Keyword: linguistics

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  • Cursing linked to higher intelligence

    11/18/2016 9:06:53 AM PST · by ExSoldier · 76 replies
    CBS Local Los Angeles ^ | 11/17/2016 | Jennifer Kastner
    Benjamin Bergen is the author of the book: “What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves.” “It turns out that there are amazing things you can find out about how the mind works, how the brain works, people’s human sociality just by looking at profanity,” he explained. The professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego said cursing could be linked to higher intelligence. “It turns out that on average, the ones who swear the most also have the biggest vocabulary overall,” Bergen added.
  • Meet the UC Berkeley Grad Who Created the Dothraki Language for 'Game of Thrones'

    05/17/2016 11:08:00 AM PDT · by nickcarraway · 20 replies
    NBC Bay Area ^ | 5/17 | Lisa Fernandez
    David Peterson has so far created 4,000 Dothraki words When the misogynistic, male Dothraki characters launch into curse-laden tirades on "Game of Thrones," viewers have a 35-year-old Southern California father and a University of California Berkeley graduate to thank for what they hear. David J. Peterson invented Dothraki, the language spoken by the crass race of nomadic horse warriors first described in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice," on which the HBO series is based. "It's a lot of fun," he said Tuesday, in his first, interactive Facetime Live interview. Especially coming up with the curse...
  • The Not-so-Nice Origins and Meanings of the Word "Nice"

    11/25/2015 7:02:50 AM PST · by Salvation · 28 replies
    Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 11-24-15 | Msgr. Charles Pope
    The Not-so-Nice Origins and Meanings of the Word "Nice" Msgr. Charles Pope • November 24, 2015 • Words can change meaning over time—sometimes dramatically. For example, "manufactured" originally meant "handmade" (manu (hand) + facere (make)). The word "decimate" used to mean "to reduce by a tenth" (decem = ten); now people usually use it mean "to wipe out completely." The list of examples could go on and on. Yes, words do change meaning over time.One word that has changed meaning dramatically over time is "nice." Today it is an overused word that usually means pleasant, kind, or easygoing. In our...
  • Why ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ Sound So Similar in So Many Languages: Linguistic Coincidence?

    10/16/2015 7:54:15 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 45 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | 10/16/2015 | JOHN MCWHORTER
    Is there anything inherently “doggy” about the word “dog”? Obviously not—to the French, a dog is a chien, to Russians a sobaka, to Mandarin Chinese-speakers a gǒu. These words have nothing in common, and none seem any more connected to the canine essence than any other. One runs up against that wall with pretty much any word.Except some. The word for “mother” seems often either to be mama or have a nasal sound similar to m, like nana. The word for “father” seems often either to be papa or have a sound similar to p, like b, in it—such that...
  • Sah-ry, eh? We’re in the midst of the Canadian Vowel Shift

    08/04/2015 10:51:55 AM PDT · by rickmichaels · 44 replies
    Maclean's ^ | August 1, 2015 | Meagan Campbell
    Out with “oot.” No more “aboot.” Canada is talking with a New Speak. In a linguistic pivot called the Canadian Vowel Shift, we are pronouncing “God” more like “gawd,” “bagel” like “bahgel,” “pillow” like “pellow,” and “sorry” less like “sore-y.” The word “Timbit” is becoming “Tembet,” and “Dan slipped on the staircase” now sounds more like “Don” “slept” on it. First discovered in 1995, the new vowels are contagious, spreading rapidly from Victoria to St. John’s, where linguists are mapping the frequency of people’s voices and using ultrasounds to track their tongue and lip placement. “We’re in the middle of...
  • How the English language became such a mess

    06/15/2015 1:44:50 AM PDT · by Cronos · 63 replies
    BBC ^ | 9 June 2015 | James Harbeck
    You may have seen a poem by Gerard Nolst Trinité called The Chaos. It starts like this:Dearest creature in creationStudying English pronunciation,I will teach you in my verseSounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.In its fullest version, the poem runs through about 800 of the most vexing spelling inconsistencies in English. Eight hundred.Attempting to spell in English is like playing one of those computer games where, no matter what, you will lose eventually. If some evil mage has performed vile magic on our tongue, he should be bunged into gaol for his nefarious goal (and if you still need convincing...
  • English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet

    11/19/2013 7:00:05 AM PST · by Borges · 53 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | NOV 19 2013 | MEGAN GARBER
    Let's start with the dull stuff, because pragmatism. The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself. I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. Because there...
  • Multilingualism:Do different languages confer different personalities?

