Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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March 9

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your fan fiction!

Give me your favorite fan fiction! I'm invited to a fan fiction reading night on Sunday and want to make the group happy with something extra special. [more inside]
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 4:12 PM - 12 answers

Name that literary device

I've had the great soul ballad "Rainbow Road" caught in my head all morning and it's bugging me that I don't know the proper name for the device used in one of the verses. "Then one day a man with a knife / Forced me to take his life / Though I pleaded with him so desperately / The judge showed no mercy when he passed his sentence on me." "Him" could refer to either the judge or the man with the knife. What is it called when you intentionally use an ambiguous pronoun for rhetorical effect? Is there a specific name for doing this between two other nouns that it could refer to?
posted by vathek at 7:18 AM - 20 answers

March 8

It's more than Murphy's Law...

Is there a collective term that is used to categorize adages such as Murphy's Law? [more inside]
posted by banterboy at 2:22 PM - 9 answers

March 7

Nuclear novels

I'm looking for enthralling cold war spy novels based around nuclear weapons, or indeed any novels based around the development and, especially, the geo-politics of nuclear weapons. Definitely want gripping page turners, books with female protagonists and some historical basis are extra welcome.
posted by roolya_boolya at 3:44 AM - 7 answers

March 6

What language is this? Genealogy edition

My wife is working on some genealogy stuff and came across a picture that claims to be of the family's home town in the old country. Complicating factors: we're not entirely sure where the old country was, when the photo was taken, or what language the text on the front and back are. [more inside]
posted by zrail at 2:52 PM - 17 answers

What do you call mental imagery of places while thinking?

When I read/study/write I notice that I've been "visualizing" a place the whole time. Sometimes hours pass before I realize I've been "seeing" a location (street, parking lot, school, often from childhood town) in the background the whole time. Anybody know what the name for this phenomenon is? [more inside]
posted by TheOptimizer at 5:17 AM - 8 answers

March 5

I need advice on how to advertise a book

I have a small advertising budget to promote a book. How should I spend it? [more inside]
posted by Surprised By Bees at 5:24 PM - 11 answers

March 4

"Cretin" and "Cretan" are homophones...right?

I'm reading a book where, in dialogue, someone can hear the difference between these words. Book is set in Vancouver BC. Is this a real thing, and if so, how are those words pronounced? [more inside]
posted by goodbyewaffles at 9:39 AM - 31 answers

Hurry up and wait for a latin translation (c.f. eels, hovercraft)

This week it occurred to me that the funniest thing ever would be to get a solid latin translation of the English/American idiom "Hurry up and wait." (that this occurred to me while spending the day with my son's school band is perhaps coincidence) [more inside]
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:43 AM - 7 answers

March 1

How's my French?

Francophones of Metafilter: here's (gulp) a 1-minute audio recording of me rambling in French. (Language learner trying to speak somewhat off-the-cuff, so: pronunciation issues, grammatical errors and weird pauses abound.) If I had about a month, maybe 1-2 hours a day, to work on my spoken language with the goal of maximizing my understandability while speaking French in France, what should I work on, and how should I go about doing it? [more inside]
posted by btfreek at 8:29 AM - 8 answers

February 27

Story Question: A guy walks into a bar...

Hey MeFites! I have a great idea for a short film and I'm sure I'm riffing off some old fable or fairy tale but I can't for the life of me remember or google-fu it. You're my only hope! Story: A sad guy walks into a bar. bartender pours him a beer to cheer him up. Guy drinks the beer, turns away for a moment and the glass is full again! After a few more times, the guy realizes he's got a magic refilling beer glass but no one believes him as the glass only fills up when no one is looking. Nice thing to have huh? But I'm stuck on the moral and the ending. If it is based on a fable, then I could work from that, but right now I'm at a loss. What are your thoughts?
posted by drinkmaildave at 9:12 AM - 21 answers

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 7ยข 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

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