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]
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]
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]
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.
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.
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]
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.
I'm trying to learn Swedish (I'm just starting) and I'd like to find some podcasts and vlogs to listen to. [more inside]
Can any [Japanese? Chinese?] speaker please translate this mug? I realize I only have a pic of one side of it, but it would be nice to know the gist of what it says. Thanks!!
What is the difference in English between  "The flowers are white" and  "The flowers are white in colour"? Scientific texts (such as botanical descriptions) seem to prefer  and add "in colour" after the colour name though it is redundant. Form  wins the Google fight by a large margin and the Ngram for "white in color" shows a downward trend since the 1920s. Is it now OK to drop the "in colour" in contemporary (scientific) texts?
Spanish newbie filter. I'm teaching myself Spanish with the help of Duolingo and am having trouble with a few particular problem areas. Specifically, I would like some sort of handy way to recall present tense conjugations of the three types of verb. Something similar to differentiate the questions would be good as well. Also, if you use the app or found any handy methods while learning Spanish that aided recall, I would love to hear them. I'm enjoying this a lot and plan to stick with it. [more inside]
In the past, I've seen that sometimes English is interspersed with another language on certain websites. This site, however, has English titles to their posts, but most everything else is in Dutch. Why? [more inside]
I'm looking for all the places that claim to have the weather change every 5 minutes. [more inside]
In the vein of "squirrel away" or "ferret away" (and maybe even "badger"), I'm looking for a verb from the animal kingdom that means working hard at something, persistently and continually. It's come up a few times where I've wanted to say "Continue animaling away at the problem", but the particular beast I'm looking for eludes me. Help?
What do you call your smallest toe? [more inside]
I have a T-shirt with text in some kind of Arabic language, and I have no idea what it says (or even what language it says it in!) There's also a small triangular logo with an antelope and the word 'Zama'. Does anyone know A) what language it is, B) what it says and C) what the context is? [more inside]
Something that often frustrates me reading the newspaper or stories on the internet is that a majority of the "current serious issues" things are going to come from Western English-speaking countries. Can you recommend websites that provide English news about fairly non-English countries? (From my Australian perspective these include anywhere in Africa, Russia, India, Eastern Europe, so on.)
I have the opportunity to go abroad for an extended period time. My goal and purpose would be to strengthen my skills in a foreign language. How can I structure this trip so that this happens? [more inside]
What European language should I learn for the purpose of higher studies, work, and extensive travelling in Europe? I am a bibliophile, cinephile, and love songs with good and meaningful lyrics. Till now I've been enjoying all these, I mean the ones from Europe, in the form of translations and with the help of subtitles. (I write too; not to publish but it's very important to me). [more inside]
My wife has a birthday coming up and I'd like to surprise her with a German book or two that she would be able to read... Eventually. [more inside]
Is there a word that means "discriminating on the basis of religion"? The closest thing I can think of is "creedist", which isn't an actual word. Is there a word that means what "creedist" would mean if it were a word that existed? Thanks!
I have heard that German is somewhat of a lingua franca throughout Eastern Europe. Would it be a more useful backup language than English when visiting Prague and Budapest? I will also be learning basic phrases in Hungarian and Czech. More details inside! [more inside]
What's it called when someone accuses someone of pointing out an injustice as perpetrating that injustice by describing it? Is there a name for this rhetorical device? An example would be in Jon Stewart's recent segment about Ferguson where a news anchor was quoted as saying "You know who talks about race?! RACISTS." [more inside]
I'm reaching for a phrase for a short science fiction piece I'm working on. I'd like to know what a Classical-Latin-speaking character would say if they wanted to articulate a particular concept analogous to "I think therefore I am", but expressing instead a monstrous moral conclusion they've reached along the lines of I think therefore none may be / shall be. [more inside]
Where is this coin from, and what is it?
Looking for a "webcomic" I saw somewhere on MetaFilter, no luck turning it back up. Details within. [more inside]
Actually, that should read "Hey, readers of Chinese script, etc". Recently, some of my neighbors took exception to the opening of a homeless shelter in my neighborhood. They held a protest. Some of the signs were in Chinese. What do these signs say in English, if you've got a moment? Many thanks in advance.
