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12:00 - 18:0018:00 - 23:00

12:28 PM
Is this the quiet room?
12:41 PM
not anymore! i'm here now
So what's shakin'?
well, you know, work
and stuff
Q: 'aphorism' and 'maxims', what's the difference?

user3780Quotes, sayings, aphorisms, maxims. what's the difference. esp. aphorism v.s. maxim. BTW. Should I capital the first letter of the title sentence? how?

Yeah ...
i feel like we need a term for these questions
Robusto, you're USian, n'est ce pas?
USually, yes.
Well, we could call them "non-linear differential equations" but I think that's already been claimed by mathematics.
Or we could call them GAFT questions.
12:54 PM
mathematicians are always ruining my fun
They're like that.
I was thinking of something along the lines of Yet Another ...
but not sure how to continue
GAFT = Get A Frickin' Thesaurus ... except without the euphemism.
oh, that's ok then
Q: What is the Latin translation of "Blood is eternal"?

Tom GlennI realise this is an English Q&A site, but I was hoping someone on here might also be versed in Latin and be able to help. It is for a tattoo I am getting designed. My first search turned up the result "Sanguis Eternus", but I am not 100% convinced this is correct. Can anyone help? Cheers!

Voting to close.
12:56 PM
me too
though i'm going to answer in a comment
@F'x: You're violating the FAQ, you villain!
1:32 PM
Q: Why are the United States often referred to as America?

Ivo RossiPeople often refer to the country US as America and to the people from the US as Americans. As far as I know, that's the only case in the world where a continent's name is used for a country's name (let me know if I'm wrong). Why does that happen?

Sorry, I'm trolling the chat (slightly).
That's OK. Good to see you in here, @Kosmo. You've been busy, I take it.
@Robusto Yeah, I had a first draft submission for a publication due yesterday.
Ah. A few all-nighters, perhaps?
Well, it wasn't too bad.
Yesterday was an all afternooner.
Q: how to use in or on in English language

aliyacan you please explain the difference between the use of "in" and "on".Kindly explain in detail with examples

1:38 PM
Because it was due in Europe
Ah, time zones. They can be tricky.
Dupe, yes... also too broad of a question.
What was your article topic, if I may be so bold?
@Kosmo: BTW, four close votes on "in or on" in case you were shy about bringing the hammer down.
It is about self-organization in the suffix system.
suffix system in which language?
1:43 PM
Well, my paper focused on English, with a bit of French and German, but should just apply to language in general.
When we borrow whole words from other languages, productive suffixes can emerge and then find their function in the language
How does such a suffix emerge? Usage first?
Well, borrowed suffixes emerge from the pile of borrowed whole words containing the suffix.
Like we borrowed a ton of -ation words as whole words.
So, clearly these borrowings provide some sort of template.
And once you reach a critical mass (don't ask me what that is), you begin to see derivations increasing.
The closing of this question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/17385/…
I dunno, the duplicate seems to be rather sparse?
Q: How to use "in" or "on" in English language

aliya Possible Duplicate: When to use in, on, at? Can you please explain the difference between the use of in and on? Kindly explain it in detail with examples.

