard this before? Thoughts on its grammatical correctness/incorrectness?

впс [userpic]

There's a sentence in this book: Even now, the quick countryside, the odor of smoke in the bright air, the thin early moon, were beginning the change.

what would quick countryside mean here?

Same expression I see in this discussion: I just liked Knebworth for its quick countryside and loving Letchworths community

thanks in advance

upd: for the second example there's an answer form the author of that sentence:

Andrews-d 7 hours ago
I meant it ad a mix of quick access to countryside and quickly changing countryside- it's fields, then hills, then trees

nothing to do with the hedges. Now I don't think first example is related to the hedges either, but I'm still a bit confused by "live" explanation. This usage looks somewhat out of place in the text.

nats333 [userpic]

Please, help to translate into Russian "Public Quoted Company ".  Or, explain what "quoted" means in this context.

Thank you!

Julie [userpic]

Been reading a book that quotes extensively from Julian of Norwich...in the original Middle English. Usually I can understand it, but sometimes I can't figure out a word. What do "anemptys" and "behovyd" mean? The latter I thought was "behooved" but didn't make sense in the context. I tried Wiktionary, which worked for another Middle English word I couldn't figure out myself, but these two were not in there.

Hello everybody!

What's your best tips and tricks for learning grammar when studying a foreign language? Reading grammar books is fine, but in my experience the knowledge doesn't really stick.

Background: I learnt German in school, and I still have no problem with reading and my listening skills are okay, but I always make grammar mistakes. I can hardly write a sentence without some grammar mistakes. I studied a lot of grammar in school, but apparently it didn't stick. Now I mostly self-study through reading magazines, writing a diary, watching tv programmes and occasionally speaking.

petrusplancius [userpic]

I have an 18th Century text in which the author describes how new masts and yards are constructed on a VOC ship after a severe storm, using surviving material on the ship. Among other things, 'de Wang werd gehakt tot een Fokkeraa'. Can anyone tell me what is meant by 'wang' here? I cannot find anything anywhere I've looked, any suggestion would be appreciated.

tortipede [userpic]

We're having a Brazilian Portuguese teacher come round to do some little lessons/play sessions with our daughter, and the other week she taught her some actions to go with a song about the phases of the moon. This vocabulary was new to me, too, and led me to a couple of questions:

1) The word minguante sounded kind of familiar to me from Catalan (a language I'm more familiar with), and so I looked up minvar in a big Catalan dictionary and found that it meant to diminish, get smaller, etc., and came from vulgar Latin minuere, related to 'diminish' , and so on and so forth. Looking up minguar in a Portuguese etymological dictionary gave me the same ultimate origin, but what it didn't help with was the ending of the word.

Specifically, in Catalan the present participle of crèixer is creixent, and the present participle of minvar is minvant, and these are the words you use for the moon, as well; but in Portuguese you don't say crescendo and minguando, and so I was wondering where the -nte on the end of minguante (and Castilian, I now discover in writing this post) comes from.

My best guess was that maybe crescente owed its ending to some Latin influence, as an astronomical term, and that minguante was modelled on crescente, but I don't know if that holds water or where I would look to verify it. Can anyone help?

2) What would you call the shape of the moon when it's more than half but less than full ('gibbous' in English)?
Moon on Blue
Would it be gibosa, or just crescente/minguante?

Translator who loves her work [userpic]

There is an application for a theatre festival, which representatives of companies wishing to participate must fill out.

It has the usual items such as Title of the show, Date of its debut, Genre, Age range, etc. All items but one are clear. This one item I do not understand is Cachet. What does it mean in this context?

Many thanks in advance!

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I have a question about a certain sentence in the passive voice. My lecturer, who is not a native speaker, said that my sentence is incorrect. I would appreciate if the native speakers could comment.

The exercise goes like this:

Visite du château de Versailles : vous êtes l'un des guides. Présentez le châteaux à partir des indications suivantes. Employez la forme passive.

Construction du château sur l'ordre de Louis XIV à partir de 1661. Le château ...

My sentence was: (1) Le château été construit sur l'ordre de Louis XIV à partir de 1661.

My teacher said that it should have been: (2) Le château a été construit sur l'ordre de Louis XIV à partir de 1661.

I found this construction on the internet (3) Le château avait été construit sur l'ordre de Louis XIV à partir de 1661.

What's the difference between the three of them? I thought that (1) expresses the process. The works started in 1661, and we don't say anything about whether they have been finished (and when) or not.

Current Music: Screaming Trees "Polly Pereguin"
avium concentus in agris [userpic]

In Vienna there's the expression: "Den Unterschied möcht ich klavierspielen können" ("I'd like to be able to play the difference on the piano"), meaning: "You pretend to be talking about two different things, but they're really the same to all practical uses." Maybe I'm over-interpreting, but I guess the origin of the phrase has something to do with enharmonic equivalents.

I think in English "I'd hate to have to live on the difference" means something similar. Am I right?

And are there other colourful expressions? All languages welcome, but please give a literal translation.

Barszczow A. N. [userpic]

I am translating p 390-391 from Aries "L'Homme devant la mort" for my class and I'm really not sure about these two expressions:

1. Les miracles des cadavres - does he mean the miracles done by the dead/the corpses OR the miracles that happened to the dead bodies? Is it even possible to tell? I thought the latter, but then I checked in the official translation, and it's the former there.

