2018 posts tagged with language.
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What natural languages have unusual properties?

Hawaiian has only eight consonants. Pirahã purportedly has even fewer phonemes and no numerals. What other languages have properties which would be considered unusual by Indo-European language speakers?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 16, 2006 - 33 answers

Pow!

Language (and fighting) filter : Can anyone tell me what's being said in this video? [more inside]
posted by Liosliath on Nov 13, 2006 - 11 answers

I'm already sad about this as I type it...

Is there a word for a sort of nostalgia or longing for the current moment? [more inside]
posted by exlotuseater on Nov 13, 2006 - 14 answers

First Rate and Second Rate in the Raj

I'm looking for two Indian (Hindi?) words that mean "high quality" and "low quality" and were used, for example, during the Brittish Raj to describe building construction as first rate or second rate. [more inside]
posted by alms on Nov 12, 2006 - 7 answers

Which Central / South Amercian country speaks the clearest form of Spanish?

I'd like to attend an immersive language school -- but would like to learn to speak a relatively region- and dialect-free form. I recently heard a Bolivian Spanish speaker on the radio-- and his Spanish was beautiful. It's possible this is an entirely STUPID question I'm asking-- as any language may sound like mush coming from the mouths of dolts. But-- I tend not to be attacted the sound / clarity / speed of Mexican Spanish or the pronunciation used in Spain. ANY SUGGESTIONS? ALSO-- there are specific language schools in Central / South America would recommend? THANK YOU!
posted by iam2bz2p on Nov 10, 2006 - 19 answers

Cussin' and Writin'

Writers: When do you use profanity in writing? [more inside]
posted by clairezulkey on Nov 10, 2006 - 29 answers

How do I pick a good Mandarin course in China?

How do I pick a good university and course to learn Mandarin in China? [more inside]
posted by spiff101 on Nov 9, 2006 - 7 answers

Obtuse vs. abstruse

Is the word "obtuse" being used correctly here [line 5]? [more inside]
posted by matthewr on Nov 6, 2006 - 28 answers

What do you call wanting something that can no longer happen?

Is there a word for missing something that hasn't happened? Yearning for a future that can no longer come to fruition? Extra bonus points if there's something in another language (especially Ancient Greek!).
posted by sam and rufus on Nov 6, 2006 - 14 answers

How do I install support for East Asian languages without Windows installation disk?

How do I install support for East Asian languages in Windows XP without the Windows installation disk?
posted by monsterhero on Nov 3, 2006 - 2 answers

Is 'proof, if proof be need be' a Chris Morris coinage, or a real phrase?

Is the phrase 'proof, if proof be need be' a Chris Morris coinage? [more inside]
posted by jack_mo on Nov 3, 2006 - 16 answers

Because I don't believe in seances

Help me figure out what my Italian Nonna was calling me all those years. [more inside]
posted by NoraCharles on Oct 29, 2006 - 6 answers

Migrating Slang

Here in the far-flung reaches of the English-speaking world, we're constantly being told our local language is being taken over by "American Slang". But does it go the other way? Are there any British / Australian / New Zealand or wherever phrases and words that have become commonly used by people in North America recently? Do Brooklynites ever exclaim "Crikey!" or "Bloody Hell!"?
posted by Jimbob on Oct 27, 2006 - 50 answers

My friend wants to be Louis L'amour

A friend of mine is writing a novel set in the old west a la spaghetti western style. [more inside]
posted by hollygoheavy on Oct 26, 2006 - 2 answers

An idle question about Greek....

(Language filter, idle question): does the name for the Greek goddess "Eos" also mean "dawn"? More to the point, does it have a plural formation.... [more inside]
posted by robabroad on Oct 23, 2006 - 12 answers

Oops, that's not quite what I meant...

Wordfilter: looking for a word or phrase that describes social paradoxical effects, where the action results in the opposite of its intention. [more inside]
posted by dragonsi55 on Oct 23, 2006 - 6 answers

What do you call those little quotes in books?

