I'm writing a book for a major publisher on language learning, and we're currently in the process of figuring out/fighting over a title+subtitle(+sub-subtitle) combo.
Here's the issue: the book crosses two genres. Originally, it was simply a how-to book, with a step-by-step method for learning any language quickly. But over the course of writing and researching it, it's turned into a discussion about the science of memory and learning, how we learn languages, why we generally don't succeed at learning them in school, and what to do differently. It's become interesting
, not just on a how-to level, but on an intellectual how-do-our-brains-work sort of level. This is great news from an audience standpoint – we've added a whole new potential audience (people who aren't looking for a how-to-learn-a-language book, but *are* interested in how their brains work) – but it's very tricky from a title standpoint.
How do you choose a title that conveys the How-to nature of the book and the How-your-brain-works part at the same time? [more inside]
posted by sdis
on Apr 17, 2013 -
I am looking for recommendations for bibles in languages other than English, specifically for their literary qualities. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit
on Apr 16, 2013 -
I first came across this about 20 years ago in a Calvin & Hobbes strip where Hobbes taunts his friend: "Calvin and Susie, sitting in a tree. Kay-Eye-Ess-Ess-Eye-En-Gee!" I never understood why Hobbes was making "words" out of letters; I assumed it was something unique to comics (or tigers). Then today, a poem
linked to in this FPP
reminded me of that old comic strip and got me thinking: Why is there an entire parallel alphabet
to spell out the letters of the alphabet? [more inside]
posted by andromache
on Apr 14, 2013 -
So I have a copy of Simcity 4 for Mac OS, and the patch to run it on Intel. I'm looking to switch the language from US to UK English (I want left-side traffic) but all of the instructions I've found online to do such a thing are for the Windows version, and involve modifying the Registry, which by definition ain't gonna happen for the Mac OS version. What can I do? How do I change the game's language settings on Mac OS?
posted by DoctorFedora
on Apr 12, 2013 -
"Ne" in Japanese can mean many things, same with "eh" in Canada. "Ya" and "Da" appear many places. "OK" is a favorite around the world. "OI" for Punks and for "Oy" for Jews. Can you think of any others?
posted by parallax7d
on Apr 12, 2013 -
Where is this mystical land where it is acceptable to answer statements with: "So?" [more inside]
posted by 256
on Apr 5, 2013 -
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 -
How come that various forms of the verb "to be" have different degrees of similarity across German/English/Romance languages? The third person singular ist/is/est seems to have an obvious common root, whereas I don't see it jump out on me for bin/am/suis at all, and in other forms it seems like German and French are close with English the odd one out (sind/sommes/are), which I found puzzling given that I usually think of English as the bastard child of these two.
posted by themel
on Mar 31, 2013 -
Can you give me specific instances of US political candidates or elected officials publically speaking in a language other than English? [more inside]
posted by threeants
on Mar 27, 2013 -
Hello, I'm a French student preparing for English interviews and in my last mock session my interviewer talked about my accent that could put me at a disadvantage. I can't afford and don't have the time to see a speech therapist so I'm looking for books with audio tracks that are aimed at mastering the standard American accent. Do you know or know somebody that had had great results with a particular book?
posted by lite
on Mar 27, 2013 -
Does the term "homegoing" have a wide use across Christian denominations? [more inside]
posted by psoas
on Mar 20, 2013 -
I've been living abroad for several years, and my proficiency in my native language seems to have taken a hit. Is this normal, and what should I do? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Mar 19, 2013 -
Is there any software out there which can give me feedback on rhythm, timing and flow for language learning? Karaoke for Norwegian speech patterns? [more inside]
posted by Eltulipan
on Mar 18, 2013 -
'Think tank' and 'thought leader' not 'thought tank' and 'think leader'. Can you help me construct a good argument for why we have settled on the first two and not the second? [more inside]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken
on Mar 17, 2013 -
I've heard that men don't like questions. I'm a woman and would like to have better relationships with the men in my life. Give me some examples of ways to rephrase questions into statements, directives or imperatives. [more inside]
posted by geekgirl397
on Mar 15, 2013 -
I need to improve my comprehension of spoken Italian, and I'm looking for free podcasts in Italian (as opposed to recorded language lessons) which can help me do this. [more inside]
posted by pont
on Mar 15, 2013 -
I found some stone tablets written in a strange alphabet amongst a bunch of graves from different eras at the city museum of Tire, Turkey
. The guy working the desk at the museum didn't know what they were. Pictures in extended. [more inside]
posted by Theiform
on Mar 15, 2013 -
I'm learning French, and am looking to increase my exposure to spoken French. Among other things, I've been listening to the Coffee Break French series of podcasts, which has been very helpful, but I'd like to add in some podcasts that aren't specifically about learning French -- podcasts that are by native French speakers and made for a French-speaking audience, but which ideally are fairly accessible or at least roughly comprehensible with some effort to someone who has only a patchy knowledge of the language. French news podcasts might be valuable to me, for instance. Bonus features: podcasts that are also broadcast in English, podcasts that are about scientific topics, and podcasts that are about or are produced in francophone Africa. Recommendations?
