Help with English

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Saint, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    Who did you vote? Obama?
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    apropos:

    1. adj.
    Being at once opportune and to the point.See Synonyms at relevant

    2.adv.
    i)At an appropriate time; opportunely.

    ii)By the way; incidentally:
    Apropos, where were you yesterday?

    iii)prep.
    With regard to; concerning:
    Apropos our date for lunch, I can't go.


    Is apropos an original English word?
    Or is it a short form of appropriate?
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    There were four other candidates besides Romney and Obama. (Actually there were a few more, but only these four were on the ballot in enough states for it to be mathematically possible to win the election.)
    • Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party. This party advocates a return to the limited power of government originally envisioned by the nation's founders, on the premise that large governments are inefficient and unresponsive. It is commonly referred to as "fiscally conservative but socially liberal," for example advocating both an end to deficit spending and the decriminalization of recreational drugs.
    • Jill Stein, Green Party. This party advocates much greater attention to environmental issues, on the (extremely accurate) premise that the environment (and especially climate change) is the most important problem facing the entire population of this planet, and most of the world's governments are virtually ignoring it.
    • Virgil Goode, Constitution Party. This party harkens to the original founding of the country, but unlike the Libertarians they are conservative about both fiscal and social issues, for example being very hostile to immigration.
    • Rocky Anderson, Justice Party. This party is liberal on all issues, including economics, the environment and social justice.
    No. You can tell by the silent S that it is a French word. Silent S is very common in French but very uncommon in English. It's actually two words: à propos, meaning "to the purpose." It's not often used in colloquial or vernacular speech, and when it is, it's usually not used correctly. Most people make the same guess you did: that it's equivalent to "appropriate." It has a narrower meaning than that word: appropriate to the time, purpose or subject of the discussion in progress.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    taken out to the woodshed = ?
     
  8. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550

    came up short =?
    to terms with = to face? Why is it term"s" after "to"?

    Shellshocked =?
     
  9. Yasin Registered Member

    Messages:
    44
    Shell-shocked was what they used to call Post Traumatic disorder.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    It earlier eras, parents used to punish their children with physical violence. This taught the children that violence is an acceptable way to resolve disputes, so the cycle of violence perpetuated itself. Before the days of central heating, people used wood-burning stoves and fireplaces to heat their houses. Thus every home had a woodshed full of firewood. When a parent wanted to physically abuse his child, he took him out to the woodshed, where there were always plenty of switches (slim, flexible sticks) that could be used to inflict pain.

    So to say that someone was taken out to the woodshed means that he has been punished cruelly and severely.

    "Short" has many related meanings. One is "low in amount" or "not reaching a target." So to "come short of a goal" means to fail to succeed. This has been abbreviated to simply "come short" or "come up short." It's typically (but not always) used in cases where the target is only missed by a small amount. Romney only lost by a tiny percentage (although our idiotic Electoral College system makes victories and defeats look much larger than they actually are: Obama actually won by a smaller percentage than in 2008), so it's a good use of the idiom to say that the Republicans "came up short."

    The word terms has a specific meaning beyond simply the plural of "term." In contracts, treaties and other formal circumstances, it refers to conditions and stipulations, for example quantity, prices, dates, troop levels, weapons inspections, return of captured territory. When two businessmen or two countries come to terms, it means that they have reached a formal agreement that is legally binding on both sides.

    In informal usage, to "come to terms" with something means simply to accept it and deal with the consequences. So for Romney to "come to terms with his loss" means that he accepts the vote tallies within each state and the results of the Electoral College voting, and will not contest it. In the election in 2000, in contrast, there was considerable controversy over the vote tally in the state of Florida, whose governor was George Bush's brother Jeb Bush, so it was not unreasonable to suspect fraud. It took a while for us to come to terms with the results. Many of us never did!

    This originally referred to a soldier in a war zone being shocked by the sound and the air pressure wave of an exploding shell. The physical and psychological effects can be drastic and the soldier may be incapacitated temporarily by trauma. Some soldiers did not recover quickly and were said to be shell-shocked. Some soldiers who underwent this trauma multiple times did not fully recover and could not be sent back into battle without hospitalization. This condition was given the formal name "battle fatigue," but "shell-shock" is more graphic so this term continued to be used colloquially.

