I am required to bring a "word of the day" to my Toastmasters club's next meeting. This word should be an interesting and useful word that will expand everyone's command of the English language and ideally would be fun to use. Twist: I want it to be Thanksgiving or holiday season related if possible. My google-fu is failing me because I keep getting results meant for children's crossword puzzles ("pilgrim", "turkey", etc.). I'm looking for something more along the lines of "puritanical" or something like that. Can be historical, related to feelings or gratitude or even satirical of the holiday.
What is the origin of ending a sentence with a trailing "so..." ? Who is on record first using it? How did it spread? I am talking about the annoying unfinished sentence word: "We would have gone cycling, but I couldn't find my bike, so..." I am not talking about the legitimate adverb: "I love biking so!"
What are your tips and techniques for learning advanced vocabulary and grammar in a foreign language? [more inside]
Bilinguals and polyglots of AskMefi please hope me. I understand a lot of words and grammar in Japanese but don't seem able to use them. How do you make the leap from "knowing" a word or grammar pattern to actually being able to use it in conversation? [more inside]
Good examples of intercultural communications based on ideograms or common concepts? [more inside]
Languages: I would like to teach myself a foreign language with the primary motivation of reading literature written originally in that language. (Italian, in this case.) For now, speaking and pronunciation are not as important as learning grammatical rules, sentence construction, and growing my vocabulary. Ideally, I would like to learn at my own pace, without having to hire a tutor or enrol in language classes, and I would prefer to skip general phrasebook greetings. Apart from a dictionary, what should I arm myself with? Are there any good resources on the web for this? How should one go about teaching oneself to read a foreign language? Thanks!
Academical? While listening to NPR this afternoon, a UVa student giving a tour used the word "academical" in describing a portion of UVa's campus . The use of "academical" struck me as sounding very odd although it is arguably correct. Is it all academic?
I've been studying Japanese at a college level for three years now and I think I have an intermediate knowledge of the language, sentence pattern and grammar wise, and an OK vocabulary, considering I don't speak it everyday. Aside from actually living in Japan, which isn't an option right now due to college and work commitments, what is the best way to learn Japanese, especially reading and writing Kanji? [more inside]