Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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February 23

How would you go about finding a mandarin tutor... WITH an accent?

I'm an upper intermediate mandarin speaker, focusing mainly on speaking/listening. Something that I think is really important in any language, but especially mandarin, is getting exposed to a wide range of how people ACTUALLY speak... not just the "neutral" language that a language teacher will strive for. I have a number of teachers from different parts of China, but they are just that: teachers. While their mandarin accents do vary, they all speak fairly neutral mandarin. What I'm looking for is a way to find Skype partners with heavier accents. I think this will really help develop my ear. Any suggestions? I've been using italki with great success, but everyone on the platform does everything they can to convince you their mandarin is standard, and there's no good way to search for people from Xinjiang or other places where an accent is more likely.
posted by wooh at 8:59 AM - 8 answers

February 21

What's the original text of Marlowe's devils?

My question is from "The Third Man", written by Green. "He's never grown up.Marlowe's devils wore squibs attached to their tails;" I'd like to check the original text. I know that it's from "The Doctor Faustus", but I can't find exact act(and scene) number. Can I read them on the internet?
posted by mizukko at 7:30 PM - 2 answers

February 20

Helping a friend sort the wheat from the writing chaff.

Help me help my friend become a better SFF writer. Snowflakes inside. [more inside]
posted by Tamanna at 9:16 PM - 12 answers

Book suggestion needed: 7 reasons why you need better copy/writing

I create digital projects for museums, and I am often shocked by how bad they are at giving their articles ("longreads") juicy titles, or writing their art-historical content into texts that people might actually want to read instead of give up on after two sentences. [more inside]
posted by Thisandthat at 12:40 PM - 7 answers

Funny Reusable Tote Bag Slogan

I'm getting some tote bags printed up that are meant to tie in with Chicago's recent 7¢ checkout bag tax. I need a funny, not-too-serious slogan to print on it: my current front runner is "Chicago's Trashy Enough / reuse this bag." [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:20 PM - 28 answers

February 16

Forgotten masterpieces

Sometimes, books that are acclaimed as masterpieces, and widely loved, can fade into obscurity. An example is Richard Hughes's remarkable contributions to children's lit (A High Wind in Jamaica and his wartime stories), which are now forgotten or out of print. What are some other examples of this happening in contemporary genre fiction? [more inside]
posted by dontjumplarry at 7:11 PM - 26 answers

Cookies and Cream Cheese Curds Special

How do you pluralize Culver's if you're not saying "Culver's restaurants?" [more inside]
posted by michaelh at 8:13 AM - 8 answers

Proper noun or not?

I'm struggling with whether a certain word should be capitalized or not. It's a status that my employer grants to people if they fulfill the qualifications. [more inside]
posted by Stonkle at 7:52 AM - 18 answers

February 15

Dutch Inflection

I'm (slowly and without a great deal of investment) learning Dutch. Could you explain to me as you would to a child how to get Inflections right? Also, whilst you're here and talking about dutch grammar, what is most likely to confuse me going forward? [more inside]
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:35 AM - 12 answers

February 13

The best-laid plans of genetically-modified mice

A few years ago (or maybe a decade and a few years ago?), there was a poem published in The New Yorker riffing off Robert Burns' "To A Mouse", on the occasion of some particular advance in genetic engineering. Does anyone have the try of this poem? My Google-fu has not been equal to the task.
posted by cnidaria at 6:25 PM - 3 answers

February 11

A chinese symbol and vinca symbol walk into a bar...

I am curious if anyone knows if there is a Chinese character for sky "tian" that includes a third line going strait down at the bottom. In addition any information on a vinca symbol that looks like the letter V with a dot in the middle. [more inside]
posted by xarnop at 11:55 AM - 5 answers

February 10

Brief Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish Translation

I need to translate 20 words to Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish, and it needs to be right (so I don't want to farm it out to untested freelancers on Mefi jobs). It seems crazy to try to find, deal with, and pay three separate translators. Is there a single service I could go to that's reliable? Or anyone have any better ideas? This shouldn't be hard to get done, but I'm starting to get stressed!
posted by Quisp Lover at 12:19 PM - 10 answers

February 9

children's book title

I read a book in my childhood (80's) that has haunted me, and the only identifying detail I remember clearly is there was a room in a house that had wallpaper revealing gory killings by ancient soldiers (roman?), of people and babies. Why this would be in a children's book is beyond me, but have been curious as to the book, and to see if my horrific memory matches the reality of the story.
posted by waustin at 12:44 PM - 3 answers

Oh ho ho ho!? Porquoi?

There is a stereotypical French expression which seems universal in the USA: "Oh ho ho ho!" It's always said with a semi-nasal vocalization, almost "ohn" and "haw". Is this a real thing? [more inside]
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:51 AM - 16 answers

February 8

Can somebody translate "Nevertheless, she persisted" into Latin, please?

And, bonus points for the whole thing: "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted." [more inside]
posted by Gotanda at 4:10 PM - 12 answers

Fiction about unemployment: looking for recommendations

I am looking for recommendations of short stories, novellas or novels in which losing a job or being unemployed is central to the premise. I would prefer literary or art fiction. I’d give some examples but can’t think of any!
posted by OrderOctopoda at 12:10 PM - 30 answers

February 7

Deciphering Chinese gold hallmarks

I have a gold ring that was given to my mother in the 1970s by my grandmother living in Hong Kong. The ring was originally set with a pearl and has two hallmark stamps on the inside. Can anyone help decipher them for me? I'm interested in the gold purity, not so much the maker. [more inside]
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 9:12 AM - 3 answers

February 5

Recommendations for books for ESL students

Looking for books or stories that will appeal to two twentysomething women who are learning English. [more inside]
posted by pised at 10:09 PM - 11 answers

February 3

Help me find this short story (interactive fiction, grown-up CYOA)

I remember reading a short story years ago, and it moved me so much that I've never forgotten it. I have, however, forgotten the title and author. Please help! [more inside]
posted by ToucanDoug at 11:27 AM - 4 answers

February 2

Composing in one's head

I'm interested in examples of people who have composed lengthy pieces of prose in their own heads. [more inside]
posted by Countess Elena at 8:21 PM - 8 answers

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