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English doesn't have a word for asking a question when the answer is ordinal.

For instance, the answer is "Barack Obama is the 44th president of the USA." What is the question? Other languages do have an easy way of asking this.
 
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Ah, but the translation is possible, just not easy, right? Isn't that what you and z have been trying to tell me for ages?
 
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I suppose you could ask something like: "Which ordinal number in the series of US presidents is Mr Obama?" That is better than trying to port a word like how manieth from the German example.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I would say "what number president is Obama?"
 
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quote:
Originally posted by goofy:
I would say "what number president is Obama?"

That would probably get the answer "Number 44." Of course, that is perfectly OK as an answer and gives the desired information, even though an ordinal number isn't used.

Mind you, a question that started "Which ordinal number ..." would probably elicit the response "What's an ordinal number?"


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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a question that started "Which ordinal number ..." would probably elicit the response "What's an ordinal number?"

Which is OK, too. Makes the conversation into a leaning experience for both.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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This Obama guy... is he the first President, second, third or what?

Smile
 
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Seriously though there are some questions with an ordinal answer where we can use "where".

Where did you come in the race?
Forty-fourth.

Can't think of an easy way in the "president example though.
 
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quote:
For instance, the answer is "Barack Obama is the 44th president of the USA." What is the question? Other languages do have an easy way of asking this.


Q: What statement do Republicans have the most trouble repeating?


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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On the other hand, English does have a word for "A fly ball hit for fielding practice by a player who tosses the ball up and hits it on its way down with a long, thin, light bat": fungo.

My point in mentioning these facts is to show that the presence or absence of a certain word in a certain language doesn't tell you anything interesting about the speakers or the culture. No one here has made this argument, but many people I talk to do.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
Seriously though there are some questions with an ordinal answer where we can use "where".

Where did you come in the race?
Forty-fourth.

Can't think of an easy way in the "president example though.


Actually, now I think about it couldn't you say "Where does Obama come in the sequence of presidents?"

"Where" seems to do the job well enough to me.
 
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I would imagine that there are many sporting terms which, like "fungo" are quite unintellible to speakers of other languages - and for which there is no equivalent.

Googly springs to mind, being "...a delivery which looks like a normal leg spinner but actually turns towards the batsmen, like an off break, rather than away from the bat...".

Of course, to understand this definition you need to know what a "leg spinner" and an "off break" are.


Richard English
 
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"Where does Obama come in the sequence of presidents?"

Yes, I like that one, Bob. What's the American TV game show where you are given an answer and have to think of the question? You win this round, I think.

Of course, some people might still answer 'last'. Smile


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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A: Jeopardy

Q: What is the American TV game show where you are given an answer and have to think of the question?


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Thanks, Proof.


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