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January 10Edit

grammatical aspect of "the more...,the more..."Edit

Good evening, I would like to know the grammatical aspect of "the more...,the more...", please ? Thank you in advance.2A01:CB0C:38C:9F00:CDD4:2336:1EF3:78FB (talk) 20:50, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean by "grammatical aspect", but I believe that the the in such an expression is descended from Old English þȳ (ðȳ), the instrumental (singular, masculine and neuter) case of the definite article . The example given in the OE primer I have at hand is "ðȳ māra wīsdom on lande wǣre, ðȳ we mā geðēode cūðon" ("The more languages we know, the more wisdom there will be in the land"). Deor (talk) 21:24, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
It is indeed a baffling question. (Are you really asking about grammatical aspect here?) -- Hoary (talk) 22:22, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
I don't think the question is about grammatical aspect. One can find the term "parallel comparative" used for this construction, for example in the Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL® Test. In some languages the two "the"s aren't identical, e.g. "quanto... tanto..." (or "altrettanto...") in Italian and "je... desto..." in German. Maybe this can help find another more commonly used term for "the more... the more...", "the louder... the better...", etc. As in Deor's old example, the two parts can use different tenses, but that doesn't make the whole thing special in terms of grammatical aspect. ---Sluzzelin talk 22:53, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
As for the construction in English, the term used for it in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (pp 1135–1137) is the correlative comparative construction. It has various syntactic complexities: the treatment in CGEL twice shades into blue ("specialist passages", as explained on p xii). -- Hoary (talk) 00:02, 11 January 2020 (UTC)

January 11Edit

Wonka's LatinEdit

At the end of the good version of the movie, Willy Wonka yells at Charlie and Grandpa Joe something that sounds kind of like "Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum, et cetera et cetera. Memo bis punitor delicatum!" Google translate accepts most of this as legitimate Latin words but it makes no sense: "Fax glory of the fire service, and so on and so forth. Twice memo punishing nice!" He's lawyering with them over a contract, so the "memo" in there might be legit, if misplaced, as would the "punishing". Can anyone confirm the translation or improve it? The film is filled with literary quotes and also features other foreign languages spoken correctly, so there's some hope that this is not only proper Latin, but perhaps a quote. Matt Deres (talk) 02:54, 11 January 2020 (UTC)

  • fax mentis incendium gloriæ — the flame of glory is the torch of the mind
  • nemo bis punitur pro eodem delicto — no one can be twice punished for the same offence
I see people quoting Wonka with both cultum and culpum (culpa?).—eric 05:55, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
According to this and this the quote is:
'"I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained," et cetera, et cetera..."Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum,"[the torch of the mind lights the path to glory] et cetera, et cetera..."MEMO BIS PUNITOR DELICATUM"!! [I remember the spoiled punisher twice] It's ALL there! Black and white, clear as crystal!'
I leave it someone who actually speaks Latin to comment further. Alansplodge (talk) 09:10, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
this site states fax mentis... is from a motto of the Earls of Granard (File:Bookplate-Earl of Granard.jpg) and also suggest:
  • Memo(r) bis punitur delictum — I am mindful (that) the crime is punished twice [or in two ways]
  • Memor non bis punitur peccatum — Remember, no sin is punished twice.
but i cannot find those two phrases anywhere else. The linked transcription has culpum but ignores for the translation. The author (a "huge Wonka fan", so i am sure trustworthy) also states the allusions were from David Seltzer and not part of Roald Dahl's original screenplay (here is a version w/ revisions by Seltzer, but no latin for the scene in question).—eric 13:52, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
I love the refdesk. :) So, is it nemo or memo at the start of the second line? It could be that people are assuming the second, as I did, because "nemo" in English has a long 'e' while "memo" has a short one. That is, does he say "Nemo bis punitor delicatum!" meaning to say "Nemo bis punitor delictum!" (No one/offense is punished twice!)? Matt Deres (talk) 15:12, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Definitely "memo" in every quote I can find. However, the usual pronunciation of "nemo" (in the UK at least) is with a short "e" (Nemo me impune lacessit) unless it's Captain Nemo. Alansplodge (talk) 18:35, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
I think Wilder clearly says "memo"(apparently youtube is blacklisted so can't link) and probably culpam tho he looks a little agitated. Nemo is just from a well known phrase that looked similar to the transcript. The Latin in the contract might not have been added by Seltzer, the script above is probably[1] his last revision, except for a small addition to the ending.—eric 00:38, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
@Alansplodge "Nemo me impune lacessit" is a Latin phrase used by a handful of people and it pales in comparison to the visibility of a clownfish and/or the little boy with dreams. It's probably moot anyway; I've been listening and re-listening and I'm pretty sure it is "Memo" and probably "culpam" rather than "cultum". Matt Deres (talk) 21:11, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
I defer to the greater wisdom of the Disney empire ;-) Alansplodge (talk) 21:53, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, there's an error somewhere in the writing, transcription, or performance of this passage. Temerarius (talk) 23:28, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
"Memo" isn't a Latin word, as far as I can tell (the English word "memo" is an abbreviation of "memorandum"). "Memor" is a Latin nominative singular adjective form, basically meaning "having a good memory" (and some related shades of meaning). AnonMoos (talk) 23:29, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

