Miscellaneous language questions

For the discussion of language mechanics, grammar, vocabulary, trends, and other such linguistic topics, in english and other languages.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:26 pm UTC

Well, there's US-style lieutenant (as opposed to the UK "LEFtenant" variation of pronunciation only, already pointed at), but depends on the attempted US accent I'm using, in order to justify the context, so "loo-tenant" comes out, too.. And that's another "li-eu" word. There appear to be no more "lieu"-words outside of variations of those (e.g. lieus, lieutenancy). It seems to be an area where our stealing from being 'inspired' by the francophone world was rather limited.

But the exception-or-not thing with "lu". Tricky. Definitely isn't to do with being impossible to say the (provably possible1) /dj/, it just seems to be a rough convention. And my convention for SCUBA, remember, was the /j/less one, also, even if it isn't impossible to say with one.

Lucy, lunar, lunatic, (also lutefisk, lughole, luvvies), all are /j/less, but it doesn't take much effort to read as lieucy, lieunar, lieunatic, lieut(e)fisk, lieughole, lieuv(v)ies, as speakable, if not necessarily comprehensibly English, words.

Quick Google gives the following top "lu" words
* luncheon /lu/
* luminous /lu:/
* lukewarm /lu:/
* luscious /lu/
* lustrous /lu/
* luckless /lu/
* luminary /lu:/
* lungfish /lu/
All /lu/-starting, by me. And those with a consonant+vowel following extend to /lu:/, without exception, without any of the others. In that list, at least..


1 There's so much accent variation in the UK, I can only speak for myself. /lm/ is an 'impossibility' for some UK regional accents. As may commonly be considered (outside of their locality) the placenames Ystradfellte or Auchtermuchty. (Never mind the usual problems with tourists to the country with Leicester(shire), Bicester, Towcester, Worcester(shire), Edinburgh, Slough, Tintwistle, Ely, Alnwick, Wombwell, Frome, Ruislip. And Uttoxeter being a rare /ju:/-starting name. That's a different issue, though.)

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby flicky1991 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:08 pm UTC

ThirdParty wrote:Um, according to my favorite dictionary, "SCUBA", "tuba", and "lieu" are all /ju/ in Britain and /u/ in the U.S. I thought the puzzle was what "SCUBA" is doing in this category when U.S. English doesn't usually yod-drop after /k/ the way it does after /t/ or /l/.

I'm British and don't have /j/ in "scuba" or "lieu". "Tuba" kind of does, in that it has /tʃ/, which is the usual substitute for /tj/.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:08 pm UTC

Mega85 wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:
Mega85 wrote:Yeah, Britons pronounce /j/ after /d/, /n/ and /t/ in "due", "new" and "tune", but I didn't think they pronounced /j/ after /l/ as in "lute" or "lieu". Maybe it varies whether they do or not.

FTFY?

On the previous point, never heard /skju:ba/ (from anyone not making a deliberate "hey, why don't websay it this way?" joke, or actual point as per this discussion's genesis), here in the UK. Maybe pre-existing cultural americanisation of pronunciation?

And I definitely say "lieu" with the /j/, as mentioned above. But "lute" is without. Homophonic to "loot", or maybe slightly more stressed-lower on the vowel.


What about "Lucy", "lunar" and "lunatic"? Do you have a /j/ in those words? Or is "lieu" the only word that starts with a /lj/ cluster for you.


I also have a yod in lure but this comes across as a sign of poshness to me. I think lieu is pretty commonly en-yod-ed this side of the pond and I certainly hear a lack of a yod as an americanism



lughole, luvvies aren't really good comparisons though because the vowel is a different phoneme (lute has /u:/ but luvvies has /ʌ/ which would never be expected to have a yod).

I think I inconsistently put a yod in luminous/luminary, it's probably more that I'm palatalising the l a bit or somet; idk, it seems like a bit less than a full yod unless I'm speaking slowly.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:56 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:lughole, luvvies aren't really good comparisons though because the vowel is a different phoneme (lute has /u:/ but luvvies has /ʌ/ which would never be expected to have a yod).