    11/07/2013 6:13:36 AM PST · by Cronos · 62 replies
    The Economist ^ | 5 Nov 2013 | R.L.G.
    LAST week, Johnson took a look at some of the advantages of bilingualism. These include better performance at tasks involving "executive function" (which involve the brain's ability to plan and prioritise), better defence against dementia in old age and—the obvious—the ability to speak a second language. One purported advantage was not mentioned, though. Many multilinguals report different personalities, or even different worldviews, when they speak their different languages. ..Benjamin Lee Whorf, an American linguist who died in 1941, held that each language encodes a worldview that significantly influences its speakers. Often called “Whorfianism”, this idea has its sceptics, including The...
  • What is your American dialect?

    09/16/2013 11:54:23 AM PDT · by Theoria · 118 replies
    Gene Expression ^ | 16 Sept 2013 | Razib Khan
    Razib’s Dialect SimilarityLanguage dialect is something that we often pick up unconsciously, so I find it an interesting if narcissistic project to query my own dialect affinities. The above was generated using a 140 question test (warning: server often slow). In case you were curious, my most ‘similar’ city (to my dialect) is Sunnyvale, California. Though most of my life has been spent on the West coast of the United States, I did spend my elementary age years in upstate New York. You can see evidence of that in the heat-map. There are particular words I use and pronunciations that...
  • Germany drops its longest word: Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenüber

    06/03/2013 11:53:46 AM PDT · by DFG · 67 replies
    Telegraph UK ^ | 06/03/13 | Jeevan Vasagar
    Germany's longest word - Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz - a 63-letter long title of a law regulating the testing of beef, has officially ceased to exist. The word - which refers to the "law for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling", has been repealed by a regional parliament after the EU lifted a recommendation to carry out BSE tests on healthy cattle. German is famous for its compound nouns, which frequently become so cumbersome they have to be reduced to abbreviations. The beef labelling law, introduced in 1999 to protect consumers from BSE, was commonly transcribed as the "RkReÜAÜG", but even everyday words...
  • A Wealth of Words (The key to increasing upward mobility is expanding vocabulary.)

    01/28/2013 2:01:44 PM PST · by FewsOrange · 20 replies
    City Journal ^ | January 2013 | E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
    E. D. Hirsch, Jr. A Wealth of Words The key to increasing upward mobility is expanding vocabulary. WInter 2013 A number of notable recent books, including Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality and Timothy Noah’s The Great Divergence, lay out in disheartening detail the growing inequality of income and opportunity in the United States, along with the decline of the middle class. The aristocracy of family so deplored by Jefferson seems upon us; the counter-aristocracy of merit that long defined America as the land of opportunity has receded. These writers emphasize global, technological, and sociopolitical trends in their analyses. But...
  • Southerners and Gs (With Growing Population, Southern and Western accents are on the rise).

    08/25/2012 7:14:10 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 29 replies
    National Review ^ | 08/25/2012 | Charles C. W. Cooke
    Americans are not infatuated with class in the manner that the British are, but accents remain consequential nonetheless. How else to explain the Amazing Disappearing G, a trick of pronunciation that, whereabouts permitting, politicians on the campaign trail and beyond are keen to perform? Vice President Joe Biden, during his ignoble allegation that the Republican party has a secret plan to put black Americans "back in chains," avoided the participial G as if he were fatally allergic.Were we in the Southern states, Biden's trick would instead be called the Amazin' Disappearin' G, and this has not been lost on...
  • Lakoff Inspired "You Didn't Build That"

    07/26/2012 12:57:55 PM PDT · by Kaslin · 28 replies
    Rush ^ | July 26, 2012 | Rush Limbaugh
    BEGIN TRANSCRIPT RUSH: George Lakoff (rhymes with). Bill Jacobson has the details at By now you have heard the Obama and Liz Warren speeches about how no one got rich on his or her own. ... This narrative is cribbed almost verbatim from the narrative of George Lakoff, a progressive [liberal] linguistics activist and Professor at Berkeley," and he has been advising the Democrats on how to change and use language in order to hide who they really are. That's what it boils down to. Lakoff advises Democrats on how to say things that mask and cover up who...
  • What Kind of American Accent Do You Have?

