I studied Spanish in high school and college, and I even spent a semester abroad in Spain. At that point, I was very proficient at reading, writing, and speaking it. Sadly, in the 8 years since graduation, I feel as though I have forgotten everything. I am looking to get into a field where knowing Spanish would be very helpful, and I am trying to figure out the best way to both relearn what I knew (and possible go beyond that). Obviously for speaking, I will need to get out there and practice, but before that, should I just pick up my old textbooks and get going? Or, is there a better way?
I'm writing a book about language learning and the science of memory for a major publisher. We're a couple months away from sending galley copies around to various people for blurbs and reviews, and they've asked me for input as to who might be interested. So! Who should read this thing? Name some people who, if you saw their name on the back of a science-y book on language learning and memory, you'd buy it.
Quick question for folks who've lived in both Australia and NZ: what cultural and language differences did you notice?
Please help me pronounce this formula related to projectile motion as it would be spoken out loud: L = v0^2 sin2θ / g [more inside]
I aspire to write beautifully -- what is some great writing that uses colorful, creative language and style? [more inside]
Hey Mefis! I am asking this question on behalf of my brother-in-law who recently got laid off. Does anyone here have advice to give to a guy with a degree in Chinese and minor in business who would like to work in manufacturing/ sourcing for a US company either in the US or China? [more inside]
In English, scientists customarily use the word "significant" or "statistically significant" to refer to an effect that is distinguished from zero at a p < .05 confidence level. On the other hand, the word "significant" in non-technical English carries a connotation of being meaningful, important, or substantial; this creates confusion when researchers write about "a significant effect," since the effect might be significant in the statistical sense while being so small as to be insignificant in the common-English sense. In your native language, what word is used for "signficance" in the statistical context? Is the same word used outside the technical context, and if so, is it a word whose common meaning is something more like "detectable," more like "important," or something else entirely? In particular, does the confusion that arises in English also take place in your language?
I speak a very small level of Korean - enough to engage in commercial transactions (especially in restaurants) but not political theorizing. When we go to Korean restaurants, I try to use my 한글 so that I'm as clear as possible. My husband and I don't eat meat. We do eat fish, but not shellfish - but no chicken, pork, beef or otherwise. (Insert quote from My Big Fat Greek Wedding here.) Husband likes to order 돌솥 비빔밥 in Korean restaurants (as do I!) but the past few times we've done so, we end up with a dish containing ground beef, despite my protestations. Here is what I say: 그는 고기를 먹지 않는다. I thought that would do it - AFAIK, it means, "he don't eat no meat." Tell me what I'm saying wrong and what I should say to avoid this issue!
I have a theory about the origin of the expression “I know, right?” that’s been fairly popular among young and youngish Americans (and others, for all I know) for the past several years. I’m testing that theory with this question. I understand that Mexicans (and maybe other Latin Americans) have an equivalent expression, “Sí, ¿verdad?” - even with the same intonation as “I know, right?”. Well, one source has told me this, anyway. Can other people verify this? And if so, how common is/was the Spanish version of the expression, and roughly when (and where) did people start saying it?
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]
I am looking for recommendations for bibles in languages other than English, specifically for their literary qualities. [more inside]
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]
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?
"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?
I'm looking for some recommendations of novels that are in some way about language. [more inside]
Where is this mystical land where it is acceptable to answer statements with: "So?" [more inside]
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?
A friend of a friend posted a picture of a note to facebook. Can any of you identify the language and offer a translation of what it says? [more inside]
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.
There are Latin fonts designed to mimic Cyrillic, Asian characters, and many other scripts. What are some examples of foreign-script fonts which mimic Latin characters?
Can you give me specific instances of US political candidates or elected officials publically speaking in a language other than English? [more inside]
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? Thank you!
Does the term "homegoing" have a wide use across Christian denominations? [more inside]
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]
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]
'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]
I think I don't understand the meaning, in English, of "touché." [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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?
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?
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]
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]
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!
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).
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]
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!
What are your tips and techniques for learning advanced vocabulary and grammar in a foreign language? [more inside]
Ayudeme a decir a la gente que tienen alta presion arterial. [more inside]
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]
Hello, I'd like some info on how to create a Chinese menmonic guide to make it easier to learn vocab. [more inside]
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?
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.
Can you help me to better distinguish cheery lovebird songs vs. the squawks of ailing canaries in my dating coal mine? [more inside]
When did people stop using the term "model minority"? [more inside]
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?
How do I deal with an incident of screwed-up spelling? [more inside]
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]
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]