32 posts tagged with language and vocabulary.
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Seeking secular language for powerful experience

This year someone very close to me was hurt very badly and then, to my great shock and relief, he recovered fully. I'm still processing this experience and probably always will be. I'm frustrated that the words that I have to best describe what he went through are often religious. I don't believe in god and neither does the person who was injured. I did not think that he would ever be the same again. The fact that he is is "miraculous," to be with him now is "a blessing" -- but it's not. The best-fit way I know to phrase it is "it's a miracle of modern science!" I'd appreciate help finding a truly secular vocabulary that captures the power of what he (and I) went through. [more inside]
posted by palegirl on Oct 2, 2014 - 24 answers

Is there a general term for phrases like "landline phone"?

I could swear that I have seen this on AskMe before, but I can't find it for the life of me. Is there a word for the situation in which something that used to be representable by a single word now needs two (or more) words? Like how "telephone" now sometimes has to be retroactively qualified as "landline phone" because of the advent of "mobile phones." "Analog watch" would be another example, I guess.
posted by slenderloris on Feb 13, 2014 - 19 answers

Excel: Is it possible to sort by an arbitrary list?

I have a list of 625 English words, translations in a bunch of languages, and what-not in a giant excel file. We'll call that excel file "the Data." The Data is in alphabetical order. I also have a separate list of those same English words in a different order. Is there a way to sort the Data so that it's in the same order as my new, non-alphabetical list? [more inside]
posted by sdis on Jul 7, 2013 - 6 answers

Examples of background clues from vocabulary and/or usage?

When someone says head or latrine for bathroom its likely that they were in the military or around the military. A less common example,when someone says "avoid the near occasion" about something its likely that they are from a Roman Catholic background, I'd even say its use indicates a likelihood that they are or were a priest, seminarian, religious, in a kind of serious catholic family or school etc. Reckon is a common word and its being used once doesn't mean anything but when its use is pretty frequent it might be indicative of someone's having lived in the south east United States. When people say pop instead of soda or coke they likely are from somewhere roughly between Chicago and Denver, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Things like this interest me and I'm sure I know only a infinitesimal fraction of a percent of them. Do you have any like observations to share? [more inside]
posted by logonym on Jun 19, 2013 - 92 answers

How many words do we really use?

What is the average working vocabulary (and outliers) of various languages? Is the working vocabulary of English English different from American English or Australian English? and how does this compare with other languages?
posted by adamvasco on Apr 4, 2013 - 11 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

How to pick up vocabulary in a foreign language?

I need help in acquiring a lot of a vocabulary for a lot of languages. How can I best proceed and what should be my expectations and timetables be? [more inside]
posted by SollosQ on Dec 16, 2012 - 9 answers

Everything about (first/bilingual) language acquisition

Tell me everything about teaching kids how to speak and read and write. [more inside]
posted by pracowity on Oct 16, 2012 - 19 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

Kindle/Nook and learning Spanish

Kindle (or Nook) and Spanish books+Dictionary [more inside]
posted by pakora1 on May 31, 2012 - 8 answers

Synonym for satisfying?

Is there a single word for finding pleasure in well done formulaic stories not because they are doing something new or even being particularly clever, but because they hit the notes well, manage the tropes, and deliver what they promise? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jan 22, 2012 - 34 answers

Old words with new meanings?

What are some words whose definitions have changed significantly in the last few centuries? [more inside]
posted by Shelf on Aug 7, 2011 - 58 answers

She's not my "ladyfriend".

Isn't it odd to call someone your "girlfriend" who you wouldn't call a "girl"? [more inside]
posted by ThisIsNotMe on Jul 15, 2011 - 110 answers

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Once bitten, twice shy: Is there a single word which conveys the sentiment of this idiom? I have thought of "gun-shy," but no others. Or another phrase or idiom having roughly the same meaning?
posted by frobozz on Oct 10, 2010 - 17 answers

Can word choice unconsciously reveal your state of mind?