    11/25/2011 4:19:03 PM PST · by blam · 305 replies
    The Economic Policy Journal ^ | 11-24-2011 | By Xavier Kun
    What Kind of American Accent Do You Have?November 24, 2011 Xavier Kun To most Americans, an accent is something that only other people have, those other people usually being in New York, Boston, and the South. And of those other people, half of the ones you meet will swear they "don't have an accent." Well, strictly speaking, the only way to not have an accent is to not speak. If you're from anywhere in the USA you have an accent (which may or may not be the accent of the place you're from). Go through this short quiz and you'll...
  • Votes and Vowels: A Changing Accent Shows How Language Parallels Politics

    04/04/2012 12:09:31 AM PDT · by Theoria · 10 replies
    Discover Magazine ^ | 28 Mar 2012 | Julie Sedivy
    ThereÂ’s been a good bit of discussion and hand-wringing lately over whether the American public is becoming more and more politically polarized and what this all means for the future of our democracy. You may have wrung your own hands over the issue. But even if you have, chances are youÂ’re not losing sleep over the fact that Americans are very clearly becoming more polarized linguistically. It may seem surprising, but in this age where geographic mobility and instant communication have increased our exposure to people outside of our neighborhoods or towns, American regional dialects are pulling further apart from...
  • Watching Our Language: The Left-Right Language Barrier

    02/06/2012 10:11:48 AM PST · by Paladins Prayer · 21 replies
    The New American ^ | Tuesday, 31 January | Selwyn Duke
    Language barriers are obviously an impediment to communication. If one man speaks Chinese and another Swedish, it may be hard for them to settle even simple matters, let alone the deep issues of the day. Yet there can be language barriers even within a language, such as when people use ill-defined terminology. In fact, some debates rage on endlessly partially because people who have the same tongue are, sometimes unknowingly, speaking a different language. This occurs to me when I hear many arguments about Left versus Right. For example, it’s not uncommon for conservatives and liberals to debate whether groups...
  • Cognitive Disonance on Conservatism

    06/30/2011 5:10:07 AM PDT · by Academiadotorg · 6 replies
    Accuracy in Academia ^ | June 30, 2011 | Malcolm A. Kline
    Since they don’t really want to encounter any, academics keep striking out when they attempt to figure out conservatives. Berkeley’s George Lakoff is the latest scholar to miss the boat, and the dock is getting crowded. “Conservatives don’t dislike science or expertise inherently, Lakoff says—but for them, these are not the chief source of authority,” Chris Mooney, who interviewed the professor, writes in the July/August 2011 issue of The American Prospect. “Instead, conservatives have a moral system based on a ‘strict father’ model of the family, which is then exported to various other realms of society—the market, the government.” Lakoff...
  • Exploring Sweden's linguistic history in the United States

    06/13/2011 12:52:39 PM PDT · by WesternCulture · 47 replies ^ | 06/13/2011 | Karen Holst
    Almost 100 years after the great Swedish migration to North America, dialect researchers from Gothenburg are heading across the Atlantic in hopes of learning more about the evolution of the Swedish language, The Local’s Karen Holst explains. Wild myths that solve the mysterious birth of language and its dispersal often include floods, catastrophes or punishment by the gods. In Hindu stories it was a tree being humbled, in North American Indian folklore it was a great flood, in east Africa it was starvation-induced madness, in the Amazon it was stolen hummingbird eggs and in aboriginal Australia it was a goddess’...
  • The Mother of All Languages. Modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue

    04/15/2011 2:30:50 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 69 replies · 1+ views
    Wall Street Journal ^ | 04/15/2011 | Gautam Naik
    The world's 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, a new study suggests. The finding, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help explain how the first spoken language emerged, spread and contributed to the evolutionary success of the human species. Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of the study, found that the first migrating populations leaving Africa laid the groundwork for all the world's cultures by taking their single language with them—the...
  • The Tea Party Murders

