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Messages - rogue_mother

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Words / Re: gulag?
« on: October 05, 2020, 04:17:13 AM »
I'm not saying the word should be rejected, simply that, as Gulag is more common than gulag (the evidence for this is on Google Ngram Viewer) its status should be at best 'uncommon'.

It would appear that the word gulag has, for some users, become a countable noun meaning 'forced labour camp' in which case it would be written in lower-case; I'm still not convinced, however, that the word should be common, especially as most of these horrific places have, hopefully, ceased to exist,

If gulag was universally, or near universally capitalized, perhaps it wouldn't even be considered for inclusion in the Chihuahua lexicon. Although the Google ngram viewer shows that it is more frequently capitalized, the large proportion of uncapitalized occurrences at least indicates the propriety of inclusion. The Google ngram viewer is not the whole story, of course, since it only covers books. I previously cited my search of the available online Washington Post archives, which showed an overwhelming occurrence of the uncapitalized version. Searches of the Corpus of Contemporary American English had similar results, with 711 hits. The British National Corpus, available at Brigham Young University, shows an overwhelming slant toward the capitalized version, with 27 hits. The Corpus of Canadian English (Strathy), also available at Brigham Young University, shows a much more even mix, with gulag/Gulag occurring 26 times.

 It is no wonder that the Wikipedia article Mike referred to has universal capitalization, since it deals specifically with the historical Soviet forced labor camp system. The dictionary links provided on the Chihuahua main page, including Wiktionary, plus one that used to be there but no longer is (, all show the uncapitalized version, with some also indicating that it can be capitalized.  They all point to the increasing use of gulag as a concept rather than a historical entity.

To me, the question of whether gulag should be classified as common or less common hinges on whether or not reasonably well read speakers of English would know the word.

Words / Re: gulag?
« on: October 04, 2020, 04:19:47 AM »
Gulag (capitalized here only because it it the first word of the sentence) has appeared several times in the thirteen years that I have been playing Chihuahua. It never occurred to me that it might be capitalized at all, except as part of the title The Gulag Archipelago, the famous work by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I did a word search on gulag in the Washington Post (our local newspaper), the results of which showed gulag overwhelmingly not capitalized. Most capitalized references were either to Solzhenitsyn's book or to the video game "Call of Duty: Warzone". Otherwise there are few (but not zero) occurrences where Gulag is written rather than gulag. Granted it's only one source, but I believe it is representative. There were five hundred ninety-nine articles dating from 1992 to the present day.

Words / Re: Toff in yesterday's AFFLICTION ten letter puzzle
« on: September 12, 2020, 10:44:36 PM »
TOFF was a rare word. Is it too English? Certainly common to me - meaning a high-brow nob.

Yes, it is too British. Toff is not used in the United States. I can't speak for Canada.

Words / Re: TOURNEY in yesterday's ROUTINELY Challenge game
« on: June 19, 2020, 05:23:18 AM »
It occurred to me to actually look up and categorize the examples on COCA (the Corpus of Contemporary American English) and BNC (the British National Corpus). The nine examples cited on BNC were as follows: traditional medieval - four, field hockey - two, rugby - two, chess - one. Since there were six hundred forty-four instances cited on COCA, I felt that was too many to go through all of them, even for me. But here is a representative sample of the types of contemporary usage in the United States: basketball, poker, soccer, traditional medieval, video games, boxing, ice hockey, volleyball, skiing, flip cup (American drinking game).

One can see that some team sports are included, but it appears that in nearly all cases, tourney refers to a multi-round competition where winners advance to the next round.

The Daily Quest / Do you find *your* words?
« on: June 19, 2020, 05:19:11 AM »
During the thirteen years that I have been playing Chihuahua, I have suggested a number of new words that have become part of the Chihuahua lexicon. Once "my" words have been accepted, it always gives me great pleasure to encounter them during play. It also gives me pleasure when I see that I am not the only one playing them, and the more the better. In a very recent 7-by-many, more players had found "my" word that most of the other less common words. Yippee! Sometimes I notice other "new" words and think of the player who submitted it.

The words I submit are words that I know very well, but sometimes it seems to me that some suggested words are born in moments of desperation, when one simply can't find that last common word. It looks like a word, so it ought to be one! This leads me to wonder if others who have submitted words later find "their" words during game play.

Words / Re: TOURNEY in yesterday's ROUTINELY Challenge game
« on: June 13, 2020, 10:58:51 AM »
I took a look at comparative usage of tourney between UK English and US English with the Ngram Viewer and the usage seems remarkably similar, i.e. it is not an American word little used in the UK.

I totally agree that it's not an *American* word little used in the UK. However, I found the wildly divergent occurrence numbers quite striking. The ngram viewer might not be as accurate a measure, since I think it only includes books. COCA (the Corpus of Contemporary American English) and BNC (the British National Corpus) include newspapers, magazines and blogs. The references were to contests in a wide variety of sports, not just jousting.