I'm not particularly good at IPA vowels, so I expect that you're right. And, if for some strange reaso you aren't, it's an accent thing. ;)

Ditto the /dz/ (not 'z', but the squiggly-z-ish character that I really should have copied and pasted) is something I tried to avoid quoting, but /dzju:/ seems to me almost right. But not quite. It's the on-the-verge /j/-vowel bit I may have been assuming more about than I should.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby goofy » Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:36 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:* luncheon /lu/
* luscious /lu/
* lustrous /lu/
* luckless /lu/
* lungfish /lu/


Those are all /ʌ/, not /u/.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:29 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Loodikrus.

(And rather than edit again, it occured to me that "lute/loot" (semi-long vowel) differ as per "buck/book" (shorter vowel, each). Normally indistinguishable, but subtly different if you're trying to say them with the same background intonation.)

I have /lu:t/ for both "lute" and "loot," /bʌk/ for "buck," and /bʊk/ for "book." I thought the latter two were pretty standard.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Carlington » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:02 am UTC

I don't want to derail but I also have questions:

Is there a name for the thing French speakers do with the tense high vowel at the end of words in English? (I mean the vowel at the end of "happy", which is /i:/ in my dialect where happy-tensing is in full effect). It's a weird kind of...aspiration-y type thing? Almost as though they add an obligatory /ç/ on the end. It seems to occur on the tense vowels and not the lax ones, and today it was enough for me to tell someone was from France despite her having no other trace of an accent.

Also, would those assembled here say it's odd to have a different voice in different languages? I find that my voice changes depending on which language I'm speaking, which others have commented on in the past but which seems unremarkable to me. What's your thoughts?
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Grop » Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:26 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:Is there a name for the thing French speakers do with the tense high vowel at the end of words in English? (I mean the vowel at the end of "happy", which is /i:/ in my dialect where happy-tensing is in full effect). It's a weird kind of...aspiration-y type thing? Almost as though they add an obligatory /ç/ on the end. It seems to occur on the tense vowels and not the lax ones, and today it was enough for me to tell someone was from France despite her having no other trace of an accent.


Presumably they are catching their breath after trying to pronunce that difficult h at the beginning of happy :p.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Lazar » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:47 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:Is there a name for the thing French speakers do with the tense high vowel at the end of words in English? (I mean the vowel at the end of "happy", which is /i:/ in my dialect where happy-tensing is in full effect). It's a weird kind of...aspiration-y type thing? Almost as though they add an obligatory /ç/ on the end. It seems to occur on the tense vowels and not the lax ones, and today it was enough for me to tell someone was from France despite her having no other trace of an accent.

Parisian-style French tends to devoice high vowels in final position. (Here's someone else asking about this just recently.)

Also, would those assembled here say it's odd to have a different voice in different languages? I find that my voice changes depending on which language I'm speaking, which others have commented on in the past but which seems unremarkable to me. What's your thoughts?

I've heard that it's pretty common for people to use a different baseline vocal pitch when speaking different languages, or even when doing different accents.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:49 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:Also, would those assembled here say it's odd to have a different voice in different languages? I find that my voice changes depending on which language I'm speaking, which others have commented on in the past but which seems unremarkable to me. What's your thoughts?


My Spanish voice is definitely lower and noticeably different.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby freezeblade » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:57 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:Also, would those assembled here say it's odd to have a different voice in different languages? I find that my voice changes depending on which language I'm speaking, which others have commented on in the past but which seems unremarkable to me. What's your thoughts?


My spanish voice has a much more varied tonal range (more expressive?), but in general keeps around the same "baseline" I think. I feel this has a lot to do with the regional accent that you learned the language from, (my spanish is very colloquial "chilango")

Edit: now that I think about it, I think it's more a cadence difference? hard to describe.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Mega85 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:31 am UTC

Do you see "every day" written as "everyday"? I see it often. "They do it everyday".

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby poxic » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:46 am UTC

I think the typical use differs for each version.
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I have seen it used the way you mention, but I've always thought it was a typo.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:47 pm UTC

Yeah, it may be a spelling change in progress, but for now I still consider it an error when people leave out the space in the non-adjective sense.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:37 am UTC

It seems like a plausible common error whether or not ant change is occurring.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:15 pm UTC

I have to force myself to use "thank you" instead of "thankyou". It just seems like it should be contracted. Not a portmanteau, so much as a monatomic run-on of some kind. But, especially as red squiggly underlines (or equivalent) highlight my error when I make it, I resist the lazy option. I know not every one (sic) does. ;)

(c.f. "farewell", and even "bonjour", though neither contracted in a modern English evolution, both were despaced outside of that, and the former seems to have been imported to English by adoption. And "goodbye" is a yet more complex crushing by dialect.)

