is what we say, but the french seem to have a different way of asking the same question.
posted by semper
on Oct 10, 2001 -
"Language Gene" found...
(link to arstechnica
"A group of Oxford University researchers presented findings in this week's Nature that they isolated a gene called FOXP2 that appears to be involved in both speech and language development." this is intriguing... that so much can start from so little.
posted by zerolucid
on Oct 5, 2001 -
Ever wanted to learn Japanese?
"The bottom line is that Politeness Levels are completely beyond your understanding, so don't even try. Just resign yourself to talking like a little girl for the rest of your life and hope to God that no one beats you up."
posted by skallas
on Sep 20, 2001 -
A Little Light Relief - and Brush Up Your English While You're At It.
In the spirit of poking fun at one's own flesh and blood - and respecting all those who aren't - I offer the most appalling tribute to Shakespeare's and Emerson's language since time itself began.
I give you, ladies and gentlemen, the great Portuguese scholar Pedro Carolino, whose "English As She Is Spoke" Mark Twain considered to be the funniest book ever written.
Start with "Familiar Dialogues 1" and, if you've still been able to keep a straight face, try "Idiotisms and Proverbs" for the full effect...
(Thanks to Ganz's Humor Page)
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Sep 20, 2001 -
Recently on sale in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, was "Very Strange Crisp," a type of lollipop.
If you haven't yet discovered Nury Vittachi's "Traveller's Tales"
in the Far East Economic Review, check him out right now. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed. Absolute funniest man I have ever read this side of the International Date Line.
posted by brownpau
on Sep 7, 2001 -
The war of words over Israel
continued this week as CNN instructed its journalists to refer to "settlements" as "Jewish neighborhoods." Last month the BBC agreed to stop using the term "assassination" in favor of "targeted killings."
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Sep 4, 2001 -
The Bush Dyslexicon Ever since the presidential campaign, George W. Bush's adventures in the English language have alternately amused and horrified the nation. But according to media scholar Mark Crispin Miller's scathing new book, The Bush Dyslexicon, to conclude merely that Bush is dimwitted would be a grave mistake. The President's linguistic fumbles, argues Miller, mask a deep and shrewd political vindictiveness; at the same time, the shallowness revealed in Bush's unscripted remarks has been largely ignored or coddled by a national media more interested in soundbites than in political substance.
I don't know what is more frightening: that this guy is right, and we have much more to fear about Bush, Jr. than we thought...or that he is wrong, and we do indeed live in a land whose president is an imbecile.
posted by mapalm
on Jul 31, 2001 -
Emoticons creep closer to being officially considered writing
You have to scroll down a ways ... I don't mean to sound elitist. I believe language is a living thing, and can grow and change and grow up to be a ballerina, if it wants to, even if that seems like an innocent child's dream right now, and is not to be taken seriously really. Seriously though, don't you have a kind of sick feeling that a version of the OED is giving recognition to the idea that punctuation and numerals are making entry into language?
posted by rschram
on Jul 13, 2001 -
You Stupid #@$!
In England, children are learning how to swear. What the #@%&? Aren't they learning enough of this #@&! on the street? I believe that the standards for streets smarts have really slipped over the years. Children should be learning their four letter words at the same place they learn about sex, on the street!
posted by aj100
on Jul 2, 2001 -
From its origins
Stalinist rhetoric in the 30's, to ironic Left-wing jibe in the 70's, to
Iconoclastic taunt in the 80's, to the Conservative pejorative of today, has the
had its day? It's probably just me but it seems to be used
far more frequently by people who are in positions of power or by those more in
tune with society's mainstream orthodoxy
than by those who aren't. Of
course, no one ever calls themselves
politically correct. What do you
think, what does the p.c. term mean to you?
posted by lagado
on Jun 18, 2001 -
Have you ever wanted to know what hip-hopsters meant when they say things like "gettin' giggy with it," or "man, that's off the skillet"? Well now you can.
Behold: the definitive Hip-Hop dictionary!
posted by mrjoy
on Apr 4, 2001 -
Lost in Translation
TRANSLATION: This extension of the pagination the great energy of the translation
of the confusion of Alta Vista.
ORIGINAL TEXT: This page demonstrates the great translating power of altavista's babel.
posted by howa2396
on Mar 15, 2001 -
15 of the 18
sentences beginning with the word "Well" in this transcript mark a speaker responding to a question or taking his/her turn. I'm sick of it.
posted by Mo Nickels
on Feb 23, 2001 -
Welcome back, state's rights.
As if Dubya's comments following his "ethnic" Cabinet appointments wasn't enough retrograde logic -- roughly: if blacks and hispanics (would only?) work hard and make the right choices in life -- he's now using language that has been used to mask agendas based on race from before the Civil War
through the fight against integration
. And it looks like that fight ain't over
, if you read "states rights" in today's context to mean the right to spend public funds on getting (primarily) white kids out of (primarily) black schools.
posted by subpixel
on Jan 6, 2001 -
Not Dubbing the Simpsons
The Office de la langue française and others are up in arms (ils capotent
) about anglicisms in Internet discourse. Business 2.0 talked about it
. Branchez-Vous writes a short, cutting article
, giving those who pepper their French with English enough rope to hang themselves. («Dans la catégorie "Un
mot français, un mot anglais et hop!," le prix revient à Rational Software France, the e-development company, qui a annoncé la nomination d'André Arich au poste de Partner Manager pour sa filiale française, ainsi que le lancement en France du programme de partenariat Rational Unified Partner Program (RUPP).
