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Picture of BobHale
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Two things.

1) If the US usually loves the British accent how come British actors in Hollywood are usually cast as villains? Big Grin

2) No, not mad at you at all in general, mostly as mad as you are at BP, but two things are unfortunate. First of all President Obama referred to the company as British Petroleum, which hasn't been its name for some time but which does rather emphasise the Britishness of it. The other is very unfortunate indeed. Almost every pension fund in the UK has shares in BP which means that as the value of BP falls those funds shrink and will be followed by people who have pensions - ordinary working people who have nothing to do with BP - suffering. It puts the British Government in an awkward situation. Do they join the President in condemning BP and allow the British public to suffer further or do they try to support BP in the hope that shares will rally and pensioners not suffer.

Out of interest how much mention over there has there been of Transocean (from whom BP leased the rig) or Halliburton (who provided the cementing services at the drill hole site)? Both have been mentioned a lot in UK reporting of the disaster.
 
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Does Shu like Shoe? Perhaps.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
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Certainly there is some criticism here of Obama for calling BP "British Petroleum". Although technically still based in London, the company is a multinational. BP and its CEO Tony Hayward being British has apparently given some people in the USA an additional hate figure - us. However, there's no real connection, since BP is a multinational and the CEO, Tony Hayward, although ultimately responsible, can't really be expected to arrive at a solution on his own, although he hasn't covered himself in glory with his staements, admittedly. I've not seen any mention that the chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, someone who should know a lot more detail, is American, as are so many of BP's employees.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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how much mention over there has there been of Transocean (from whom BP leased the rig) or Halliburton (who provided the cementing services at the drill hole site)?

Depends on where you get your news. I've heard/read quite a bit about BP's two partners in crime.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Robert McCrum (of Globish fame) has an article for the Guardian.

quote:
Guy Deutscher is that rare beast, an academic who talks good sense about linguistics, his chosen field.


Sensible linguists are rare.

quote:
In his new book, Through the Language Glass (Heinemann), he fearlessly contradicts the fashionable consensus, espoused by the likes of Steven Pinker, that language is wholly a product of nature, that it does not take colour and value from culture and society.


This surprised me. Has Pinker, or any linguist, ever said that?

quote:
Well, this remote aboriginal tongue turned up – called Guugu Yimithirr, from north Queensland. These people have a way of speaking about space that is incredibly odd, because they don't use any such concepts at all. So they would never say: "The child is behind the tree." Instead, they would say: "The child is north of the tree." [...] Growing up with such a language essentially develops in your brain a sort of GPS system, an unfailing sense of orientation, and the reason is fairly straightforward: if from the age at which you start talking, you have to be aware of the cardinal directions every waking second of your life in order to understand the most trivial things that people say around you, then your language trains you to pay constant attention to your orientation at all times.


The problem here is that correlation does not imply causation. It is plausible that speakers of Guugu Yimithirr care about spatial orientation, so they have the language for it. English speakers don't care so much, so they don't have the language for it. As I see it, this sort of thing is really hard to measure.

And I'd thought the language that was researched for this topic was Kuuk Thaayorre.

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Sensible linguists are rare.

And, rational peevers are extinct.

This surprised me. Has Pinker, or any linguist, ever said that?

Not sure, but Pinker's a pretty dyed-in-the-wool Chomskian generativist, and they say that universal grammar is part of the structure of the brain, or something to that effect. I'd say there are plenty of linguists who study language and society. They're called socio-linguists.

I really don't see what's so all fired weird about saying the tree is north of the child, or vice versa. It's not like it's difficult to understand the concept of GPS coords.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by zmježd:
Not sure, but Pinker's a pretty dyed-in-the-wool Chomskian generativist, and they say that universal grammar is part of the structure of the brain, or something to that effect. I'd say there are plenty of linguists who study language and society. They're called socio-linguists.


Yes I know, but I can't imagine the generativists I know saying that language is not influenced by culture. They might not say it is either, they probably wouldn't have any comment at all because it's not a subject they're interested in. And it also weird because this has nothing to do with the rest of the article, where the opposite is claimed: that culture is influenced by language in very specific ways.

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Bob, as to your original question, yes, there is plenty of blame on both sides of the pond with this BP fiasco. Believe me, Obama is getting more finger pointing than BP is on many fronts.

However, I will admit that the English accent isn't quite as pleasant to people as it used to be (though, with time, that will change). My dad recently said that one of the biggest PR mistakes for the oil companies right now is that they keep interviewing people with British accents. He is probably right.

As with any disaster, and believe me, this is one, people not affected by it don't realize the extent of the damage or how horribly it has affected people's lives. I was recently in Mississippi, and they said that this will have more effect on them than Katrina did.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Believe me, Obama is getting more finger pointing than BP is on many fronts.


Yes, we're seeing that on the news here too. I'm a bit baffled by it. It's hard to see what people think he can do beyond what he is doing. Swim down and cap it himself maybe?
 
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I've no problem with people blaming BP for the disaster. What I dislike is people blaming the British people. BP has held up its corporate hands and accepted the blame and already said it will pay any costs.