Have rather sparse number of answers, I mean.
So when a word gets introduced into a language, it comes with a lot of baggage. The nose of the camel into the tent?
1:51 PM
@Billare The question was closed because it was too broad.
Is it really fair to close the question when the duplicate answer has only one upvote?
@Robusto Well, actually, I'm not sure if the baggage really carries over. It's just that when the words you borrow all seem to have something in common, people start to make connections.
Sometimes it can be the "wrong" connection, if pure etymology is "right".
Also interesting.
The suffix -ical came about because -al was applied to nouns ending in -ic or -ics.
Since -ic was also already an adjectival suffix, I guess this caused people to glom the two together to make -ical.
-ic is actually Greek and -al is Romance.
Another thing: is vgv back?
"nicolas ainsworth"?
1:57 PM
@Kosmonaut — I've seen other Greek/roman amalgams. I wonder if many of these were filtered through the late medieval period in Europe.
The earliest -ic words actually came via French
@Billare He doesn't seem to be a registered user. Where has he posted?
(I wonder if also garlic comes from French.)
@kiamlaluno No, it doesn't!
Does that mean French don't like garlìc? ;-)
nicholas ainsworth
2:03 PM
How can you find a user who didn't register?
Where does "garlic" come from then?
@Billare It is Germanic, I think.
The lic portion is related to the word leek.
@Billare: Old English gārlēac, where _gār means "spear."
Which is why it is called Knoblauch in German (where Lauch does mean "leek").
LOL, interesting etymology.
2:04 PM
Yeah, it's not obvious.
(The Dictionary application is always useful.)
As NOAD says: "because the shape of a clove resembles the head of a spear."
The nicholas ainsworth fellow does seem to be posting a fair number of nonsensical questions, no?
I got it; it's the user who asked about double -ing.
And a long sentence about "had had"
@Kosmonaut — My Old English prof also thought it could be the -lic suffix meaning "like" ... as in "spearlike" — but leek is plausible as well.
2:09 PM
@Robusto I think the German Knoblauch is the best evidence in favor of the "leek" argument.
Leeks and garlic are all part of the onion family, which is also suggestive.
(Are we going to make a leek soup?)
By the way, do French people make garlic soup?
No leek soup, please.
@Billare I don't see any reason to assume it is not an original user account. I'll give the benefit of the doubt.
Mmmmmmm! Leeks.
2:11 PM
@Kosmonaut Right. I wasn't suggesting anything be done; just pointing out there were unusual similarities.
Yeah, I will keep an eye out.
@kiamlaluno Mmm, leek soup. The Welsh half of me is suddenly very interested.
("He dreams of 'leeks in the oven,' with some Parmesan cheese.")
@Rhodri Hopefully that half includes the taste buds.
Well, if you'll pardon the pun, you'll find many a leek in an English Gardena :)
2:13 PM
(I am not sure I want to discover which kind of leeks there are.)
Most of England before the Norman Conquest was part of what was known as the Danelaw.
And after 1016 it was entirely Danish-ruled.
But Beowulf predates that, of course.
"Hwæt. We Gardena in gear-dagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon."
Eeuwww. This translator gives *hwæt* as "what"; in the context, it means something more like "Hey! Listen!" or "STFU I'm gonna sing now!"
@Robusto What what?
In the translation of the first three lines of Beowulf, noted above.
mmmm, leek soup
Sorry, I should have added a smiley
Nobody ever gets my jokes.
2:18 PM
* pats Rhodri on the back
Ah, I didn't notice, but further down the page he refines the translation. Good job.
@Rhodri You should have said "can I get a hwæt hwæt?"
@Kosmonaut — Lulz.
@JSBangs: You are late: we already had the leek soup.
Lulz is OE for "laughing drunk under the table"
2:45 PM
@Billare I think the main similarity between nicholas ainsworth and vgv8 is that he doesn't bother fact-checking before posting.
Q: Famous ungrammatical phrase?

nicholas ainsworthLook at this famous phrase used by a British talkshow host when saying goodbye to his audience: 'Nice to see you, to see you nice!' Nobody in the UK (including my grandmother who was a frequent viewer) seemed to think it sounded strange... I think it's grammatically acceptable - due to som...

Almost all of the surrounding details here are wrong.
@Rhodri: Do you mean that vgv8 checks, or nicholas does not check?
Neither of them check, as far as I can tell. I should have said "they dont' bother fact checking" above, sorry.
@Rhodri: Well, you also said "the main similarity between;" I don't know why, but my brain read "the main difference between."
Dupe alert.
Q: BookList or BooksList

nonameliveHi all, I'm wondering wether or not I should use a plural form noun with a collection name. For example, which one is correct, bookList or booksList (obviously they are variables in a programming language)? Thanks in advance. Kai.

Q: Is it correct to say "lesson count" or "lessons count"?

