948 posts tagged with language.
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It makes you sound weak!

"More than 38 million American women have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Many of these women develop coping mechanisms to placate their abusers and protect themselves." How about we stop policing women's language?
posted by xarnop on May 26, 2016 - 58 comments

Let's not talk about color vs. colour

Lynne Murphy's blog is 'Separated By A Common Language'. It turns out being polite is different in the UK and the US and there are specific differences in the way each culture (and subcultures thereto) use please. [more inside]
posted by bq on May 23, 2016 - 131 comments

“of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings”

Kafkaesque: A Word So Overused It Has Lost All Meaning? by Alison Flood [The Guardian] On Monday night, Han Kang’s strange, disturbing, brilliant novel The Vegetarian won the Man Booker International prize. Shortly afterwards, dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster announced that searches for the word “Kafkaesque” had “spiked dramatically” in the wake of her win, because the novel “has been described by its British publishers (and by a number of reviewers) as Kafkaesque”.
posted by Fizz on May 19, 2016 - 37 comments

The Black Conversation Was Really About Something Much Bigger

Larry Wilmore's ending comment to the President of the United States at the White House Correspondents' Dinner has sparked a lot of conversation. Rembert Browne explores and explains some of the implications and reactions. [more inside]
posted by Deoridhe on May 10, 2016 - 32 comments

May Ten is Mad Ape Den Day!

It's May Ten, the day of Mad Ape Den: a fun way to gab on the Web (and off the Web, too, if you can). The one law of Mad Ape Den: "Say it in an abc-set of one, two, or one-and-two, or do not say it at all." You can see a vid or two of a Mad Ape Den ode (YT URL set). Mad Ape Den is not as big now as it was in the era of the Web of old, but now, on Mad Ape Den day, we can aim to not let it die. (Ere now.) [more inside]
posted by NMcCoy on May 10, 2016 - 89 comments

The Racist History of the Word Caucasian

(Great video + summarizing text) In America, white people are referred to as Caucasians, but outside the U.S. the term refers to people from the Caucasus region, which includes the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia, and Turkey. So why do Americans refer to people of European ancestry as Caucasians? In the video above, Franchesca Ramsey from MTV’s Decoded takes a look at the word’s history and it’s really racist. [more inside]
posted by Salamandrous on May 3, 2016 - 27 comments

EXEMPLARIS DÍGNITAS ("The Dealio")

This excerpt from the Lexicon Recentis Latinitas contains Vatican-approved Latin translations for 600 (comparatively) modern concepts. For example, the Latin term for "jazz" is iazensis música. "Laser" is instrumentum laséricum, "Scotch" is víschium Scóticum, "mini golf" is pilamálleus minūtus, and "blue jeans" are bracae línteae caerúleae. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on May 2, 2016 - 26 comments

Suvlu'taHvIS yapbe' HoS neH

Axanar is a planned feature film set within the Star Trek universe, following on the short film Prelude to Axanar. Paramount and CBS sued the film’s producers, alleging that the fan film infringes on the studios’ copyrights in Star Trek. Yesterday, the Language Creation Society filed an amicus brief (.pdf), written by Mark Randazza, in Paramount v. Axanar, to oppose Paramount’s claim of owning a copyright in the Klingon language.
posted by T.D. Strange on Apr 28, 2016 - 35 comments

Guess who doesn't care that humans are researching this?

These Linguists Want to Help You Speak Fluent Cat [more inside]
posted by wonton endangerment on Apr 27, 2016 - 76 comments

“The idea of murder is represented a lot in the brain"

Using brain imaging, scientists have built a map displaying how words and their meanings are represented across different regions of the brain. (Guardian)
posted by Johnny Wallflower on Apr 27, 2016 - 11 comments

A Surfeit of Sandboxes

You may be familiar with JSFiddle and CodePen, but there are similar tools for a variety of languages, some more practical than others. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Apr 13, 2016 - 22 comments

😬 or 😀?

