Help with English

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Saint, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    coming to a head =?
    play out = game over?

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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    There are mentally retarded people who cannot master any language.

    In the past, there were a few people who did not learn English as children. My mother, for example, was raised by parents who immigrated from Bohemia (we call it the "Czech Republic" today) and could not speak English. But when she was old enough to go to school (6 years old) she was taught English. Today, families like that are very rare. I doubt that there are very many people who were born here, and therefore are automatically U.S. citizens, who cannot speak English by age 4.
    "Romp" means to play. So "romp to a victory" means to win a game without having to work very hard, as though it were merely recreation.
    To downplay something means to speak of it so as to diminish its importance. The word is usually used to imply that the diminution is fraudulent.
    This means to reach a conclusion, usually a crisis. It comes from the sense of a boil (a type of sore on the skin) "coming to a head" as it becomes a lump like a pimple.
    This means to reach a conclusion.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
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  5. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    Why call it racketeering? Anything to do with badminton racket?
     
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    No, nothing to do with that.

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    A racket is a criminal activity whereby one offers to solve a problem that doesn't actually exist, or is made to exist solely for the purpose of selling the solution. E.g. extortion: "pay us or we'll hit you!"
    Not sure of etymology - possibly an extension of its meaning a "loud noise" - as in "that's a heck of a racket you're making out there!", in the way that a pickpocket might use a diversion to draw their target's attention away from what's really going on.
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The etymology of "racket" is not well established. The word has several meanings, but the original meaning was "noise," and the word may be a modification of "rattle."

    The sense of "criminal enterprise" suggests that in the past, "racket" may have been a slang word for "game," since many games (like tennis, badminton and squash) are played with rackets.

    But as I said, none of this is very well attested, so this is an unsolved mystery.

    And "racketeer" as a noun means a person who engages in a criminal enterprise, and as a verb it refers to the activities of the enterprise.

    The suffix "-eer" is a variant of the much more common "-er." Originally it was confined to words we borrowed from French, such as "engineer" and "buccaneer," but now it is used to make new words seem a bit whimsical, like "mountaineer" and "profiteer."
     
  9. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    How to pronounce Tsipras?
     
  10. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    I'd guess it sounds like Cyprus, the country?
     
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Just the way it's spelled: TSEE-prus.
    No. In English and many European languages, the C in Cyprus is pronounced as an S.

    Ancient Greek, from which many English words are formed, did not have the consonant cluster TS. But in modern times, with the influence of the nearby Italians, Croatians, Bulgarians, Romanians and many other populations whose languages have the TS sound, the Greek language absorbed many names and words with the TS combination.
     
  12. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Is tsee not also pronounced like an S? I thought the T was silent.
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The Greek language has its own alphabet. We have to transliterate Greek names and words into the Roman alphabet, trying very hard to spell them in such a way that an anglophone (native English speaker) will automatically pronounce them as closely as possible to the original pronunciation.

    There would be no point in spelling a Greek name with a TS if the original Greek spelling and pronunciation is simply S.
     
  14. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Why do English words sometimes have "silent" letters?
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Unlike most of the European languages, English never underwent spelling reform. We still spell words they way they were spelled 700 years ago, even though the pronunciations have changed enormously.

    The K in "knight," the G in "gnaw," the W in "wren," the P in "psalm," the H in "hour" and the M in "mnemonic" were not originally silent.
     
  16. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    shenanigan = a borrowed word?
     
  17. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    3,519
    expand is not expend ?
     
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    No, expand is not expend.
    Expand is "to grow in size"... a balloon expands as you inflate it.
    Expend is "to use up"... as in you expend energy when you go running.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It conforms so perfectly to the phonetics of Irish Gaelic, that most people assume that it is an Irish word. However, it is actually an Americanism--a slang word invented in the USA. The first records of the word come from San Francisco and Sacramento in central California in the middle of the 19th century. This was the period of the Gold Rush (tremendous deposits of gold were discovered in that region in 1849) and thousands of people from many different places came to mine gold. "Shenanigans" (the word is usually in the plural) may have originated in another place, and was brought to California by miners.
    No. "Expand" comes from the Latin word ex, "out" and pandere, "stretch." "Expend" comes from pendere, "hang." The similarity is a coincidence.

    We also have the word "expound," meaning "to make a detailed statement," from ponere, "put." As with many English words of Latin origin, we got this one from French, which accounts for the odd change of the vowel O to a diphthong OU.
     
  20. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

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    5,478
    I’d rather you --------------- present when we signed the agreement.
    1) would be
    2) had been
    3) could be
    4) were
    ______________
    I am torn between "I'd rather you had been" and " I'd rather you were"
    leaning towards 'had been'
     
  21. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    Rome wasnt build in one day = means what?
     
  22. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

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    That large complicated things take time to do.
     
  23. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    why touch with a barge pole?
     

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