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4:00 AM
Only in zoos.
And if you go to that wikipedia page, it tells you to say /ˈsɜrvəl/. It was clearly written by tchrist.
Why do the numbers disappear when this chatroom displays it?
Yeah, it does all sorts of weird things.
I see "Weight ranges from about in females, and from in males. " above, but the Wikipedia page actually has weights in kg and lb there.
Maybe we need to raise it as a bug with the developers. Speaking as an occasional software developer, there's nothing more annoying than users who find bugs and don't report them.
Same here.
But surely they all know this already?
4:04 AM
What makes you think that?
I mean, we have talked about how it displays the wrong picture for years in this room.
@DavidWallace Because it is plain to see in any article?
And how often do the developers come here to experience your unique repartee?
Sure they stalk among us all day?
@Cerberus What makes you think they would notice it?
Because it is frequent and obvious?
4:06 AM
@Cerberus because they have no better way of spending their time?
@Cerberus How is it frequent and obvious?
@DavidWallace Exactly.
There ought to be a publicly-visible bug register.
So that we know whether they're aware of it of not.
@DavidWallace Because we have all seen these bugs hundreds of times?
@DavidWallace Yeah.
@Cerberus But what end-users do with software is completely different from what developers do with it. You might just as well expect the mechanic in your garage to have noticed that your windscreen wiper is squeaky when you drive into the wind.
I suppose.
If they never tested a couple of random Wiki articles, they might not have noticed.
4:10 AM
I'm sure they tested many Wikipedia articles. That doesn't mean that they read every word on them, and noticed that nothing had got dropped.
Or rather, that something had got dropped.
They would have looked at it quickly, observed that it seemed OK, then moved onto the next piece of work.
But it is so obvious!
They must have tested only one or two pages, as you suggested.
It is not so obvious!
But it is!
We have known this for years.
Noticed it.
You only see it if you're looking for it. That is the definition of not obvious.
If you read the actual in-line text...
4:13 AM
And exactly why would they read it?
Because they are good people?
Good people who are employed as software developers focus on developing software, not reading about servals.
But those cats are important!
Even though I had never heard of them.
How could you have never heard of them? They're so obvious!
What if I said kiwis were not important?
You would flag my derrière off!
4:16 AM
Fine. Outside of New Zealand, they probably are quite unimportant.
No flagging required.
But they are important!
How so?
Oh, well that clears it right up.
I don't remember ever seeing a kiwi live.
4:18 AM
So, do we know what the approved way of raising bugs is? There's probably a FAQ somewhere that tells us.
Do you ever see them in the wild?
I have no idea, sorry.
Umm, they're nocturnal. So you'd have to go into a secluded dark bush at night. And there are very few places that actually have any kiwi left. The only places I've ever seen them are zoos, and the national aquarium.
nationalaquarium.co.nz is the best place to see kiwi.
Is the plural not kiwis?
4:21 AM
Err, it's originally a Māori word. I would say that the plural is kiwi.
You used kiwi plural.
What's the singular?
Of course, Māori has other ways of indicating plurals; which means that you get into horrible ambiguity as soon as you use a Māori noun in an English sentence.
"te kiwi" = the kiwi, singular. "ngā kiwi" = the kiwi, plural.
Ah, I see.
Then I would elect to use the simple English plural on -s.
If there is no hope of conforming to Māori plurals anyway.
Sure. Common usage is to say "kiwis" to mean "New Zealanders", or the NZ Rugby League team; but "kiwi" to refer to the bird, in singular or plural.
Think of it as being like "sheep" or "deer".
Common in NZ, you mean?
4:27 AM
Yes, I so mean.
I am not unwilling to conform to your customs.
Kiwi it is, then.
Of course, should you ever choose to use any other Māori noun, the same will apply.
will try to void any other such nouns
Really? What if we want to talk about other species of New Zealand bird?
I don't know any other.
4:29 AM
Or even tuatara? Have you ever seen any tuatara?
Where do emus live?
Australia, and zoos.
Oh, and some farms here, I think.
We do have ostrich farms.
And ostrich steaks.
Never seen any eggs, though.
Right, we have those too.
Actually, not sure about steaks.
Ostriches are much bigger than emus.
I didn't know.
Do they have a large bird in the Americas?
Umm, other than the yellow one on Sesame Street?
Hey we have a large bird too, except that it's blue.
Hey, @DavidWallace you sent me someting about the surveys.
4:37 AM
According to Wikipedia, emus weigh between 18 and 60kg and ostriches weigh between 63kg and 145kg.
I think the discussion was about perform vs. take
Right. And I said that performing a survey is completely different from taking a survey.
still thinks perform sounds odd
Yeah, I think conduct is a better word for conducting a survey.
Hey, who turned Big Bird blue?
4:38 AM
Okay. If I say I took a survey, does it mean I filled out a survey form.
Unless context dictates otherwise. Which it well might.
And performed means I designed and conducted a survey?
I could say "I took a survey of all the people in my street, to find out what they usually eat for breakfast" or something.
Yes, "performed" would always mean designed/conducted.
Okay. You said you could find something about the two types so that I could it to my professor.
4:41 AM
Remind me what I said I could find? Did I say examples of both usages?
Yeah, I think so.
OK, shall I dig them up and post them here?
If you dont mind.
OK, I'll do it some time in the next few hours.
Fine. Thanks
4:47 AM
Here are two pages that talk about performing a survey:

