The Other Redskins.
62 US high schools in 22 states currently use the name "Redskins" for one of their sports teams. 28 high schools in 18 states have dropped the mascot over the last 25 years. As public pressure
continues to intensify
on the Washington Redskins
football team to change their name -- one many consider a racial slur
that disparages Native Americans -- similar debates are being waged in towns across the country about their local high school teams.
posted by zarq
on Jul 2, 2013 -
Many languages have "high" and "low" layers of vocabulary. But in most other languages, the two sets are drawn from the same source. By contrast, contact between Old English and French, Dravidian languages and Sanskrit, Japanese and Chinese, Persian and Arabic, and other pairings around the world have created fascinatingly hybrid languages. These mixed lexicons are, for linguistic and social historians, akin to the layers of fossils that teach paleontologists and archaeologists so much about eras gone by.
Some people even think English is descended from Latin, or Kannada from Sanskrit. That’s frustrating not only because it’s wrong, but also because the reality is far more interesting.
- The Economist, Unlikely parallels
posted by beisny
on May 15, 2013 -
"The internationalized art world relies on a unique language. Its purest articulation is found in the digital press release. This language has everything to do with English, but it is emphatically not English. It is largely an export of the Anglophone world and can thank the global dominance of English for its current reach. But what really matters for this language—what ultimately makes it a language—is the pointed distance from English that it has always cultivated. " - Triple Canopy magazine on why do artists' statments and press releases sound so utterly odd and confusing.
posted by The Whelk
on Apr 26, 2013 -
The Language Council of Sweden
has been the semi-official arbiter of the Swedish language since World War II. It monitors "the development of spoken and written Swedish" and publishes a list of new words each year to ensure consistency of spelling and make sure that Swedish is a "complete language, i.e. [is] possible to use in all areas of society." This year, for the first time, the Council has taken a word off the list
, which literally meant "ungoogleable" but was defined as "a thing or person that does not produce relevant results when typed into a search engine." [more inside]
posted by Etrigan
on Mar 26, 2013 -
advances UC Berkeley’s mission to make sense of big data and to use new technology to document and maintain endangered languages as critical resources for preserving cultures and knowledge. [...] it can also provide clues to how languages might change years from now."
posted by batmonkey
on Feb 11, 2013 -
"Almost a decade since the end of the hit American TV series Friends
, the show — and, in particular, the fictitious Central Perk cafe, where much of the action took place — is enjoying an afterlife in China's capital, Beijing
. Here, the show that chronicled the exploits of New York City pals Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey is almost seen as a lifestyle guide."
posted by vidur
on Jan 23, 2013 -
The Whole Nine Yards: Seeking a Phrase’s Origin
When people talk about “the whole nine yards,” just what are they talking about? For decades the answer to that question has been the Bigfoot of word origins...But now two researchers using high-powered database search tools have delivered a confident “none of the above,” supported by a surprise twist:
Before we were going the whole nine yards, it turns out, we were only going six.
posted by anazgnos
on Jan 15, 2013 -
I grew up in Minnesota, home of a particular passive-aggressive communication style which is summed up nicely by this chart and subsequent comments
. Of particular import is the difference between "that's different" and "that's sure different" (though there isn't mention of "that's real different," which I think means just about the same thing) and examples of Minnesota Enthusiastic Neutral.
Also worth noting is the classic book by sometime A Prairie Home Companion regular Howard Mohr, How to Talk Minnesotan
. [more inside]
posted by larrybob
on Jan 13, 2013 -
New letter and word frequency counts
Peter Norvig has used Google books data to generate new lists of letter frequency, the most common English words and their frequencies, and lots of other fun stuff (though I don't know if forschungsgemeinschaft
is really an English word, unless it means forcing a mine shaft). [more inside]
posted by hexatron
on Jan 7, 2013 -
21 emotions English has no word for
. Some things "light us up". Some things "leave us cold". Such dim metaphors only hint at the unspoken universe of feeling, dimensions we can only guess that we share. A new infographic explores "untranslatable" feeling-words from other languages.
posted by Twang
on Jan 6, 2013 -
, the city states of the Malay Peninsula
often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China
. Closer relations with China were established in the early
15th century during the reign of Parameswara
, founder of Melaka, when Admiral
Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed through the Straits of Malacca
. Impressed by the tribute
, the Yongle Emperor
of China is said to have
presented Princess Hang Li Po*
as a gift to Mansur Shah, then Sultan
(+/-1459 AD). Tradition claims
the courtiers and servants who accompanied
the princess settled in Bukit Cina
, intermarried with the
locals and grew into a community
known as the Peranakan
. Colloquially known as Baba-Nyonya, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese
, they retained many of
their ethnic and religious
customs, but assimilated
the language and clothing
of the Malays
. They developed
a unique culture
and distinct foods
. Nyonya cuisine
is one of the most
highly rated in the South East Asian region, considered
some of the most difficult
to master but very easy
posted by infini
on Dec 24, 2012 -