April 24th, 2007

  • batbat

Intermediate Portuguese

Can anyone recommend a decent self-study textbook for an intermediate learner of Portuguese? It's strange; you'd think that for a pretty important world language like Portuguese there'd be a whole host of stuff available, but in all the bookshops near where I live it has inferior shelf space even compared to languages like Italian, Greek and Dutch.
where home was


hello! i've been a member and casual reader of this community for a long time, and i finally have a question. today i come to you as a bookseller. i don't know if many of you work in antique books, but i think the best part of my job is logging old books written in foreign languages; the research and discovery is great. however, i have this semi-vintage greek book i just can't quite figure out and i was wondering if one of you could translate it for me and give me a transliteration.

the title is πολεοδομικη εξελιξισ των αθηνων by ι. τραυλου

thanks in advance!
the night has seen your mind

(no subject)

Fisematenten? (German)

I recently recorded Billy Wilder's "The Fortune Cookie" off German television (hilarious film, intelligent, more than recommended, et cetera) and, after watching it in English first, decided to try the German dub - and there I encountered a funny little word I fail to make any definite sense of and which I don't recall ever having heard before: a crooked lawyer nicknamed 'Whiplash Willie' in the original had become 'Fisematenten-Willie'. Question: what are (if it's indeed a plural at all) Fisematenten? My mother suggests a French origin possibly left behind by Napoleonic occupation, and her sister offered a theory well in support of that - namely that it was derived from soldiers calling "Visite(z) ma tente!" to German girls ... but even if that is the word's origin, what exactly does it mean nowadays? And what would it mean if assigned to a lawyer? I figured calling someone Fisematenten-someone would simply mean they're always causing trouble and making a fuzz where it isn't necessary, it's just that I can't think of how that connects with the tent. Before I asked my mother what she thought and she did claim to have heard it before in the trouble-stirring context I actually assumed it was a term specific to law or insurance business, something along those lines, especially since it ended in 'enten' - the German word for alimonies is 'Alimente', so I thought, one guy will see to you getting your Alimente, and the other might specialise in getting your Fisematenten ... ? But apparently it's not a very official word at all (for it isn't in any dictionary I've consulted); now I'm also wondering if it belongs in any specific dialect, surprising as it would be for it to crop up in a country-wide synchronisation of a film, then.
To sum up again ... what did the word mean originally, what does it mean now, where and when (and by whom) was and is it used? Any theories or even I Can Say For Sures would be much appreciated!
  • Current Music
    Throwing Muses, "Giant"

"Idol" in Italian

Hey everyone! I have an Italian question here.

Being an opera fan, I often here a phrase "bel idol mio" used in the songs and librettos. Though I can guess from the use and cognates what it means, I wanted to find a definite literal translation. For some reason, the online Italian dictionaries refuse to believe 'idol' is an Italian word, and so they always direct me to 'idolo' or else give a definition of the English word. I'm wondering if idol is a poetic term, like using 'fan' instead of 'fanno.'

So, anyway -- if anyone can clarify that, and also if someone can give me the literal and precise definition of 'idol' that would be much appreciated!

(no subject)

Yo everyone

Is the Russian х pronounced [x] or [χ]? I'm pretty sure it's [x] but Wiktionary says [χ]. I'm having trouble finding another source that even uses IPA, so I figured I'd just ask here. Kind of a pointless question for someone who'll probably never need to use spoken Russian, but hey.

(no subject)

Can a native Swedish speaker tell me what is so horrible about the Swedish in
this email?

In case anyone's wondering, it's off thepiratebay's Legal Threats page, an endless source of hilarity.
  • Current Music
    Basshunter - Boten Anna
bouncing tits

"personal purchasing conveyance"

So for you English speakers, when you go to the supermarket, do you grab a "shopping cart" or a "buggy"?  Are there distinct regional variations?

I have lived in Colorado for 32 years, and for me it's always been a shopping cart.  Even the signs on the little corrals in the parking lot read "PLEASE RETURN CARTS HERE".  But more and more now I hear other shoppers refer to them as "buggies".  Even the courtesy clerks at the supermarket I shop at go on "buggy patrol" (when they round up all the carts to return them to the store).

I find it interesting that despite the different terms, retail Web sites invariably use "shopping cart" to refer to the visitor's collection of potential purchases.  It seems that "cart" is universally understood, at least in a shopping context, but "buggy" is more limited in scope.

Cart or buggy?  Or something else entirely (particularly if you're outside the U. S.)?

Spanish Sentence

Would it be:

1.) ¿A Ustedes han visto "Freedom Writers" o "La historia de Ron Clark?"


2.) ¿Ustedes han visto "Freedom Writers" o "La historia de Ron Clark?"


3.) ¿Han Ustedes visto "Freedom Writers" o "La historia de Ron Clark?"


4.) Something else? If so, what is it?

(Trying to say "Have you guys seen "Freedom Writers" or "The Ron Clark Story?")


  • Current Mood
    curious curious

(no subject)

I'm having some trouble grasping the difference between desu and imasu. Well, it's really more towards the fact that I don't understand why you would say, "Jerrica desu." Imasu is suppose to indicate existence of humans/animals right? So why would you use 'desu' when you want to say, "I am Jerrica," instead of Jerrica imasu?

Edit: Ahh, I finally understand it. I wish my teacher had explained it the same way y'all have. Thanks!
  • Current Mood
    confused confused


Edit: Got my data. Thank you all!

I completely forgot about a homework assignment in a class in Romance Linguistics I'm taking, and I need a set of data from *any* Romance language. I've never taken any Romance languages myself, so I can't do it on my own. Italian, Rumanian, whatever... just so long as it's a Romance language.

I apologize for the 'zomg translation plz!' stuff, but I promise it's for a legitimate cause.

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    VAST - Be With Me

Japanese help

Another How do I say it? post, sorry.

I'm staying with a host family in Japan, and have taken ill. I have had the most exemplary care: meals and snacks brought to my room, special dishes made for me and so on and so forth. Once I get my voice back, I would like to thank them properly. I know there's some phrase for "Thank you for taking such good care of me" but I can't find it in any of my books. Furthermore, all my books are in polite style, and I've been on plain form with my host family since day two. Could anyone please help me out with this one?
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