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  • Showing only topics with the tag "language". Back to normal view
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. 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
    4. 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
    5. 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
    6. 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
    7. Anyone willing to teach me ASL?

      I'm a sucker for languages and lately I've been wanting to learn a sign language (not specificallly ASL as I put in the title, I'm open to learning any local flavour). And well, with COVID and...

      I'm a sucker for languages and lately I've been wanting to learn a sign language (not specificallly ASL as I put in the title, I'm open to learning any local flavour).

      And well, with COVID and everything, I figure this may be a good opportunity to do this with someone else and have someone to talk to. So, is there anyone on Tildes who would be willing to have regular informal video chats, where we talk and you try to teach me as we go? (And of course I can accommodate by text if needed)

      No hard commitment, this can just be something we try once and if it's boring for either of us we don't have to continue :) But I'm hoping it'll be fun enough to be a regular thing!

      PS. I can teach you French in return if you are interested!

      10 votes
    8. 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
    9. 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
    10. 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
    11. 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
    12. 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
    13. 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
    14. 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
    15. 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
    16. 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
    17. "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
    18. 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
    19. 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