1953 posts tagged with language.
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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 - 30 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

Universal English

Is there any sort of dictionary or text corpora that outline which of a number of synonyms are the most universally understood by other language speakers or the least colloquial? [more inside]
posted by Iteki on Sep 14, 2015 - 6 answers

Love Taza, NieNie, AptTherapy aka(mommy) lifestyle bloggers en francais?

Hi, I am looking for lifestyle and design mommy(or not)bloggers that speak and write in French. Bonus points if they are vloggers or keep an active YouTube Channel and Instagram. [more inside]
posted by rabu on Sep 8, 2015 - 3 answers

Is there a good English language school w/ home stay in NYC?

I'm looking for my cousin, who would like to come here for 2 months or so and study English. I was hoping to find a program that would put her with a family here (I don't really have the space or lifestyle for it). And of course, I need the program to be reputable and safe :) I imagine this sort of thing HAS to exist. Do you know of one?
posted by wooh on Sep 8, 2015 - 3 answers

Travel Life Lessons

I consider myself a fairly savvy traveler yet one who still makes noob mistakes that end up costing me disproportionately in either in time, money, or enjoyment simply because I didn’t know better. Although I’ve gotten better with each trip, it leaves me wondering what easy changes I still have left to make that can boost my travel skills without having to learn them the hard way? Bonus points for recommendations that take advantage of a smart phone! [more inside]
posted by Goblin Barbarian on Sep 5, 2015 - 29 answers

What do you call this? mm MM mmmm. Anything else like it? MM mm mmmm.

In American English, instead of saying "I don't know", you can just kind of.. mmm out each word. 1) Does that have a specific term, or is it just generalized under nonverbal communication? 2) What other languages have similar phrase > nonverbal things that are commonly used?
posted by curious nu on Aug 7, 2015 - 20 answers

Can Someone Please Translate This Latin Sentence?

I urgently need this Latin sentence translated. Thank you! [more inside]
posted by Jangatroo on Aug 4, 2015 - 5 answers

What should it be called: ATM or Cash Machine?

Explaining researching that uses data point around ATM/cash machines for both American and international audiences. In the US, people know them as ATMs. In the UK, they are often called cash machines, or cash points. I can only pick one for this work: which should I pick? [more inside]
posted by troytroy on Jul 24, 2015 - 26 answers

What do we call the type of noun following the verb "effect"?

You can effect a change but you cannot effect a banana. Change and banana are both nouns; is there a specific name for the type of noun that "change" is but "banana" isn't? Or is this a case where it can't be described in the way I'm hoping. TIA!
posted by ftm on Jul 20, 2015 - 25 answers

Foreign Language Editions of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Need help finding foreign language editions of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. [more inside]
posted by DanSachs on Jul 7, 2015 - 8 answers

Spanish kids' shows for 6-year-old, first-year student?

Our daughter just finished her first year of Spanish in a full-immersion kindergarten. We're looking for good all-Spanish TV shows we can show her (and my wife, who wants to learn) over the summer so she doesn't forget it all. [more inside]
posted by gottabefunky on Jul 6, 2015 - 12 answers

also, too

Explain the nuanced difference in meaning between "also" or "too" in this sentence: "We repair your motorcycle too." vs "We repair your motorcycle also."
posted by mightshould on Jun 28, 2015 - 13 answers

Language learning resources: Romanian edition.

I would like to learn Romanian. Unfortunately it is hard to find course offerings for this relatively niche language. I don't have a ton of money to throw at this, but I am willing to dedicate a significant amount of time over the next few years. Internet based language learning would be fine, but Seattle-specific language courses/groups would be optimal.
posted by Behemoth, in no. 302-bis, with the Browning on Jun 25, 2015 - 8 answers

Three questions about Australian English

Toward a better definition of "bogan;" gender differences in everday speech; an American tourist speaking without giving offense? [more inside]
posted by BadgerDoctor on Jun 21, 2015 - 33 answers

Hindi translation mystery

I'm trying to figure out the proper Hindi translation for "courage, dear heart". Google Translate gives me a few options, depending on whether I capitalize, add commas, etc, etc, and I'm trying to figure out the difference between them so I can figure out which is correct. I'd really like to get it right! Translations below the break: [more inside]
posted by anoncanuck on Jun 15, 2015 - 30 answers

Is there a word for someone who owns nothing?

Is there a word in the English language that means a person who owns nothing? [more inside]
posted by honey-barbara on Jun 8, 2015 - 24 answers

Job interview + can't understand my interviewer's accent

I'm a native U.S. English-speaker, they might not have been. I've twice been at U.S. job interviews where I haven't been able to understand my interviewer; they had an accent and I couldn't tell what words they were saying, even after they slowed down and repeated. How should I handle this? [more inside]
posted by StealthOatmeal on Jun 1, 2015 - 13 answers

Calling a head office "[company] Towers" - where does that come from?

