I would write "1950s" or "1980s", and this is universal among native English speakers, so far as I am aware. In international contexts, however, I sometimes observe that people whose English spelling is otherwise flawless will consistently write "1950ies" or "1980ies", which reads to me like it has an extra syllable. Where does this convention come from, and what linguistic background makes it sound like a reasonable way to contract these numbers? [more inside]
posted by Mars Saxman
on Jun 19, 2014 -
Can anyone recommend a beginner level English language tutorial series for Spanish speakers who cannot read or write in either language?
posted by jayCampbell
on Jun 12, 2014 -
Is there a word for "one word", like monosyllabic means "one syllable"?
posted by mikeand1
on Dec 12, 2013 -
Looking for movie recommendations that feature French scenes, spoken French is good too. [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA
on Dec 2, 2013 -
What are some examples of really easy/obvious etymological descents that most people aren't really aware of? I'm trying to prove to somebody that there are a lot of these in the english language but I've forgotten most of the interesting ones I used to know. [more inside]
posted by tehloki
on Nov 22, 2013 -
Is there a term for a seer/diviner/oracle that is only able to see into the past? I'm willing to grab one from a non-English language if there is a word that means specifically "a seer who can only see the past", but English is prefered. Antiquated terms are OK. Bonus points for interesting etymological details (or links to interesting etymological details). [more inside]
posted by NoraReed
on Jul 16, 2013 -
Hi. I'm a Portuguese student and I'm going to spend two weeks of my summer vacations on Leeds, England since I have an aunt there that invited me. I would like to spend my time practicing my English but I don't know what to do or where to go. Where can I meet new people (of my age range preferably: 20's), have a good conversation, listen to other people talk, ...? Your help will be much appreciated!
posted by tsuwal
on Jul 3, 2013 -
I was at lunch today and asked my friends "Why don't American's have British accents in their speach?" They were dumbfounded and began to wonder themselves so I turn to Ask MetaFilter to find the answer.
posted by usermac
on Jun 6, 2013 -
I learned English as a second language (native is Finnish). The emphasis in school was on vocabulary and very basic grammar; we did not to my recollection deal with stuff like passive voice etc. So in terms of writing in English, much of my "voice" has developed simply from what sounds right inside my head. However, I've been told that the way I write is overly complicated. Is this so? [more inside]
posted by Unhyper
on May 22, 2013 -
I need one word, in singular form, that is synonymous with product, service, and experience (experience as in, taking a tour, sitting for a lecture, watching a live band..)
The company I am working for provides many products, services and experiences for their customers, and I need a single, general noun that describes all of these. Help!
posted by Glendale
on May 21, 2013 -
I am looking for a text file of a list of words (roughly the 5000-10000 most common English words) and their root word and root word language. My Google Fu only turns up single words or pages that I can type in a word to get to another page to get the etymology.
Wikipedia has some stuff, but it is sorted by language root, which is not what I am looking for.
I would like to have a long list of words in a text file so that I can manipulate it programatically. Comma separated or whatever, any format would be great.
Here is one use case:
Yoke - [list of words that have yoke in the etymological history] (Many, many many English words come from the root work for Yoke.)
All answers appreciated!
posted by Monkey0nCrack
on May 16, 2013 -
I first came across this about 20 years ago in a Calvin & Hobbes strip where Hobbes taunts his friend: "Calvin and Susie, sitting in a tree. Kay-Eye-Ess-Ess-Eye-En-Gee!" I never understood why Hobbes was making "words" out of letters; I assumed it was something unique to comics (or tigers). Then today, a poem
linked to in this FPP
reminded me of that old comic strip and got me thinking: Why is there an entire parallel alphabet
to spell out the letters of the alphabet? [more inside]
posted by andromache
on Apr 14, 2013 -
Where is this mystical land where it is acceptable to answer statements with: "So?" [more inside]
posted by 256
on Apr 5, 2013 -
Hello, I'm a French student preparing for English interviews and in my last mock session my interviewer talked about my accent that could put me at a disadvantage. I can't afford and don't have the time to see a speech therapist so I'm looking for books with audio tracks that are aimed at mastering the standard American accent. Do you know or know somebody that had had great results with a particular book?
posted by lite
on Mar 27, 2013 -
What does this Egyptian Arabic song mean in English?
