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He doesn't seem to have posted much this year; one in May and a couple in January.


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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This is another good one on a similar theme.

I was thinking about Darmok as I was reading this thread. Great episode.
 
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This idea of an "English speaking world" is a bit bogus in my opinion.
That was what I as getting at, Bob, when I said, "It all depends on what you mean by the 'English speaking world.'"
quote:
On two different occasions in the UK (1976 and 1985) I met and spoke with two Britons who were completely incomprehensible to me.
Similarly, I was at a toll bridge in NY, completely holding up a huge line of traffic, because I couldn't understand the NY accent of the man taking the money.

There isn't an English speaking world, I agree. Shu and I had talked about this, and we suppose you could operationally define those who speak English. If I were to do that, I'd only count those countries where English is the first (not official) language of inhabitants. For example, it would be in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, parts of Canada, and there must be many I am missing. However, by my definition, it wouldn't be places like India.

Of course, just like operationally defining words isn't all that useful to many here, the same is probably true with English speaking countries.
 
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If I were to do that, I'd only count those countries where English is the first (not official) language of inhabitants.

That in itself is a tricky concept. When I was in Kenya I learnt that most reasonably-well educated Kenyans are tri-lingual.

They speak their tribal tongue (of which there are hundreds); they speak Kiswahili (the official language); they speak English (the most useful language and the language of the former colonial power). So which is the "first" language? The tribal language that children learnt at their mothers' knees, Kiswahili or English?


Richard English
 
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And of course English is an official language in India.
 
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To add to Bob's mention of local accents and dialects often being incomprehensible even to their fellow English, I heard the tale of a man from Yorkshire who was visiting relatives in the East End of London for the first time. He caught a bus and sat there, anxious not to miss his stop. When he heard the conductor call out what sounded like "town 'all" he asked "What town hall is that?". The conductor looked at him scornfully. "Not town 'all, townall." he said, "Blackwall townall."

The Blackwall tunnel is a road tunnel under the Thames.


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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And of course English is an official language in India.
Yes, that's why I said that I'd not include "official languages" in my particular operational definition. If countries have their own languages, I think they should be considered first.
 
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It is a problem, the more so since some countries (including the USA) have no official language. Of course, English is the most commonly spoken language in the USA (82%) and the next contender, Spanish (10.7%), has a lot of catching up to do.


Richard English
 
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I know. That's why I said an operational definition would be about as helpful as one defining words. They are both possible, but what's the point?
 
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What’s in a Word? An article in Newsweek on language.


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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Very interesting but, in my opinion, highly speculative.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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From the article: In Turkish, verbs indicate whether the action was observed or merely rumored.
Perhaps we who reside in the USA should require Turkish to be spoken by all talk radio hosts and listeners. Then, bye-bye spin doctors.
 
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In Turkish, verbs indicate whether the action was observed or merely rumored.

Just because we do not encode this information in the verb form itself, does not mean we cannot indicate whether something is rumor or fact. We simply use other words and periphrasis. For example, "I heard senator Foghorn fell down drunk in public." Compare with "Did you see senator Foghorn falling-down drunk on TV last night?" See the Wikipedia article on evidentiality (link).

The example of the Russians taking less time to pick out colors with names, seemed to me perhaps to have more to do with coming up for a color name that is not part of our vocabulary. Also, perhaps English light blue takes longer to say than it's Russian counterpart. Most of the Whorf-Sapir hypothesists seem to me to be saying: "Language shapes how we express ourselves." Not how we think. Humans all seem to perceive millions of different colors. Otherwise how could we watch TV or see anything at all?


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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When you think about it we use modality to encode an incredible variety of meanings. May/might/should/must/can/could/have to/ought to/need to, to enumerate just some of them.

The meanings are subtle, hard to explain when teaching and vary greatly according to the associated tenses and the context but as native speakers we process them perfectly well.
There is nothing intrinsic to language in general that says these meanings couldn't be incorporated into a tense system that did not use auxiliary verbs.

As for the colours example I'm certain the test shows something but I wouldn't want to say what. I'd be very reluctant to advance a linguistic hypothesis without knowing a whole lot more about the test.

There is also a bit in the article that I questioned as soon as I read it.

quote:
In a series of clever experiments guided by pointed questions, she is amassing evidence that, yes, language shapes thought.


