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    1. If you speak another language other than English, what are some interesting differences with English in its vocabulary?

      I love languages, and one of the great things about learning other languages - or even just learning about them - is how it expands your mental horizons. One of the first things you notice is that...

      I love languages, and one of the great things about learning other languages - or even just learning about them - is how it expands your mental horizons. One of the first things you notice is that many words don't correspond 1:1 with each other in distinct languages. Sometimes, what you think of as one concept gets partitioned out into one, two, three, four distinct word forms in another language. Other times it's the opposite, and distinctions are lost. What are some interesting vocabulary/lexicon differences between English and another language you're familiar with? I'll give some examples:

      • Russian motion verbs are a lot more complex than English ones. There are two distinct words for "to walk", idti and xodit'. The former is used for walking in one direction, the latter for walking in multiple or unspecified directions. The former is also used for single actions while the latter is for habitual action. Russian makes this distinction in every common verb for motion. It also makes a distinction between going by foot and going by a means of transportation, like a car, a bicycle, or a train. In English, you could say "I walked to the store" to specify you went by foot, but you could also say "I went to the store" and the mode of transportation is unspecified. In Russian, there is no single verb "go" that doesn't imply either by foot or not by foot. You have to use either idti/xodit' "go by foot" or exat'/ezdit' "go by some means of transportation". (As I understand it, I'm not a native speaker of Russian, just studied it a bit.)
      • Terms of kinship are a big topic. Wikipedia lists six distinct basic forms of kinship terminology, and that's just scratching the surface. Some languages distinguish between the maternal and paternal side of the family, others do not. Some do not distinguish cousins and siblings. Some make distinctions between elder and younger family members with distinct words. Unfortunately, I don't speak any languages that are markedly different from English. But even in my native Norwegian, which is closely related to English, there are some differences, such as:
        • First cousin is a distinct stem (søskenbarn, lit. sibling-child, i.e. the child of your parent's sibling) from second cousins (tremenning). There are also distinct words for cousin (no gender specified) and female (kusine) and male (fetter) cousins.
        • Maternal and paternal grandparents are distinguished.
        • I struggled to understand what the hell a "cousin once removed" was until I realized it's a kind of family relation that has no name in Norwegian.
      • Or it could just be a single word. For instance, English has one word, "suspicious", meaning both an attitude towards another person's behavior (suspicious of) and that behavior itself (behaving in a suspicious manner). In Norwegian, those are two distinct words: mistenksom (suspicious of) and mistenkelig (behaving suspiciously).

      I've only studied a couple of languages seriously. But I also have an interested in constructed languages as a hobby, so I've dabbled in a lot of languages, looking to pilfer ideas for my own projects. I really think it's expanded my view of the world, by showing that categories that seem obvious, really aren't. That's a lesson I've tried to transfer to other areas of life.

      I also think it leads into philosophy, because it's really a question of how to divide up semantic space. If we imagine the theoretical space of all things that could ever be spoken about, how do we divide up that space into distinct words? Which categories do we choose to represent as meaningful, and which ones are relegated to being a sub-aspect of another category, only distinguishable by context? I imagine that in a culture with large family units, it makes more sense not to distinguish "brother" from "male cousin", than a culture in which nuclear families are the norm, for instance.

      Do you have any cool examples of how vocabulary works differently in other languages, whether it be a single word or a large class of words? Or examples of times when encountering a different way of describing the world by learning another language led to insights in other areas of life?

      25 votes
    2. [Rant] The Great Wall Of Text #1

      From today, I've decided to write at least something every day until the writer's block frees me of its hold. I face this from time to time and don't really understand what to do, there is no cure...

      From today, I've decided to write at least something every day until the writer's block frees me of its hold. I face this from time to time and don't really understand what to do, there is no cure really except hoping that something will happen or some inspiration will strike at some point causing me to write something.