What is the term for those little quotes that sometimes open books? [more inside]
posted by SansPoint on Oct 20, 2006 - 11 answers

riverrun

Has Finnegans Wake ever been translated? How?
posted by dead_ on Oct 20, 2006 - 36 answers

Is it common for US Americans to incorrectly assume that Russian is only spoken in Russia

Is it common for Americans to incorrectly assume that Russian is only spoken in Russia but forget that it is also a common language in the former Soviet states? [more inside]
posted by gregb1007 on Oct 18, 2006 - 37 answers

فلوس كثيرا

Brainstorming summer employment opportunities in Arabic-speaking countries. [more inside]
posted by The White Hat on Oct 17, 2006 - 8 answers

Good dubbing: No longer just for kung-fu flicks.

I've just started watching Six Feet Under on Bravo, where it's being syndicated. I was skeptical at first, because I knew the show would have to be edited for content, but I was halfway into the first episode before I even noticed any changes (at least language-wise). My question: How do they do it so well? [more inside]
posted by sarahsynonymous on Oct 16, 2006 - 17 answers

babababababababa

Is there a name for the gesture/vocalization that consists of flapping your finger up and down between your lips while making sound with your vocal cords? It comes out as something like "wawawawawawa" or "bababababa" and is often done by people as a way to entertain/communicate with babies. [more inside]
posted by alms on Oct 16, 2006 - 17 answers

Tail of monkey and trunk of elephant

The Guardian today published a list of names used around the world for the @ symbol. [reproduced inside]. Can any native speakers let me know if they take advantage to these to make intrestering/humorous/offensive email address? [more inside]
posted by handybitesize on Oct 16, 2006 - 25 answers

In search of "authentic" Southern (American) accents...

Language/Dialect-filter: In search of "authentic" Southern (American) accents... [more inside]
posted by ibeji on Oct 11, 2006 - 48 answers

I'm pretty sure it's not German for, "Jesus Fucking Christ," but that's all I've got to go on.

Does the exclamation "Sheesh Kabibble" mean anything, or is it just nonsense? [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Oct 8, 2006 - 16 answers

PolyglotFilter: I'm looking for multiple blogs to practice several languages.

PolyglotFilter: I'm looking for multiple blogs to practice several languages. [more inside]
posted by Lockeownzj00 on Oct 8, 2006 - 3 answers

What does one call something that contains the seeds of its own downfall?

What does one call something that contains the seeds of its own downfall? [more inside]
posted by viewofdelft on Oct 5, 2006 - 35 answers

Are there any open-source language detection algos?

Is there a piece of open-source software which analyzes a text file (or standard input) and tries to determine the language it's written in? [more inside]
posted by helios on Oct 5, 2006 - 4 answers

Recovering language skills

How to best revive my Spanish? [more inside]
posted by graymouser on Oct 3, 2006 - 14 answers

I need some charming / funny examples of mistakes made by native Dutch or French speakers whilst learning English.

I need some charming / funny examples of mistakes made by native Dutch or French speakers whilst learning English.
posted by Black Spring on Oct 3, 2006 - 24 answers

japanesing is hard

Are there any JLPT prep books that are filled with short, interesting stories that make extensive use of the kanji/grammar for whatever level you are studying? [more inside]
posted by GooseOnTheLoose on Oct 2, 2006 - 2 answers

Linguophiles: Help me settle this debate on the Chompskyian model of linguistics.

Linguophiles: Help me settle this debate on the Chompskyian model of linguistics. [more inside]
posted by Lockeownzj00 on Sep 28, 2006 - 20 answers

Amsterdam 2007

I just found out I won a scholarship for a month-long research trip to Amsterdam (yay me). I'm planning to go in January or February 2007 and need help with 2 things: 1- Cheap, central, decent accomadations. My wife will be going with, so we need a private room and bathroom. A private room in a hostel would be fine. A private house would be better. I'm aware of craigslist amsterdam, but wonder if their are other resources/networks I could tap. 2- I know I don't have time to actually learn the language, but would like to pick up the basic getting around, ordering food stuff, and do not have the time or money to take formal classes. What good internet resources could help me learn basic dutch?
posted by signal on Sep 27, 2006 - 5 answers

What would you call logical action with an illogical premise?

