October 25th, 2009

Åpen bok
  • gryster

Metaphors

Hello :)

I'm doing corpora research on differences between British English and American English, and just to make it difficult for myself I've decided to look at metaphors. Needless to say the BNC isn't tagged for "metaphor", so I've had to get creative. I'm trying some different methods of finding expressions to look for, and I thought I'd try an elicitation test.

I've narrowed my 'field' down to metaphors that originate in something to do with travel. For example someone going "off the rails", or a bill being "railroaded" through senate are both train-related metaphors. I also found a fun radio program from BBC which mentioned "taken aback" and something being a "cock up" both being metaphors to do with ships.

So do any native speakers of either British English or American English have any other travel-related metaphors (metaphors having to do with cars, trains, ships etc...) they want to post?

(I'd be very grateful if you specified what variety you speak, British or American.)

thank you

- Gry

Åpen bok
  • gryster

Nicknames for swine flu?

 I was just thinking about some of the different nicknames I've heard for swine flu lately.
In English, my favourites so far are "piggy sniffles" and "hamthrax".

In Norwegian I like the word "baconpest" (bacon plague) or "skinkesyke" (ham sickness, but more fun with alliteration :) ).

Does anyone have any other good suggestions? Entries from any language welcome :)

- Gry

Learning Chinese characters

Hi all,

So I'm excited - I found someone to do a language exchange with, here in Taiwan. We'll probably begin with the rudimentary speaking/conversation, but eventually I'd like to learn reading/writing.

I'd like to know for those of you that have studied/are studying Chinese characters: how did you begin this process? Was there a systematic way you approached it? Did you learn formally in a classroom setting, according to each lesson in your book? Or did you ever try to randomly learn a character a day until you worked up to a good base? I've heard many people talk about doing this, with websites where you learn one character a day by random - though i'm not sure how effective this process is! It strikes me as too arbitrary and lacking in structure.

I'd think, practically speaking, it would make sense to learn characters as they correspond to the actual content of what you are learning - for example, first learn the characters for introductory conversation, then move on to family terms, hobbies, school, etc.
Sorry, I know the question regarding this 'process' seems naiive, but I've never tried to learn a logographic language before, so I'm not quite sure what the best approach would be.

I'd like to hear your feedback and different experiences! I suppose the study of Japanese kanji, for those who have/are currently doing so, would also be relevant to this question.
wonderful wonder
  • jinx

if you speak any of these, please help me?

Hi everybody, I hope you'll indulge me with a silly little thing I want to do. I have here the phrase "Work is currently being done on the site, and because of this the site will be unaccessible for a period of time. We apologise for this and hope you will return later" in a bunch of different languages. I want to use it for a project, but slightly edited: my name is Jinx, and I hope to change it so that it says something like "Jinx is currently doing work, and because of this she will be unaccessible for a period of time. We apologise for this and hope you will return later." Notes, if it's helpful: by "work" I mean "homework," and if it would make more sense to go for "unavailable" instead of "unaccessible," by all means do. So basically I'm hoping for this second version of the phrase, in as many of the following languages (behind the cut) as possible!

Also, help me identify the languages? My guesses are also behind the cut.

ETA: Strike-through means I've already gotten the translation, thanks!

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Thank you all SO much in advance! I really appreciate your time.
Bass

Doing some research on tenses

Edited to clarify some points

I'm doing some research with a friend regarding tenses, and need to collect a broad data set across languages and families. As a means of getting a standardized sample, we've come up with the following four sentences, and are putting them in all the tenses that apply in a given language:

• I go.
• John hits the ball. (context: John is playing baseball and just got a hit)
• You give Mary the book.
• We are. (e.g. "Who here is American?" "We are.")
• I walk and talk. (New addition, context would be someone casually/aimlessly walking down the street)

If a tense doesn't officially exist in a language, but there are common workarounds to produce it (e.g. Japanese uses a "plan to do" means of talking about future events), a note on that and an explanation of the workaround is appreciated. We're trying to keep this strictly to tenses, so showing all aspects and moods is not necessary. Default mood is the indicative.

If a language customarily leaves off part of the sentence (e.g. implied subjects, or dropping the copula), then please put the full form of the sentence down, with the omitted parts in [brackets].

I realize that this may be a tall order for some languages, and appreciate the community's help with this. If you don't feel like doing the translations, even a simple explanation of which tenses exist in a language and how they're constructed would be immensely helpful. If you would like an acknowledgement in the final report for your data contribution, send a note via LJ.

Thanks in advance!
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