January 12Edit

Yakut/Sakha transliteration/transcriptionEdit

Does anyone at Wikipedia speak Yakut/Sakha and would be willing to transliterate a few words for me? I have created a transliteration via autotools but they are notoriously unreliable when represented in non-Roman characters and unfortunately there is no support for this language at WP:TRLA... -Thibbs (talk) 02:11, 12 January 2020 (UTC)

Link Yakut and Sakha. Thanks. Anton (talk) 10:05, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Do you have the source text? If you can post it here, we will be able to simply replace the Cyrillic letters with the corresponding Latin ones indicated in Yakut language#Writing system. While I'm not sure how official that transliteration standard is, it is akin to what is used to write or transliterate other Turkic languages, and I guess the result will be perfectly readable. --Theurgist (talk) 02:02, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

La milie, de BoraboraEdit

What does “La milie” or “La miliee” mean in French? Found here. — KAVEBEAR (talk) 06:05, 12 January 2020 (UTC)

It should be la milice, "the militia". The final e in the image caption is damaged.Deor (talk) 06:20, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks! KAVEBEAR (talk) 10:59, 12 January 2020 (UTC)

dans la partie la moins noble de son individuEdit

Can someone translate “pieds dans la partie la moins noble de son individu" into English? Is it correct to say kick in the groin? KAVEBEAR (talk) 11:01, 12 January 2020 (UTC)

"La partie la moins noble de son individu" seems to have been a rather clichéd euphemism for a person's posterior in French. Fut.Perf. 13:56, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Is there a reliable source translating this term that I can use? KAVEBEAR (talk) 17:45, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
It's a quote from Paul Féval, fils in his 1925 adventure novel series D'Artagnan contre Cyrano de Bergerac from Volume I: Le chevalier mystère (p. 30):
" dut faire volte-face et présenta à la botte de son terrible assaillant la partie... la moins noble de son individu" - perhaps "he had to turn around and presented his boot to his terrible assailant... on the least noble part of his person presented to the boot of his terrible assailant... the least noble part of his person". I had to take my French O-level twice, so someone else might do better.
An English translation of the series, The Years Between was published in 1928, The Years Between: The Mysterious Cavalier is available to buy but I couldn't find one that can be read online, probably thanks to the US copyright laws.
Alansplodge (talk) 18:19, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure the D'Artagnan novel is the first or original attestation of the phrase; several you can find on the net (including the one Kavebear is probably thinking of) seem to predate it. That's why I assumed it's just a common cliché. (And the sentence you quote wouldn't be "presented his boot to his terrible assailant…", but "presented to the boot of his terrible assailant…", i.e. had to take a kick in the butt from him). Fut.Perf. 18:30, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Ah yes Fut.Perf., that makes more sense, thank you. You're also right about the chronology; I was looking at the same phrase in a much later book. It must be a French idiom then. Alansplodge (talk) 18:37, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
I'd say a rare idiom rather than a common one? NGram shows the phrase "partie la moins noble" back to the beginning of their corpus in the early 19th century but it is not a common phrase at all in the corpus, and the version with "de son individu" on the end doesn't appear at all. What's more, many examples in the corpus aren't using it in this same metaphorical sense - the first few hits refer to things like "the least noble section of the Polish police," "[disease linked to] the least noble part of the brain", "the body is the least noble part of human nature," "hand-to-hand fighting is the least noble part of the profession [of war]." However round about the time of KAVEBEAR's book I did spot another use in the same sense: ...c'était une chaise cannée — et hérissa d'un seul mouvement tous les piquants de son dos qui, évidemment, piquèrent la partie la moins noble de ce cher fonctionnaire... (it was a cane chair - and every movement ruffled each quill against his back which, obviously, pricked the least noble part of this beloved official) (talk) 17:38, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

