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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:59 pm UTC
by poxic
Sounds blended to me. Some South African bits, some American midwestish. There's almost a bit of English Quebecker in the way he enunciates things, but that's probably not where it comes from.

However, I also kinda suck at accents.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:26 am UTC
by Derek
Hmm, true it's definitely rhotic. I think what was registering as British to me was that it sounds like he has the trap-bath split, or maybe all of his /æ/'s are shifted back.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:45 am UTC
by suffer-cait
Why does a song mean "a small sum of money"? I used it in a pun today, and then realised its a little bizzare. Or insulting to musicians?

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:59 am UTC
by HES
Wild guess, that it relates to organ grinders where you would pay a small fee for a song? So not particularly insulting?

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:08 am UTC
by Soupspoon
suffer-cait wrote:Why does a song mean "a small sum of money"? I used it in a pun today, and then realised its a little bizzare. Or insulting to musicians?

Prior to recordings (and copyright extensions!) a musician may well have bartered an instance of performing his(/her) knowledge and ability for something tangible or otherwise 'useful' like a meal, a reasonably comfortable place to sleep, etc. However good the performance (and it may be usefully repeated or even contain something akin to news in some cases, or just spirit-stirring in others) it still wasn't something that the average publican or other non-musical trader could monetise in turn.

So, effectively, goods and/or services that might have earnt coin-of-the-realm, or even a brace of opportunistically poached hares, have instead gone "for a song", something without anything like the equivalent resale value of the non-musical exchanges that would have been accepted.

And depends upon the recipient being willing to take that 'payment'. "I like your voice and you sing a good song. Give me and the lads here a few ditties and I'll make sure you're alright for a few jars of ale, and a warm place by the fire…" A charitable exchange that deprives the performer of nothing but isn't an outright carte-blanche for them to beg and scrounge.

(Ninjaed: that'd be a later version of what I was thinking of, leading all the way up to modern buskers and street-artists of all kinds. With, doubtless, the same mix of opinions between those who highly enjoy the adhoc entertainment and those that don't see the difference between them and crumpled beggers with a crumpled Starbucks cup held out, without reciprocation of benefit, for change.)

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:46 pm UTC
by ThirdParty
suffer-cait wrote:Why does a song mean "a small sum of money"? I used it in a pun today, and then realised its a little bizzare. Or insulting to musicians?
Google says that a sheet containing a printed song was a very cheap item one could buy from a street vendor. It also offers a quote from All's Well That Ends Well, Act III Scene 2, which might be an early example of the expression:

Shakespeare wrote:By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very melancholy man. ... he will look upon his boot and sing; mend the ruff and sing; ask questions and sing; pick his teeth and sing. I know a man that had this trick of melancholy sold a goodly manor for a song.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:57 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
I assume that's just a British expression?

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:26 pm UTC
by Liri
Eebster the Great wrote:I assume that's just a British expression?

Bought/sold it for a song? I don't think so.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:40 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
It's the first time I've heard it.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:27 pm UTC
by poxic
I haven't heard it for ages, but "bought for a song" used to be common around here.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:42 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
Don't misunderestimate its cromulency in Olde Albion, sirrah.

(i.e., I definitely can't speak for the rest of the Anglosphere, and may not even represent a sufficient majority of the UK, but it certainly seems to be a phrase I'd assume I could use in conversation with a neighbour and not encounter outright puzzlement. Top of my Google hits on the phrase is a page about a TV programme of relative vintage (plus revivals), that probably reinforced (if not provoked) such understanding in the general populace and chattering classes. It may have escaped the attention of Millenials, of course, nor need it have been brought to your attention. Until now!)

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:59 pm UTC
by eSOANEM
Relatedly, for people on the USican side of the pond, do you have an equivalent of the phrase "in for a penny, in for a pound"? It's meaning's relatively self-explanatory but just to be clear it's the idea that once you're committed you might as well go the whole hog (i.e. if you're already in on a bet or scheme for a penny, you might as well go for a pound instead).

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:03 am UTC
by poxic
It's familiar but I'm not sure I'd use it. I'm more likely to say "if you're going to do it, do it".

