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]
Please help. I work for a language school that teaches Mandarin Chinese to foreigners inside China. We specialize in one month intensive teaching for beginners. We want to increase our social media presence and have some (even though we do say so ourselves) excellent stand alone ideas to do this. They are educational free formats that allow people to study Chinese online in creative ways. We don't know the best way to present them though. Should they be 'onsite' options through our main webpage,or would they be better served as stand alone entities with their own page and an affiliation to our main company website? Any thoughts and shared best practice would be greatly appreciated.
Charles Babbage was a prominent member of the Analytical Society, and was at the very least intimately familiar with Leibniz's formulation of calculus. But did he ever read Leibniz's writings on logic? Did the Ars Combinatoria, or any of his writings on the "universal characteristic" or "calculus ratiocinator" influence Babbage's thinking about computation?
What is the word (if any, apparently) for the misuse of a nonprofit's funds for personal uses? [more inside]
Is there a word to describe the idea that something that has proven its value for a long time (for example the music of Mozart) is likely to endure into the future? I remember reading something to this effect in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Antifragile, but my a search of the index and my google fu fail me. TIA
Czech speakers: are these 3 lines sensible to you? (They don't have to be perfect or poetic; I just wanted to make sure they're understandable.) They're google's Czech translation of an ancient Latin text. [more inside]
I'm planning on taking the JLPT N1 this December, but unfortunately between work and sleep I haven't been able to squeeze much study time in. Since I have a 2-hour commute every day, and sometimes an hour or two of travel during work as well, I reckon I can put it to good use by listening to spoken Japanese on my iPod. Can you recommend some interesting podcasts or radio programmes (downloadable/accessible without internet) that have a good coverage of N1 vocabulary? [more inside]
[PronunciationFilter] The title is: Crathadh 't 'Aodaich & Zbadba from the album Mo-Di by the band Mouth Music. I think the title is Gaelic but I'm not sure. How would I say the title? Or what is a close approximation of the true pronunciation?
I am new to teaching, and will be teaching spanish once a week for one hour to 8 or less children who are in reception and year 1 (4 to 6 years old). Do you have any ideas to what I can do? I have looked online and have some ideas but more are appreciated, I am quite nervous! [more inside]
What's your experience navigating life errands (especially grocery shopping) as a non-native English speaker in an English speaking country? Any experience as a non-native speaker in any country would work as well. This is for a research project. [more inside]
My favorite way of learning a language is translating text back and forth. Could the translation work of a careful beginner be useful to anyone at all? [more inside]
Has anyone seen examples of a language-learning method where you begin reading (maybe along with audio narration or subtitled video) in English and over time the syntax and vocab gradually shift into the new language? If it's not a thing, can you imagine why not? If it is, can you help me find it?
I am looking for an open-source / commons repository of any spoken language. Preferably free, otherwise just well-formatted. [more inside]
Do you have suggestions for the best ways to improve my intermediate-level Spanish, take advantage of immersion here in Argentina for the next few months, and ease up on anxiety/overthinking when speaking so I can be more fluid and fluent? My top priority for improvement is listening comprehension, followed by clarity, speed/fluidity, and confidence in speaking. [more inside]
How can I type stress marks on Mac OS X using the Russian keyboard? I'm talking about, for example, the ´ marks like in "Соединённые Шта́ты Аме́рики"—the а́ and the е́. Thank you! [more inside]
I'd like more and better (preferably Internet-based) resources for learning Russian. Cyrillic alphabet instruction not needed. Details inside. [more inside]
What phrases are reflexively on the tip of your tongue? [more inside]
Even before this language quiz was featured over in the blue, I've been meaning to ask this question: What are some handy ways to distinguish between a particular language or regional variation and its closest counterparts, based just on a few words, a certain cadence, or unique kind of pronunciation. [more inside]