Posts Tagged ‘language’

90-Second Prep for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

December 14, 2015

You’re psyched to see the new Star Wars movie, but do you remember the older Star War films? Anne-Sophie Goninet and Worldcrunch present 90 seconds of highlights  Just watch the video above.

There. All caught up?

Before you ask: Spanish, Russian, English, Hungarian, Japanese, Portuguese, French, German, Turkish and Italian. 

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ฉันไม่พูดภาษาไทย (“I Don’t Speak Thai”), Sings Brooklyn’s Maggie Rosenberg

July 22, 2015

“For 19-year-old Brooklyn native Maggie Rosenberg, learning Thai pop songs began as a frustrated attempt to connect with the people of her host country. But the connection turned out stronger than she had anticipated ….

After returning home from a cultural immersion program in Thailand four years ago, Rosenberg taught herself Thai by learning how to sing the country’s pop hits. Today, her covers draw tens of thousands of views, while her original song, the endearing “I Don’t Speak Thai,’ has racked up nearly a million. Most videos feature her strumming a ukulele in her bedroom ….”

— “Maggie Rosenberg, Thailand’s American Sweetheart.” Melissa Pandika, OZY

Maggie Rosenberg @Facebook

Downloads @Bandcamp

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Spanish Is a Lovin’ Tongue

April 18, 2015

Video: “She Never Spoke Spanish to Me,” written by Butch Hancock, performed by Joe Ely with Lloyd Maines on pedal steel and the Muscle Shoal Horns.

“Met her in old Mexico
She was laughing sad and young
In a smokey room no one could see
Her favorite poets all agreed
Spanish is a loving tongue
But she never spoke Spanish to me”

Data analysis adds:

“Spanish was the most positively biased language followed by Portuguese and English. China landed at the end of the list, having used the fewest positive words of the 10 most spoken languages. Each language contains a complex history in which certain words became more important according to custom, practicality, and culture.”

— “Spanish is the Language of Love. English, of Poetry.” Orion Jones, Big Think

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Huh?

May 31, 2014

New research by Mark Dingemanse and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics … has uncovered a surprisingly important role for an interjection long dismissed as one of language’s second-class citizens: the humble huh?, a sort of voiced question mark slipped in when you don’t understand something. In fact, they’ve found, huh? is a “universal word,” the first studied by modern linguists.

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A E I O U

April 8, 2012

“Vowels,” a short film by illustrator and filmmaker Temujin Doran, based on a 1945 Linguaphone instructional recording.

Hat tip: Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

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Breaking News: Okay!

January 11, 2012

Breaking News: Okay!

Want to know America’s lingustic gift to the world? Okay.

No, that’s it, the word “okay.” If you travel or scan global broadcasting you’ll hear it used by speakers of many languages, but the word came from the USA, coined in 1839 by Boston journalist Charles Gordon Greene (1804-1886).

More:

“Did you know a journalist coined the word ‘OK’?” Mignon Fogarty, MuckRack

OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, Allen Metcalf (Oxford, 2010)

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Steven Pinker on Language (Illustrated)

February 21, 2011

Psychologist and writer Steven Pinker recently spoke to the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) about language and cognition. The video of his complete lecture is here, but the animated excerpt above may be easier to follow, and more fun.

 

Video by Cognitive Media for RSA Animate.

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‘Eyjafjallajökull,’ Just Like It’s Spelled.

April 20, 2010

Just say “Eyjafjallajökull.”

Couldn’t be simpler. Pronounce  “ö” and “u” as the French “eu” in “bleu” and “ll” as “tl” but with clenched teeth. The letter “j” sounds like “y” and the accent is on the first syllable, which sounds like the Canadian “eh?”

Try drinking some Brennivin first.

More pronunciation help:

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“Barista” Banned by Finicky Feds

September 30, 2009

 

The Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee of the Bureau of Labor Statistics has nixed the word “Barista:”

“(part I) Docket No. 08-1081 requested adding “barista” as an illustrative example for 35-3022 Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop. The SOCPC did not accept this recommendation. Depending on the work performed, baristas can be classified in more than one occupation, including 35-2021 Food Preparation Workers, 35-3021 Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Fast Food, and 35-3022 Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop. The SOCPC recommended classifying workers who perform duties combining preparation and serving of non-alcoholic beverages in 35-3021 Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food, and modifying the definition to clarify their inclusion.”

That sounds suspiciously like the prose of confirmed tea drinkers.

In any case, the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is merely used by government agencies that collect and publish occupational data at the Federal level.

The late William Safire noted the word’s arrival in the 11th edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary in 2003:

“Waitrons (nope; that overly nonsexist term never made it) will be happy to see barista, ‘a person who makes and serves coffee (as espresso) to the public.'”

The Urban Dictionary claims the term is derived from the Italian for “I was an Art History major.”

Frankly, we’re partial to the term “Java-Jockey” ourselves.

 

Image (“Neo-Nighthawks, after Edward Hopper”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Words of Summer

July 10, 2009

Words ofSummer

Just in time for your summer staycation reading pleasure, 100 new words and phrases have been added to the eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. You may have read about this in lexicographic fan fiction, but if you missed it, turn down that loud reggaeton, finish your schwarma, and click on these new items of semi-official American English.

Some new words like haram seem pretty kosher; others are phony as a sock puppet and we wouldn’t use them with our worst frenemy. Find new words you like? Text ’em to the whole flash mob.’

 

Image (after a WWII poster) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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