5
votes
0answers
213 views

“Alcohôlic” vs. “melanchŏlic,” “sôlvent” vs. “sŏlute.” What source describes this change?

According to Merriam-Webster, the pronunciation of alcoholic is "ˌal-kə-ˈhȯ-lik, -ˈhä-" while the pronunciation of melancholic is "ˌme-lən-ˈkä-lik." OK, the title is an exaggeration: they can rhyme ...
5
votes
0answers
135 views

Why is the transliteration of names so strange at the beginning of Genesis?

Many names in the Old Testament are transliterated and used today. The names from later books -- such as Jonathan (Yonatan), Samuel (Shemu'el), and Joshua (Yehoshu'a) -- all seem to follow basic rules ...
3
votes
0answers
49 views

What's the origin of the phrase - “For the life of me”?

The ODO definition is: (informal) However hard I try; even if my life depended on it I have come across this phrase quite a lot of times in EL&U. For the life of me, I can't remember that ...
3
votes
0answers
32 views

What is the origin of the phrase “pilgrims and strangers in the/this world”?

I came across the phrase "we are pilgrims, and strangers in the world" recently in something I was reading and made a note of it. I remembered reading it in David Copperfield, but I seem to have been ...
3
votes
0answers
74 views

Do Old English dialects correspond well with modern English ones?

I came across this article the other day. At the bottom there's a family tree of English dialects, both extant and extinct ones. It makes it out that southern English dialects came from Wessax ...
3
votes
0answers
92 views

Shakespeare's Scansion: the Sequel

Okay, so we seem to have established (with lots of great and generous help from StoneyB and Peter Shor) that: where it came to certain diphthongs, Shakespeare either elided syllables that didn't ...
2
votes
0answers
26 views

Evaluable vs. Evaluatable

How do we describe "something that can be evaluated"? My first thought was "evaluatable", since we have inflate -> inflatable debate -> debatable equate -> equatable However, ...
2
votes
0answers
34 views

Could you clarify /e/ and /ɛ/?

This is quite confused! In the Standard IPA Vowel chart, there are /e/ and /ɛ/, see the bellowed picture (Source) However, many American English Vowel charts don't have /e/. So, I think that Some ...
2
votes
0answers
39 views

Referring back to something

I frequently read a column (or such) that begins the text by mentioning a particular item/person/anecdote or similar, and then continues to lay out the subject and in the end refers back to the ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

Etymology of “Wincolmlee”

In my travels around northern England I have found myself in Wincolmlee in the fair city of Kingston-upon-Hull, and also near Wincomblee in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. These places are both on the riverside ...
2
votes
0answers
115 views

H: Why do Catholics say 'haitch' and Protestants say 'aitch'?

How did the divergence in pronunciation: 'haitch' vs. 'aitch' along school-type/religious lines in Ireland (particularly in Northern Ireland) come into being ? The current status quo is well ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

How did “perfidy” come to mean the absence of faithfulness / trust?

Perfidy is (OED): Deceitfulness, untrustworthiness; breach of faith or of a promise; betrayal of trust; treachery. The roots are per- and fidēs (faith) Per- carries several senses, but ...
2
votes
0answers
72 views

Reversing Binomials

Siamese twins or binomials are pairs of expressions which are often conjoined. For example: back and forth ebb and flow near and far better or worse do or die Is there is a name for the rhetorical ...
2
votes
0answers
91 views

Foods that “insult” the body

How common is the word insult in the sense "[cause] bodily injury/trauma" in modern day English? Is it chiefly medical speak, or has it spread into general print that even the layperson knows what it ...
2
votes
0answers
110 views

“Shuttling between the anal and genital zones of development.” Huh?

Here's a quote from Lolita: "Dolly Haze," she said, "is a lovely child, but the onset of sexual maturing seems to give her trouble." I bowed slightly. What else could I do? "She is ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

The proper usage of 'compeer'; and is it a root word?

Compeer has a definition: A person of equal rank, status or ability What I am asking is what context is this word typically used? And equally important - is it valid to use the words compeering and ...
2
votes
0answers
88 views

Have vs. get in the causative

In causative constructions, for example: I'll have him do it for me. I'll get him to do it for me. What is the difference in meaning between them? Obviously, there's a difference in ...
2
votes
0answers
41 views

In which etymology

Why do we say "In which" in many formal essays and documents? I never understood this. The definition for which on Merriam Webster is "being what one or ones out of a group". Why is it that we have ...
2
votes
0answers
136 views

Usage of loss or losses (for undesirable heat produced)

I am working in the field of electrical engineering where losses may appear due to for example and in short, pulsating magnetic fields in magnetic materials (Core losses) or electric current (Copper ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

How do the British pronounce these names?

Leif, as in Leif Ericsson; Elise, I know the British pronounce Denise like "dih-'neez"; Gisele; and Gisela
1
vote
0answers
25 views

Plural or singular with “context”

I wrote the following sentence in an academic paper: "The context of the experiment was the students of the last two years" my revisor, who is an English mother language (Welsh, in fact), corrected ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

Small or little question

A question for which the asker does not know the answer. But for the answerer is very easy because he is very familiar with the issue, or has the information at hand. (Of course, we can call it an ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

Language school & language institute

I'm a non-native English speaker in Iran. Here we have schools to which students go to learn about different subjects such as math, history and English. We have institutes (or at least we call them ...
1
vote
0answers
18 views

Could you Clarify the Front - Back & Close - Open position & other positions in between in IPA vowel chart?

See the IPA vowel chart A front vowel is any in a class of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far in ...
1
vote
0answers
63 views

Should one hyphenate 'shoulder width' in this context?

