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June 12

Latin letters in Greek

How do people who use Greek write the names of letters of the Latin alphabet? For example, we refer to the letter β as beta. Do Greek speakers refer to the letter b as βη? What of the other letters?    → Michael J    00:39, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

We have articles on Hebraization of English and Cyrillization of Greek, but we don't have an article on Greekising English. Can anyone create one?? Georgia guy (talk) 00:43, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Hellenization of English: έι, μπι, σι, ντι, ι, εφ, τζι, έιτς, άι, τζέι, κέι, ελ, εμ, εν, όου, πι, κιου, αρ, ες, τι, γιου, βι, ντάμπλ'γιου, εξ, γουάι, ζεντ/ζι. —Stephen (talk) 03:50, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
That's based solely on the modern English letter names. If there was any tradition of referring to Latin letter names in Greek before WW2, then I bet it wouldn't have been based on English...
Michael_J -- Modern Greek β by itself is not IPA [b]. AnonMoos (talk) 06:54, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
On the Greek Wikipedia the just use the Latin symbols without spelling the names I guess that doesn't help. Adam Bishop (talk) 16:15, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

In the 19th century: Latin [1], English [2][3], French [4], German [5]. --Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 18:20, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

I notice that none of these examples spell out the letter Y in the French way as "i grec" (the Greek I). — Kpalion(talk) 13:39, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

Romanization of Greek. Oalexander (talk) 05:02, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

That's the opposite of what the original poster was asking for.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 20:02, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Over... over you

The chorus of Silversun Pickups' song Sci-Fi Lullaby, a breakup song, reads:

It's over, over, over
Over you

I fail to understand what this "Over you" tries to express - can someone help please? --KnightMove (talk) 05:34, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

You can't necessarily expect song lyrics to make sense. Oftentimes the words are just put there to make the lyrics scan or rhyme, or to fit in with the melody. That said, "over you" in this context could mean at least two things. Either "it's over... over you" meaning "it's over because of you", or the word "I'm" could be omitted, as in "it's over.... [I'm] over you." --Viennese Waltz 07:22, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
There was a Doonesbury sequence with a character talking to Jimmy Thudpucker. The unnamed character can't really be called a "thinly disguised" version of Bob Dylan because that would vastly overstate the thickness of the disguise — Trudeau never said explicitly who it was but he wasn't trying to conceal it at all. Crypto-Dylan is getting an award from Jimmy Carter calling him an "authentic American voice". Quoth he: "An authentic American voice! Can you beat that, Jim? I mean, I just want it to rhyme, man!" --Trovatore (talk) 04:53, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
It certainly seems like a play on different usages of "over". English is good with short words that have many uses. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:13, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, but this doesn't help me getting the different meaning. However, I think that Viennese Waltz is right.
Another question on topic: One of the most popular funny memes made me assume that "I'm over it" can also be interpreted as "I surpass that." But I don't find this meaning in the online dictionaries - so, am I wrong? --KnightMove (talk) 08:39, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
I don't interpret those shirts that way. I interpret Harrison Ford's "I'm fuckin' over it" T-shirt as meaning "That's in the past, I've moved on since then, why don't you do the same?" ~Anachronist (talk) 06:10, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
@KnightMove: "It's over, over, over" means that the relationship is over, finished. "Over you" means that the singer is no longer in love with, attracted to, or impressed by, the other person in the relationship and is moving on with no regrets. The use here of 'over' with two meanings is rhyming repetition. Akld guy (talk) 20:09, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
The description alongside the lyrics of the song that KnightMove linked to suggest a further intended meaning of the words. The relationship is over because the world is about to end. This might be intended literally, metaphorically (the end of the relationship seems like the end of the singer's world) or both.
So, the relationship is over (finished), the singer is over (no longer loves) the other person, the end is because of (over) the other person, the singer's (emotional) world is over, the actual world is over (demolished for a hyperspace bypass, perhaps). This being art, any and all of these might be intended by the artists. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 05:08, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
I always liked "If I had to do it all over again, I'd do it all over you." --jpgordon𝄢𝄆 𝄐𝄇 18:38, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

