Long ago back when the world was young, Mater Octorok tried to get me to learn French by making me watch videotapes of French language kids' TV. There are three series I particularly remember. One was Téléfrancais, one was French In Action, and the third was...freaking weird. This is what I can recall about it... [more inside]
Is there a term for or a turn of phrase describing the situation where someone is complaining about a problem while not recognising that they are a part of the problem? The traffic saying is the obvious one, but also: tourists complaining that somewhere they visited was ruined because it had too many tourists, or that sort of thing. (if not, I'm copyrighting the "precipitate paradox" to cover these scenarios...)
Repetitive words or phrases irritate me way beyond all rational explanation. Can you help me understand why? [more inside]
I am a white American from Michigan; I would like to donate money to support efforts to preserve native languages. I'm interested in pretty much any language preservation cause. [more inside]
I'm looking for a single English word that means "go mad" or "be mad", or anything similar: act weird, be eccentric, become demented. There are lots of phrasal verbs and colloquial expressions for this, and lots of synonyms for "mad", but I can't find any verbs. Closest I've found is "to trip". Any ideas, especially archaic or defunct words?
I just started learning German, through the standard 101 class at my university. While the textbook/classroom studying is great, I would like to have some low-key resources to read/listen to to supplement my learning. I'm looking for relatively simple-language radio, podcasts, TV, or maybe even (children's?) books that I can wash around in during my spare time. Something that doesn't require 100% brainpower, but that I can still catch the gist of -- that will help train my rhythm/pronunciation/listening by osmosis. [more inside]
A gay 20-something that I know used the phrase "fuck this gay earth" in a tweet. I challenged him (as someone who came out in 1990) for his use of the word "gay" as a pejorative, and he said "it's an established meme, it's okay for me to use it that way". How do I combat this? [more inside]
I have recently completed a move to Egypt, from Canada. I will be here at least two years. I would love any suggestions folks here have about Egypt, advice for new arrivals, getting set up/integrated towards long term living, old memories of visits, last minute travel recommendations, foods/places/people not to miss, and more. [more inside]
Kid is doing a presentation at school. All his friends are doing “before and after”. He wants to know what other types of contrast there are. Dad is stuck, but turns to Me-Fi for ideas. Apart from “before and after” (DIY shows, TV shopping) what else could work well?
20ish years ago there was a one-page essay in the (maybe? Last page?) New Yorker that featured many uses of words that had no such root or form. I can't think of any specific words in the essay, but even what the words or practice are called and a list would be nice. Things like "rambunction" for rambunctious, or "consternating" for consternation. Is this mere coinage, or is there a wider practice at work? [more inside]
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!)
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]
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]
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)?
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]
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?
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?)
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]
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]
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?
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]
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]
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]
What does "sure" mean in response to a question? Yes, No, or "uh, kinda maybe"? [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
Can you link me any searchable online encyclopaedias with original articles written in Korean? As many as possible, preferably! [more inside]
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]
Is this a pickup line or prostitution code? [more inside]
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]
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]
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!
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]
I want to go China towards the end of the year. How far can I get without knowing any Chinese languages? [more inside]
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]
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!
What is a great website for teaching how-to-write kanji, with animations? [more inside]
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]
I'm looking for a more appropriate word than "non male" that is more inclusive than "female." [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
Do you have any recommendations for Russian language comics for an adult English speaker learning Russian? [more inside]
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).
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.