September 24th, 2009

lang lang reading

When a brand name becomes common parlance

In ontario Canada at least we have several things that we speak of by a namebrand of a company. ie tissues = Kleenex and bandages = bandaids.

 As well there are tv spots for a film called zombieland (I have a purpose i swear).  Part of the ad campaign is that the charatcers have rules for how to survive in a zombie filled wasteland. Anyways in one spot one character offers the others hand sanitizer but simply says "Do you guys want some purel?" clip here mild caution it is a rather violent but not excessively bloody just impressive makeup.

What I'm curious to know is does anyone else have any memories or experiences of hand sanitizer or what have you being simply referred to as purell? I have on occassion but only when I'm speaking of the product itself rather than just using it as a general umbrella term.

My friends and I have come up with two theories for the film's usage of it. Mine is that it's a paid advertising by the company purell itself and his is that it's simply for the sake of saving words.

Any thoughts? Either that or does anyone know how I could find out if purell did pay for the namedrop?

edit: I threw on a few tags but wasn't sure what others might apply so do let me know if i should add/remove any tags on this entry.
  • nyzoe

Incredible simpletons and extraordinary jazz lovers

Dear Linguaphiles,

I'm currently collecting data for my Master's thesis, which I probably can't say too much about, but I'd be much obliged if some of the native speakers of English among you would complete the mini-questionnaire here. It shouldn't take more than a minute or five, probably less.

(Note: there's a response maximum, and when that's reached you will get an error message. In that case, you don't have to do the experiment of course, but your intentions are still very much appreciated :). )

At this point, I'm concerned with English only, so please don't do the experiment if you're not a native speaker. There'll be a follow-up post for non-English (and non-Dutch) speakers, hopefully within a few days.

Thanks a bunch for helping me out!

ETA: *whacks self over the head* I forgot to include one sentence (a pretty important one at that). Here it is, feel free to let me know your preferred interpretation in the comments:

14. 'Steven is an amazing nerd.'
a) Steven is very nerdy.
b) Steven is a nerd with an amazing personality.

Ranking language proficiency

I'm in the United States and working on my resume. Since I'm getting my minor in French, I'd like to be able to indicate my proficiency in the language on my resume; however, I'm not sure what terms to use.

I tried googling, but I don't seem to have the right keywords to get what I want, or else I keep running into various systems that all use different rankings. For example: Expert/Extended/Operational/Pre-operational/Elementary/Pre-elementary (from ICAO), Superior/Advanced/Intermediate/Novice (from ACTFL). The advisor helping me with my resume gave me a list of terms including Proficient/Fluent/Advanced/Conversational/Intermediate.

Are any of these systems preferable over the others? Or is it simply a matter of preference, and as long as I can indicate my proficiency in general any system is fine?

I'm tempted to use the terms my advisor suggested, especially because they sound more familiar to me; however, I'm not entirely sure how to use them and I'm not finding it with Google. I assume Fluent > Advanced > the rest of the list, but I don't know in what order Proficient, Conversational, and Intermediate go, nor am I sure exactly what they entail. I know that my French skills are somewhere in that area, but I don't know which label is correct.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!
  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful

(no subject)

I'm applying for a scholarship to do an intensive 1 month language course in Vienna, Austria (at the University of Vienna) next summer and I'm curious about what the German dialect there is like.

I know all the teachers will speak and teach us Hochdeutsch of course, but will I be able to understand people at all outside the classroom? How easily do people codeswitch between High German and Viennese? Will they just do so automatically when speaking with foreigners or is the native dialect something everyone speaks in regardless of the circumstances?

Please don't write something like, OMGZ DO NOT LEARN GERMAN IN AUSTRIA because I am interested in Austria but also the scholarship amount isn't enough to do a 1 month course at the Goethe Institutes in Germany, so those are out of the picture.

Edit: Thanks everyone for the insightful comments!