Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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July 5

Recommend some frameworks for non-fiction writing?

I find that having mental frameworks when writing non-fiction content makes the job of writing so much easier. For the most part, I use the time-honored “who, what, where, when, whey and how”. It has always helped disintegrate writer's block. [more inside]
posted by jacobean at 11:07 AM - 4 answers

July 4

Reframing the back to school conversation

Our lockdown is over, and the teens in the house will be heading back to school soon. Overall, lockdown has been fine, and the kids and their schools did pretty well. We intentionally let the kids have a more relaxed schedule, including more screen time, and think this was a good choice. But school re-starts, getting up early is back on the menu, and time for screens needs to go down. [more inside]
posted by Calvin and the Duplicators at 5:27 PM - 8 answers

July 3

Word that means "gap in knowledge"

I recently came across a single word that meant "gap in knowledge" or "a gap to be filled", when I was reading a scientific manuscript. Now for the life of me, I cannot recall what the word was, but it was incredibly useful. It was a single word, not a phrase, and maybe started with the letter L (or maybe not). Google was no help. Ask Metafilter, you're my only hope!
posted by misery loves company at 9:48 AM - 9 answers

The Secret Locative Case

Did classical or archaic Greek have a locative case or is this an in-joke in The Secret History? [more inside]
posted by atrazine at 2:10 AM - 7 answers

June 30

Hafez in Farsi: Parsing The Lost Joseph

Making a graphic to go with The Lost Joseph in Farsi. How to divide the poem into pieces? [more inside]
posted by sciencegeek at 3:59 PM - 6 answers

Bookfilter - Definitive Biographies

I'd like to read the best biographies of historical figures that people of MeFi consider important, interesting. The best would be one authorative biography per person, the one considered to be authorative, even if it has it's own problems. Examples inside. [more inside]
posted by kmt at 6:30 AM - 21 answers

June 27

Who said "Security is inversely proportional to convenience"?

Who said "Security is inversely proportional to convenience"? I first heard it in the early 1990s, but it easily could be centuries old. Quote sites aren't helping out.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:25 PM - 3 answers

June 26

How to describe nationality/heritage when a parent is deceased?

This seems like it should be fairly straightforward, but I find I keep struggling with describing this when I'm asked about my heritage. Both my parents are/were from a different country than the one where I grew up and live. Before one of my parents died, I would respond 'My parents are Xish, I was born here'. [more inside]
posted by rrose selavy at 1:11 AM - 21 answers

June 25

Chasing down a Hungarian surname

I'm doing a family tree for an acquaintance whose surname is familiar in Quebec and which I had always taken to be Italian. Some digging has turned up the interesting information that in fact it's probably of Hungarian origin, but has undergone lexical transformations. I want to see if it's possible to find out what it originally was. [more inside]
posted by zadcat at 1:20 PM - 5 answers

Help me understand what happens in Brazilian newspaper article from 1907

A French woman ("Mme. Toché") came to Brazil in 1907 to give a conference and enlisted the help of Brazilian journalist João do Rio (the narrator). I can more or less understand Portuguese, but this is Brazilian Portuguese from 1907 there's a part in the article that I have trouble figuring out. Article extract below the fold. [more inside]
posted by elgilito at 6:50 AM - 2 answers

June 24

Is this line about Quakers a saying in England?

"Quakers will have the moral upper hand, and porridge." Is this a saying or related to one? [more inside]
posted by Orlop at 7:16 PM - 21 answers

Is this forgotten Japanese word actually a thing?

I seem to remember reading, many years ago now, about a Japanese word that refers specifically to the kind of love that manifests as a deep contentment on feeling one's lover warming their cold feet on one's body. Is there actually such a word? Bonus points: where am I likely to have read about it?
posted by flabdablet at 7:45 AM - 5 answers

June 23

Where can I get a list of the local insults of the UK?

For instance I know there's some animus between Yorkshiremen and Lancastrians. Do they have special insults for each other? Yorkie Pies or something? Or Glaswegians vs. Edinburghers? Or Scousers vs. Mancs? Has anyone made a local insult guide to the UK?
posted by rileyray3000 at 3:40 AM - 15 answers

June 22

My manager says “irregardless”. Should I say something?

My manager, who is a highly successful and capable woman, says “irregardless”. My instinct is to leave well enough alone, but if it were me, I would be absolutely mortified and want to correct that ASAP. What’s the ethical course of action?
posted by Dragonness at 3:53 PM - 41 answers

June 21

Novels written by men with female characters that aren't crap?

Most novels written by men have pretty awful female characters. I can't explain in what ways they are awful, except that they seem to be identified more by their sexual characteristics than as human beings. I'd really like some recommendations of male novelists who write women well.
posted by Chasuk at 9:36 PM - 46 answers

June 19

It’s a beautiful day in the castle, and you are a horrible princess...

I could use advice on building a fictional antagonist: Imagine you are an absolute brat and terror of a princess (think fantasy / historical rather than contemporary), and you finally have a lady-in-waiting. What do you have her do from the mundane (fixing your hair, getting you dressed) to the inane, the ridiculous, the horrid, and the impossible?
posted by kyliej at 11:14 AM - 24 answers

Help me roll my Rs!

I'm picking up Spanish again and I have run into the same problem I have had for years--I can't roll my Rs. I have no idea how to do it. I've had people explain it to me, I've watched YouTube videos, I've done the "pronounce it like the double T in 'butter'" trick, which kind of works, but I can't keep it up/extend it. If you are also someone that struggled with this, how did you learn to do it?
posted by Automocar at 8:37 AM - 12 answers

June 18

What's the best way to learn modern Greek from home?

I've wanted for a long time to learn modern Demotic Greek. Especially now that social distancing means there are way more resources online, what's the best out there? I'd love resources that MeFites have personal familiarity with. I do have people to practice with. [more inside]
posted by capricorn at 1:33 PM - 4 answers

June 16

Do other languages have idioms similar to "finders, keepers"?

For those unfamiliar, according to Wikipedia, "Finders, keepers is an English adage with the premise that when something is unowned or abandoned, whoever finds it first can claim it." It would also be great to find examples of sayings in other languages about how people own the fruits of their labor. Thanks in advance!
posted by mrmanvir at 2:59 PM - 14 answers

June 15

Formatting a Chapbook On Microsoft Office 2016 - WTF?

I am in the process of formatting a chapbook. I've downloaded some ready-to-go templates and have watched numerous how-to's on You Tube. Both are confusing. On the downloads I am unable to enter text. On the You-Tube videos, the Word page image on-screen they use to walk me through my process is different than on my MacBook. I do get to the end and I am still unable to enter text. [more inside]
posted by goalyeehah at 1:01 PM - 3 answers

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