Contrast this with the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which was of course less than the Deepwater Horizon spill, but still environmentally disastrous. Exxon was a serial appealer against awards for damages with appeals dragging on until 2008 at least (they may be still going on - Wikipedia is not clear). Several people have apparently died while waiting for damages payouts. Exxon is an American company.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I can't imagine the generativists I know saying that language is not influenced by culture.

I haven't really read Pinker, so I can't really say. The whole article seemed strange to me. I've got one of Deutscher's books, and I've read a little bit of it. It seemed OK to me.

they probably wouldn't have any comment at all because it's not a subject they're interested in.

Agreed. I was just saying that the generativist position is that the language mechanism is genetic and hard-wired in the human brain. My reticence to get into the whole Sapir-Whorf debate, is I am not sure how you would test any of the statements that proponents make. Like the whole article you linked to with a discussion of grammatical gender and biological sex. In German, people tend to use sie 'she' when referring anaphorically with das Mädchen 'the young woman', neuter. It might not be strictly grammatical, but it is common. A lot of the article by Boroditsky has a strange wondrous amazement at grammatical gender and what it might have to do with the world-view of a language's speakers, but I am not sure how you translate that sense of wonderment into something you can study.

As for BP. Did Obama really blame the British people or did he mispeak and expand the initialism into British Petroleum? I haven't noticed anybody clamoring to get the British, say in the same way that I heard some British news agencies asking for Icelandic blood. As Bob said, these giant oil companies are basically above the nation states that might host their founders or HQs. What I think does need to be done is hold them accountable for their actions and regulate them to reduce those disastrous events.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I don't know if Obama misspoke or said it deliberately, but he definitely called them British Petroleum. I can't tell what the effect of this was on the American population from here, of course, but both the British press and Kalleh in her post above seem to think that it has caused, or at least helped, anti-British sentiment in parts of America.


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I can't tell what the effect of this was on the American population from here, of course, but both the British press and Kalleh in her post above seem to think that it has caused, or at least helped, anti-British sentiment in parts of America.

I guess there are folks here in the States who blame the UK and British citizens for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. (After all, there are people here who think that Obama was not born in Hawai'i and that the WTC towers were brought down by a US governmental conspiracy.) I, myself, was not aware that BP was no longer British Petroleum. I guess that the name change happened after the merger with Amoco in '98. I remember seeing gas stations here with the BP logo on them, but those have all disappeared in the past decade or so. I wonder how many here know that Arco (here on the Left Coast) is a BP brand. Just for the record, I do not blame the British people for the actions of BP. I do blame the their chief officers and board members.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Maybe if he had said ARAMCO?


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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quote:
I've no problem with people blaming BP for the disaster. What I dislike is people blaming the British people. BP has held up its corporate hands and accepted the blame and already said it will pay any costs.
Well, I can only speak for what I've seen, but I haven't seen the British blamed for it. I've only seen BP blamed...as a corporate entity. And, while I agree that the term British Petroleum has been used a lot for BP, I think it is more for understanding the acronym than it is for being anti-British. After all, to me, BP means "blood pressure."

My remark about the British accent was not to mean that the man on the street is anti-British. It's just that the corporation itself, being so isolated from the gulf area, can hardly feel the impact of what has happened. Please don't think Americans have gone anti-British because we haven't.
 
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quote:
I think it is more for understanding the acronym

Except it isn't an acronym, it's the name of the company. The insurance group AIG has been in the news recently because of the financial crisis. How many times have you heard it referred to as "American International Group"?


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The insurance group AIG has been in the news recently because of the financial crisis. How many times have you heard it referred to as "American International Group"?

I just searched on AIG in Google News and on the first page of results, most of the stories actually refer to AIG the first time in the story by full name. Two of the articles were in Reuters and the WSJ.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I was going to say the same thing. I put AIG into Google and came up with the full name. Link I don't think specifying British Petroleum means anything.

Yet, language across cultures sure can be a problem, can't it? The new comment "small people ," shows how important the use of language is. I am sure Mr. Svanberg didn't mean to sound arrogant and that it was just as he said, he "spoke clumsily." Yet, it sounds arrogant to me, and I wonder what he had really meant.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Yet, it sounds arrogant to me, and I wonder what he had really meant.


den lilla människan
 
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Slow down?

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/06/17-3


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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What did he have to say. I just skimmed through it.


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It


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said


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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we


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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read


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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too


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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fast


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Proof, I enjoyed the Language Log entry. I should have checked there. My colleagues here don't agree with me, but I still think it is very hard for anyone to really be fluent in another language. But this is a discussion we've had before, and I won't belabor the issue.

Geoff, that was an interesting article about slowing down the reading. I am at a conference now, and I realized how much I've gotten into multi-tasking. I just couldn't sit still through the lectures with trying to check my smart phone emails. Plus, we had this nifty electronic agenda, name tag, etc., that I was enthralled with. You can complete your evaluations, trade business cards, get conference room changes, etc., all electronically. I am hooked on this electronic age, I guess.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
I am hooked on this electronic age, I guess.

