Questions in the Writing & Language category.
Displaying 1 through 20 of 9046 (random). Subscribe:

June 14

If you know what I mean

Does post a letter mean "poop"? My wife just asked me, and I had never heard this expression before. I tried Google and no luck. However it is the first definition in Naver Dictionary. I assume that they are just wrong, but am curious because it sounds like a plausible euphemism.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:00 PM - 16 answers

What bad word or phrase does “Unique” sound like in Arabic?

Earlier today, I was teaching some vocabulary to a few Arabic-speaking students, and they cracked up incredulously over the word “unique.” Can someone please let me know why it’s funny? I’m so curious! I’m pretty sure they speak the Levant dialect, if that factors in.
posted by to recite so charmingly at 9:44 AM - 4 answers

June 12

Can you recommend some really good, long essays?

I would like to read some long essays that merit their length. Topic and style don’t matter — just that the piece is 1) an essay (meaning that the author is exploring ideas, which is a little different than straight reporting or straight memoir, though obviously those lines can be blurry), 2) not short, and 3) you thought it was great.
posted by hungrytiger at 7:21 PM - 23 answers

One parent, two languages - bringing up bilingual babies

I'm familiar with the one parent, one language rule for bringing up a bilingual kid, but what if one parents speaks two languages to baby, or just one language but less-than-fluently? We'd like our kid to be fully bilingual and I wonder how/if my accented and proficient (but not fluent) second language will affect baby? What research and personal experiences can you share? [more inside]
posted by stillmoving at 3:17 PM - 11 answers

On rereading.

I read a lot, mostly because I love it, but also because I hope it'll help me become a better writer. However, I'm realizing that it's probably equally important for me to actually reread stuff and really study the mechanics, vs just reading a lot of new stuff. I'd love to explore essays or books that are about the concept of rereading. [more inside]
posted by estlin at 11:44 AM - 5 answers

Very specific fiction formatting question

Hello! Under what circumstances does one use "#" between paragraphs? Is it only if there is a skip in time? [more inside]
posted by angrycat at 7:16 AM - 15 answers

Surrealist detective novel ID

Book ID time! It's an American surrealist detective novel, from I think the 50s. We're talking aggressive high-modernist style surrealism, none of Paul Auster's coy impossibilities; the text is jumbled, occasionally incoherent, and overflowing with garish juxtapositions of charged imagery. The protagonist is obsessed with Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason mysteries. The scene I remember most clearly has the protagonist driving into a forest that rapidly becomes over-the-top ominous and foreboding, while his radio screams in stilted all-caps bulletins about an escaped maniac in the area. [more inside]
posted by longtime_lurker at 6:32 AM - 5 answers

June 10

Looking for sci-fi novel about a second American Civil War...

I’m trying to remember a book in which the main character (an American) was a veteran of an Vietnam-style war in Indonesia, and the setting was a second American Civil War. [more inside]
posted by arkhangel at 12:31 PM - 3 answers

Horror Fiction that isn't by White Men

Most of the contemporary horror recommendations I get are for white male authors and while some of their work is great, I need recommendations for women, poc, and lgbtq authors of horror. [more inside]
posted by miss-lapin at 10:18 AM - 28 answers

They're words, Jim, but not as we know them

Do the mouth noises that form the first two words of the chorus and announced title of Michael Flanders and Donald Swann's Happy Song occur as phonemes in any recognized language? What about those in the third word of the original title? What are their technical phonetic descriptions, if any, and can they be rendered in the International Phonetic Alphabet? If they can, that's my next set of T shirts sorted out.
posted by flabdablet at 5:44 AM - 2 answers

June 8

Dystopian book with Brahms and Schumann

Some time before 2006 I borrowed a book from a public library in Canberra. It was about, or partly about, the relationship between Brahms and Schumann. I am trying to find out what it was, not because I particularly want to read it but just to scratch the itch. I didn’t finish the book, partly because I know Brahms never married, and was a regular customer of Vienna’s ladies of the night, but I doubted that he was that much of a scoundrel. [more inside]
posted by Logophiliac at 1:41 AM - 4 answers

June 6

I didn't Know That Meant Spaghetti in Japanese

Traveling to Japan this fall. I would like to able to read and comprehend menus and most signs. What are the best online learning options for learning Katakana and Hiragana at an elementary school level?
posted by Xurando at 6:09 AM - 11 answers

June 5

Name of a post-war British sci-fi/apocalypse novel . . .