Is there a word for when somebody does something completely illogical but does it in a perfectly logical manner?
posted by Skorgu on Sep 26, 2006 - 22 answers

The Question Hit the Fan

Where did the phrase "the shit hit the fan" originate from? My googling has revealed one claim that it is from 1930's jazz lingo, although no explanantion is given as to what it meant at the time, and another site gives a story that describes the origin that doesn't seem believable. (the last paragraph here: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=shit Does anyone know where the phrase came from? Thanks!
posted by andoatnp on Sep 26, 2006 - 8 answers

Easy Spanish-language typing on a U.S.-type keyboard?

Easy Spanish-language typing with a U.S. computer keyboard? [more inside]
posted by killdevil on Sep 24, 2006 - 9 answers

Remembering myself

What would a child adopted from a foreign country at the age of five, and brought up as a Westerner, remember of their infancy, and mother tongue? [more inside]
posted by unSane on Sep 22, 2006 - 19 answers

Does any culture have a word for that "what if I suddenly..." feeling?

Name That Thing! You know that feeling you get sometimes when you wonder what would happen if you did something outrageous- punched a cop, stepped off a building, peed on the dinner table? No? Well, I'm sure I'm not the only one, because both Daniel Clowes (in Eightball) and P.G. Wodehouse (in Carry On, Jeeves) mention it. The problem is, what do you call it? Does any culture have a word for this? I certainly can't think of an (American) English word or phrase shorter than "You know that feeling when...", etc.
posted by paul_smatatoes on Sep 21, 2006 - 75 answers

Need help squashing foreign spam

I get tons of spam in languages other than english -- entire messages in other languages that I can't even read to determine what the spam is about. I'd like to make a simple set of email filters to whack out any email in russian, chinese, japanese, and korean. Can someone give me a single character from each language that represents the most commonly used letter? (like the letter "a" in English) [more inside]
posted by mathowie on Sep 21, 2006 - 15 answers

Books on pictorial scripts/languages

Can anyone recommend a book on early pictorial scripts/languages? [more inside]
posted by richardm on Sep 16, 2006 - 7 answers

Guides to Rhetoric

Can anyone recommend any good books on rhetorical devices? [more inside]
posted by New Frontier on Sep 16, 2006 - 8 answers

Translate my birthday card

Incomprehensible birthday messages - Swahili and Russian flavours... [more inside]
posted by prentiz on Sep 14, 2006 - 7 answers

passive voice question

He was killed; he got (himself) killed. It was sold; it got sold (possibly out from under me). What sort of semantic difference does using forms of "get" versus "be" in passive constructions convey? [more inside]
posted by kenko on Sep 8, 2006 - 12 answers

aiyah! need help prounouncing Chinese!

Need help pronouncing some Cantonese (preferably audio) [more inside]
posted by beammeup4 on Sep 5, 2006 - 10 answers

My vocabulary is large, it contains multitudes

LanguageArts: to the bilingual (or more) people in the hive... [more inside]
posted by seawallrunner on Sep 5, 2006 - 24 answers

Please help me find an automated desktop japanese flashcard system!

Are there any desktop widgets to help me learn japanese? Ideally it would give me a word in english and the japanese pronunciation of it. Rotated daily. [more inside]
posted by JonnyRotten on Aug 30, 2006 - 5 answers

Doctor, Doctor, what's the correct abbreviation for doctor!?!

InaneQuestionFilter: When you abbreviate doctor, does it get a full-stop? ie. should it be Dr or Dr.? [more inside]
posted by ranglin on Aug 29, 2006 - 21 answers

Ви розмовляєте українською?

Need help translating a Ukrainian grave marker. [more inside]
posted by Zozo on Aug 29, 2006 - 10 answers

Flashcards

I am looking for flashcards on three specific subjects. I've looked online and haven't had much luck. The first I don't really need help finding, "beginning spanish words". The other two have been more difficult. [more inside]
posted by JokingClown on Aug 28, 2006 - 5 answers

Babymama drama, linguistic.

Is my wife my babymama? [more inside]
posted by norm on Aug 25, 2006 - 56 answers

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