Is the best direct translation “a kick in the least noble is part of the person” or “a kick in the least noble is part of the individual”? KAVEBEAR (talk) 17:12, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

I would say "the least noble part of his person" (if that makes sense in American English), or maybe " "the least noble part of his anatomy". Alansplodge (talk) 18:21, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

Force fromEdit

Is "force from" a genuine usage? If so can I get a webpage having some examples? I see this in Melitta Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg: "But in 1936 she was forced from her job as aeronautical engineer because of her paternal grandfather's Jewish origins." -- 13:48, 12 January 2020 Jay

What an odd question. And administartors are usually expected to sign their posts. There's plenty of usage of that particular string in both news outlets and literature. All the best! ——SN54129 14:07, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
A Dictionary of the English Language: In which the Words are Deduced from Their Originals etc. Volume II (1805 edition) p. 287 by Samuel Johnson: "IMMOVABLE. adj. 1. Not to be forced from its place". Alansplodge (talk) 15:13, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the references. It did not occur to me to search News or Books in Google. I was just not getting any examples nor getting the usage from dictionary sites. I haven't used "forced from" nor seen its usage, hence the query. And sorry for missing the signature, it has not happened before. Jay (talk) 13:02, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
No problem at all Jay, I see I probably sounded snarkier than it was intended to :) ——SN54129 13:33, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
"Forced from" is another way to say "forced out of". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 05:48, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
"forced from office" is a common term, e.g. BBC, ABC (Australia), Washington Post. I yearn for the day I hear those words in connection with the POTUS. Clarityfiend (talk) 07:30, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

January 15Edit

Pedantic correctness vs. commonsense phraseologyEdit

The following is an amended excerpt from an actual exchange on a user's talk page, about the editing of a certain article:

  • It's clearly incorrect to me (who knows quite a bit about Mongolian tiddlywinks), but I can understand where you're coming from.

Now, a pedant might require that the highlighted word "knows" be instead "know", as it's a first-person reference. Hence:

  • It's clearly incorrect to me (who know quite a bit about Mongolian tiddlywinks …,

but that sounds, well, jarringly wrong.

I know one could rephrase the sentence to remove this issue, but I want to know whether the sentence as it stands is one of those occasions where a judicious overlooking of the rules would be justified as being in the best interests of all concerned.

Do we have an article on the tension between pedantic correctness and commonsense phraseology?

Another case is: "Who's there?" – "It's me" (rather than "It's I").

Thanks. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 23:12, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

You might stumble upon an appropriate term in: linguistic prescription, linguistic description, linguistic purism (24 varieties), or linguistic purism in English. Would Prestige (sociolinguistics) apply to colloquialism?—eric 00:50, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
JackofOz -- in a Latin relative clause of this type, a 1st person singular verb would be used, but the tendency in English in recent centuries is to default to third person verbs, except sometimes when the verb is "to be". (But this doesn't have much to do with "It's I"/"it's me"...) AnonMoos (talk) 02:03, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

Jack, my intuition is different from yours, so I can't really relate to the question. To me, "know" sounds much more natural. Any pedantry is just a side benefit, and wouldn't have occurred to me if you hadn't reported your own intuition. --Trovatore (talk) 02:45, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
Surely it’s “I who know” and “me who knows.” If someone said “me who know” I would be waiting for them to remove their human costume. Temerarius (talk) 11:08, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
Or maybe their Tonto costume. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:51, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
How do you figure that, Temerarius? When a speaker refers to himself, regardless whether in nominative or objective case, it's the first person. No? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:32, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
Are you familiar with the idiom "methinks"? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:25, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
Methinks ("it seems to me", not "I think") is not related to the current discussion. There, the me is not a subject; it's a relic of the dative case. Deor (talk) 21:50, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
Me thinks, therefore me is. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:24, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
On "the rules" (mentioned and seemingly assumed in the opening question): The speaker of English who has at least some metalinguistic knowledge will say that verbs (other than modals) in the simple present tense necessarily take an "(e)s" inflection to agree with a subject that's both 3rd-person and singular, and otherwise may not do so. End of story. Except that it isn't. One exception comes with what The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language terms "3rd person override in cleft relatives" (p507): "It is I who am at fault", yes; but "It is me who is at fault". And sure enough, the iWeb corpus has plenty of tokens of "it's me who's" (NB searches for this require added spaces, "it 's me who 's"). Back to the question: "I want to know whether the sentence as it stands is one of those occasions where a judicious overlooking of the rules would be justified as being in the best interests of all concerned." If "the rules" fit neither L1 speaker intuitions nor evidence from corpora, then there's something inadequate about (or plain wrong in) the rules or their application. And when you're mystified by this kind of thing, don't fall back on what you remember from some grade-school or similar grammar: consult a good grammar or a relevant corpus or both. -- Hoary (talk) 22:58, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