It seems to me that the framing of the question could have a good deal to do with the framing of the answer.
 
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Still, I thought it a thought-provoking article.

Asa asked me to post this article related t the confusion between the terms "criminal profiling," racial profiling", and "racism."
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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"She runs the Cognation Lab at Stanford University..."

Cognation? That's new to me. Sounds like a term Charlie Chaplin might have used in "Modern Times."

Another issue: They started off with what was to me annoying/distracting background music.` I found that I could not listen to the interview, but had to read it instead. Why is it that some of us can't stand such background noise whereas the majority seem unable to function without it?
 
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Cognation

According to MNW, "relationship by descent from the same ancestor or source". Sounds like that carnsarned Monkey theory to me.


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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Cognation

The Cognation Research Laboratory website (link) glosses their coinage thus: "Cognation (n): a sovereign state devoted to the study of Cognition".


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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From zmj's link:
Sing along with the Cognation National Anthem
C.J. would like this. Are you out there, C.J.?
 
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CJ is too busy on OEDILF to be here anymore.

Excellent link!
 
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This article I know Bob will like. Here's an excerpt:
quote:
When Tim Burton, one of Hollywood's most distinctive directors, came to Comic-Con International last week with never-before-seen footage from his coming adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland," the audience at the San Diego Convention Center went wild at the sight of Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and other beloved characters from Lewis Carroll's surreal storybook classic.
 
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Calorie-Burning Fat? Studies Say You Have It

By GINA KOLATA
Published: April 8, 2009
The New York Times

quote:
  • Their papers, appearing Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, indicate that nearly every adult has little blobs of brown fat that can burn huge numbers of calories when activated by the cold, as when sitting in a chilly room that is between 61 and 66 degrees.

  • Brown fat, Dr. Leibel said, “fits the fantasy — I eat what I want and burn it off.” That, however, is still a fantasy, he added.

  • If a drug that stimulates brown fat could be developed, said Dr. Claude Bouchard of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, it would be the first obesity drug to affect energy expenditure rather than appetite.

    Then there is the notion of simply hanging out in a cold room.

    “We’re thinking of opening a frosty spa,” Dr. Kozak said jokingly.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: tinman,
 
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Balancing gains and threats in cardiovascular care

By Clyde Yancy
August 29th, 2009; Vol.176 #5 (p. 32)
ScienceNews

quote:
Meanwhile, there is another set of indicators that are very compelling and, quite frankly, disturbing. We run the risk of having the first generation of Americans who will experience a state of health that is worse than the previous generation’s. The implicit contract made from one generation to the next, that life will be better, is at risk of being broken.

This is almost entirely due to the burden of obesity in the community. Obesity science is complex. It’s not just calories in, calories out, but rather a matrix of factors — physiological, societal, ecological and economic. Any effort to affect obesity can’t just be put on the back of the individual.
 
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Obesity is surely a problem. However, there is a body of literature that shows the effects on health aren't nearly as bad as sometimes played. Also there is evidence that obese people can be just as fit as an active, non-obese person, and similarly a thin person can be quite inactive and unfit.

There is a societal bias against obese people, and sometimes I worry that bias is driving the science. Now, I am not saying that there are no adverse effects from being overweight, but there clearly aren't as many as some think. For example, there is much bias against Obama's nominee for the surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin. I realize the video was mostly a spoof, but still. Also, I find the bias much more attributed to women than men, which is annoying (to say the least).
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Time was when fat people were seen as more robust, healthier than skinny people. http://witcombe.sbc.edu/willendorf/ However, I suspect that fat ACTIVE people are in much better shape than fat inactive ones, or than skinny, inactive ones.

A dozen years ago I did the Tour de Tucson bicycle ride (106 miles in the desert heat of Tucson, Arizona) with my old school mate Herb, who weighed 325lbs at the time. Fat Herb still had energy to burn at ride's end, whereas skinny Asa was all used up!
 
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Be careful; you can't yawn in Chicago. It even got into Boing Boing!

While this didn't occur in Chicago, it did occur in Chicagoland. Ho hum...I feel a yawn coming on! Six months in jail for me!
 
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A Book Doctors Can’t Close
quote:
Called “The House of God,” the book was drawn from real life, and 30 years after its initial publication, it is still part of the medical conversation.
 
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Old Spice Solid, anyone?


