Short of being in Australia*, I'm writing a story that takes part in Sydney, Australia. Are there any online resources, etc. that could give me an idea who to write dialog that an Australian citizen would speak (certain phrases, slang, etc). *(Warning to Australia, I'll be visiting next year)
How nice is too nice of an electronic use policy? [more inside]
Where you live, or where you grew up, do people commonly refer to their parents as "my folks"? Would that phrasing sound odd to you, or stand out in any way, if, say, a coworker used it? [more inside]
I'm a fast reader in English. I want to get faster at reading in Russian (in which I am fluent, but rarely use at this point). How can I do this?
I need to return to my French language oral fluency by mid-October. What are your best tips and tricks to resuscitate your language skills? Websites? Podcasts? Structured systems? [more inside]
My company currently has a computer that has a Japanese version of Windows 7 Professional installed on it. We want to install an English language version of Windows 8.1 on the computer. Will the language for the Microsoft Office software (currently also Japanese) already installed on the computer also change to English when we change to the new English language version of Windows 8.1? [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 an atheist with a God problem. My exclamations of surprise, disgust and frustration usually take the form of "Oh my God" or "Jesus Christ!" or "Holy shit". I want to find some new - preferably safe for work and young ears - versions of my favorite exclamations that have the same import and emphasis that I so enjoy from the current ones. [more inside]
There's no shortage of articles online that take the basic form "here are awesome non-English words and phrases that are hilarious and/or that English doesn't have a direct translation for". Examples: A German slang term for low-back tattoos is "Aarsgewei", which translates to "ass antlers". Also in German, the term for eating because you are sad is "Kummerspeck", which is literally "grief bacon". The Finnish word for pedant, pilkunnussija, translates as "comma fucker". I'm curious about the flip-side, like a non-English-speaker being amused that low back tribal tattoos are called "tramp stamps" in the US. What English words or slang terms are amusing to speakers of foreign languages in the same way that I find some of their terms amusing and/or awesome?
Hi, folks. Through work and study, I achieved fluency in Spanish. In my current job, I was hired to do bilingual work, but I have had very little opportunity to speak Spanish for about six months. I'm worried I may be forgetting Spanish, which is really very bad for me on many levels. Please help me find a few ways to keep in touch with the language. [more inside]
What do you think of the name "Rub" for a health spa? Is it cute or dirty and why?
I'm looking for examples of sentences/phrases that have a completely different meaning at the beginning of the sentence than they do by the end. The best example I can find is this example of Happy Ending's that sounds completely inappropriate until he finishes the verse. Is there a name for this? Is this a literary device? (I thought it might have been a type of irony at first, but I'm not certain.)
Can the hive mind take a look at the picture of this necklace and see if the back of it is calligraphy of some sort? It looks like Arabic or Persian. If so, does anyone know what it says? Here's the picture.
Is it acceptable, in the name of practicality, to ignore gender while speaking German? [more inside]
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]
When did enslaved Africans in the US stop speaking African languages? [more inside]
I'm fascinated by writing systems. I've seen this wiki page about different types of systems in real and fictional languages. As I understand it, there are generally three kinds of systems: logographic, where symbols represent entire concepts or words; syllabaries, where symbols represent syllabic sounds; and segmental, where symbols represent phonemes or small units of sound. Is there any other way to write? I'm having a hard time coming up with how it would even work, but I'm sure some clever author somewhere has tried. Is there another way to write a language other than the above?
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.
“Cash is an option too! Don’t forget that!”. Help us come up with proper cash gift language to put on our wedding registry website. [more inside]
I'm currently studying Chinese in Beijing and I'm looking for podcasts or audio recordings to help me learn more. Do you know of any good Chinese language podcasts that can help me study? [more inside]
I am a university student who takes french as a minor alongside law. My law essays are well received, and even when I miss the mark on the question my professors say I have expressed myself and written a good essay. In french, the opposite is true. I'm struggling with basic structure and linking of my ideas in this second language. Any help or advice? [more inside]
What language is this? What does it say? [more inside]
Let's say you've been having a lot of conversations about finding a way to get certain isolated or repetitive tasks done. Some things can be handled by automation, so they get a '-bot'; others get done by a human, so they get a '-wallah'. But is there some manner in which '-wallah' could be taken to be derogatory, offensive, appropriation, insensitive, etc? [more inside]
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.