posted by Scientist
on Mar 14, 2013 -
This envelope with a letter inside was found inside a large decaying bound edition of Shakespeare auf Deutsch in a junk shop in Bushwick that was only apparently open for a few months before disappearing. The letter, postmarked 15 March, 1939 - was sent to Paris by a Mr. Henri Wolf. The contents of the letter appear to be German shorthand. Included was small piece of what looks like code, there's nothing else on the back.The letter, envelope, postcard, etc in question are at this imgur album.
Hivemind: What the hell is this?
posted by The Whelk
on Mar 14, 2013 -
How do other languages (non-English) express the scientific term 'race?' vs the colloquial?
In taxonomic terms, the word "race" is 90% used as a misnomer in US discourse. This is rooted in "Social Darwinism," or contemporary racist applications of seminal evolution concepts. This colors verbiage across the sciences, especially the social sciences. To wit, the term 'racism' is in fact based on a dehumanizing paradigm.
So, um, how does this shake out elsewhere? [more inside]
posted by es_de_bah
on Mar 11, 2013 -
I'm going to Paris in July and August this summer to take a language course at the Sorbonne
. Yay! However, my original plan to stay at a friend's flat has fallen through, and I'm going to have to search for my own accommodation. I don't know where to start... and my French isn't great. Help! [more inside]
posted by pikeandshield
on Mar 11, 2013 -
Eastern-language experts: what does this ring
say? I don't know the language or even if I've got it right-side-up. I photographed the characters in order, picking one at random to start with. If it's written in Fake Words For Honkies and doesn't actually mean anything, that's fine; if it will summon a Nazgul, that's even better!
posted by cmyk
on Mar 6, 2013 -
My 3yo son memorized a song from a cartoon
on Youtube. He walks around the house singing it all day. We think the song might be Korean, but we're not sure. Is he using actual words or just making sounds? (apologies if this is wildly offensive, my wife and I are just curious).
posted by ColdChef
on Mar 1, 2013 -
I'm looking for a better word or term of art for the most important customer of a company, in particular one that provides the most revenue. [more inside]
posted by heliostatic
on Feb 28, 2013 -
My Bulgarian nephew speaks no English and just enrolled in the first grade of a public school in the United States. He will be staying here until June. So far, he is handling it well and is proactive about learning English. Everyone at home has become a makeshift, round-the-clock ESL tutor and he is constantly provided with opportunities to pick up grammar and vocabulary, but his teachers don't really know what to do with him before he can communicate. What additional resources can we provide for him to help him pick up the language faster? He already has a bunch of library books, so we're looking for apps for iPad, Android, Chrome, Nintendo 3DS and other things a computer-savvy 7-year-old might enjoy. Thanks!
posted by halogen
on Feb 27, 2013 -
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 -
I have just started using Google Japanese Input on Windows 7. It works fine, but I would like to be able to switch input modes (i.e. between direct input, hiragana, katakana etc) using a shortcut key. Currently I have to click on the language bar to switch, which is a pain. I looked in the properties and can't see an option for shortcuts. I tried googling but can't seem to find an answer either. [more inside]
posted by theyexpectresults
on Feb 5, 2013 -
I'd like some info on how to create a Chinese menmonic guide to make it easier to learn vocab. [more inside]
posted by Musashi Daryl
on Feb 4, 2013 -
When Bugs Bunny referred to Elmer Fudd as a "nimrod", he was sarcastically comparing the dim-witted Fudd to a biblical king
who was known as a mighty hunter. However, the intended sarcasm of that reference seemed lost on the public, and over time, "nimrod" has come to be used to simply mean dull or dim-witted. Can you point me to other examples of sayings or idioms created via a misunderstood reference or saying?
