April 8th, 2007

polish or portuguese?

i have been considering two volunteer/language combination programs for this summer, to either of the two aforementioned destinations. i can't really decide which one...my university will be offering an introduction portuguese class in the fall of 2007, and will not offer any polish, so i was thinking i would utilize the summer to study polish. in addition i have never studied a slavic language but i've studied french, spanish and italian, so i assumed portuguese would be easy to pick up on my own or something rather than a language so different to my ears as polish! at the same time...maybe it would make more sense to study portuguese since i already have much background and probably could make out some of the lexicon, syntax and semantics intuitively.

the portuguese program would be in brazil, and the polish would be in krakow. not sure if that might make a difference =P but i would absolutely appreciate your opinions/suggestions!

p.s. do any of you others also feel a wonderful sense of glowing pride when you express your love and knowledge of languages to others and they exclaim 'wow a polylingual, cool!' =) i love that it makes me feel as though i always end up connecting so much more deeply to others in a very subtle but profound way...

(no subject)

Hey. I have a question about the RX and its root, that being radix in latin. i was wondering if Radix was derived from some sort of greek word. I know in english, a lot of words starting with X are greek in origin, but im not sure if the ending would also hold.

also, the ending -trix, meaning she who does, ie dominatrix, "she who tames", is that greek of origin, or home grown latin?
multicolor pony


sounds strange, but if someone could translate "kneel down and kiss the earth" into any language, it would be much appreciated. i'm really looking for french and german, but whatever you can do would help :) thanks!

Fun with Swahili

So I'm looking into taking Swahili next year at my college, it's mostly a self taught course with 1 hour of tutoring and a 2 hour conversation block each week. Meaning mostly I'd be on my own. I have never heard Swahili, i have no experience with it. I *do* however have a decent grasp of Mandarin which i picked up fairly easily. How hard of a language is it to learn? I've heard the grammar structure is similar to Spanish re: memorizing endings etc, but honestly i have no idea.

Additionally..the other possibility i'm looking at is Zulu, which would be entirely self taught, and 1 hour of conversation a week, no help though.

Any recommendations/experiences that might help?

(no subject)

Perhaps this has been asked before (probably many times), but I couldn't find anything exact...

What languages are spoken here in the community? i.e. What languages do you speak fluently? semi-fluently? barely?

This is an interesting resource on the fluency levels.
yin-yang fried egg
  • azeira

not a palindrome, or a palingram, or a semordnilap, or an anagram, but a...

Is there a name for a sentence or phrase whose words, when placed in reverse order, form a different sentence or phrase that also makes sense? Akin to a semordnilap, but with whole words rather than letters. Like:

"Father Charles goes down and ends battle" <=> "Battle ends and down goes Charles' father"

"Jimmy loves Mom" <=> "Mom loves Jimmy"

Also, would anyone happen to know any more examples?

Older American language

I'm trying to write some English-language dialogue between elderly people (a Caucasian American couple in their 80's, so they would've grown up in the 20's and 30's), and I'm looking for slang, expressions, vocabulary, grammar, and generally age-marking language that I could use to make it evident that these are two older folks and not younger ones.

Does anyone know any dictionaries of older slang expressions or vocabulary, or perhaps just pages that might discuss how to write better dialogue for older people? Any suggestions people might have would be greatly appreciated.

Any ideas?


I'm posting this on behalf of a friend who's currently translating some scenes from a Spanish film into English. Some of it was for a Uni project but she's doing more out of interest.

It's one of these situations where a play on words is made in one language and it's difficult to find a fitting translation. Here’s part of the script:

Lola: Sí, lo que nosotros ofreceríamos sería un "tour" por los
cuadros, una explicación breve, del contexto, no demasiado erudito.

Rosa: Que no sea un coñazo y que podamos hacerlo por nuestra centa...

Lola: O sea, no guías sino visitas guiadas. No Rosa? Ya lo estoy viendo
"visitas guiadas Rosa, Pilar y Lola".

Rosa: Suena a visitas guisadas.

Pilar: Entonces serían como viajes por el arte.

As she explained it to me, the pun here is that instead of saying “guided” visits it says “stewed” visits. She’s having trouble thinking of a way in English to convey this humour. Is there more to it then just the similarity in sound of the two words “guidas” and “guisadas”? Can anyone think of a word to replace “visits”, “tours”, or “guided” that would make sense?

Muchas gracias!

Arabic-English Interference

Is it just me, or does it seem that only Arabic-speaking people prefer to use the "my friend" vocative expression, as in: "Thanks again, my friend"? Not Hebrew, Urdu, Hindi... yet even Arabic speakers born into and completely "assimilated" into an Anglophone environment seem to use this term often. Is it some sort of direct transfer from an Arabic expression?

Don Imus comments

I guess some have heard about recent comments made by Don Imus about the Rutgers women basketball team.

He called them "nappy-headed hos". While the term "hos" is clearly stands for "whores" I have no clue how in combination with "nappy-headed", which exact meaning eludes me , it's "racially charged". Am I missing something or it's just a regular outcry of the familiar characters.

and, btw, what the hell is "nappy-headed"??? Is it like a bad hair style?



So, being Pakistani but not having grown up around it, I've decided to try to learn Urdu, as a "return" to the culture, in a sense. Does anyone know of some good online resources for it? I've done a bit of looking and can't seem to find anything truly helpful. Book suggestions would be nice too.

Also, I have a friend helping me (somewhat) with it; she gave me some conversational sentences, most of which I can figure out with a handy dictionary and good guessing skills, but I can't seem to get this:

Appko patha hai, kon hai? Appke peecha hai.

I have a vague idea of what this is. What exactly does it mean?

I'm also told that there is no real "standard" spelling; or at least, most don't follow it, and instead transliterate what they hear. As such, it can be difficult to find the words in a dictionary. Is this true of spelling?

Mujhay aap kee madad kee zarurat hay. [hahaha, totally copied from my dictionary]

Shukria! =)