I have noticed that in the UK people will sometimes refer to the (head) office of a company as "[Company name] Towers", even if the building is not in a tower, and it's not officially called a tower. Where does this come from? [more inside]
posted by easternblot on Jun 1, 2015 - 20 answers

Nyob zoo

In addition to "Welcome, Please Insert Your Card" messages in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese, my Wells Fargo ATM also displays "Nyob zoo, ntxig koj daim npav rau." Google Translate informs me that this is Hmong, but does not give me any inkling why an ATM in rural Virginia is greeting me in Hmong, a language which is considerably farther down the list of languages, ordered by number of speakers, than the other languages mentioned, and seems almost bizarrely random. What might the reason behind this be?
posted by Wolfdog on May 29, 2015 - 12 answers

Word similar to 'abreast' that describes walking in a line?

Walking 'abreast' means walking side-by-side. What equivalent word means walking single-file? [more inside]
posted by chudmonkey on May 27, 2015 - 22 answers

What are some works of SFF that use extraordinarily beautiful language?

What are some works of SFF that showcase beautiful language on a par with All The King's Men, Gilead, and Raymond Chandler's detective novels? I've read plenty of SFF that has transported me, but little that's struck me as gorgeously written. Thanks!
posted by Going To Maine on May 24, 2015 - 32 answers

What is the best way to document an intellectual experiment online?

While recently playing around with some online language translators, I wondered if it would be possible to learn a language (Latin, in this case) by only using such resources. I reasoned that, by translating from English to Latin, and vise versa, beginning with the rudiments of language, one could by trial and error, gradually learn the language. [more inside]
posted by rankfreudlite on May 23, 2015 - 10 answers

Training as a noun

When did people start saying "a training" to mean "a training session/workshop/meeting/program/etc"? What dialect of English did training-as-a-noun originate in? How did it spread?
posted by jedicus on May 21, 2015 - 29 answers

What is another way to tell an adult you are proud of them?

My husband works very hard and does amazing things. When he has an accomplishment, I have a hard time thinking of something to say other than "I'm proud of you" but I think that sounds so patronizing, fake, and parental. [more inside]
posted by ForeverDcember on May 17, 2015 - 26 answers

Eat the cherries off the top?

What’s a good metaphor for taking what you want and leaving the rest? Eat the icing and put the rest of the cupcake back on the plate? Eat the inside of the Oreo and put the rest back? Pick out all the cashews and leave the peanuts? I know there's a popular expression, I just can't remember what it is.
posted by Clotilde on May 12, 2015 - 33 answers

If I'm not bemused, what am I?

Bemused: I do not think it means what you think it means. So what word does? [more inside]
posted by Starling on May 11, 2015 - 20 answers

"Like carrying coals to Newcastle"

I used the expression "Like carrying coals to Newcastle" with my wife, who is originally from Ecuador. There is a different version in Ecuador. What other linguistic and regional variations do we know? [more inside]
posted by quarantine on Apr 29, 2015 - 21 answers

Language Resources

I am heading to Denmark to live for 6 months this year. I would like to learn the basics of the language before heading over there and I am looking for resources. [more inside]
posted by Lesium on Apr 27, 2015 - 14 answers

"Español español español!" "English english english!" "Español!"

I've noticed a trend on TV: multi-lingual families are shown having conversations in both languages at once. Usually, it's the older generation speaking in their first language and the younger generation speaking in English. Is this something that actually happens? [more inside]
posted by meese on Apr 22, 2015 - 43 answers

Best method(s) for learning French as an adult?

I'm a Canadian in Western Canada who is interested in French, but I don't know where to begin or what is the best way to go about it. [more inside]
posted by modesty.blaise on Apr 19, 2015 - 8 answers

How do I sign myself out of Google (not Gmail) on other computers?

For nearly a year, I've been plagued by my Google searches periodically defaulting to the Swedish Google page (and all of my Google activity turning into Swedish language). I have clicked on "sign out of all other web sessions" in gmail lots and lots of times. I have recently worked out that this happens because I signed into Google on my girlfriend's mother's account last summer. How can I make this stop without involving my girlfriend's mother? [more inside]
posted by cincinnatus c on Apr 12, 2015 - 12 answers

How to use Powerpoint online while in JApan in Englsih

I am needing to use powerpooint online from a Japanese freinds PC in Tokyo The menu items for IE and for powerpoint online are all in Japanese I went into Internet Explorer tools and added and promoted english language but nothing changes+ the menu is still in Japanese Can someone please guide me through this???
posted by dougiedd on Mar 7, 2015 - 7 answers

Sastrugi: ridges of snow formed on a snowfield by the action of the wind

With the recent news that nature words are being removed from children's dictionaries, I'm looking for many more nature words and their definitions to add to my lexicon. Books, blog posts, whatever, I'll take them all. The more obscure and localised the better. (Title taken from here).
posted by Solomon on Mar 7, 2015 - 10 answers

What programming language/technology should I master to make a living?

