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International Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia around the world. Wonder no more how a cow's moo sounds in Japan, or a car's engine revs in China.
posted by Oriole Adams on Dec 26, 2004 - 14 comments

Awkwardfulness is. Long is not

Pentasyllabic is. Edible is not. Some words refer to themselves, some do not - an introduction to the paradox of language and a way to amaze your easily-amazed friends. In a similar vein, you may already test yourself by using e-prime, but do you know the thirty-two eskimo words for snow?
posted by blahblahblah on Nov 30, 2004 - 98 comments

Losing Languages

Losing Languages. It's estimated that between one and four languages are lost every year, the result of the only remaining speakers dying off. Many have been actively surpressed in the past, such as the Mayan and Ryukyu languages - some of which are said to be further from Japanese than English is from German. Is it worth the effort to preserve languages? Are languages and culture intristically linked?
posted by borkingchikapa on Nov 28, 2004 - 57 comments

the language boom

Language tree rooted in Turkey.
posted by the fire you left me on Dec 7, 2003 - 28 comments

How To Attract The 18-34 Crowd: Say

Oh fuck! Are you interested? Let me guess: you're 18 to 34 years old, right? Oh it's a dandy little word, for sure. But is it enough? Here's yet another brilliant marketing idea dreamt up by the 35-50 thoroughly fucked-up Texan reader-research crowd! [Via Arts and Letters Daily.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Nov 22, 2003 - 23 comments

Who deserves a break today?

McDonalds CEO Puts McJob in Mainstream. By taking Merriam-Webster to task for including McJob ("low paying and dead-end work") in its latest Collegiate Dictionary, McDonald's CEO Jim Cantalupo has ensured that yet another disparaging fast-food web-fed meme joins the venerable "You want fries with that?" If this had been Fox, I would have said it was intentional.
posted by mischief on Nov 8, 2003 - 39 comments

an unveiling

Qur’an in Aramaic? Virgins become raisins, veils become belts. "Luxenberg’s chief hypothesis is that the original language of the Qur’an was not Arabic but something closer to Aramaic. He says the copy of the Qur’an used today is a mistranscription of the original text from Muhammad’s time, which according to Islamic tradition was destroyed by the third caliph, Osman, in the seventh century. But Arabic did not turn up as a written language until 150 years after Muhammad’s death, and most learned Arabs at that time spoke a version of Aramaic."
posted by four panels on Jul 29, 2003 - 16 comments

Learn English.

Learn English.
posted by xmutex on Apr 17, 2003 - 15 comments

Articulate == Lying Loser?

Why articulate people make bad colleagues Nick Denton, proprietor of various websites, sometime columnist for Management Today, and supposed intelligent person has come up with this gem in his weblog: "But I've been interviewing software engineers, and find myself prejudiced against those that talk fluently. . . . Either they were born persuasive, and so they've always been able to get away with it; or else they've always broken promises, so they've had to learn how to explain away their failures." For the most part, I think he's wrong, but I can see where he's coming from. Should articulate people be banned from time-sensitive positions?
posted by gkostolny on Feb 5, 2003 - 41 comments

Funny Latin Phrases

Quanto putas mihi stare hoc conclave ? That's "How many prostitutes does it take to change a lightbulb?" in Latin. No, actually it's "How much do you think I paid for this apartment?". Here's hoping, in the wake of the BBC's superb The Roman Way series, written and presented by David Aaranovich, that good old Latin is on its way back, albeit in an Internet, soundbitey way. Those intending to smuggle some into MetaFilter should definitely start here. The owner, for instance, might find Ne ponatur in mea vicinitate useful - "Not in my backyard". And Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione - "I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult" should prove popular in the God threads. Vale!
posted by MiguelCardoso on Feb 3, 2003 - 26 comments

Snoop

Shizzolate dat sh*t, homey! Snoop can help funkify and shizzolate yo' site, B. That's his word, dogg. (This is amusing for a solid 40 seconds...)
posted by adamms222 on Dec 19, 2002 - 7 comments

Jorlon khaan bain ve?

Jorlon khaan bain ve? The first stop in Oissubke's trip around the online world is the beautiful land of Mongolia. Take a moment to leave the America-centric (not that there's anything wrong with that!) Web and see what the internet looks like from someone else's eyes... I've tried to pick sites that provide unique and interesting insights into the Mongolian internet, not just whatever Google coughed up for "Mongolia". Unless this post particularly annoys people, I'll plan to continue my journey with Liechtenstein in a few days.
posted by oissubke on Oct 21, 2002 - 28 comments

Thirty days in jail and $200 fine for using the "N" word?

Thirty days in jail and $200 fine for using the "N" word?
posted by kablam on Aug 20, 2002 - 50 comments

The Big Book of Sign Language (from rotten.com).

