Newspeak

May. 23rd, 2012 02:44 pm
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How would you define a "humanitarian disaster"?

Expressions

Jul. 8th, 2011 09:52 am
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I really enjoy it when I say something and my interlocutor comments that while they know the word or expression from their reading, they've never heard anyone use it in conversation.
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As many of you know, I love eggcorns, those wacky re-shapings of familiar words or phrases, often undetectable by spell-checkers. A post tonight on Language Log includes a beautiful (albeit deliberate) one: feint-hearted. For me, the best thing about eggcorns is finding a way in which they actually make sense. Give it a try! Look up three eggcorns in The Eggcorn Database and tell us what the resulting phrase might really mean.

a posable thumb - what every recruiter of hand models looks for, a thumb able to be beautifully positioned and held by its possessor

veil of tears - the blurred vision of a tearful eye

feint-hearted - indicating repeatedly that one is ready for a relationship and then pulling away when presented with a genuine opportunity
lillibet: (Default)
As many of you know, I love eggcorns, those wacky re-shapings of familiar words or phrases, often undetectable by spell-checkers. A post tonight on Language Log includes a beautiful (albeit deliberate) one: feint-hearted. For me, the best thing about eggcorns is finding a way in which they actually make sense. Give it a try! Look up three eggcorns in The Eggcorn Database and tell us what the resulting phrase might really mean.

a posable thumb - what every recruiter of hand models looks for, a thumb able to be beautifully positioned and held by its possessor

veil of tears - the blurred vision of a tearful eye

feint-hearted - indicating repeatedly that one is ready for a relationship and then pulling away when presented with a genuine opportunity
lillibet: (Default)
I recently read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman.

It was interesting on many, many levels and I would encourage anyone who is interested in the Hmong, Western Medicine, communication, language, ethics, etc. to give it a shot.

Here are three passages I want to remember:

Read more... )
lillibet: (Default)
I recently read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman.

It was interesting on many, many levels and I would encourage anyone who is interested in the Hmong, Western Medicine, communication, language, ethics, etc. to give it a shot.

Here are three passages I want to remember:

Read more... )
lillibet: (Default)
"reek havoc"

As always, I find myself thinking of ways this could be used intentionally. Something like "The arrival of a skunk reeked havoc on our picnic."
lillibet: (Default)
"reek havoc"

As always, I find myself thinking of ways this could be used intentionally. Something like "The arrival of a skunk reeked havoc on our picnic."
lillibet: (Default)
Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] languagelog, David Pesetsky's "translation" of the performance instructions in Mahler's 1st Symphony.

I confess that my German is so rudimentary that I didn't really get it until "viola solo".
lillibet: (Default)
Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] languagelog, David Pesetsky's "translation" of the performance instructions in Mahler's 1st Symphony.

I confess that my German is so rudimentary that I didn't really get it until "viola solo".

Eggcorns

Mar. 12th, 2009 12:32 pm
lillibet: (Default)
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an eggcorn is a non-standard reshaping of a familiar word or phrase. The word comes from someone's attempt to spell "acorn".

I love these. Or maybe I hate them--it's so hard to know. They drive me crazy and are one of the things that will cause me to hurl a book across a room. And yet I collect them and ponder them and glory in The Eggcorn Database. I think what I like about them is that frequently they would be very funny if used ironically: a rye sense of humor is just what W.C. Fields had and I've certainly watched examples of women using their feminine wilds.

This week I've read the phrase "make due" three times.

Eggcorns

Mar. 12th, 2009 12:32 pm
lillibet: (Default)
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an eggcorn is a non-standard reshaping of a familiar word or phrase. The word comes from someone's attempt to spell "acorn".

I love these. Or maybe I hate them--it's so hard to know. They drive me crazy and are one of the things that will cause me to hurl a book across a room. And yet I collect them and ponder them and glory in The Eggcorn Database. I think what I like about them is that frequently they would be very funny if used ironically: a rye sense of humor is just what W.C. Fields had and I've certainly watched examples of women using their feminine wilds.

