Charming and unexpected vocabulary from many languages.
Why did Persians need a word, alghunjar
, to express 'the feigned anger of a mistress'? Could there really have been that many insincere mistresses in Persia? Why does Russia need a word meaning, 'dealer in stolen cats'? Or 'someone with six fingers'? And who can resist the Chinese xiaoxiao
, meaning, 'the whistling and pattering of rain or wind'? "These are more than funny foreign vocabularies; they are tiny windows into the way other people live, and the obsessions that drive them." [via]
posted by Slithy_Tove
on Oct 2, 2005 -
Explosion Over the N-Word
When Kanye West blasted President Bush’s treatment of poor black people in New Orleans after Katrina hit, the rapper unintentionally set off a hurricane of words in Florida.
The Independent Florida Alligator, the student newspaper, ran a cartoon last week that criticized West’s statements by showing him holding a large playing card marked “The Race Card,” and having Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, exclaim with scorn at West: “Nigga Please!”
posted by Postroad
on Sep 20, 2005 -
'Spare Don Watson, author of Death Sentences from all of these weasely, wishy-washy, and worst of all, ugly bits of management-speak that have drifted out of consulting sessions and into the social realm.' Forbes.com.....................
Your favourite spin doctoring ?
posted by johnny7
on Sep 6, 2005 -
is a problem that often prevents doctors from treating immigrant patients effectively. Language and cultural barriers prevent patients from understanding doctors instructions, sharing their symptoms of illness, and even from being examined by the doctor in cases where religious beliefs prohibit contact with someone of the opposite gender.
posted by gregb1007
on Sep 6, 2005 -
English as she is spoke
: Infamous as the world's most ludicrously inept foreign phrasebook, the misbegotten work of Jose da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino was revived in a new edition by the Collins Library in March 2002. Some background
posted by dhruva
on Sep 4, 2005 -
by Columbia Journalism Review, is incredibly helpful when it comes to learning the English language's subtle nuances and rather obvious rules.
posted by riffola
on Aug 29, 2005 -
Subtitles on the radio.
Last night Radio 1, the BBC's flagship youth station, broadcast an hour of Welsh language music and chat. The webcast includes subtitles.
posted by ceiriog
on Aug 24, 2005 -
A picture of English nouns
is a map of 33,000 English nouns. Each tiny rectangle corresponds to a noun. The color of the rectangle has been assigned a color, based on an internet image search for that noun. The words are clustered so that similar words are near each other. Gallery
. (Java required)
posted by jikel_morten
on Aug 14, 2005 -
As of today, the German language has changed
, ending a 10 year state of flux which has seen new spelling rules mixed with the old ones. Under the new system, "extremely long compound words have been broken up, comma rules have been simplified, and in many cases a double-S replaces the old letter sign for the sound, which resembles a capital B."
But given the strong resistance to the new rules from some in the German community, it may be a little premature to add the old German language to to the list of lost languages
(previously discußed here
) just yet.
Anyway, for Mefite linguaphiles interested in this significant and now seemingly permanent change to the German language, check out the German spelling reform timeline
posted by Effigy2000
on Aug 3, 2005 -
Walter Miller's homepage
Picked up recently via kottke.org
, this is a years-old webpage (not updated recently) detailing the miserable details of poor Walter's white trash existence. It deserves to be read by a whole new generation. The art of misspelling is taken to new heights.
posted by Holly
on Jul 30, 2005 -
El Indio in Hispanic proverbial speech
"The proverbial speech of Hispanic America preserves, even today, numerous traces of the interaction between explorers, conquerors, or settlers and the native populations they found in the various regions of the so-called New World"
posted by dhruva
on Jul 11, 2005 -
:: 1 : a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it; 2 : a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation; 3 : something (as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace
posted by anastasiav
on Jun 25, 2005 -
Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby So you’ve got to know that synergy doesn’t actually mean synergy in this book. I can’t do normal synergy. No, in this book, synergy means cartoon foxes. What I’m saying is: this book will be starting off with an exorbitant amount of cartoon foxes.
And I will be counting on you to turn them into synergy.
