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Multibabel

The First Rule of Multibabel Club is you do not talk about MultiBabel Club (French & back:) The first rule of the club of Multibabel is you do not speak about the club of Multibabel.
(German & back:) The first guideline the association of Multibabel is not you speaks about the association of Multibabel.
(Italian & back:) Before the guide of reference that the association of Multibabel is not you speaks about the association of Multibabel.
(Portuguese & back) Before the guide of the reference that the association of MultiBabel is not you speak on the association of MultiBabel.
(Spanish & back:) Before the guide of the reference that is not the association of MultiBabel you speak in the association of MultiBabel. (Japanese & back:) Multibabel club without having expressed, there is a first rule of Multibabel club.
(Chinese & back:) The Multibabel club has not been expressed, has the Multibabel club first rule.
(Korean & back:) The Multibabel the club under expressing is highland Anh and a Multibabel club first rule.

posted by me3dia on Sep 7, 2003 - 27 comments

You will learn something, I guarontee!

The Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture features everything from Acadiana to Zydeco. Two of the more interesting entries I've found are the Un-Cajun Committee and the unknown to me genre of Swamp Pop
posted by Ufez Jones on Sep 4, 2003 - 15 comments

Lost Words

The Compendium of Lost Words
posted by ttrendel on Sep 3, 2003 - 9 comments

"But please - call me Larry."

"Hello, Neo. I am the Architect." For those of us who liked The Matrix Reloaded but got lost shortly after the Architect opened his mouth, here's a handy annotated transcript of his entire scene. Great for people who want to delve into the deeper meanings of what he's going on about, and also great for people (like me) who are interested in the way he talks. [Warning: Geocities site. Mirrored here if it goes down]
posted by Monster_Zero on Aug 22, 2003 - 25 comments

Compendium of lost words

Compendium of lost words You may have been wondering what "triclavianism" means. You may have been disappointed when dictionary.com couldn't help. Look no further.
posted by adamrice on Aug 16, 2003 - 19 comments

Speech Accent Archive

The Speech Accent Archive, with 264 audio clips of native and non-native English speakers reading the same paragraph. Wonderful sounds if you love languages (and who doesn't?), including Bambara, Vietnamese, Uzbek, Quechua and the instantly recognizable Synthesized. [via Tara Calishan's invaluable ResearchBuzz]
posted by mediareport on Aug 14, 2003 - 22 comments

String theory

String and Knot, Theory of Inca Writing An article today in the NY Times (you know the drill, I think it's metafi/metafi, no?) regarding a new theory to do with the decoding of the "cryptic knotted strings known as khipu".
If khipu is indeed the medium of a writing system, Dr. Gary Urton of Harvard says, this is entirely different from any of the known ancient scripts, beginning with the cuneiform of Mesopotamia more than 5,000 years ago. The khipu did not record information in graphic signs for words, but rather a kind of three-dimensional binary code similar to the language of today's computers. Dr. Urton, an anthropologist and a MacArthur fellow, suggests that the Inca manipulated strings and knots to convey certain meanings. By an accumulation of binary choices, khipu makers encoded and stored information in a shared system of record keeping that could be read throughout the Inca domain.
More information about Urton's book, which is to be published this month, here; more information about the Khipu themselves and further linkage here (note: this link is to an angelfire page, popups and limited bandwidth are to be expected). From Cornell, detailed descriptions of 200 Khipu, with photographs.
posted by jokeefe on Aug 11, 2003 - 11 comments

Blogstop

BlogStop. Where the last word of an entry must be used as an acronym for the next entry. Simple.
posted by coudal on Jul 30, 2003 - 1033 comments

The language of threatening letters to King David

Czech linguist Bedrich Hrozny first identified Hittite in 1915. It's an extinct Indo-European language that I thought would be of limited interest when I mentioned it in a previous post. However, I've been urged to share some related links, like this one which explains why Hittite is a black sheep in the IE family, this one, which contrasts the phonetics of Hittite and its relatives, a morphology page with many examples in Hittite and a short description of the relationship between Hittite and Sanskrit. If you haven't gotten your fill, there's Translated Hittite texts
posted by Mayor Curley on Jul 29, 2003 - 20 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

Calling all Grammar Schoolmarms

"Even a brilliant piece of writing will have difficulty finding a publisher if the author has neglected to dress his manuscript decently." 'The Chicago Manual of Style' enters the 21st century. Calling all MeFi Schoolmarms! (Also: CSM New Questions & Answers)
posted by ColdChef on Jul 24, 2003 - 26 comments

Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky and the neuronaut's guide to the science of consciousness

We are because of others. We are born into this world with minds as naked as our bodies and we have to rely on others to feed, clothe us, and to teach us to think of ourselves as selves. The key is language -- grammatical speech and human culture build upon the brain's biological capacities to create a mind that is something different again than that with which we are born. We are conscious because we can speak to others and ourselves, because we can speak of ourselves to others and ourselves. Language gives us as individuals, memory, and as groups, culture, the social memory. Or so thought Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky, among others. Welcome to the the neuronaut's guide to the science of consciousness.
posted by y2karl on Jul 11, 2003 - 36 comments

Will French surrender to English?