Septagram Possible Duplicate: “user accounts” or “users account”? If I mean "number of lessons", which grammatical construction should I go for? I can imagine three of them: Lesson count Lessons count Lessons' count

Q: "user accounts" or "users account"?

kiamlalunoIs it correct to say "user accounts" or "users account", when referring to the accounts any user has on a site like this one? In general, in the case of a noun that is used as adjective for the noun that follows, is it better to use <plural-noun> <singular-noun> or <singular-noun&g...

Q: Use of the plural with list, and when item count is 0

greg0ire Possible Duplicate: “user accounts” or “users account”? I keep asking myself which form is the most correct when listing items on a website: "Article list" or "Articles list"? Also, when nothing was found, do you say: "No items were found" or "No item was ...

Hey! That is one of my questions!
2:54 PM
And why is this still open, me wonders:
Q: Why is "It was a dark and stormy night.." not a good opening?

Kaustubh PAlso, why has it spawned an award for bad writing?

That's not a terrible question, surely? Though it might be better on the writing site.
My point exactly.
Now it is done. :-)
"dark and stormy" belonges on writers.se, for sure
@Reg: Good to see you up and around. How's the cold?
3:02 PM
I still think Robusto is wrong; it's a splendid opening sentence :-)
@JSBangs: I wonder if you have actually read Pinker. Because he actually agrees with you in a few key points. (I'm in chapter 4 at the moment.)
@Rhodri — Feel free to submit it to a publisher. Your fortune is assured!
You argue that we do not need words to have concepts, and that is exactly what he says.
@Robusto The cold sucks huge balls, what should I say.
@Robusto Great! Now I just need 20,000 other words to go with it.
3:16 PM
@Rhodri — The average novel is 80-100,000 words, so get busy.
@RegDwight — Refresh my memory. Which side of the issue do you come down on?
@Robusto That would make my last fanfiction epic a novel. Eep.
And ... T-Rex is trolling again:
Q: Are there words that are always plural?

ArthurRexAre there words that have no plural counterpart because they are, in fact bi-contextual - not that there is anything wrong with that......Rabies/Rice? Is there a term/rule for this phenomena?

@Rhodri — Well, usually they have to be good words, interestingly ordered by a skillful practitioner ...
@Robusto I have no idea because I have never really given it any thought, or a tleast I have never had a discussion on the matter. But that's precisely why this book might turn out helpful.
@Robusto Either that or you have to throw enough sex scenes to distract the readers from your crap words.
But I do find it a bit insulting that I am not allowed to read stuff just because someone somewhere happens to not like it.)))
3:24 PM
@RegDwight — ???
Here's something fun to read:
23 hours ago, by JSBangs
@RegDwight, The Language Instinct. I would have thought you had better linguistic taste than to go in for Pinker
The discussion by two 13th century students is an enjoyable diversion on the nature of the conceptual vs. the real.
Or 14th century ... I forget.
So now I have no taste just because I'm reading a book I had never even heard of until someone (a linguist, no less) mentioned it in this very chat.
@Robusto This has to be a dupe; we must have talked about uncountable nouns and all that.
That's like saying, don't go watch Titanic, it sucks. Well, thanks a bunch but I would like to build my own opinion. Even if I know in advance, even if I am 100% certain that Titanic sucks, I will still watch it. Because otherwise, how can I possibly argue why it sucks?
3:29 PM
@RegDwight, i should probably have included a smiley with my original comment
i didn't mean to be so negative about it
@JSBangs Yeah, no hard feelings.
i just dislike Pinker (and Chomskian linguistics in general), and was giving you a gentle ribbing about it
I figured as much. Nobody likes Chomsky on this site.
@JSBangs But back to my actual question, you do realize that he agrees with you on certain key points?
@Kosmonaut — I'm pretty sure we have.
he does agree about concepts not requiring words, yes
3:33 PM
@Robusto I have read The White Company as a child. But I don't remember much.
but he generally presents the Chomskian view of human language as a content-rich innate system
with a supposedly robust set of linguistic universals, etc.
@Robusto Um, yes, I've seen that, like, two minutes ago?
So you looked. OK.
The Language Instinct is not a Chomskyan view — it is in-between.
It's certainly not perfect, but I think it can be an interesting book for a general audience.
3:39 PM
@RegDwight — While you were answering I was posting. The White Company is not really a children's book. It's a pretty good satire on the entire medieval English society.
You should read it again as an adult, if you have time.
Feb 8 at 15:33, by RegDwight
Conan-Doyle is totally underrated.
Indeed. Oh, btw, I love that the woman Corso encounters on the train is Irene Adler !!!
That is actually one of the very few names that I do recall.
The Club Dumas is such a lot of fun. I didn't have time to read much while my son was home from school last week, but I'm making up for it.
here's the paper i've been wanting to link since yesterday: umass.edu/preferen/You%20Must%20Read%20This/…
3:44 PM
Irene Adler is "The Woman" Sherlock Holmes always refers to. From "A Scandal in Bohemia" etc.
@Kosmonaut: Whaddya think: Is this a possibility for dupifying T-Rex's post?
Q: Politics: Singular or Plural

