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12:08 AM
@RegDwight — Nah, you see, the point is, "lights masculine and lights feminine" wouldn't make any sense if, oh, I don't know, das Licht were, like, neuter or something. I'm just saying. Keep your gender-bending nouns the hell out of American poetry!
12:46 AM
@Robusto Sure it would. Männliches Licht und weibliches Licht. Works. Perfectly.
But my point is, imagine there are two words for light, one grammatically masculine, and another one grammatically feminine. Say, Schein and Beleuchtung. And then, rather than plumply stating, "Look! Männliches Licht! Look! Weibliches Licht! How clever is that!" you just subtly use Schein here, and Beleuchtung there, and let it as an exercise to the reader to find out why you use one and not the other, or both alongside each other. It gets a whole another quality, I tellya.
Did anyone already discuss this?
Q: "Shall" and "will" in legal requirements

TruemilkWhich is the correct use of these two words, and in which context should one be used rather than the other?

Q: "Shall" and "will" in legal requirements

user680What is the implication of using shall versus will in writing a specification document? For instance, lets say I have the paragraph, "upon by all parties involved." All information between persons involved in this project will be kept confidential and limited distribution of information onl...

Uh. No discussion on my watch. But yeah, I noticed them.
I mean, they just shout in your face.
1:02 AM
But I checked them both, and one says that it doesn't like the other.
Or something.
One of them doesn't seem to specifically be asking about legal issues
The title of one was edited to add that in.
I am confused as to why.
Yeah, I think it was kiamlaluno?
They got unearthed because of this:
Q: "Should" vs. "Shall" vs. "Will" vs. "Must"

oosterwalMy question is prompted by a question on the programmers.stackexchange: This may be a duplicate of another question here on english.stackechange, but the answers given to that question did not provide a definitive legal definition of 'should' vs. 'must'. It has long been my impression that 'sha...

I'm going to roll back or edit the "in legal requirements" question that didn't originally have it.
Go ahead.
I can only guess that kiamlaluno was setting the stage for a merge or something. Or he got carried away and it was just a mistake.
And yeah, sorry for not having had a closer look into the issue, but I was way too busy defending grammatical genders against Martha and Robusto.
1:07 AM
I just wanted to make sure there wasn't some discussion about it that led to that edit.
Nope. Only articles and genders here.
Gender systems are interesting, but they must serve some function, or else they wouldn't spring up so often.
And some funny/weird stuff.
People are still trying to figure out exactly why.
@Kosmonaut That argument is probably too straightforward for @Martha's tastes.
1:11 AM
I'm not sure what that means.
It's too simple.
It exists, thus it's good.
Don't tell me you would have accepted that as an argument.
That doesn't hold up too well logically. Earthquakes exist, too.
Earthquakes are not man-made.
Genders and articles are.
Ok, ok, crime exists.
Well, certainly crime serves a function.
1:12 AM
Though I suppose crime is good... from the point of view of the criminal.
Dammit, I can't type fast enough.
One thing that RegDwight was dancing around and almost bringing up is that a gender system can help keep straight what you are referring to in discourse.
1:14 AM
Yeah I had (and still have) like a zillion ideas.
There is still so much to be said.
If you are talking about the sun and the moon, and you say "it" later, it can be ambiguous which thing you are talking about
But if the moon is masculine and the sun is feminine, then it is clear.
@Kosmonaut So can not using pronouns.
"Well, obviously you can't translate many things literally, as you would constantly end up with sentences such as "it gave it to it" in English, where in the source language with genders you have a perfectly clear "she gave it to him".'
@Martha Of course, which is why not all languages have it, just like not all languages have articles, but get by fine.
A: Are there sentences in languages which use grammatical gender that lose meaning when translated into English?

RegDwightWell, obviously you can't translate many things literally, as you would constantly end up with sentences such as "it gave it to it" in English, where in the source language with genders you have a perfectly clear "she gave it to him". However, there are usually easy ways around this, the most o...