Are the days of French as a world language numbered? The French language is still considered a "world language," but it is slowly losing its relevance in an English-dominated world. "What is at stake is the survival of our culture. It is a life or death matter," said Jacques Viot, head of the Alliance Francaise in Paris. Will French finally surrender to English?
posted by laz-e-boy on Jul 7, 2003 - 58 comments

Google calls in the 'language police'

Google calls in the 'language police': "Google is now a verb, meaning to search. It sounds like the ultimate compliment to the company, so why do its lawyers want to keep the word out of our dictionaries?"
posted by eclectica on Jun 24, 2003 - 19 comments

SpellingReform

The Simplified Spelling Society. Finally, a cause I can really get behind. More.
posted by srboisvert on Jun 9, 2003 - 63 comments

New feature for MetaFilter?

Login, check out a link, post a comment, find out what gender you are... By noting the subtle differences in the words used by men and women, a new computer programme identifies the sex of an author. By implementing this new software, MetaFilter could potentially become even more informative than it already is.
posted by orange swan on May 30, 2003 - 25 comments

Fo shizzle my MeFi'ers.

Fo shizzle my nizzle! At last, the lingustic puzzle is solved, or at least attempted. Over and over. And over. Definition - "for the sizzle" of tasty burgers on the grill. Often used by members of lower classes because they cannot taste the tasty burgers, nor enjoy the sizzle.
posted by xmutex on May 23, 2003 - 33 comments

Machine Traslation

Is really effective machine traslation just around the corner? Up 'til now computerized language translation has been as amusing as it been useful. Getting the gist of text composed in a different language has been about the most one can hope for. Will this company's efforts with statistical analysis be the breakthrough? Statistical analysis might be the key to stopping spam too. This is changing the way I think about my own communication.
posted by bendybendy on May 15, 2003 - 13 comments

When Bad Words Do Good Things

Shut Up! Due to a linguistic phenomenon called amelioration, we're losing a lot of those nice, bad words that are so useful for expressing anger. Nice once meant stupid and bad's good today. "Shut up!" increasingly means an affectionate "Get outta here!"; No is becoming Yes and even "Fuck off!", with the right intonation can mean something like "I don't believe it! How very interesting, Carruthers!" Where will it end? And it's not as if any good words are making the opposite journey, except perhaps "You can kiss my ass", which is easily imagined as a term of endearment back in old Babylon. What really bad words and expressions will survive the nicification onslaught? And what unnecessary good words could be put to better use as insults?
posted by MiguelCardoso on May 8, 2003 - 54 comments

Words fail me.

"Bling Bling" has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. To be classified as a noun, pronounced "B to the Izz-L...."
posted by XQUZYPHYR on May 1, 2003 - 27 comments

When you eat grapes, don't spit the grape skins out.

Explore a Chinese Language. The Ting Chinese English Center is a database of tools to learn Mandarin or English, and it's fun to boot. Don't miss the tongue twisters, and try to guess how to pronounce the color before clicking on the sound file.
posted by frykitty on Apr 30, 2003 - 11 comments

K is for Kookie. And Kompressor.

Just in: Jakob Nielsen Declares the Letter “C” Unusable.
posted by Su on Apr 29, 2003 - 28 comments

Learn English.

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

Where White-Collar Jobs Are Going

Elocution lessons are helping staff working at call centres in India neutralise their accents and make their sales pitch more effective
call-center workers, computer programmers, these and other positions are being transferred to countries like India. We all know why. Only one reason, they call it Tight labor markets.