MidhatWhich is correct: Politics is out of scope OR Politics are out of scope

@Robusto Hm. I remember mentioning measles and billiards myself. I think it was on that news question...
Q: The news is good. Why?

Mehper C. PalavuzlarWe use The news is good. instead of The news are good. What is the rationale behind this? Are there similar situations in English?

I would go with either. Except it's not really clear what T-Rex is asking.
@Robusto That's what NARQ is there for.
(And there's always the downvote button. "This question is unclear or not useful".)
@JSBangs There was an interesting point a colleague made the other day that was related to that topic
But if I start downvoting T-Rex questions where will it end?
3:52 PM
Thinking about language "universals" and things that we take for granted as natural and rooted in our mind/given in advance
@Kosmonaut — Yes? Go on.
In sign languages, there is verb agreement
Well, many sign languages
But all sign language verbs that inflect are verbs of transfer
This is because of the iconic natural of transfer in a visual medium, as opposed to an auditory medium
Interesting. How do verbs inflect in sign language?
Actually — and again this is not my observation, but I love it — sign languages are the only languages that literally inflect.
Because inflectere is a Latin word meaning "bend" :)
But basically think of the word give
Oh, first I should say, referentials work in a different way in sign language
Instead of having pronouns, you basically have a certain visual space, where you basically "store" a reference to something for later use
So maybe the upper lefthand corner of the space in front of you is "mom" and the upper righthand corner is "the remote control"
You designate these spots
That's really cool. I never knew that. I love the "clipboard space" idea.
3:59 PM
And then you have verb agreement by signing GIVE but moving your hands from reference #1 to reference #2
Actually give is a bad one because it is ditransitive and needs 3 arguments
Maybe SEE.
It forces you to reexamine your assumptions about what constitutes language in general.
It's a great mini-argument against language universals in the real UG sense.
I read a story by Ursula K. LeGuin which was about ants creating literature out of chemical compounds that they could "read" with their antennae. I wish she had gone into the language aspect of it more.
Q: Confusion about a stanza from Rudyard Kipling

Fire Flux Following is the stanza Teach us delight in simple things, And mirth that has no bitter springs; Forgiveness free of evil done, And Love to all men' neath the sun! What does second line and third line mean? And does the last line mean love to all people who work hard under the ...

Pinker mentions modifying verbs to indicate continuous action, in ASL.
@RegDwight I think they use reduplication for that... am I remembering right?
4:06 PM
"Any verb in ASL can be modified to indicate that the action is being done continuously: the signer superimposes an arclike motion on the sign and repeats it quickly. A verb can also be modified to indicate that the action is being done to more than one object (for example, several candles): the signer terminates the sign in once location in space, then repeats it but terminates it at another location."
Yeah, that's reduplication.
"These inflections can be combined in either of two orders: blow toward the left and then toward the right and repeat, or blow toward the left twice and then blow toward the right twice.
"The first order means 'to blow out the candles on one cake, then another cake, then the first cake again, then the second cake again'; the second means 'to blow out the candles on one cake continuously, and then blow out the candles on another cake continuously'."
Sign languages are really cool.
@Robusto I think the answers show this is clearly for Writers.SE
I'm somewhat on the fence about that one. But I have no idea what is being asked here:
Q: How to express to look more or all side and consider more or all views for a thing ?