1:17 AM
I guess Hungarian falls into the "let's just not use pronouns" camp most of the time. He ate it = megette. I ate it = megettem. They ate it = megették.
Right, Hungarian is one of those crazy agglutinative languages.
He gave it to her = odaadta neki. (or just odaadta, depending on context.)
So how do you get along with English not having fifteen cases?
Or, asking the other way round, what purpose could cases possibly serve? Two should be enough for everyone! And you barely ever need even that few!
Hungarian doesn't have 15 cases either. People just count wrong.
(Or rather, they count things as cases in Hungarian even though they wouldn't dream of counting the exact equivalents in other languages as cases.)
Granted, but that doesn't answer my question.
There are enough languages that have anywhere from four to fifteen cases.
1:26 AM
I think mostly those are a relic of linguists trying to impose order on something that's fundamentally unordered. Or something.
My favorite tidbit is that compared to Hungarian, everyone else does possessives backwards.
You say "the table's leg". Hungarian says "az asztal lába", where asztal = table and láb = leg. Notice which word gets modified.
And yet everyone functions perfectly well.
I'm trying to remember something about Latin genitive - there's a situation where you can't explicitly say who owns what, you have to infer it from the context... Eh, I'll have to ask my sister tomorrow. If I remember.
The key is still what I called "learning by heart" and what you called "something that flies over a normal person's head, but can be explained by a competent linguist". I'm not sure if you noticed that we were talking about the exact same thing there.
You don't learn your mother tongue by learning rules. You learn it by mimicking what your mom says. If your mom taught you perfect English but omitted all articles, you would speak perfect English without articles, and you wouldn't miss them. At all.
Same with cases and genders and whatnot.
It's not quite the same thing though - there's a difference between "I don't know the rules" (articles) and "there are no rules" (gender).
If your mom referred to all vehicles as "he" and to all birds as "she", with totally weird exceptions all over the place, that's what you'd use, and that's what you'd be perfectly comfortable with.
@Martha There are rules.
In fact I started mentioning a few before you went away.
1:41 AM
Not in German. At least that I learned.
Well, that is precisely what you call "flying over a normal person's head".
And that's okay, because that's how all normal people learn languages best.
Not by memorizing rules, but by memorizing all kinds of sounds in all kinds of contexts.
If I ever wanted to learn Croatian, I would move to Croatia. No number of text books or dictionaries will achieve the same result as being around native speakers 24/7.
Well, yeah. Thank goodness I didn't have to try to learn vowel harmony by memorizing arbitrary rules.
So either you've convinced me, or it's time for me to go home. Or possibly both.
And isn't it, like, waaaaay past your bedtime?
This is not about convincing as much as it is about fascination. I could talk about languages all day, whether or not anybody's listening.
@Martha Yeah, looking at the clock I should probably take a day off tomorrow.
I do plan to stay up for another hour or so.
1:48 AM
Whatever for?
Uh. I think Seinfeld's over. ’Til Death should be on. Or possibly Home Improvement.
And you never know what kind of weird stuff might start happening on the site.
Like trVoldemort going berserk again.))
(I'm envious you can just up and take a day off. I swear, if I took a sudden sick day [with no warning of impending sniffles], my boss would come to my house to make sure I was, indeed, sick.)
Doesn't sound like a free country, to me.
Disadvantages of working for a "family friend".
BTW, there will be an announcement about the Stack Overflow MeetUp Everywhere shortly.
Keep your eyes open.
1:51 AM
Plus, "small company" doesn't begin to cover it: we have a whopping total of two employees. Including the boss.
@Martha Well, then I can totally understand that he would come over and check.
Ok, I'm really going home now. Where I will most likely proceed to log right back into chat, but no guarantees.
Okay. Good talkin to ya. CUlaterz.
1 hour later…
3:00 AM
Heh. Baader and Meinhof got promoted from terrorists to scientists by n0nChun. Now that's what I call a career.
Q: A single word for a psychological bias

n0nChun Possible Duplicate: Word meaning coincidence of reference to the unusual What is that psychological bias called when you come across a particular term and then end up finding it everywhere for the next few days?