    01/09/2011 11:42:35 AM PST · by Second Amendment First · 125 replies
    Politico ^ | January 9, 2011 | George Lakoff
    Language has an effect. Violent political encounters have an effect. The link of the use of guns with patriotism and morality has an effect. Expressions like "targeting" and "in the crosshairs" evokes images of shooting to kill. The murder of a liberal leader in Pakistan seemed far away. Now it's here days later. Given all the death threats, it was almost inevitable. Gabby Giffords was in the crosshairs. Republicans will say it was just the work of some crazy. Hardly. Even crazies get their ideas from somewhere. Violent political encounters and the language of violence activate the idea of violence....
  • Did Americans in 1776 have British accents? (Suprising answer)

    10/09/2010 8:08:47 AM PDT · by prisoner6 · 182 replies · 5+ views
    Nick Patrick blog via ^ | 10/09/2010 | Nick Patrick
    The typical English accent didn't develop until after the Revolutionary War, so Americans actually speak proper English. Here comes the science. Did Americans in 1776 have British accents? Reading David McCulloughÂ’s 1776, I found myself wondering: Did Americans in 1776 have British accents? If so, when did American accents diverge from British accents? The answer surprised me. IÂ’d always assumed that Americans used to have British accents, and that American accents diverged after the Revolutionary War, while British accents remained more or less the same. Americans in 1776 did have British accents in that American accents and British accents hadnÂ’t...
  • Book presents evidence of human connections across Bering Strait land bridge

    07/05/2010 4:38:01 PM PDT · by Palter · 28 replies · 4+ views
    Daily News-Miner ^ | 05 July 2010 | Mary Beth Smetzer
    Research illuminating an ancient language connection between Asia and North America supports archeological and genetic evidence that a Bering Strait land bridge once connected North America with Asia, and the discovery is being endorsed by a growing list of scholars in the field of linguistics and other sciences. The work of Western Washington University linguistics professor Edward Vajda with the isolated Ket people of Central Siberia is revealing more and more examples of an ancient language connection with the language family of Na-Dene, which includes Tlingit, Gwich’in, Dena’ina, Koyukon, Navajo, Carrier, Hupa, Apache and about 45 other languages. In 2008,...
  • A-huntin' The Sources of Appalachian English

    03/26/2010 7:00:19 AM PDT · by jay1949 · 184 replies · 1,756+ views
    Backcountry Notes ^ | March 26, 2010 | Jay Henderson
    An order of the Virginia Colonial Council dated May 4, 1725, concerned an allegation that "divers Indians plundered the Quarters of Mr. John Taliaferro near the great mountains [i.e., the Blue Ridge] . . .[and carried off] some of the Guns belonging to and marked with the name of Spottsylvania County . . . ." The Council concluded: "It is ordered that it be referred to Colo. Harrison to make inquiry which of the Nottoway Indians or other Tributaries have been out ahunting about that time . . . ." Now, the Colonial Council was an august body and its...
  • Can we get rid of "Q"?

    02/05/2010 8:32:38 PM PST · by When do we get liberated? · 46 replies · 1,070+ views
    When do we get liberated?
    I want to remove a useless letter of the alphabet. Why is there a "Q"? Why does it have an unearned spot in the alphabet? The most useful letters of the alphabet are all front loaded. ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP the slackers of the crowd are all stuck in the back as an afterthought, i.e. WXYZ. Where does the self rightous, 10 point Scrabble letter "Q" get off slipping into line before RSTUV? Did they know the bouncer? Notice Q's accomplice U garnered a cheap 1 point role in Scrabble to facilitate Q's infiltration into the language. If I have my way we...
  • Saving Endangered Languages from Being Forgotten [Siberian Ob-Ugrian languages Mansi and Khanti]

    01/31/2010 7:24:31 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies · 346+ views
    ScienceDaily ^ | Thursday, January 28, 2010 | University of Vienna, via AlphaGalileo
    With only 3.000 speakers in Northwest Siberia the Ob-Ugrian language Mansi is on the verge of extinction. Predictions say it will be extinct in ten to twenty years at the latest. The same holds true for Khanti, a member of the same language family. It is for this reason that extensive documentation is so important. Johanna Laakso, professor for Finno-Ugrian Studies at the University of Vienna concerns herself with the documentation of this and other minority languages in the framework of an FWF project and the EU project ELDIA... The documentation of the languages Mansi and Khanti is additionally of...
  • Computer program proves Shakespeare didn't work alone, researchers claim