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby pogrmman » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:23 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:I have to force myself to use "thank you" instead of "thankyou". It just seems like it should be contracted. Not a portmanteau, so much as a monatomic run-on of some kind. But, especially as red squiggly underlines (or equivalent) highlight my error when I make it, I resist the lazy option. I know not every one (sic) does. ;)

(c.f. "farewell", and even "bonjour", though neither contracted in a modern English evolution, both were despaced outside of that, and the former seems to have been imported to English by adoption. And "goodbye" is a yet more complex crushing by dialect.)


Thank you does seem fitting as one word. I do end up hiding "thanks" in its place for a lot of stuff though.

With regards to goodbye, I've mostly dropped the usage of "goodbye" -- it's only for fairly formal situations when I use it. I end up using "bye" or "seeya" or "adios" much more frequently in casual conversation. I think the last time I said "goodbye" was almost a year ago. I'll occasionally do something like "g'bye" interchangeably with "bye".

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:40 am UTC

With "goodbye" coming from "God be with you", it's more complex than "good bye", and "bye" is just "goodbye" shortened (unless used as in "near" (i.e. "by") like in the "leg bye" for cricket.

I tend to close with "Regards," (sometimes modified with a suitably prefix) in formal e-correspondence, the full "Yours Sincerely/Faithfully," (according to the usual rules regarding which) in snailmail of that ilk, and have developed my own set of quirky sign-offs (like "be lucky!", but not that) for real-world departures, according to which (later often cringeworthy!) sign-off my mouth decides to utter in the circumstances.

(If I'm lucky, it's just something like "cheers" as I leave the till after shopping or some other transactional meeting. Though its often more the conversation I babble at the operator beforehand that is the most embarrassing in hindsight. I'm sure the young woman half my age thought that I was trying to chat her up, the other day, before I then apologised for my slightly nasal speech due to the cold I was developing at the time. I'm not sure which was the more unintentionally blurted! But it only hit me as I walked away...)

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Copper Bezel » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:27 pm UTC

My sign off at the till is, almost without exception, "Thanks a bundle an' you have a nice day."

I, uh, live in the Midwest.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:47 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:I, uh, live in the Midwest.

I never would have guessed.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:25 pm UTC

The "a bundle" bit is a bit of an affectation for the rhythm there, I don't really hear it used to mean "a bunch" or "a lot" or use it elsewhere that way myself. But no one's ever given me any funny looks.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Mega85 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:52 pm UTC

Is there a difference between "trash" and "garbage" to you? For me, they're synonyms. I've read that historically there was a difference. Garbage referring to food waste.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:07 pm UTC

No difference here, though there are some contexts where I would use one exclusively. For instance, I would never call a garbage truck a "trash truck" or garbage day "trash day." I also use "trash" as a verb sometimes, but never "garbage."

But no, I definitely don't make the historical distinction. Some people allege that "garbage" still primarily refers to food waste, but I have not observed that.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:36 pm UTC

Here, we use instead tend to use "rubbish" (general waste, of various grades) and "litter" (light waste, mostly handy-sized food packaging discards, where it shouldn't be1). I get the impression that "garbage ≈ rubbish" and "trash ≈ litter", but much as I'm probably grossly simplifying my assessment of the British English terms, I might be making assumptions regarding the American English ones, and the food-waste (rather than crisp(/chip) packet littering waste) distinction might well apply.

I would (locally) perhaps use the word "trash" mostly for "trash talking" or "the car was trashed" (UK equivs might be "talking bad" and "the car was (badly damaged/totally ruined)"?) and the word "garbage" for "the whole plan was garbage" ("...was rubbish/awful"), in both cases being obvious imports of the US usages in popular media.

