20ish years ago there was a one-page essay in the (maybe? Last page?) New Yorker that featured many uses of words that had no such root or form. I can't think of any specific words in the essay, but even what the words or practice are called and a list would be nice. Things like "rambunction" for rambunctious, or "consternating" for consternation. Is this mere coinage, or is there a wider practice at work? [more inside]
The spells in the Harry Potter books are in a kind of Latin. There is a Latin translation of the first Harry Potter book. What language are the spells in that? (PLEASE SAY GREEK!) What language are the spells in the Greek translation? (PLEASE SAY EGYPTIAN!)
I live in Australia. When I start typing an address or landmark into my android phone on the google maps app, the top suggestions Google gives until my typing is complete are 99% NZ places, mostly from the parts of New Zealand I visit once a year or so. And then I often accidentally click on one instead of the correct address. It's driving me crazy. Has anyone seen this sort of behaviour before? How can I make it stop? [more inside]
Every time I start my Acer laptop (Windows 10), its default language (on every program as far as I can tell) is French. But this is not what it says in my Region + Language settings, where it says English (Canada), with English (United States) as Windows display language. [more inside]
If you're an average Joe you probably know Samson's riddle (Judges 14:14) as: "Out of the eater, something to eat. Out of the strong, something sweet." or something like that. Most English translations rhyme the [eat/meat] with [sweet]. But what about the original? [more inside]
Can you link me any searchable online encyclopaedias with original articles written in Korean? As many as possible, preferably! [more inside]
English also has "pins and needles" to describe the sensation. What is it called in other languages? The only things I was able to find on the web is that it is called "ant running" in Hindi and that in Italian it is called "feeling ants." I find this super interesting!
I came across a word once that I didn't know. Well, that has happened more than once. But this time I actually looked it up because it sounded so pretty, and the definition was something like, "a luminous trembling quality, as moonlight on water." How incredible that such a word should exist! I was enchanted by it, both because it was a lovely sounding word and because the definition was so ephemeral. [more inside]
Do you have any recommendations for Russian language comics for an adult English speaker learning Russian? [more inside]
I'm currently enjoying the audiobook of "Lost in Translation" by Nicole Mones. The narrator often uses a phrase in Mandarin, and then says the English translation afterwards. She also uses lots of accents. It has a very nice ear-feel, if that's a word. What are some other audiobooks you enjoyed that feature these techniques? Thanks! (Don't say Shantaram, it is already my favorite audiobook ever).
It's my 50th year and I still don't know another language. I am determined to learn Spanish and I've started with Duolingo, but it doesn't seem to "stick. I've repeated the basic lessons a few times, but keep getting some words wrong. I've just done these questions, what is wrong with me?! Are they any good tips or methods on how to remember what I've just done ?
Where should we take introductory Hindi in NYC or is there an iOs app or other resource we should start with first? [more inside]
If any Francophones are up for a challenge: can you tell this monoglot what is being sung in The Go! Team's song Ye Ye Yamaha? (YouTube link but should also be on all the streaming services.) He wants to sing along but has to resort to garbled nonsense words. It's a fuzzy pop song with a killer catchy chorus, if that entices anyone!
I read (somewhere?) a quote by someone (an author? poet?) that when a relationship (marriage?) ends, a little language shared by the two is lost. I've googled all sorts of combinations of these words and cannot find it. Did I hallucinate this? Thanks!
I know there was this process in the last few hundred years of European history where newly forming nations, trying to take hold of themselves, would decree one language official (French, Spanish), and try to squelch all of the many other languages/dialects (Occitan, Catalan) spoken within their borders. Where can I learn more? [more inside]
What are some terms for transgender in other languages, especially Spanish? What words do they use to identify themselves? [more inside]
So: my 2-month-old PS4 has broken down, with error CE-34878-0 across all applications. Sony US normally replaces machines that have this issue. My problem: I have a Japanese PS4, and Sony US refuses to service it. Sony Japan could probably help, but I don't speak Japanese (and I live in the US). What can I do? [more inside]
With a long-enough sample of written or spoken* English from someone whose first language is not English, can linguists identify what that person's first language is? If so, what are the tell-tale signs for various languages? [more inside]
Is there a word in English (or any other language) for anticipating nostalgia for events that have not yet happened? [more inside]
I've said and written 'spicket' my entire life and only this morning discovered it was non-standard. Some dictionaries give a cursory redirect to 'spigot'; some don't even list the 'ck' variant. The apparent root of 'spigot' [Latin spica] would seem to obviate this discussion, but the change from /k/ to /g/ had taken place at least by 1590 (both forms co-existed for a while). When did 'spicket' become non-standard, and why has that /k/ persisted to the present day? [more inside]
Is there any sort of dictionary or text corpora that outline which of a number of synonyms are the most universally understood by other language speakers or the least colloquial? [more inside]
Explaining researching that uses data point around ATM/cash machines for both American and international audiences. In the US, people know them as ATMs. In the UK, they are often called cash machines, or cash points. I can only pick one for this work: which should I pick? [more inside]
I'm trying to figure out the proper Hindi translation for "courage, dear heart". Google Translate gives me a few options, depending on whether I capitalize, add commas, etc, etc, and I'm trying to figure out the difference between them so I can figure out which is correct. I'd really like to get it right! Translations below the break: [more inside]
I'm a native U.S. English-speaker, they might not have been. I've twice been at U.S. job interviews where I haven't been able to understand my interviewer; they had an accent and I couldn't tell what words they were saying, even after they slowed down and repeated. How should I handle this? [more inside]
I'm a Canadian in Western Canada who is interested in French, but I don't know where to begin or what is the best way to go about it. [more inside]
For nearly a year, I've been plagued by my Google searches periodically defaulting to the Swedish Google page (and all of my Google activity turning into Swedish language). I have clicked on "sign out of all other web sessions" in gmail lots and lots of times. I have recently worked out that this happens because I signed into Google on my girlfriend's mother's account last summer. How can I make this stop without involving my girlfriend's mother? [more inside]
I have a solid foundation in computer programming (and theory) but have been mostly out of this field for several years, and not developing my skills. Assume I'm putting in the time and focus to really master something new. What language or technology (or area of application?) in programming could I master that would give me the best shot at becoming a valuable freelance contractor and making a living? Something rare and valuable (or which there's high demand for regardless) which works with being freelance. Your guidance would be appreciated Internets.