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:14 am UTC
by Liri
There's "in for a dime, in for a dollar" to preserve the alliteration.

But yeah, I'm probably more familiar with the original anyway.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:25 am UTC
by Derek
I've heard "sold for a song" plenty of times in the US.

eSOANEM wrote:Relatedly, for people on the USican side of the pond, do you have an equivalent of the phrase "in for a penny, in for a pound"? It's meaning's relatively self-explanatory but just to be clear it's the idea that once you're committed you might as well go the whole hog (i.e. if you're already in on a bet or scheme for a penny, you might as well go for a pound instead).

"In for a penny, in for a pound" is also perfectly ordinary in the US.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:04 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
It's certainly known, but I'm not sure "ordinary" is the way I'd describe it. I can't remember ever hearing anyone say it in person.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:09 am UTC
by Soupspoon
One imagines "you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb"[or, sic, "hanged", but I know the idiom primarily in the 'incorrect' form] is a more portable phrase. But with definite connotations of getting deeper in doo-doo, rather than merely committing to an act of any colour of morality/legality/problemicity to it,

OTOH, you call your 1¢ pieces 'pennies' and hold onto Imperial (ironic!) weights that includes the lb (such a quantity of most things invariably costing >$0.01), so maybe you can still make your own internal senses of the phrase, if you so wished or were forced to by knowing naught of old Blighty and her traditional 240-fold increase betwixt the one unit and the other.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:35 am UTC
by ThirdParty
Soupspoon wrote:OTOH, you call your 1¢ pieces 'pennies' and hold onto Imperial (ironic!) weights that includes the lb (such a quantity of most things invariably costing >$0.01), so maybe you can still make your own internal senses of the phrase
I've always thought of "in for a penny, in for a pound" as an archaism, not a Britishism, in the same category as "waste not, want not": just like the latter is using an archaic sense of the word "want" to mean something roughly like "lack", the former is using an archaic sense of the word "pound" to mean something roughly like "dollar". The fact that some people might still be using the word "pound" archaically isn't really something I think about.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:40 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
Eebster the Great wrote:It's certainly known, but I'm not sure "ordinary" is the way I'd describe it. I can't remember ever hearing anyone say it in person.
I mean, you also say you'd never heard "for a song", so I'm not sure your remembered experience of idioms is typical.

According to the BYU web-based English corpus, "in for a pound" is about as common in the US as the UK.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:06 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
gmalivuk wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:It's certainly known, but I'm not sure "ordinary" is the way I'd describe it. I can't remember ever hearing anyone say it in person.
I mean, you also say you'd never heard "for a song", so I'm not sure your remembered experience of idioms is typical.

According to the BYU web-based English corpus, "in for a pound" is about as common in the US as the UK.

But it doesn't seem to be remotely common in either country.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:28 am UTC
by gmalivuk
How often should an idiom be used to be considered "remotely common"?

Is "happy as a clam" remotely common?

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:42 am UTC
by chridd
"Happy as a clam" doesn't seem at all common to me. I've heard people talk about it, but I'm not sure I've ever heard it actually used in conversation (or if I have it was probably like once or twice). I kind of feel that's true with a lot of idioms? At least, I have memories of hearing people give examples of idioms and feeling that was true of them. (I don't know whether that's because I don't notice them, or am not around the sort of people who use those idioms, or if there are some idioms that people just don't use that much despite being widely known.)

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:09 am UTC
by gmalivuk
Most four-word phrases aren't actually that common, though, and "happy as a clam" shows up as frequently as "in for a pound" in that corpus.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:41 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
At the end of the day, it's a dog-eat-dog world, with billions and billions of phrases and not enough time in the day to do them all justice. The average man on the street would have to work time and a half, even assuming that this very issue is like a red rag to a bull, for them all to gain due prominence. A few rising stars might well outshine the also-rans, but you can't tar with the same brush all those others that are not actually dead in the water as beyond the pale. Especially when some people, likes yours truly, does nobody any favours 'cos they make sure that at least half of them are below average by avoiding cliches like the plague!!!