Then there's "junk", which tends to be bulk scrap (or ought-to-be-scrapped) items, and it takes a bit of transatlantic reuse to talk about the "junk in the trunk" (unless the storage box in the spare room is full of broken toasters, surplus brass door handles and assorted unwanted fireplace poker stands that haven't been used since the house was converted to gas2) or the man's junk that he (sort of) displays in his budgie-smugglers. Are your junkyards called scrapyards, or am I mixing up which side of the mid-Atlantic ridge these words are coming from, again?


Also, over here we (at least until they became "wheelie bins") put our rubbish in dustbins ("bin" for short, also used more aptly for the "garbage pail" in the kitchen and the "trashcan" under your desk in the office), for the dustbinmen to heave into the dustbin lorry3. This is because they were primarily for the removal of the household's ashes from the (coal) fires, even though they were long ago overwhelmingly dominated by other household wastes, that either didn't used to exist (plastic packaging) or were disposed of elsewhere (food waste onto the compost heap, or even to feed the pig, etc). Now there's very little ash (possibly that's going onto garden plots, more, from wood-burning stoves that are becoming fashionable) and if your council doesn't give you at least three different colours of wheelie bin (to be collected at various frequencies) they are obviously behind the times.

(Then you also put into your own car boot (US: "junk in the trunk", again) the rest of the junk and other bulk items that you don't have a handily imminent collection for, to take to the municipal dumpit site. These used to just be tips, but now they're a collection of skips handily labelled so that you can personally unload your car straight into the appropriate one for green garden waste, wood/chipboard, cardboard, metal, large electrical items (not covered elsewhere!), small electrical items (not covered elsewhere), plastic, clothes/shoes, glass, cans (Al/Fe), car oil, cooking oil, batteries (vehicle ones separate from the others!), televisions, fridges/freezers, soil/rubble, cardboard drinks cartons or fluorescent tubes, as appropriate. All of that I would potentially call "rubbish"/garbage-equivalent, if not "junk"/scrap, but very little of it would be strictly "litter"/trash-equivalent, as long as the council staff aren't neglecting their duty to keep the stream of citizen-disposers in line and sufficiently motivated to not mess the place up.)

1 Or in the bins specifically for litter, where it is "litter that isn't (currently) littering".

2 Gaseous gas, not car-fuel gas. Dunno if you use that term or propane or whatever. BYGTI.

3 Once the binmen used to come and fetch your bin from round the back/side of your house, heave it on their shoulder to the binlorry and then take it back again. These days, the householder is expected to wheel their wheeliebin to the kerb (or get someone else to do it for them) the night before collection, for the binmen to more easily get them to the binlorry's lifting mechanism to upend the bin into its ravening maw, then you later trundle it back to wherever you stow it the rest of the week/fortnight/month. The partial exception to this is where the municipal bins ("the bins") for a housing block, school or block of shops/offices is "on the kerbside", but that's not universal, and you can still see shop staff trundling the heavy-duty "a family of tramps could sleep in one" rubbish bins/dumpsters out from the staff gateway onto the street, or back again, one side or other of the business-wastecollections day.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby PM 2Ring » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:03 am UTC

ObLink: My Old Man's A Dustman - Lonnie Donegan.

Another old term from the days of coal ash is "ashcan".

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:46 pm UTC

You left out the term wastepaper basket.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Derek » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:27 pm UTC

I'm not sure, but I feel like the larger the waste collection the more likely I am to call it "garbage" instead of "trash". Like I would say that a landfill is full of "garbage", but the can next to my desk is "trash".

Soupspoon wrote:Here, we use instead tend to use "rubbish" (general waste, of various grades) and "litter" (light waste, mostly handy-sized food packaging discards, where it shouldn't be1). I get the impression that "garbage ≈ rubbish" and "trash ≈ litter", but much as I'm probably grossly simplifying my assessment of the British English terms, I might be making assumptions regarding the American English ones, and the food-waste (rather than crisp(/chip) packet littering waste) distinction might well apply.

Litter in the US is trash that has been discarded improperly on the ground.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby ThirdParty » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:41 pm UTC

Mega85 wrote:Is there a difference between "trash" and "garbage" to you? For me, they're synonyms. I've read that historically there was a difference. Garbage referring to food waste.
They're not quite synonyms for me. I think I use "garbage" for "stuff that should be gotten rid of before it starts to stink" and "trash" for "stuff that should be gotten rid of by placing it in a trash can and eventually carrying it to the curb/Dumpster/etc. for the garbage truck to pick up".

