Reputation
24,990
Next tag badge:
98/100 score
31/20 answers
Badges
1 28 68
Impact
~2.8m people reached

3h
comment Proper term for people from eastern Asia
Yes, if someone told me that "Asian people do X", I'd take that to mean not just Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans but also Kazakhs, Siberians, Indians, etc. I'd be quite surprised if someone said "Asian" and it became clear that he was NOT including Kazakhs et al. To my mind, whether it would include the Middle East could be debatable. That would be like someone saying "European" and it turning out that he meant just France, Spain, and Portugal, and not Germany, Poland, Greece, etc.
1d
awarded  grammatical-number
Jul
28
comment To tell the name of a person I met in the past
@jasper What if John is a bum who often doesn't change his clothes for weeks at a time? What if instead of saying "last week" I said "yesterday" or "this morning"? And why do you distinguish "still" from "again"? Either way he "is wearing a blue shirt".
Jul
28
comment To tell the name of a person I met in the past
@jasper Suppose I said, "I met John last week. He was wearing a blue shirt." The fact that I say "was" doesn't mean that I know that he is not wearing a blue shirt today. Maybe he has ten blue shirts. Maybe he hasn't changed in a week and is still wearing the same blue shirt. I use the past tense because I am trying to say that that is what was true at the time. I may know that it is no longer true, or I may not know if it is still true or not. The context may indicate that I know it is no longer true, but that's not inherent in the use of the past tense.
Jul
28
comment To tell the name of a person I met in the past
I'd add, When we refer to people who are dead, we normally use the past tense. Like, "My brother died last year. His name was John". I probably wouldn't say "His name is John", unless I was making a point about belief in an immortal soul. If I'm talking about someone I met in the past, not only do I not know if he's changed his name, but I don't know if he's alive or dead. All I know is what was true at the time I last saw him. So I tend to say "was".
Jul
28
comment To tell the name of a person I met in the past
@DavidRicherby Hmm, but surely much of what we say about language relates to matching our words to the real world. If I knew for a fact that he had changed his name, than surely I would say, "His name WAS Bruce", not "His name IS Bruce".
Jul
14
comment Morally speaking, 1+1=2
... term for the Hebrew Bible, and laughed along with the joke. My point being: some jokes and metaphors are all in good fun and we can all laugh along. Others indicate preconceptions or judgments. Compare to ethnic humor. I wouldn't say that anyone who begins a joke with "A black man walked into a bar ..." is a racist. But after hearing the end of the joke, I might conclude that.
Jul
14
comment Morally speaking, 1+1=2
As one of those adamant Fundamentalists, I have no problem with people using theological metaphors to describe non-theological subjects. But HOW they use them can say something about their underlying philosophy. e.g. I've often heard people say, "oh, don't turn this technical debate into a religious argument", by which it is clear they mean "irrational and emotional". The clear implication is that they think religious discussion is inherently irrational. On the other hand, when I saw a book on economics titled "The Law and the Profits", I saw the pun on "the Law and the Prophets", a ...
Jul
14
answered In science writing, what to call the body in relation to the brain?
Jul
9
answered Is there a word or short phrase to describe a movie that wins many awards
Jun
30
comment “It” vs. “this”
@alan Sure. Or, "I am sharing this" is not the most likely thing for a person to say to convey this message. I was just trying to give an example where it would make sense.
Jun
29
comment Does the term “white lie” have racist connotations?
@user8674 My point wasn't to give relationship advice, but to discuss the meaning of words. In this case, to discuss the fact that words can mean different things to different people. If someone asked about the meaning of, say, "energy", and I explained how it means one thing to physicists but something rather different in common speech, you wouldn't say that I was going off topic by discussing physics, would you? Arguably I made comments here that went beyond what was necessary to make the point. If you believe I did, okay, sorry.
Jun
26
comment Does the term “white lie” have racist connotations?
In current parlance, a dark-skinned person living in America is called an African-American even if he has never been to Africa in his life, and even if his grandparents came here from Jamaica. Calling a dark-skinned person who has lived his whole life in Britain and whose ancestors came from India an "African-American" seems a little silly to me. My grandfather came to the U.S. from Norway, so I suppose you could call me a "Norwegian-American", but I pretty much never call myself that.
Jun
26
comment Does the term “white lie” have racist connotations?
telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1452762/…
Jun
25
answered Can a person's name be used to represent a group of people?
Jun
25
comment Can a person's name be used to represent a group of people?
In many of your examples, there's a popular, accepted meaning of the name. Not all attributes of the character from the story necessarily apply. Like if you call someone a "romeo", you are routinely understood to mean that he is romantic, perhaps obsessed with love, but few would understand you to mean that he is Italian, a member of a rich family, or doomed to die an early death.
Jun
25
comment Word for “referring to common but not universal attributes of a group of people”?
I think you mean "universal" rather than "ubiquitous".
Jun
25
answered Does the term “white lie” have racist connotations?
Jun
25
comment Does the term “white lie” have racist connotations?
@MathiasR.Jessen SOME of the "bad white" terms could be such a reversal -- like "whitewashing", sure, covering up the ugly non-white. "White flag" of truce -- maybe, but "white flag" of surrender -- no. "White-faced" for frightened, definitely no. "White out" for snow blindness -- no. Etc. And the positive black terms, like "in the black" and "black gold", are clearly positive for very literal reasons.
Jun
25
comment Does the term “white lie” have racist connotations?
@sumelic In the 1950s it was routine to call dark-skinned people "colored". And I've seen a million old Westerns where the Indians call the white people "paleface" -- though I have no idea if that's something that was really done or if that's just Hollywood.