29

You seem awfully certain that people are asking for these words because they want to use them to hurt others. There are many different reasons why someone might want to learn a particular pejorative word, some negative and some quite positive. You yourself used a lot of negative words when writing this question—disgust, bile, nasty, violence, etc.—and nobody ...


24

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the status of the Scots language with respect to English: Because there are no universally accepted criteria for distinguishing languages from dialects, scholars and other interested parties often disagree about the linguistic, historical and social status of Scots and particularly its relationship to English. ...


23

While I understand people may feel icky or annoyed that our language has mean things in it, I don't feel that it is our job to tell people where the line between "not that mean" and "too mean" is. We can offer our opinion while answering, certainly, but I don't see a convincing argument that it is any of our business to start making rules ...


20

Grammar McCawley's The Syntactic Phenomena of English. It turns out that the first three chapters of this classic 1998 grammar are available free on Google Books. The rest of the book is not. This seems to be very good marketing for University of Chicago Press, or whoever made this decision, because it gives a good and useful sample of what's in the book. ...


20

I'm one of the folks leaving a lot of those comments. I don't mean for them to be off-putting. Fact is, there are millions of people on the planet who are trying to improve their English. Many of them stumble onto ELU, see it as a godsend, and end up asking a “good” question on the “wrong” Stack Exchange. Here's my guess: if those new users were aware of ...


20

I've come back to this meta question on account of the 2014 Mod election. I have this to add: since the beginning of ELU, many answer-providing users have objected to being treated like dictionary operators. There are so many questions that could be easily answered by a simple dictionary lookup. There are so many questions that arise from a dictionary lookup....


17

Translation Dictionaries and Lexica Linguee - a search engine rather than an automatic translator, Linguee allows the user to find words and phrases in context in human-translated works, in addition to an editorial dictionary. bab.la - a language project by Andreas Schroeter and Patrick Uecker and sponsored by Langenscheidt providing 39 bilingual ...


16

This site has had its fair share of "what does this word/phrase mean in this context?" questions. Not all questions on this site can be answered with a reference to grammar, etymology or a published work. A question that cites and asks for clarification of current use of English in a publication is not off topic, AFAIC. Use of English includes idioms, set ...


15

Historical Resources These are books of possible interest to people who are investigating word and phrase origins and want to know what meanings those words or phrase were said to have at various times in the past. Several of them do not show up in a direct Google Books search for them by title; I've run into the hidden ones by chance, while searching for a ...


14

As I've said before, general reference means that there is a type of reference source that is specifically designed to answer that type of question. The list is actually pretty limited: dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia. Note, for example, that there isn't a standard place to look up "is this grammatical" types of questions, so even the simplest ...


14

One of my favorite jobs as a judicial law clerk was writing jury instructions. The legal jargon of the statutes and the case law was created by legislators (often lawyers) and judges (formerly lawyers). The purpose of the statutes and cases was to implement a public policy, something that is supposed to reflect the will of the governed, the average person. ...


13

I cannot see any way in which it could possibly fall within the site's current purview to act as a transcription service for random video clips, so I voted to close and put in a custom "we are not a transcription service" reason. The question is supposedly about pronunciation, but it's not about what variations of pronunciation are available or how have the ...


13

We could do it, but the question shows no research — the difference between reserved and ashamed should be elicited from a dictionary and only then asked about if it's not clear. Previous Meta questions and answers (even as far back as 2011) have indicated that we're not here to do elementary research. For example, if the question were worded "What ...


12

The argument in favour of closing as GR is that ELU is not a place to little by little collect the entire OED, one answer at a time. Thus, posting dictionary definitions (the archetypal GR case) doesn't "improve the internet". What it does do is give someone who doesn't have a clue about how to look in a dictionary a free ride. The argument against closing ...


12

I don't think anyone who has read any of my comments here or on ELU would call me a "happy-close snob". I do however close questions which are duplicates, but not blindly. I look at the original question and the answers provided; if they are well formulated, authoritative and clear I consider the new question to have been answered satisfactorily. I hope that ...