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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<Asa Lovejoy>
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What if you fart or toss your cookies?
 
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Yes, that's an interesting book, Tinman. Quite true, as well.

I am against overly punitive jail sentences, zero tolerances, and mandated sentences, and I am adamantly against the death penalty. However, what was Scotland thinking? From the Chicago Tribune's editorial today, entitled "Scotland's Shame":
quote:
"Four hundred parents lost a child, 46 parents lost their only child, 65 women were widowed, 11 men lost their wives, 140 [people] lost a parent, seven lost both parents."

-- Scottish prosecutor Colin Boyd at the 2001 trial of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.
 
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However, what was Scotland thinking? From the Chicago Tribune's editorial today, entitled "Scotland's Shame":

This topic has been extensively covered on the news here and certainly the USA's generally negative stance has been well aired. Of course, many people believe that Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was not guilty of the crime and that he was a fall guy. This seems to be the belief of some Libyans and hence their demonstrations of support when he returned home.


Richard English
 
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How medicine is ‘barely managing’ the isotope crisis

Molybdenum-99, a key element used in medical imaging, is in short supply. The biggest of the 5 reactors that produce 95% of the element shut down in May due to corrosion problems and won't reopen until March 2010. Another reactor shut down in July for scheduled maintenance. It should reopen in a week or two, but will shut down again in 6 months for repairs that will take up to another 6 months.


Worm-inspired superglue: Material may one day paste together bones in the body


Vocal abilities lost, found and drowned out: Sage Grouse males don't cluck like chickens

This interesting article includes a new word for me: syrinx.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Good stuff, Tinman! I wouldn't grouse about not being chicken, but whistling through both sides of one's syrinx is news to me.
 
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syrinx
A defective syringe?


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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syrinx

An interesting word from the Greek συριγξ (surigks) 'shepherd's pipe, panspipe; whistle, hiss; tube'. Besides being a biology term, for the avian "equivalent" of the mammalian larynx (< Greek λαρυγξ) 'larynx, upper part of windpipe', it is the source of English syringe. It was also the name of a nymph in Greek mythology (link).


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Interesting, z. Here is what the OED says about the etymology of syringe:
quote:
[ad. med.L. siringa, sirynga (whence OF. ceringue, syringue, F. seringue, It. sciringa, Sp. jeringa, Pg. seringa), to which is due the pronunciation with final ({ng}), which seems to have survived till near the close of the 17th cent. In the 16th cent. the word began to be assimilated to the oblique cases of the classical form syrinx, pl. syringes (s{shti}{sm}r{shti}nd{zh}i{lm}z), by being spelt with a final e and pronounced with (d{zh}).]
 
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{ng}

Yes, I forgot to mention that the final -gks of the Greek word, the orthographic convention is that the gamma in front of a verlar stops (or affricate in this case) was sounded as a velar nasal, i.e., /ŋ/ the final consonent in sing). The final -ks only occured in the nominative case, and all the others the -k- was a -g- (i.e., is the final -g- or the root of the word, becomes devoiced at the end of a word in front of the -s of the nominative case). For example:

nominative singular: συριγξ, surigks, /suriŋks/
genitive singular: συριγγος, suinggos, /suriŋgos/

The Romans borrowed the word from the Greeks, just spelling it differently (and declining it differently also), and the descendants of Latin (i.e., the Romance languages) all nominal and adjectival forms come from the oblique cases, i.e., the cases other than the nominative, which tended to collapse into one for historical phonological reasons. In French and English therafter, the voiced velar stop, i.e., /g/, tended to become a fricative or affricative, /ʒ/, as in azure or /ʤ/ judge.

As an aside, this is one of my pet peeves (yes, anybody can be a peevologist). People talk about dropping the final g of a gerund or present participle: e.g., flying vs flyin', but no sound is being dropped. It is simply changing place of articulation from velar to alveolar-dental, i.e., /ŋ/ to /n/. If you listen to how most people pronounce sing, there is no g at the end of the word. On the other hand, if you listen to how most people pronounce finger, there is a g after the nasal, i.e., /sɪŋ/ vs /fɪŋgɚ/ or /fɪŋgə/ in non-rhotic dialects. The irony is that the alveolar-dental pronunciation used to be the prestige register in the UK.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
Here is what the OED says about the etymology of syringe:
quote:
[ad. med.L. siringa, sirynga (whence OF. ceringue, syringue, F. seringue, It. sciringa, Sp. jeringa, Pg. seringa), to which is due the pronunciation with final (ŋ), which seems to have survived till near the close of the 17th cent. In the 16th cent. the word began to be assimilated to the oblique cases of the classical form syrinx, pl. syringes (sɪˈrɪndʒiːz), by being spelt with a final e and pronounced with (dʒ).]
 
