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an amateur linguist

"Not all grammar is cut and dried, right and wrong, but imbued with points of variability to explore." Pam Peters

"It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him." G. B. Shaw, Pygmalion


2d
answered Is there any difference between “a few relatives” and “a few relations”?
Mar
29
comment About the etymology of Bachelor
Le Grand Robert adds that OF bacheler (1080) was also used with the same meaning, cf. "Sous la féodalité, Jeune gentilhomme qui aspirait à devenir chevalier, et s'y préparait sous la conduite d'un seigneur."
Mar
29
comment About the etymology of Bachelor
OED says that the word bachelor (ME bacheler) originally meant "A young knight, not old enough, or having too few vassals, to display his own banner, and who therefore followed the banner of another; a novice in arms."
Mar
14
awarded  Yearling
Aug
21
awarded  Necromancer
Jun
2
comment “Café” vs. “coffee shop” in American English
Worth taking a look at baristaexchange.com/forum/topics/difference-between-coffee
Jun
2
comment “Café” vs. “coffee shop” in American English
@Barney, LPD-3 (Wells 2008) says the following "sometimes also (but in RP only facetiously) kæf, keɪf."
May
4
revised Achievement Verbs with the Progressive Aspect
added the link
May
4
suggested suggested edit on Achievement Verbs with the Progressive Aspect
Mar
14
awarded  Yearling
Mar
9
comment On the Origin of the Universal Quantifier: A Semiotic Etymology
Wikipedia says "The traditional symbol for the universal quantifier is "∀", an inverted letter "A", which stands for "for all" or "all". The corresponding symbol for the existential quantifier is "∃", a rotated letter "E", which stands for "there exists" or "exists"."
Feb
26
comment Why does “contrary” have two different pronunciations?
@tchrist, you really say country [ˈkʰʌntʃɹi]? I mean with a sibilant?
Feb
26
comment Why does “contrary” have two different pronunciations?
They haven't updated the entry for "contrary" for a while. If I understand correctly, the OED editors use data from Upton et al. 2001 for pronunciation. And Upton et al. 2001 say the following: contrary1 'opposite' CON-; contrary2 'perverse' BrE -TRA-, AmE two variants, CON- and -TRA-. Naturally, the dialectal and uneducated labels have been completely removed, as it should be.
Feb
25
comment Why does “contrary” have two different pronunciations?
@FumbleFingers, Wells 2008 (LPD-3), Roach, Hartman and Setter 2006 (CEPD-17): adj 'perverse, obstinate' 2nd syllable stressed conTRAry; adj 'different, opposed' and also a noun, 1st syllable stressed CONtrary.
Jan
31
comment Why is 'worthy' pronounced with a /ði/ unlike 'healthy', 'wealthy' and 'stealthy'?
Some thoughts: 1. in OE, in a position a stressed vowel+fricative+(liquid)+unstressed vowel, fricatives were always voiced. 2. First documented occurrences (OED): worthy (c1220) - the oldest (!), wealthy (1430), earthy (1398), healthy (1552), filthy (1382) etc. Not sure whether this is relevant though.
Jan
25
revised Why do photons and protons exhibit such anomalous behavior?
added 216 characters in body
Jan
25
comment Why do photons and protons exhibit such anomalous behavior?
@NewAlexandria, in Russian in words like proton, electron etc. stress is always on the last syllable.
Jan
25
revised Why do photons and protons exhibit such anomalous behavior?
added 187 characters in body
Jan
25
answered Why do photons and protons exhibit such anomalous behavior?
Jan
25
comment Why do photons and protons exhibit such anomalous behavior?
Professor Wells summed it up pretty well "It is unfortunately the case that English aspiration is not a matter of all or nothing. In some positions voiceless plosives may have a certain amount of aspiration, but not enough to call them fully aspirated. The VOT in such cases is intermediate between that of “aspirated” voiceless plosives and that of “unaspirated” ones." phonetic-blog.blogspot.com/2009/04/vot-is-more.html?m=1