@RegDwight — And there are words in English that are feminine and words that are masculine without requiring grammatical gender to express that. Besides, how feminine is das Mädchen or das Fräulein anyway? When we want to go masculine we go Anglo-Saxon. When feminine, something with a French root. When we want to drop some science on your ass, Latin. Und so weiter.
Both Mädel and Frau are very much feminine. Mädchen and Fräulein are neuter because of the -chen and the -lein suffix, respectively. Another strict rule, @Martha. Every single German word that ends in them is neuter. I am not aware of a single exception. Not one.
@RegDwight, why are you still awake?
I mean, it's almost time to get up, isn't it?
Cause 'Til Death is on. Which I previously mis-labeled as Marriage is... because that's what it's called in German.
I have three letters for you: D, V, and R.
3:11 AM
@Robusto And yeah, Anglo-Saxon vs Latin exists in other languages, too. In addition to the genders. So you actually get four possibilities rather than just the measly two you have in English.
You can go with a masculine word that sounds masculine, a feminine word that sounds feminine, a masculine word that sounds feminine, and a feminine word that sounds masculine.
@Martha Where's the fun in DVR?
Well, fast forwarding through commercials is definitely fun.
@Martha It's more fun if I do it here.
But back to what actually bothers me, I can't understand why people just won't type "Baader-Meinhof" in Google before speculating that they were "possibly scientists who discovered X".
And we need a master question or an FAQ for this:
Q: Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true

Craig WalkerI'm describing a situation that happened in the past. To explain it, I want to use a description that is both true now and true when the situation happened. Specifically, I want something like: She touched me where my neck met my collarbone. Since my neck is still attached to my collarbone...

It gets asked over and over again.
Yeah, in slightly different ways each time.
(Which makes it hard to mark any of them as duplicates.)
And we won't be running out of them slightly different ways any time soon.
@RegDwight — I know how those words got neutered. I'm just saying it sets up a cognitive dissonance for me to think of an attractive young woman as "it".
3:21 AM
I'd like to know which particular question @Cerberus had in mind, when he said "I believe this question already exists somewhere else on this website, but I can't for the life of me find it".
@Robusto Well, you're certainly not alone. Native speakers of German refer to Mädchen as sie rather than es all the time.
I am fairly certain I have done so myself on a number of occasions.
So you wax ungrammatical in the presence of young women? I thought so.
Well, I mean. Look at them. Or something.
Mar 6 at 17:11, by Robusto
user image
Just a question: comparatively speaking, which language has a larger vocabulary: English or German?
@RegDwight — I see a bunch of neutered beer drinkers. What do you see?
German has an endless vocabulary, because you can combine any number of words into one on the spot, and everyone will immediately understand you. BUT. English has an awful lot of stems, probably an order of magnitude more than German.
In English, you have flesh, and you have teeth, and you have gum. In German, you have flesh, and you have teeth, and you have, um, toothflesh.
You get the idea.
In English, you have gears. In German, you have toothwheels.
In English, you have bicycles. In German, you have drivewheels.
So, what you're saying is, you prefer German because it uses words like little Lego blocks to build larger structures?
3:30 AM
No. I do not prefer any language over any other.
But I do prefer Lego over Playmobil.
Well, then let's just agree I'm right and leave it at that.
You can agree on whatever you want as long as I am not involved.
Well, I was going to involve you in a Lego party with the young beer drinkers you see above. But I guess I can't do that now.
I mean, you wouldn't agree to it.
It would be entirely possible for me not to agree to it after having participated in it.
My rules are unclear and flexible.
Sounds like you're living in denial ex post facto.
3:37 AM
Always have, always will.
Always have, always will have.
See, that's another thing Russian doesn't have and can totally live without: future perfect, present perfect, past perfect.
But it has aspects instead.
So you basically have just three, count them: three tenses, but you have two versions of pretty much any verb. One perfective, one not.
Does it have an aorist root?
So you have the verb for "to do" as in "to keep doing over and over again", and the verb for "to do" as in "to have done and be finished with it".
@Robusto I would say so.
Hmm, Wikipedia here says: "The Indo-European aorist was inherited by the Slavic languages in general; it is obsolete, or virtually so, in all of them. However, the aorist functions in only two Slavic languages, Bulgarian and Macedonian language."
3:43 AM
Yup. I only know it from Church Slavonic. Which is basically Old Bulgarian.
Bulgarian is another weird language.
It kind of has cases, and then again not. It kind of has articles, and then again not.
All languages are weird, and weirdly fascinating.
Apropos. Where's my dump?
Still not there. Geez.
I wish I had the luxury to explore language more. But there is only so much time.
I hate it that I have but one life. There are 6 billion lives being lived right now.
I can only be in one place at any given moment.
Be part of exactly one culture.
Think exactly one thought.
It sucks.
Well, you have it better than I do from a language perspective. To speak a foreign language with native speakers I have to travel a long, long way.
3:49 AM
Just move to Texas.
Or Canada.
It's not like you're not being offered any choices at all.
But that is precisely my problem. I have too many choices. And life is way too short.
"Just move to Texas." Listen to yourself, man! General Sheridan ("Little Phil"), who was active in the latter half of the 19th century, famously said, "If I owned Hell and Texas, I would live in Hell and rent out Texas."
But it is a valid choice. Yet another one on the endlessly long list of choices.
If by valid you mean ridiculous, onerous, and dangerous, then I agree with you.
No risk, no fun.
I would live in New Mexico, however.
@RegDwight — You've never heard of condoms?
3:56 AM
I've never heard of what?
No risk, no duck.
**Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock**