Why would it be "know"? The verb there has to agree with the pronoun "who", not the pronoun "me". --Khajidha (talk) 12:34, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

Note that the counter example given above ("It is I who know") is a continuous phrase, not a parenthetical as in the original sentence. --Khajidha (talk) 13:10, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

January 16Edit

French translationEdit

Can someone help translate Je vous laisse d’ailleurs le soin, si vous le jugez convenable, de prévenir Tuarii que si elle nous crée la moindre difficulté sa pension lui est retirée, car elle ne la doit qu’à notre extrême bienveillance en sa faveur from French? KAVEBEAR (talk) 17:08, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

leave you besides the care, if you judge it suitable, to warn Tuarii that if she creates us the least difficulty her pension is withdrawn to her, because she owes it only to our extreme benevolence in her favor. Anton. (talk) 18:11, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
I think Kavebear is hoping for something better then a google translate cut and paste.
"I leave it to you, if you find it appropriate, to warn Tuarii that if she creates any sort of difficulty, her pension will be withdrawn, given that she is only allowed it thanks to our extreme benevolence towards her. " --Lgriot (talk) 18:51, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks!KAVEBEAR (talk) 18:59, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

Did the word "amendment" historically mean "any change for the better" or did it have a more limited meaning?Edit

I've noticed that some proponents of the unconstitutional constitutional amendment theory--such as Yaniv Roznai and Walter F. Murphy--have argued that the word "amendment" means something along the lines of "a minor change for the better" or "a change for the better that is compatible with the bulk of the document that one is trying to change". Basically, they use this definition to argue that there are implicit (as opposed to explicit) limits on the constitutional amendment power. However, I've also noticed that Noah Webster's 1828 English dictionary defines the word "amendment" along the lines of "a change for the better" without actually putting any limits on the scope of this change:

"1. An alteration or change for the better; correction of a fault or faults; reformation of life, by quitting vices."

So, my question here is this--did the word "amendment" historically mean something along the lines of "any change for the better"? Or did it have a more limited meaning--as in "a minor change for the better" or "a change for the better that is compatible with the bulk of the document that one is trying to change"? Any thoughts on this? Futurist110 (talk) 22:40, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

wikt:amend provides some etymology. Jmar67 (talk) 23:06, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
A quote from 1817 (Francis Augustus Cox, Female Scripture Biographies, Volume I; via COHA):
" We live without God in the world, " an omniscient Deity has no existence in our minds, and we inquire " Who will show us any good? " as if God were not the chief good, or could not supply our happiness. Alas! how often have we boasted of to-morrow by neglecting, in a religious sense, the most important business of to-day. It is not easy to imagine a more dangerous state of mind, than that of a person, whose resolutions of repentance and amendment all respect futurity, because he makes these very resolutions an excuse for his negligences, and even considers them as an expiation of the guilt of his procrastinating temper.
(My emphasis, of course.) I can't claim to understand this well; but so far as I do, I take "amendment" to mean a radical change. (I'm very open to being told that I've misunderstood.) -- Hoary (talk) 23:24, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
For what it's worth, "amendment" here appears to mean "change" -- without any reference to the scope of this change, as per the 1828 Webster's Dictionary definition of "amendment" above. Futurist110 (talk) 05:03, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Perhaps mistakenly, I inferred from the context (or anyway from my hazy understanding of it), that "a person" (i) would want to be go(o)dly (passport to the more desirable kind of afterlife, etc) rather than just different; and (b) thanks to his or her "negligences" (plural!), "procrastinating temper", and resolutions of repentance, would need to make a thoroughgoing change. ¶ If you're unimpressed by the example (and I wouldn't blame you), then see COHA, which has other examples from the 1810s, 1820s, 1830s.... -- Hoary (talk) 05:27, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

In the OED Online, which is possibly the best source for this sort of question, the first definition is always the oldest sense. And their entry for the word begins with:

The action of amending, whether in process, or as completed.
1. Removal of faults, correction, reformation.
a. of human conduct. absol. = self-reformation.