June 13

Verbing weirds the language

"Verbing weirds the language" according to Calvin and Hobbes. I'm not a linguist. Is there a linguistic term for converting a noun into a verb like this? Is there some concept of acceptable versus unacceptable "verbing"? -Arch dude (talk) 04:38, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

See Conversion (word formation). "Conversion" or "zero derivation" is the creation of a word from another word without any change in form, while "verbification" or "verbing" is the creation of a verb from another word with or without change in form. That article even mentions the Calvin and Hobbes example, in the "Humor" section. Also note that weird is an adjective rather than a noun. --Theurgist (talk) 08:04, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
Whether or not a particular instance of verbing is acceptable is dependent on the usefulness of the conversion, context and individual taste. The process of acceptance of verbing is idiosyncraric. Take animal names, for example. "Fish" (noun) and "fish" (verb) are an old pair (I don't know, but I suspect the verb derived from the noun), and similarly, one of the meanings of "to rabbit" is to hunt rabbits. I draw a blank, however, at forms such as "to tiger" or "to moose". - Donald Albury 11:40, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
There's also ferret, though that means to hunt with ferrets; and whaling: dictionaries support "to whale" as a verb, but I think it must be quite rare in that form. AndrewWTaylor (talk) 12:02, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
The gerund form is another matter. There are many English nouns that appear to be a present participle of a verbalization, but the form without the "-ing" ending used as a verb feels very awkward. For instance, "truffling", the act of hunting for truffles, is acceptable to me, but I am very uncomfortable with "to truffle". Another recent usage has been "wilding", meaning to make wild, or the act of making wild. but I don't recall seeing "to wild" in use ("rewild" is another matter, however). I don't think "truffling" is a verbification, as it (and other words) appears to be creating a new noun with no intermediate usage of a verb derived from a noun. - Donald Albury 12:58, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
We used to form verbs with the prefix be-, it seems a pity we don't still do it. "We shall bewild the land!" DuncanHill (talk) 13:04, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
It appears that fish (noun) preceded fish (verb).[6]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:21, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
This would be the natural order of things. Off the top of my head, the Latin word cathedra becomes (via French) the English noun "chair". After a while the verbal expression "to chair" somebody arises. (talk) 18:51, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Thanks, all. It's clear the Calvin verbed "verb". It's likely that he verbed the adjective "weird" instead of the obscure noun "weird", but with Calvin, you can never know for sure. It would be great if we could re-introduce the use of the "be-" prefix. Now that I know that verbing is a subset of the more general process of "conversion", I'll raise the issue of "reveal". I am seeing "reveal" used as a noun a lot recently. Its meaning is distinct from "revelation, as the "reveal" focuses on the moment the "reveal" occurs, ("the big reveal") while "revelation is more about the information, I think. -Arch dude (talk) 03:26, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
There are examples of this going in the other direction, what I would describe as "nouning". Example, the neologism "It's a big ask!" 2A00:23C0:8601:4501:980A:A922:1FFF:F590 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:49, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Also nouning adjectives, such as "It's my bad!" {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 04:55, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
That's a counterbalance to merchandise described as "goods". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 07:42, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Is there such a thing as "singling"? I refer to the loathsome practice of referring to multiple items as "product". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 20:44, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
English nouns can move between countable and mass. English "peas", plural of "pea", derives from French "pease", a mass noun like English "rice". Many nouns have both countable and mass uses. Cf. hair v. hairs, fish v. fishes, etc. - Donald Albury 21:43, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

June 14

debut novel vs first novel

I'm not a native English speaker but I was under the impression that debut is used for public appearance of a figure such in sport games or performance while premiere or first is used for first appearance of "something" like movie. So after seeing Debut novel I'm confused, is it a good English? Assafn (talk) 05:53, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