    10/12/2009 10:28:02 AM PDT · by BGHater · 20 replies · 1,425+ views
    Times Online ^ | 12 Oct 2009 | Jack Malvern
    The 400-year-old mystery of whether William Shakespeare was the author of an unattributed play about Edward III may have been solved by a computer program designed to detect plagiarism. Sir Brian Vickers, an authority on Shakespeare at the Institute of English Studies at the University of London, believes that a comparison of phrases used in The Reign of King Edward III with Shakespeare’s early works proves conclusively that the Bard wrote the play in collaboration with Thomas Kyd, one of the most popular playwrights of his day. The professor used software called Pl@giarism, developed by the University of Maastricht to...
  • Experts trying to decipher ancient language

    02/28/2009 12:35:50 PM PST · by ApplegateRanch · 36 replies · 1,476+ views
    Ap via ^ | Feb 28, 2009 | By BARRY HATTON
    When archaeologists on a dig in southern Portugal last year flipped over a heavy chunk of slate and saw writing not used for more than 2,500 years, they were elated. The enigmatic pattern of inscribed symbols curled symmetrically around the upper part of the rough-edged, yellowish stone tablet and coiled into the middle in a decorative style typical of an extinct Iberian language called Southwest Script. "We didn't break into applause, but almost," says Amilcar Guerra, a University of Lisbon lecturer overseeing the excavation. "It's an extraordinary thing."
  • Intuitive Grammar Develops By Age Six, Say Researchers

    04/28/2008 7:42:26 PM PDT · by blam · 23 replies · 611+ views
    Science Daily ^ | 4-28-2008 | University of Liverpool
    Intuitive Grammar Develops By Age Six, Say Researchers ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2008) — Psychologists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that children as young as six are as adept at recognising possible verbs and their past tenses as adults. In a study conducted by the University's Child Language Study Centre, children aged between six and nine were given sentences containing made-up verbs such as 'the duck likes to spling' and were asked to judge the acceptability of possible past tense forms. The study focused on the process the children used to come to their conclusions rather than whether their...
  • How Do You Learn a Dead Language?

    01/31/2008 10:15:54 AM PST · by forkinsocket · 49 replies · 181+ views
    Slate ^ | Jan. 28, 2008 | Christine Cyr
    Last week, Chief Marie Smith Jones, the only remaining native speaker of the Eyak language, died in her home in Anchorage, Alaska. Chief Jones' death makes Eyak—part of the Athabascan family of languages—the first known native Alaskan tongue to go extinct. Linguists fear that 19 more will soon follow the same fate. Fortunately, starting in 1961, Chief Jones and five other native-speaking Eyaks worked with Michael Krauss, a linguist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, to document Eyak in case future generations want to revive it. How would you go about learning a language that nobody speaks? It depends....
  • Last Native Eyak Speaker Dead at 89

    01/23/2008 8:48:57 PM PST · by forkinsocket · 21 replies · 117+ views
    AP ^ | 01/23/08 | MARY PEMBERTON
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Marie Smith Jones, who worked to preserve her heritage as the last full-blooded member of Alaska's Eyak Indians and the last fluent speaker of their native language, has died. She was 89. Jones died in her sleep Monday at her home in Anchorage. She was found by a friend, said daughter Bernice Galloway, who lives in Albuquerque, N.M. "To the best of our knowledge she was the last full-blooded Eyak alive," Galloway said Tuesday. "She was a woman who faced incredible adversity in her life and overcame it," Galloway said. "She was about as tenacious as...
  • American Elites Batter the English Language

    02/24/2007 10:03:44 AM PST · by rhema · 241 replies · 2,721+ views
    Human Events ^ | 02/23/2007 | Deroy Murdock
    "If I was President, this wouldn't have happened," John Kerry said during Hezbollah's war on Israel last summer. As 2004's Democratic presidential nominee should know, he should have said, "If I were President…" It's sad, but hardly surprising, that the subjunctive evades someone of Kerry's stature. The English language is under fire, as if it strolled into an ambush. It would be bad enough if this assault involved the slovenly grammar, syntax, and spelling of drooling boors. But America's elites -- politicians, journalists, and marketers who should know better -- constantly batter our tongue. The subjunctive, for instance, lies gravely...
  • Working to preserve a historic dialect (Texas German)

    08/26/2007 2:04:22 PM PDT · by Dysart · 153 replies · 2,561+ views
    Star-Telegram ^ | 8-26-07 | R.A. Dyer
    AUSTIN --Although stories of der Cowboy and die Stinkkatze mayno longer get told in Texas, Germanic linguistics professor Hans Boas wants to make sure nobody forgets them.Boas, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, is the founder and manager of the Texas German Preservation Project. Every month or so Boas ventures forth from his campus office in Austin to small towns like Boerne, Fredericksburg and Crawford to conduct interviews with the dwindling number of old-timers who speak the odd mixture of English and 19th-century German.It's a dialect unique to the Lone Star State, and most of the 8,000 or...
  • Lithuanian and Latvian languages are not Slavic and not Balto-Slavic.