Take a look at: 😁. On many browsers, and on Android phones, this looks like a grinning face with smiling eyes (the official label), while on an iOS device, this looks like a painful grimace. A study shows that these differences can lead to difficulties interpreting emotions across platforms (and even within platforms there is a lot of variation)! With linguists arguing over whether emoji can evolve into a language, and with their own distinct grammar, these differences in interpretation can matter. Either way, the real-time tracker lets you see what emoji are being tweeted [prev], and fivethirtyeight sums up the 100 most popular.
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 11, 2016 - 88 comments

"Your by no means displeasing letter has arrived."

In Erasmus' De Copia, "students learned how to vary a given idea in manifold ways by putting it into different forms and figures (developing copia, or abundance, of words and expressions). [...] Erasmus provided extended examples of copia in his text, the most famous of which includes several hundred variations upon the same, initially insipid sentence, 'Your letter pleased me greatly.'" [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Apr 8, 2016 - 30 comments

The Not Face

Ohio State University researchers have identified a facial expression that is interpreted across several languages and cultures as negative, combining anger, disgust and contempt. It combines a furrowed brow, pressed lips and raised chin. In American Sign Language, it can even be used in place of a sign or gesture for "not."
posted by larrybob on Mar 28, 2016 - 51 comments

نَظري

Fiction v nonfiction – English literature's made-up divide
posted by beerperson on Mar 27, 2016 - 71 comments

Beyond the languages I claim as my own

Jalada, a pan-African writer's collective, has just published their first Translation issue. Thirty three writers from across fourteen African countries came together to create this work of art, an entire issue showcasing a previously unpublished story by Ngugi wa Thiong’o. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 22, 2016 - 7 comments

More bunny than badass

The Story of the Umlaut.
posted by Miko on Mar 8, 2016 - 12 comments

Ask and it will be given to yinz; seek and yinz will find

Y'All Version: Now you can read the Bible using the English second person plural of your choice! Options include Southern (y'all), Western (you guys), NYC/Chicago (youse guys), and Pittsburgh (yinz).
posted by Cash4Lead on Mar 4, 2016 - 21 comments

Nothing ſucceeds like long s

This Chrome extenſion replaces the unſightly "terminal" or "ſhort" s with the elegant "long" ſ according to the rules of ſtandard uſage. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Mar 3, 2016 - 37 comments

Zipf''s Law

Vsauce's take on Zipf's Law (SLVS). With some useful links in the video description. [more inside]
posted by carter on Feb 28, 2016 - 9 comments

Cumulative and Compounding Opportunity Costs

How do you quantify the effects of things that don't happen to you? "The whole point of living in a culture is that much of the labor of perception and judgment is done for you, spread through media, and absorbed through an imperceptible process that has no single author." (previously; via)
posted by kliuless on Feb 27, 2016 - 2 comments

Brush your teeth, do your homework, and speak Finnish.

Learn everything you need to know about Finnishthe secret language of Finland—with Kirikou. Jump wantonly, and learn the magic of verbal derivational suffixes. Kiitos! Anteeksi.
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 16, 2016 - 46 comments

The McGurk Effect

HaggardHawks demonstrates the McGurk Effect [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Feb 15, 2016 - 17 comments

Positive Lexicography

Dr. Tim Lomas is creating a positive cross-cultural lexicography: an evolving index of expressions from many languages for positive emotional states and concepts pertaining to well-being. Most do not have immediate English equivalents. View by Alphabet, Language or Theme. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 29, 2016 - 21 comments

Spreadsheets for Developers

Thinking about learning a new programming language? How about a functional language with support for test-driven development and a snazzy visual interface, already deployed on millions of computers around the world? I'm speaking, of course, about Excel. In a 2014 Strange Loop talk, Felienne discusses the virtues of the Excel programming language (which is Turing complete, if you were wondering).
posted by jedicus on Jan 26, 2016 - 73 comments

The language is completely case insensitive

Code with TrumpScript, and make programming great again.
posted by Gin and Broadband on Jan 19, 2016 - 43 comments

Early Modern English

Shakespeare: Original pronunciation. What Shakespeare Sounded Like to Shakespeare.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 18, 2016 - 40 comments

“But not everyone prefers to hyphenate...”