      One of the reasons could be that I'm a computer programmer and mostly blog about technology topics. But programming isn't really a topic or subject on which you can keep churning out rivers of literature, can you? It's a very exact and precise science just like mathematics and I feel most things that must be written about it are already written. In fact, I pretty much feel the same way about any kind of topic, we are literally swimming in oceans of information already! That's probably one of the reasons that keeps me from writing. I don't want to unnecessarily add my useless pennies to great literature contributed by people who are wiser and smarter than me.

      But then the question arises what should I write about or blog about? I can write about nothing in particular and whatever that comes to mind (like I'm doing now) or I can write a research or news article or something. But I don't know how exactly people go about that. Most articles today are opinion pieces anyway and mine will probably be the same. But where do these "opinion writers" get their information from? There have to be some primary or base level sources. What are they? Can you recommend some good ones?

      Another thing that keeps me from writing freely is all the environment you see on the interwebs these days which is just so toxic and discouraging, isn't it? It's not just about having a thick skin anymore but you live in a constant fear of getting canceled for something as trivial as your mere mentioning of some individual (about whom you may not even be fully aware of). I have to think a million times before writing something if this will offend any netizen or not, my guess is that many other writers must be going through the same thing and this is what results in the infamous contemporary expression, Self-Censorship!

      If you're going to constantly self-censor yourself and kill many great ideas when they're just in their infancy, I don't think you'll be left with a lot of creative stuff to write and you may not even feel like writing anymore. Self-Censorship beyond a basic extent (like filtering of abusive words and phrases, etc.) is counter-productive and should be highly discouraged in my humble opinion.

      Other natural antagonists like lethargy, laziness, procrastination, etc. also need to be blamed, of course! Sometimes, I don't find the motivation to read or do further research on a topic. Without reading, you can't get enough material to write, a good writer must be an avid book worm also. I feel sure I can contribute a lot to the literary world some day and I've decided to keep battling with my proverbial pen (actually the keyboard!) until the day it happens.

      I think that's enough for today, might come up with another great wall of text tomorrow! Sorry if I wasted your time.

      9 votes
    3. Is there a terse way to say "movies and TV shows"?

      I often wish to refer to both "movies and/or TV shows" in a sentence. I wish to refer only to movies, or only to TV shows, much less often. Is there a word that could mean both? If not, should you...

      I often wish to refer to both "movies and/or TV shows" in a sentence. I wish to refer only to movies, or only to TV shows, much less often. Is there a word that could mean both? If not, should you create it?

      And yes, that is a silly, inconsequential, pedantic preoccupation about language. What can I tell you? I have lots of those. I am what I am :P

      10 votes
    4. The problem with mind-reading

      I have been wanting to write about this for some time. This happens, in some shape or form, whenever someone reads others on the internet. Especially on sensitive subjects. Many readers are...

      I have been wanting to write about this for some time. This happens, in some shape or form, whenever someone reads others on the internet. Especially on sensitive subjects. Many readers are linguistic sleuths. Every fraction of language will be forcefully interpreted and analyzed in order to reveal some hidden truth (which is always assumed to be negative), the user's actual position, his or her sinister agenda. On the one hand, that is a consequence of the very real fact that many individuals do have sinister agendas, and many organizations do employ backhanded tactics to manipulate public opinion. I get that. At the same time, this makes it very hard to communicate sometimes.

      This affects the neurodiverse disproportionally and is a common complaint in places like /r/aspergers and /r/autism, among others. Some of us are not highly efficient machines of context evaluation and reproduction of linguistic patterns. Some of us actually do mean precisely what we say. No subtext, no irony, no desire to influence through excuse means.

      There are also people for whom English is not the first language, as well as those of varying age, cultures, and circumstances. While it is understandable that English-speaking communities naturally center on the US, the assumption that everyone lives within that context produces all kinds of misunderstandings. This makes me less likely to truly engage with some communities because every once in a while I'm hit in the crossfire. Sometimes I inadvertently use words, expressions, or phrasing patterns which North Americans associate with a certain position they disapprove of, and their "mind-reading" is led askew.