    Today we understand that it is not just the explosions on the battlefield that can harm a soldier psychologically. The constant fear and uncertainty, the "collateral damage" to civilians and civilian infrastructure, the death and wounding of one's comrades, and the eventual doubt about the concepts of right and wrong, can cause a clinical state of mental illness which in many cases is extremely difficult to repair. This condition is formally known as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. But we still often use the term "shell-shock" for the same reason we used it in the past: it is less polite and more graphic.
     
  11. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    tripwire = ?
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    A tripwire is a wire that is attached to a device, which will trip it into operation if the wire is moved, for example by a human or other animal stepping on it. This is one of the many meanings of the verb "to trip." Some definitions simply say that a tripwire will cause the device to operate if someone trips on the wire itself. Typical devices which are activated this way include explosives, as in warfare, and cameras, as in wildlife photography.

    In this case the fiscal cliff is metaphorically called a tripwire because if we "trip" over it by not solving our budget problem, it will automatically cause measures to go into effect ("tripping" the automatic activation of the law) that may ruin the U.S. economy and possibly even the world economy.
     
  13. Yasin Registered Member

    Messages:
    44
    Is there a type for questions such as definitions, list the reasons for, or any question where you write some statements you memorized ?! Is that called a theoretical question ?! As opposed to computational, or problem solving ?.
     
  14. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    would be floating on cloud nine = means what?
     
  15. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    phablet = a new word?
    handset = mobile phone?
     
  16. elte Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,344
    This used to be stated as

    For whom did you vote?

    Now we just say

    Who did you vote for?
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Sorry, it doesn't appear that anyone can answer your question.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    In meteorological terminology, 100 years ago, "Cloud Type 9," the cumulonimbus, was the biggest, fluffiest-looking type of cloud shape. So perhaps people began to use "Cloud Nine" to mean a nice place to relax, even a heavenly place since it's up in the clouds. So to be "floating on cloud nine" means to be in a state of perfect bliss.

    Looks like a combination of "phone" and "tablet."

    No, it just means a communication device that you hold in your hand rather than one you strap to your head (a headset,) or one that sits on your desk. It can simply be a cordless unit connected to a land line.

    "Whom did you vote for" is also grammatically correct, even by old-fashioned standards. Contrary to legend, there is no rule in English against ending a sentence with a preposition. Otherwise how would you rearrange: "My daughter won't be able to read until they take the bandages off of her eyes next week. But she enjoys being read to."

    As for who/whom, that battle has been lost. We still maintain the accusative case of I/me, he/him, she/her, we/us and they/them. But not ye/you, and "it" never had an accusative. In biblical speech we still have thou/thee, but the Quakers, who (less often than in the past) use the second person singular in vernacular speech, have lost "thou" and use "thee" for both nominative and accusative.

    Unlike German, English does not decline nouns and adjectives. Only pronouns. So you can see where this is going. If we've learned to get along without the accusative case for nouns, then why should we need it for pronouns? "Whom" is the next one to vanish. This/that/these/those were simplified centuries ago. The personal pronouns are the only ones left, and not even all of them.

    The days of the accusative are numbered. I would not advise standing in front of that train.
     
  19. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    onus =
    1.A difficult or disagreeable responsibility or necessity; a burden or an obligation.
    2.A stigma.
    3.Blame.
    4.The burden of proof: The onus was on the defense attorney.

    Is it sense no 1 here?

    "the pendulum has swung too far" =?
     
  20. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    down the pike = ?

    front-of-the-house employees = ?
     
  21. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    David Petraeus.

    His family name (first name) is Petraeus, second name (given name) is David, right?
    What is his ethnic? I guess he is not a British blood descendant.
     