This week I've read the phrase "make due" three times.
lillibet: (Default)
[Poll #1357960]

Please comment and tell me what you think each of these means, whether you've heard it before, or not.
lillibet: (Default)
[Poll #1357960]

Please comment and tell me what you think each of these means, whether you've heard it before, or not.
lillibet: (Default)
Friedrich Froebel, the man who invented kindergarten originally called his school a Kleinkinderbeschäftigungsanstalt, which the article I'm reading translates as "small-child-keep-busy-institute".
lillibet: (Default)
Friedrich Froebel, the man who invented kindergarten originally called his school a Kleinkinderbeschäftigungsanstalt, which the article I'm reading translates as "small-child-keep-busy-institute".
lillibet: (Default)
As most of you know, I record textbooks for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. This week I was assigned to a textbook I've read parts of in earlier sessions that deals with language deficits and impairments. I was reading the chapter about school-age children and was impressed with how it outlined the specific and complex language tasks that are part of everyday school experience (e.g. quickly switching modalities between listening/speaking/reading/writing, following a story (holding information in memory and retrieving it to make connections with new material) and answering questions about it, participating in class discussions, etc.) and the ways in which even minor language impairment can make these tasks extremely challenging.

One of the issues that it raised was a completely new thought for me, although one that was immediately obvious once raised: people with language impairment have difficulty establishing close peer relationships. I thought about it, about how hard it is to be friends with someone who doesn't understand the conversational turn-taking exchange, who may not respond or respond with entirely irrelevant statements, who may respond to direct questions without adding anything or asking follow-up questions, who may have significant trouble retrieving words in realtime. Of course that would make things difficult.

Then I started thinking about my closest friends and the ways in which our very similar levels of language proficiency play a huge part in our relationship. Being able to depend on them to understand what I say and to explain what they mean and to be willing to do both is key. That led to thinking about the many brilliant and interesting people of my acquaintance who do seem to have the kinds of language deficits under discussion in the book, but whose high intelligence has permitted them to establish coping strategies and excel in other ways, such that their deficit is not perceived, or attributed to personality quirk.

I think this line of thought may be spooling through my general pondering for quite a while. Don't be surprised if I try to talk to you about it.
lillibet: (Default)
As most of you know, I record textbooks for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. This week I was assigned to a textbook I've read parts of in earlier sessions that deals with language deficits and impairments. I was reading the chapter about school-age children and was impressed with how it outlined the specific and complex language tasks that are part of everyday school experience (e.g. quickly switching modalities between listening/speaking/reading/writing, following a story (holding information in memory and retrieving it to make connections with new material) and answering questions about it, participating in class discussions, etc.) and the ways in which even minor language impairment can make these tasks extremely challenging.

One of the issues that it raised was a completely new thought for me, although one that was immediately obvious once raised: people with language impairment have difficulty establishing close peer relationships. I thought about it, about how hard it is to be friends with someone who doesn't understand the conversational turn-taking exchange, who may not respond or respond with entirely irrelevant statements, who may respond to direct questions without adding anything or asking follow-up questions, who may have significant trouble retrieving words in realtime. Of course that would make things difficult.

Then I started thinking about my closest friends and the ways in which our very similar levels of language proficiency play a huge part in our relationship. Being able to depend on them to understand what I say and to explain what they mean and to be willing to do both is key. That led to thinking about the many brilliant and interesting people of my acquaintance who do seem to have the kinds of language deficits under discussion in the book, but whose high intelligence has permitted them to establish coping strategies and excel in other ways, such that their deficit is not perceived, or attributed to personality quirk.

I think this line of thought may be spooling through my general pondering for quite a while. Don't be surprised if I try to talk to you about it.
lillibet: (Default)
For those of you who don't read [livejournal.com profile] languagelog, I just had to point out a recent entry, in which the following was related by one of their correspondents:

I was in the Children's Museum in Baltimore when I overheard this conversation between a mother and a young son, concerning a bizarre "fun house" installation, which had sloping ceilings, "wrong" furniture, odd colors, and all sorts of other things meant to delight children with its absurdity:

SON: I want to go in that silly house again!

MOTHER: Don't you remember? We do NOT use ADJECTIVES!

SON: Sorry, mommy!


The entry goes on to point out that what the mother is presumably trying to teach her kid is not to use judgmental language. But that's equally ludicrous. WTF, mom?!
lillibet: (Default)
For those of you who don't read [livejournal.com profile] languagelog, I just had to point out a recent entry, in which the following was related by one of their correspondents:

I was in the Children's Museum in Baltimore when I overheard this conversation between a mother and a young son, concerning a bizarre "fun house" installation, which had sloping ceilings, "wrong" furniture, odd colors, and all sorts of other things meant to delight children with its absurdity:

SON: I want to go in that silly house again!

MOTHER: Don't you remember? We do NOT use ADJECTIVES!

SON: Sorry, mommy!


The entry goes on to point out that what the mother is presumably trying to teach her kid is not to use judgmental language. But that's equally ludicrous. WTF, mom?!

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