204 posts tagged with english and language.
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"Or no" or... no?

Lately I've started noticing the construction "or no" in places where I would have expected "or not". [more inside]
posted by Too-Ticky on Dec 13, 2014 - 17 answers

Item is [colour] in colour vs. Item is [colour]

What is the difference in English between [1] "The flowers are white" and [2] "The flowers are white in colour"? Scientific texts (such as botanical descriptions) seem to prefer [2] and add "in colour" after the colour name though it is redundant. Form [1] wins the Google fight by a large margin and the Ngram for "white in color" shows a downward trend since the 1920s. Is it now OK to drop the "in colour" in contemporary (scientific) texts?
posted by elgilito on Dec 1, 2014 - 11 answers

Why is this site in English and Dutch?

In the past, I've seen that sometimes English is interspersed with another language on certain websites. This site, however, has English titles to their posts, but most everything else is in Dutch. Why? [more inside]
posted by dozo on Nov 26, 2014 - 8 answers

Sound + image

I'd like to read stories in English with my daughter. [more inside]
posted by nicolin on Nov 16, 2014 - 5 answers

Where can I find a good list of "feeling" adjectives?

In other words, I'm looking for a list of adjectives that could complete the sentence "I am feeling __." This is actually a fairly extensive group of adjectives, and I'm wondering whether this type of adjective is identified formally as a certain type of adjective (which would make it easier to find the set) or whether anyone has assembled such a list.
posted by arsgratia on Nov 12, 2014 - 7 answers

There's a book for that! Multiple varieties of English version

I need a book on the different varieties of English, their spellings, grammar and punctuation and some info on vocabulary differences, too. But I'm having trouble finding one. [more inside]
posted by LyzzyBee on Oct 26, 2014 - 6 answers

English news sources for non-predominantly English countries?

Something that often frustrates me reading the newspaper or stories on the internet is that a majority of the "current serious issues" things are going to come from Western English-speaking countries. Can you recommend websites that provide English news about fairly non-English countries? (From my Australian perspective these include anywhere in Africa, Russia, India, Eastern Europe, so on.)
posted by solarion on Oct 18, 2014 - 25 answers

Inversion of "Cogito ergo sum"?

I'm reaching for a phrase for a short science fiction piece I'm working on. I'd like to know what a Classical-Latin-speaking character would say if they wanted to articulate a particular concept analogous to "I think therefore I am", but expressing instead a monstrous moral conclusion they've reached along the lines of I think therefore none may be / shall be. [more inside]
posted by churl on Aug 27, 2014 - 7 answers

Why do some people write "1950ies", "1980ies", etc?

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 - 11 answers

"Learn English" videos for Spanish speakers who aren't literate?

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 - 5 answers

Is there a word for "one word", like monosyllabic means "one syllable"?

Is there a word for "one word", like monosyllabic means "one syllable"?
posted by mikeand1 on Dec 12, 2013 - 13 answers

English language movies featuring France or French

Looking for movie recommendations that feature French scenes, spoken French is good too. [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on Dec 2, 2013 - 25 answers

Batman: Linguistic Origins

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 - 27 answers

What percentage of English words have three syllables?

What percentage of English words have three syllables?
posted by reverend cuttle on Nov 12, 2013 - 10 answers

"historacle" just feels silly to me

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 - 12 answers

Words in non-English languages that look English but really aren't?

I'm fascinated by the efforts of Deutsche Bahn to get rid of the "Bahnglisch" that litters the service with expressions that look English but aren't the sort of expressions that any native speaker of English would actually use, and it occurred to me that this sort of thing is common in German outside of DB, and probably all over the world. [more inside]
posted by ethnomethodologist on Jul 14, 2013 - 38 answers

Tips for learning english on vacation.

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 - 6 answers

Americans do not have a British accent. Why?

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 - 34 answers

Is my writing style overly complicated?

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 - 48 answers

What single word describes these things that my employer sells?

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 - 21 answers

List of simple word roots

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 - 6 answers

Why do letters have letter names? (B = "bee", H = "aitch"...)

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 - 29 answers

So?

Where is this mystical land where it is acceptable to answer statements with: "So?" [more inside]
posted by 256 on Apr 5, 2013 - 40 answers

The visual equivalent of 'Prisencolinensinainciusol'

There are Latin fonts designed to mimic Cyrillic, Asian characters, and many other scripts. What are some examples of foreign-script fonts which mimic Latin characters?
posted by Gordafarin on Mar 30, 2013 - 4 answers

Standard American pronunciation training

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? Thank you!
posted by lite on Mar 27, 2013 - 19 answers

A Model AskMetafilter Post

When did people stop using the term "model minority"? [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Jan 27, 2013 - 27 answers

Would Chalky White really have sounded like that?

Does anyone have any resources to find historical forms of Ebonics? [more inside]
posted by patricking on Dec 15, 2012 - 11 answers

Egyptian Arabic Song Translation Needed....Haty Bosah Ya Bet

What does this Egyptian Arabic song mean in English? Listen to the song here. Thanks! : )
posted by thatgirl1985 on Nov 2, 2012 - 4 answers

English catchphrases in foreign language films

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 - 11 answers

Translate that!

Are there any untranslateable American and British words? [more inside]
posted by curuinor on Jul 7, 2012 - 61 answers

Useful idioms

Business idioms that are actually useful? [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Jun 29, 2012 - 31 answers

Best place to learn english.

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 - 17 answers

Pardner, I am hopeful that you are fixing to answer my question.

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 - 8 answers

Six mice scared one goose by stepping on it's two feet.

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 - 20 answers

How different is different?

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 - 18 answers

Word sans-prefix is word no more?

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 - 36 answers

Awesome ESL Projects

I'm looking for a fun medium to long term project for an advanced ESL student. [more inside]
posted by one little who on Feb 8, 2012 - 8 answers

Tenses without English equivalents?

Tenses without English equivalents? [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jan 20, 2012 - 25 answers

Are ten-year-olds everywhere tormented with spelling tests?

Do spelling bees or tests exist in languages other than English? [more inside]
posted by catesbie on Jan 16, 2012 - 19 answers

What does the word "abstract" mean?

What does the word "abstract" mean? [more inside]
posted by internet_explorer on Jan 16, 2012 - 11 answers

I'm going down to AskMeFi to get some answers

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 - 63 answers

Aunt In-Law Once Removed?

What do you call your brother-in-law's mom? [more inside]
posted by janelikes on Jan 10, 2012 - 36 answers

How do I pimp my resume in English ?

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 - 6 answers

You say ukuleleist; I say ukulelist.

Question for the language types: which is correct, ukuleleist, or ukulelist? [more inside]
posted by chez shoes on Dec 8, 2011 - 19 answers

Did my German ancestors really need to know that much English?

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 - 19 answers

Words

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 - 19 answers

What are the best websites out there?

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 - 14 answers

Please Help Me with a Word

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 - 21 answers

"Hand over your adjectives and no one gets hurt!"

"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 - 4 answers

Certification for ELL Students

Need help quick: is there a standard certification for ELL students? [more inside]
posted by WaspEnterprises on Aug 31, 2011 - 2 answers

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