Possibly the funniest computer programming book ever written.
posted by carmen
on Jun 3, 2005 -
are a distinct ethnic people who live in the Russian territory of Karelia, on the border with Finland. They are also scattered throughout the Leningrad and Vologda regions of Russia. Before many were assimiliated to Russian, the Vepsa spoke their own distinct variant of Finno-Ugric. [See more inside]
posted by gregb1007
on May 3, 2005 -
Lauris is the spirit of the office, irrespective weather those are the numerous jokes for any occasion he has in his luggage or a basket of autumn apples, which he has picked in the morning to remind the colleges about the beauty of the autumn.
Zane has chosen to live in a beautiful world of internal and external beauty, where fragrances and aromas are of importance, however the uppermost value are harmonious relations with the closest people.
We are all fans of mangled English translations
, but there is a certain added beauty in this site for a Latvian law firm, which boasts "professional, fast and qualitative translations" while "introducing a spirit of poetics in the daily routine of the office"
posted by szechuan
on Apr 13, 2005 -
For your friday flash fun, a game about...linguistics? Learn a language, have some fun. Now if only I could figure out how to work that damn oven....
posted by jearbear
on Mar 25, 2005 -
Frank Luntz GOP Playbook Now Online: No Downloads, Searchable Text
I can't stress enough the importance of reading this document. It is absolutely amazing how politicos co-opted so much of our language and led us down the path to THEIR agenda.
Unfortunately, the monstrous PDF file previously available for download made that a 'challenging' endeavor. Thus, I thought it was very important to bring to everybody's attention the existence of an online, readable, searchable, text version of Frank Luntz’s Playbook. It is a masterpiece of manipulation and an historic political document.
posted by jb_thms
on Mar 3, 2005 -
Is your favorite swear word
losing its potency
? Stock up on some new ones with the Swearsaurus,
a "vast array of swearing, profanity, obscenity, blasphemy, cursing, cussing, and insulting in a massive 165 languages"
posted by Quartermass
on Feb 27, 2005 -
(that's Welsh, I'll leave the interpreting to you) - a comprehensive guide to swearing in 165 languages. This probably offers the most appeal to the younger crowd, subverting
classroom etiquette undetected--but it's not without its draw for the inebriated
It may also be a good idea to cross check your business name
before going global. A representative of AmaCorp
visiting Japan is likely to catch a few odd looks.
posted by ThePrawn
on Jan 27, 2005 -
Do you speak American?
The companion website to a PBS series, full of interactive language and dialect tools. You can map your attitudes
about regional correctness, guess the speaker's home
, learn about American varieties
, track the history of certain words
, hear samples of regional dialects
, and more.
Further reading: Dialect Map of American English
's local terms, and this collection of local phrases
Previously on MetaFilter: The Dialect Survey (and results), The Speech Accent Archive, Pop vs. Soda.
posted by stopgap
on Jan 20, 2005 -
Looking for ohibitutic
words, but need something a little more rhymmeal
might just be the tingulen
posted by Robot Johnny
on Jan 7, 2005 -
Collins Word Exchange
"At Collins we pride ourselves on reflecting current language, used by real English speakers across the world."
Collins have launched a public forum designed for (amongst other things) discussing 'new' words and the legitamacy of their inclusion in official dictionaries. Chav
is probably on its way, but I'm no intellectual snob, but bounce-backability
? Even I'd balk at that one.
And, just remember kids, flip-flopper
is not valid for use in scrabble
posted by qwerty155
on Dec 16, 2004 -
Etymology-wise, which hormone is an island? What word both denotes a prime and euphemizes Satan? What word denotes "the future" and abbreviates the unknown? Is urine pith? These are some of the questions from "Moot: The World's Toughest Language Game
," a homemade and little-known board game for lovers of words. Some puzzles
are available online; there are a few more available on a page detailing the interesting story
behind the game's creation. You can sign up
to have a new language puzzle e-mailed to you every week.
posted by painquale
on Dec 4, 2004 -
More on arithmetic in the Amazon
The 10/15 issue of Science has the official publication of Peter Gordon's work on numerical cognition among the Pirahã, and a companion article by Pierre Pica et al. on similar research among another Amazonian tribe, the Mundurukú. What with the U.S. election and the discovery of H. Floresiensis, this is not getting nearly as a much play as the pre-publication back in August of Peter Gordon's work.
Brian Butterworth has an piece
in the Guardian about both articles, and I've put some links, quotes and diagrams here
Compared to the reports on the Pirahã, the Mundurukú people, language, and experiments are all somewhat different, although the conclusions are broadly similar.
posted by myl
on Oct 31, 2004 -