1999 posts tagged with Language.
Displaying 1 through 50 of 1999. Subscribe:

"Do you have a cigarette I can buy?"

Is this a pickup line or prostitution code? [more inside]
posted by crazylegs on Apr 28, 2016 - 32 answers

Need to maintain my French during a year off using it

My French is good, but I am not a native speaker. I am looking for books, podcast, blogs, YouTube channels etc. which I can use to maintain it during my maternity leave. [more inside]
posted by JoannaC on Apr 21, 2016 - 25 answers

Help my five-year-old learn German

Please recommend tv shows, Youtube videos, cartoons, songs and simple books that are spoken/written in the German language that a five-year-old would enjoy. Difficulty: Five-year-old in question only speaks English. [more inside]
posted by vignettist on Apr 14, 2016 - 19 answers

Colloquial Weather Terms

I'm looking for examples of colloquial weather terms like the "dog days" of summer, Indian summer, or blackberry winter. These are just examples, the terms don't have to be about weather like those. I'm just interested in learning more local/regional expressions like these, especially non-English ones if people know them. Thanks!
posted by Sangermaine on Apr 7, 2016 - 50 answers

What's the point of a paper if nobody can read?

After the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 40s, my great grandfather was the culture editor of an English language newspaper that published in Korea. That's cool and all but many Koreans in those days were illiterate in Korean never mind English. So who would buy and read this newspaper and what's the point? [more inside]
posted by maykasahara on Apr 7, 2016 - 15 answers

Visiting China without knowing the language

I want to go China towards the end of the year. How far can I get without knowing any Chinese languages? [more inside]
posted by As the space-crow flies on Mar 30, 2016 - 7 answers

How can I "reserve" a name for a programming language?

I'm designing a programming language (yeah, like the world needs another pl). Though the design is in flux, I'd like to "reserve" the name of the language. I don't anticipate making any money from this exercise, so I'm not sure filing for a trademark is the right way to go, nor do I want to spend any money on this. Would creating a github repo do the job? Posting to a tech site? [more inside]
posted by cyclicker on Mar 29, 2016 - 7 answers

Body parts "fall asleep" in English. What about in other languages?

English also has "pins and needles" to describe the sensation. What is it called in other languages? The only things I was able to find on the web is that it is called "ant running" in Hindi and that in Italian it is called "feeling ants." I find this super interesting!
posted by LKWorking on Mar 22, 2016 - 22 answers

Mixed-Meowdia Art

What is a great website for teaching how-to-write kanji, with animations? [more inside]
posted by j_curiouser on Mar 17, 2016 - 4 answers

How can I improve my vocabulary?

I am in my 40's and college educated. I've always been told that my language skills are impeccable, but I feel like there's room for improvement. For example, I recently read an article that contained the words "milieu" and "métier," and had to look them up. [more inside]
posted by matrushka on Mar 2, 2016 - 38 answers

Inclusive language that works a little better than "non male"

I'm looking for a more appropriate word than "non male" that is more inclusive than "female." [more inside]
posted by aniola on Feb 26, 2016 - 37 answers

My stars! Watching your mouth on 'Antiques Roadshow'

We have been watching a lot of "Antiques Roadshow" in this household — usually one or two episodes a night for a few months solid. I am curious about people's reactions and the language they choose to express their surprise. [more inside]
posted by veggieboy on Feb 24, 2016 - 18 answers

Setting up a computer for a Syrian refugee family — what am I missing?

We're working with a Syrian refugee family in our community (Canada has a lot these days!). I've been tasked with sourcing and setting up a computer for them to use for basic web browsing and Facebook. I've tried twice, run into trouble each time, and would love suggestions from anyone who's familiar with setting up computers in Arabic. Windows? Ubuntu? Details inside. [more inside]
posted by lukez on Feb 24, 2016 - 7 answers

French TV show soap-opera for daily practice learning French?