    07/26/2007 12:19:22 PM PDT · by Dievas · 19 replies · 434+ views
    Lithuanian and Latvian languages are not Slavic and not Balto-Slavic. I made a deep esearch and I can say that both Baltic languages are definitely not Slavic, not even close, and neither Balto-Slavic. They should be separated into a very early separation branch similar to Armenian. There are very few Slavic-sounding words in both Baltic languages and those words were borrowed in near modern times. All other words (99,999999%) in both Baltic languages don't even remind of any Slavic language. There are words that sound Arabic, Franco, Latin, Greek, even English and Italiamn and even Pacific, but very few Slavic...
  • Only half [of] Chinese speak Mandarin

    03/07/2007 4:00:43 AM PST · by Jedi Master Pikachu · 28 replies · 721+ views
    BBC ^ | Wednesday, March 7, 2007
    There are hundreds of dialects among China's 1.3bn people Only about half of China's population can speak the national language, Mandarin, according to the state news agency Xinhua.More men speak Mandarin than women, and more urbanites speak the language than those in rural areas, Xinhua said. For many years now, the government has tried to increase the use of Mandarin, to promote social cohesion. But China has hundreds of dialects, some of which - such as Cantonese and Hokkien - have strong regional support. In a survey of 500,000 people around the country, the Ministry of Education found that...
  • Quebec swears by its English curses

    12/12/2006 1:36:27 PM PST · by GMMAC · 57 replies · 1,408+ views
    Toronto red Star ^ | December 12, 2006 | Sean Gordon
    Quebec swears by its English curses But church-related expletives spoken in French not accepted on TV Toronto red Star December 12, 2006 SEAN GORDON QUEBEC BUREAU CHIEF MONTREAL - In English Canada it is among the baddest of the bad words, a wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap, four-letter epithet considered unsuitable for polite company, never mind broadcast. And yet, it is heard almost daily on Quebec's f-bomb friendly airwaves, where French-speaking hosts — and their guests — cheerfully throw the word around as a colourful alternative to "heck." The 1.6 million viewers of Tout le monde en parle, Radio-Canada's top-rated Sunday evening television...
  • A Boffo Guide To Hollywood-Speak

    07/23/2005 5:24:28 AM PDT · by Our_Man_In_Gough_Island · 11 replies · 633+ views
    Voice of America ^ | 22 July 2005 | Gloria Hillard
    They litter almost every studio and agent's office in Hollywood -- issues of the instantly recognized Hollywood trade paper Variety, its bright green banner and bold headlines heralding opening box office receipts, movie deals, acquisitions, everything on the big and small screen to behind the scenes. In the competitive world of show business, Variety is almost required reading. For the newcomer, the reading requires a certain knowledge of show biz shorthand. Scanning the headlines at this Los Angeles newsstand, this one caught my eye: MOUSE HEADS TO COURT FOR CEO SEARCH. Now if you didn't know right away this was...
  • English as a Foreign Language in the United States

    07/20/2005 3:05:58 AM PDT · by Smile-n-Win · 21 replies · 1,266+ views
    Capitalism Magazine ^ | July 19, 2005 | Thomas Sowell
    A recent e-mail from a dedicated teacher illustrates a problem that has received far too little attention. In her kindergarten class was a little black girl who did well except for getting a very obvious question wrong. It turned out that the little girl had no problem with the concepts or the facts but had misinterpreted a word because it sounded like another word that she had heard used at home, where a "black English" dialect was spoken. Since the teacher was white, she knew that she was running a risk by getting into this issue. Opening this can of...
  • 'NY Times' Sunday Preview: Profile of Linguist Who Is Framing Issues for the Democrats