2. Les cadavres dévoreurs - the dead bodies that eat (something/somebody) OR (something/somebody) who eats the dead bodies?

Forgive me for the macabre images.

Context: "Une abondante littérature spécialisée reprit alors les anciennes données, les miracles des cadavres, les cris entendus dans les tombeaux, les cadavres dévoreurs, pour les réinterpréter à la lumière de ce qu'on savait de la mort apparente."

Current Music: Mark Knopfler "The Ceildh and the Northern Lights"
irene221b [userpic]

Hi, can someone figure out what does this note say?


Apparently, it should be this way up?



The Tick [userpic]

Came across this quote in a book I was reading and was wondering what it said. I'm pretty sure it's in Swahili.

"Titi la mama litamu lingawa la mbwa, lingine halishi tamu... Watu wasio na lugha ya asili, kadiri walivyo wastaarabu cheo chao ni cha pili dunia - dunia la cheo."

У вас нєт вкуса (с) [userpic]

I'm talking about bilingual people. For example, there must be a huge number of English-Spanish bilingual people. Or Hindi-English bilingual people. What are the the others pairs like that? Which are the most numerous of them?

What can be achieved from it? For instance, a lot of materials for learning these languages especially free online ones.

Sam Mason [userpic]

English speakers (esp in Britain) which of these would you write?

'I'd have been surprised if the paper wasn't accepted.'
'I'd have been surprised if the paper weren't accepted.'
Or something else.

avium concentus in agris [userpic]

I read an interview with Slavoj Žižek in the newspaper:
Near the end he says that Democritus made up the term "den", and that it means "less than nothing". I think he's mistaken there. As far as I know, Democritus did indeed make up the word "den" by separating the negation "ou" from "ouden" (nothing), but this new term just means "not-nothing". A complicated way of saying "something". The context (DK 68 A 37) makes this clear as well. Democritus speaks of the "kenon" (empty), "ouden" (nothing), "apeiron" (infinite) in contrast to the "den" (not-nothing), "naston" (solid), "on" (being). A look into Liddell-Scott's Greek Dictionary or in Diels/Kranz's "Fragmente der Vorsokratiker" could have shown this to Žižek. Strange that he even picked this as the title of one of his recent books: "Less Than Nothing: Hegel And The Shadow Of Dialectical Materialism".

...Or am I mistaken?

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

Hi all, I was wondering what this meant with the Chinese characters and the marks or letters? placed above.


I understand the difference between simplified and traditional Chinese characters. But Sometimes when I come across Chinese characters, I see, not pinyin, but these other letters. They reminded me of hiragana or katakana so I was wondering if this was a Japanese translation for the Chinese characters? Is it another alphabet, and is it utilized a great deal in China, Taiwan, and/or Japan?

I'd be interested to know how to use or learn this, if it is indeed useful!

mamcu [userpic]

Does anyone know Armenian? I've been editing text that has been translated from Armenian, and often see sentences that use the word "cute" in an unusual way. Here are example:

His farm is a cute one.

The grown sons care for the mother very cutely.

I suspect that the translator is using a dictionary that doesn't give a good meaning for some Armenian term. Could anyone guess what's happening in these sentences?

avium concentus in agris [userpic]

The Albanian word for fairy tale is "përralla". From Perrault?

Also, can someone recommend me an Albanian etymological dictionary, either in print or online? (Our public library has got one, but it's only written in Albanian and explains the etymology of German words. That's not what I'm looking for.)

Oryx-and-Crake [userpic]

Dear linguaphiles,

Does anyone know whether this title of a Star Trek episode is a quotation from anywhere? Google search brought me a couple of songs but I am not sure whether they precede the said episode or have been derived from it.

Thanks in advance.

sonhadora_18 [userpic]

If you've learnt, studied Thai, or if your native language is Thai - is it really so difficult and complex in terms of the writing system? I was watching a video that was comparing and contrasting Thai to Devanagari and a few other writing systems. It asserted Thai was one of the hardest writing systems.

Is Thai harder than other abugida or syllabic writing systems because of the tonal aspect of the language?  To me, looking at Arabic script, it seems that this is harder! Or even taking any of the numerous languages of India, such as Telugu, Kannada, or Oriya - these all seem very difficult too.

So I was just curious to know in your opinion, what makes Thai especially challenging. Maybe other tonal languages are easier like Vietnamese because it uses the Roman alphabet, and Chinese because though it's logographic, you need only memorize the characters instead of maybe changing and figuring out rules which seems to be the challenge of Thai writing. But this is my only limited guess, and the only east Asian languages I really know and have studied are Japanese and Korean.

booq [userpic]

Hi everybody,
There's a little problem in my understanding the text below. My writer refers to Culpeper. Would you please explain what Culpeper meant? Seems a kind of joke which I cannot fully understand. What is the gist of the matter?
"Culpeper also mentions Hypericum in his herbal, and explains the name St. John's Wort in the following quaint manner: "It may be if you meet with a Papist that is an Astrologer, he will tell you that St. John made it over to him by a Letter of Attorney, especially if withal he be a Lawyer also. St. John's Wort is as a singular wound herb as any other whatsoever, either for inward wounds, hurts or bruises, to be boild in Wine and drank; or prepared in Oil or Ointment, Bath or Lotion outwardly."
Thank you in advance.

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