Unanswered Questions

16
votes
0answers
1k 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: ...
7
votes
1answer
181 views

What is the origin of “rat”?

A simple little word for a common little fella. Yet, the origin is unknown (or not?). Both OED and Etymonline are bold enough to say "of uncertain origin"; but, of course, they try to explain the ...
4
votes
0answers
118 views
+100

From patriotic chauvinism to male chauvinism

Chauvinism is a term of French origin that: in its original meaning, refers to an exaggerated patriotism and a belligerent belief in national superiority and glory. a contemporary use of ...
4
votes
3answers
173 views

What could we call a “market for predicting decisions”?

I've always called these "decision markets", and will do so here to simplify the language in this discussion. But that term is overused to the point of being confusing, and I'm curious if anyone can ...
3
votes
2answers
106 views

Pronoun reference & other enigmas in a poem by H. D. Thoreau

I'm trying to understand an excerpt from a poem — "Inspiration", by Henry David Thoreau (see below) — but there are two bits I can't quite get. The first confusing part is the verse "and in my day ...
3
votes
2answers
63 views

Can the element in a phrasal verb have a syntactic purpose?

I am trying to create a system for teaching ESL students phrasal verbs based on the concepts contributed by the element. (For example, "up" frequently contributes the idea of finality or completion). ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

What is the word to describe companies that are in the same industry?

I need to use only one word to describe companies that are of the same industry. "Competitors" is not right under this context. Is there a noun that means "of the same industry" or "in the same ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Is the split in pronunciation of “detail” regional, semantic, or irrelevant?

Or maybe just haphazard? Something else? When I want to refer to a small military unit put together to carry out a specific task, I'll call it a DEtail, accent on the first syllable. When I want to ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

a flap in “wedding” and “bidding”

I'm wondering if a flap occurs in "wedding", and "bidding" in American pronunciation? I can't hear it out here: http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/wedding
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Why is 'Middlesbrough', so spelled?

Why is the English town of Middlesbrough so spelled, and why is the first 'o' of borough missing, as it is not with such as Scarborough, Peterborough, Knaresborough etc. I note that there are towns ...
2
votes
3answers
85 views

Is “Thrashing Win” an oxymoron?

According to me, a "crushing defeat" and a "thrashing win" are opposites. I have always seen the usage of these two terms in sports. But I have seldom seen the usage of "thrashing defeat". Is ...
2
votes
3answers
110 views

“Ask help/permission/forgiveness” or “Ask FOR help/permission/forgiveness”?

I found some illustrative sentences as below in online-dictionaries (Cambridge and Learner's Dictionary). If you need any help, please don't hesitate to ask. She asked their forgiveness. Why they ...
2
votes
2answers
57 views

How to use articles with 'positions'?

Lets's say we have a simple sentence about a fact that always (almost) applies, such as: 'Birds make their nests on the trees'. There is no article before 'Birds' as it is a generalisation. What ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Where does the term “key-thong” (for flip-flops) come from?

In the east Bay Area of California, in the early '60's, we called flip flops key-thongs. (The spelling is likely wrong as I couldn't read at the time.) We moved to New Mexico in the late 60's, where ...
2
votes
2answers
57 views

How can “for” be classed as a coördinating conjunction in the following instances?

How can for be classed as a coördinating conjunction in the following instances? I cannot give you any money, for I have none. He deserved to succeed, for he worked hard. Blessed are the merciful, ...

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