March 5th, 2008

Cool [DS] [Protag]

Random Knowledge?

So... I was wondering, while I was shoveling snow (yes, I think of linguistics while I shovel snow), what do you call it when someone knows a lot of random stuff about random things?

Terms I've heard (from myself and my family, I'm from Michigan but most of my family is from New York City):

- trivia knowledge
- trivial knowledge
- Trivial Pursuit knowledge
- Jeopardy knowledge
- Bathroom Reader/Uncle John knowledge (from the Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series of books)

What do you call it, and where are you from?
morrissey is a lahhv zombie

(no subject)

hello there.

i was wondering if any of you fine folks might know of a decent free learn-basic-english type of web site. i'm assisting in running a program called "the samovar society" where we establish telephone contact between american teenagers & their peers in poor, small russian villages. i'm trying to provide some sort of basic resource for them; they've taken a bit of english at school, so it would be more of a supplement.

my apologies if this is in any way redundant with any of the posts in this fabulous community.

thank you!

Tamil anyone?

Children in a kindergarden where I'm working frequently use a word that sounds like pundee. Must be kinda derogative because the kids giggle each time they use it, but I have no idea what it means. Anyone?

Furthermore, I'd like to know the tamil words for

hunger (pawsee, possibly?)

Please transcribe the words at stake, in case Tamil uses a different alphabet.

Serious Case of Confusion with English Words

Unfortunately English isn't my native language and I'm at a loss with a few words. Hopefully someone here has time to explain...

What's the difference between words elven, elfin, elfen and elfish?

I have yet to find a dictionary that recognises the word elfen but I have seen it used few times. Still, it could be a mistake. According to elfin and elfish are synonyms whereas my bilingual dictionary knows none of the words in question. gives a solution like this "derivatives: elfish adjective, elven adjective (literary), elvish adjective", which is very nice, but unfortunately only adds one new word to the mess. Besides, my language skills aren't good enough to understand what "adjective (literary)" means. My guess is that it means that the adjective is used only in written texts, but I cannot be sure.

As I don't really believe in synonyms (I have made too many mistakes by that!), I would like to hear some opinions on how to use those and in what kind of texts. I know the general meanings already, so I'm more interested in the nuances. Any help and personal opinions on the matter are welcomed!
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

What is the ideographic analog of spelling?

I have been curious about it for quite some time: how do people (if they do) explain how to write a hanzi/kanji character over the phone, be it a rare proper name or a relatively common word with a complex character, e.g. parrot , stork , or crocodile ? (I've picked them by stroke count, maybe they are not the most complex ones to explain.)
If a technique exists, what level of literacy (knowing just the radicals, the "newspaper" subset, or better) is required in order to understand the instructions and to produce them?
arrested development


I have to do "survey" for a linguistics class. So, speakers of English...

What do you call
1) a pair of chuck taylors (e.g. sneakers, tennis shoes, chucks)
2) a carbonated beverage (e.g. soft drink, soda, pop)

And 3) how do you pronounce "often" when talking to friends.

***please give age, gender, "hometown region", and occupation.


Thanks for the feedback!

And this was kind of crossposted to ontd_garbage. So, if anyone wanted to read what other people said, it's here.

Amusing language-geek moment

I've been learning Croatian from the "Teach Yourself" course before a trip to the Balkans. As some of you might know, one of the characters in that course lives in an apartment on Heinzlova ulica in Zagreb.
I'd thought, originally, that "Heinzlova ulica" was just a generic street name. Today, however, I just happened upon the address of a place to stay in Zagreb which happened to be on Heinzlova ulica. I was half-tempted to pay more per night than I wanted to just so that I wouldn't need to bother with learning any other phrases other than the one in the book in order to ask directions to the place.

Similarly, a French friend told me once that she was hysterics after being introduced to a man called (from memory) Brian, because the textbook all French students use to learn English features the question "Where is Brian? He is in the kitchen" (or something like that) very early on.

Has anyone else had any of those sorts of moments learning any languages - being given the exact directions that the course or the phrasebook uses as an example or something along those lines?
bunny - curious

Korean question

I was listening to a podcast on korean and the first lesson teaches "I like you"
I did a search and..

I think it is.. 좋아해요
very much = 정말 (チョンマル/chonmal?)
I like you very much is 정말좋아해요

Why does it sound like "cho ah yo" to me, but when I look up the korean chart, it seems to be
"choh a he yo" (did i romanise it correctly?) I read a book (it was in Japanese) and it also put it as sounding like チョアヘヨ (cho a he yo)

I'm getting confused!