      This is not specific to any linguistic community. It happens everywhere. We're all kinda messed up. But it would be nice to be able to comment on complicated issues without feeling like Edward Norton in his first day at the Fight Club.

      I don't mean to imply that everyone should just abstain from hermeneutics in regular discourse. But maybe be a little more charitable, give it another chance when someone strikes you the wrong way.

      Sometimes people mean exactly what they write.

      (A lot of the above is directly transferable to offline interactions)

      11 votes
    5. What words would you want to see 'reclaimed'?

      Reclaiming a word means stripping it of it's negative baggage and giving it either a neutral or positive meaning. The most common example is the word Queer going from a slur to a descriptive term...

      Reclaiming a word means stripping it of it's negative baggage and giving it either a neutral or positive meaning. The most common example is the word Queer going from a slur to a descriptive term for non cis-het people.

      My personal pick would be returning the term "incel" to it's original meaning of "involuntary/involuntarily celibate" or someone who wants a relationship but doesn't have one, because the word is currently associated with the few tens of thousands of extremists who occasionally commit terrorist attacks, consider the redistribution of women reasonable and created the black-pill, but the amount of men (and realistically also women) who would consider themselves as wanting a relationship but not having one is much higher than a hundred thousand violent extremists, and if they could all describe themselves as incels, I think that would help steer the conversation about wanting a partner and not having one away from the extremists and to the much more numerous pool of mostly young people, seemingly mostly men who just want a partner and can't have one and usually mostly just feel bad about it to varying intensities. It wouldn't completely detach the term from cringe online right tropes as a lot of the dudes who can be described as incels often tend to fuel the kind of "women aren't real"/"Girls don't exist on the internet" culture that makes complaining about dating so 'lame'. (As in, the default reply is "just do basic self-improvement it'll put you ahead of most people lol".)

      Another term I would reclaim if I could is the Red-pill/Blue-pill dichotomy with becoming red-pilled either being a joke about some vaguely red pill used to transition or as a shorthand for adopting leftist beliefs, mainly because the creators of The Matrix were Trans women who intended the movie to have a strong Trans subtext, and red is usually a leftist color instead of a conservative one, so becoming red-pilled meaning becoming a leftist is more intuitive in most places.

      13 votes
    6. 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
    7. 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
    8. How do you read books that defy interpretation, logic, semantics or even language itself?

      After loving Waiting for Godot in the theater years ago, I recently tried to read the novel Molloy, by Samuel Beckett, in the Portuguese translation. It was a humbling experience. Most of the time...

      After loving Waiting for Godot in the theater years ago, I recently tried to read the novel Molloy, by Samuel Beckett, in the Portuguese translation. It was a humbling experience. Most of the time I did not know who was talking, where they were talking, to whom they were talking, or what they were trying to talk about. The words were definitely arranged in interesting ways that pleased me at times, but I can't really say if what I was doing could be qualified as reading.

      Half the book doesn't even have paragraphs, it is just one continuous block.

      Maybe that is the point? I don't know. Critics do seem to get a lot more from these than I do, to the point that I ask myself "are they just deluding themselves, creating meaning where there is none just to justify their very existence? Wouldn't a work with little to no meaning render critics useless anyway?".

      I don't know, I'm rambling. I'm looking at Molloy defeated, like one day I looked at Joyce's Ulysses.

      Maybe I should read these books without thinking, like listening to music with lyrics in a language I don't speak (I can kinda do that in a movie, but a movie is only 2 hours...).

      Maybe I'm not worthy.

      6 votes
    9. Replacing ableist and mental health exclusive language (crazy, insane, whack, ...)

      Vernacular mental health terms are used in everyday language as a nonspecific indicator of extreme value judgement or deviation from an expectation or norm. Examples of words include 'crazy',...

