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Calling all language lovers!

(243 Posts)
Gauchita Thu 25-Jul-13 21:25:02

I'll shamelessly plug a friend's blog here because it's great!

If you're interested in language, etymology, linguistics, etc, head this way.

She's an etymology addict (and doesn't mind me saying so grin) and is teaching the rest of us a lot, so thank you Alex wink

MousyMouse Fri 26-Jul-13 14:46:05

language are fascinating.
esp smilarities/differences that suddenly occur to you.

mme: we say 'klappe zu, affe tot' when closing the lid/door of something overstuffed (like the carboot before going on holiday). but have no idea where it comes from.

WillieWaggledagger Fri 26-Jul-13 14:58:01

horry that's fascinating about colours. almost all my male relatives are colourblind so we have to word descriptions of objects carefully. 'the brown one' is met with a hmm face!

alexpolistigers Fri 26-Jul-13 15:03:46

Wow, I enjoyed looking at that colour article - I have bookmarked it for another look later. Thanks for that.

When did "turquoise" become "teal"??

MousyMouse Fri 26-Jul-13 15:17:58

also funny, if you ask people of other language backgrounds what sounds animals make.


cockadoodle doo
cockodi cockoda

ernesttheBavarian Fri 26-Jul-13 15:24:23

german frogs say quack apparently.

Dunno if the point was followed up on, only got skim time, but I wouldn't consider holiday and vacation to be the same.

I don't think an English person would use vacation. They would understand it but not use it. Wherease, I think, an American person would use vacation for eg a 2 week holiday, and holiday is a bank holiday ie the odd day everyone has off for national day celebrations . Does that make sense?

Hello! Ooh this reminds me of my little thread from a few years back. We never did continue the quiche!

Linguistics bod here. Main interest in history of the English language, Old Norse, Old English, Scots and a little Icelandic. Also in onomastics. German speaker too. <waves to Lindor and Mardy>

Marking my place for when I get time to read the thread.

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 26-Jul-13 15:51:00

Turquoise is paler than teal grin

GrimmaTheNome Fri 26-Jul-13 15:57:06

Horry - yes, that sort of thing wrt colours. I find colour very interesting - not just the linguistics - OT but did you know that in addition to more males being colour blind, there is some suggestion that whereas most people have trichromatic vision, some women (along with various birds!) may be tetrachromatic ie some of us really can distinguish shades others can't. I write software( so I can tell you some of the RGB values in that link are wrong grin) and sometimes need to come up with a set of distinct colours, and find that sometimes non-colour blind colleagues can't tell apart shades which look clearly different to me.

Ernest - yes, exactly that with 'holiday' and 'vacation'. I have to use both to avoid confusing my colleagues over the pond.

Grimma - I believe you there. I often cannot tell about blue and purple shades. I do not believe it is just linguistics. I'll be asking about a purple top and be told it's dark blue, for example. It happens all the time with a particular shade.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 26-Jul-13 16:07:47

>Turquoise is paler than teal
If you think in terms of hue, saturation and intensity, they are pretty much the same hue; fully saturated (for bright turquoise); but teal is less intense. 'Paler' and 'darker' are slightly ambiguous terms for colours.

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 26-Jul-13 16:10:30

Tell a Russian that about blue and blue... grin

Besides, RGB saturation is about production, not perception. And the study was about perception.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Fri 26-Jul-13 16:12:23

Oohhhhh SUCH an interesting thread.

First of all I'm wondering why all the Germans are so intent on killing all those poor monkeys grin

Different idioms between different languages are also interesting. I've been fortunate to work in a bunch of different countries and have picked up some of the various languages. I was talking to a Dutch colleague once and he mentioned he was embarrassed in some situation and had "butter on his hat" - by which of course he meant egg on his face.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Fri 26-Jul-13 16:20:01

Ernest, grimma - when I was working in Budapest about 15 years ago we had almost every English speaking nationality in our office. American, Canadian (me), English, Aussie, NZ, South African, Irish, I don't think we had any Scots or Welsh though - anyways I started a little dictionary of unique phrases with translations or equivalents. I wish I still had it. It all started because I didn't know what it meant when someone said something was money for jam, until I guessed it was the same thing as money for old rope. Or selling someone a bill of goods. Can you tell we were a bunch of accountants!

There are tons of books and websites dedicated to the differences between American and English English but I've never seen one that also covers the other Englishes of the world.

Annunziata Fri 26-Jul-13 16:22:42

Alex's blog is so interesting- I really liked the St Anthony ladybirds.

alexpolistigers Fri 26-Jul-13 19:05:53

Try as I might, I can't see any difference between teal and turquoise, it looks the same to me. And I have the same problem as Psammead when it comes to purple/ dark blue, and I have been told that what I described as "orange" was actually "dark yellow", and other things like this.

Hearts I love that sort of thing! I'm always collecting idoms, expressions, even proverbs, from other language, I have written hundreds of notes on them, and different varieties of English too!

MousyMouse Fri 26-Jul-13 19:24:14

what some english people describe to me as 'orange' looks rather 'red' to me.
and don't get me started on things like 'mauve' and 'magnolia'...

cakesonatrain Fri 26-Jul-13 19:27:52

Ha. My mum and I were arguing about DS's bib just now. She said it was orange, when it is clearly red to me!

Oh dear. Poor forrin DH has just proved how hard English can be. E were playing cards and I was in the lead, so he jokingly said I should 'four-FEET' and let him win. I laughed and said 'I think you mean FOR-fit'. So he got the hump and said 'Stop re-DIC-you-ling foreigners'.

Died laughing.

Gauchita Fri 26-Jul-13 22:02:07

Psammead grin

Here we always have our differences regarding colours. DH isn't colourblind but he's very bad at distinguishing shades. For him anything very dark is black, whereas I see dark blue or dark green or dark purple.

I love idioms and their comparison among languages. I used to have a little book where I used to write new ones I learnt. No idea where that book is now though...

I also thought holiday was British English and vacation was American English. I don't think I've ever heard 'vacation' here though? In which context would you use it in British EN?

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 26-Jul-13 22:10:31

I wouldn't use vacation at all, except in a very specific university context, where the June-Sept holiday is known as "Long Vac".

The Meaning of Tingo is a good book for people interested in foreign idioms.

CoteDAzur Fri 26-Jul-13 22:23:51

Great blog.

alexpolistigers Sat 27-Jul-13 13:52:41

Psammead - My DH often says things like that too - he always puts the stress on the last syllable, eg "communiCATE" or "check-UP". I love it, I think it gives his speech a lovely musical quality in English.

Gauchita I never really use the word "vacation" either. I would say "holiday", even during university breaks. This does not mean that "vacation" is wrong or would not be understood, just that it doesn't tend to be used by British English speakers. I have heard Australians use both "holiday" and "vacation", however.

alexpolistigers Sat 27-Jul-13 13:55:28

Horry that book looks great! Just added it to my expanding list on Amazon...

hevak Sat 27-Jul-13 14:26:50

Marking my place so I can open the links when I'm on the laptop and not on the phone! I love this kind of stuff, always have - and now I'm with forrin DP I am going to start learning his first language, which will include a new alphabet/script (I'm sure there's a technical linguistic term!)

Thanks for starting the thread smile

alexpolistigers Sat 27-Jul-13 14:35:20

Which language is it, hevak? "alphabet" tends to be used for writing systems like ours, where a letter represents a phoneme. Mind you, that's not strictly true in English! Japanese, so I am told, uses "syllabenes", where each character represents a syllable.

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