September 1st, 2007


While my wife and I were at dinner tonight, we saw someone who could be termed a "dork" sitting at a nearby table. This led to a discussion of the differences between the words "dork," "geek," and "nerd." While we could somewhat describe what the words meant, we couldn't come up with succinct definitions, or how to accurately define those words to a non-native speaker of English.

So, my challenge to you, fellow linguaphiles, is to come up with good definitions for each word--ones that will accurately describe what they mean to a non-native speaker of English. Anyone up to the task? :)
  • malvino

Virgin chicken.

China's apparently cleaning up its menus for the Olympics:

Translations such as "virgin chicken" for a young chicken dish and "burnt lion's head" for pork meatballs are confusing for foreigners, it says.

Anyone else think this is a shame? I'm not a fan of seeing "sweat and sore ball of pork" on a menu, but "virgin chicken" and "burnt lion's head" both sound like things to try. I wonder what other colourful dish names will be erradicated.

(no subject)

Are the following sentences grammatically correct?

I thought feminism meant I'm allowed to choose to be barefoot in the kitchen.

I was just thinking about it the other day, and for some reason I wanted to say:
I thought feminism meant I'm allowed to go barefoot in the kitchen.
The choice bit becomes implicit doesn't it?

(Yes, it is an lj icon. No not mine. Don't know whose. No, I don't want to discuss the quote.)
I want to paint it on a t-shirt, but I'd feel stupid if I found out it was spelled wrong!

(no subject)

How common in the Spanish-speaking world is it to tack on an S at the end of the tu form of the preterite? That is, "comistes" instead of "comiste," "vivistes" instead of "viviste," and so on.
  • mavisol

comma needed?

"RvSkin is a skin management software supporting 20 languages and a set of 14 themes which you personally can select." (Meaning you can select both languages and themes.) Does the phrase need a comma after "themes"?
Fifty Pence

Speaking of speaking like a hick...

On a note related to trailingvortex's post, I briefly took group Chinese lessons run by a couple of my peers; one, E., grew up speaking Mandarin, the other, L., had learned it as a second language. On the first day, L. began with "我是..." sentences, and pronounced shi as "shr." The next day, E. taught the lesson but said "suh" instead. L. commented that she "talked[sic] like a Southerner." So, is a schwa instead of retroflexion really a Southern thing? Does it carry the same connotations as a southern US accent? What accent/dialect would be the Chinese equivalent of a southern US accent?
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

Will I Sound Like an Oriental Hick?

Well, I'm currently trying to learn Mandarin from Pimsleur and I must admit learning with them is almost sinfully easy BUT...

It's narrated by a man and a woman with what seem like different accents.

Does anyone familiar with Pimsleur Mandarin know whose pronounciation I should be emulating, assuming I want to sound as standard Beijing as possible, and maybe from where in China the speakers appear to be?
  • Current Mood
    curious curious