      Vernacular mental health terms are used in everyday language as a nonspecific indicator of extreme value judgement or deviation from an expectation or norm. Examples of words include 'crazy', 'cray', 'insane', 'whack', 'mental', and 'retarded'. I think we can criticise the language on numerous grounds:

      1. It normalises poor mental health as something extreme or atypical
      2. Where the language is used to connote a negative value judgement (example 3) it reinforces the association that "poor mental health" = "bad"
      3. It can be triggering to people with mental health issues because of the way they are or their condition is perceived or because of experiences they have had
      4. It can be imprecise, in the sense that there are often more contextually appropriate words to describe the specific quality being discussed

      Examples:

      1. "This new track from Lone is insane!" -- positive use cf. 'extremely good'
      2. "I can't believe Tesla bought all that BTC, that's insane!" -- neutral use, no value or ethical judgement, observing deviation from typical or expected behaviour cf. 'unexpected'
      3. "Trump is fucking insane" -- negative use cf. 'extremely bad'

      Some alternatives:

      1. 'wild' -- I use this particularly for positive and neutral connotations
      2. 'ridiculous' -- for the negative connotation
      3. Something more specific to the context, e.g. "Trump is fucking evil", or "This new track is banging", or "I had a hectic morning" instead of "I had a crazy morning"

      Questions:

      1. Why has 'retarded' faced so much backlash and fallen out of acceptable usage, but other terms like 'crazy' have not?
      2. Are the criticisms valid and do they apply to all of the examples? Are there more grounds to criticise this language on that I have not listed?
      3. Are there other ways the language is used which is not covered in the examples?
      4. What alternatives do you use?
      5. Is use of crazy/insane/mental/... common in non-English languages? If not, what is used instead?

      Thanks for your input! 🙏

      36 votes
    10. Are there any gender-neutral or non-binary honorifics?

      I've been thinking a good bit about gender-neutral language lately, and I've been making an effort to eliminate unnecessarily gendered language from my day-to-day speech. However, there are a few...

      I've been thinking a good bit about gender-neutral language lately, and I've been making an effort to eliminate unnecessarily gendered language from my day-to-day speech. However, there are a few sticking points for me that I am having a hard time with finding my way around. One of the most difficult for me, having been brought up in the deep south and still living there, are honorifics like "sir" and "ma'am". I use these when addressing pretty much anyone, and it's a habit I'm having a hard time breaking. It's got me thinking about whether there are any good alternatives that would feel respectful of the person I'm addressing while not sticking out too much. If that's not an option (and I suspect it would be asking too much) then what are your ideal alternatives, either neologisms, borrowed from other languages, or just repurposed words that are in current use?

      Examples of usage that I would love to replace:
      "Yes, sir/No, ma'am"
      "Excuse me, sir/ma'am"
      "Mr./Mrs./Ms." (I use this less often but still catch myself at times. I also think this one has the best alternative currently in use, with Mx. catching on in some places)

      Also, if this question is missing the mark or disrespectful in any way, please let me know. I'm still learning!

      21 votes
    11. Have you ever found a word from a 'fictionary' to be actually good at describing something?

      A fictionary is a social-experiment-dictionary where people come up with new words to describe the (mostly) emotions people feel where current ones fail. Someone here said they had a dead...

      A fictionary is a social-experiment-dictionary where people come up with new words to describe the (mostly) emotions people feel where current ones fail.

      Someone here said they had a dead reckoning after her mother died the same way her grandma did (from cancer at her 50s) and realizing she (I think) might die the same way.

      I've personally used anemoia (nostalgia for a time you weren't around for) as a way to describe me whenever I wish I was 15-35 years older or associate the time period of the 80s to mid 2000s with optimism, near total lack of mental health issues, techno-utopianism and "the end of history".

      8 votes
    12. How do you convey emotions in text?

      It's something I've struggled for a long time to do in text conversations. People will often think I'm mad when talking in a way that I think is perfectly normal or that I'm a brick wall while...