    07/15/2005 2:53:32 PM PDT · by bitt · 62 replies · 1,415+ views ^ | July 15, 2005 2:30 PM ET | Lesley Messer
    NEW YORK The cover story by Matt Bai in the upcoming Sunday issue of The New York Times Magazine profiles the man some liberals allegedly consider a possible new “messiah” for the Democratic party, George Lakoff. An adviser to the party on “framing” issues, he wrote “Don't Think of an Elephant”-- a book about politics and language based on his own linguistic theories. “Framing” is the process of choosing the best words to describe individual issues and characterize a debate. Bai hails Lakoff as the father of the concept. His ideas seemed to gain some success recently in putting the...
  • Burning Ears Track Busy Brain: Researchers

    04/18/2005 10:59:30 PM PDT · by anymouse · 3 replies · 356+ views
    Reuters ^ | 4/19/05
    If your ears are burning it's said someone is talking about you, but Australian scientists say its more likely you're having a brainwave. Two researchers in Canberra have developed a high-tech hat that monitors brain activity via changes in ear temperature -- offering a cheap way to assess risks for patients ahead of brain surgery. By plugging the converted hard hat into a patient's ears researchers can measure tiny changes in eardrum temperature caused by an increased flow of blood to the side of the brain used to concentrate on a task. "If an area of the brain is more...
  • Don't Bother - US military flawed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy (raging mad in heartland)

    02/26/2005 3:36:51 PM PST · by Former Military Chick · 39 replies · 2,064+ views
    Boston Globe ^ | editorial
    The US military has always been sabotaging itself with its flawed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gay service personnel and now a government study shows exactly how much. The military has discharged 9,488 soldiers for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual since the policy went into effect in 1993. It has had to spend at least $200 million to recruit and train their replacementsmany in the key areas of intelligence, linguistics, interrogations, and code-breaking. The statistics come from a new Government Accountability Office report initiated by US Representative Martin Meehan of Lowell, who was joined by 19 other lawmakers in...
  • Y'all's sprawl. Linguists study the spread of a Southern term

    02/20/2005 7:45:38 PM PST · by bayourod · 241 replies · 3,647+ views
    Houston Chronicle/Columbia News Service ^ | Feb. 19, 2005 | MOISES VELASQUEZ-MANOFF
    In a June appearance on NBC's Today Show, singer Marc Anthony made an unusual but, according to some linguists, not-so-surprising word choice. When co-host Matt Lauer asked Anthony how he'd spend the upcoming weekend, Anthony said, "Y'all know I don't talk about my personal life." A New York native of Puerto Rican descent using "y'all," a distinctly Southern term? Linguists Guy Bailey and Jan Tillery would say Anthony is exhibit A in a national trend that is spreading the uses of "y'all" beyond the South. The two, who teach at the University of Texas at San Antonio, wrote an article...
  • Are We in a Kind of Civil War in This Country?

    12/06/2004 12:45:36 PM PST · by CHARLITE · 29 replies · 1,468+ views
    According to Sunday's S.F.Chronicle, House Democrats meet tomorrow with UC Berkeley linguistic prof George Lakoff in hopes the wordwright can correct their spin. Watch this one!!!! Lakoff is expected to advise the politician on what terminology to use. The big question is this: will the mass media follow? My money says it will. I have 40 years experience in the news media to back my bet. Need proof? The media was powerful enough to limit "choice" to one subject. That alone should be cause for watching the "watchdog." Remember when the press was called "the running dog" of the establishment?...
  • US Democrats try to avoid elephant trap [George Lakoff] [BARF/LAUGH?]

    12/06/2004 10:45:00 AM PST · by snarkpup · 18 replies · 856+ views
    Financial Times ^ | December 5, 2004 | Holly Yeager
    As Democrats continue their post-election soul-searching, a new guru is emerging. He isn't an internet whizz-kid or a campaign strategist, but a bearded Berkeley linguist who says he knows why Republicans keep winning. George Lakoff says it all comes down to "frames" the mental structures people use when they think about words. Conservatives are masters of framing, using expressions such as "tax relief" to shape the debate to their advantage, he says. If Democrats could do the same, they would perform much better at the polls.
  • Germans balk at effort to simplify their spelling rules

