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Nov
8
comment What does a cat's tail do?
Um, the bottom left picture isn't "very happy to see you", it's "about to mark you as his territory." (Or if he's neutered, he's at least going through the motions.) And the one above it, with the poofy tail, is frightened, not angry.
Jul
13
awarded  Notable Question
Jul
2
comment Form of government (-archy/-cracy) where the strongest rules
@ElendilTheTall: that sounds like "rule by fish", somehow. :-)
Jun
28
comment Word for words that sound like the sound
I agree with @phenry: if this is "general reference", then there's no reason for the Internet to exist, never mind this site. I mean, really: how and where do you look up a word if you don't know anything besides its meaning?
Jun
19
comment Single word for “this is why”
I wonder if behind this question somewhere there's a parent or teacher with a habit of insisting that "because" is not a complete sentence (or some such attempt at disguising as grammar a problem that is actually behavioral). The fact remains that "here" is no more (or less) complete an answer than "because"; any difference between them is physical, not linguistic.
Jun
17
awarded  Constituent
Jun
10
awarded  Caucus
May
8
comment “School Students” — what, like there's any other kind of student?
Except we do have a "nice two-word term" for what this label (it's not always a sign) is (probably) trying to convey: School Children. It feels almost like someone at some point decided that "Children" was politically incorrect or some such idiocy...
Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
@GEdgar: this is not quite the question you asked, but related: in 1935 (year chosen at random), two transferred surnames were in the top 100 for U.S. girls: Shirley and Beverly. In contrast, the boy top 100 had 18: Howard, Earl, Clarence, Wayne, Leroy, Stanley, Melvin, Dale, Russell, Gordon, Franklin, Douglas, Bruce, Glenn, Lee, Clyde, Clifford, Vernon. For 2012 I count 19 for girls and 26 for boys. Note that I'm not counting names like Lily or Thomas, which transferred the other direction.
Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
@BraddSzonye: dunno about the BTN, but the SSA data is first names only. They don't publish anything about middle names.
Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
I think it just confuses matters to look for given names that happen to be in use as surnames -- there's much too large a variety of surnames. It's better to consider the origins of given names, and to count only those that have crossed categories, from e.g. locatives or occupations to given names. Marked patronymics like Adams and Madison should count, but not unmarked ones like Avery and Thomas.
Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
I recommend a tool (and website) to y'all: the Baby Name Voyager. Also, the SSA data is not limited to the top 1000; you can download text files containing all names given to 5 or more SSN applicants for every year since 1880.
Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
No, girls have been given not just masculine-sounding, but actually masculine names since the Middle Ages. The traditional priority (still in effect!) is for boy's names to sound clearly masculine, meaning that when a name 'goes girl', parents of boys start avoiding it like the plague. (Taylor is actually a counterexample, as it's still in use for both genders.)
Mar
31
revised Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
added TL,DR summary
Mar
28
answered Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
Mar
28
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
I believe Iceland still uses literal patronymics and matronymics. Their phonebooks are alphabetical by given (first) name.
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, no, it's not the English alphabet, but the Latin one, which is what English, and Dutch, and Norwegian, and probably 90% of European languages (except Greek and some of the Slavic languages) happen to use. The languages that use this alphabet all make adjustments peculiar to the language at hand, but they all have in common that before semi-modern times, I and J were considered variant forms of the same letter, same as U and V. Context generally determined what value the letter had.
Dec
10
comment How far down the ancestry line do you call a person your “cousin”?
The last bit (n times removed) is perhaps more clearly explained as the difference between your generations: if you're both the same generation (genealogically, not chronologically), then you're simply mth cousins, but if one of you is x generations from the common ancestor, and the other is y generations away, and x is less than y, then you're xth cousins y minus x times removed. So my first cousin's kids are technically my first cousins once removed.
Sep
24
awarded  Enthusiast
Aug
5
comment Whatever happened to “eyeglasses”, “facial tissues”, and “video game consoles”?
The antecedent for "tissues" isn't "tissue paper" (which is a different animal, as others have commented), but "facial tissues". Most boxes of Kleenex and other brands of the stuff are still labeled this way.