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9:00 PM
@kiamlaluno Ah, okay. I do remember that.
Well, the dog names bit; not the expert bit. :P
Wouldn't an English expert know the names of English dog breeds?
 
@MrHen I am sure you mean "dog bites." ;-)
@MrHen It would be like saying that an English expert knows the names of all the rivers.
It would also as saying that an expert knows everything. In that case, it would not be an expert.
 
@kiamlaluno Well, true. (For the record, I don't think English experts know much about dogs.)
 
I find English very interesting, especially when compared with the other language I know, Italian.
The differences between the languages is what I find interesting.
 
Agreed.
I mostly know programming languages outside of English; the differences there are also interesting
But I enjoy learning the differences between English and other spoken languages
It helps me when I meet people outside of an English speaking country :)
0
Q: What/who are "toy soldiers"?

RiMMERThere is a song called Toy Soldiers by Martika of which a part of the lyrics goes: Step by step Heart to heart Left, right, left We all fall down Like toy soldiers Bit by bit Torn apart We never win But the battle wages on For toy soldiers This song was later remade b...

Are these kinds of questions on-topic?
Do we have a meta discussion up for this type yet?
 
Programming languages are interesting too. When I find a new language, I always think "why did anybody think of doing this, before?"
@MrHen IMO, it is off-topic.
Maybe I am splitting hairs, and it is an acceptable question.
 
9:12 PM
@kiamlaluno Okay. I will type up a meta-question
 
The fact is asking about what written in a song makes me think it is off-topic, like proofreading is off-topic.
 
The sort-of-consensus that has a nebulous existence, but I don't know if it's documented anywhere, is that it's OK if they're asking about the interpretation of a specific phrase or idiom in the song or poem
However, in this case the asker knows the meaning (after all, it just means "toy soldiers"); the fact he asks for a "deeper meaning" to me makes it off-topic...
 
@psmears this is also my understanding. in this case the phrase "toy soldiers" is being used literally, but a NNS doesn't necessarily know that, plus there are interesting subtleties to be brought out in the connotations
 
0
Q: Are interpretations of song lyrics, poems or other creative works on-topic?

MrHenExamples (feel free to edit in more): What/who are “toy soldiers”? What do these confusing lyrics mean? This is mostly to spearhead further individual discussions about similar questions. Are questions requesting meanings regarding particular the uses in creative works on-topic? The greater s...

 
The question seems asking for the meaning in the song lyrics.
 
9:18 PM
It doesn't matter to me; I like deciphering meaning. I just want to be consistent.
 
@JSBangs But are the subtleties to do with the use of particular English in the song - or is it a question about the underlying metaphor (which would be just as applicable if the song were translated into another language)?
 
@psmears i could go either way. i'm not voting to close, but i'm not voting to reopen either if it gets closed
 
I think "What does the phrase xxx mean, in this given context" is on topic, but "What does the metaphor yyy symbolise" is not. (Though I agree that in many cases it may not be clear to a NNS whether there is a common idiom or whether it's just a metaphor based on the literal meaning...)
@JSBangs I don't actually feel strongly about this particular question (I agree that from an NNS POV it might not be clear whether it's an idiom or not), but I get the impression that's not the case here. I've voted to close, on balance, but I won't be upset either if it stays open :)
 
@psmears In that case, the OP should ask if that usage of the word is common, and what it means.
Asking what the singer means in a song is a little different from asking what a word means in the all-days language.
It would be like asking a question about the Divine Comedy.
 
@kiamlaluno you mean "everyday language"
 
9:31 PM
@JSBangs Yep. :-)
I don't know why, but "every" makes me think of "evergreen." :-)
 
@kiamlaluno every derives from ever in some fashion, but i don't know the details
 
I mean, I know Italian, but knowing the meaning of a cantica in the Divine Comedy is quite a different from knowing Italian.
@JSBangs I guess it must be so, or it is a plot!
@JSBangs They are related to the same Old English word. Therefore, it is not a plot. :-)
 
@kiamlaluno Which dictionary did you use? Maybe the plotters have infiltrated it! :)
 
Oh no!
Well, I normally use the NOAD/OED. That is what the Mac gives me.
I am using the Mac OS X Lion, and I can see both the dictionaries.
I find interesting that every comes from the Old English ǣfre ǣlc (ever + each).
I must confess: I know nothing about Old English.
I must say it before somebody says I am an Old English expert.
 
@kiamlaluno i'm sorry, but answering any question on any topic automatically makes you an expert in that topic. if you fail to answer any question on that topic henceforth you'll be legally culpable
 
9:43 PM
@JSBangs Does that mean I must say "mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa"?
I can do that. That is all the Latin I know, but (hey!) I can say that 10 times in row. :-)
Which topic is "any topic"?
 
@kiamlaluno every topic. they're from the same Old English root, you know
 
Sigh! I will go to the prosecutor right tomorrow morning.
If you see I am gone between 13 minutes, you will know where I went.
(Is the prosecutor office open at midnight?)
 
OH NOES. hit my vote limit again
across all sites! i thought that the vote limit was per-site, not network-wide
 
Vote early, vote often. But not too often, it appears...
 
@JSBangs It is per-site. :-)
 
10:02 PM
@kiamlaluno then why did i run out on SO and english at the same time?
 
I wonder why some users ask a question with "hi," and end it with "thank you."
Because... You used all your votes in both the sites.
I cannot vote anymore on DA, for today, but I can still vote on SO, for example.
 
chalk it up to coincidence
@kiamlaluno i really like the ones who are uber-formal. "Dearest colleages, Is it offensive to use the word fart in a business letter? Respectfully yours, user1208392"
 
@JSBangs Ahah!
It's a miracle they don't add "I hope all is fine, for you."
"My dear Q&A colleage; it's all fine with the word fart if you prefix it with respectful, as in respectful fart."
2
I guess they are the same users who would write their shoe size, if there would be a field for that.
 
you got a star for that
(should be: if there were a field for that)
 
Oh wow. Why thank you.
 
10:08 PM
do you mind me correcting you?
 
I fell...
@JSBangs I surely don't mind you correcting me.
I.. don't... mind...
OK; I proofread what I wrote.
 
@kiamlaluno i know that my wife complains that Americans (and probably English speakers in general) are very reluctant to correct foreigners, even if the foreigners desperately want to be corrected for the purpose of learning
 
I know somebody, and she has never corrected me about that. I think one time I asked her if I could use "I would..., I would," and she replied me it was fine.
@JSBangs It is what I have experienced.
I should not say somebody; it seems not respectful of her.
 
my theory is that english speakers are used to dealing with NNSs and so are relatively insensitive to such errors, and consider it rude to correct people. native speakers of languages that have less international prominence are more surprised when they meet a non-native speaker, and more confident in correct their mistakes
speakers of german, russian, spanish seem to take non-native speakers in stride and tolerate their errors pretty well
 
I can understand that, but would that be valid for a person you know in a more personal way?
 
10:15 PM
romanians are always a little astonished that i can speak romanian w/o a romanian background, and are pretty quick to correct me
@kiamlaluno i wouldn't correct just anyone, especially in casual conversation. but this is a forum for english, after all
anyway, dinner time
i'm out for a while
 
@JSBangs Have a good one. :-)
@JSBangs I would not mind if you correct me even outside this forum, but I get your point. :-)
 
 
1 hour later…
11:44 PM
Greetings.
 
@Cerberus Good morning.
Should I have not said "good morning"?
 
Afternoon would have been more appropriate for me... but good morning is fine!
 
@Cerberus Oh, I thought you were somewhere in Western Europe.
 
11:59 PM
I am, but I like to sleep in.
 

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