posted by tocts
on Feb 4, 2013 -
Trying to find out more about what the word Hokis, which seems to be a slang term, means in Armenian. Not very googlable, or not for me. Any help would be much appreciated.
posted by jitterbug perfume
on Feb 3, 2013 -
Can you help me to better distinguish cheery lovebird songs vs. the squawks of ailing canaries in my dating coal mine? [more inside]
posted by argonauta
on Jan 30, 2013 -
I am writing copy for a loyalty program that has the usual 'earn points and redeem them for rewards' message.
However, I'm getting confused about how to use the word redeem.
Is it better/right to say 'redeem points for
products such as laptops', or redeem points on
products such as laptops' or 'redeem points against
products such as laptops'?
I am also considering suggesting we use the word 'spend' instead. It's a simpler and older word, and less tricksy to use.
Would that be better? Any thoughts?
posted by Summer
on Jan 26, 2013 -
Despite having no ties to the community beyond a few old facebook friends and the blogs they link to, I'm fascinated by the language quirks of modern conservative Christianity. Less so the specifically theological terms (washed in the blood, new life, etc.), but more how particular words and turns of phrase mark the speaker as belonging to the community even when they are not talking about premillenialism. [more inside]
posted by heyforfour
on Jan 17, 2013 -
I spent 4 years learning French in high school, and have retained just enough since then to vaguely eavesdrop on a fellow commuter's French novel the other day. I would like to brush up on my reading comprehension, and could use some suggestions for some simply written fiction to pick up. [more inside]
posted by thirdletter
on Jan 16, 2013 -
My mom has a bar of soap
that I probably gave her as a gift several years ago. We're trying to figure out what language, if any, the logo/brandname are in and what it means. It could be mirrored or upside down but it still doesn't look like any character set I recognize. The soap was probably purchased at a fair trade store so it could be from anywhere.
posted by ChrisHartley
on Jan 14, 2013 -
I'm giving a talk tomorrow where I will be covering the work of typographer Eiichi Kono. So my question is pretty simple: how does one best pronounce his name?
posted by garius
on Jan 9, 2013 -
I'm looking for any examples of two-letter acronyms that are pronounced as words in English (IT wouldn't count because it is pronounced as two individual letters). Due to the fact that the word "acronym" is widely used to refer to any abbreviation based on initial letters this seems to be quite difficult to search for. Any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by tomcooke
on Jan 7, 2013 -
What languages have seen minimal linguistic drift over the last few centuries, or even millennia? Which ones have changed dramatically? I'm also hoping for accessible, layman's answers rather than deeply technical resources. Help? [more inside]
posted by scaryblackdeath
on Jan 7, 2013 -
What is the native San Francisco accent? That is, the accent that San Franciscans had in the middle of the 20th century. Was it as distinctive as a Boston or New York accent? This is a question that I've pondered on and off for a while... [more inside]
posted by vacapinta
on Dec 31, 2012 -
What are some insightful well-written books or articles, academic or otherwise, on the mechanics of how we learn second-languages and anything about the application of linguistics to learning languages? [more inside]
posted by pynchonesque
on Dec 30, 2012 -
Which languages, if any, have the same word for "beak
" and "mouth
"? Or: which languages lack a specific word for referring only to a "beak" (aka the hard, pointy, front end of a bird
posted by Greg Nog
on Dec 27, 2012 -
I am in Seattle. I'd like to learn French, to the point where I could (in 6 months, say) carry on a rough conversation with someone in Québec or France. I have knowledge of a few words but would essentially be starting from scratch. With which group/center/school should I take classes, but most importantly: why
? (In other words, what would make that class better than those offered through alternatives?)
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Dec 25, 2012 -