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches tigers
In red weather.

Wallace Stevens
More Stevens for you.
He should fix his watch or something. It's 4:58.
Midnight here. And I am turning into a pumpkin.
3:59 AM
He sure likes his enjambments.
I like 'em too.
I like them three.
Always gotta go for the one-upmanship, dontcha?
Well, I like them INFINITY! Ha!
No. I'm actually saying that there are three of us liking enjambments.
The only thing you like three of is whiskeys.
4:02 AM
BTW, some Germans will never miss an opportunity to reply to "blabla, too" with "blabla, three", and they are extremely fond of it.
Oh, and it wasn't lost on me why the Kraut in the Paulaner spot indicated drei with his fingers. He knew if he didn't use his thumb he risked getting shot. Right in the Hoden.
Strong inducement to conform, that.
I like how when Russians count, they start with an open palm, and then close their fingers one by one, while Germans start with a fist, and open it one finger at a time.
I hope I still make sense at this time of the morning.
Did you stay up all night?
Well, I'll be taking a day off tomorrow. Must play with Lego.
2 hours ago, by RegDwight
@Martha Yeah, looking at the clock I should probably take a day off tomorrow.
And now I have!
@RegDwight — So if running out of time to sleep permits you to play with your Lego, I guess you could say you clock-blocked yourself.
4:08 AM
You are turning into a pumpkin, arencha?
Orange as a Dutchman just now, yeah.
I suspect you didn't get the "clock-blocked" reference.
Well, that's all right. Nobody's perfect.
I did. And I replied.
Well, I felt more props were in order. Ya gave me short shrift. So I'm going to bed, where I can dream about people laughing at my jokes.
4:12 AM
Orange is dangerous.
Okay. Night.
Yes, Robusto, go to bed before I have to thwack you.
(I've given up on RegDwight.)
Getting you to go to bed, that is.
4:13 AM
Ah. Me thought your was going thwack I.
Well, that can be arranged, with suitable inducement...
Hold on a sec, me's hunting for possible dupes.
Q: What is the question form of "used to do"?

evergreenWhat is the correct way to convert "used to do" into a question? Since I want to emphasize that the action is not on-going any more, so simple past tense is not a good idea here. Could I say "do xxx use to do" or "did xxx use to do"? Both sound weird to me. If there is no way to do it. Do you su...

Q: How does the phrase "used to" work, grammatically?

Lord TorgamusIt's common to hear people say "used to" to indicate that they did something in the past but no longer do; for example, "I used to play basketball." How would "used to," used in that context, fit into a sentence diagram? What part of speech is it?

Q: I didn't used to be?

mafutrctWhat is the negative form of "I used to be"? I often hear "I didn't used to be" but that sounds awfully wrong in my ears.

The middle one ("How does the phrase...") is different, but the first and third are definitely dupes.
The algorithm for the related-questions box could really use some improving. None of them links to any of the others.
@Martha I'm not so sure, actually. The one is asking about turning it into a question, the other about negation. I'm too tired to think clearly.
Jinx: I was just gonna post that I changed my mind.
4:22 AM
And there is yet another one, but it's a different question altogether.
@Martha You cant pre-jinx me like that!
The old question is about negating the question form, this one is just about the question form.
There you go,
that's how it works.
Yeah, I think we both need sleep.
Right on.
But for the sake of completeness,
Q: What is the difference between "used to" and "I was used to"?

HomamWhat is the difference in the meaning between the following two tenses? I used to travel alone. I was used to traveling alone.