See Debut novel#Etymology for some background. Whether or not it's good English, it does seem to be the more common term. The term is accurate in the sense that the novel isn't making a debut, the author is, and the novel is the means to that end. ~Anachronist (talk) 06:05, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
But what about people who are already well known for their plays, poetry, non-fiction writing etc? If they decide to write their first novel, that is hardly the writer's debut. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 08:25, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
English is neither logical not consistent in usage. The noun "debut" may mean "first appearance", but as an adjective "debut" seems to have become a synonym for "first". Just a-run-of-the-mill shift of usage. - Donald Albury 11:15, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Check the origin of "debut".[7]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:07, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Transliteration from latin alphabet to cyrillic Alphanet

How to make transliteration from latin alphabet to Cyrillic alphabet? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:02, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Some sounds are easy. But I think whoever answers this question should try to focus on those sounds that English has that Russian lacks. Georgia guy (talk) 17:17, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
See Cyrillization. Rojomoke (talk) 17:40, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
There's unfortunately no article for Cyrillization of English. Any reason?? Georgia guy (talk) 17:49, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
The OP did not say that they were transliterating English. To answer the question we'd need to know which language is being transliterated. Also, Cyrillic is not used only for writing Russian. Our article Cyrillic alphabets lists dozens of languages which are normally written in a Cyrillic alphabet, and the representation of sounds is not the same in every alphabet -- that is, there is not a single Cyrillic alphabet but many. So we would also need to know which Cyrillic alphabet is being used for the transliteration. CodeTalker (talk) 19:45, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Georgia_guy -- some English sounds for which there aren't letters in Russian Cyrillic include [θ], [ð], [æ], [h] (nowadays "h" is usually approximated as "х", formerly often as "г")... AnonMoos (talk) 23:53, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
AnonMoos, for the first of these, it would make sense to use Fita per the fact that the reason it got the f sound was that Russian lacked the th sound. If Russian had the th sound, this letter probably would have been kept for it. For the second of these, I have no good choice unfortunately. Georgia guy (talk) 00:42, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
There exist instructions for transliterating into the Russian script. The most elaborated are those of the Russian cartographic service. There are separate instructions even for Welsh and Maori, as well as for placenames of West African states and so on, no need to think out something. They are not letter-to-letter or phoneme-to-phoneme, rather a mix of transliteration and transcription. For Bulgarian there are too, albeit not so comprehensive. Some links and references are in the aforementioned article, Cyrillization. Шурбур (talk) 07:48, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

"Navigate necesse est, vivere non"

Google translates that Latin quote from Pompey as "Navigate need to live with it". Usually I can extract the gist from Google, but this one has me stumped. What translation would provide meaning? —2606:A000:1126:4CA:0:98F2:CFF6:1782 (talk) 21:33, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

If you put in the two halves of the sentence separately in Google Translate, "navigare necesse est" and "vivere non est necesse", it actually comes up with pretty decent solutions. "it is necessary to sail" and "it is not necessary to live". Fut.Perf. 21:40, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
(ec) It should be Navigare necesse est, and it means "We have to sail; we don't have to live." Pompey was commanding ships' captains to sail when they were reluctant because of the threatening weather. Deor (talk) 21:41, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
And I just noticed that this can be found in List of Latin phrases (N). Deor (talk) 21:43, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the prompt and lucid replies! —2606:A000:1126:4CA:0:98F2:CFF6:1782 (talk) 21:47, 14 June 2018 (UTC) . . . P.s.: this is from the Greek, "πλεῖν ἀνάγκη, ζῆν οὐκ ἀνάγκη" which Google cryptically translates as "more than needed, of necessity" (huh?).
Google Translate only does Modern Greek, not Ancient Greek. Deor (talk) 22:50, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Evidently, it tries to translate Ancient Greek:[8]2606:A000:1126:4CA:0:98F2:CFF6:1782 (talk) 22:55, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, it will try; but it assumes that what you entered is Modern Greek, so it can't really deal with it. Deor (talk) 22:59, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

June 15

How many grammar rules are needed for speaking a language?

