Unanswered Questions

9
votes
0answers
330 views

Graphotactics of possessive: the true reason for the apostrophe

I have some hypotheses for English graphotactics: 〈w〉 and 〈y〉 are optional positional variants (i.e. allographs) of 〈u〉 and 〈i〉, respectively, in digraphs that correspond with diphthongs or vowels: ...
6
votes
0answers
444 views

Dictionary of English constructions

There is a family of grammars called construction grammar that started perhaps in the 80s with the work of Fillmore & Kay among others. Examples of constructions include: the time + away ...
5
votes
0answers
49 views

“If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be…” What does this mean?

I'm translating a book, which involves logic and quoted the sentence from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass: "If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ...
5
votes
0answers
252 views

Transformation? Cleft?

I am wondering if the difference between "It is terrible." and "What it is, is it is terrible." can mostly be described in terms of transformations, grammatically. Is it a kind of cleft sentence?
4
votes
2answers
137 views

Is there a word that describes this gesture of interlocking hands on the lower stomach?

Specifically, I am referring to the traditional gesture some female service staff members seem to do, when demonstrating their work or their readiness to receive orders. Also, this is the gesture ...
4
votes
2answers
128 views

Where did the L in talk go?

So, this came up in the recent silent letter post in the comment section. Looking up pronunciations of talk gives things like: /tɔːk/ per oxforddictionaries.com, Google's definition page (on this ...
4
votes
1answer
101 views

Hemingway's use of “benevolent” in “benevolent skin cancer”

In the following sentence, from Hemigway's The Old Man & the Sea, I believe the author used the word benevolent when he meant to use the word benign. The brown blotches of the benevolent ...
4
votes
0answers
269 views

Syllable — Phonetic Online List/Dictionary with word examples

Is there a homepage or online tool that gives you a list of, let's say, the 2000 most common syllables sorted by their international phonetic alphabet spelling? (e.g. /sɜː(r)/ = the first syllable ...
3
votes
0answers
61 views

Note without text and vice versa

Is there a word for (1) note marks in the text with missing corresponding description in the margin/foot, and (2) descriptions in the margin/foot with missing note mark in the text? I know of words ...
2
votes
1answer
27 views

what is “read out”

Some species of tree have been read out of the party by economics-minded foresters because they grow too slowly. Could anyone tell me what "read out" means here? Obviously, it doesn't mean read ...
2
votes
0answers
57 views

Term for a word with opposite meaning to its root?

I remember coming across a term for a word which has an opposite (or at least very different) meaning from its etymological root word's meaning, does anyone know what this term is?
2
votes
0answers
74 views

Where did “Spineless” come from?

A spineless person is said to be, "without moral force, resolution, or courage; feeble" - http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/spineless. So they are cowardly. But where did that term come from? ...
2
votes
2answers
52 views

Is the word 'lousy' used more often in the UK than in the US?

It seems to be considered a peculiar word to use in the US (like 'queue' or 'spectacles' or 'pail'). And more generally, is there any resource I can use to compare how frequent any particular word is ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Possessive-S/apostrophe in a list, including the first and second person

When adding possessive-S/apostrophe to a list, the rule is only the last person has the apostrophe if the item is shared, or everyone has one if they have the items each, e.g. John and Mary's houses ...
2
votes
0answers
61 views

poetic effect of segmentation of a group of words

Some poems break a sentence or a clause into two lines at the middle of one meaning group of words, like - ... a blue sky and ... What effect such an irregular line break has? Mr. Garrison ...

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