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Overuse of the word "that" in casual conversation

Linguists, is there a name for this annoying trend, and can we point to where/when it originated: Overusing the word "that" without first defining what you are talking about? [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Nov 26, 2012 - 17 answers

Best way to learn French in my spare time?

Hi everyone, I am a 24 y/o English native about to start a PhD in London. During the next 3 years, I would very much like to begin learning French alongside my doctoral studies, and I am interested in finding out the most effective and efficient way of going about this. Realistically I will probably be able and willing to dedicate between one and two hours a day to studying French. I am interested in learning to both speak and write the language in equal measure. Any advice is much appreciated.
posted by FuckingAwesome on Nov 23, 2012 - 13 answers

Invented language vs. familiar words in fiction?

As a reader, how do you feel about invented language versus familiar words in imaginary worlds? [more inside]
posted by batmonkey on Nov 21, 2012 - 67 answers

please help my create a spreadsheet from a list of links.

I want to create a spreadsheet from the hyperlinks and words in a word list on Wiktionary. Please take me through the steps. Thanks! [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Nov 20, 2012 - 8 answers

Modern doublethink?

What are some actual (non-fictional) modern, Orwellian / dystopian phrases? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 12, 2012 - 58 answers

What and how to learn on a commute?

What is a good skill to learn on a commute? 90-120 mins each day, subway/bus, mostly sitting without a table. Kindle/IPod/iPad available. Preferably looking for NON-language suggestions. [more inside]
posted by lalochezia on Nov 7, 2012 - 16 answers

I write sentence as well as responses await.

What's with the language in Spartacus? [more inside]
posted by devnull on Nov 6, 2012 - 1 answer

Philately is to Stamps as ____ is to Rocks.

Stamp collecting is philately. Coin collecting falls under numismatics (perhaps as a subdivision). Rock collecting is not really geology in the same way as the above terms are used. Is there a similar term for rock collecting?
posted by Jahaza on Nov 3, 2012 - 7 answers

Egyptian Arabic Song Translation Needed....Haty Bosah Ya Bet

What does this Egyptian Arabic song mean in English? Listen to the song here. Thanks! : )
posted by thatgirl1985 on Nov 2, 2012 - 4 answers

like using roman text to indicate italics in an italicized passage

Looking for scenes (television or film) in which an actor plays a character with a different accent and then that character puts on the actor's native accent. [more inside]
posted by 256 on Nov 2, 2012 - 27 answers

Is there a design term which describes the aesthetic, "things which show the details of their construction".

Is there a design term which describes the aesthetic, "things which show the details of their construction". Examples inside. [more inside]
posted by primer_dimer on Oct 31, 2012 - 10 answers

Why have case endings and gender endured in language?

Case endings and gender in language: why? [more inside]
posted by stenoboy on Oct 23, 2012 - 29 answers

Trees Don't Molt, Do They?

Is there a verb in the English language that describes the process of leaves changing color, withering and falling? [more inside]
posted by shew on Oct 22, 2012 - 12 answers

Our neural pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns.

What does a "robot voice" sound like in languages other than English? [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on Oct 22, 2012 - 10 answers

Hosting a guest with limited English?

We're hosting a grad student from Thailand tonight who speaks very little english and has some trouble following conversation. What do we do to be good hosts? [more inside]
posted by elvissa on Oct 19, 2012 - 15 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

Which languages is claimed to have switched families?

Which language is claimed to have shifted between language families? [more inside]
posted by Jehan on Oct 14, 2012 - 6 answers

How can I learn Spanish by immersion inexpensively?

Year off between undergrad and dental school. Optimally, I would like to go to South or Central America for the purpose of learning Spanish. Best way to do this? [more inside]
posted by mellosphere on Oct 11, 2012 - 13 answers

This language is not what I think it is, but is it art?

What is a good resource for understanding art theory - book recommendations, websites, things of that nature. I keep finding myself realizing that there's uses of language in art that doesn't match up with what I think it should be. [more inside]
posted by mephron on Oct 11, 2012 - 5 answers

Hablo un poquito, pero solo apprendando.

Best structured cheap or free Spanish conversation classes in Toronto (better yet, at the University of Toronto)? [more inside]
posted by 256 on Oct 9, 2012 - 2 answers

Can you share ways of sounding less direct and polite while contradicting / disagreeing / sharing ideas in a business context?

