Do Most Of You Yanks Really Understand What The Brits Here Are On About?
Although the cultural mistranslations are probably more a question of tone and habits of irony and understatement, Jeremy Smith's online American·British
, to be published next September, might be of some assistance. Although I still prefer Terry Gliedt's older but pithier United Kingdom English For The American Novice
and even Scotsman Chris Rae's English-to-American Dictionary
. Here's a little BBC quiz
to test your skills. It seems that Canadians
and [another cute quiz coming up!
] New Zealanders
are the only Metafilterians to completely capture all the varieties of English usage here. Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that non-U.S. users know much, much less about England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand et caetera than vice-versa? Does anyone else get the occasional feeling we're not exactly speaking the same language here?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Apr 5, 2003 -
Japanese Sound Effects and what they mean.
Spotted on Gen Kanai's blog: this rather comprehensive list of sound-effect words from manga
- the Japanese equivalent of BAM! WAP!, OOF! (and possibly even D'OH!), but covering a wider range of social and emotional terrain. Lest you surmise that these are more or less arbitrary, I "tested" ten or so on my fiancee and found that she knew every single one. Aaaa!
posted by adamgreenfield
on Apr 3, 2003 -
Home of Central Command and Al Jazzera television, it's a small oil-rich country we've all heard of, and that's the problem: I hear Qatar called Cutter, Gutter, Katar, and Kwatar.
How do the Qataris' pronounce it; is it possible to accurately pronounce foreign words in English? Who decides? More inside...
posted by Mack Twain
on Mar 29, 2003 -
Dungeons and Dragons, bigorexia, arse-licker, bass-ackward...
The online OED (Oxford English Dictionary) quarterly adds a host of new words to the canon of what has become the standard dictionary of the english language(s). Some of the new and spicey words are: arsehole, arseholed, arse-lick,arse-licker, ass-backward,
ass-backwards, bass-ackward, bass-ackwards, dragon lady,
Dungeons and Dragons, telenovela, and transgenderist!!
Thank the gods of language for these new words! So what is you favorite new word and why?
posted by mfoight
on Mar 17, 2003 -
Seems like a load of hooey to me, but there are some pretty freaky things being said when you listen to it backwards.
(via iconomy's wonderful web site)
posted by ashbury
on Feb 18, 2003 -
So this is what is means to be hip.
(NY TIMES link)
What ''The Preppie Handbook'' did for whale belts and synonyms for vomiting, ''The Hipster Handbook'' accomplishes for this generation's stylistic and linguistic signs and signifiers."
According to the book, "deck" means "cool", "tassel" is a girl, "bust a moby" means to dance, and a "frado" is an ugly guy who thinks he is good looking. Being a member of said generation myself, I can honestly say that I have never ever
heard anyone speak this way. Maybe I'm just too "ishtar
". Do you think the Hipster Handbook captures today's, um, deck
kids accurately? What would your Hipster Handbook include?
posted by 4easypayments
on Feb 13, 2003 -
- a fun site with kids from around the world imitating animals and vehicles in an exercise of onomatopoeia. Similar to a post last year
, this version adds sounds from native speakers and some cute visuals, making for a neat toy. MeFi moms & dads take note - submissions from kids age 2 to 7 are invited. flash and sound alert!
posted by madamjujujive
on Feb 9, 2003 -
Why articulate people make bad colleagues
Nick Denton, proprietor of various websites, sometime columnist for Management Today, and supposed intelligent person has come up with this gem in his weblog:
"But I've been interviewing software engineers, and find myself prejudiced against those that talk fluently. . . . Either they were born persuasive, and so they've always been able to get away with it; or else they've always broken promises, so they've had to learn how to explain away their failures."
For the most part, I think he's wrong, but I can see where he's coming from. Should articulate people be banned from time-sensitive positions?
posted by gkostolny
on Feb 5, 2003 -
Quanto putas mihi stare hoc conclave ?