Why Does Moby-Dick (Sometimes) Have a Hyphen? [The Smithsonian]
When the book was published in England, it bore that straightforward title. In a historical note to a scholarly edition of the book, Melville scholar G. Thomas Tanselle writes that Melville’s brother, Allan, made a last-minute change to the title of the American edition. “[Melville] has determined upon a new title,” his brother wrote. “It is thought here that the new title will be a better selling title…Moby-Dick is a legitimate title for the book.” The American edition went to press, hyphen intact, despite the fact that the whale within was only referred to with a hyphen one time. Hyphenated titles would have been familiar to Victorian-era readers, who were used to “fairy-tales” and “year-books.” Even Melville enjoyed a good hyphen now and then, as the title of his book White-Jacket proves. But it’s still unclear whether Melville, who didn’t use a hyphen inside the book, chose a hyphen for the book’s title or whether his brother punctuated the title incorrectly.
posted by Fizz on Jan 16, 2016 - 46 comments

A matter of tone

The Tone Analyzer uses linguistic analysis to detect emotional tones, social propensities, and writing styles in written communication. Then it offers suggestions to help the writer improve their intended language tones.
posted by Gyan on Jan 16, 2016 - 22 comments

Good is to MetaFilter as evil is to LOLCats

A web tool (scroll down) built by Radim Řehůřek allows you to compute analogies between English words using Google's word2vec semantic representation, trained on 100 billion words of Google News. "He" is to "Linda" as "she" is to "Steve." "Wisconsin" is to "Milwaukee" as "Maryland" is to "Baltimore." "Good" is to "MetaFilter" as "evil" is to "LOLCats." [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jan 3, 2016 - 30 comments

The history of lesbian slang--or the absence thereof

Last week, the BBC radio programme Woman’s Hour ran an item on the American documentary film "Do I Sound Gay?" The film explores what’s popularly known as ‘the gay voice’, a way of speaking that identifies a man as gay (though not all gay men have it, and some men who do sound gay are actually straight). The Woman’s Hour feature ranged more widely over the subject of gay language, including a lengthy discussion of Polari (previously: 1, 2). But it was all about the boys–-until, towards the end of the item, the presenter broached the inevitable question: do lesbians also have a language of their own? Nothing comparable to Polari--but we do have some historical evidence of in-group lesbian slang.
posted by sciatrix on Dec 15, 2015 - 15 comments

Internet quizzes are to Metafilter as...

Are you smarter than an 8th grader?
posted by jacquilynne on Dec 5, 2015 - 110 comments

How corporations profit from black teens' viral content

The originator of "on fleek" was a 16-year-old girl from South Chicago. "Cool hunting" by advertisers has long captured and resold content from black youth in urban communities. But the rise of social media have made the process significantly faster, and the capitalization on trends far richer. Yet the youth who create dance styles and new language are rarely compensated for their cultural work. And the shape of copyright law is partly to blame. [more inside]
posted by gusandrews on Dec 5, 2015 - 21 comments

Polly-glots

Hundreds of languages are spoken in Nigeria - so which one do you teach a parrot?
posted by ChuraChura on Dec 2, 2015 - 22 comments

The IKEA Dictionary

The IKEA dictionary explains the origin of over 1200 IKEA product names.
posted by jedicus on Nov 28, 2015 - 49 comments

So what’s your solution?

Professor of Mathematics Izabella Laba's "A Response to … " Scott Aaronson's "Words Will Do". An exchange between a mathematician and a computer scientist, on the use of terms including: privilege, hegemony, false consciousness, mansplaining, etc., and the general problem of clear communication, when the social sciences are applied towards political causes. [more inside]
posted by polymodus on Nov 21, 2015 - 111 comments

Dominicans speak only one word. And it is all of the words.