The Big Book of Sign Language (from rotten.com). Have you ever wondered how to sign phrases such as "I shovel shit all day long", "I want to pull the shrieking voices from my head and smoosh them", and "Unlock my legs and get it over with"? The Big Book shows you how. Inappropriate? Yes. Hysterical? Yes. (Portions may not be safe for work. Link via Magnetbox. Thanks, ben.)
posted by moz on Jul 9, 2002 - 29 comments

Vincent's Glossblog is a 'weblog on language' by a Brussels-based freelance interpreter. Are any of your favourite blogs on something?
posted by ceiriog on Apr 22, 2002 - 4 comments

slurdb

slurdb an interesting look into an often overlooked and ignored lexicon - even if it is an ugly one. jtx from hatesville is building a reference to the language of hate, but he needs your help.
posted by boogah on Feb 24, 2002 - 6 comments

This propaganda leaflet

This propaganda leaflet is apparently being dropped in afghanistan by the American Military (taken from this msnbc story about the first american soldier to die from hostile fire). Regardless of your opinion about propaganda, this seems rather sloppy. If the purpose of propaganda is to convince people of something, wouldn't you want to say it in a language they understand? Is the American military getting lazy / sloppy / over-confident? It looks like the propaganda leaflets from Desert storm (1991), Desert Fox (1998), and the bombing of Kosovo were at least in the local languages. (Who knew there was a quarterly magazine dedicated to aerial leaflet propaganda?)
posted by jnthnjng on Jan 4, 2002 - 25 comments

Triplehom.com!

Triplehom.com! A mindbending little site [sight, cite] designed for [fore, four] the wordsmith/word-splitter in you.
posted by webchick on Nov 21, 2001 - 3 comments

The religious language used by the terrorists

The religious language used by the terrorists may suggest what they are really thinking, argues Robert Wisnovsky in Slate. His conclusions might not be what you expected: one, they're not particularly Islamic, but rather use Islamic terms to "attempt to lend religious weight to what is basically a political ideology"; and two, their real target is not America or the West (except indirectly), but the monarchies of the Arabian peninsula. Interesting insights from a linguistic perspective.
posted by mcwetboy on Oct 24, 2001 - 21 comments

Roger's Profanisaurus

When I got tired of saying the word Fuck all the time, I switched over to the word Fuckity. When my friends pointed out that perhaps Fuckity was a bit twee, I was in a deep funk, until one day, when I discovered Roger's Profanisaurus - the definitive thesaurus of all things Scatalogical, Sexual and Rude. Zuffled lately? Gone whitewater wristing? Expand your vocabulary!

Link via Scott
posted by kristin on Oct 24, 2001 - 26 comments

A blistering dissection

A blistering dissection of David Foster Wallace and Simon Winchester's previously published essays on English usage, by Mark Halpern. Though I like some of Wallace's writing, I admit it's nice to see the scalpel taken to Wallace's "style for style's sake".
posted by Big Fat Tycoon on Oct 19, 2001 - 29 comments

"Language Gene" found...

"Language Gene" found... (link to arstechnica discussion) "A group of Oxford University researchers presented findings in this week's Nature that they isolated a gene called FOXP2 that appears to be involved in both speech and language development." this is intriguing... that so much can start from so little.
posted by zerolucid on Oct 5, 2001 - 7 comments

Ever wanted to learn Japanese?

Ever wanted to learn Japanese? "The bottom line is that Politeness Levels are completely beyond your understanding, so don't even try. Just resign yourself to talking like a little girl for the rest of your life and hope to God that no one beats you up."
posted by skallas on Sep 20, 2001 - 48 comments

A Little Light Relief - and Brush Up Your English While You're At It.

A Little Light Relief - and Brush Up Your English While You're At It. In the spirit of poking fun at one's own flesh and blood - and respecting all those who aren't - I offer the most appalling tribute to Shakespeare's and Emerson's language since time itself began. I give you, ladies and gentlemen, the great Portuguese scholar Pedro Carolino, whose "English As She Is Spoke" Mark Twain considered to be the funniest book ever written. Start with "Familiar Dialogues 1" and, if you've still been able to keep a straight face, try "Idiotisms and Proverbs" for the full effect... (Thanks to Ganz's Humor Page)
posted by MiguelCardoso on Sep 20, 2001 - 19 comments

It's, like, the Like Virus

It's, like, the Like Virus An amusing and misanthropic inquiry into a mysterious linguistic phenomenon.It adds as much to our fair English language as barnacles do to a wharf or calculi to a healthy kidney. So, like, what is it about the word that makes people like us it all the time? (Question mark used to indicate raising vocal pitch at end of sentence)
posted by fellorwaspushed on Sep 4, 2001 - 30 comments

The war of words over Israel

The war of words over Israel continued this week as CNN instructed its journalists to refer to "settlements" as "Jewish neighborhoods." Last month the BBC agreed to stop using the term "assassination" in favor of "targeted killings."
posted by KirkJobSluder on Sep 4, 2001 - 19 comments

Word of the day: onomasticon.
posted by jammer on Aug 1, 2001 - 1 comment

The Bush Dyslexicon

The Bush Dyslexicon Ever since the presidential campaign, George W. Bush's adventures in the English language have alternately amused and horrified the nation. But according to media scholar Mark Crispin Miller's scathing new book, The Bush Dyslexicon, to conclude merely that Bush is dimwitted would be a grave mistake. The President's linguistic fumbles, argues Miller, mask a deep and shrewd political vindictiveness; at the same time, the shallowness revealed in Bush's unscripted remarks has been largely ignored or coddled by a national media more interested in soundbites than in political substance.

