August 8th, 2009

Red

British slang for cigarette

Hello! I recently came across a webcomic where the main character referred to his cigarettes as fags. I've never come across this particular bit of slang before and was wondering if anyone here knew the origins. I realize it's British, but I was wondering if anyone could explain how that the two became synonymous.


Edit: Thanks, guys! I found out everything I wanted to know and more! Everyone here is so helpful; this is a great community.
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Crack

Questioning my own language tonight...

Heh. I'm currently watching this great comedian Adam Hills (who's been pimped here before, I think, for his awesome sketch about languages?) and I stumbled upon this bit: about German words (at 2:50 min in)

Backpfeifengesicht and Schadenfreude I am familiar with, but Scheißbedauern? /Scheißenbedauern?

I do get the meaning, especially since he translates it as shit-regret, but I can honestly say I have never heard that word before and German is my native language. A look into my trusted dictionary leaves me as clueless, as well as instant-google-fu.

So, is he making it up (which I don't think, he strikes me as a research-type) or am I just too stupid to find it/have never stumbled over that bit of slang? I'm curious. Anyone heard that word before?




PS: For those helping me find French grammar sites last time, thanks again! I passed the exam with flying colours! ^_____^


Edit: Hopefully fixed my html-error
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eternalsunshine

Article Adjective Question in Romanian

I'm just a complete beginner in Romanian, and was confused by the use of an article adjective in the sentence "El nu este o femeie, el este un bărbat." but not the use of one in " El nu este fată, el este băiat." Is it just the man/woman nouns that require an o or un before them or is it that "fată" and  "băiat" do not need an o or un?

Help:: Lyric Translation

Well, the first question I asked here had some several responses and produced a fine paper. Thank you~

А кто себя им выдавал
Для чего?

This is Russian, if I'm not mistaken. Would anyone care to translate? It's currently leaving a hole in a GitS lyric translation.

Thanks in advance!
greek

Interlanguage transplants

One of my favorite things about working with so many people who are bilingual (English and Spanish) like myself is taking note of the phrases and constructions that end up getting translated from one language into the other. Even though a native speaker of said language might raise an eyebrow at it or even call it incorrect, they often work on a literal level, though I imagine they make more sense to a person who knows where it came from. This seems to happen most often with things that are simply easier to say, or at least shorter and simpler in one language than the other.

An example in each direction:

1. The standard way to speak about "calling someone back" on the phone in Spanish is "regresarle/devolverle la llamada a alguien," or literally "to return someone's call." But I notice a lot of people, many of them native Spanish speakers, say "llamar para atrás," which is a literal translation of "to call back," although in formal Spanish it sounds more like "call towards the back," as in a room or something. It's a pretty widespread phenomenon, although I don't know how far back it goes.

2. Often in Spanish, you can make a suggestion and simply say "mejor" before or at the end to indicate that it's a better idea than something else that was suggested. You can say "better yet" at the beginning of a sentence in English to indicate the same thing, but as a specific example, I was watching a video on YouTube and the info said "Watch it in HQ better." Literally translated to Spanish it sounds perfectly natural: "Míralo en HQ mejor," a suggestion that the video will look better in high quality. This is even something that I've caught myself doing occasionally. Rather than saying, "It'd be better if you did X" or "Maybe you should do X instead," I'll accidentally say, "Maybe do X better."

What I'm interested in are any other examples anyone might have of phenomena like this, where you take a phrase from one language you know into the other, even if it doesn't immediately fit the logic of the language. Anyone?

(no subject)

If a parent speaks a second language with an accent and lives somewhere where that language is NOT the dominant one (so they're not surrounded by people speaking the language without an accent), will their children develop their accent?