I have a solid foundation in computer programming (and theory) but have been mostly out of this field for several years, and not developing my skills. Assume I'm putting in the time and focus to really master something new. What language or technology (or area of application?) in programming could I master that would give me the best shot at becoming a valuable freelance contractor and making a living? Something rare and valuable (or which there's high demand for regardless) which works with being freelance. Your guidance would be appreciated Internets.
posted by Kirn on Feb 26, 2015 - 17 answers

Know any communication hacks to communicate with non-English speakers?

I'm traveling to some countries where I won't know the native language. I'm terrible at learning languages so I wanted to see if y'all know any quick hacks for communicating. e.g. one method is to carry a phrasebook and point to the relevant lines in it, then hand the book to the other person and have them point out their reply. (Hopefully its in the book :). Another: when on a bus and unsure whether it's the right one: Point forwards, say the destination in an interrogative tone, lift eyebrows.
posted by storybored on Feb 23, 2015 - 13 answers

Je ne sais pas "Haircut"

I'm going to Paris this week. I need a haircut. Something fashionable. I barely speak any French. Where should I go, and how do I handle the language barrier without leading to a terrible haircut or uncomfortable situation with the stylist?
posted by schmod on Feb 22, 2015 - 12 answers

Anything is possible

What is the word/phrase Ami and Yumi say at the beginning of nearly every episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Show? It sounds like "soo-tah-toe," phonetically. DOT Jr. is a huge fan, so in our household, this is a question of some importance. As seen in this clip.
posted by DirtyOldTown on Feb 17, 2015 - 6 answers

Multi-language books

I'm putting together a book that contains text in all the United Nations languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. I've had each text proofread individually, but now I'm sitting wondering. How can I make sure I haven't missed something blindingly obvious in the formatting or layout of the entire book? [more inside]
posted by ntk on Feb 13, 2015 - 2 answers

Help me set a realistic language learning goal

I work with many (Latin American) Spanish speaking families. I would like to be able to communicate with them, even a little. Help me figure out a realistic plan to acquire more language skills this summer. [more inside]
posted by raspberrE on Feb 12, 2015 - 21 answers

Endangered U.S. culture: what remains underdocumented?

Tell me about what cultures, cultural practices, arts, religions, languages, lifestyles, hobbies, habits, fashion, unconventional individuals/families, or any other aspects of human life in the U.S. still remain severely underdocumented; or are at risk of fading away before they can be properly or meaningfully documented. [more inside]
posted by nightrecordings on Feb 10, 2015 - 41 answers

Computer science machine language help! If-then-otherwise statements

We are working on simple machine language in computer science for data manipulation. All the other problems I have gotten through but this last one. Here is the problem: "Write a short program in machine language to perform requested activity. Assume the program is placed in memory starting at address 00- -If the value stored in memory location 44 is 00, then place the value 01 in memory location 46; otherwise, put the value FF in memory location 46." Lots of questions inside DX Working with very basic Op-code and Operand setups. [more inside]
posted by LittleNami on Feb 7, 2015 - 13 answers

Need a Russian translation, please.

I want to make this shawl, and I can read the diagram for the most part, but I can't quite get the measurements figured out. Can anyone tell me roughly what the directions say? I'm pretty sure it's in Russian. I'd really appreciate it.
posted by patheral on Feb 4, 2015 - 6 answers

Online Audio Language Database?

I once read a language encyclopedia which had the Lord's Prayer printed in lots of different languages. I'm looking for the same thing (not necessarily the Lord's Prayer), but audio. I want to hear a passage translated into many different languages and real aloud. I've exhausted my Google skills. Anyone know of such a source?
posted by dmvs on Feb 2, 2015 - 3 answers

Offline resources for new language learner

I'm learning Spanish. I'd like to take tablet or paper-based resources with me on an upcoming trip to keep the momentum going, but won't have internet access during that time. What should I take? [more inside]
posted by _Mona_ on Feb 2, 2015 - 10 answers

Recommended reading about gender and language, gender generally

I was reading this comment by KathrynT about men's perceptions of women in groups being equal in number when the no. of women is 17%, women having to comprise over 80% of group members to get equal speaking time with men. I'd really like to know where this came from, about gender and language more widely, gender and misperceptions generally. I'm looking for book recommendations but am also interested in anything else you think is a good resource - blogs, articles etc. [more inside]
posted by everydayanewday on Jan 28, 2015 - 7 answers

Bilingual Japanese-English storybooks

We are an American-Japanese family living in the US. We have a 4 year old and a 1 year old who we would like to raise as bilingual as possible. We read both English storybooks and Japanese storybooks, but would love your recommendations for some books that have the story in both English and Japanese side-by-side. Would also be happy to hear about books readily available in both languages. Bonus points if you can vouch for the quality of the story and the translation. (Have you ever read "Goodnight Moon" in Japanese? It's not pretty.) [more inside]
posted by telepanda on Jan 22, 2015 - 7 answers

Adult Language Re-Learning

I'm interested in learning a language, or more accurately re-learning it. Or even more accurately learning it better than I did in the first place. [more inside]
posted by jacquilynne on Jan 21, 2015 - 9 answers

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