I don't know what is more frightening: that this guy is right, and we have much more to fear about Bush, Jr. than we thought...or that he is wrong, and we do indeed live in a land whose president is an imbecile.
posted by mapalm on Jul 31, 2001 - 54 comments

Emoticons creep closer to being officially considered writing

Emoticons creep closer to being officially considered writing
You have to scroll down a ways ... I don't mean to sound elitist. I believe language is a living thing, and can grow and change and grow up to be a ballerina, if it wants to, even if that seems like an innocent child's dream right now, and is not to be taken seriously really. Seriously though, don't you have a kind of sick feeling that a version of the OED is giving recognition to the idea that punctuation and numerals are making entry into language?
posted by rschram on Jul 13, 2001 - 15 comments

Go to jail. Snag a ace boon coon, avoid the toosh hogs and dream of tack heads.
posted by ed on Jun 20, 2001 - 2 comments

"Doh!"

"Doh!" added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Homer Simpson is the man.
posted by danwalker on Jun 14, 2001 - 45 comments

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation ?
TRANSLATION: This extension of the pagination the great energy of the translation of the confusion of Alta Vista.
ORIGINAL TEXT: This page demonstrates the great translating power of altavista's babel.
(via CasaFidel)
posted by howa2396 on Mar 15, 2001 - 45 comments

Verb for sarcasm:

Verb for sarcasm: It's a good idea. It's missing from the English language. Not anymore.
posted by borgle on Mar 9, 2001 - 32 comments

Cor, Blimey Guv'nor!

Cor, Blimey Guv'nor! It's the English/Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary! Very useful if you don't know your John Cleese's from your Duke of Kent's. Once you've mastered the art, you'll have no trouble understanding this passage.
posted by astro38 on Feb 24, 2001 - 4 comments

A review

A review of the Legend Bagger Vance written in the Mad Ape Den dialect. What is Mad Ape Den, you ask? It is a dialect which spurns all words with more than three letters. After all, "If you can not say it in one or in two (or in one and two) why say it at all?"
posted by pixelpony on Dec 8, 2000 - 6 comments

The Meatball Ad

The Meatball Ad is mostly being run in California by the Buchanan Campaign. Today was the first time I saw it running in New York. I have not seen any of the other presidential candidates are running any TV ads here. The ad shows a man passing out while waiting for the 911 voice choice menu after choking from eating a meatball as the TV news in the background declares that English is no longer America's official language. (The link is to a quicktime file.)
posted by tamim on Oct 27, 2000 - 23 comments

October Coffee Crisis.

October Coffee Crisis. Montreal Gazette: "In its communiques, the BAF warned that Second Cup franchises were to be 'in the line of fire' and warned of an escalation of violent acts if Second Cup and other chains insist on keeping their trademark English names." More Trudeau nostalgia?
posted by todd on Oct 12, 2000 - 7 comments

Random House dictionary brought up-to-date.

Random House dictionary brought up-to-date. Does this mean I'll be able to use "gaydar" the next time I play Scrabble?
posted by sandor on Jun 27, 2000 - 8 comments

'Murrican 101.

'Murrican 101.
[ via Twernt, who's been even twerntier than usual, lately. ]
posted by baylink on May 23, 2000 - 2 comments

All you F****** A******* better proceed with F****** caution before clicking this Godd*** Mother F****** link.

All you F****** A******* better proceed with F****** caution before clicking this Godd*** Mother F****** link. Bobby Knight, in his own words... (warning: extreme profanity)
posted by vitaflo on May 19, 2000 - 1 comment

Are You 3000 Plus?

Are You 3000 Plus? Find out just how good your web writing is with this revolutionary online tool developed by the super-secret TSD Labs. Complex natural language analysis is performed to determine the complexity, readability, and likability of your writing.
posted by daveadams on Apr 2, 2000 - 5 comments

Everyone wants to be l33t.

Everyone wants to be l33t. Now it's even easier with this handy guide.
posted by Mark on Mar 26, 2000 - 0 comments

First it was safety scissors. Now we can all sleep safer knowing we are safe from dangerous words. Weren't schools rewarding honor students at some point, or is my memory bad? (via obscurestore)
posted by mrmorgan on Mar 14, 2000 - 4 comments

Recently updated Japanese Engrish!
posted by veruca on Mar 13, 2000 - 1 comment

I have to say, the smurfalizer

I have to say, the smurfalizer is the smurfiest site I've smurfed all day. I wonder if I can find the Taxi Driver script online, just to see "Did you smurf my wife? What? How can you ask me something like that? You heard me! Did you smurf my wife!?!"
posted by mathowie on Mar 9, 2000 - 2 comments

This cool tool

This cool tool grabs Wired News headlines and randomly assembles them into phrases of marketing-ese. Here's a good example: 'Savvy middleware is wiring the planetwide medium of the hyper village.'
posted by mathowie on Sep 29, 1999 - 0 comments

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