I would write "1950s" or "1980s", and this is universal among native English speakers, so far as I am aware. In international contexts, however, I sometimes observe that people whose English spelling is otherwise flawless will consistently write "1950ies" or "1980ies", which reads to me like it has an extra syllable. Where does this convention come from, and what linguistic background makes it sound like a reasonable way to contract these numbers? [more inside]
Can anyone recommend a beginner level English language tutorial series for Spanish speakers who cannot read or write in either language?
A friend of mine wants to get another tattoo, and the phrase he's picked to get inked is this: "I am the angel of death, not mercy." He would like for the ink to be in Latin, so obviously he wants to make sure the translation is spot-on. Any Latin scholars able to help with this? Thank you so much!
How nice is too nice of an electronic use policy? [more inside]
Does anyone remember a recent article by (I think) a linguist whose main point was defending the colloquial use of "like", as a way to explicate internal monologue in a way that wasn't really done before? For obvious reasons this is very hard to google for. I don't remember if I saw it here on Metafilter or some other source.
Search results indicate this term being used synonymously with "mad scramble", but also as something to do with sports tournaments. Apart from being evocative, does it mean anything specific?
Asking for a friend. Said friend is: A) Tired of writing "synonyms and antonyms" over and over B) Trying to shorten the paper she's writing that contains this phrase. [more inside]
I'm looking for scientific or mathematical examples, ideas, which could rightly refer to the imagined class of dynamic systems I'm trying to describe. [more inside]
Is there any explanation for how the phrase "young lady," used in addressing an obviously older woman, became popular? I never hear it used in addressing girls anymore, but only as a lame attempt to be friendly to an older woman. It's as if the speaker is trying to make you feel better about the fact that you are not a young lady; it is so much nicer to hear the respectful yet affectionate Southern colloquialism "miss lady." Ditto for the phrase "graduate college': when and why did even respected news sources drop the "from" ("graduate from college")? Thanks for listening.
What language is this? What does it say? [more inside]
I'm trying to figure out the origin of a particular Italian slang word my family uses that means "gaudy, tacky or overdone". [more inside]
Looking for movie recommendations that feature French scenes, spoken French is good too. [more inside]
Is there a word that means to corroborate a lie? For example if one person says the sky is green and then another person confirms that they sky is green. Or is there a legal term for this as well in the sense of lying about statutes?
What is the name and/or origin of the meme where intensifers/adverbs are placed before nouns? [more inside]
Whats a good group noun to replace guys? [more inside]
What phrases are reflexively on the tip of your tongue? [more inside]
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?
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]
I'm (re-)learning Spanish and am finding the stories in my "First Spanish Reader" to be somewhat lacking in interest. Since I enjoy thumbing through architectural/interior design magazines, I thought a print subscription to one in Spanish would be a fun way to learn. I've encountered the Spanish version of Architectural Living ("Arquitectura Viva"), which seems alright. I'd like to know if there are other options. For reference, my preferred aesthetic is stark modern with aged materials (examples: wabi sabi, Scandinavian and excessive concrete). Muchas gracias!
Does anyone know the Latin (?) phrase for when a judge authors both an opinion AND a special companion opinion (concurrence or dissent)?
what are the things called when you make sounds that are not words, but convey some emotion? i remember reading an exercise, about the length of a paragraph, demonstrating the different noises people make. [more inside]
I'm fascinated by the efforts of Deutsche Bahn to get rid of the "Bahnglisch" that litters the service with expressions that look English but aren't the sort of expressions that any native speaker of English would actually use, and it occurred to me that this sort of thing is common in German outside of DB, and probably all over the world. [more inside]
I'm looking for lines of dialogue from movies, novels, or elsewhere, in which someone says that something is not an X, even though it is an X, just not a mere X or typical X. An example of the type of exchange I'm looking for: "Wow, you spent a year's salary on a car?" "A car? This is isn't a car. It's a Lamborghini!" The second person knows that their Lamborghini is a car, but means to express that it isn't just a car. (It's important for my purposes that the person doesn't say 'just'.) There must be some recognizable instances of this type of speech, but I'm drawing a blank. Any ideas?