So. Now I'm officially going to bed. I can barely type anymore. Every second keypress is a backspace.
And it's dawn here.
So, good night and laterz.
5 hours later…
9:31 AM
can anybody here tell me the english of hindi word "Zukham" ?
9:41 AM
Guys. anyone could tell me to speak english without grammatical errors
3 hours later…
12:57 PM
Q: What is the English of Hindi word "Zukham" ?

Puneet DudejaWhat is the English of Hindi word "Zukham" ? Is it "Cold" or something else ? What I think is "Cold" is collectively used for 2-3 symptoms like: "Zukham, Sardi lagna" etc.

EL&U main site is not to be used for foreign language translation (although you can ask such things in chat).
I think this is a clear-cut case of that.
i m new to this chat
1:18 PM
Hi, welcome.
Hi @Kosmo.
Hooray for stupid question titles.
I only just realized that this:
Q: How to phrase an asking sentence that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime) ?

007I want to make a question having an answer as follows: 5 is the third prime number. The bold part is the answer. How to phrase the question?

Is a dupe of this:
Q: Framing a question

GPEnglishI am the third daughter of my parents. How to frame a question that gives this answer?

Oh well. I guess it's too late now.
The newer question has more (and better) answers.
1:26 PM
Are these really the same?
I think the biggest problem with them is that they are too localized, maybe.
Well, the second one at least.
But it's not too bad I guess.
Yeah well, everybody jumped on that particular example.
But the questions are pretty much the same, they even use the same number as an example: third.
"How do I ask a question to which the answer is 'third'?"
Anyhow, I just wanted to complain how stupid the title "framing a question" is.
It should be something more descriptive.
Q: "To" versus "with" in Old English

JoseKI've been reading John Donne's Song (Go And Catch A Falling Star) and my query is on the usage of to in the line "to two or three." Yet she Will be False, ere I come, to two or three. I understand this means she will be false, before I come, with two or three others, so is the usage of ...

Is this a question about poetic interpretation disguised as a grammar question?
for me very hard to understand
I think it's a question about etymology, actually. Isn't this related to the German zu zweit and zu dritt?
1:36 PM
@RegDwight Agreed.
(I wonder if "framing a question" means to put the question in a frame.)
How come this ain't closed yet?
Q: "You and I" versus "you and me"

PierreI was surprised to hear "you and I," when I expected "you and me." Are the two expressions synonyms to each other?

Any discussion I have missed? Or may I go on and close (and possibly merge)?
@RegDwight: Pressing backspace every second keypress seems a lot of work for somebody who is asleep.
@RegDwight: I would say "merge it."
@RegDwight — Well, it's not really Old English anyway.
@kiamlaluno Waiting for a confirmation from @Kosmonaut.
1:43 PM
(Should I write "mergit"?)
@Robusto I have no idea. I have posted a wishy-washy comment and I think I'll leave it at that.
@RegDwight Yeah, seems fine.
Good. I'm off janitoring.
@Robusto It seems like a legitimate English question... but the answer may be that it is just poetic license.
The intention seems like a real grammar question though.
(to me)
OK, well I answered it. See if you think me has me head up me bum.
1:52 PM
Actually, I wonder about the last question: "are there other meanings I've not got?"
Should probably be edited.
What about these ones:
Q: "I can't confirm all what he said" versus "I can't confirm all of what he said"

Sky RedI want to know if this sentence is correct without the preposition of in it. I can't confirm all what he said. Should I instead write the following sentence? I can't confirm all of what he said. Regarding usage, I did a quick check of COHA and found some examples that did not use of...

Q: "All the good people" vs. "all of the good people"

PFrankI've heard both of these before. All the good people vs. All of the good people Are they both correct?

Q: Is it correct to use "all this" instead of "all of this"?

RMorriseyI frequently see people write "all this", instead of "all of this". Is this a grammatically correct phrase? My intuition tells me that it's wrong (the spoken phrase "all this" is really a contraction of "all of this"); but I'm having a hard time finding any evidence to support the claim.

@RegDwight This seems different because "all what he said" is incorrect in standard English (should be that instead of what).
But the other two are basically the same.
@Kosmonaut Though that's not what @Cerberus' answer says.
1:56 PM
Well, he suggested "all the things".
But it is "all the things (that) he said", with optional that left out.
He could have also suggested "all he said", again with that left out.
In any case, what needed to be replaced with that.
There's that song titled "all the things she said"...
Ah, Tatu

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