Here are two pages that talk about taking a survey:

Is that what you require @Noah?
Let me take a look at them.
I think they would serve the purpose.
Cool. Thanks!
No worries.
It was the Dutch!
The Dutch replaced Big Bird with a pale blue imitation of his former self. (expatica.com/nl/education/pre_school/…)
The Dutch can't even SAY "Big Bird" - apparently it comes out the same as "big butt"!!
5:26 AM
1 hour later…
6:31 AM
I despair. This makes our whole country look bad.
7:02 AM
7:25 AM
@David: I think what may be happening in some of these cases is that ‘X and I’ is perceived as an invariable chunk of language. Huddleston and Pullum argue persuasively against the case based on analogy with uncoordinated ‘me’. See here, p. 9 forward: cambridge.org/assets/linguistics/cgel/chap1.pdf
Well, gosh, I just found out I'm a prescriptivist. Thanks for that, @Barrie.
7 hours later…
2:02 PM
13 hours ago, by Robusto
@tchrist He should be able to tell when I'm fucking with him by now.
I thought my closing remark would give away the game entirely. Apparently I was wrong. How could you think that I would think you were calling me a Dutchman? Anyway, I have no hard feelings, and I hope you have none either.
2:32 PM
A: What does "life's a beach" mean?


1 hour later…
3:40 PM
Ah me, those crafty Russians are at it again!
This one’s for @Cerb:
4:14 PM
I really had to stare at profligacy, profligate, profligation vs prolificacy, prolificate, prolification for the longest time to make sure it wasn’t a dupe.
Q: In what circumstances, the word "be" can be directly used without any change?

stckxchng2 examples first: 1.It is announced that the accounting class of the 3rd and 4th hours on the morning of this Wednesday be cancelled 2.It is expected that everybody and each household be on guard Someone told me this kind of examples above appears in the textbook as strict sentences to be taug...