Where the abbreviation "absol." means absolute or absolutely. So they say there is no implication as to the size of the change. The first cite for this sense is dated 1297, by the way. Sub-senses b through d refer to the correction of errors in books, laws, etc. and are 300 years more recent. -- (talk) 05:36, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

"Absol." does indeed mean "absolute", but it's a note on the syntax, not the semantics. It means that this use is without an object, as in the example "Men commonly think..that amendment is an expiation." But this is a quite separate meaning, so even if the word supported your argument, it would not necessarily transfer to other meanings. --ColinFine (talk) 13:38, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

I have always understood "amendment" to mean any change to a document. The question of "for the better" is one of intent, not of fact. I would assume that the proposer of an amendment would consider it an improvement, but the result of the amendment may be demonstrably negative. --Khajidha (talk) 12:39, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

January 17Edit

Promiscuous and loose womenEdit

My question revolves around the Edit summary used today re a change an editor made to an article - "Promiscuous woman" instead of judgmental-sounding "loose woman." I'm not looking for a fight over it, but I was a bit surprised. In my parochial, little, Australian English speaking world, "promiscuous" would not normally be seen as a compliment. I can't imagine myself ever using it to describe a lady unless I was being quite rude about them. Things are clearly different for that editor who, based on their contributions, seems likely to be British. In what parts of the world is "promiscuous" not judgemental? HiLo48 (talk) 00:10, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

I agree that describing a woman as promiscuous is judgemental, and may even be injurious in some circumstances. If applied to a woman who is a stranger or at least not known socially to the speaker it is judgemental; if the speaker is rebuked for applying the word to a stranger, the speaker cannot defend (himself) by saying “I was only joking”. However, there is also a secondary meaning, particularly, I suspect, among young people where the word is applied to the speaker or to close friends, where it is not judgemental - “I like all kinds of music. I’m promiscuous!” In this way it is being used ironically eg “All my best friends are promiscuous.” In summary, if it isn’t being used ironically among friends, it is judgemental and likely used to cause personal hurt. Dolphin (t) 01:21, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Our article Promiscuity provides much more information about the word and the underlying concept. I agree that the term is problematic in many or perhaps most contexts. "Loose woman" is slang and a sexist pejorative, and I cannot imagine any circumstance when it would be appropriate to write that way in Wikipedia's voice, as opposed to a direct, cited quotation. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:26, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Someone who has an educational background in biology might describe someone else as promiscuous without meaning to imply any moral judgement, but even that would be rare. --Khajidha (talk) 16:27, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
I think the question may be: is it necessary? Is that subjectively descriptive term of great importance in the particular instance? As we are discussing this in the abstract it may be near impossible to determine a resolution to the implied question concerning the sexual practices of a person. By the way, "promiscuous" is also used in computer technology. Bus stop (talk) 18:05, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
  • As is so often the case, when there is a specific event that one is trying to work through, it is ever and only helpful to actually show everyone you ask for help the specific event itself. I would in general say that the term "promiscuous" is better than "loose" because the former is more formal English and the latter is definitely a slang or colloquial term; however unless we can see the actual diff in question, so we can see the entire situation, we don't know whether either or neither term is actually appropriate to use here. For example, if this was a direct quote, we should leave the original term, even if it was "loose women". We just don't know enough about the situation to give advice that would be useful. This is a classic example of the XY problem, where someone posts a request for help on a general concept, where really what they need is advice on a specific event. --Jayron32 18:37, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
  • I agree 100%, Jayron32. This is also analogous to asking the abstract question: should victim names be included in articles with fatalities? The knee-jerk reaction is "no", those names are meaningless—they are only names. But it would be virtually impossible for consensus to change at the many articles that already contain victim names. When considered in the concrete as opposed to in the abstract, the article is seen to be enriched by the presence of the actual names of decedents. This is almost a rule. It is only at time of article-inception that support can be found for omitting victim names. Bus stop (talk) 18:51, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Other than kind of agreeing with you, I don't follow how your comment is relevant here. This discussion is about a specific use of the word "promiscuous", and has nothing to do with whatever you're going on about. It seems as though you comment is about an unrelated discussion, which would be better served if it was left on a discussion about that topic rather than this one. --Jayron32 18:57, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
  • We need not discuss the "victim topic" I interjected. I've said all I have to say.