The premise of this book is that a plague or a mysterious gas has been released into society. The main effect of this plague/substance is to remove all social inhibitions, which, of course, causes pandemonium, martial law, etc. [more inside]
posted by the hot hot side of randy at 8:45 PM - 10 answers

Short story about magical foreign car with trunk welded shut

Years ago, I read a short story about a man who bought a magical /possessed "foreign" car from a mechanic. The trunk of the car was permanently welded shut for unknown, mysterious reasons. The car could accomplish miracles (driving hundreds of miles on an empty gas tank) but would punish the driver (by breaking?) for getting angry at it. It may have also been able to repair itself. Who is the author and and what is the title of this story? Added details below the jump [more inside]
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 7:47 PM - 2 answers

June 3

Help me find a letter from dying father to daughter...

Trying to locate a particular letter that was published i believe post mortem from a dying man to his very young daughter. Particulars, I believe he was near Silicon Valley / SF Peninsula. Daughter would have been very young (2 or less?) Might have happened 5 years ago or more. I can only paraphrase what I vaguely remember, but something along the lines of "at some point in your life you are going to be asked to measure up. PLease know that you met all of my expectations" far from literal but that was the sentiment. [more inside]
posted by jcworth at 9:59 PM - 3 answers

Wanted: Short LGBTQ+-related reading for town event. Difficulty: 4 min.

As part of Pride Month, my small town in NC asked a series of local people to read "4-minute-long" excerpts from a book, poem or reading from either an LGBTQ+ author, or about the LGBTQ+ community. (The length includes any intro we provide, as well.) I was asked to read and am looking for ideas. I would like to read something for kids - I'm a mom - or something that might be a little more unusual or out of the box. It should work well as a spoken piece. I have access to a university library as well as my local library and Amazon.
posted by melodykramer at 9:25 AM - 7 answers

June 1

Should I seek out a writer's group (and if so, how?)

I've been at work (slooowly) on a historical fiction novel for a long while now. Writing fiction has been much harder than I thought it'd be (in my prior professions, I wrote a lot of carefully crafted persuasive writing, and it came easily and fluently, so yeah, I was surprised at how hard fiction has been. Cackle if you want: I deserve it.) Anyway, it feels like I'm in danger of grinding to a halt, and I really don't want to do that. Could joining a writer's group be a good idea for me? [more inside]
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:52 PM - 9 answers

May 29

Foreign Language Filter: Why is it so dang hard to learn verbs?

I am currently studying a foreign language (Spanish), and I have a pretty good noun vocabulary and I don't have too much trouble getting nouns and adjectives to stick in my brain. But I cannot seem to make verbs stay in there, I cannot come up with them when speaking, like verbs I know I know, I stumble on. WHY IS THIS HARD? And how can I make it easier? [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:57 PM - 21 answers

Canadian usage question: Grade Five, or fifth grade?

I'm editing a book of memoirs. It includes a lot of mentions of school years, and I'm uncertain whether the usage should be Grade Five, grade five, or fifth grade. This is in Canada. [more inside]
posted by zadcat at 7:18 PM - 17 answers

If I have to solve OREO a billion times, you can solve a foreign brand

Looking for non-US cultural references/words (English or otherwise) that can fit into my first crossword. Especially if it has to do with Asia, Oceania, Eurovision, or local names for countries. [more inside]
posted by divabat at 6:46 AM - 18 answers

« Older questions