Words / Re: TOURNEY in yesterday's ROUTINELY Challenge game
« on: June 12, 2020, 10:37:28 AM »
I don't play the Challenge game anymore, but I took a look after your post, TR. I had no trouble figuring it out.

But your remark seems to be a bit of a non sequitur. Shouldn't it have its own topic?

Words / Re: TOURNEY in yesterday's ROUTINELY Challenge game
« on: June 12, 2020, 03:00:37 AM »
You know, it might be a North American thing. That always seems to bring out the whingeing. There are 644 instances of tourney in the Corpus of Contemporary American English versus 9 (yes, nine!) in the British National Corpus. Not that I picture this word as particularly American, but there you have it.

Words / Re: lathed-uncommon?
« on: June 09, 2020, 06:04:27 AM »
I disagree. In my experience, people who use a lathe don't say that they lathed something, they turned it on a lathe.  This is in contrast to the use of the other tools you mentioned: hammer, drill, plane. If one looks at the Google ngram viewer, the occurrence of lathed is perilously close to zero. Hammered and drilled are much more common, due to their usage in contexts that have nothing to do with tools, and I have certainly heard and read people saying that they had planed a door or a board. But lathed? I don't doubt that it exists as a verb, but I seriously question its commonness.

As to the fact that fifty percent of players found lathed, I attribute that to the fact that a goodly number of word game players are savvy enough to try adding -d or -ed to almost any noun to make another acceptable word. This does not, in my view, justify making it a common word.

Whatever / Re: Anti-covid face masks
« on: May 03, 2020, 02:33:33 AM »

Here in Thailand everybody wears a mask in public and, while there is no law about it, it is a fact that you won't be able to get on a bus or train or go into a supermarket, bank or any other public building without one.

My personal observation is that here, Inside the Beltway, people from Asia were already predisposed to wear face masks even before the novel coronavirus made its appearance. I have seen this for several years, particularly during our spring pollen season but at other times of the year as well. This is not saying that they all do, only that before now it has been unusual to see anyone except a person of East/Southeast Asian origin wearing a face mask in public.

Jacki, the advice from your government doctors stems from the fact which Pat referred to, that the masks mainly help prevent carriers from spreading the virus to others and does not do quite as well in protecting someone who is not infected. My problem with this is that people can have the virus and be contagious without showing symptoms. The requirement for everyone to wear a mask in public protects us from those invisible carriers. Our state's governor has required that we all wear a mask in public places like grocery stores and pharmacies, and I'm grateful for that.

Words / Re: SELECTING game - SINGLET uncommon???
« on: April 30, 2020, 01:15:13 AM »
Are these the garments known as 'wife-beaters' (charming) in north America?

They are sometimes called wife-beaters, but that's just slang. If it's meant to be worn as an undergarment here, it is referred to as an undershirt or sleeveless undershirt. If it's not meant to be an undergarment, it is referred to as a tank top. When wrestlers wear them, they are indeed known as singlets, but I don't think this is particularly widely known.

Here are a few previous forum threads on the subject from over the years: Singlet common?, Question about common word, and Singlet

Words / Re: Sirrah
« on: April 24, 2020, 02:48:49 AM »
In Monday's 10 letter REHEARSING game I missed Sirrah - as I have before - because i have never heard of it outside Chihuahua. I vote it gets changed to rare.

We read at least one Shakespeare play every year that I was in high school. One year my friends and I took to calling each other "sirrah" for fun, so i have never had trouble with this word in Chihuahua.

I can affirm that most of the words that Ozzyjack listed are accepted by Chihuahua. I have played them. Peradventure will never appear, however, as it has too many letters. Welkin was previously listed as common, but was reclassified relatively recently.

Words / Re: felafel v falafel
« on: March 06, 2020, 05:29:16 AM »

I forgot about Americans' rhoticity!

Pronouncing 'r' when it is there and not pronouncing it when it isn't there in the spelling -- what a concept!

Anonsi is correct about how we pronounce felafel over here. And to answer MK's question, hummus is the preferred spelling on this side of the Atlantic.

Words / Re: Word suggestion: workstream
« on: February 17, 2020, 03:37:27 AM »
I tried workstream before I found the seed word.

Words / Re: Omicron
« on: February 17, 2020, 03:35:49 AM »

So, leaving aside their use in naming N. American academic societies, how many of the 24 letters, 14 of which are spelled in English with 4 or more letters, are likely to be known by the proverbial 'Man on the Clapham omnibus'? ('John Doe' to North Americans).

Ah, but is the 'Man on the Clapham omnibus' reasonably well-read? If not, then he doesn't get much say as to what's in the Chihuahua common lexicon.

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