Every now and then I see lists of essential vocabulary for learners of (English as) a foreign language. They range from 1,000+ to 3,000 something. I wonder whether a list of essential grammar rules for nonnative learners would make sense too, and how long would this list be. It would for example include frequent structures like conditionals, relative clauses, but could exclude structures that can be circumvented like "He would have preferred to have been ..." or "Having been working for the government for a long time, my experience ..." --Hofhof (talk) 13:03, 15 June 2018 (UTC) Grammatical construction

It seems that you're asking about constructions, more than about "rules" in the ordinary sense. Our Grammatical construction article is unfortunately quite brief... AnonMoos (talk) 13:37, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
However, it links to Construction grammar, which has a lot more content. Loraof (talk) 15:19, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
These are quite good references. Are there works regarding concrete "inventory of constructions" (as they call them), that is, actual elements, not just describing the theoretical grammatical scaffold? --Hofhof (talk) 16:08, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
You could try looking at a descriptive grammar of English. Maybe you can even find one that numbers the constructions in English. Be aware, though, that authors may disagree on how many "rules" there are. Moreover, nesting and recursion can produce quite complex constructions. Linguists often study rules for constructing sentences, rather than specifying constructions. And, of course, speakers bend and break rules all the time. There is basically an unbounded realm of intelligible constructions. - Donald Albury 17:05, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Ain't it the truth! Bearing in mind that the most important rule is to be understood by your audience. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:32, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Tell that to James Joyce (the author of Finnegans Wake). -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 20:42, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Hofhof -- "Construction grammar" is one particular type of linguistic theory. If you want a summary of English constructions without a heavy dose of abstract theory, then you could look at A Communicative Grammar of English by Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik, or The Syntactic Phenomena of English by James D. McCawley. If you're not afraid to go to an older source, there's always Otto Jespersen's A Modern English Grammar (in seven volumes)... AnonMoos (talk) 15:54, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

June 16

Pound sign as letter

The Chiricahua article contains the statement £igá' means "it is white". There's no mention of the currency symbol being used as a character in the £ article. Should it be the Ł L with stroke or L with middle tilde instead?

Our article Ł says “Ł or ł, described in English as L with stroke, is a letter of the West Slavic (Polish, Kashubian, and Sorbian), Łacinka (Latin Belarusian), Łatynka (Latin Ukrainian), Wymysorys, Navajo, Dene Suline, Inupiaq, Zuni, Hupa, and Dogrib alphabets”. Since this mentions several Indian languages, this is probably what was intended. Loraof (talk) 14:23, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
I've tried to find a source, and [9] gives "it is white" as łì-gài. I'm now going to fix the article, adding this citation. -- (talk) 15:14, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
It might be an old variant of Americanist phonetic notation, though I'm not familiar with it, and it's not listed in Pullum and Ladusaw's Phonetic Symbol Guide... AnonMoos (talk) 15:59, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Note the pound sign was used for (!) [ʒ] in the Turkmen Latin alphabet shortly during the early 1990s. --Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 20:14, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Name that rhetorical technique

Here's an easy one for ya. What do you call it when people talk like this?

