October 13th, 2011


Can "argument" be something positive?

Hi Linguaphiles,

You have been very helpful in my quest of mastering English language and again I've come to your help for a question that in need of native English speakers' opinions.

What do you think of "argument"? What connotation does this word contain? To me, it's used when parties involved in a discussion disagree with each other and often, with anger. Would you think "avoid arguments" a good quality? It's weird but I don't think "to argue" for something holds so much negative connotation as "argument" itself, but that might be just my wrong perception. My friend argued that "arguments" can be positive and that something good will come out of it and thus, "avoid arguments" is a weakness of one. What do you think of this? And since we're on this, could someone tell me how would you differentiate "argument" and "conflict" in conversation?

Many thanks in advance for your reply! :)


Hello everyone!

I have a question for the American English speakers here. In my grad studies program (Latin American Studies), we use the word "hegemony"a lot. One thing that has struck me is when I learned the word during my undergrad in Utah, I learned to pronounce it as [ˈhɛdʒɨmoʊni], while here in my program in DC, I've heard it pronounced [hɨ'dʒɛməni] (HEDGE-uh-moh-nee vs. Huh-GEH-muh-nee).

I've talked with some friends about it and they studied out West and learned it the way I did. This makes me wonder if the pronunciation varies from region to region or if it's just a matter of personal preference. I know both pronunciations are accepted, I'm just curious if there's a pattern.

So! How do you say "hegemony" and what region of the country did you first learn it?

English word needed...

... for Arabic ṣurrah صُرَّة , which is something like a little bag or bundle, made by gathering up a piece of cloth and tying a string around it.  But it doesn't have closed sides, so it's not quite a bag.  In the text I'm translating, it contains only one small coin, so it doesn't seem big enough to be a bundle either.  Or can a bundle be small? 

Any suggestions appreciated!
sobaka right?

light on Maple

Urgent help needed on the following dialog from "Modern Family" series.

Mitchell: Oh, this is insane. Buying a shirt is not a kiss-worthy moment.
Cameron: Oh, I didn’t know there was an official list. Please tell us, what is on the list?
Mitchell: I’ll tell you what is not on the list: finding jalapeno-stuffed olives, making the light on Maple, every time we see a VW

What is that "light on Maple" thing? I can't google for anything coherent to that effect.

Thanks in advance.

UPD: Understood. I really appreciate everyone's help.