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1886 posts tagged with language.
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Recommend Italian podcasts for a learner.

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 - 2 answers

What ancient Anatolian alphabet is this?

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 - 12 answers

Easy French or French-English Podcast recommendations?

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 - 17 answers

Decode This German Shorthand Mystery Letter From 1939!

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 - 28 answers

A race by any other slur

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 - 9 answers

Finding summer accommodation in Paris

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 - 10 answers

Keep it secret, keep it safe.

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 - 5 answers

Korean or jibberish?

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 - 11 answers

A better word for 'most valuable customer'?

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 - 22 answers

ESL language resources for a 7-year-old?

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 - 12 answers

Tips for learning advanced vocabulary and grammar in a foreign language?

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 - 15 answers

How best to improve my written and spoken Spanish skills in 6 months?

Ayudeme a decir a la gente que tienen alta presion arterial. [more inside]
posted by queens86 on Feb 6, 2013 - 21 answers

Google Japanese Input

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 - 4 answers

How do I cause the creation of a Chinese mnemonic guide?

Hello, 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 - 7 answers

Examples of sayings or idioms based on a misunderstanding?

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 - 25 answers

Hokis - Armenian slang?

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 - 5 answers

How do you spot Dating Warning Phrases?

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 - 89 answers

A Model AskMetafilter Post

When did people stop using the term "model minority"? [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Jan 27, 2013 - 27 answers

How do I use the word 'redeem'?

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 - 15 answers

How do I deal with an incident of screwed-up spelling?

How do I deal with an incident of screwed-up spelling? [more inside]
posted by gregb1007 on Jan 21, 2013 - 13 answers

I had some really encouraging fellowship last night...

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 - 49 answers

Simple French-language fiction?

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 - 25 answers

What does this bar of soap say?

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 - 7 answers

Japanese Name Pronounciation

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 - 7 answers

Are there any two-letter acronyms that are pronounced as words?

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 - 25 answers

Would a time-traveling Plato be understood in today's Greece?

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 - 23 answers

Dê o dom da linguagem.

Interesting Portuguese-language shows on DVD? [more inside]
posted by mykescipark on Jan 4, 2013 - 8 answers

It's an honor to be born in Sampencisco.

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 - 15 answers

What are some good books or articles on second-language acquisition?

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 - 8 answers

Does any language lack a word for beak?

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 - 9 answers

Parlez vous éducation?

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 - 9 answers

Foreign Language Dictionary App for iPhone?

Any good dictionary apps for foreign languages on the iPhone? [more inside]
posted by undercoverhuwaaah on Dec 19, 2012 - 8 answers

How to pick up vocabulary in a foreign language?

I need help in acquiring a lot of a vocabulary for a lot of languages. How can I best proceed and what should be my expectations and timetables be? [more inside]
posted by SollosQ on Dec 16, 2012 - 9 answers

Would Chalky White really have sounded like that?

Does anyone have any resources to find historical forms of Ebonics? [more inside]
posted by patricking on Dec 15, 2012 - 11 answers

Ich weiße nicht!

What is this greeting?/ Was dieser Gruß? [more inside]
posted by droplet on Dec 13, 2012 - 5 answers

How do I find a quality language tutor for myself in NYC?

How do I find a quality language tutor for myself in NYC? [more inside]
posted by lxs on Dec 9, 2012 - 7 answers

I don't get French prepositions!

Dear French speaking Mefites: I am an idiot. I can't get the prepositions down! Knowing when to say "au" or "du" is KILLING me. I've made cheat sheets and have memorized most of the set phrases I can, but when I'm writing on my own I inevitably foul it up or blank. Can you help? [more inside]
posted by two lights above the sea on Dec 4, 2012 - 11 answers

Grammatical gender consistency across languages

Are grammatical genders, as a rule, consistent across the Indo-European languages which use them? [more inside]
posted by obloquy on Dec 4, 2012 - 30 answers

Book Reviews All The Way Down

"Book review" typically refers to the review of a single book. Is there a term for a single article that reviews the collective works of an author?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Nov 30, 2012 - 13 answers

AskMezza

What is the etymology of British nicknames ending in -zza/-zzer? [more inside]
posted by catlet on Nov 30, 2012 - 21 answers

Passion for learning languages

How can I find a passion for language learning? [more inside]
posted by querty on Nov 27, 2012 - 21 answers

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

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