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I think most of us have heard of the Ig Nobel prizes and am sure we all know about the Nobel Prizes. Andre Geim has won both prizes, in 2000 (Ig Nobel) and 2010 (Nobel).


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We talked about the use of the word "treason" on the chat today. Here's the editorial in the Chicago Tribune that drives me nuts. Yes, the Democratic nominee shouldn't have used the phrase "economic treason," but does this really reach the level of an editorial? If the Tribune were to write an editorial on every dumb remark made by a politician, well, the entire paper would be editorials.

Related to this gaffe, I think one can use the word "treason" in a less strict way than the U.S. Constitution does!
 
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Dictionary.com shows the third definition of "treason" as
quote:
the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.
Still pretty strong, but not quite as bad as defined in your constitution. I think that most people, when seeking a definition, would look in a modern dictionary, not something written three hundred years ago.


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quote:
Originally posted by Geoff:
By the way, who knows what "Subaru" means?

Since no one, including me, seems to have known the answer, I looked it up.

Subaru logo



Wikipedia - Subaru
quote:
Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster, which in turn inspires the Subaru logo and alludes to the five companies that merged to create FHI.[2]

The [2] above refers to the Subaru website
quote:
FHI was created by the merger of six companies, so you can see what a truly evocative name Subaru is.

I think that "six" is an error.

Subaru Logo - Design and History:
quote:
The company is influenced by the star cluster Pleiades. In Japanese the cluster name is "Subaru", which roughly translated into English means, "to govern", "unite," or "gather together". The large star in the logo represents Fuji Heavy Industries, and the five smaller stars represent the current five companies that are united under the FHI group. In essense the logo represent the unification of 5 companies mentioned above to become one large entity called the Fuji Heavy Industry.

Subaru 4WD Club of Queensland, Australia: What's In A Name?:
quote:
Fuji Heavy industries, the maker of SUBARU cars, was known as Nakajima Aircraft before WW II, which made many fighters and bombers. Even the famous Mitsubishi Zero fighter had a Nakajima 14 cylinder engine. After the war, the company was forced to spread into 15 companies to cut the strength of the huge weapon industry. But in the early 1950s, five of the companies gathered into one again to restart as a transportation company. That's FUJI and that's why there are five little stars and one big star.
 
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I'm sorry I called Kristin Davis a hooker


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Now that's what I call an apology!


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by tinman:
quote:
Originally posted by Geoff:
By the way, who knows what "Subaru" means?

Since no one, including me, seems to have known the answer, I looked it up.


I still didn't see the simple answer: "Subaru" in Japanese is "Pleiades" in English. a constellation of stars, a constellation of companies.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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quote:
Now that's what I call an apology!
So funny! Big Grin

Those of you outside the U.S. are beginning to see what we're experiencing in the upcoming election. Oy vey!
 
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"I could care less" turns 50. Interestingly, the variant isn't used over here in the UK.

http://www.boston.com/bostongl...4/i_could_care_less/


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Interestingly, the variant isn't used over here in the UK.

Not into irony, I guess.


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quote:
Not into irony, I guess.

Isn't it ironic?


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The Collins English Dictionary is apparently introducing a slew of "new" words to its latest edition. See the BBC report.

Although I've seen a couple of the words mentioned used by journalists once or twice, so far as I'm aware they are nonce-words that will disappear a quickly as they've arrived. About the only one that has caught the public's fancy is "simples", and I have my doubts about the staying power of that, too.


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Looks like just the UK is stuck with those "words".
 
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More Sapir-Whorfism: 5 Insane Ways Words Can Control Your Mind.

Hat-tip: Fully (sic).


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Nice article, arnie, along with the response. I know we've discussed this here before. I think linguists are too quick to take a side with this question. Some real outcome research needs to be done. Not being a linguist, I am not sure how they'd design the study, but I am convinced they could. Instead, they seem to discuss the issue. I know there are some heavy weights doing the discussion (such as Language Log's analysis on Fully Sic), but let's do the research.

Less intellectual and not word related, but I thought this lawsuit of the day was totally ridiculous: Link
 
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Here's an interesting article about the etymology of "cool" as it is used today: Link
quote:
The Times Literary Supplement, the erudite British weekly, isn't the first place you would expect to find an outbreak of cool. But for a recent stretch of a few months, its letters page was home to a protracted debate over exactly how cool got cool.
 
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An interesting article about Google's Ngram Viewer is at MercuryNews.com.


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Yes, very interesting. And I learned a new word: culturomics - the application of massive amounts of data analysis to the study of human culture.
 
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From the article arnie cited:

quote:
About 8,500 new words enter the English language annually, which fueled a 70 percent growth of the lexicon between 1950 and 2000.

Another article I read translated that increase into figures:

quote:
In one part of its analysis, the culturomics team estimates that about 8,500 new words annually entered the English language between 1950 and 2000. That process fueled a 70 percent growth in the number of English words, from 597,000 to 1,022,000.