Can you share ways of sounding less direct and polite while contradicting / disagreeing / sharing ideas in a business context? For example in a scenario where one wants to say : Why don't we have a website for this product a more polite way of saying the same thing could be: I am new here and was wondering if there would be any value in having a website for this product. I would love to hear ideas around how individuals can sound polite and make their point in business setting where often times you need to make your point to senior management. Also, Any books or websites that can help with this?
posted by r2d2 on Oct 7, 2012 - 13 answers

comment dit-on?

is there a sophisticated word for altering your partner's appearance? [more inside]
posted by skwint on Oct 7, 2012 - 9 answers

Help me find the right "learn Spanish" app!

I spend a lot of time sitting around waiting, with my iPhone. I also spend a fair amount of time having very similar conversations, in my very poor conversational spanish, with native-speakers who (usually due to tragic life circumstances) lack education in their own language. What I don't do is expand my vocabulary or learn proper grammar. As a consequence, while I can usually understand the gist of what people say and make myself generally understood, I don't understand the details, can't express myself precisely, and I'm not getting any better at any of those tasks. [more inside]
posted by Nx on Oct 6, 2012 - 13 answers

Suggestions for 2D man/woman animation toolkits/software

I am looking for a 2D animation toolkit that helps me animate various actors, like man, woman, cat and helps in realising various actions like sleeping, running, etc. with programmatical ease. I have looked into processing.org and started to toy with simple geometric shapes, but yet to stumble across an animation with man/woman actors. Could you help me find some good resources where I could learn to animate such things? TIA.
posted by godugu on Oct 4, 2012 - 3 answers

Best Spanish language tv/radio/podcasts?

Recommend some good Spanish language media (TV series, online radio, podcasts etc) for my girlfriend to immerse herself in while she learns Spanish. [more inside]
posted by knapah on Oct 2, 2012 - 13 answers

Help me get this linguistics joke?

Linguistics! Can you guys explain the joke in this image, which represents how different languages get from point A to point B? [more inside]
posted by Pwoink on Sep 30, 2012 - 13 answers

The beeping, incidentally, means he's speeding.

Tell me a little bit about this recording I made in a taxi in the UAE. I think it's in Urdu. [more inside]
posted by mykescipark on Sep 28, 2012 - 9 answers

Is there a term for this kind of punning word play?

Attention, language types of MetaFilter: The Russian word poshlost' is roughly equivalent to the English "banality" or "self-satisfied mediocrity." Vladimir Nabokov wittily rendered it as poshlust ("posh" + "lust"), and described it as "not only the obviously trashy but mainly the falsely important, the falsely beautiful, the falsely clever, the falsely attractive." Is there a specific term for this kind of word play? [more inside]
posted by easy, lucky, free on Sep 27, 2012 - 4 answers

Decode these Chinese characters, please!

Can you decode these hastily-written Chinese characters? Here's a picture. [more inside]
posted by greatgefilte on Sep 27, 2012 - 3 answers

How do you even say Louvre???

French tv & movie recs for someone who wants to be entertained but also get used to the language? [more inside]
posted by Mizu on Sep 26, 2012 - 27 answers

English catchphrases in foreign language films

Are there any famous English catchphrases in foreign language television and cinema? Think of this as the Foreign language equivalent to "Hasta la vista, baby!" [more inside]
posted by Nanukthedog on Sep 26, 2012 - 11 answers

Ja sam student... Ja sam glup...

How can I learn to hand write in Serbian Cyrillic? [more inside]
posted by jph on Sep 26, 2012 - 7 answers

Help me listen to miserable music in Spanish.

I'm trying to revive my rather rusty Spanish. One of the green's favourite tips for language learning seems to be to immerse yourself in TV programmes/films/music in the target language. So I want to start listening to Spanish-language music, and I need some recommendations. [more inside]
posted by badmoonrising on Sep 24, 2012 - 13 answers

how to add new dictionaries on mac osx?

Is there any way of adding new dictionaries to the system dictionary app for Mac OSX? I am learning russian and would love to be able to highlight a word and receive an english-to-russian or even just russian definition. [more inside]
posted by 221bbs on Sep 24, 2012 - 5 answers

Meaningful phrases, in Italian, to express a fond farewell.

What are some phrases in Italian that convey "goodbye" in a not-so-casual, but rather sentimental if not hopeful way? [more inside]
posted by chloe.gelsomino on Sep 20, 2012 - 5 answers

Accountant/Lawyer/Financial Adviser-Filter?

