83 posts tagged with language and grammar.
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Wanted: software to tag words and phrases when studying a language

I'm studying Japanese. I want to tag and track individual words and grammatical structures that I'm learning. What software will help me do this? [more inside]
posted by kristi on Jul 24, 2014 - 1 answer

“I’ve not” and “I’ll not” ~vs~ “I haven’t” and “I won’t” -- Why?

I’ve noticed that I’m increasingly reading “I’ve not” in place of “I haven’t” and “I’ll not” in place of “I won’t.” When I was growing up (the 70s), these expressions were exceedingly rare. I knew they existed, of course, but to me they seemed redolent of century-old books: “I’ll not brook such behavior in my classroom, Tom Sawyer!” “Fezziwig! I’ve not heard his voice since my youth.” But in the last 15 years or so, I've been seeing these phrasings more and more often in colloquial writing — other blogs, Amazon reviews, internet discussions, MeFi etc. I don’t seem to hear these forms spoken, which adds to their air of formality. [more inside]
posted by ROTFL on Mar 8, 2014 - 22 answers

so question such askmefi very internet

What is the name and/or origin of the meme where intensifers/adverbs are placed before nouns? [more inside]
posted by i_am_a_fiesta on Nov 14, 2013 - 8 answers

What's going on with the comma placement ,here?

I'm on a dating site and I've noticed that in the profiles and messages of some non-native English speakers there's a pattern of irregular spacing around commas. I don't believe that it is a random typographical error, as I have seen it repeatedly by different writers. Here's an example: "I like to go to the party ,park,movies ,I like to go hike ,swimming ,travel " The above example is from a native Arabic speaker. Is this related to the grammatical construction of a particular language, differences in keyboards, or something else?
posted by aspen1984 on Aug 29, 2013 - 13 answers

Parlez-vous francais? No. Not for 13 years.

I graduated high school having been in french immersion and when I graduated I did the testing and I was offically bilingual. Hurray! However, that was over 10 years ago and I have hardly spoken it since I graduated. Now, suddenly, my job wants me to get my french proficiency tested to see if I can satisfy the required language requirements for my branch. (We need to have X# of people able to speak French because a percent of our clients speak french as their first language, and right now we're down a person apparently). Au secours! [more inside]
posted by PuppetMcSockerson on Jul 30, 2013 - 12 answers

Have I been acting rude for most of my life?

Is it rude to refer to someone in the third person (he/she) while they are present? [more inside]
posted by Shouraku on Jun 19, 2013 - 50 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

Tips for learning advanced vocabulary and grammar in a foreign language?

What are your tips and techniques for learning advanced vocabulary and grammar in a foreign language? [more inside]
posted by kristi on Feb 26, 2013 - 15 answers

Grammatical gender consistency across languages

Are grammatical genders, as a rule, consistent across the Indo-European languages which use them? [more inside]
posted by obloquy on Dec 4, 2012 - 30 answers

Overuse of the word "that" in casual conversation

Linguists, is there a name for this annoying trend, and can we point to where/when it originated: Overusing the word "that" without first defining what you are talking about? [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Nov 26, 2012 - 17 answers

Is there a linguistic term for this?

Is there a term for, or linguistic function fulfilled by, the phrases "no yeah" and/or "yeah no" when used for the purpose of agreeing?
posted by CitrusFreak12 on Jul 18, 2012 - 12 answers

頭が真っ白!

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]
posted by ultrabuff on Jul 5, 2012 - 13 answers

can the second noun ever be the subject?

[Language Processiong / Grammar Question] With a pattern of noun infinitive adjective noun verb infinitive, can the second noun ever be the subject of the verb? Bonus question (below the fold): In the second case does the adverb of the verb always determine the sentiment of the second noun? [more inside]
posted by Nanukthedog on May 20, 2012 - 6 answers

¡Mi gramática en español es jodida! ¡Ayudame!