      It's something I've struggled for a long time to do in text conversations. People will often think I'm mad when talking in a way that I think is perfectly normal or that I'm a brick wall while discussing disagreements and well, that can't be fun. I often have to reassure certain people that it's not the case.

      Sometimes I try to show how I'm feeling through emotions or more "fluffy" language but I feel like that's too excessive and feels kinda fake to me?

      It's also something I've more recently struggled with because I'm trying to write personally on my blog and I'm not exactly sure how to convey my feelings other than stating it like a robot like "This makes me mad" or "That's depressing" or "It makes me feel great".

      It feels off to me and maybe it's just a me problem but I think that's also because I write the same way I speak and so, it just sounds strange.

      I don't know, this post is rambly and I've been wanting to write something like this in the last few days but I just have to push enter at some point.

      10 votes
    13. What was your "oh, they wanted more than coffee!" moment?

      In an episode of the TV show Seinfeld, a woman invites George Costanza for a cup of coffee in her apartment after a date. George rejects the offer, saying if he drank coffee that late he would...

      In an episode of the TV show Seinfeld, a woman invites George Costanza for a cup of coffee in her apartment after a date. George rejects the offer, saying if he drank coffee that late he would stay up all night. The woman leaves the car visibly underwhelmed. After a second, George realizes "coffee" meant "sex" and he just lost a great opportunity.

      Have you ever had a moment like that (not necessarily about romance), in which a silly misunderstanding led to the loss of an opportunity?

      22 votes
    14. What languages do you speak?

      I'm always curious to see what languages people speak, especially given that most communication on sites like Tildes happens in English and as such it doesn't always come up. At one point, I was...

      I'm always curious to see what languages people speak, especially given that most communication on sites like Tildes happens in English and as such it doesn't always come up.

      At one point, I was pretty fluent in Spanish, but it's been about 4ish years since I've used it with any frequency and as such I am very rusty when speaking. I can still read and write it pretty well however. The big thing is that I have trouble these days recalling vocab I knew like the back of my hand... I should read more to stay sharp.

      I also took some French in college and can read it at a beginner-intermediate level, basically enough to understand threads on not super complex topics. I can write too, but require a dictionary for anything remotely complex. Speaking I'm shit however - despite having great teachers I always had a tough time with pronunciation.

      27 votes
    15. Weekly Language Exchange Thread, Week 2019-W15 (experimental)

      It is Wednesday, my dudes! So why not have some good old foreign-language practice? As an experiment, let's try just that. Start a thread in a language you would like to practice or teach, or...

      It is Wednesday, my dudes! So why not have some good old foreign-language practice? As an
      experiment, let's try just that. Start a thread in a language you would like to practice or teach,
      or reply to an existing one. E.g.

      ## German / Deutsch
      
      Hier sprechen wir Deutsch! Wie geht es Ihnen?
      

      If you want to fix someone's grammar and also reply to them in the same message, I would recommend
      using a horizontal ruler with “* * *”. E.g.:

      I think “sich” should be “ihm”.
      
      * * *
      
      Es tut mir Leid, dass es ihm so schlecht geht.
      
      11 votes
    16. Tildes folks, are you learning another language or multilingual?

      pretty straightforward ask. i have some basic, rusty Spanish (on and off learning) and a bit of Esperanto to my name (currently learning) but not much else eventually i want to speak French...

      pretty straightforward ask. i have some basic, rusty Spanish (on and off learning) and a bit of Esperanto to my name (currently learning) but not much else

      eventually i want to speak French conversationally since my boyfriend can and i think it'd be neat to converse with him in more than English, but that's a long term goal.

      33 votes
    17. Do you use gender-neutral pronouns? Which one do you prefer?

      A series of gender neutral alternatives for the third person singular pronouns (he/she/it) have been proposed throughout the recent years (and maybe decades). I wonder the preferences of fellow...

