36,278 reputation
2103175
bio website jsbangs.com
location United States
age 31
visits member for 3 years, 8 months
seen Mar 28 at 19:27

I have a degree in Linguistics, but I work as a programmer. Most of my expertise about English is self-taught, plus lots of random trivia I've acquired here and there.

This is my favorite EL&U comment ever:

This isn't really a question about English so much as a question about hugs. Source


Feb
6
comment Are there words native speakers don't use?
The answer is "yes", but there's not really any exhaustive way to answer this question other than giving a long list of words.
Jan
29
comment If the letter J is only 400–500 years old, was there a J sound that preceded the design of the letter?
@Cerberus, I didn't know that about the origin of J. I'll update the answer. In French, at least, the pronunciation of J was originally [dʒ], later reduced to [ʒ], and English retains the older version. I'm not sure if Spanish ever actually had [dʒ]; the Wiki on en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Spanish_language suggests that it didn't.
Jan
29
comment If the letter J is only 400–500 years old, was there a J sound that preceded the design of the letter?
@Cerberus, also, the letter I was pronounced as both [j] and [i] since antiquity, and I believe that even the earliest usage of J was for [j] and not [i]. Are there early examples of the J glyph which clearly indicate [i]?
Jan
29
comment If the letter J is only 400–500 years old, was there a J sound that preceded the design of the letter?
@Cerberus French, as Ledda mentions, and also Spanish. In medieval Spanish j spells [ʒ], which subsequent sound changes have changed to modern [x].
Jan
28
comment If the letter J is only 400–500 years old, was there a J sound that preceded the design of the letter?
@Bruce is Yeshu something other than a late variant of Yeshua?
Jan
28
comment Because of in the beginning of a sentence
What in particular do you think is wrong?
Jan
28
comment If the letter J is only 400–500 years old, was there a J sound that preceded the design of the letter?
@BruceJames To begin with, Jesus' name in his native language was probably Aramaic, not Hebrew (which by Jesus' time was solely a liturgical language, not a spoken language). That said, I don't think there's any real controversy over the fact that Jesus' name was the Aramaic version of ישוע Yeshua.
Jan
21
comment “Am I going the right way for Downwood?” versus “Is this the right way to the station?” Why the change of preposition?
I don't understand why the manual wants you to change "Am I going the right way for Downwood?" That's a perfectly fine question.
Jan
16
comment Plato(n) and similar masculine names
@Oldcat, good point :). In my eagerness I forgot this.
Jan
16
comment What is the correct usage of the word “milquetoast”?
Ugh, milquetoast is the worst kind of toast.
Jan
6
comment Use “have” or “has” any/anyone/anything in the question?
@JohnLawler good point. It doesn't, however, have any direct relevance to verb agreement.
Jan
6
comment Use “have” or “has” any/anyone/anything in the question?
Questions have the exact same rules for verb agreement as statements. The fact that it's a question has no relevance at all.
Dec
31
comment What is the meaning and origin of the common phrase “the world is your oyster”?
This could be a good answer, but please format it nicely and correct your spelling.
Dec
31
comment When should I repeat the definite article?
@PeterShor fixed.
Dec
17
comment Infinitive without to: The first thing I do is open my eyes
@Thruston, what Vilmar said.
Dec
17
comment What is the emoticon “:hsugh:”?
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about emoticons.
Nov
22
comment Starting a sentence with because
There is no rule against beginning a sentence with a preposition. Don't sweat it.
Nov
19
comment What is it called when someone says something like: “I'm not a racist, but…”
"in most cases, a qualifying statement is followed by a lie." -- which isn't to say that the qualifying statement itself is a lie.
Nov
19
comment Is there a word for made up verbs that end in “ing”?
Adding -ly to a noun does make an adjective. Adding -ly to an adjective makes an adverb.
Feb
6
comment “The End of All Things to Come” — what does this mean?
@MετάEd, this isn't really a lyrics interpretation question, but a general question about the meaning of the construction in question.