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  • Showing only topics with the tag "language". Back to normal view
    1. Longstanding discourse w/ my SO about the phrase "a couple of..."

      #couple Defined as: noun: couple; plural noun: couples 1. two individuals of the same sort considered together. "a couple of girls were playing marbles" a pair of partners in a dance or game....

      #couple
      Defined as:

      noun:
      couple; plural noun: couples

      1.
      two individuals of the same sort considered together.
      "a couple of girls were playing marbles"

      a pair of partners in a dance or game.

      MECHANICS

      a pair of equal and parallel forces acting in opposite directions, and tending to cause rotation about an axis perpendicular to the plane containing them.

      2.
      two people who are married, engaged, or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually.
      "in three weeks the couple fell in love and became engaged"

      3. INFORMAL

      an indefinite small number.
      "he hoped she'd be better in a couple of days"


      verb: couple;

      3rd person present: couples

      past tense: coupled

      past participle: coupled

      gerund or present participle: coupling

      1.
      combine.

      "a sense of hope is coupled with a palpable sense of loss"

      join to form a pair.
      "the beetles may couple up to form a pair"

      2.
      mate or have sexual intercourse.
      "as middle-class youth grew more tolerant of sex, they started to couple more often"




      #Discourse of the use of the word/phrase in this particular case

      You

      "how many would you like?"

      Them

      "just a couple."


      When someone requests 'a couple of...' I respond with something similar to: 'How many do you want specifically?', which leads to the discourse of, 'A couple is two, a few is >2, several is <x' and so on.

      I agree with the first two clearly stated definitions of 'couple', but in the informal use of a couple (eg. a depiction of a quantity) is not specifically two...nor is 'a few' three. How many specifically is several..?

      I understand the semantics within the conversation. But, the expectation of understanding that two, and only two, is implied in the use of the phrase 'a couple' in a request; is ambiguously stating what one party desires. I'm the asshole now, just tell me how many you want.

      And now...your thoughts, please.

      12 votes
    2. Why do multiple meanings of words so often map across languages

      The English word 'crane' means a large bird or a giant lever-thing for moving heavy stuff. The Hungarian word 'daru' means both of the same things. English and Hungarian are about as unrelated as...

      The English word 'crane' means a large bird or a giant lever-thing for moving heavy stuff. The Hungarian word 'daru' means both of the same things.

      English and Hungarian are about as unrelated as languages get ... and yet, I keep bumping into parallels like that.

      Thoughts, anyone?

      14 votes
    3. Accentuation on tags? ("á", "ã", "é", "í", etc)

      I was trying to add andré bazin as a tag on an article about the film theorist André Bazin, but the box became red and prevented me from submiting. So I had to use the incorrect andre bazin. I...

      I was trying to add andré bazin as a tag on an article about the film theorist André Bazin, but the box became red and prevented me from submiting. So I had to use the incorrect andre bazin.

      I suppose there's a very rational technical reason for not using accentuation on tags -- even so, I believe it would be useful to suport those characters, since many languages use them.

      11 votes
    4. Change in the implied meaning of "masked men"

      Has the sentence "the masked men entered the store" changed meaning post the pandemic. I think it feels less ominous than perhaps it used to. Now the words could imply "responsible men that wear...

      Has the sentence "the masked men entered the store" changed meaning post the pandemic. I think it feels less ominous than perhaps it used to. Now the words could imply "responsible men that wear masks in accordance with guidelines entered a store" where it would previously almost certainly imply "robbers entered the store". Since I'm not a native speaker I'm curious if this is just in my head or a more general thing? Are there other similar statements that has change?

      11 votes
    5. Which language do you think is best?

      I don’t think best necessarily needs to mean most useful. For example though English, Mandarin, and Spanish are widely spoken they all have their problems, for example the reliance of Chinese on...

      I don’t think best necessarily needs to mean most useful. For example though English, Mandarin, and Spanish are widely spoken they all have their problems, for example the reliance of Chinese on non-phonetic logograms or English’s complete mess when it comes to spelling and vocabulary.

      I’ve been learning some Dutch these past few days and have been enjoying it quite a bit. It’s got a lot of the Germanic roots I’m familiar with without the junk and inconsistencies that seem pervasive in English.

      Korean also seems like a potentially interesting “objectively good” language to learn since I believe the writing system was invented relatively recently (1950s?) and is phonetic.

      All that being said, that’s pretty much all I know about linguistics so I’d love to hear peoples input on language and what they enjoy.

      13 votes
    6. What features would you add to languages?

      If you had the option to add new features to your primary language, what would they be? Is there something from a foreign language you'd like to import to your primary language? A couple examples:...

      If you had the option to add new features to your primary language, what would they be? Is there something from a foreign language you'd like to import to your primary language?

      A couple examples:

      • A prefix to indicate intensity or degree. BBS/early hacker jargon had terms like "k-rad" to mean 1000x (2^10?) as radical as "rad" without the prefix.
        That Montessori preschool was t-cool but why would they think calling it "Hobbledehoy" was a good idea?
      • Making an indication of how confident you are in an a statement obligate and easy. I hedge all the time because I think it's important to convey, but it's clunky. We do a bit of that non-verbally but that doesn't translate to text, and has the other complications of non-verbal cues.
        It would be nice if there was an established vocabulary to quickly convey things like "experienced first-hand, repeatedly", "99% certain", "I've heard but never looked into", etc. From there it would be nice if this was as required as the gender, in gendered languages.
      12 votes