Uh, how about your title? With a modest rearrangement of syntax, of course.
I really have to write that subjunctive article.
The reason it is so hard to write is that usually articles are inflected only for case, gender, and number, not for mood.
@tchrist Only verbs can be subjunctive, not articles.
Good morning, @Jasper.
Far be it from me to invent things! Although it seem otherwise to you, I insist that you used no subjunctive inflexion. You may wish the author of today were as sensitive of mood and tense as those of yesteryear, but suffice it to say that mere wishing isn't enough: it takes work. In formal registers—be these written or spoken—there yet remain places where it is obligatory that the verb take the subjunctive lest its author be taken for an unlettered git. Alas, if only it were more easily demonstrated! If it please you, this lesson will repeat till the writing improve or a moderator delete it. — tchrist 16 hours ago
@tchrist I received your ping so I came.
4:25 PM
You shouldn’t use Rob as a sock puppet.
Let's not say things we can't take back.
@Robusto Haha, your favourite line.
I did not know the damages in New York were so substantial until my friend told me just now.
@JasperLoy No. Not even my favorite line.
I think he’s more of a whiskers-on-kittens kinda guy.
4:26 PM
Hmm, I hope the SE folks are alright in NY.
Raindrops on roses. Get it right.
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
@JasperLoy I think that unless you are a lawyer seeking recompense, you should opt for damage, not damages.
@JasperLoy Only those folks? Not all them other folks?
@Robusto Haha, actually I was only thinking of a couple of them, but never mind. =)
4:27 PM
@tchrist That would make his verb subjunctivizized.
@tchrist Yes, right.
I keep getting pingpinged.
I am not using to pingpinging.
My favourite song in that show is "Climb every mountain".
@Robusto No, “unless you were” would.
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
Till you find your dream
4:29 PM
We know the song. Some of us, perhaps distressingly well.
The singer in the show was pretty dramatic, that Sister Maria!
Merely a burlesque.
I was also speculating if natural disasters could be caused my manmade instruments.
Those would be unnatural disasters.
4:32 PM
There might be some intrument stirring some waters somewhere which eventually becomes a tsunami for example.
This is like the butterfly effect.
Anyone who has such an instrument can control the world.
Fuck Google.
> We've reviewed your notice, but it is unclear to us what the specific
copyrighted work or works are that you are asserting have been infringed.
Could you please provide more detail by identifying the work or a
representative list of works? It would be helpful if you could provide us
with a link to the original source of the copyrighted work, as well as
copyright registration numbers if you have them.
Morons. I did just that.
I had to do just that. They had a form I had to fill out.
Djugit formlettered?
@RegDwighт Just explain again then, stay calm dude.
4:33 PM
I'm always impressed by how inventive Elvin Jones was, even in simple backing parts. My vote for best jazz drummer ever.
@Robusto Thank you for that.
@JasperLoy what should I explain again? I have nothing to add. Not a word.
> > copyright work description:
> My contribution to the question-and-answer site "English Language and
> Usage", including text and images, which I publish there under the CC
> BY-SA 3.0 license with attribution required.
> That copyrighted work gets scraped and re-published, without
> at tinyguru.com.
> copyright work urls:
> infringement urls:
> http://www.tinyguru.com/english/qid12996.html
@RegDwighт Well, just reply that you just pointed it out in that paragraph or whatever.
Also, why are you so concerned about this? Not to trivialise anything here.
I know the meta posts on this copyright matter, but I don't feel it is that important.
4:35 PM
I once saw an utterly hilarious yaoi-backed slideshow version of “My Favourite Things”, and have never been able to get it out of my mind. I can’t find it on Youtube anymore though; perhaps it was taken down.
Google earns money through that scraper site. Simple as that.
@RegDwighт Oh, that was that. Ick.
Google doesn't earn a cent through ELU.
Good morning or good day or good afternoon, @BarrieEngland.
But I must be off to the showermobile.
4:37 PM
@RegDwighт Enjoy the water!
@RegDwighт Don't drop the soap!
@Robusto Ah, I keep hearing that one here in the army.
Hiya. Late afternoon, as it happens. Pissed off. I craft a perspicacious answer, go and have a cup of tea, come back ready to post it only to find the question has been closed.
What, Jasper, y ou're in the army?
@Robusto In the past, compulsory service.
4:40 PM
Duh, you forgot where I come from?
@BarrieEngland We look for perspicacity especially when we desire to close questions.
Also perspicuity.
@BarrieEngland Hahaha, calm down and enjoy more tea...
Not the first time, either.
@DavidWallace Great question.
@MετάEd You like any questions about meta. I wonder why that is.
4:42 PM
Does it really matter if a question is a duplicate? Why not give it a fresh airing?
What question?
@BarrieEngland Well, if it is substantially different it should not be closed. Otherwise, you could close one as duplicate of the other and then answer the unclosed one.
This is part of tidying the site.
Q: Under what circumstances can the word "be" be used directly without any change?

stckxchng Possible Duplicate: When should I use the subjunctive mood? 2 examples first: 1.It is announced that the accounting class of the 3rd and 4th hours on the morning of this Wednesday be cancelled 2.It is expected that everybody and each household be on guard Someone told me this kind o...