12

Why the question was judged unsuitable for this site This question did not meet the criteria for single word requests, and the original poster never edited it or returned to it in the approximately five days since it was closed (closed Aug 18 at 13:59, deleted Aug 24 at 1:58). The question, stripped of fluff, basically consists of this: Is there a word ...


12

If something is irrelevant to an answer, it should be edited out. If something is only relevant as an example, but the example is too inflammatory or distracting, it should be changed. The fact that Donald Trump is Hitler Jr doesn't make that pertinent to answers.


12

Like you, I stumbled on this site by accident. My own first interactions were less than felicitous: I was chastized (rightly, as I see it now) for a sloppy answer, and never officially "on-boarded". I actually have left off using the site twice for extended periods for personal pique over other matters. In spite of difficult beginnings, I persevered, and I ...


12

I'm a reader and a rare asker, not an answerer, so basically I'm one of those "eternal newbie" types. I feel the problem that you brought up is pertinent to any Stackexchange subforum, not this one exclusively. A while back I had to leave the financial subforum for a similar reason... I naively came in with a succinct question about making an anonymous ...


12

I migrated that question in response to an explicit flag on it from a serious contributor to the Linguistics SE site specifically asking for the question to be migrated over to Linguistics. Being myself no more than at best an infrequent contributor to the Linguistics site, and seeing as how the flagger was more than that, I took that flagger up on their ...


11

I see no reason to close questions about legal English as long as they are about the language, not about actual legal interpretation as done in court. Even the definition of a legal term is about English, and I would even allow it if it requires some knowledge of a law to answer; otherwise, we should also close questions about the meaning of anacoluthon, ...


11

Subjects which are on-topic are listed in the Help text. The English Language and Usage Stack Exchange is for linguists, etymologists, and (serious) English language enthusiasts. Questions on the following topics are welcomed here: Word choice and usage Grammar Etymology (history of words’ development) Dialect differences Pronunciation (...


11

I think NVZ is right: it may very well have been closed on EL&U, sadly. This site is very close happy about questions that are very interesting but that is not exclusively about modern English (and also about other types of questions). I would certainly support your question, though. The cause of this that it takes the votes of only 5 high-rep users to ...


11

Requests for resources that help the community in doing research for better questions and answers should be on-topic on ELU meta. This actually goes against our established SE policy that meta should be for questions about the main site, but let's make an exception here. We have a user base that are experts in the language, and who else would know about ...


11

Common ground I originally commented this: You could ask on Writers, but I don't think you necessarily need to ask on StackExchange at all. This is covered by the general references on rhetorical devices. The famous Silva Rhetoricae has this to say: repetition of the same letter or sound within nearby words. Similarly, LiteraryDevices.net: It is a ...


11

Please do not simply ask the same question again. It's already been judged as off-topic and better suited to a different site (where comments indicate it's been reasonably well-received). If you specifically want to ask about the English language, that could be on-topic here; but I would suggest that you wait until you have a general answer upon which to ...


11

Yes, it is on-topic. Asking for questions to elucidate the nuance of meaning in words is one essential use of ELU. It is not asking for opinions about the meaning (whether you like or support the situation or not). And it is not asking about the just the social situation and how things have changed. It is asking for knowledgeable responses about the words in ...


10

I quite understand OP's reason for linking to our recommended references page, but to be honest I'm not sure we could ever expect any such list to suit our General Reference context. For example, 1: OED is an excellent reference, but it's not available to most people at a price they can/will afford. 2: Onelook, Wiktionary, Urban Dictionary, etc., are ...


10

Okay, I guess I should have added my answers here instead of above in the comments. So, I'll try again. Dictionary.com gives all the source references on one page, from English and slang to science, computing, and medical dictionaries, including History and Origin, all from specific dictionaries. It includes nearby words, related searches, and all words ...


10

Since both words are (now) part of the English language, I think that asking about their etymology would be on-topic at this site. Also, the question you posted at Linguistics SE shows research effort on your part, so the question would clearly have passed muster on that account. Just by way of underscoring that no easily accessible answer to your question ...


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