Outside of Freudian slips, is there any scientific evidence that people's word choices unconsciously reveal states of mind that they are trying to conceal? [more inside]
posted by tel3path on May 26, 2010 - 10 answers

Billions and billions

Given that Federal bailout monies are being tossed around to banks like sacks of rice from an aid truck, are there any emergent slang terms for one billion dollars? [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Jan 15, 2010 - 14 answers

Is there a word for this situation?

Is there a word that describes a situation where you *technically* have free will, but don't REALLY have the option to choose otherwise? [more inside]
posted by jenfullmoon on Nov 18, 2009 - 27 answers

Term to describe those people who ruin it for the rest.

vocab-filter: Is there a vocabulary word or term to describe a service or an act of generosity that is ceased by its maintainers because a small, select group broke the rules ? [more inside]
posted by fizzix on Jul 5, 2009 - 28 answers

What are the most common 20% of words in any language?

What are the most common 20% of words in any language? [more inside]
posted by jinatrix on Jun 14, 2009 - 12 answers

JapaneseFilter: How is 'fureai' pronounced?

How is fureai pronounced?
posted by coizero on Sep 10, 2008 - 11 answers

A word for the emotion you don't feel?

Is there a word for: expecting to feel grief or ache of conscience and then not feeling it? [more inside]
posted by coizero on Jan 23, 2008 - 22 answers

Anachronism, but for place instead of time

What's a good word for 'a spatially or geographically incongruous person/event/object', as an analogue to anachronism, which is 'temporally incongruous'? (New words okay) [more inside]
posted by onalark on Oct 30, 2007 - 18 answers

Observational Repetition?

Have you ever learned a new word, or heard a famous quote or something and for the next few weeks you see or hear this new thing again, sometimes repeatedly? Is there a name for that?
posted by OpinioNate on May 21, 2007 - 19 answers

Word for affectionate squeezing hazard?

And I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George! Somewhere I read that there was a specific word in some language to describe the feeling of restraining overwhelming affection because the urge to hug and squeeze with all one's might could actually harm the subject, e.g. puppies, infants, petite girlfriends. I've searched all over with no luck. Ring any bells?
posted by Tubes on Apr 23, 2007 - 27 answers

Funneling words into my noodle at a rapid rate

What are the best (free) online exercises to prepare for the GRE? [more inside]
posted by dead_ on Feb 9, 2007 - 6 answers

How can I speed up my thought processes in a foreign language?

How can I speed up my thought processes in a foreign language? [more inside]
posted by gregb1007 on Dec 22, 2006 - 21 answers

Must... not... lick... Macbook.

What word am I thinking of? There's a word that means something like, "an object that compels you to want to eat or lick it, even though the object is in fact not edible or meant to be licked". If it helps at all, I believe I've seen this word used to describe the new Macbook and its resemblance to an oversized piece of Chiclet gum. And btw, "pica" is not the word.
posted by satori101 on Jul 25, 2006 - 38 answers

Italian flashcards, on heavy rotation !

I'm embarking on an intense italian vocabulary learning routine, and I need some advice on how to maximize my effort using lexicons and flashcard software. [più dentro] [more inside]
posted by Oneirokritikos on Dec 29, 2005 - 2 answers

It's on the tip of my tongue....

What is the word for the criminal act of throwing crap out of a window? [more inside]
posted by mds35 on Oct 3, 2005 - 22 answers

What's the difference between efficiency and effectiveness ?

What's the difference between efficiency and effectiveness ?
posted by vincentm on Sep 6, 2005 - 17 answers

vocabulary building

I'm pretty verbose, but I don't think my vocabulary has grown much in years. And I'd like to build it up. [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on May 18, 2005 - 23 answers

How can I learn Japanese?

I've been studying Japanese at a college level for three years now and I think I have an intermediate knowledge of the language, sentence pattern and grammar wise, and an OK vocabulary, considering I don't speak it everyday. Aside from actually living in Japan, which isn't an option right now due to college and work commitments, what is the best way to learn Japanese, especially reading and writing Kanji? [more inside]
posted by SweetJesus on Dec 11, 2003 - 15 answers

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