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians)

Whether pagan or Christian, whether man or woman, whether boy or girl, whether slave or free whoever has stolen from me, Annianus [son of] Matutina (?), six silver coins from my purse, you, Lady Goddess, are to exact [them] from him. If through some deceit he has given me...and do not give thus to him but reckon as (?) the blood of him who has invoked his upon me. (Bath curse tablets) Temerarius (talk) 17:52, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Archaism? —2606:A000:1126:4CA:0:98F2:CFF6:1782 (talk) 05:48, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
"Archaism" is a literary style, not really a rhetorical strategy. Antithesis is much closer... AnonMoos (talk) 07:30, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Even so, it's an old-fashioned way of writing. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:20, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
If you're referring to the pairing of contrasting terms, such as Jew/Gentile and slave/free, I think AnonMoos's suggestion of antithesis is correct. If you're referring to the parallelism of the neither ... neither ... nor and whether constructions, I think the term is isocolon, though our article isn't too clear. Deor (talk) 16:49, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Vocabulary word of the day: "isocolon" —2606:A000:1126:4CA:0:98F2:CFF6:1782 (talk) 20:40, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

June 17


I'm not sure what "twist" means in the following context: "Rappers have also emerged from Indonesia and Vietnam, not to mention Taiwan, which has been a focal point since MC HotDog’s streak of regional success throughout the 2000s. Whether or not the East Asian twist on hip-hop and R&B will turn into a global phenomenon remains to be seen. This week, music fans at SXSW can catch some of the artists trying to make it happen." Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:35, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

"Variation" would be one synonym in this context. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 09:21, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
In my culture I think it would equate to "slant", i.e. "...the East Asian slant on hip-hop and R&B". HiLo48 (talk) 10:06, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
"East Asian slant..." seems a particularly insensitive usage of language by whatever culture. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 14:02, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Nonsense. Take your PC male cow manure somewhere else. HiLo48 (talk) 21:15, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
The better term, as noted by 2.125, is "variation". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:17, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, "variation" or "version of". Akld guy (talk) 20:18, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Or, just "twist", which is widely understood by native speakers. In Wiktionary, it's the 19th sense, with a likely intentional nod to the 10th sense, given the musical subject matter. Matt Deres (talk) 00:42, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Widely understood? Not among the native speakers I know. HiLo48 (talk) 21:16, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Being a native speaker of English is not a requirement for reading the English Wikipedia. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:10, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Says the person who argued for the exclusion of non-English language sources because it "restricts the checking that can be done". --Viennese Waltz 07:35, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Different debate. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:03, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

Kun readings for Korean place names

In our article about Japanese exonyms, it says that Japanese can refer to Korean place names using kun readings of their hanja. I wasn't aware of such a thing as I've invariably encountered on readings only. Am I wrong? Can someone point to some examples (I wasn't able to find any real occurrence of Incheon - Nigawa, the example reported in the article)? Thanks! -- (talk) 08:43, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

June 18

"The first since..."

I started to feel that "the first since..." and "for the first time since" became sort of sensationalist buzzwords. Obviously if something is "the first since...", then it's actually second, not first, making such wordings potentially confusing, if not misleading. But can't see any previous discussion of it elsewhere in the internet. Brandmeistertalk 18:52, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

It certainly gets a lot of use in the sports world, and any other endeavor that goes nuts over numbers. Passage of time is what it's about. Sometimes it's more significant than other times. In 2016, when the Cubs won the World Series, it was their first since 1908. That's significant. In 2018, they could have said the Warriors won their first NBA title since... well, 2017. I don't think anyone said that, though. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:43, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
I rank that expression alongside "fastest growing". With a sample of one, an addition of one gives a growth rate of 100%, whereas if I start with a million, an increase of two gives a growth rate of 0.00000002%. Which one is fastest growing? Both expressions are overused, confusing, and fairly meaningless. HiLo48 (talk) 20:55, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
All look like journalese, not sure how common it's in the everyday speech. Brandmeistertalk 21:19, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

Folks, this is not supposed to be a forum for discussion of opinions. Can we end this topic now, please? -- (talk) 21:49, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

  • User:Brandmeister, your premise - Obviously if something is "the first since...", then it's actually second, not first ... - is incorrect. Say a certain volcano has erupted many times throughout history, but it hasn't done so for the past 235 years. If it happens again today, it would be "the first since 1783". It would not be its second occurrence. The use of the expression in a context like this is unremarkable. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:58, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
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