») ¶ Strangely, French has a nicer word for E-mail than English does: courriel
is the OLF
's official bilingual tech dictionary.)
posted by joeclark
on Jan 5, 2001 -
of the Legend Bagger Vance written in the Mad Ape Den
dialect. What is Mad Ape Den
, you ask? It is a dialect which spurns all words with more than three letters. After all, "If you can not say it in one or in two (or in one and two) why say it at all?"
posted by pixelpony
on Dec 8, 2000 -
The Meatball Ad
is mostly being run in California by the Buchanan Campaign
. Today was the first time I saw it running in New York. I have not seen any of the other presidential candidates are running any TV ads here. The ad shows a man passing out while waiting for the 911 voice choice menu after choking from eating a meatball as the TV news in the background declares that English is no longer America's official language. (The link is to a quicktime file.)
posted by tamim
on Oct 27, 2000 -
I challenge you to help me learn Tok Pisin
Mi laik i harim Tok Pisin. Olgeta manmeri i tokim long Tok Pisin long Papua Niugini. Mi laik i lukim na stap long PNG!
That was some poor Tok Pisin. Tok Pisin is a Melanesia pidgin language extensively used in Papua New Guinea. Help me learn more! Post links for Tok Pisin language learning here!
posted by rschram
on Oct 24, 2000 -
October Coffee Crisis.
Montreal Gazette: "In its communiques, the BAF warned that Second Cup franchises were to be 'in the line of fire' and warned of an escalation of violent acts if Second Cup and other chains insist on keeping their trademark English names." More Trudeau nostalgia?
posted by todd
on Oct 12, 2000 -
University of Texas at Dallas "Words and Phrases that Offend Students" (mostly blacks and women). So stunned, I don't know what to think of it.
posted by owillis
on Sep 25, 2000 -
"Moodwatch" now in Eudora 5.0
"Moodwatch" is, apparantly, something that "watches" for offensive language in your e-mail and then rates your mail accordingly.
According to Eudora, "MoodWatch can detect aggressive, demeaning or rude language in the email you send and receive by looking at both individual words and complete phrases."
I find this to be pretty disturbing. Okay, so right now it can't be used to censor, and right now it can be turned off. But suppose, at some point in the future, it can
be used to censor, it's on all the time, and your employer is monitoring the content of everyone's mail to ensure that no one's offending anyone else?
And who decided on the standard for offensiveness to begin with? If you look in their example, use of the phrase "what are you thinking?" was enough to get the highest "offensiveness" rating. What the fuck??!!
Oh, damn. There's those three chillis.
posted by metrocake
on Sep 12, 2000 -
For those missing J. Danforth Quayle, your best bet for continued hilarity in the executive branch of the US government would be to vote for George W. Bush. Although some of the quotes listed in this link are simply Shrub getting tongue-tied, others are truly fascinating. Apologies for linking to the evil Slate.
posted by norm
on Aug 25, 2000 -
reminds me of a quote, or, well, there are different version of this. "If dolphins are so smart, why don't they get a job?" Was it on Simpsons? or? Ohh well.
"Janik, a Scottish biologist now at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, said that the signaling pattern of the dolphins is similar to what experts believe happened when ancient human beings first began organized speech."
posted by tiaka
on Aug 25, 2000 -
is such a wonderful word; too bad English doesn't have any equivalent. If it's scrolled down, look for August 22 with headline G4e still stumbling, competition massing
. Critical quote inside.
posted by Steven Den Beste
on Aug 23, 2000 -
CatchPhrase BuzzWord of the NanoSecond
- issue terrain
i.e.: "The issue terrain favors us enormously." LOL! I can't stop laughing! issue terrain
! What? They have men sitting in little smokefilled rooms coming up with these things? "The political climate
is bad for Gore (brrr!), but how about his issue terrain
?" "Oh that's good! No one knows what that is yet cuz we haven't defined it, so naturally his issue terrain is good!" ROTFLMAO!
posted by ZachsMind
on Aug 14, 2000 -
Here is the last phrasebook
Americans will ever need when they go overseas. Packed with useful little snippets like:
I wish to complain.
Je veux porter plainte.
Don't "imperialist pig" me, my good man.
Fichez-moi la paix avec votre "cochon impérialiste", mon petit bonhomme.
¡Váyase usted al cuerno con su "cerdo imperialista", hombre!
How do I get Letterman?
Sur quelle chaîne je peux voir Letterman ?
¿En qué canal puedo ver Letterman?
posted by lagado
on Aug 3, 2000 -
Spelling Bee has a sting in the tail...
The highly influential Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
has abandoned the much-heralded German spelling reforms, arguing that the attempt to simplify and "democratise" the language has been a costly mistake. At the same time, though, the new Duden
is accused of including too many English words
such as "downloaden, Wellness and chatten, Backstage, Smiley and Trash", allegedly indebted to "advertisers and cyber geeks".Given that MeFi readers are, generally, from the two cultures separated by a common language, it's an interesting case study of state intervention gone wrong...
posted by holgate
on Aug 2, 2000 -
Well, I'm compleetly fed up with english speling for everything. Its so dammed inconsistant and ilogical, Ill never get the hang of it. Forchunately, now theres a way to express yourselfs using chinese-like english characters. It's called Yingzi
and now you can write english as quickly as you can write
posted by lagado
on Jul 23, 2000 -
The (hyper)active online thesaurus
This thesaurus is the best visual example of the vitality of language I've ever seen. As you click through the web of linked words, they just quiver and fly around as though they both want to be used now
and at the same time want to avoid being pinned down. I love this, especially the way the 3D effect leaves some words in the background, since they are only distantly related. But when you click on them they zoom to the top, along with a new constellation of associated words and concepts.
posted by elgoose
on Jul 4, 2000 -