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Yes. The position of the USA, Israel, and their allies, is that the violence in Palestine is the fault of the Palestinians for resisting the Israeli occupation; therefore (according to this viewpoint), it is up to the Palestinians to stop complaining and stop fighting, before the violence on both sides can stop. Of course the Palestinians and their allies insist that the violence is the fault of the Israelis, for confiscating their homeland, forcing them out of their homes, and making them live as refugees. (Half of the world's Palestinian population lives outside of Israel-Palestine, many in refugee camps.)

    Therefore, according to the leaders of the USA and Israel, the onus is on the Palestinian leadership to stop shooting at Israel, before Israel is obliged to stop shooting at Palestine. The reason this is an onus (a difficult or disagreeable responsbility) is that the Palestinians believe that Israel must give them back their homeland before they are obliged to stop fighting to take it back, so to stop fighting would be to give up and accept the occupation. Since many of the world's people and governments agree with them--if not necessarily the most powerful ones--they are not favorably inclined to do this.

    This is not a difficult metaphor to decode. Think about the way a pendulum moves. It swings all the way over to one side, then stops, and slowly begins swinging back the other way. This goes on and on. In this case the "pendulum" is the back-and-forth oscillation of the home loan market. For a long time interest rates were low and qualification was easy, so many people bought homes (stand-alone houses, condominiums, or townhouses--what the British call "row houses"), some of whom were not really capable of keeping up with the payments. Then the pendulum swung back the other way. Interest rates rose and qualification became more difficult, so many people were not able to buy homes, even some who could have easily kept up with the payments. 5-6 years ago, the pendulum swung back too far in the "easy" direction, with the invention of the subprime mortgage. People who really didn't have enough income to pay for a home were allowed to buy them, and were given mortgages that did not require full payment of principal and interest for the first five years. The result was that after five years they owed more money than when they started! At the same time, they were suddenly required to pay the fully amortized principal (now more than when they started), plus interest (the rate of which was raised). There was no way these people could make those payments. The rationale was that since the housing market "always" rises, they could just sell their homes, make a profit, pay off their mortgage, and still have money left over. Instead, the market took a dive, and their homes were worth less than they paid, much less than the current balance on their mortgage. So they defaulted and the banks repossessed the homes. There are so many repossessed homes that the banks can't even sell them. And the banks don't want to loosen up the lending rules, which would allow more people to buy them, because they worry that once again the buyers will default. This time the pendulum is not swinging. It's stuck.

    To say "the pendulum has swung too far" is to say that this catastrophe in the housing market was arguably the cause of the beginning of the current economic recession in the USA. The housing market has traditionally been the bellwether for our entire economy.

    "Pike" is an old word for "road" or "highway." We still have a few "turnpikes" (wide, high-speed highways) in America, and the main road through Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live, is Rockville Pike. To say something is "down the road" or "down the pike" means that it is ahead of us, but if we keep moving forward smoothly, we'll probably get there.

    These are the people who deal with the public, as opposed to back-office employees.

    Correct. In almost all Western cultures, as well as the Middle East, India, etc., the surname comes last, and in fact is usually called simply our last name. Our first name is our "given name," a phrase that is not often used. It is also called our "Christian name," although this phrase is also falling out of vogue since so many of us are not Christians. I don't think a man named Mohammed would like to have that referred to as his Christian name.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    So please don't refer to anyone's family name as his "first name." In our culture, it is his "last name," for the obvious reason that it comes last. The first name comes first and it is our given name. Many people also have middle names, but few of us use them except in business where two people might have the same first and last names but different middle names. Don't think in Chinese.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    "Ethnic" is an adjective. The noun is ethnicity.

    These days a large portion of the U.S. population have surnames that are not of English origin. Look at our Presidents: Obama (Luo), Kennedy (Irish), Eisenhower (German, but misspelled), Roosevelt and Van Buren (Dutch). The governor of the state of Louisiana is Bobby Jindal, an Indian name. About one-fourth of our population have Spanish surnames and a great many have Italian names, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean.

    Petraeus's father is/was Frisian, a people who don't have their own country but live in Northwestern Europe (primarily the Netherlands, if I'm not mistaken) and speak Frisian, the language that is most closely related to English.
     
  23. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,550
    I'd never heard about Frisia, is it an independent country?
     

Share This Page