Sometimes I closevote the earlier question as duplicate of the later one because the later one is more well-written and covers more ground.
4:44 PM
@BarrieEngland I rather hate it when that happens.
It isn’t a precise duplicate, but it is a muddled question.
@Jasper. A good policy.
Can you apply your answer to the thing it was closeduped against?
@BarrieEngland And hey I am always wondering when you will overtake Robusto in rep. I guess it will happen some time next year. =)
If I post my little piece of linguistic wisdom on the earlier question it will make less sense than it otherwise might have done.
@BarrieEngland If you have suffered more than other posters it is only because you have stood beneath the boot heels of giants.
4:45 PM
Yeh, could be that.
I think it's difficult to find a question that's even worth answering these days.
@JasperLoy But @Rob has clearly been much more badgered than @Barrie, as the stakes stand at (9, 123, 261) over a mere (1, 64, 129). Hm, I wish the score were (9, 121, 256) vs (1, 64, 125). It would be more nifty, numerically. Not sure how to effect that though.
Because then Barrie’s cubes would make Rob look square.
@Robusto Ain’t that the truth!
Dec 17 '11 at 19:37, by Jasper Loy
I predict @barrie will overtake Robusto by the end of next year.
You seem obsessed with this.
@Robusto Yes, but then you accelerated and he decelerated, so my prediction changed. It is dynamic like the stock market.
Oct 31 at 15:18, by Robusto
@JasperLoy You are notoriously bad at predictions, so who cares?
4:52 PM
You might be interested to know that I’ve received this email from someone called Orson Sampson. I can’t find him in the list of users and I don’t intend to reply. Anyone else received it?

'I recently asked a question on english.stackexchange.com and you help me out. I took a look at your profile and felt lucky to have come across you online.