user3780one side -> on the other hand -> all sides one view -> multiple view -> all views

What in the world?
4:18 PM
-> more world -> all worlds!
(I hope I'm playing by the rules.)
@RegDwight So, you're on the fence about that Rudyard Kipling question?
A: "Influence of media in our lives," or "influence of media on our lives?"

YitzchakYour earlier question was closed as an exact duplicate. That means someone else already asked the same question and got good answers. I suggest you check them out. There's a link in posted in your earlier closed question.

That "answer" should be a comment.
@Kosmonaut I have no idea whether it would be on-topic on Writers.
@RegDwight Would you say it could be on-topic here?
It certainly feels off-topicish, as per the FAQ (criticism and discussion of English Literature). But we have to keep in mind that it is fundamentally not very different from Yoichi's questions. Here's a weird sentence, what does it mean.
4:25 PM
I don't really like those either.
But this goes a bit further.
Yeah well, as I said, I dunno. I'd probably vote to close if my vote weren't binding. The point is, deciphering someone's words is deciphering someone's words, be that someone Rudyard Kipling, Charlie Sheen, or a Washigton Post scribe.
Well... it depends.
It is hard to quantify.
It certainly is!
I agree with @Kosmonaut that this goes further than the others, and I'm not sure I can put my finger on the exact reason either
I think the things that bug me about it (which don't necessarily make it off topic) include the fact that it reads somewhat like a homework question
Mar 12 at 18:54, by Robusto
@RegDwight — If you can't quite put your finger on what you think is off-topic about it, yet act on such uncertainty, that doesn't sound like judicial restraint to me.
4:35 PM
and that there's no demonstration of effort on the part of the asker to understand (a la "I've looked up the word spring in a dictionary and it said this - but that doesn't seem to fit...)
@psmears This.
@psmears Well, if it is a homework question, you're spot on.
A: How to deal with homework questions

RegDwightDraft, based on the StackOverflow policy This is an attempt to reconcile two extreme positions in a way that is acceptable to the majority of the community: Some might feel it's irrelevant that it's homework:we should always provide a complete answer. Others might feel this site is not the pla...

The question could be rephrased as "Please explain this entire stanza to me"
"*Make a good-faith attempt to solve the problem yourself first*.
If we can't see enough work on your part, your question might be voted down and closed.