I believe that in this context: Place your feet shoulder-width apart. it makes sense to hyphenate to avoid confusion. I see that apart is listed as an adverb in the dictionary and width as a ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

When do we use subjunctive after “unless”?

In this sentence: The body will not be kept comfortable unless the air be maintained at a temperature higher than necessary. Why did the author use "be maintained"? When do we use subjunctive ...
1
vote
0answers
25 views

Connotation of a sentence in a listening material from TPO

(Here for the original audio source (MP3 file). The part in question begins approximately at 2'18'') This conversation is an excerpt from one listening material in a TPO (TOEFL Practice Online) test, ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

Dinner at mine or yours?

I have noticed in British TV shows the common usage of 'mine' or 'yours' being used to mean 'my place' and 'your place' respectively. I spent a year in Britain in the early 1980s and I don't recall ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

The striking interference of youthful reading

OED Online gives this meaning for 'to interfere with': Const. with: to molest or assault sexually. ["interfere, v.". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

Comma after literature reference citation?

Sorry, I am a German engineer, so my English language skills are quite poor :D. I am writing a scientific paper and I have several sentences as the following example In [1] the definition proposed ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Inverted commas or italics when you mouth something

I am wondering if it is better to use inverted commas or italics when you mouth something, rather than say it aloud. E.g. I cover the receiver and mouth Sorry to my friend. Or is it better to go ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

“I'm living a lifetime in every minute that we're together.”

I'm living a lifetime in every minute that we're together. quoted from the movie "Notebook" I have a trouble while interpreting the meaning of this sentence. I guess it means he is fully ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

How would I address people who attend church with me?

So I am a christian and attend church. How would I grammatically refer to people who also attend my church. Fellow church mates, church-goer, church attendee? A fellow ______ gave me a job at her ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

What is a “terrorist jacket”?

In Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, American archaeologist Lupe Montoya is described as wearing a "terrorist jacket" in several places: Kivrin’s tutor Latimer, looking older and even more infirm than ...
1
vote
0answers
40 views

Phonograms ey and ie

My son is using Spalding phonogram cards in his kindergarten class. I like them for the most part, aside from a few weird examples and explanations that aren't quite right, but that I can live with. ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

Did “based off of” come from a TV show for children?

"based off of" is a new alternative to the standard and traditional "based on", and the first time I heard it used by an adult was couple of months ago. How does a locution become widespread among ...
1
vote
0answers
101 views

What rule can I give to authors who start sentences with “-ing” words when it's inappropriate?

I work as an editor and I've found that many writers (usually novices) inappropriately begin sentences with "-ing" words (as opposed to appropriately beginning sentences with "-ing" words. It's a ...
1
vote
0answers
48 views

Advice vs. Suggestion Why is the latter countable?

From an outsider, I think advice and suggestion have similar meanings. But I don't understand why the noun suggestion is countable whereas advice isn't. We can ask: Can you give me two or ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

What verbs can you use in a sentence “The movie ”Boyhood“ runs for three hours”?

What verbs can you use to express the duration of a movie other than "run"? Example sentence: Boyhood runs for three hours.
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Can the Personal Pronoun I Be Put in the Nominative Case before the Gerund?

In the recently published Report on the Death of Alexander Litvinenko by Sir Robert Owen there is the following sentence in the statement of one of the witnesses (Boris Berezovsky): "This resulted in ...
1
vote
0answers
45 views

Words that are spoken one way but written another

I was recently involved in answering this question: Renumeration vs Remuneration (reimbursed financially), which is correct? Which asks whether "renumeration" or "remuneration" is correct in terms ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

He do what he do (does or do)

According to a DMagazine.com headline, it reads: Ron Washington: He do what he do. Is there any case we have to use he do or does it mean something different?
1
vote
0answers
57 views

Suitable English word to express tongue emotion

I am actually a little bit confused to how to say the following tongue emotion? I am actually talking about tongue out with somewhat between the teeth. Is sticking tongue out a suitable word for ...
1
vote
0answers
35 views

Difference between “compact” and “accord”

What's the difference between those two words? But the Marshall Islands holds an important card: Under a 1986 compact, the roughly 70,000 residents of the Marshalls The debate over loss and ...
1
vote
0answers
41 views

Is the following use of “decorating” incorrect and/or unclear?

If you do XYZ , it could end miserably with your body decorating the gutter by sundown. I looked up the use of decorating on Ngrams and Google and found nothing of the kind. This usage appears to ...
1
vote
0answers
55 views

Are there suffixes akin to -phobe and -phile that are less extreme in meaning?

The suffix -phobia means fear of, often irrational fear of. For example, according to Wikipedia: Ophidiophobia or ophiophobia is a particular type of specific phobia, the abnormal fear of ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

Proper adjective for “used” ticket

What's the proper English adjective for: A one-time ticket (for entrance somewhere, to use some sort of transport to travel somewhere, etc) that's been properly used once and thus no longer valid to ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

Usages of the word “hacky”

What does the word "hacky" means and what is the differences between the words "hack" and "hacky" For example: "I found a hacky solution" Is this means the solution is awful or means cheating but ...
1
vote
0answers
41 views

How did 'of' come to take on so many meanings?

TL/DR: How did of (a Function Word) spawn such diverse meanings, too numerous to list here? Optional Reading and Supplement: [OED:] The primary sense was ‘away’, ‘away from’, a sense now ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

Grammatical Gender þe þæt

When the nominative articles for masculine and feminine nouns were exchanged for þe and cases for nouns were lost, it would make sense for masculine and feminine to become a common gender like in ...

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