I am studying for the GRE and want to improve my analytic writing skill. I would be happy to pay a fee for it.'
@Robusto I see that badgering can be reciprocal.
@Barrie Let me check. That would go into my +inbox/direct mailbox, since it would be someone whom I’ve never gotten something from before.
@tchrist Sure. 1/badgering is the reciprocal of badgering.
@BarrieEngland Nope, and it's better to keep such private emails confidential.
@BarrieEngland Was it from a prince in Nigeria?
@Barrie Nope.
4:54 PM
@Robusto If it were the Sultan of Brunei asking me I might consider.
Hello, any Canadian here?
@JasperLoy I don’t feel that Barrie has violated some implied privacy contract here. It’s ok, really.
@Gigili Wake up Mr. Shiny.
praising = 1/badgering
4:56 PM
wakes up @Mr.Shiny
@gigili If it's not urgent you should just wait, and I am sure you know mahnax's email addy.
Could have been Nigeria. I imagine that if I'd replied the next thing I'd have heard would have been a request for my bank details so that he could pay me my fee.
@MετάEd praising = (badgering)⁻¹
@BarrieEngland Just be careful if you reach that stage!
@Gigili What would you do with a Canadian if you had one on hand?
4:57 PM
Make bacon!
As I said, I don't intend to reply.
"Orson Sampson" - "Nortonn S" = "Or Samps". Cooincidence? I think not.
What a ham.
Make love.
@MετάEd Yeppers.
4:57 PM
@tchrist That's just pure gammon.
I got a few emails wanting to give me a million dollars.
make: *** No rule to make target `love'.  Stop.
@Robusto "Orson Sampson - Versatile + Creative - Software Developer - Nigeria"
Yeh, that's the one.
So he's playing down the prince angle now?
4:58 PM
@MετάEd Oh, so you got that email?
@JasperLoy No, I Googled him.
@JasperLoy I say "no" ... maybe I'd better check my inbox.
I once enrolled for a game show to win a million, but I was not selected to play.
@BarrieEngland Did you know that one of the indicators for whether it’s a new Nortonn S sockpuppet question is that you or Jasper have answered already? :)
@JasperLoy Ok, "no".
I hope that "The moment of truth" comes here, cos I wanna play that game.
5:00 PM
Recently I've been seeing writers using "soft-peddle" in print (in reputable publications, to boot) when I am certain the trope is "soft-pedal": anybody have an opinion on this?
@tchrist True.
@Robusto They’re testing your medal.
:@tchrist: That figures.
@tchrist I wish they'd stop meddling.
Anyway, it comes from the "soft pedal" on the piano, unless I am very much mistaken.
There is something about a soft-sell, isn’t there?
I forget how that one works.
OED attests all three of soft pedal, soft-pedal, soft-pedalling, but not the other.
5:02 PM
Definitely 'soft-pedal' - from the piano pedal.
Is there a term for this? Something like mondegreen but pertaining to spelling? (Or misspelling?)
Not much for peddle: just essence-peddler, influence peddling, pack-peddler, peddle, -peddler, peddling, peddlingly, pill peddler.
@barrie By the way, the guys in here often misspell your name as Barry. I would correct them when that happens.
@BarrieEngland Good thought.
5:04 PM
@JasperLoy Well, then he hardly needs to do so, too, now does he? :)
@JasperLoy Note that he capitalizes his name in print. I will correct you when you don't.
Also, you may note that Jasper Loy's real name is Non Sequitur.
@Robusto Or Nortonn S.
@Robusto It think it is just a confusion of homophones, no, like medal, meddle, metal, mettle. Would it really merit a special term?
Have to go now, but let me leave you with this. Most contributors, of both answers and questions, seem to be men. Is there a reason for that? Is it perhaps that EL&U has its roots in programming and that most programmers are men?
@tchrist Eggcorn comes close, perhaps.
@BarrieEngland On the Internet nobody knows if you're a dog.
5:07 PM
@BarrieEngland Or is it that men gravitate toward the Q&A thing more? No, agony aunts are usually women.
@BarrieEngland Probably so. Also, some are women disguised as men. And maybe women spend less time online.
But, yes, ELU is very well populated with software folks.
There are also men disguised as women, beware!
Hm, soft petal.
Colour Blend, Nigeria
106 4
That's him right there.
5:09 PM
@tchrist 'Eggcorns often involve replacing an unfamiliar, archaic, or obscure word with a more common or modern word ("baited breath" for "bated breath").' I presume this could extend to misunderstanding a word's origins and thinking it means something the speaker is more familiar with.
@MετάEd Does he give his name?
@tchrist No.
@tchrist But there is absolutely no question it's him.
Good morning everyone!
The OED makes it annoyingly hard to grep pronunciations. Like its peddle is /ˈpɛd(ə)l/ , so you have to make the schwa optional, not to mention alterating [td], to pick up the other homophones.
@gigili By the way you have not told me what that email was all about... It's just a bunch of pics.
5:13 PM
Perhaps Santa and the Missus have a summer getaway in Nigeria.
"alterating" I like it.
Anyway, off on errends. Ta-ta!
Well, it’s the North American voicing thing.
I love it when Americans pronounce aunt as ant.
Oh weird, look I found more than I knew of: pattle, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, peddle, petal, petal, pettle.
Pattle is homophonic with petal? Weird.
@JasperLoy It’s majoritarian, but not exclusive.
Oh, I see what happened with pattle.
> pattle, pettle /ˈpæt(ə)l/, /ˈpɛt(ə)l/, sb. Sc. and north. dial.
5:17 PM
Also due to the widespread influence of American television and movies, many youngsters here have adopted a pseudo-American accent which sounds a little pretentious!
My grep found the IPA under the pattle headword.
@JasperLoy I think they pronounce those two words differently from each other; just not different in the same way as you and I do.
@DavidWallace Not true.
@DavidWallace I mean similar, not exactly the same, sorry.
For most but not all North Americans, ant and aunt are perfect homophones.
5:19 PM
This pseudo-American accent I speak of consists of pronouncing the r sometimes and sometimes not. It sounds really silly actually.
No, not similar.
@tchrist Everyone except Garrison Keillor.
@DavidWallace I think I may reconsider. There is a way that you can be right here, because in fact, there are three pronunciations of aunt. I was only remembering two, because I don’t have that other merger.
The Tolkien pronunciation?
"Entwife" is like "I Am My Own Grandpa"?
@tchrist A way I can be right? I'll be sure to mark the date on my calendar.
5:23 PM
@MattЭллен The solution for you is Second Breakfast, obviously.
@DavidWallace The three possibilities for aunt are /ænt/, /ɔːnt/, and /ɑːnt/, which I have listed in order of decreasing frequency. You virtually never hear #3 in North America, but #2 is not all that uncommon, even though #1 is still the majority pronunciation. Which is yours?
I think #3.
The FATHER vowel then, now the CLAWED vowel.
What's #2?
You don’t round it.
#2 is rounded.
5:26 PM
Definitely very close to "father", and nothing like "clawed". To be honest, I'm a little confused about the difference between /a:/ and /ɑ:/.
Well that makes two of us, because I am, too.
I probably would have written /a:nt/ if you had asked me, without offering alternatives.
The range of /a/, /ɑ/, /ɒ/, and /ɔ/ confuses the heck out of me, because I usually have only two or three of those, not four.
Damn it.
Fontage breakage.
There, that works.
I think I always have /ɑ/ for /a/ and /ɔ/ for /ɒ/.
That’s why I can’t find a minimal triple.
Cloth and claw have the same vowel for me.
As do father and fart and bother.
I would be very surprised if you and I pronounce claw the same.
I can do the bother thing, but it tends to go all the way to the THOUGHT vowel.
I have /ɔ/ in cloth, claw, caught, calm, call, kalmia.
5:32 PM
No, only in autonomy, not in pedant.
People who have /ɑ/ in those (cloth, claw, caught, calm, call, kalmia) sound funny to me.
They don’t have phonemic roundedness as a distinguishing trait, but I do, so it sounds weird.
Ed should be the same as me, and probably Rob, too. Others I cannot say.
Q: How do I improve my communication, grammar and verbal skills?