*Ask about specific problems with your existing approach to answering the question*.
If you can't do that yet, try doing more of your own work first or searching for more general help."
(part of me thinks it could reasonably be turned into three questions - one about each line where there is uncertainty - but I don't feel that that's a better option...)
4:40 PM
(I will never figure out italics in this chat.)
@RegDwight It's the line break in that post: putting in a line break turns a post into preformatted text, essentially.
Ah yes! Of course! That is so obvious!
(I will never figure out if Italics is the name of a population.)
Thank you, @Martha.
5:17 PM
Well, back from lunch. Cashew chicken at a "Japanese" restaurant. Something decidedly fishy about that.
The cashews or the chicken?
It's not a Japanese restaurant if there is nothing fishy about it.
Especially if it's a nice sushi restaurant
Well, nowadays most "Japanese" restaurants around here feature Chinese and Korean food and are usually run by Koreans or Chinese.
I won't eat sushi at a restaurant that doesn't have a Japanese sushi chef.
@Robusto: Whereabouts are you? I'm in California, USA and it's similarly common to see Korean/Chinese restaurants serving ostensibly Japanese food.
Boston area.
5:25 PM
Oh wow. Maybe it's a coastal thing.
Nah. It's everywhere now. 20 years ago you couldn't get sushi except at a Japanese restaurant. Now every Asian culture thinks they can do sushi.
At least in America.
The point is, you really have to study to be a sushi chef in Japan. It's all about knowing when the fish is good and when it's bad, and what parts are good and what are not.
I agree - there's usually a pretty clear distinction between the places with trained chefs and the places that are making it up as they go.
<3 sushi :)
@WarriorBob — Same here. But the good stuff is really expensive, and I don't want to eat the bad stuff.
there is a good supply of high-quality sushi in Seattle, where I lived until very recently, but an even larger supply of cheap tasteless stuff
I've been fortunate in that around here, the "bad" stuff is really just blander. It's still tasty, just not exquisite. It isn't gross by any means. We get a lot of "California-style" rolls that I'd never see in Japan, but they go over well enough in the little sushi bars here.
5:30 PM
@Warrior: What part of California?
@Kosmonaut a lot of language universals are obviously false on their face once you add sign languages to your sample. this is a fatal counterargument against some of the stronger forms of UG
@Robusto At the moment, the central coast - near San Luis Obispo if you happen to be familiar with it.
Yep. SLO.
My opinion of sushi (and chopsticks) is that I'm not living in the stone age. I don't need to eat with sticks, because there are much better tools available. Similarly, I don't need to eat my protein while it's still raw and disgusting, because we have the technology to cook it.
@Martha — Chopsticks are perfect for some things.
And sushi is good. Mmmmmboy!
5:32 PM
@Martha To each his/her own I suppose! I've actually grown to enjoy chopsticks (and the taste of raw fish) quite a bit but I definitely can't fault anyone who doesn't :)
Thanks for the link, but that's all common sense, at least to me personally. This bit is especially relevant: "Chomsky’s notion of Universal Grammar (UG) has been mistaken, not for what it is – namely, the programmatic label for whatever it turns out to be that all children bring to learning a language – but
for a set of substantial research findings about what all languages have in common." That really says it all.
I don't fault the person, I fault the argument.
@Martha Forks were invented like two hundred years ago or something. Not exactly Stone Age.
@Robusto Well, yeah, I've used quite a few chopsticks in various crafty projects, or for reaching into deepish crevasses, that sort of thing. The one thing they're not suited to is delivering food from the plate to the mouth. They are especially unsuited to delivering rice from the plate to the mouth.
hey, i just got [Enlightened] again
5:36 PM
(I guess I could not use the "history is cyclic" argument.)
@Martha, indeed. i never understood why rice is the main thing for eating with chopsticks. it seems to cry out for a spoon
@RegDwight Forks were invented millennia ago. Eating forks were invented probably around 600 years ago.
@Martha My point exactly.
Sticks were invented millenia ago, too.
And I am not sure how eating sushi with a fork is even supposed to work.
@Martha @RegDwight and fish were invented well before that.
Oops, gotta go.
5:40 PM
@WarriorBob Everything was invented roughly 5000 years ago.
So... in summary, sushi is ancient, and eating it is delicious, but possibly anachronistic, QED :)
Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if they had totally forgotten to invent eating.
@Martha — It depends on the rice. The kind of rice they eat in Japan is sticky rice, which clumps together in sticky balls that are entirely suitable for being picked up by chopsticks.
I'll allow that chopsticks suck for your Minute Rice or Rice-A-Roni.
Chopsticks are also perfect for noodles. I use them to eat spaghetti even.
Q: "In time " versus "on time"

aliyaWhich one is correct, "submit your work in time" or "submit your work on time?"

It seems todays' topic is "'in' versus 'on'."
5:56 PM
Cultural note: Sushi and sandwiches were both invented by gamblers who didn't want to stop gambling long enough to eat a proper meal, but didn't want the gunk from the meal to mess up the game.
This is why sushi is really finger food. No chopsticks required! :)
@Robusto It depends on the noodles, too. Spaghetti (spaghettini, spaghettoni, bavette, maccheroncini, capellini) work fine, but what about, say, gobbetti or conchiglie rigate?
The nori (seaweed wrap) protects the fingers.
@RegDwight — It only works with long noodles.
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