Lost in translation.
British Comedian Stewart Lee explores comedy in Germany and finds it stymied by the peculiarities of language and sentence construction. Mark Liberman at Language Log disagrees
. And an extended essay by Josh Schonwald explores in greater depth how the German comedy scene is transitioning
(PDF) from the more traditional kabernett to a burgeoning stand-up comedy scene, which is characterized by one observer as being in "the Bob Hope phase of comedy."
posted by madamjujujive
on May 26, 2006 -
Living without Numbers or Time...
The Pirahã people have no history, no descriptive words and no subordinate clauses. That makes their language one of the strangest in the world -- and also one of the most hotly debated by linguists.
posted by moonbird
on May 10, 2006 -
It is an official language
in this US State, and if somebody writes you a check in it while you're here, you better know your numbers
. Although its usage fell after a sharp decrease in the native speakers' population and a later 'ban'
, (not really)
in the late 19th century, it is now making a comeback. Wikipedia gets its name
from the language. Sadly, though there are almost 4 million Wikipedia articles, a scant 27
of them are written in it. Of course, if you just need a dictionary, it's not hard to find
posted by onalark
on Apr 25, 2006 -
Babies, Footsies, Holdies. Carry, Foul, Slam. Tea Parties, Fairbacks, Cherry Bombs. Double Taps, Underhand, Blackjack. Bitch Serving, Jedi, Extreme. Chicken Drops, Peppermint Sticks, Kamikazes. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus. Land Mines, Demons, Black Magic.
posted by bardic
on Feb 20, 2006 -
Were you a minger
, sporting a mullet
, looking a bit naff
when you were getting mullered
while out on the pull
, anytime before 1988? Or were you posh
, looking snazzy
after spending your dosh
to get a nip and tuck
before 1980? If so, the Oxford English Dictionary and the BBC
need you for their Wordhunt
– a call to help find the earliest verifiable usages of a list of words
from the past decades whose origin is still uncertain.
posted by funambulist
on Jan 9, 2006 -
A passive verb and adverb flagger for Mozilla-derived browsers, Safari, and Opera 7.5, with caveats.
posted by semmi
on Jan 6, 2006 -
A Dictionary of Amercanisms
by John Russell Bartlett, published 1848. A "vocabulary of the colloquial language of the United States" during the mid-19th century. As noted by jmorrison at the nonist
(the source for this link), it is interesting to see much of what we find so common today " called out as 'americanisms' not yet included in the dictionary." The site
has other goodies too, such as The Slave's Friend
, a Christian anti-slavery tract, and Memoirs of a Captivity Among the Indians of North America
, by John Dunn Hunter, published in 1823 and 1824 and recounting his life after being captured as a young boy and raised by Native American tribes. It provides an intimate, inside look at their societies, customs and battles.
posted by caddis
on Dec 17, 2005 -
was the capital city of the Purépecha
Empire (also known as Tarascan
(scroll to middle of page
) isolated from the rest of precolumbian Mexico, the origins of the Purépecha is still unknown. Their language
is one that is not even provisionally linked with any other language
and is still spoken by about 200,000 natives
around Michoacan. The Purépechas were the only state
to become an empire in the Western Mexico cultures.
posted by ozomatli
on Dec 13, 2005 -
Merrian-Webster open dictionary
"Have you spotted a new word or a new sense for an old word that hasn't made it into the dictionary yet? Well, here's your chance to add your discovery (and its definition) to Merriam-Webster's Open Dictionary"
posted by robbyrobs
on Dec 11, 2005 -
:: A Dictionary of Comicbook Words on Historical Principles, Based on the Latest Conclusions of the Most Dubious Wordologists & Comprising Many Hundreds of New Words which Modern Literature, Science & Philosophy have Neglected to Acknowledge as True, Proper & Useful Terms & Which Have Never Before Been Published in Any Lexicon
posted by anastasiav
on Nov 21, 2005 -
The Image Culture
- a discussion of the history, manipulation, desensitization and supplanting of language skills by the ubiquity of images. And no, there are no pretty pictures.
posted by peacay
on Nov 19, 2005 -
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 -