I am learning French. So I am looking for a long-running episodic French TV show that is: popular enough to be "available" online, about 30 mins per episode, somewhat entertaining, relatively current / recent, and with lots of dialogue. The aim is to watch just one short episode every evening, in order to improve my listening comprehension. [more inside]
posted by mary8nne on Feb 18, 2016 - 13 answers

Polynesian pronunciation

Do you know a Polynesian language? How would you pronounce (in how many syllables, and stressed how) the names Rumuari'i and Ruata'ata? [more inside]
posted by kalapierson on Feb 14, 2016 - 9 answers

An ephemeral word

I came across a word once that I didn't know. Well, that has happened more than once. But this time I actually looked it up because it sounded so pretty, and the definition was something like, "a luminous trembling quality, as moonlight on water." How incredible that such a word should exist! I was enchanted by it, both because it was a lovely sounding word and because the definition was so ephemeral. [more inside]
posted by SLC Mom on Feb 13, 2016 - 9 answers

"Only the x-iest is x"

Can you offer some names for this line of discursive reasoning that goes "only the strongest is strong at all" or "only the most pretty people are pretty." So far I can think of two: No True Scottsman and the various ways of saying "might makes right" but I have a tip of the tongue feeling there are a lot of these.
posted by Taft on Feb 9, 2016 - 24 answers

One month paid sabbatical. What to do with my time?

I recently got a great offer from my company for a paid sabbatical of one month. Their conditions are to use it on a personal project of some sort and give a presentation afterwards. I. E. "Don't stay at home and watch TV." [more inside]
posted by ts;dr on Feb 7, 2016 - 14 answers

Please recommend some Russian comic books for an adult learning Russian

Do you have any recommendations for Russian language comics for an adult English speaker learning Russian? [more inside]
posted by tllaya on Feb 1, 2016 - 3 answers

Suggest Audiobooks with bits of non-English language and accents

I'm currently enjoying the audiobook of "Lost in Translation" by Nicole Mones. The narrator often uses a phrase in Mandarin, and then says the English translation afterwards. She also uses lots of accents. It has a very nice ear-feel, if that's a word. What are some other audiobooks you enjoyed that feature these techniques? Thanks! (Don't say Shantaram, it is already my favorite audiobook ever).
posted by bluesky78987 on Jan 29, 2016 - 7 answers

To be a cider drinker, in Swedish

I'm looking for a good Swedish expression for "Get some cider in you!" or "Drink up your cider!" Something that sounds a little on the rural / folksy side would be best.
posted by Wolfdog on Jan 17, 2016 - 6 answers

Is there a word for this?

Is there a word for when you hear someone say something in the background or when you're not paying attention and you don't process it immediately, but recognize the word a few seconds later from the pattern of pronunciation? I suppose sort of like hearing someone say your name without actually hearing them say your name. [more inside]
posted by jourman2 on Jan 14, 2016 - 8 answers

Leaning a new language with a poor memory.

It's my 50th year and I still don't know another language. I am determined to learn Spanish and I've started with Duolingo, but it doesn't seem to "stick. I've repeated the basic lessons a few times, but keep getting some words wrong. I've just done these questions, what is wrong with me?! Are they any good tips or methods on how to remember what I've just done ?
posted by Webbster on Jan 10, 2016 - 21 answers

The Association of Somewhat Knowledgeable Mindhive Enquirers

I've run into a lot of clever acronyms for organizations lately, and have wondered which came first, the chicken or the egg. If you ever were tasked to name an organization and/or come up with its acronym, did the name of the organization just happen to lend itself to compacting neatly into a self-descriptive acronym, or did the acronym dictate or alter the name of the organization? What was the path you followed to arrive there?
posted by not_on_display on Jan 10, 2016 - 6 answers

Learning Latin, sans school

What are your suggestions/resources for learning Latin independently, outside of school? I am a beginner, with access to a well-resourced library and the Internet. I'll keep this question brief and general, since I am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks!
posted by delight on Jan 8, 2016 - 11 answers

Why learn Russian (or German, or Japanese, or Italian...)?

