January 12th, 2009

Cantonese / Mandarin / French

Hi there.
I'm interested in learning either Cantonese or Mandarin and was wondering whether anybody here knew of any good resources from the internet or elsewhere? And is Pimsleur any good for Cantonese / Mandarin?

I'm also interested in learning French; I've already learnt the basics of it but aim to further my knowledge. Any good resources for French?

Thanks a bunch in advance!


x-posted in </a></font></b></a>learn_languages

from a painting

German Dative Question

In one of my German course books, there are the following sentences: 
"Er nimmt sein Geld und steckt es in die Brieftasche. Er steckt die Brieftasche in seine Rocktasche."

But since "in" is a preposition that begins a Dative phrase, shouldn't the sentences be:
"Er nimmt sein Geld und steckt es in der Brieftasche. Er steckt die Brieftasche in seiner Rocktasche."?

  • bidnez

question on a vulgarity, epithet of opprobium

What is one doing when they say, "You are an ***hole"?

A friend pointed out that it is synecdochal (i.e., pars pro toto: part for whole--no pun intended). But this seems incomplete. Is it an epithet of opprobium as above? Can we call this a dysphemistic constative utterance? That sounds geekily cool, but still seems to lack something. We know it's a profanity (I like 'execration' here), but what are we actually telling/bestowing upon the addressee?

Perhaps it is several things. Any thoughts, musings welcome.


In To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf writes:

So some random light directing them from an uncovered star, or wandering ship, or the Lighthouse even, with its pale footfall upon stair and mat, the little airs mounted the staircase and nosed round bedroom doors. But here surely, they must cease. Whatever else may perish and disappear, what lies here is steadfast. Here one might say to those sliding lights, those fumbling airs that breathe and bend over the bed itself, here you can neither touch nor destroy. Upon which, wearily, ghostlily, as if they had feather-light fingers and the light persistency of feathers, they would look, once, on the shut eyes, and the loosely clasping fingers, and fold their garments wearily and disappear. And so, nosing, rubbing, they went to the window on the staircase, to the servants’ bedrooms, to the boxes in the attics; descending, blanched the apples on the dining-room table, fumbled the petals of roses, tried the picture on the easel, brushed the mat and blew a little sand along the floor. At length, desisting, all ceased together, gathered together, all sighed together; all together gave off an aimless gust of lamentation to which some door in the kitchen replied; swung wide; admitted nothing; and slammed to.

I can't make heads or tails of what "try" means there, can anyone help?
scanner darkly


I got this in a Youtube comment. I have no idea what language it is or what it says. Anyone think they can help me out?

Én csak azt tudom hozzáfűzni így magyar szöveggel, hogy néhol hamis. De ezt csak azért tudom, mert én már játszottam. A "b" hangoktól eltekintve azért jó :)

Much appreciated!

French -> English

"Elle sera partie prenante d'une diversification des moyens de sémiatisation et refusera tout centrage de la subjectivation sur la personne, soit disant neutre et bienveillante."

what would be natural in English for the phrase in bold? "let it be said neutrally and kindly"?

thank you for any suggestions.


Help out a Yank?

What are some adjectival expletives that might be used by a WWII-era RAF pilot if he were really good and angry? I'm looking for ones that might have been shocking in any situation, but especially when said in front of a woman. "Bloody/bleeding" and "sodding" come to mind immediately, but I'm not sure that they're not either contemporary (well, the latter at least) or inadequately offensive to more delicate sensibilities.

Help with name spellings?

Been on a facebook binge looking up random people I can remember names to, but every so often something stumps me. In this particular case, it's a Polish last name that we used to always pronounce "pat-ri-KOW-ski", but that's not turning up any hits whatsoever, and I'm certain it's got to be wrong. Anyone here able to lend a hand?

Another name that's been elusive is pronounced "joe-WAN", but I've got no idea how to spell that one either (only hint I can offer is that the guy was black).

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help with either!