If the trend has held true, then we've added 85,000 more words since 2000, and if it continues some time in 2020 we'll have doubled the lexicon.

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However, a lot of those words are techy (tweet, google, etc.) and will fall out of use fairly soon.
 
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Here's a fun article about what's right in America, and what is wrong. They started out with what is wrong, and I loved this analysis:
quote:
I am convinced that when historians look back in 500 years on the downfall of American civilization, they will trace it to heated toilet seats in Vegas. Reality television and bacon martinis may also be on the list, along with competitive kindergarten.
 
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I ran across this article from August 1, 2009.

"%&#$!" makes you feel better "%&#$!" makes you feel better
quote:
“Swear words are unique,” says Timothy Jay, a psychologist at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, who has studied the role of naughty words in linguistics. “They’re really the link between the language system and the emotional system.”

Timothy Jay is also the author of Cursing in America: A Psycholinguistic Study of Dirty Language in the Courts, in the Movies, in the Schoolyards and on the Streets.

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From 1993 ... I hereby refute this almost unique grammatical error.

(Hat-tip: English Language @ SFX.)


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Ah, the late Miles Kington. I used to enjoy his quirky little pieces in the Independent - how he managed to come out with them five days a week I'll never know! (He lived not too far from here, as well - I occasionally saw him around town.)

I would take issue with the claim that "law and order" requires a plural verb, though. It's not a regular example of two nouns joined by a conjunction, but a set phrase with a specific meaning. To write "law and order break down" suggests an analysis as "law breaks down and order breaks down", which I don't think is quite the intended meaning.

To draw an analogy: you'd say "gin and tonic is extremely refreshing", not "... are ...", wouldn't you?
 
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To draw an analogy: you'd say "gin and tonic is extremely refreshing", not "... are ...", wouldn't you?

This is an example of making grammar too simple. You take something like subject-verb concord and elevate one rule while squashing all exceptions into the ground under a twisting foot of some chain smoker. And this sort of thing has nothing to do with something so new-fangled as the Internet. In Classical Greek, neuter plural subjects often take a verb in the singular. Go figure. In the Greek's case, it was probably the invention of writing that led to this sorry state of grammatical affairs. At least subject-verb concord is a feature of grammar, whereas most usage fiats, though masquerading as grammar, are really based on something else: e.g., rhetoric, style, logic, etc.


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Odd that you set grammar and logic in opposition - but it does seem to be the case at times.

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It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Odd that you set grammar and logic in oposition - but it does seem to be the case at times.

Why odd? Logic, grammar, and rhetoric were all separate subjects of study from classical times down to the present. Logic is about argumentation using rules of inference and deduction. Rhetoric is about convincing people of your argument using non-logical and non-grammatical means (sometimes). Grammar is about how to analyse the various parts of language (morphology) and how to put them together (syntax) according to convention (i.e., arbitrary rules). When people argue that some bit of grammar is not logical or what have you I assume they don't know their grammar from a hole in the ground.


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quote:
Originally posted by zmježd:
When people argue that some bit of grammar is not logical or what have you I assume they don't know their grammar from a hole in the ground.

Quite so in my case, since I've forgotten most of what I thought I knew. While I do see your point re grammar, rhetoric, and logic, do you argue that it is unreasonable to expect the three to be in accord? Politicians and, as you mentioned, academicians often intentionally separate them, but it seems disinengenuous to do so.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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While I do see your point re grammar, rhetoric, and logic, do you argue that it is unreasonable to expect the three to be in accord?

I'm not sure what "in accord" might mean in this case. There's nothing particularly logical about how a language might divide the world up, and having done so, how the bits fit together. Some languages decline nouns and adjectives, and conjugate verbs, but others do nothing of the sort. Is one way "better", more "correct", or more "logical" than the other? It's a serious question. Chinese has almost no morphology at all. A word can be a noun or a verb with no change in form. (English is closer to Chinese than Latin in this regard.) What is inherently logical about dividing qualifiers into three degrees of comparison: i.e., the positive (good), the comparative (better), and the superlative (best)? Why not two or fifteen?

Politicians and, as you mentioned, academicians often intentionally separate them, but it seems disinengenuous to do so.

It's not just the two groups you've mentioned. Everybody obfuscates when it's to their advantage. Occasionally politicians and academics can communicate as well as the rest of the herd. It just depends on what they're up to.


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How Language Shapes Thought

This article is in the February 2011 edition of Scientific American and is definitely worth reading. The link above only shows you the first 2 paragraphs. You have to buy the issue for $5.99 to read the rest of the article. Or you can read it free at your local library. That's what I did.
 
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This link has the full article.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Very interesting. I'd read about the article in the blogosphere before, but not seen the whole thing.