A lot has changed in the last five years, hasn't it? See August 24, 2005.
 
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Oh, yeah. I remember that time. I had been an early adopter of a cell phone, and my family would call me day and night. So for awhile, I gave up mine. However, now that nearly everyone has one, things have changed. I also have noticed that people don't talk so loud in public with their cell phones. We've learned.
 
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No language content but surely it's not 1st April already?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/10420131.stm
 
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One funny thing about the BP crisis is the Swedish Mr. Svanberg's statement about the "small people" affected by the spill. When people started to berate him for that usage, a spokesman said the actual term was "lost in translation." Unfortunately, he spoke in English.

Fox News, the Republican news chnnel, constantly wonders why Obama hasn't done more. One commentator said Obama took only one day to find a new general but has not done anything in sixty days to fix the well. It's a ridiculous statement since no one outside the oil industry (and especially a politician) has the expertise to fix it.

As for BP living up to its obligations, there have been many reports that dead aniumals have been removed from beaches and towed out to sea to reduce by concealment the potential damages the company may have to pay for. In addition, workers are forbidden to wear biohazard protective gear to avoid providing visual evidence in toxic claims. And I wondered why the Coast Guard helped BP prevent reporters from filming beaches and workers. Does ruining the environment give company control of the ruined rea? Sort of like the cops helping the murderer at a crime scene.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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It's a ridiculous statement since no one outside the oil industry (and especially a politician) has the expertise to fix it.

Not so according to this But then maybe they've been bought off too.

[Fixed by zmj and duplicate posts deleted.]

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Bioremediation might be a partial answer.
 
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Not so according to this But then maybe they've been bought off too.

The same Corp of Engineers who built the walls around New Orleans that failed AFTER Hurricane Katrina?


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
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Well, I hate to see Bob's great post lost in all of this. That is just hilarious, Bob! Unfortunately, we're out of it now, so I am rooting for England. Hopefully that cephalopod is wrong!
 
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He wasn't wrong. He was right.
 
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Ah, yes. I hadn't realized that England was out of it. I am sorry. I know how much that cup means to your country. Don't take it too hard, though. Remember that it has been more than a century for the Cubs.
 
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Personally I'm relieved that England are out of it as I hope some of the hysteria will die down a little earlier than might have been the case. It hasn't happened yet, though; the news pages of the newspapers (as well as the sports pages) are currently full of recriminations.

I think Bob and I are atypical of most of us in England, though, in that neither of us gives a monkey's about the World Cup, or most sports in general. Feel free to deny that, Bob, if I'm wrong!


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I can take or leave soccr but I cannot understand why, when it's played on an international stage, instant replay is not used to make certain the scoring is fair. The games are often determined by just one goal and, from what I've seen during the Cup, st least thee were mistkenly either allowed or disallowed. What modern big-time sporting event doesn't let a dsipute be settled by a replay? Even baseball now allows home-run calls to be verified.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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World Cup

While anybody who knows me knows that I rarely talk or even watch sports, it's sort of hard not to have a favorite team in all of this. I used to say I was rooting for the US team, until they started to qualify. This year, I chose Slovakia, because I have some friends who emigrated thence. Little did I know that they would still be in the competition. (Also, I have not watched a single game in decades, other than clips on news broadcasts.)

At work, I asked a French engineer if he was angry when the French team got out of it. He went on a tirade about soccer / football that was truly funny. With the popularity of the sport rising in the States, I must choose a new one to champion. I used to fall back on cricket, but then I discovered that there are lots of cricket teams in the area where I live (All those South Asian and UK ex-pats in the software industry.) In fact, the small city I live in has two teams, both members of the Northern California Cricket Association (link, established 1892).) My current unpopular sport (for the states that is) is curling, especially since it featured in a recent episode of The Simpsons.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0263734/


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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quote:
the news pages of the newspapers (as well as the sports pages) are currently full of recriminations.
Ah, yes, ours too, arnie. Z is right that the Cup has become more popular.

I like your idea, z, of choosing an unpopular sport. This site has a few. From that site, I liked chess boxing because of their motto: “Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board." There actually is a World Chess Boxing Organization.
 
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I prefer golf-shooting.
 
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Chess Boxxing was featured in Paul merton's most recent travel series: Paul Merton's Europe.
 
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quote:
I prefer golf-shooting.

Hilarious, neveu!

So, what you're saying, Bob, is that I'd better keep looking. Wink
 
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One local course let you play there for free.However you had to buy their equipment, which was pretty expensive. So they got you by the balls.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Believe it or not, my son had heard of chess boxing! Back to the drawing board for a rare sport. I can see z's point; this is hard!
 
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I'm surprised that the jackass in neveu's link didn't end up with a couple of golf clubs over his skull. Firing a shotgun at ear level right next to someone who has no ear protection is utterly stupid. While some may find it hilarious, I find it atrocious.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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"Some," I guess, would be I.

You know more about shotguns than I do because I know nothing about them. Obviously, you are correct. Interestingly, I just had a post about guns on my Blog, given all the hullabaloo in Chicago because of the recent Supreme Court decision.
 
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