Word of the Day: Shenanigan

April 9, 2008 at 7:13 am | Posted in Language | 1 Comment
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A beautiful word which seems to be used in American English rather than in British English; or at least the Cambridge dictionary doesn’t mention it, but Merriam-Webster does:

shenanigan
Main Entry: she·nan·i·gan
Pronunciation: \shə-ˈna-ni-gən\
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1855

1: a devious trick used especially for an underhand purpose2 a: tricky or questionable practices or conduct —usually used in plural b: high-spirited or mischievous activity —usually used in plural

It seems it can also be applied to people:

If Perez Hilton plays nice, he could name his price
By Andrew Wallenstein
April 9, 2008
The Oprah comparison certainly smacks of delusional grandeur, and yet it’s not so easy to dismiss, either. As for overcoming his original sleazy incarnation, it’s worth noting that Winfrey didn’t exactly start out as squeaky clean as she currently is, trafficking in the same kind of talk-show shenanigans as Jerry Springer earlier in her own career.

Dict.cc suggests Schwindel, Streich – maybe Mogelpackung would also work.

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Overseeing an IT project is like herding cats

April 6, 2008 at 10:45 am | Posted in Language | Leave a comment
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…is they key message of this video. The bit of language wisdom to be learned by speakers of German: The prase Herding cats is pretty much the equivalent of “Das ist wie einen Sack Flöhe hüten!” (for speakers of English: herding a bag a fleas).

Word of the Day: Fit as a Fiddle

January 13, 2008 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Language, Word of the Day | Leave a comment
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Word of the Day for German Speakers of English:

fit wie ein Turnschuh (m.) = (as) fit as a fiddle

While we’re at it: I got the suspicion that this German idiom is not used in Austria – but I think they have a similar one, yet couldn’t find it on Ostarrichi.org, the German-Austrian dictionary.

Today’s example comes from the musical “Singing in the Rain”:

Fit as a fiddle and ready for love.
I can jump over the moon up above.
Fit as a fiddle and ready for love!

I haven’t a worry, I haven’t a care,
I feel like a feather that’s floating on air,
Fit as a fiddle and ready for love!

Soon all the church bells will be ringing
And I’ll march with Ma and Pa.
All the church bells will be ringing,
With a hey naughty-knotty and a hotcha-cha darling.

Hi, diddle-diddle, my baby’s OK,
Ask me a riddle, I’m waiting to say
Fit as a fiddle and ready for love!

Soon all the church bells will be ringing
And I’ll march with Ma and Pa.
All the church bells will be ringing,
With a hey naughty-knotty and a hotcha-cha darling.

Hi, diddle-diddle, my baby’s OK,
Ask me a riddle, I’m waiting to say
Fit as a fiddle and ready for love!

WOTD: Outlier

January 12, 2008 at 12:24 pm | Posted in Language | Leave a comment
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A word of the day for German speakers of English that I had been searching for in the past:

(statistischer) Ausreißer (m.) = outlier

Beispiel:

Results very stable, no strange outlier values as often found with other techniques. Interactive Petrophysics needs to be seen to fully appreciate the …

WOTD: Creature of habit

January 9, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Posted in Language | Leave a comment
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Mein Word of the Day für German speakers of English:

Gewohnheitstier (n.) = creature of habit

Beispiel:

Jake GyllenHO is a creature of habit.

The actor, once again, goes out to lunch to his favorite restaurant, Joan’s On Third, Monday in Los Angeles.

Jakey took his mom.

Where’s Reese???????

How to identify the stressed syllable of any English word

October 14, 2007 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Language | 8 Comments
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It works by using your intuition. I found it here (via. J.A. from Cape Town):

As an aside, once, whilst drinking with a psycholinguist (say that after a few pints) I was taught a useful way of quickly working out the stressed syllable in any English word – something which is apparently called the ‘fuck test’.

Simply insert the word ‘fucking’ into the word, as if you were using the swear word for emphasis, and the syllable that follows the ‘fucking’ is the stressed syllable.

For example, absolutely -> abso-fucking-lutely. The stressed syllable is the third: i.e. absolutely. It works for every multi-syllable word I’ve found so far.

Which just goes to show that psycholinguists are some of the coolest melonfarmers in the whole of cognitive science.

I am no longer an English teacher, but my guess is that students would love this method to memorize stress patters:

fucking-photograph
pho-fucking-tographer
photo-fucking-graphic

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