April 15th, 2007

Mr. Bill "Sexy Eyed Vampire" Compton by

(no subject)

Here is another one of those incredibly random questions you all love just sooooo much!

In binomial nomenclature, a good many (don't want to say all, as I doubt that's true) of the terms are in Latin or are Latin-based. Are the words used to describe kingdom, phylum, class etc etc put in the Nominative Plural or in the Genitive Singular?

For example, "plantae". Should this be "Plants" or "Of Plant"?

Again, incredibly random, and my command of Latin (or lack thereof) means that I can't just look at other examples and be able to tell.

Thanks to whoever can help satisfy my curiosity!

The origin of capitalization.

What is the origin of capitalization? What purpose does it or did it servce?

Thinking about it, I find it hard to come up with a good, pragmatic reason. Here are my guesses (I admit they are sort of grasping, but I'm at a loss here):
*It originated in capitalization of names, where the purpose was to specially emphasize people's names.
*It serves an aesthetic purpose; it makes the writing looker neater and more organized.
*It is for visual clarity: upper case letters are easier to read, but take longer to write and later lower case letters came in later to make writing quicker.

Additional request: can someone recommend text(s) on the origins and purposes of various 'odd' aspects of language like this?

Miss по-русски

One thing I've realized I've never learned to say in Russian, is that I miss someone/something. When working through a conversation, I've always avoided the verb.

Today I tried looking it up, and of course found various translations. However, I understand nearly all of them as something else, for example "Miss" Teen Alaska, shoot and a "miss", but not really what I was seeking. One word that was said to have a double-meaning is "скучать"...but I translate that as to be bored. I don't want to say, "Я скучаю (по) тебе," and tell someone I'm missing that I'm bored of him.

In the end I used "тосковать" to replace "miss" with "yearn": "Я тоскую (по) тебе." Would this be the best way to say I miss someone or is there a more direct translation?

...and just to be sure, I use the dative case for both of the aforementioned verbs, correct? Oh, and do I really need the preposition "по" for each?

I feel so rusty. I'm going to laugh if it's something I already know, but can't recall. Thanks for your help!
  • Current Music
    "My Daughter's Getting It Up The Ass" -Bradley & Hiett
  • Tags

Empty Category Principle

Okay, I've been attempting an assignment for a while now, and I think I've got it...but not quite sure. I'm just going to post what I've done and if someone could just let me know if I'm on the right track I'd def. appriciate it.

Q: Identify the traces in the following sentences. Show how the Empty Category Principle accounts for the grammaticality as indicated in these sentences. Use bracketing.

1. I know who Marly likes.
Ix know [(CP)whoi [(IP)Marly likes ti]]

2. Who does Mark believe to be a clown?
Whoi does [(IP)Markx believe [(IP)to be a clown ti]]

3. How did Mary see the woman who bought the car? (assume answer is "with binoculars")
How did Mary see the woman who bought the car ti

4. *How did Mary see the woman who bought the car? (assume answer is "with a credit card")
*Howi did Mary see [(CP)the woman [whoi [(IP)bought the car tx ti]]]

I've obviously confused myself. Any point in the right direction would help a lot.
  • Current Mood
    confused confused

'surname' in Spanish?

I recently purchased an airline ticket from www.clickmx.com. Everything went fine except for the fact that it seems like I screwed up when entering my name. If my name were Bob Smith, I entered "Bob" where it asked for nombre and "Smith" where it asked for apellido. As far as I recall, apellido means surname/last name, and checking a couple online dictionaries as well as my roommate's Spanish 1 book confirmed this.

However, on my reservation I'm listed as "Mr. S Bob" and my name continues to appear as either Bob,Smith or Bob/Smith on the site. Is this normal, or should I be concerned that I actually entered my last name where I should have entered my first and vice versa? I know with absolute certainty that I put "Smith" in the apellido field, so I'm not really sure what's going on unless I'm really confused about the meaning of that word.

Many thanks.
Géill Slí

mande, and clarifying words

The other day I heard a Mexican lady ask ¿mande? when they didn't catch what someone said. I've googled this, and it seems to be generally a Mexico thing, but I'm wondering if it's at all used in other kinds of Spanish, and how formal/informal or typical it is to use plus just how it's generally employed? It is a fixed word, or can I ask ¿manda? for someone whom I'd address with ?

Other similar words I've picked up and heard when you don't understand/hear someone ...

- ¿Cómo? -this seems to be the most frequent, yeah? It's politer than ¿qué?, but how polite?
- ¿Qué cosa? - I don't hear this as often, but I'm generally confused about the contexts in which it's used ... because it doesn't seem like you would just use a phrase that translates as "what thing?" for any situation.
- ¿Qué? - this is generally very abrupt, it seems? Kind of like you don't just bark "what??" in English if you don't hear something.

Are there any others? Can you use disculpe/perdón/perdone? In English there seem to be so many ... "I'm sorry?" "What's that?" "How's that?" "Sorry?" "Excuse me?" "Come again?" "(I beg your) pardon?" "Pardon me?"

Thanks for your help!

qu'on or ce qu'on or something else ...

Hi guys,
I'm writing a French paper and I have a question...

I am writing a sentence which is supposed to read something like "She had what one would consider a sad life." I wrote "Elle avait qu'on considerait une vie triste." Now this sounds strange to me. Is it supposed to be "ce qu'on considerait"?

Thanks for the help in advance!


French in Action, in other languages?

Hey all.

I know I've posted here quite a lot recently, but this'll be my last post for a while, I promise. :P

I'm just curious...I've recently discovered the French in Action series, and fallen in love with it. I wish there was something like this when I was trying to learn Cherokee, although I know there isn't.

My question is--is there an equivalent of FIA to more spoken languages like German and Arabic? I didn't have one when i was in my German class at all. We just watched various videos.
  • solri

Playing games and acting in plays

A few questions for the classicists here. Did the Romans use ludus to refer to (a) gladiatorial games and (b) theatrical performances? What about the Greeks: are their words for "play" and "perform" related?

Incidentally, in Turkish oyun is both a game, a theatrical performance and a folk dance.