September 15th, 2007


Man proposes, God disposes...

I've often heard the saying "Man proposes, God disposes" in English, and I've always understood it to mean the same thing as "The best-laid plans of mice and men [gang aft agley]": that is, that human beings can plan, but God's plans may be different and so things may go a totally different way. (The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy says, "People can make plans; God determines how things will turn out.")

The cognate phrase in Spanish is El hombre propone, Dios dispone (y el Diablo descompone); disponer in Spanish means something like "to be willing" and also "to have available" and descomponer is "to take apart" or "to disassemble" so I've always interpreted it as "Man plans, God makes it possible, but the Devil undoes things." Which, obviously, would be the opposite of God's role in the English phrase.

Last night I was reading a book my mother-in-law sent me that was set in Italy and one character kept quoting Italian phrases, and one of the ones he quoted was a cognate of the English and Spanish phrases that I, unfortunately, can't find right now, so pardon my Italian: L'uomo propone ma Dio dispone. And in the context in which it was used, it seemed to mean something more like the English phrase: "You made plans, but God will see to it that they work out differently."

1. First of all, someone please correct my Italian. Found it, thanks.
2. Am I misunderstanding the meaning of one or more of those phrases (English/Spanish/Italian)?
3. Does the Italian phrase really mean the same as the English one?
4. What other languages have sayings using the same turn of phrase (I assume French does, for example), and what do those phrases mean/in what context are they used in those languages?
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    curious curious
My Button, Me, My Hat

Beer! Bier! Beer!

I read an article from the AP about Munich's Oktoberfest. The article itself is here.

The article is pretty inaccurate, but the linguaphiles question I have comes from the section about Beer. She wrote 'Everything is on draft, of course.'

It sounds wrong. But who knows? I think when referring to this aspect of Beer it's 'on tap' or 'draft' without the 'on.' I have never heard 'on draft' before. Does or can draft take a preposition in this case? What do you all think?

Bully Terms

The other day I was watching this *hilarious* South Park rerun, and often times when I'm watching tv or movies and something really "American" comes up (words or situations) I wonder how it would be translated into other languages. In this South Park episode a lot of bully terms were used:

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I am actually going somewhere with this post, it's not just to gross people out. Are there words for these things in other languages?? Do these terms even exist in English outside of the US? (I think the last one is used in England, for some reason I remember that but I might be wrong. Probably in Canada, too). I don't know of anything similar in other languages aside from a bunch of words that mean to slap someone or hit someone on the head, arm, etc. The terms above, however, are very specific and fairly well thought out bully acts. If you speak a language other than English and know of terms for these or other bully acts (besides slaps and whacks) please share them.
llama rain

(no subject)

I am thinking of studying Linguistics at university (jointly with Classics) and I was wondering how scientific such a degree is. The universities I am thinking of applying to are British and the fact that Linguistics is joined with an arts subject makes me think they aren't very scientific, which suits me just fine, but I wanted to know what everybody here thought about their degrees.

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