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Hong Kong interlingual contrast

John Brewer noted the palpable irony between two quotations in this article from today's NYT:  "7 Hong Kong Police Officers Arrested in Beating of Protester"(11/26/14) A:  Hundreds of people shouted “I want true universal suffrage” in Cantonese, with their chants echoing off the tall buildings in the area, amplifying their voices. and B:   The protesters, […]

Collect Fees Documents at Miss Hot Cafe

Toni Tan writes: I don't eat out much, but when I do, this is one of my favorite places. The food is spicy; however, I don't think it is cuisine from Szechuan because the dishes aren't oily at all. The menu items are rather quirkily named (e.g., fish with sour cabbage). In fact, my favorite […]

Plebgate judgment

I spent Monday, November 24, in courtroom 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice in London. For a small part of that time, I testified as an expert witness; for the rest of the day, I was an interested spectator. What was the occasion? Peter Walker explains ("Andrew Mitchell and the Plebgate affair explained for non-Brits", The […]

One never knows, do one?

Q: Why do people use “one” instead of “I” or “me”? I would love to know the history of this one. A: As you might guess, “one” is among the earliest words in recorded English. In early Old English, it could be a noun or an adjective (expressing the simple numeral) as well as an... ? Read More: One never knows, do one?

Let’s talk turkey

Q: How did our native Thanksgiving bird get named for a country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia? A: Yes, turkey, the main event at Thanksgiving dinners in the US, is native to the Americas. The big bird came to the attention of Europeans in 1518 when the Spanish conquistador Juan de Grijalva encountered... ? Read More: Let’s talk turkey

Sale: Black Friday Mega-Deals for Language Learners!

This Internet is ripe with wonderful offers this weekend during the “Black Friday” rush of deals that you’ll get before Christmas, and Team Fi3M has been searching for the best sales relevant to language learning just for you. EnjoyShow More Summary

Not Truly Lost.

Emily Chung has a CBC story reporting on an interesting discovery: You may not recall any memories from the first year of life, but if you were exposed to a different language at the time, your brain will still respond to it at some level, a new study suggests. Brain scans show that children adopted […]

Berber subclassification: Reading Nait-Zerrad

Kamal Nait-Zerrad's 2001 article "Esquisse d'une classification linguistique des parlers berbères" presents a good deal of useful data, but does so in a manner that I find makes it rather difficult to figure out what's going on without plenty of pencil work. Show More Summary

Something Akin to Kinship

Mike from Glen Arbor, Michigan, asked if the words kin and akin are connected. Indeed, they are. They come from a cluster of Germanic, Scandinavian, and Dutch words that meant to produce, to engender, to beget. In turn, those words are related to the Greek ????? (genos), which would show up in a word like generate, and the Latin genus. Show More Summary

Satirical travelogy

Poe's Law says that "it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism". But this difficulty extends far beyond expressions of (political or religious) extremism, and I got an email advertisement today that kept me guessing for quite a while. The ostensible topic was the new issue […]

Posts of Thanksgiving Past

"Same-sex Mrs. Santa: 'The semantics are confusing'", 11/27/2003 "Thanks giving", 11/25/2004 "Life in these, uh, this United States", 11/24/2005 "A linguist's Thanksgiving", 11/23/2006 "A Thanksgiving discussion", 11/22/2007 "Thanksgiving...Show More Summary

you're welcome

I did two potentially (probably orig. AmE as adjective) fun things recently: I was interviewed for a famous (in one country) radio (BrE) programme/(AmE) show and I (BrE) went to the pictures and saw The Imitation Game. Potentially fun, and mostly fun, but not without worry and embarrassment.Let's start with the (orig. Show More Summary

Phrasebook Alternative History: 1940.

Tamas Deak at Poemas del río Wang posts about a courageous man and his unique Polish-Hungarian phrasebook: Wladys?aw Szabli?ski vel Krawczyk was the Polish lector of the Tisza István University in Debrecen from the thirties. He was born in Warsaw on 7 December 1912. On 1 September 1935 he was already teaching at the university, […]

Silver / aging / senior / whatever industry

Goods and services for senior citizens are a big business in China.  In general, the manufacture and marketing of such products go by the designation l?olíng ch?nyè ????.  But, oh, how to render that in English? Here are some of the translations I've come across: silver industry senior industry ageing industry aged care Google Translate […]

What can you do in 4 hours? Benny’s first Indonesian class

Inspired by Moses McCormick’s unfiltered uploads, I’ve decided to share an unedited crucial moment in my language learning processes; both the first time I’ve ever spoken the language and my first ever class. What I did was study four...Show More Summary

Class war skirmishes in England

Several manifestations of verbal and visual class warfare have recently hit the mass media in Britain. The subtlest example, least transparent to outsiders, is the affair of the white van in Rochester — William James, "In class obsessed Britain, tweet of 'white van' man hits nerve", Reuters 11/21/2014: Posting a picture on Twitter of a […]

No word for fetch

By Drew Dernavich, originally published August 20, 2007, a cartoon addition to our No Word for X archive: Or, to put it another way: "They have no words for anything, but they have no concept for 'fetch'." [h/t Joan M.]  

The Unity of Australian Languages: 1841.

Matt of No-sword posts a quote from Dixon’s The Languages of Australia (which looks wonderful — insert ritual complaint about overpriced academic books here) involving George Grey‘s “second great breakthrough in Australian linguistic...Show More Summary

Mon dieu! Le typo!

Here’s a tasty little typo that turns chicken with wine (coq au vin) into chicken with vine. Whatever that would be. I’m a little afraid to ask. And, not for nothing, it’s written correctly directly above where it’s written incorrectly. Kinda makes you want a glass of vin, no? Le sigh.         […]

Batman.

Even after all these years of looking up words, there are still plenty whose origins and history I’m unfamiliar with. Sometimes when I look one up, I nod and think “about what I expected”; sometimes I’m surprised; and sometimes I’m so taken aback that “astonished” doesn’t really cover it. This just happened to me with […]

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