    08/13/2004 9:59:14 PM PDT · by Stoat · 24 replies · 557+ views
    Christian Science Monitor ^ | Friday, August 13, 2004 | Isabelle de Pommereau
    FRANKFURT - Mark Twain found its rules - and exceptions - so complicated, he dubbed it "The Awful German Language." Indeed, experts have struggled to streamline Germany's notoriously difficult spelling rules. Then six years ago, German culture ministers and other German-speaking countries forged a controversial agreement. Among other things, it replaced the idiosyncratic ß, called Esszet, with a double "s" at times. It loosened the use of commas, Germanized foreign words - so that "spaghetti" became "spagetti" and "ketchup" "ketschup" - and broke up interminable compound nouns. The new spelling was sold in schools as a breakthrough reform. But it...
  • Amazing Reading

    08/10/2004 10:01:32 PM PDT · by Cvengr · 15 replies · 477+ views
    spam | Aug04 | email
    cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg! Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?
  • Non-Attic Characters

    07/18/2004 6:43:19 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies · 951+ views
    University of California, Irvine, Thesaurus Linguae Graecae ^ | September 7 2003 (rev 9-28-2003) | Nick Nicholas
    The first character is the sampi, as it was used (briefly) in the Ionic alphabet as a sibilant. The first question to answer is whether it should be separated from the numerical sampi at all... The second question is what the phonetic value of sampi was... Jeffery (1990:39)... also suspects that sampi was originally borrowed from Carian, and used to express the Carian sibilant in loanwords... In the pre-Hellenic language of Lemnos (possibly related to Etruscan), it is used, but Jeffery has no idea what it sounded like. In the older inscriptions of the non-Hellenic language of Phrygia (related...
  • Virtual Camp Trains Soldiers in Arabic, and More

    07/05/2004 9:23:53 PM PDT · by neverdem · 25 replies · 2,099+ views
    NY Times ^ | July 6, 2004 | MARGARET WERTHEIM
    In a dusty valley in southern Lebanon, "Sgt. John Smith" of the Special Forces scans the scene in front of him. Ahead is a village known as Talle. His immediate mission: to find out who the local headman is and make his way to that house. All discussions with the villagers will have to be conducted in Arabic, and Sergeant Smith must comport himself with the utmost awareness of local customs so as not to arouse hostility. If successful, he will be paving the way for the rest of his unit to begin reconstruction work in the village. Sergeant Smith...
  • For Oaxacans, a struggle with health services

    07/05/2004 7:23:00 PM PDT · by JackelopeBreeder · 26 replies · 664+ views
    Monterey Herald ^ | 5 July 2004 | Dan Laidman and Victor Calderon
    [Note: This is a long read, but worth it. This is how small town California has to deal with the illegal alien problem -- but with a strange twist. It is not the usual sob story; it gives some depth to the whole miserable mess and raises some very ugly questions.] Immigrants contend with economics, culture in pregnancy As she shepherds scores of Monterey County's most vulnerable mothers-to-be through their pregnancies, Celia Serrato has learned to communicate without words. Two-thirds of her patients at Clinica de Salud in Greenfield are indigenous Mexicans from the impoverished southern state of Oaxaca. Many...
  • A Biological Dig for the Roots of Language

    03/18/2004 8:26:12 PM PST · by farmfriend · 32 replies · 756+ views
    NYT ^ | March 16, 2004 | NICHOLAS WADE
    A Biological Dig for the Roots of Language By NICHOLAS WADE Correction Appended Once upon a time, there were very few human languages and perhaps only one, and if so, all of the 6,000 or so languages spoken round the world today must be descended from it. If that family tree of human language could be reconstructed and its branching points dated, a wonderful new window would be opened onto the human past. Yet in the view of many historical linguists, the chances of drawing up such a tree are virtually nil and those who suppose otherwise are chasing a...
  • The origins of language: Signs of success

    02/21/2004 6:37:52 AM PST · by Pharmboy · 27 replies · 661+ views
    The Economist ^ | Feb 19th 2004 | Anon
    Deaf people are making a profound contribution to the study of language Ann Senghas We all speak smile JUST as biologists rarely see a new species arise, linguists rarely see a new language being born. You have to be in the right place at the right time, which usually you are not. But the past few decades have seen an exception. Linguists have been able to follow the formation of a new language in Nicaragua. The catch is that it is not a spoken language but, rather, a sign language which arose spontaneously in deaf children. Ann Senghas, of Columbia...