October 23rd, 2010



I'm editing a book where the author uses the term "recipes" in a way I'm not familiar with.

Here is an example (not copied straight from the text): "Jane has two gallons of milk. The recipe for pudding she is using asks for 2 cups of milk. How many recipes can Jane make?"

I flagged it and asked if it shouldn't be "How many batches of pudding can Jane make" instead, and explained that if I were asked "how many recipes can you make" I would say something along the lines of "well hey, I can use milk in pudding, cookies, and macaroni, so 3." But the author went with the original phrasing.

I'm a West Coast denizen; I'm not sure where the author lives (except that it's probably somewhere in the States). Is this a commonly accepted usage? Is it specific to a region? Or widespread?

English: a phrase I'm a bit perplexed with

"His beauty and laconic manner did not betray the fact that he was a gifted pianist".

I would interpret it like this: "at first glance people didn't think he was a gifted pianist, because he seemed too beautiful, and his manner of speaking was too laconic" (presumably he wasn't boastful). Am I right?

Thanks in advance!

Update: it seems that my interpretation is right but the author could select more appropiate words for this idea. Yes, perhaps it's an example of bad prose (maybe not very typical for the book, I will comment on it more extensively in comments below). Still, it's a memoir, and I think the author just tries to convey her first impression of the pianist. Also there are some types of physical beauty that make one unwittingly look frivolous or young for one's age.
MASH Say what?
  • barush

Spanish insults

This request may be a bit odd, but I hope it's still okay!

Anyways, long story short, my friend and I have a presentation for our Colloquial Spanish class on 'Spanish insults'. Sadly, everything I know from Spanish was learned from a text book and the only insult I know is 'hijo de puta', pretty much. I've done some google search, but I've no idea how relevant those results are and if the expressions are still in use etc.

So, my humble request to all you lovely people... Do you know any insults that are used nowadays in (preferably) Spanish Spanish? If so, would you be so kind as to provide some kind of a translation and ways it can be used? (As in, you'd say it to a guy/girl, it's just a bit impolite, it's totally inappropriate etc.) Or, alternatively, do you know any good website I could use?

Thank you in advance for any help! :)

Dutch Endearment

I’ve been doing research to find a Dutch endearment for my character to call his English-speaking girlfriend that translates into some sort of variation on “little one”. My search turned up zoeteke and lieveke, which the internet tells me both mean “sweet little one”. However, it says that zoeteke refers to sweet like sugar and lieveke means sweet like you would use in the phrase “isn’t that sweet”.

Can somebody explain the difference between the two?

Also, are either even appropriate for my purposes? My character is a 21 year old who was born and raised in Amsterdam, and the usage would be more playful than mushy (like the difference in America between calling someone babe/beautiful and calling them angel/lover). I’m also looking at gekkie, which I’ve been told means “little crazy one”.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.