Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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I really enjoy Ada Palmer's blog Ex Urbe. Previously. what else in the same vein can you recommend? [more inside]
My prison penpal has sheepishly requested some books with sex scenes, and while I've never been in prison I was a bookish teenager before internet porn existed and I get it. Help me find kinky novels or short story collections that are 1) available in paperback through Amazon and 2) don't scream THIS IS GAY PORN on the cover (though homosexual or bisexual content is a plus!!!) [more inside]
Can you identify the language in this cycling commentary? I think it's Scandinavian, maybe Norwegian?
Percy Fawcett was British, so did he say "Lost City of Zed" or, as the new movie trailers have it, "Lost City of Zee"? [more inside]
I learned today that at some point before their extinction, Great Auks were commonly known as penguins. Europeans traveling near the edges of the Southern hemisphere saw birds that reminded them of auks, so they called them penguins. Then Great Auks became extinct, and the only penguins left were the birds that had been given that name based on a misunderstanding. Is there a term for this linguistic phenomenon, where a link in an etymological chain has ceased to exist? Are there other common examples?
I just got bought a book based on the "cake-wrecks" blog - it has brought me so much joy. If I like smbc/xkcd/cakewrecks - what other books would fulfill that niche (that I can just pop them open and laugh) - and that are possibly also based on an internet-project with some backstory (but that's not a necessary boundary condition).
Online auto translators are failing to translate what I believe is Chinese text from this poster. Anyone want to give it a shot?
Many years ago, I read an essay or memoir that included this anecdote: the author, a writer, had gotten a job at a local quarry (I think in England), and described two groups of workers, young versus old. [more inside]
I'm curious on how doable it is to learn a language (to basic listening/reading/speaking ability) primarily through music, and other media like film and TV. [more inside]
I am familiar with the present, past, and future tenses, and various perfect versions of the same. What are some obscure, unusual, situational and possibly fictional verb tenses? [more inside]
Say, for instance, this was the original sentence in whatever source: John Doe went to the bookstore and bought some books. If the sentence I want to write is That’s when, as Blah Blah author wrote, “John Doe went to the bookstore”, would I finish my sentence with bookstore.” or bookstore…”, since in the original sentence the word “bookstore” isn’t followed by a period?
I'm looking for short-ish poems related to change, growth, rebirth, beginning again, new years, birthdays, the inevitable (but often delightful or joyful) passage of time, and/or the idea that we're all going to die, but also we're all in it together and sometimes it ends up working out. [more inside]
What's Finnish for 'Happy 100th Birthday Finland!', and is it appropriate? [more inside]
For example: the business processes need to change to so that you can take advantage of new technologies, but the technologies need to be tweaked to support the business process. Thus one might offer "a service that specializes in *co-adapting* the business process and the new technologies." What's a better word than "co-adapting" or a better way to phrase this without lengthening the sentence?
I'd like to better understand the difference in language between runic alphabets (specifically Elder Futhark) and more "written" languages like Old Norse, which is what I believe old manuscripts like the Prose Edda were written in. [more inside]
Can you recommend a good wordpress theme (or other tool) to build a personal blog that contains really long form writing: book chapters, or long academic articles? I like Medium's style but it is not all about the look. Table of content is a must. [more inside]
I am looking for names that are ambiguous or even misleading in some way. I am primarily interested in ethnically ambiguous names. [more inside]
Children aboard a generational spaceship find out the hard truth: their predecessors screwed up, they're trapped in the vicinity of a star, and they must try to make the best possible future out of it. Can you help me ID this story? [more inside]
Looking for a character from myth, legend, fiction, or history who famously couldn't see. Whatcha got? [more inside]
My younger sister is dying from cancer. I’m told she doesn’t have much time left. We’ve said our good-byes, but I can still visit her every few days for now. When I went to see her last night at the hospital, she was sedated and drifting in and out of consciousness. I’m not a chatty sort of person, so I took a couple of books of Dennis Lee poems I used to read to her when we were kids. Reading those aloud was good for a two-hour visit where she was aware I was there, but she wasn’t able to talk. I got some smiles from her, though. Taking the same books again seems low effort, but regular books have a narrative that I don’t think she’ll be able to follow. I think nice words without much of a storyline would work best, but I don’t know much poetry. I was wondering if folks had some suggestions as to what might be appropriate? She is religious (Salvation Army), I am not. She's read a lot of fantasy and romance.