My Spanish grammar is all kinds of effed up. How do I correct this? [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! on Apr 4, 2012 - 8 answers

Tenses without English equivalents?

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

"to be" or not "to be"

"To be" or not "to be"? That is the question! [more inside]
posted by Jayed on Sep 21, 2011 - 77 answers

Help Me Relocate Essay on Overly Formal Language

In Comp I we read an essay about the use of overly formal language... [more inside]
posted by alice_curiouse on Mar 1, 2011 - 4 answers

Comma usage in a subject/verb/object sentence.

Why is the sentence "Let's read, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen." incorrectly punctuated? [more inside]
posted by rinosaur on Feb 9, 2011 - 35 answers

Me no speak italiano

What are the best Italian reference resources to have on hand? [more inside]
posted by oinopaponton on Jan 11, 2011 - 3 answers

What is the plural of "Batman"?

What is the plural of "Batman"? [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 9, 2010 - 60 answers

How Many Homophones?

Which language has the most homophonic words (one sound, multiple spellings. In English, e.g., BEAR and BARE)? It's hard to do precise comparisons across languages because they differ in what counts as a word, in how complicated their inflectional system is, etc. But even approximate data would be useful. I saw one paper on automatic speech recognition which showed that the system made more errors on French than Italian German etc. and that most of them were due to homophones. But, where are some real facts about degree of homophony across languages?
posted by cogneuro on Nov 9, 2010 - 22 answers

Help me remember...german publisher for language grammars?

Is anyone familiar with a German publisher of high-quality, thorough, foreign language grammars? I recall seeing a pretty comprehensive series for South Asian languages....but never made a note of the publisher.
posted by anelsewhere on Oct 28, 2010 - 7 answers

American grammar textbooks

Are there grammar textbooks at the middle school and high school (or even elementary school) levels that incorporate any of the developments in understanding of English grammar that have been made in the past several decades? [more inside]
posted by strangeguitars on Oct 18, 2010 - 5 answers

I'm good

Where does the colloquial English phrase "I'm good" come from, and has it suddenly exploded in popularity? [more inside]
posted by bad grammar on Sep 28, 2010 - 32 answers

Can you reccommend a good, in-depth primer on grammar?

Can you reccommend a good, in-depth primer on grammar? I don't mean where to use a comma, but rather a clear definition of, for example, nominative, accusative, dative and genitive cases. What exactly are tense, mood, person, number, and voice. That kind of thing. [more inside]
posted by Nothing on Jun 6, 2010 - 16 answers

Up the street without a paddle, or is it 'down' the street?

Grammar filter: When do you say "up the street" versus "down the street"? [more inside]
posted by thisisnotbruce on May 28, 2010 - 36 answers

Spruce up my grammar (no tree diagrams, please)

Looking for a handy reference book on English grammar. What would you recommend and why? [more inside]
posted by moody cow on May 11, 2010 - 24 answers

Quranic Grammar Headache!

What's going on grammatically in the opening verse of the Quran, which uses a sound masculine plural for the word "worlds"? [more inside]
posted by Biru on Apr 9, 2010 - 10 answers

Linguistic study of math/physics equation "language"

I was thinking the other day about "all Greek to me!" as I was reading a physics book w/equations (using the Greek symbols) And equations are a sort of language, of course. So I wondered if there's some sort of linguist who's ever looked at the grammar or syntax of math/physics equations and tried to derive, whatever the hell it is linguists derive! Does this sound like something anyone has heard of? If so, have any links?
posted by symbioid on Jan 8, 2010 - 6 answers

Help me stop sounding like a valley girl!

What are some tips in having better speech? [more inside]
posted by InterestedInKnowing on Dec 14, 2009 - 9 answers

Are adverbs mere adjective spinoffs?