This is great news for India, but what exactly will the current call-center workers, programmers and other white collar workers in US do if their jobs will be gone to India ?
Are you worried that your position will one day be replaced by someone on the other side of the world working for 1/3 of your salary ?
posted by bureaustyle on Apr 15, 2003 - 43 comments

Foreigners' common pronunciation mistakes in Eenglish

Ough!* I pronounce the English language unpronounceable: Arriba! Arriba! Arriba! Speedy Gonzales here. When will you make up your minds and stop making fun of pestering us poor foreigners? I mean, it's not as if you yourselves can agree on how to pronounce almost anything... [*As in "plough". Not as in through, , thought, thorough, thought, hiccough, lough or enough already!]
posted by Carlos Quevedo on Apr 11, 2003 - 84 comments

Separated By A Common Language And All That Jazz

Do Most Of You Yanks Really Understand What The Brits Here Are On About? Although the cultural mistranslations are probably more a question of tone and habits of irony and understatement, Jeremy Smith's online American·British British·American Dictionary, to be published next September, might be of some assistance. Although I still prefer Terry Gliedt's older but pithier United Kingdom English For The American Novice and even Scotsman Chris Rae's English-to-American Dictionary. Here's a little BBC quiz to test your skills. It seems that Canadians, Australians and [another cute quiz coming up!] New Zealanders are the only Metafilterians to completely capture all the varieties of English usage here. Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that non-U.S. users know much, much less about England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand et caetera than vice-versa? Does anyone else get the occasional feeling we're not exactly speaking the same language here?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Apr 5, 2003 - 66 comments

kichi kichi!

Japanese Sound Effects and what they mean. Spotted on Gen Kanai's blog: this rather comprehensive list of sound-effect words from manga - the Japanese equivalent of BAM! WAP!, OOF! (and possibly even D'OH!), but covering a wider range of social and emotional terrain. Lest you surmise that these are more or less arbitrary, I "tested" ten or so on my fiancee and found that she knew every single one. Aaaa!
posted by adamgreenfield on Apr 3, 2003 - 12 comments

Pronouncing words

Qatar Home of Central Command and Al Jazzera television, it's a small oil-rich country we've all heard of, and that's the problem: I hear Qatar called Cutter, Gutter, Katar, and Kwatar. How do the Qataris' pronounce it; is it possible to accurately pronounce foreign words in English? Who decides? More inside...
posted by Mack Twain on Mar 29, 2003 - 32 comments

Orwell on political language

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

Words are to be likely casualties of the next few hours/days/weeks/months - time to double-check George Orwell's informative field medicine manual for the English Language...
posted by klaatu on Mar 20, 2003 - 6 comments

Pain In The English

Picky, picky, picky. What a great place to quibble over the fine points of English usage, such as where commas go, or the proper way to use the phrase "a lot of". Focus all that pre-war nervous energy into refining your speech and writing, maybe?
posted by majcher on Mar 17, 2003 - 27 comments

New OED Words

Dungeons and Dragons, bigorexia, arse-licker, bass-ackward... The online OED (Oxford English Dictionary) quarterly adds a host of new words to the canon of what has become the standard dictionary of the english language(s). Some of the new and spicey words are: arsehole, arseholed, arse-lick,arse-licker, ass-backward, ass-backwards, bass-ackward, bass-ackwards, dragon lady, Dungeons and Dragons, telenovela, and transgenderist!! Thank the gods of language for these new words! So what is you favorite new word and why?
posted by mfoight on Mar 17, 2003 - 26 comments

Tracking language evolution through Internet

Hot, or Not? (via Corante)
posted by anathema on Mar 7, 2003 - 6 comments

What's really being said?

Reverse Speech. Seems like a load of hooey to me, but there are some pretty freaky things being said when you listen to it backwards. (via iconomy's wonderful web site)
posted by ashbury on Feb 18, 2003 - 20 comments

Pancake jokes are very 'deck'.

So this is what is means to be hip. (NY TIMES link)
What ''The Preppie Handbook'' did for whale belts and synonyms for vomiting, ''The Hipster Handbook'' accomplishes for this generation's stylistic and linguistic signs and signifiers."
According to the book, "deck" means "cool", "tassel" is a girl, "bust a moby" means to dance, and a "frado" is an ugly guy who thinks he is good looking. Being a member of said generation myself, I can honestly say that I have never ever heard anyone speak this way. Maybe I'm just too "ishtar". Do you think the Hipster Handbook captures today's, um, deck kids accurately? What would your Hipster Handbook include?
posted by 4easypayments on Feb 13, 2003 - 53 comments

au-au-au kee-kee-keh ee-aw nano-nano-nah ssst and more fun sounds

bzzzpeek - a fun site with kids from around the world imitating animals and vehicles in an exercise of onomatopoeia. Similar to a post last year, this version adds sounds from native speakers and some cute visuals, making for a neat toy. MeFi moms & dads take note - submissions from kids age 2 to 7 are invited. flash and sound alert!
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 9, 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

Brion Gysin

Brion Gysin - He played a powerful role in the work of William Burroughs, he sought to destroy language, and he may have killed Kurt Cobain, so why doesn't anybody know who he is?
posted by cachilders on Feb 3, 2003 - 9 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

We're So 'Meta'

I'm mo' "meta" than you! This USA Today puff piece is claiming that "meta" is the new "cool." What are your thoughts on this? Do any of you use "meta" in conversation or writing without a noun following it? (when you're not referring to the abbreviation for MetaTalk, obviously...)
posted by popvulture on Jan 28, 2003 - 64 comments

I slap my balls against it!