Listen to the song here
Thanks! : )
posted by thatgirl1985
on Nov 2, 2012 -
Are there any famous English catchphrases in foreign language television and cinema? Think of this as the Foreign language equivalent to "Hasta la vista, baby!" [more inside]
posted by Nanukthedog
on Sep 26, 2012 -
I have spoken english fluently since I was a child but I know many people that would like to learn or are trying to learn how to speak english. In my opinion the best method is full on immersion in an english speaking country. What would be the best country or place for this to happen? [more inside]
posted by mikeanegus
on Jun 8, 2012 -
When did the use of contractions become common in American English and/or when did the absence of contractions become an (accurate or not) shorthand for outdated diction? [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock
on May 9, 2012 -
My son has become fascinated with non-standard plurals in English, and I need more examples to feed him.
Can you think of more like: Foot --> Feet; Goose --> Geese; Mouse --> Mice. What I'm not
looking for is inside: [more inside]
posted by anastasiav
on Apr 22, 2012 -
English language friends: Why do we use the word “different” when it doesn’t appear to be necessary? [more inside]
posted by bryon
on Apr 17, 2012 -
What are some English words that contain a prefix, but the root is either not a word or is substantially unrelated to the prefixed word? [more inside]
posted by Geppp
on Mar 23, 2012 -
When do you say 'going down to X' and when do you say 'going up to X' in the context of geography? Do you have a system? For example do you say going up when you going North? For example we are going up to Sydney from Melbourne. Or do you use the rough height of the places? [more inside]
posted by sien
on Jan 13, 2012 -
I'm french-speaking, possible new job needs my resume in English. Please help me pimp my resume. [more inside]
posted by Baud
on Dec 13, 2011 -
Do immigrants need a higher level of proficiency in English to get along in the world today than our ancestors did when they immigrated? [more inside]
posted by christinetheslp
on Dec 7, 2011 -
What’s a sure-fire way of knowing the difference between “their” and there; I always end up getting confused between the two. [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy
on Nov 21, 2011 -
If I had never seen the internet before, where would you direct me in 2011? What are the best news, film, music, art, fashion, history, technology, gossip, sports websites and blogs out there? [more inside]
posted by maca
on Oct 3, 2011 -
Is there a common English word or a technical term that names the process of taking a page or picture from the real world to the virtual? In other words, if I took a physical page and, with a scanner or camera, turned it into a file on my computer; what would you call that action?
posted by millerizer
on Oct 2, 2011 -
"American English is like a mugger in a back alley who, instead of taking your wallet, takes your pocket dictionary".
I read a quote in this vein a while ago and I'm trying to identify the actual quote and the source.
posted by chara
on Sep 12, 2011 -
Do you honestly enjoy reading free verse? Can you explain to me why I should enjoy it, too?
posted by anonymous
on Jun 24, 2011 -
Two questions about vocabulary in the American South and elsewhere: did your parents call you sugar and did they, when you were in trouble, use both your first and middle names to summon you for the reckoning? [more inside]
posted by mygothlaundry
on Jun 2, 2011 -
So I graduated last year and have been working in sales since then. I'm very intrigued by the concept of teaching english abroad, as I've had some great experiences teaching children before, but am overwhelmed by the amount of different schemes and companies. I have never really
travelled before, and I know this may be seen as a big step, but I have this uncontrollable itch to just go for it while I am young and relatively free.
I'm really looking for any and all advice from you guys - anyone who's done it, anyone who's considered it, anyone at all!
Ideally, I am looking for a half-year placement, with a UK-based TEFL company (although it seems that many companies don't care where you are from). Having said that, I could be swayed by a year-long course. I am very excited by i-to-i, and heard about this through a recommendation.
However, as I say, I feel a little like I am stabbing in the dark. I have read with much interest some previous questions, and have heard mention of Dave's ESL cafe, but this seems to be mostly aimed towards the USA. [more inside]
posted by jhighmore
on May 3, 2011 -
Given 4 months of free time, how can an advanced English learner take the biggest step toward full fluency? [more inside]
posted by mshrike
on Apr 18, 2011 -
[English] language mavens: I need a word that falls between tactile
, that describes an interesting physical sensation like the click of those little toy jumping discs. [more inside]
posted by spacewrench
on Mar 4, 2011 -
Why is the sentence "Let's read, Freedom
by Jonathan Franzen." incorrectly punctuated? [more inside]
posted by rinosaur
on Feb 9, 2011 -