Are adverbs mere adjective spinoffs? [more inside]
posted by aswego on Nov 13, 2009 - 17 answers

This made so much sense last night while falling asleep

How is "I should mind" used to mean "I don't really mind"? This and other grammar/language questions inside. [more inside]
posted by rossination on Oct 23, 2009 - 11 answers

Tell me about this sentence construction

Tell me everything you know about this sentence construction: "Are you finished your lunch?" [more inside]
posted by peep on Oct 22, 2009 - 91 answers

Why is "win" often implicitly considered a conditional verb?

Grammarians: Is it OK to take liberties with the word "win" when publicizing a contest or draw? [more inside]
posted by wackybrit on Oct 5, 2009 - 15 answers

Grammatical Case Headspace....

LanguageFilter: How can a native English speaker develop a better sense of grammatical cases? [more inside]
posted by mary8nne on Jul 22, 2009 - 16 answers

"Take the heart of me?" You can just say, "my heart."

In Return of the King, Aragorn says: "I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me." What precisely does he mean by this? My confusion is with the phrase "take the heart of me." Is this a standard idiom?
posted by Busoni on Jul 15, 2009 - 15 answers

I'm kicking around a concept for a theoretical piece I hope to work on in the near future, dealing with the way "femininity" and the "female" category are conceived of linguistically. Help me find some empirical data!

I'm kicking around a concept for a theoretical piece I hope to work on in the near future, dealing with the way "femininity" and the "female" category are conceived of linguistically. Help me find some empirical data! [more inside]
posted by parkbench on Mar 24, 2009 - 24 answers

When is the Derek Zoolander School For Adults Who Never Learned Grammar Good opening?

Looking for online grammar exercises, games, etc. that would enable me to do a few exercises here and there throughout the day. [more inside]
posted by variella on Feb 10, 2009 - 9 answers

When to use -ctive and -ctional?

When should I use "instructive" and when should I use "instructional"? [more inside]
posted by gmm on Jan 21, 2009 - 7 answers

"As well [pronoun] should"

GrammarFilter: Origins and form of "As well he should"? [more inside]
posted by coolhappysteve on Dec 9, 2008 - 6 answers

It is what it is?

I need help with a pronoun issue. In the following sentences, what noun is the word it replacing? [more inside]
posted by amyms on Dec 5, 2008 - 11 answers

Would you answer this question? I would if I could.

In a sentence such as "When I was younger, I would swim a mile before going to work every day," what grammatical tense is in play? [more inside]
posted by woodblock100 on Nov 18, 2008 - 14 answers

Are there singular/plural pairs in english with completely different spellings?

In French, the singular of eye is "oiel" and the plural is "yeux." Are there any nouns in English that have completely different spellings of the singular and plural like this?
posted by Crosius on Sep 26, 2008 - 27 answers

super-size it to a triple tense for $1

Grammar Filter: what is the English equivalent to the "Double Future Tense"? [more inside]
posted by davejay on Jul 9, 2008 - 10 answers

No more than vs. not more than

What is the difference between "no more than" and "not more than"? [more inside]
posted by Arasithil on Jul 3, 2008 - 15 answers

How do you pronounce 'read'?

How do you pronounce the word 'read' when used in the following context? -- 'John is dry (read: boring).' /rɛd/ or /rid/ Thanks!
posted by gman on May 29, 2008 - 122 answers

How can I best learn the French language, grammar, and pronunciation?

How can I best learn the French language, grammar, and pronunciation? [more inside]
posted by christopherbdnk on May 26, 2008 - 16 answers

Simple French-language booklets for Kenyan French teacher of elementary students?

On a recent trip to Kenya, we visited a school who is in need of simple French language instruction booklets for elementary-age children. [more inside]
posted by vanoakenfold on May 23, 2008 - 3 answers

foreign language "bibles"

Foreign language "bibles" (superlative, comprehensive language resources) for language-learning lovers? [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on Apr 3, 2008 - 10 answers

Is there any hope?

Please hope me! Or why hope for help? [more inside]
posted by TheRaven on Mar 27, 2008 - 23 answers

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