I recently found myself in the middle class with none of the financial acumen needed to handle money on this scale. To be specific, my most complicated financial transaction to date has been handing someone two hundred dollars in cash and riding off on his bike. I'd like to talk to someone knowledgeable about money about my financial goals and be told my options for achieving those goals. Do you know such a person in New York City or the nearby suburbs? The two specific goals I have in mind right now are saving for retirement and paying off a bunch of debts. A possible complication is that all of the debt is in my parents' name, so it might be nontrivial to structure the repayment so that, from a tax perspective, it doesn't look like I've just started giving my parents lots of money every year. Also, it would be better, though not strictly necessary, if this person could speak Chinese to my parents.
posted by anonymous on Sep 19, 2012 - 11 answers

There is no Jay Smooth video about this one.

I have never used "Jew" as a verb. I no longer "welsh" on debts, and I haven't used "gyp" since I was educated on the racism behind that term. Do I also need to stop using terms like "Mexican standoff", "Chinese firedrill", and "kabuki dance" if I intentionally don't want to create offense to a reasonable person in another cultural group? I grew up in very homogeneous territory and so I'm still learning. Please school me. I love words, I love colorful language and descriptors, but I don't want to be an ass. Words matter.
posted by availablelight on Sep 17, 2012 - 58 answers

Maa, maa, maa? Thai tones and beginning language learning

I'm taking a beginning Thai language class, with an emphasis on oral communication. Is it vital to learn the tones/alphabet first? [more inside]
posted by elisse on Sep 16, 2012 - 6 answers

hopefully there will be some good answers!

What are some non-religious words or phrases for expressing good wishes/thoughts for the future, besides "hopefully?" [more inside]
posted by raztaj on Sep 13, 2012 - 24 answers

I'm looking for a song. Odd. Kinky.

I'm looking for a song I heard on the radio a couple of times about 6 or 7 years ago. The music was interspersed with a Spanish language lesson in it that started out seeming normal and got kinkier as it went on. Ring any bells? [more inside]
posted by ninazer0 on Sep 11, 2012 - 2 answers

Would that be calmotic or chaolm?

What are some things that are both chaotic and calm simultaneously? [more inside]
posted by lesli212 on Sep 9, 2012 - 48 answers

Cruptic message to decipher...please

WTH? Message in a bottle, secret admirer, or random gibberish? A friend's mom took her car to the shop (SW US) and left a whiteboard (which she uses to communicate) inside. After she picked the car up she noticed the following written on it. Any ideas as to what language it is or what it says? Thanks in advance. Mysterious message here
posted by subajestad on Sep 5, 2012 - 11 answers

Help a kid learn Spanish when you don't know yourself?

What is the best way to teach a child a foreign language that you yourself don't know very well, if immersion is not an option and you are limited to what you can do in your home? [more inside]
posted by Alexander Hatchell on Sep 5, 2012 - 18 answers

Mystery writing on teapot

Can anyone figure out the language/writing on the bottom of this teapot? If it helps, it was probably purchased in the NYC area between 1940 - 1970.
posted by mikepop on Aug 27, 2012 - 8 answers

making friends in a second language

Making friends in a second language: Can you explain to me why it doesn't matter? [more inside]
posted by colfax on Aug 16, 2012 - 52 answers

Here a Turk. There a Turk. Everywhere a Turk Turk

Have you ever used Mechanical Turk to validate, classify, and clean data sets that would otherwise be mind numbingly impossible for someone to do? If so, were the results useful? What are some tips to make sure one's Mechanical Turk experience goes off without a hitch? How do i best check their work. [more inside]
posted by Nanukthedog on Aug 12, 2012 - 7 answers

Lost Link for Learning Languages

Somewhere earlier this year? there was a link to a language learning site which started you off on basic vocabulary. On answering questions a plant grew or shrivelled accordingly. I need to find that site again. Obrigado.
posted by adamvasco on Aug 9, 2012 - 4 answers

Say What, Young MacGuffin?

In the movie Brave, the character Young MacGuffin spoke the Doric dialect. Does anybody know what he was actually saying?
posted by micketymoc on Aug 5, 2012 - 10 answers

Codes and signals

I'm interested in learning about types of codes and signals that people use to translate language in various circumstances. [more inside]
posted by Sreiny on Aug 2, 2012 - 10 answers

Trying to "hack" language learning.

Can anyone recommend blogs about cooking, crafting written in French or German? [more inside]
posted by peacrow on Jul 31, 2012 - 5 answers

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