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As an aside, this is one of my pet peeves (yes, anybody can be a peevologist). People talk about dropping the final g of a gerund or present participle: e.g., flying vs flyin', but no sound is being dropped. It is simply changing place of articulation from velar to alveolar-dental, i.e., /ŋ/ to /n/.
Interesting, z. I just read, a few days ago, a comment that the person hates how people are dropping the "g" in "ing" words and took it as an example of our culture being "dumbed down."
 
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The irony is that the alveolar-dental pronunciation used to be the prestige register in the UK.

It still is in some circles - but it depends very much on the word. "Huntin', shootin' and fishin'" would be the way of speech for a few in those kinds of upper-class circles, but they would look down on the lower classes when they spoke of "comins' and goins'".

In other words, "Are you coming shootin' tomorrow?" would be OK in upper class vernacular when discussing field sports; "Are you comin' shootin' termorruh?" might suggest that the speaker was inviting a friend to help him rob a bank.


Richard English
 
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Cockney ATMs.


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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Hilarious, arnie! Big Grin So where does "moolah" come from anyway? We use it here, too.
 
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Could somebody please translate? I would have selected "English," unlike the Scotsman who chose Cockney and then became annoyed because he couldn't understand it!

From the comments, I got that Bangers and Mash was "cash." But what are the others?

Wordmatic
 
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According to Dictionary.com "moolah" is American slang, origin unknown.

The other words are no more real Cockney than that, but I'd guess that sky rocket = pocket, rattle & tank = bank, Charlie Sheen = screen, Fleet Street = sheet (?), Huckleberry Finn - PIN, Sausage & mash - cash.


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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<Asa Lovejoy>
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My Gloucestershire friend Paul's reaction:
Good to know that the Banks are spending their cash bale-outs wisely... just watch an episode of Minder for Cockney from the horses mouth (Dennis Waterman)
"Reet canny..." eh? (Newcastle, pr. "N-e-w-cstle") or, as my broad Gloucestershire isn't really up to Geordie, try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auf_Wiedersehen,_Pet
Here, we suffer Cockney and offer smiling nods to Geordie (of dawning incomprehension!!)
This on the basis that all who choose to live in London are by definition not quite all there, and that all civilisation ends somewhere North of Tewkesbury, (about 9 miles away.)
What are you doing supporting Murdoch by reading the Times?!!
Regards,
Paul
 
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They aren't actually installed by banks, but run by a private company, Bank Machine, apparently. In other words, it costs you money every time you withdraw cash. Since I think that's a rip-off, I only use machines on bank premises.

I saw a short report about it on TV, and Googled it; the article on The Times site was the first hit.


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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The OED says the origin of "moolah" is unknown and that it is probably unrelated to European Romani mol- "to be worth."

I found this article interesting. This comment is so true:
quote:
The Internet has unleashed that part of ourselves that we used to keep under wraps. Dark thoughts, like the trolls of Mordor, can now surface and thrive by the light of day.
 
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There was an interesting article by Eric Zorn today about what the media would have done had Chappaquiddick happened now.
quote:
If we'd had insatiable 24/7 cable news networks in July 1969, the accident on Chappaquiddick Island in which a passenger in a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy drowned would likely have dominated the national consciousness for months.
I've thought a lot about this recently. Yes, the media would have been all over it and surely there would have been all sorts of YouTube reports. However, I don't think he would have suffered any more politically today than he did then. After all, he was clearly in line for the presidency. Of course we'll never know for sure.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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An excerpt from "Yes" Magazine: Bundanoon, Australia, May be First to Legally Ban Bottled Water

In a July 4 vote, Bundanoon, Australia, may have become the first community in the world to legally ban bottled water. The ban was promoted through the grassroots “Bundy On Tap” campaign. The town plans to implement the law by September, once it sets up bottled water alternatives, such as several new free filtered “water stations” to be placed around the community.

Good on 'em!
 
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