That's "How many prostitutes does it take to change a lightbulb?" in Latin. No, actually it's "How much do you think I paid for this apartment?". Here's hoping, in the wake of the BBC's superb The Roman Way
series, written and presented by David Aaranovich, that good old Latin is on its way back, albeit in an Internet, soundbitey way. Those intending to smuggle some into MetaFilter should definitely start here
. The owner, for instance, might find Ne ponatur in mea vicinitate
useful - "Not in my backyard". And Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione
- "I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult" should prove popular in the God threads. Vale
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Feb 3, 2003 -
I'm mo' "meta" than you!
This USA Today puff piece is claiming that "meta" is the new "cool." What are your thoughts on this? Do any of you use "meta" in conversation or writing without a noun following it? (when you're not referring to the abbreviation for MetaTalk, obviously...)
posted by popvulture
on Jan 28, 2003 -
The English have landed!
In the spirit of international confederation, Nerve.com offers this all too brief list of common curses, epithets, and scandalous phrases, along with their French counterpart, and more interestingly, a transliteration of the French so one can better understand the Idiom.
posted by jonson
on Jan 23, 2003 -
Words of the Year 2002 Awards
American Dialect Society Word of the Year : "WMD - weapons of mass destruction
". Most Unnecessary: "wombanization
" . Most Outrageous: "neuticles
" . Most Useful (by unanimous decision): "google
".....1991 Word of the Year: "mother of all."
posted by Voyageman
on Jan 20, 2003 -
Oxford's guide to collective terms for animals
is a useful and fascinating although all-too-brief resource. Collective terms for birds are some of my favourites: an unkindness of ravens; a murmuration of starlings; a richness of martens. Bees and sheep seem to have a lot of collective terms. I can't imagine why. Altogether, though, I found one of the terms for for ferrets to be the pick of the bunch.
posted by nthdegx
on Jan 13, 2003 -
Caution: Violent metaphors can blow up in your face.
This one (see paragraph two)—which I discovered a day or so before the D.C. snipers were apprehended—struck me at the time as a particularly unfortunate demonstration as to why, especially considering this ad agency is based just outside Washington. George Lakoff, an undisputed Heavyweight Metaphorician of the World, turns the tables and uses human metaphors rather neatly
to think about 9/11. And apparently, there are workshops
that teach how to make nonviolent metaphors more vivid and, the logic goes, make violence less attractive. So, the explosive question: does hostile language encourage conflict or reflect it? Peace out.
posted by micropublishery
on Nov 30, 2002 -
A warning shot in the dark:
For connoisseurs of clever turns of phrase: The phrase "a warning shot in the dark" popped out at me from a Google News preview panel as being a mixed metaphor. Indeed, a Google search
reveals that the phrase has never before been used on the entire Web
, which is rather amazing. Delving into the story, it appears by paragraph three that the mixed metaphors are appropriate, in this case.
posted by beagle
on Nov 27, 2002 -
Poetry International Web
opens today. "Hundreds of poems by acclaimed modern poets from all around the world, both in the original language and in English translation."
posted by igor.boog
on Nov 6, 2002 -
Jorlon khaan bain ve?
The first stop in Oissubke's trip around the online world is the beautiful
land of Mongolia
. Take a moment to leave the America-centric (not that there's anything wrong with that!) Web and see what the internet looks like from someone else's eyes...
I've tried to pick sites that provide unique and interesting insights into the Mongolian internet, not just whatever Google coughed up for "Mongolia". Unless this post particularly annoys people, I'll plan to continue my journey with Liechtenstein in a few days.
posted by oissubke
on Oct 21, 2002 -
Worthless Word for the Day.
Ever feel as if an "obscure, abstruse and/or recondite word" was forced into a newspaper/magazine/quote? Now there's a site that finally finds and provides wwftd! Impress your friends.
posted by geoff.
on Oct 21, 2002 -
Jedi (n) and Klingon (n)
will now be listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. As will Ass-Backward.
Given MetaFilter's interest in grammar
this seems worth noting. How the editors decided that "Jedi" is worth inclusion but "Stormtrooper" is not is a conversation I would have loved to have heard. Naturally, people complaining about such inclusions ain't
new. However, when words are removed from the same dictionary it's hardly noticed.