I'm looking for daily local video news from Paris, France, in French, online. [more inside]
I'm trying to make language learning a daily habit on my bus commute, and looking for tips on making it work. [more inside]
How can I swear better? I want to learn the art of swearing to broaden the range of my expression, be it to share joy, frustration, boredom or anything else. [more inside]
In the early 1990s, the boys in my middle school used to threaten to "steal" each other, meaning hit/punch/sock/pop/smack. It was most commonly heard as, "I'mma steal you in your eye!" or "I'm gonna steal him upside the head!" I found it strange even then, and I haven't heard or seen reference to it since. Have you heard "steal" used like this before? Where could it have come from? Relevant details: This was in Nash County, North Carolina. I recall hearing it exclusively from white boys. The couple times I asked someone who was self-aware enough to discuss it, they were adamant that it was "steal" and not "steel."
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]
I'm looking for data on what is perceived as swearing, foul language, etc. - in other words, language that one person might correct another for using. In particular, I'm looking for information on how this varies according to demographics, and especially how it varies from one geographical area to another. (I'm in the U.S., and am primarily interested in U.S. data.) This doesn't have to be "scientifically accurate" information: an internet poll with enough recipients to be meaningful would be totally fine. Bonus points if the information addresses the perceived severity of the word: for example, while I'm sure there are words that are perceived as swears nearly universally in the US, I'd love to see data on how words like "damn" or "crap" would be rated in different areas.
When I was studying history of philosophy I remember encountering a term which I recall as being either 'historical monism' or 'psychological monism', which referred to the (posited) error of assuming, I think looking historically, that the psychology of other peoples was like your own. I.e. of assuming that you could reasonably attempt to understand their motivations &c. It might have had something to do with heiddegger? It seems unlikely that this would've involved the term 'monism', though, looking back, and I'm not having tons of luck with google. Any clues?
I was talking to my mom last night and at one point in the conversation, she wanted to call something bullshit, but she is extremely opposed to swearing, so she used a euphemism instead. It was so funny that my partner and I both burst out laughing when she said it, but neither of us can remember it now. Help me identify it! [more inside]
Does anyone know the name/email address of a guy who used to post to Usenet in the mid-1990s in justified text? (When rendered in a monospaced font.) [more inside]
I have some very basic French language skills, and I would like to develop them to the level of working proficiency over the next few months (I am prepared to study hard). I am enrolled in a class and have a tutor. What are some other resources (preferably free ones) that I can work with my own time in order to accelerate my learning as much as possible? [more inside]
I'm looking for recommendations of English-language fiction that heavily features Spanish-language elements. I'm working on learning Spanish again (I had 3 years in high school, about 10 years ago) and thought it would be fun and useful to read novels that incorporate Spanish heavily, kind of an immersion strategy. [more inside]
Is there a word for "one word", like monosyllabic means "one syllable"?
Where can I see numbered diagrams for handwriting each Cyrillic letter?
Looking for movie recommendations that feature French scenes, spoken French is good too. [more inside]
What are some examples of really easy/obvious etymological descents that most people aren't really aware of? I'm trying to prove to somebody that there are a lot of these in the english language but I've forgotten most of the interesting ones I used to know. [more inside]
Trying to think of idioms / phrases that relate to body language, rather than just body parts. One example could be "to raise eyebrows". There must be others, but the web mostly came up with things like "in one ear and out the other", which isn't quite what I wanted. Suggestions appreciated.
Poetry question: Do you think Adrienne Rich's "November 1968" is literally about burning leaves? Does she intend that month and year to mean something to the reader? Any other thoughts? [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]
What percentage of English words have three syllables?
Whats a good group noun to replace guys? [more inside]
I'm looking for Hindi books that progressively increase in difficulty. I'm a Hindi speaker that learned from my parents conversationally, but I have no grasp of the Devanagari script. I thought I could teach myself the script by rote, then work my way up through books of increasing difficulty similar to how I have read books in grade school in the USA. [more inside]
Recent job opportunity came up, and I have the chance to write semi-professionally for a small company. Think in the vein of writing movie reviews or reviewing software. Its professional writing, but there will be conceptual and thematic details involved, it's not simply writing staid copy. I would like to find a book that helps me hone my prose, and will teach me how to better edit and improve my work. [more inside]