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:13 pm UTC
by eSOANEM
gmalivuk wrote:
Most four-word phrases aren't actually that common, though, and "happy as a clam" shows up as frequently as "in for a pound" in that corpus.


And "in for a pound" is the second half of the full phrase and frequently dropped (I definitely hear "in for a penny" much more often than the full "in for a penny, in for pound")

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:00 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
Actually it looks like in British English "in for a penny" is more common than "in for a pound", while in the US the counts are pretty similar (possibly because Americans are less familiar with the full expression and so often say the whole thing).

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:42 pm UTC
by doogly
gmalivuk wrote:How often should an idiom be used to be considered "remotely common"?

Is "happy as a clam" remotely common?


It's not as good as "happy as a pig in shit" but it'll do.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:13 am UTC
by Derek
In a random Reddit thread someone made the claim that English is the only language with a word equivalent to the auxiliary meanings of "do", such as:

* I did come home. (Intensifier)
* I didn't come home. (Required by negative construction)
* Did you come home? (Creates a question)

This immediately sounded like pop-linguistic bull to me. I can believe that maybe no language has one word for all three uses, but I'm sure there are many examples of comparable words for each of these in other languages. Do any of you know some examples?

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:28 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
The verb "do" doesn't create a question, it is just required for some constructions the way it is required for some negation. It plays the role another auxiliary verb or copula would play when none is present.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:49 pm UTC
by Zohar
In Hebrew I would probably use the word for "Truly" for any of these - "I truly came home"/"In truth I came home" etc. Including as a question. It would sound pretty natural. So I call bullshit.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:24 pm UTC
by Grop
It might be particular that that word would be an auxiliary verb. Having words for indicating emphasis, interrogation or negation certainly is nothing special.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:59 am UTC
by Samik
Arms and legs are limbs.
Fingers and toes are digits.
Hands and feet are ____ ?

I feel like it's going to be a facepalmer when someone tells me, but, it's driving me nuts.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:08 am UTC
by Deva
Extremities?
Merriam-Webster wrote:1
a : the farthest or most remote part, section, or point
    the island's westernmost extremity
b : a limb of the body; especially : a human hand or foot

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:31 am UTC
by Samik
Hm. I guess that must be it. I was defining "extremities" in my head pretty much the same way as "limbs". M-W and wiktionary both seem to have it in both senses, but, further searching has revealed nothing more suitable.

Was just surprising to me, that there isn't something as precise as 'limb' and 'digit'. Never thought English would pass up an opportunity to make a word.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:43 am UTC
by Peaceful Whale
Samik wrote:Arms and legs are limbs.
Fingers and toes are digits.
Hands and feet are ____ ?

I feel like it's going to be a facepalmer when someone tells me, but, it's driving me nuts.

PHALANGES!!!
(Technically only the bones in them... but it sounds cool and makes you look smart)
I know this because my teacher had a game called “phalange ball”.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:04 am UTC
by poxic
Phalanges specifically refer to the fingers. The wrist and hand bones are carpals/metacarpals. If you slapped the ball, you were playing metacarpal ball.

God is watching you metacarpate?

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:30 am UTC
by Angua
Hands and feet are clearly paws.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:12 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
Do you guys rhyme "Bayer" with "bear"? How about Layer/lair and payer/pear? For me, "Bayer" and "bear" are both /bɛɚ/, while "payer" and "pear" are quite different: /ˈpeɪ.ɚ/ and /pɛɚ/. For "layer" and "lair," they sound a little bit different, but I'm not sure how to characterize it. "Layer" is definitely /ˈleɪ.ɚ/, but "lair" isn't quite /lɛɚ/, but sort of halfway between that and /ˈleɪ.ɚ/, like a 1.5 syllable word.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:48 am UTC
by flicky1991
For me, all the "ayer" words you mentioned are two syllables, so rhyme with each other but not with the other words.

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:51 pm UTC
by Liri
flicky1991 wrote:For me, all the "ayer" words you mentioned are two syllables, so rhyme with each other but not with the other words.

Ditto that.

This seems similar to the "crayon = cran" deal.