wendypalmer, avatar

When people tell me they read one of my books and found it “quite good”, I like to assume they’re from the US where “quite” apparently means “very” 😊

As opposed to the UK/Aus, where “quite good” is just damning with faint praise.

Unless you say it was “really quite good”. That’s when you mean “very good”.

If you say “quite good, really”, that means you’re surprised it was any good.

And if you say “Oh, I say, that is quite, quite remarkable”, you’re an 18th-century Earl confronted by a tempestuous highland beauty who is tossing her raven-black locks and flashing her sapphire-blue eyes at you because you’re enclosing her commons 😉

wendypalmer, avatar

@pelielios oh that’s interesting, my instinctive response was “of course muppets is an insult” because I’ve heard it like that so often.

Our neighbouring town is called Manjimup (on the linguistics topic, place names in Western Australia with the -up ending generally are Indigenous words, with -up meaning “place of”) so naturally, in the manner of friendly small town rivalry, they are called the Manji Muppets.

Though my partner ran a basketball tournament between the two towns and was rather shocked to discover the friendly small town rivalry wasn’t so friendly after all.

rayckeith, avatar

@wendypalmer @pelielios

how is "moppets" interpreted, if anyone still says it?

we Usaians only hear it in British historical movies, said by lower-class motherly women.

AugierLe42e, French avatar

The latin words you don't know you're using — RobWords

paulfoerster, avatar

A random study of predictability of non-linear, randomized, non-deterministric and chaotic systems under consideration of external influencing factors.

In other words: Poker 🤣

#Language #Euphemism #Study #Games #PseudoScience

stronglang, avatar

We can [VERB] the [TABOO TERM] out of something, but what happens when it's an intransitive verb that takes a prepositional phrase?

@bgzimmer on "agreed the fuck out of it" and similar phrases:

kechpaja, avatar

I'm at the in Prague, for the first time since right before the pandemic (2019).

One highlight so far: "If you think Indonesian and Malay are easy, you haven't met the rest of the family" - Brian Loo, in his talk on comparative phonology and grammar of Austronesian languages. This also holds if your primary exposure to Austronesian languages was Polynesian (Hawai'ian, Māori, etc).

Unfortunately, I seem to be the only person trying to wear a mask in indoor spaces, even at an event with over 800 people. I haven't gotten any pushback on this, but the combination of mask + queer hair + bad at pretending to be neurotypical does occasionally draw looks.

Overall, the feel of the event is definitely different from when it was 200-some people jammed into a youth hostel in Berlin, but similar to the Bratislava years (I never got to the Polish instances).

Alon, avatar

@kechpaja I'm surprised the other people at polyglot conferences are neurotypical...

mycrowgirl, avatar

Where you live/grew up, what is the word for the natural path between two points that often goes near a more formal walkway/sidewalk?
The formal English word is “desire path” which always gave me the ick. In german it was technically “Trampelpfad” (trampel path) but colloquially in the areas I grew up it was usually Gänsenpfad (goose path) or “Ziegenpfad” (goat path), usually dependent on which small livestock was more common to the region.

maddad, avatar


We called it 'The Trail'

ottaross, (edited ) avatar

My morning radio feed has a new fill-in traffic reporter with that current language trend of not pronouncing terminating Ts and it's distracting. I wonder where it came from and why it's so rampant recently?

"There's an acciden aa the stree where ih crosses the river in the wess end."

Funny how speech trends come and go, and sometimes stay. I suspect Tiktok is amplifying it. Modern accents are becoming disconnected from geography and more about subculture/demographics.

LillyHerself, avatar

@ottaross Some thing cropping up in Canadian English in the last couple of years that really bugs my ears is "Keyjanada" ,🤮

ottaross, avatar

@LillyHerself yes, and "kianada."

JeremyMallin, avatar

It seems contradictory to me that at many schools, you can get a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science in the same field. Which is it? Is the field an art or science?

wirthy, avatar

@JeremyMallin You can take different approaches to the same subject area. Speaking for my own area of Computer Science, a Bachelor of Arts would probably mean the student's learning was focused more on the practice of programming, using the word "Art" broadly to mean anything created. If they get a Bachelor of Science, it indicates a more theoretical approach. In general, practitioner vs. researcher.

Cassandra, avatar

@wirthy @JeremyMallin Neat. I would be interested if anyone else had examples.

Shanmonster, avatar

I was very briefly in a discord group for writers that I’d been invited to join. Someone posted something which included the word “bullshit,” and the discord host said there was no room for such language as it was a “family-friendly” forum, something that was definitely not mentioned before I joined up. I quickly left the server, as I use words much more salty than that, and do not write “family-friendly” fiction.

NaraMoore, avatar


Bet I know the one. And with that level of censorship, I probably should leave.

stronglang, avatar

Diseases are used for swearing in Dutch – but how does that work? @sesquiotic analyses the idiom "sjouw me de tering" in a new post on the Strong Language blog:

slothrop, avatar

@stronglang @sesquiotic OK, this is fascinating. Thanks!

I must admit I hadn´t truly realized the potential of Dutch for effective swearing.

blogdiva, avatar

NORMAL FINKELSTEIN is having the biggest "i fucking told you so" moment of his life and am sure, though well received, it is more bitter than sweet.

this is an important article for his focus on the cognitive of protests:

«"I believe the “Cease-fire now” slogan is most important. On a college campus, that slogan should be twinned with the slogan of “Free speech.” If I were in your situation, I would say “Free Gaza, free speech”...»

turbobob, avatar

"Cease-Fire Now" & "Free Speech" 💯

Great article, thanks for sharing @blogdiva !

paninid, avatar

Anytime someone uses the idiom “in the trenches”, it makes me wince.

Just find another way to express the idea you want to convey.

#language #communication #ideas #cringeworthy

slothrop, avatar

@paninid Pleading an exception for actual infantry folk

DoesntExist, avatar

@slothrop @paninid

The silly thing about Sun Tzu is how obvious most of it is:

"Attack your opponent when you have the advantage..." That kind of thing.

Like, duh.

Business types often aren't great at the whole Humanities thing, turns out.

JeremyMallin, avatar

I find expressions with directions in them interesting, ones like "beating up", "dressing down", "pitching in", "pulling out".

I wonder if other languages do things like that too.

JeremyMallin, avatar

It's fascinating to me that giving someone a "beat down" is the same thing as "beating them up". It implies that beating exists in some sort of non Euclidean space that folds in on itself.

glynmoody, avatar

Sperm whale ‘alphabet’ discovered, thanks to machine learning - great: soon we will be able to apologise to for hunting them almost to extinction...

mmezabet, avatar


I've never been able to spell "guarantee" correctly on the first try, and today I really looked at it to try to figure out why.

Which is when I realized that the opening "guar" sounds really close to "war" if you are someone who regularly says GUAO or GUËY.

Which is when I realized that a GUARANTEE is the SAME DAMN THING as a WARRANTY.


Fifty fucking years on this planet it took me to figure that out, ffs.

#linguistics #LanguageLearning #English #Latin

grvsmth, avatar

@mmezabet Tons of those pairs, since it's the way that French and Spanish speakers wrote down words that start with /w/ in other languages!


okay, that last one was a joke...

mina, avatar


When you read the word "guarantee", don't you hear instantly that song

🎶 Guarantanamera, guajira, guarantanamera 🎵

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