DanThis question might look subjective but i please read out my proposition before closing it. English is my second language also i never went to any "fancy" schools, my communication and grammatical skills are absolutely pathetic. I also have hard time while trying to spell complex words. I desp...

This one pleads with us not to close it because he acknowledges that it is off-topic.
6:01 PM
@BarrieEngland Not quite clear what they're asking, is it?
@Robusto I also don’t know why people think ransom-note txtspēk is acceptable here.
Wow, did Nigeria have a big fire-sale on diacritics back when they were romanizing them?
6:49 PM
> Nna, that test hard no be small! You sabi do am? Me a go tell dem.
Nigerian Pidgin is an English-based pidgin and a creole language spoken as a lingua franca across Nigeria. The language is commonly referred to as "Pidgin" or "Brokin". It is often not considered a creole language since most speakers are not native speakers, although many children do learn it early. Nonetheless it can be spoken as a pidgin, a creole, or a decreolised acrolect by different speakers, who may switch between these forms depending on the social setting. Ihemere (2006) reports that Nigerian Pidgin is the native language of approximately 3 to 5 million people and is a second la...
7:19 PM
Hello! Is anyone there?
7:34 PM
@Monica I'm not there. I'm here, though.
7:56 PM
@Monica I am not there, but I am me. QED.
8:23 PM
@waiwai what's wrong with "... he was a 17-year-old man."?
The OP might not like this one all that much, but I think it is better than the existing answers, especially after that new one that just got deleted:
A: Is there a feminine equivalent of "emasculate"?

tchristThe verb emasculate has at least three related but distinct meanings, given by the OED as: trans. To deprive of virility, to castrate (a male person or animal). transf. and fig. To deprive of strength and vigour; to weaken, make effeminate and cowardly; to enfeeble, impoverish (language)...

A: Is there a feminine equivalent of "emasculate"?

winterAssociating an abstract concept like "power" with gender is what forms the nonsensical basis of the old misogynist word "emasculate".

Ah, already edited. Did read:
> So you deleted my post. You're not a man. I don't need to be born male to be more of a man than you. I probably produce more testosterone in my pituitary gland then both your little balls. Keep on telling yourself that you were born with "male privilege" and you have some "invisible power" to be "emasculated" over. Women aren't below you, you cowardly cunt.
8:43 PM
I guess an oöphorectomy should be pronounced an “uh-oh for ectomy”. :)
@Monica, your name seems Italian! If you are Italian, please follow Italian Language & Usage. Thank you.
Italian Language & Usage

Proposed Q&A site for students, teachers and lovers of the Italian language.

Currently in definition.


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