The English have landed! In the spirit of international confederation, Nerve.com offers this all too brief list of common curses, epithets, and scandalous phrases, along with their French counterpart, and more interestingly, a transliteration of the French so one can better understand the Idiom.
posted by jonson on Jan 23, 2003 - 15 comments

Words of the Year 2002 Awards

Words of the Year 2002 Awards American Dialect Society Word of the Year : "WMD - weapons of mass destruction". Most Unnecessary: "wombanization" . Most Outrageous: "neuticles" . Most Useful (by unanimous decision): "google".....1991 Word of the Year: "mother of all."
posted by Voyageman on Jan 20, 2003 - 33 comments

A Menagerie of Animals

Oxford's guide to collective terms for animals is a useful and fascinating although all-too-brief resource. Collective terms for birds are some of my favourites: an unkindness of ravens; a murmuration of starlings; a richness of martens. Bees and sheep seem to have a lot of collective terms. I can't imagine why. Altogether, though, I found one of the terms for for ferrets to be the pick of the bunch.
posted by nthdegx on Jan 13, 2003 - 34 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

Solresol: The universal musical language.

solresol: the universal musical language. There are many artificial or planned languages. Some were created with the hope of universal communication, while others were nearly accidental creations that went from fiction to fact. Solresol remains, to me, one of the most interesting planned languages of all. It contains only the seven signs of the musical scale and isn't spoken as much as it is hummed, sang, whistled or played on an instrument. Once totally obscure, Solresol is making a quiet comeback.
posted by elwoodwiles on Dec 11, 2002 - 32 comments

American slangorama

Not sure if someone wants to beat you, or is asking for a date? Literal vreakdowns of American slang, including explanations of expressions found in movies and pop music. Don't miss the the literally Boschian body-parts slang or the insults, including the classic "I hate you, and if a horse had brought you here, I'd hate it just as much, if not more."
posted by blissbat on Dec 8, 2002 - 25 comments

Violent metaphors

Caution: Violent metaphors can blow up in your face. This one (see paragraph two)—which I discovered a day or so before the D.C. snipers were apprehended—struck me at the time as a particularly unfortunate demonstration as to why, especially considering this ad agency is based just outside Washington. George Lakoff, an undisputed Heavyweight Metaphorician of the World, turns the tables and uses human metaphors rather neatly to think about 9/11. And apparently, there are workshops that teach how to make nonviolent metaphors more vivid and, the logic goes, make violence less attractive. So, the explosive question: does hostile language encourage conflict or reflect it? Peace out.
posted by micropublishery on Nov 30, 2002 - 10 comments

A warning shot in the dark.

A warning shot in the dark: For connoisseurs of clever turns of phrase: The phrase "a warning shot in the dark" popped out at me from a Google News preview panel as being a mixed metaphor. Indeed, a Google search reveals that the phrase has never before been used on the entire Web, which is rather amazing. Delving into the story, it appears by paragraph three that the mixed metaphors are appropriate, in this case.
posted by beagle on Nov 27, 2002 - 35 comments

Vaudeville Slag: No Applesauce!

Vaudeville Slang. A boffo glossary of the language of American Vaudeville. Visit the main site for tons of links to famous performers and theatres. For more hokum, you can visit here to watch and hear some actual Vaudeville acts. No applesauce!
posted by Joey Michaels on Nov 21, 2002 - 5 comments

Sa k a prifé?

Sa k a prifé? With lists of Louisianan Creole grammar and vocabulary and a few real audio files, you'll be navigating your pirogue through the swamps in no time, or, at least, ordering correctly at your favorite Cajun restaurant.
posted by Katemonkey on Nov 15, 2002 - 9 comments

100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans.

100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans. While researching the Middle East conflict, I happened upon this journalist's guide from the Detroit Free Press containing background on Arab-American culture, language, and religion. Many of the questions are simplistic (some might even say moronic) and the answers obvious, but I found I learned a thing or two.
posted by VelvetHellvis on Nov 12, 2002 - 21 comments

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