      A series of gender neutral alternatives for the third person singular pronouns (he/she/it) have been proposed throughout the recent years (and maybe decades). I wonder the preferences of fellow users here in that regard. So I'd be glad if you could answer the questions in the title, and maybe elaborate a bit on the reasons of your preference. I'm both interested in this generally, and it could be useful as a means to help me practice quantitative linguistic variation (obviously this would hardly be scientifically usable source of data for actual real research so I'm not asking this for that purposes). I'll add my preference as a comment.

      31 votes
    18. Discrimination based on English (and accent)

      I posted an article yesterday about name-blind hiring processes, and it got me thinking of discrimination slightly differently. I actually don't feel that we run into outright racial...

      I posted an article yesterday about name-blind hiring processes, and it got me thinking of discrimination slightly differently.

      I actually don't feel that we run into outright racial discrimination as much nowadays. Instead it's more subtle. It's not about technical merit, but about cultural fit. Often times, distilling down to one skill - English (both spoken and written).

      It brings up questions such as:

      • Can a candidate communicate verbally for the job? (Technical, though sometimes this may be judge harder than for a native English speaker that isn't always clear)
      • Do they "get" jokes and other subtleties? (Cultural fit)
      • Do they have an accent? How heavy is it?

      I believe this is for a couple reasons:

      • Candidate just can't display enough charm or charisma during the hiring process
      • Raise doubts about a candidate's education/upbringing. This in itself is discriminatory (though location is not a protected class), but some regions are though to train their students in more blunt force manners than skills in problem solving

      What do you all think?

      11 votes
    19. What is the most interesting feature you've seen in a language?

      For me, it's definitely the topic particles in Japanese. It just seems like a really interesting thing that is a reason enough to want to learn Japanese, even excluding other great features it...

      For me, it's definitely the topic particles in Japanese. It just seems like a really interesting thing that is a reason enough to want to learn Japanese, even excluding other great features it has. Here some info on them.

      30 votes
    20. Should languages keep historical artifacts?

      Three examples : American English have lost the u in word like "color", because it is closer to its phonetics (the u is silent and there's no particular sound associated with "ou"). The letter u...

      Three examples :

      American English have lost the u in word like "color", because it is closer to its phonetics (the u is silent and there's no particular sound associated with "ou"). The letter u has an anglo-norman root.

      Swiss French (and for this particular example Belgian French) differs little from standard French, apart from the numbering system. It is ironically more metric than standard French since it streamlines what's left of the base 20 (vigisimasomething) system, i. e. it's "seventy and eighty" ("septante et huitante*") instead of "sixty-ten and four-twenties" ("soixante-dix et quatre-vingts". Historically people all over the world used some sort of base 20 system, probably because we have twenty toes and fingers.

      *no one ever use "octante". Belgian people think the Swiss uses it, while Swiss people thinks the Belgian it. I don't know why its that.

      Swiss standard German (not dialect) have ditched the Eszett ligature (ß) in favor of a more simple "ss ". That ligature was more common in the middle age.


      With those example in mind, do you find value in the "old" vs the "new" way of writing?

      (in other words: spelling reformer partisan and opponent : what goes through your mind?)

      6 votes
    21. What language are you currently learning and why? And how do you do it?

      I've been learning la langue française, as the language of renaissance. Also it has a lot of great authors and movie directors, and I think it's just beautiful (not as beautiful as German, but...

      I've been learning la langue française, as the language of renaissance. Also it has a lot of great authors and movie directors, and I think it's just beautiful (not as beautiful as German, but it's another kind of beautiful). So I use the method that works best for me, just take Notre Dame de Paris and translate the shit out of it. Or some other text if I'm feeling lazy to look up the names of clothes from middle ages.

      17 votes
    22. I for one...

      A long time ago I had noticed a trend developing on reddit where people were starting to preface their comments with: "I for one". It's pretty insignificant, which is why I never made a post about...