Clearly unused words go away, so why do people make a stink about this year after year? Slow news cycles? Or is it an extension of the Prescriptivist - Descriptivist Argument
with the Prescripts making a push for the "hearts and minds" of the public?
posted by herc
on Sep 26, 2002 -
.i la lojban mo
Lojban is in many ways like any other language. There's an English-Lojban dictionary
. There's a Lojban grammar
. You can even get your news at Nuzban
, a Lojban-only news site.
Lojban, however, is a completely constructed language
. Why Lojban
? Well, Lojban came from Loglan
, an invented language from the 1950's (Loglan was created as an experiment to study the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
: succinctly, the idea that language and culture are hopelessly intertwined) Today, there are hundreds of invented languages
and a thriving language construction community
. Alongside well-known constructs such as Tolkien's elven languages
, there's also d'ni
- the language of Myst, a language
of flowers, opus-2
- a language that shuns word order and Teonat
- a language of the imaginary inhabitants of Teon.
With the help of online language construction kits, you too can create
your own language
posted by vacapinta
on Sep 12, 2002 -
The Big Book of Sign Language (from rotten.com).
Have you ever wondered how to sign phrases such as "I shovel shit all day long", "I want to pull the shrieking voices from my head and smoosh them", and "Unlock my legs and get it over with"? The Big Book shows you how. Inappropriate? Yes. Hysterical? Yes. (Portions may not be safe for work. Link via Magnetbox
. Thanks, ben.)
posted by moz
on Jul 9, 2002 -
A handheld device that translates simple spoken phrases.
"American troops in Afghanistan are using a revolutionary device that instantly translates soldiers' voices into native languages. . . .
The soldier speaks into the machine, which recognizes the words and translates them into another language." Simple phrases only — and a long way from a Star Trek
universal translator — but kindling for the science-fiction-addled imagination nonetheless.
posted by mcwetboy
on Jun 10, 2002 -
Metaphysical significance of punctuation marks (a)
Periods . and commas , are lovely because they are simple... Semicolons ; are pretentious and overactive...Italics
rarely fail to insult the reader's intelligence..."Quotation marks" create the spurious impression of an aristocracy of sensibility...The exclamation point ! is obviously too emphatic, too childish, for our sophisticated ways...Questions ? and exclamations ! betray a sense of inquisitiveness and wonder that is distinctly unmodern....(parentheses) and - dashes - betoken stylistic laziness, a failure of discipline....(a) content footnotes are symbols of failure.
posted by Voyageman
on Jun 8, 2002 -
They might actually be, you know, be useful.
This year, a student in Nebraska won $1000 for finding the worst example of overuse of the phrase 'you know,' by an athlete who said it 30 times in a 135 second interview. But are they really that terrible? Known as discourse markers, phrases such as 'you know' and 'I mean' are thought to be essential
in conveying information in conversation and helping us understand each other. Discourse markers also exist in many other languages
and possibly even ancient languages.
posted by adrianhon
on May 15, 2002 -
Spanish dogs say "guau guau".
Did you ever read comics or something in a language other than your cradle tongue and notice that onomatopoetic words, particularly for animal sounds, are different in different languages? This webpage has animal sounds from loads of languages, organized by language and animal. Indonesian dogs say "gonggong".
posted by jeb
on Apr 30, 2002 -
is a 'weblog on language' by a Brussels-based freelance interpreter. Are any of your favourite blogs on
posted by ceiriog
on Apr 22, 2002 -
The Nonverbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs, & Body Language Cues. Items in this Dictionary have been researched by anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists, linguists, psychiatrists, psychologists, semioticians, and others who have studied human communication from a scientific point of view.
What exactly does it mean when someone touches their face, licks their lips, or dodges their eyes? You'll find the answers in this huge compendium. I spent a whole summer reading through this whole thing, and it's helped to give me a new lens with which to view human nature. The most complete collection of body language you'll ever come across.
posted by Mach3avelli
on Apr 12, 2002 -