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quote:
Originally posted by zmježd:
There's nothing particularly logical about how a language might divide the world up, and having done so, how the bits fit together.


Another example: "I didn't see nothing" means "I saw nothing", not "I saw something" - which is what we might expect if language was logical. In many languages, double negatives don't cancel each other out.
 
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Liberman discusses Boroditsky.

The Economist hosted a debate between Liberman and Boroditsky.
 
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Mind vs. Machine. A really interesting article from a man trying to prove he's human.

(Hat-tip: Language Log.)


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The Guardian has a review of what looks like an interesting book: The Language Wars, by Henry Hitchings.

EDIT: Two other reviews - The Independent and The Observer.


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Interesting, arnie. I may read it. Has anyone here read it?

I found two things interesting in that first link. First of all, "nice" means "subtle?" We've probably discussed that before, but I don't remember it.

Second, apparently in England you say "Hell in a handcart." In the US we say, "Hell in a handbasket."
 
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Bilingual babies cue in to languages
Two languages better than one for infant perception

quote:
Infants raised bilingual from birth can distinguish not only between their two native tongues but between two languages they’ve never been exposed to, just by watching adults speak without hearing what they say, said psychologist Janet Werker of the University of British Columbia.
 
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Sounds odd to me...
 
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Blog early, blog often: the secret to making boys write properly.


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Two things struck me. First, does England focus more on boy education than on girl education? Second, is "pupil" routinely used when speaking of students? It would seem outdated here...along with "when school commences..."
 
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I hated to start a thread with this article because it really isn't word or language related...but how funny! Read about the Illinois's roadkill bill: Link
quote:
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Illinois General Assembly has passed a bill that would allow citizens to collect the carcasses of fur-bearing mammals found along public roadways, reducing the shameful waste of perfectly good roadkill while saving precious taxpayer dollars.
 
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Yes, but only during season with the proper permits.

quote:
If Gov. Pat Quinn signs the measure into law, Illinoisans will be free to retrieve dead beaver, mink, weasel, fox, raccoon, muskrat, badger and opossum — during the legal hunting or trapping season, with the required stamps and permits.
 
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True, but what in the world would be the purpose? With our extreme budgetary issues, that is what they focus on? Roll Eyes
 
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This was written over 10 years ago, but is still apt: A cycle of Pedantry.

[Hat-tip: Plain Text.


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Loved the cycle of Pedantry! Big Grin It clearly takes them hours to debate something!

Here is an article about "Poetry" magazine that I thought was good. Who'd have thought how controversial a poetry magazine could be: Link
 
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There was an article in the Chicago Tribune yesterday about dying languages. While I couldn't find it online, I found the article here. It apparently was originally published in June.

I know we've talked about dying languages before, but I found it interesting.
quote:
Some linguists say that languages are disappearing at the rate of two a month. Half of the world's remaining 7,000 or so languages may be gone by the end of this century, pushed into disuse by English, Spanish and other dominating languages.
There was also this accompanying article.
quote:
Technology, long considered a threat to regional languages, now is being seen as a way to keep young people from forsaking their native tongues for dominant languages. YouTube and Facebook, as well as Internet radio and cell phone texting, are helping minority language groups stave off death.

Linguist Samuel Herrera said he was elated to find teenagers zapping each other with text messages in Huave, an endangered language spoken only by about 15,000 people in the Tehuantepec region of Mexico, along the Pacific.

"This really strengthens the use of the language," said Herrera, who runs the linguistics laboratory at the Institute of Anthropological Research in the Mexican capital.

Dr. Gregory D.S. Anderson, the director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages in Salem, Ore., agrees. Somewhere between the ages of 6 and 20 or 25, he said, "people make a definitive decision whether to break with the language."

"If the language isn't being used by their peer group, then they reject it categorically," he said.

Technology as simple as text messaging can draw them back.
To our prescriptivists: Texting may not be so bad for the language, after all!
 
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Twitterology

This article in the NY Times about Twitterology is interesting. Apparently it is being used more and more by social psychologists and linguists to analyze language. For example:
quote:
At the University of Texas, for example, a group of linguists and social psychologists has been monitoring Twitter to track on-the-ground sentiment over the course of the Arab Spring, particularly in Egypt and Libya. After the death of Colonel Qaddafi, the linguist David Beaver and his assistants quickly summoned thousands of Arabic-language tweets before and after the event. They zeroed in on messages known to be from Libya by using Twitter’s system of geocoding. (Posts from cellphones, for instance, very often encode the user’s geographic coordinates.) The tweets were then automatically translated from Arabic to English and fed into a text-analysis computer program.
 
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PLANE CRASH LANDS IN POLAND

Headline on a story in the Huffington Post. Can anyone spot the ambiguity?
 
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quote:
PLANE CRASH LANDS IN POLAND

Who's that, Ossy Osbourne? Wink


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