      A long time ago I had noticed a trend developing on reddit where people were starting to preface their comments with: "I for one". It's pretty insignificant, which is why I never made a post about it at the time. Since then, its use seems to have spread significantly on the site and I've seen it a bit here as well.

      It makes sense to use the phrase when talking about or quoting another person to help separate their opinions from your own. The weird thing is many people now seem to use it when its not ambiguous that the comment is their own opinion. I was under the assumption that the default position should be that the comment is the opinion of the person that posted it.

      For example:

      "I for one, prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate."

      Is the same as:

      "I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate."

      There's nothing wrong with using the phrase, it just reads like someone trying to pad out an essay for school.

      Have you noticed people using the phrase on other sites? Is it a phenomenon more specific to reddit?
      Do you use the phrase yourself? If you do, what is your thought process when typing it out?

      14 votes
    23. "Guy" should be a neutered term. Change my mind.

      In light of @Deimos mentioning that we have a lot of "favorite" topics going around, how about something a little meatier? I've seen it a few times already around threads that someone uses the...

      In light of @Deimos mentioning that we have a lot of "favorite" topics going around, how about something a little meatier?

      I've seen it a few times already around threads that someone uses the word "guy" to refer to a poster and the response is "I'm not a guy". I'm not trying to invalidate this stance, but rather make this argument in the same way I argued for a singular "they". Consider the following:

      • the plural form, "you guys" is already neutered. I can walk up to a group of women and ask "How're you guys doing?" and it doesn't draw any ire
      • we've similarly neutered "dude" in both the singular and plural, but it's especially casual and almost familiar
      • "gal" sounds like something out of the forties, "girl" is diminutive, and "person" is clinical / formal
      • we don't have another common, non-gendered, non-specific term that fits the "sounds right" criteria and fits in the environment like the one we have (wherein users are getting to know each other and don't know exactly how to address one another).

      I realize that this is probably masculine-normative and therefore problematic, but my main goal here is to stimulate discussion on a meatier topic (gender) without having it be an incredibly serious topic.

      [EDIT]

      I want to clarify a few things, as this reads a lot more trolly than it did 6 hours ago.

      generalizing "guy" is a sexist idea because it attempts to make the masculine the generic (what I called "masculine-normativity" above). However, there isn't a term that adequately replaces "guy" but is neutered (@Algernon_Asimov brought up that "dude" fits, but is as more casual than "guy" than "person" is more formal). [Edit edit: I'm an idiot. They pointed out that "dude" as I had defined it earlier in my post would work just as well, but they did not agree that it has been neutered]

      Instead of bringing this up as purely a matter of diction, I set myself up as an antagonist to see what would happen. And for this I apologize.

      That said, I feel like there is some good discussion here and do not want to call making the thread a mistake. More that mistakes were made in the manner of its posting.

      42 votes
    24. How can non-native speakers improve their english writing skills?

      I'm not a native speaker, but from browsing reddit, understand 95% of what I read / hear. I also watch TV Shows exclusively in english. However, when i write a comment or something in english, it...

      I'm not a native speaker, but from browsing reddit, understand 95% of what I read / hear. I also watch TV Shows exclusively in english. However, when i write a comment or something in english, it always feels like it doesn't really "flow".

      How can i, or other non-native speakers improve our writing skills?

      15 votes
    25. Any language learners/enthusiasts around here?

      Now that a community is starting to build here, I'm curious if anyone else is interested in languages. Personally, I realized that I enjoy learning languages when I took a Spanish class in high...

      Now that a community is starting to build here, I'm curious if anyone else is interested in languages.

      Personally, I realized that I enjoy learning languages when I took a Spanish class in high school. The only languages I've studied seriously are Spanish and Russian, and unfortunately these days my Spanish is pretty rusty, but I still enjoy the process of learning about different languages, how they relate to each other, and learning how to communicate at least a little.

      Anyone here share my interest? What language(s) are you learning/have you studied, and what do you like or dislike about it? What has struck you as the most interesting or weirdest thing about it?

      28 votes