Thanks to the glory of Duolingo and printable alphabet worksheets, I've started to dabble in Russian language learning. I don't intend to ever visit Russia. Why should I keep learning the language? [more inside]
posted by witchen on Jan 6, 2016 - 19 answers

"Got up too quickly" for different cultures

Yesterday I stood up too quickly, got a bit lightheaded and had to sit down again. My Mexican hosts were concerned and I tried to explain. At this point that I realized that "got up too quickly" is really not that descriptive and in fact borders on idiom. So now I'm curious what the Mexican Spanish idiom would be for that particular event (technically orthostatic hypotension). And while I'm at it I'm kind of curious about other cultures as well. Please help me sate my cultural curiosity.
posted by Tell Me No Lies on Dec 30, 2015 - 7 answers

Novice Hindi Language learning - NYC or mobile/online best options

Where should we take introductory Hindi in NYC or is there an iOs app or other resource we should start with first? [more inside]
posted by Exceptional_Hubris on Dec 28, 2015 - 8 answers

What is being sung in this French-language song?

If any Francophones are up for a challenge: can you tell this monoglot what is being sung in The Go! Team's song Ye Ye Yamaha? (YouTube link but should also be on all the streaming services.) He wants to sing along but has to resort to garbled nonsense words. It's a fuzzy pop song with a killer catchy chorus, if that entices anyone!
posted by Quilford on Dec 27, 2015 - 8 answers

Shakespeare on desire as muse

Brief Shakespeare quotation on the idea of desire or love as muse / as source of creative fire? [more inside]
posted by kalapierson on Dec 20, 2015 - 4 answers

What's that quote about relationships ending/marriages being lost?

I read (somewhere?) a quote by someone (an author? poet?) that when a relationship (marriage?) ends, a little language shared by the two is lost. I've googled all sorts of combinations of these words and cannot find it. Did I hallucinate this? Thanks!
posted by Brian Puccio on Dec 12, 2015 - 3 answers

I think I want to learn German and want to pick a method

I am thinking that I might want to learn German as a language of beer and cheese for career advancement. Good choice? Should I take a class or set out on my own? [more inside]
posted by Foam Pants on Dec 9, 2015 - 10 answers

Best means to learn a second language (Spanish)?

Has anyone used online tutors or services that they had positive experience with? I tried to use Rosetta Stone but didn't find it helpful because I think I may need more personal teachings. I have found some online "tutors" but am skeptical of their services. I know VERY BASIC spanish, and am looking to learn more and be able to converse and understand better... My child's father is Spanish and it is important for me to learn to communicate with his family and with our daughter together. I live in the DC area if anyone knows of local resources. My preference would be online or something I can do in home at first since we have a new baby, there isn't much time to get out during the week with working full time.
posted by MamaBee223 on Dec 9, 2015 - 19 answers

How do I learn to be better at English grammar and editing my writing?

I’ve been a lifelong reader and writer. I’m realizing while doing more writing (and in particular editing my own writing) that I need better resources and suggestions for learning English grammar. I've been told by some editors that I make mistakes and I’d love to have a better sense of how to polish what I write and deal with the little bits of grammatical inaccuracies that sprout up in finished pieces. [more inside]
posted by mulkey on Dec 3, 2015 - 15 answers

Learning about the history of nationalized and marginalized languages

I know there was this process in the last few hundred years of European history where newly forming nations, trying to take hold of themselves, would decree one language official (French, Spanish), and try to squelch all of the many other languages/dialects (Occitan, Catalan) spoken within their borders. Where can I learn more? [more inside]
posted by gold-in-green on Nov 22, 2015 - 13 answers

Word parts and/or rules for combining them (morphemes?)

I want to write a program to generate new, realistic-sounding and -looking words. I want to programmatically create strings like 'bik', 'clible', 'aunstic', and 'cranoak', (if these words don't already exist), and avoid strings like 'bblejkm', 'aunstrbl', and other things that don't look pronounceable. Looking for a database of word parts to feed into this program, possibly with a set of accompanying rules. English or any other language (ideally with phonetic representations). [more inside]
posted by amtho on Nov 21, 2015 - 19 answers

Other languages' terms for transgender?

What are some terms for transgender in other languages, especially Spanish? What words do they use to identify themselves? [more inside]
posted by the bird at the bottom of the tree on Nov 13, 2015 - 11 answers

Can I get English-language service for my Japanese PS4?

So: my 2-month-old PS4 has broken down, with error CE-34878-0 across all applications. Sony US normally replaces machines that have this issue. My problem: I have a Japanese PS4, and Sony US refuses to service it. Sony Japan could probably help, but I don't speak Japanese (and I live in the US). What can I do? [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Nov 7, 2015 - 4 answers

Summary text of the Linguistic/Philosophical problem of Concepts?