I would never try to put trash down the garbage disposal: trash, by definition, doesn't belong there. I might try to put garbage in the trash compactor, but only if I were suffering a lapse of attention: the trash compactor doesn't get emptied often enough (or cleaned often enough, for that matter) for that to be a good idea.

A banana peel is both garbage and trash. (It goes in the kitchen trash can, which I empty more frequently than my other trash cans because it has garbage in it. If I had a compost pile, the banana peel might not count as trash, but I don't.)

Derek wrote:I'm not sure, but I feel like the larger the waste collection the more likely I am to call it "garbage" instead of "trash". Like I would say that a landfill is full of "garbage", but the can next to my desk is "trash".
I think this is consistent with my definitions. Stuff in a landfill should not be removed from it and placed in a trash can or Dumpster, so is no longer "trash" (although it obviously used to be). And garbage plus anything equals garbage, so the contents of the landfill considered collectively definitely qualify as "garbage".

Derek wrote:Litter in the US is trash that has been discarded improperly on the ground.
I agree.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Mega85 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:54 pm UTC

The terms "piece of trash", "piece of garbage", "piece of junk", "piece of crap" and the profane "piece of shit" when used nonliterally refer to a object that is considered bad or worthless. You may say "trailer trash", but you wouldn't say "trailer garbage".

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby HES » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:37 pm UTC

Mega85 wrote:You may say "trailer trash", but you wouldn't say "trailer garbage".

Only because it doesn't alliterate.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Grop » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:49 pm UTC

Except when improperly discarded on the ground, I suppose.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:48 pm UTC

In that case they're low life litter.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Aiwendil » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:55 am UTC

Mega85 wrote:Is there a difference between "trash" and "garbage" to you? For me, they're synonyms. I've read that historically there was a difference. Garbage referring to food waste.


For me they're synonyms as well (and also "junk"). I found it quite confusing and rather amusing when one of the items on a list of "things not to be disposed of down the trash chute" at my last apartment was "garbage". I still don't really understand what that was supposed to have meant.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:27 pm UTC

Is "junk" really a synonym for you? For me (and anyone with a junk drawer) "junk" includes miscellaneous not-very-important things that are nonetheless useful enough to keep around instead of throwing away.
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Quizatzhaderac
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:35 pm UTC

For me junk is kind of a middle ground, between thing that's definitely wanted, and thing for which removal is definitely wanted.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Zohar » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:41 pm UTC

To me, both trash and garbage are dirty, junk isn't necessarily dirty.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby ThirdParty » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:30 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:For me junk is kind of a middle ground, between thing that's definitely wanted, and thing for which removal is definitely wanted.
Same, though I also use "junk" for things whose removal I definitely want but am not presently able to effect.

Zohar wrote:To me, both trash and garbage are dirty, junk isn't necessarily dirty.
To me, "trash" is not necessarily dirty; it includes things such as shrink wrap from a consumer product, an empty paper towel roll, half of an expired credit card, etc.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Aiwendil » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:06 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Is "junk" really a synonym for you? For me (and anyone with a junk drawer) "junk" includes miscellaneous not-very-important things that are nonetheless useful enough to keep around instead of throwing away.


Hmm, when I use "junk" in the sense of miscellaneous unimportant things, I tend to think of it as a hyperbolic usage. I could just as easily refer to "all this garbage cluttering up my room" as to "all this junk" - I'm not literally saying that it is garbage (which should be thrown away), but I'm exaggerating its uselessness by saying it's as good as garbage.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:16 pm UTC

The fact that salvage lots (or wrecking yards, scrapyards, etc.) are called "junkyards" in the U.S. suggests that the use of "junk" is frequently used to refer to things that may have some value. I use "junk" in the same way. I also agree that there is a common hyperbolic usage, for instance to describe an old car as a "heap of junk," as well as other figurative uses like "junk in the trunk."

Oh, and then there's this kind of junk.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby pogrmman » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:25 pm UTC

I use junk for just all sorts of random crap that may or may not be needed. Like "my room is full of junk right now" -- it's a basic word for things making stuff messy for me.

Trash and garbage, on the other hand, I only use for things that actually need to be thrown out. I use them fairly interchangeably.


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