2018 posts tagged with language.
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Harry Potter language question

The spells in the Harry Potter books are in a kind of Latin. There is a Latin translation of the first Harry Potter book. What language are the spells in that? (PLEASE SAY GREEK!) What language are the spells in the Greek translation? (PLEASE SAY EGYPTIAN!)
posted by thatwhichfalls on Aug 25, 2016 - 9 answers

Google maps always gives suggestions from the wrong country

I live in Australia. When I start typing an address or landmark into my android phone on the google maps app, the top suggestions Google gives until my typing is complete are 99% NZ places, mostly from the parts of New Zealand I visit once a year or so. And then I often accidentally click on one instead of the correct address. It's driving me crazy. Has anyone seen this sort of behaviour before? How can I make it stop? [more inside]
posted by lollusc on Aug 20, 2016 - 5 answers

Best Language or Platform for organic SEO?

tl;dr - Which platform or language will provide organic SEO and allow me to create modern and beautiful websites? By "organic" I mean, I don't want to do SEO work after the site is built. I want to follow best practices while creating the URLs, tags, product description content, layout, etc. [more inside]
posted by tellUwut on Aug 7, 2016 - 4 answers

Is the phrase "wistful longing" redundant?

In other words, can one long for something in a manner that doesn't demonstrate wistfulness? Can one be wistful without longing for something (a person, a missed opportunity, whatever)?
posted by t(h)om(as) on Aug 3, 2016 - 9 answers

Please help me write a request in many different languages

I live in an apartment with a bedroom window that overlooks the parking lot. People come home late at night and lock their car doors remotely, with that annoying chirp of the horn. Some people give it half a dozen honks, every single time. What I'd like to do is post a friendly note by the mailboxes, in as many different languages as possible, just asking that people kindly refrain from the horn honking in the parking lot. [more inside]
posted by mammoth on Jun 29, 2016 - 13 answers

Advice on reading Greek tragedies

I've always wanted to become intimately acquainted with the Greek tragedies, but there's a huge part of me that says, "If you're not going to learn Greek, what's the point?" So, are there translations that truly do justice to the source material? Perhaps more to the point, are there longstanding translations which have themselves become more or less a part of the Western canon? If so, can someone recommend any particular editions? I'm particularly interested in Antigone, The Bacchae, and The Oresteia. And finally, does anyone have experience learning Classical Greek later in life for the purpose of reading the plays and epics? Was it worthwhile?
posted by jwhite1979 on Jun 27, 2016 - 19 answers

script tease

What script is this painted text written in? This feels like an embarrassing sentence to write, but I suspect it's either a Brahmic script or something from Tolkien. (Bonus question: What does it say?)
posted by threeants on Jun 20, 2016 - 2 answers

What's the word for placing heads on pikes as a deterrent?

Isn't there a particular word for the deterrent method of putting thieves' heads on pikes outside a village perimeter to discourage further attacks on the villagers? [more inside]
posted by scrowdid on Jun 15, 2016 - 27 answers

"She's good people." Origin, please?

I was telling my 8-year-old about a trustworthy, kind, reliable woman I know, and I finished up by saying "She's good people." My daughter and I both now want to know the origins of the "[One person is] good people" phrasing. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Jun 15, 2016 - 17 answers

Link me to more cunning linguists.

Recently in another question, someone linked to a fascinating article about New York Jewish Conversational Style. The article detailed quirks of this conversational style and discussed the implications of it on others who don't share the same style. Do you know of other articles that detail the conversational style of certain groups? Perhaps about people of certain genders, ages, areas of the country, socioeconomic statuses?
posted by woodvine on Jun 12, 2016 - 5 answers

Why does my Windows 10 box switch to French on every restart?

Every time I start my Acer laptop (Windows 10), its default language (on every program as far as I can tell) is French. But this is not what it says in my Region + Language settings, where it says English (Canada), with English (United States) as Windows display language. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Jun 8, 2016 - 7 answers

H'improve my h'accents!

I would like to learn to do a passable amateur version of some basic British regional accents-- a Cockney or two, Somerset, Yorkshire, Scottish, RP. Where should I start? [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Jun 7, 2016 - 8 answers

Did Samson's riddle rhyme in the original?

If you're an average Joe you probably know Samson's riddle (Judges 14:14) as: "Out of the eater, something to eat. Out of the strong, something sweet." or something like that. Most English translations rhyme the [eat/meat] with [sweet]. But what about the original? [more inside]
posted by komara on May 31, 2016 - 6 answers

The meaning of "sure" regionally

What does "sure" mean in response to a question? Yes, No, or "uh, kinda maybe"? [more inside]
posted by soylent00FF00 on May 30, 2016 - 71 answers

How to make my students read or listen to foreign language materials

I teach teenagers ESL. I've been building a small library including graphic novels and books (The Stonekeeper, American born Chinese, Anya's ghost, Frankenstein makes a sandwich, In real life, The cartoon guides, Adrian Mole, Klutz book of inventions etc. - even drawing manuals) but also DVDS (Simpsons, Futurama, Father ted, Flight of the Conchords, Amandla, Secret of Kells...) and Cds (Elizabeth mitchell, They might be giants, Jack Johnson, The rutles...). [more inside]
posted by nicolin on May 19, 2016 - 17 answers

La vie en rose

How can I become fluent in french as quickly as possible? I have studied French on and off for several years but still feel that I am no closer to fluency, and I hope to visit France and possibly even work there for an extended period within the next few years. [more inside]
posted by Wildflowers on May 13, 2016 - 23 answers

girls chase boys chase girls

I see on AskMe all the time, whenever someone refers to an adult of the female gender as a "girl," several people will immediately pop up to sternly correct them. I've come to accept this as part of the site culture here, and keep it in mind for my own questions and comments, but it quite honestly seems bizarre based on my own life experience. I'm curious how common this view actually is, and whether people actually stick to it in real life. [more inside]
posted by celtalitha on May 12, 2016 - 110 answers

Looking for a Korean online encyclopaedia

Can you link me any searchable online encyclopaedias with original articles written in Korean? As many as possible, preferably! [more inside]
posted by Panthalassa on May 11, 2016 - 2 answers

Give me your English podcasts from non-native English speaking hosts.

I'm trying to improve my ability to write convincing dialog for non-native English speakers. One of the best ways I've found is to listen to a few hours of an ESL speaker to get a feel for their slight differences in usage and grammar. Podcasts are perfect for this, but I've been having problems finding shows. [more inside]
posted by Ookseer on May 6, 2016 - 5 answers

"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 - 34 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 - 51 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 - 23 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

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