So I'm looking for a text that provides a good summary / overview of the Linguistics and Philosophical (and Psychological?) debates, conflicts, theoretical models of the relations between words, concepts, and things. A good overview that covers the range from Abelard, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Chomsky, Fodor, etc.. Does such a book exist? [more inside]
posted by mary8nne on Nov 3, 2015 - 7 answers

Identifying English-as-a-Second Language speakers' first language?

With a long-enough sample of written or spoken* English from someone whose first language is not English, can linguists identify what that person's first language is? If so, what are the tell-tale signs for various languages? [more inside]
posted by alby on Oct 27, 2015 - 32 answers

One-phrase descriptions of writers

Can a writer's literary style or technique be summed up in one phrase? I am trying to compile such a list of descriptions. An example would be: "Ernest Hemingway: Simple, terse, unadorned, and uses few adjectives." George Bernard Shaw: "Energetic, witty, intellectual, aggressive, comedic, and socially critical." The more technical the description, the better.
posted by omar.a on Oct 26, 2015 - 2 answers

Nostalgia for the Future

Is there a word in English (or any other language) for anticipating nostalgia for events that have not yet happened? [more inside]
posted by erst on Oct 25, 2015 - 8 answers

How to say "nature does make jumps" in latin?

As opposed to natura non facit saltus. Is it just natura facit saltus? I want to be emphatic that it does saltate. Google Translate and other translation systems are giving divergent answers.
posted by curuinor on Oct 16, 2015 - 8 answers

Age, language barrier and feelings

Hi everyone. There is a 20 year old German exchange student in my class (I'm pursuing a professional degree). I'm 26. I admire him a great deal and I miss our conversations. He's who I aspire to be as a human being: someone who radiates goodness and spends his time buried in books when he's not training for an upcoming triathlon. We were friends and then because of my stupid feelings, we slept together. [more inside]
posted by kinoeye on Oct 13, 2015 - 20 answers

JapaneseTranslationFilter

I have, by happenstance, come into possession of a small statue of a samurai that came with a little wooden sign with some Japanese writing on it. I'm sure one of you can easily translate it for me, and for that I would be grateful.
posted by prize bull octorok on Oct 8, 2015 - 1 answer

Friendly-sounding words?

In the “Steve Jobs” script by Aaron Sorkin, there is a little exchange between Jobs and Sculley in which the former says that the name “Apple” came from a “list of friendly-sounding words”. Regardless of why Apple is named Apple, do such lists exist? Is there any research on what makes a word sound friendly to people (phonetically, semantically, aurally, visually, ...)?
posted by omar.a on Oct 7, 2015 - 8 answers

Strengths and weaknesses of different languages?

What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of certain languages? I'm most interested in English and French but if you have knowledge of another that would also be fascinating! [more inside]
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot on Oct 3, 2015 - 45 answers

Why are people still saying 'spicket' instead of 'spigot'?

I've said and written 'spicket' my entire life and only this morning discovered it was non-standard. Some dictionaries give a cursory redirect to 'spigot'; some don't even list the 'ck' variant. The apparent root of 'spigot' [Latin spica] would seem to obviate this discussion, but the change from /k/ to /g/ had taken place at least by 1590 (both forms co-existed for a while). When did 'spicket' become non-standard, and why has that /k/ persisted to the present day? [more inside]
posted by smokysunday on Sep 29, 2015 - 6 answers

Slang phrases (and where you heard them) for u-turn?

Hi, I'm interested in any slang words or phrases you have heard for making a u-turn. I'll share the two I've heard; I'd love to hear what you have heard. [more inside]
posted by rachelpapers on Sep 23, 2015 - 63 answers

Is there a name for this type of context in language?

"Après moi, le deluge" is a famous phrase. Literally it means "After me, the deluge." Idiomatically it essentially means "I don't care what happens after I'm gone, even if the world ends." I get all that. But what is missing from the Wikipedia page I linked to is the historical/cultural context; "the deluge" figuratively refers to the biblical flood described in Genesis 6-9. Is there a specific word for this sort of context for a phrase or term of art? [more inside]
posted by Wretch729 on Sep 15, 2015 - 18 answers

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