Joanna rants: Types of Spanish Accents [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Nov 16, 2015 - 44 comments

English is not normal

English is not normal. "No, English isn’t uniquely vibrant or mighty or adaptable. But it really is weirder than pretty much every other language." (Aeon via Longform).
posted by pravit on Nov 15, 2015 - 103 comments

Kink left severity 4

Looking for a new esoteric language to learn? Try rally notes. Learn the symbols or study these sample rally notes. Not esoteric enough? Try the Jemba Inertia Notes System. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Nov 14, 2015 - 10 comments

A place where our language lives

A short film: The winter stories of the Ojibwe are vital narratives that offer a historical and moral guide for understanding the environment and our people’s place within it. One of these stories tells of the first maple sugar gathering. A tree offered its life-force (sap) for use by the people to help keep them alive through a difficult winter when many were starving to death. This tree asked to be cared for in return and to be thanked properly for this gift. Each spring the students at Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Immersion School open the school sugar bush with a retelling of this story and an opening feast of thanks.
posted by rtha on Nov 9, 2015 - 6 comments

Translating gender: Ancillary Justice in Five Languages

In Ann Leckie’s novel Ancillary Justice (Orbit Books: 2013), the imperial Radch rules over much of human-inhabited space. Its culture – and its language – does not identify people on the basis of their gender: it is irrelevant to them. In the novel, written in English, Leckie represents this linguistic reality by using the female pronoun ‘she’ throughout, regardless of any information supplied about a Radchaai (and, often, a non-Radchaai) person’s perceived gender. This pronoun choice has two effects. Firstly, it successfully erases grammatical difference in the novel and makes moot the question of the characters’ genders. But secondly, it exists in a context of continuing discussions around the gendering of science fiction, the place of men and women and people of other genders within the genre, as characters in fiction and as professional/fans, and beyond the pages of the book it is profoundly political. It is a female pronoun. When translating Ancillary Justice into other languages, the relationship between those two effects is vital to the work.
posted by sciatrix on Nov 8, 2015 - 95 comments

Recurrent neural network for generating stories about images

This experiment explores how to generate little romantic stories about images, using neural-storyteller, a recently published experiment by Ryan Kiros.
posted by signal on Nov 6, 2015 - 10 comments

"I don't know what that is." "You know... Gabagool."

How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained.
posted by bondcliff on Nov 6, 2015 - 105 comments

Rejecting the gender binary: a vector-space operation

“Word Embedding Models let us take a stab formalizing an interesting counterfactual question: what would the networks of meaning in language look like if patterns that map onto gender did not exist?” [more inside]
posted by Rangi on Nov 1, 2015 - 17 comments

Argots and Ludlings

"Though there appears to be no definitive research on gender and gibberish, it became clear to me that girls are drawn to gibberish and the dozens of other secret languages and language games, also called argots and ludlings, because using them builds social bonds." Jessica Weiss, "The Secret Linguistic Life of Girls: Why Girls Speak Gibberish." [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Oct 25, 2015 - 58 comments

Digital poetry - Leaving the ivory tower

The challenge: if people would only know, hear, and see what poets did, then at least some of them would realize too how cool literature can actually be. - Three projects which engage in popularizing, mediating, and digitally archiving contemporary Hungarian poetry. [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog on Oct 25, 2015 - 0 comments

“This was a brilliant innovation,”

Unfinished story… [The Guardian] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 23, 2015 - 4 comments

Totally Texas

On behalf of the MeFites of Norway: It has come to our attention that somebody has let slip that "totally Texas" (in Norwegian "helt texas") is used as an expression to convey that some event is crazy or totally out of control. After decades, the Americans now know. An investigation into the leak will be made. Thank you.
posted by Harald74 on Oct 22, 2015 - 132 comments

💻💬

There are at least three emoji-based programming languages: 🍀 (aka 4Lang; bubblesort example), Emojinal, and HeartForth (stack-based, for extra obscurity; factorial example). [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Oct 15, 2015 - 29 comments

"I'm sorry, Mikhail, if I could? Didn't mean to cut you off there."

...or, how a woman would have to ask Gorbachev to tear down this wall.
posted by nightrecordings on Oct 15, 2015 - 37 comments

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