What is the word/phrase Ami and Yumi say at the beginning of nearly every episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Show? It sounds like "soo-tah-toe," phonetically. DOT Jr. is a huge fan, so in our household, this is a question of some importance. As seen in this clip.
I'm putting together a book that contains text in all the United Nations languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. I've had each text proofread individually, but now I'm sitting wondering. How can I make sure I haven't missed something blindingly obvious in the formatting or layout of the entire book? [more inside]
We are working on simple machine language in computer science for data manipulation. All the other problems I have gotten through but this last one. Here is the problem: "Write a short program in machine language to perform requested activity. Assume the program is placed in memory starting at address 00- -If the value stored in memory location 44 is 00, then place the value 01 in memory location 46; otherwise, put the value FF in memory location 46." Lots of questions inside DX Working with very basic Op-code and Operand setups. [more inside]
I want to make this shawl, and I can read the diagram for the most part, but I can't quite get the measurements figured out. Can anyone tell me roughly what the directions say? I'm pretty sure it's in Russian. I'd really appreciate it.
Looking for a way to switch language to Icelandic in Lubuntu, getting the full Icelandic character set. It would also be very useful to be able to switch between more than four languages like you can in Windows. [more inside]
I'm trying to learn Swedish (I'm just starting) and I'd like to find some podcasts and vlogs to listen to. [more inside]
Can any [Japanese? Chinese?] speaker please translate this mug? I realize I only have a pic of one side of it, but it would be nice to know the gist of what it says. Thanks!!
What is the difference in English between  "The flowers are white" and  "The flowers are white in colour"? Scientific texts (such as botanical descriptions) seem to prefer  and add "in colour" after the colour name though it is redundant. Form  wins the Google fight by a large margin and the Ngram for "white in color" shows a downward trend since the 1920s. Is it now OK to drop the "in colour" in contemporary (scientific) texts?
Spanish newbie filter. I'm teaching myself Spanish with the help of Duolingo and am having trouble with a few particular problem areas. Specifically, I would like some sort of handy way to recall present tense conjugations of the three types of verb. Something similar to differentiate the questions would be good as well. Also, if you use the app or found any handy methods while learning Spanish that aided recall, I would love to hear them. I'm enjoying this a lot and plan to stick with it. [more inside]
In the past, I've seen that sometimes English is interspersed with another language on certain websites. This site, however, has English titles to their posts, but most everything else is in Dutch. Why? [more inside]
I'm looking for all the places that claim to have the weather change every 5 minutes. [more inside]
I'd like to read stories in English with my daughter. [more inside]
In the vein of "squirrel away" or "ferret away" (and maybe even "badger"), I'm looking for a verb from the animal kingdom that means working hard at something, persistently and continually. It's come up a few times where I've wanted to say "Continue animaling away at the problem", but the particular beast I'm looking for eludes me. Help?
What do you call your smallest toe? [more inside]
I have a T-shirt with text in some kind of Arabic language, and I have no idea what it says (or even what language it says it in!) There's also a small triangular logo with an antelope and the word 'Zama'. Does anyone know A) what language it is, B) what it says and C) what the context is? [more inside]
Something that often frustrates me reading the newspaper or stories on the internet is that a majority of the "current serious issues" things are going to come from Western English-speaking countries. Can you recommend websites that provide English news about fairly non-English countries? (From my Australian perspective these include anywhere in Africa, Russia, India, Eastern Europe, so on.)
I have the opportunity to go abroad for an extended period time. My goal and purpose would be to strengthen my skills in a foreign language. How can I structure this trip so that this happens? [more inside]
What European language should I learn for the purpose of higher studies, work, and extensive travelling in Europe? I am a bibliophile, cinephile, and love songs with good and meaningful lyrics. Till now I've been enjoying all these, I mean the ones from Europe, in the form of translations and with the help of subtitles. (I write too; not to publish but it's very important to me). [more inside]
My wife has a birthday coming up and I'd like to surprise her with a German book or two that she would be able to read... Eventually. [more inside]
Is there a word that means "discriminating on the basis of religion"? The closest thing I can think of is "creedist", which isn't an actual word. Is there a word that means what "creedist" would mean if it were a word that existed? Thanks!
I have heard that German is somewhat of a lingua franca throughout Eastern Europe. Would it be a more useful backup language than English when visiting Prague and Budapest? I will also be learning basic phrases in Hungarian and Czech. More details inside! [more inside]
What's it called when someone accuses someone of pointing out an injustice as perpetrating that injustice by describing it? Is there a name for this rhetorical device? An example would be in Jon Stewart's recent segment about Ferguson where a news anchor was quoted as saying "You know who talks about race?! RACISTS." [more inside]
I'm reaching for a phrase for a short science fiction piece I'm working on. I'd like to know what a Classical-Latin-speaking character would say if they wanted to articulate a particular concept analogous to "I think therefore I am", but expressing instead a monstrous moral conclusion they've reached along the lines of I think therefore none may be / shall be. [more inside]