    HiLo48—I don't know if there are any sensibilities involved that would make it less-than-ideal to discuss the actual situation here so I will ask you to exercise your own discretion—but would linking to it be an acceptable thing to do? Bus stop (talk) 19:39, 17 January 2020 (UTC)


Does anyone know the reason the word whenever is not spelled whennever?? (The -ever suffix is being added to the word when, and normally this would mean we double the n to get whennever; with a single n it would look as if it had come from a word with a long e sound that is spelled whene. This is consistent with many other words that have suffixes that being with a vowel added to them.) Georgia guy (talk) 02:08, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

It's when + ever,[2] and since most everyone pronounces "ever" with a leading short e, "whenever" likewise has a short e. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:12, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
The second e has nothing to do with whether the n should be doubled. It is the first e; that is, whenever, which whether the n should be doubled relates to the pronunciation of. Georgia guy (talk) 02:21, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
I think you're trying to claim confusion where there is none. "When" and "ever" have all short e's. Most everyone knows that. Otherwise those words would have to spelled "whenn" and "evver", and hence their combination would have to be spelled "whennevver". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:24, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Your comments are invalid because (1) the letter v is never doubled except in recent coinages, and (2) at the end of a word a consonant after a short vowel is doubled usually only if it is f, l, or s; otherwise it is single but doubles if a suffix beginning with a vowel is added. Georgia guy (talk) 02:27, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
In fact, it appears that the ancestors of "when" did have two n's.[3] But not now. Trying to impose rigid rules on English is an exercise in futility. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:29, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
I don't know. If I really wanted to know, I'd look in a book about English orthography. Meanwhile: open, opened; pen, penned. -- Hoary (talk) 02:52, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
To me, the spelling "whennever" would suggest a stress on the first syllable. --rossb (talk) 09:48, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Georgia guy: because the "rule" about Silent e is not an arbitrary invented rule, but something that happened accidentally in the historical development of English and its writing. Not "there is a rule that if there is an e after a single consonant, the previous vowel must be tense" but "for historical reasons words with a tense vowel tend to be written with a single consonant and e following". In that context you can see that if a word with a different shape, such as the compound "whenever", happened to have a sequence vowel-consonant-e, there was no reason to change its (transparent) spelling to match some supposed rule. --ColinFine (talk) 14:03, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

pronounce "higham"Edit

It would be so helpful if someone would insert pronunciation in Wikipedia's entries for names of people and places that contain "Higham." Is it pronounced "hig-ham" (like "pig-ham")? Or "hy-am"? I have heard people pronounce it both ways but I don't know which is correct. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ElsaObuchowski (talkcontribs) 02:57, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

There's no guarantee that a placename is pronounced in a single way. Attempting to add pronunciations all over the place might lead incautious editors to add pronunciations they thought they'd heard, some years ago, maybe ... and was it from the BBC, or perhaps from a mate who was a bit drunk at the time? Plus alternatives to IPA are generally ambiguous, misleading, awkward or some combination thereof; while most WP editors and readers don't understand IPA. If forced to utter the name, I'd pronounce it /ˈhaɪjəm/; but this comment is worth no more than the price you've paid for it. -- Hoary (talk) 05:36, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
There are several places called Higham so it is quite possible there are several pronunciations. However the name probably derives from High Ham, and I would instinctively pronounce it as Hoary suggests. See also counterintuitive pronunciation.-Shantavira|feed me 08:58, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Two of the Higham articles do have IPA pronunciation guides (Higham, Kent and Higham, South Yorkshire). They're different, supporting Hoary's assertion above. Bazza (talk) 10:36, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

"Sono" in Italian.Edit

In Italian, the word "sono" can mean either "I am" or "they are". Does this cause difficulties in practice, and how would such ambiguity be overcome? --rossb (talk) 09:51, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

Italian adjectives inflect for number, so for example "I am English" is sono inglese, while "they are English" is sono inglesi. Ambiguity can also be avoided by using the pronouns io and loro: io sono, "I am"; loro sono, "they are". Lfh (talk) 12:26, 17 January 2020 (UTC)