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stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2007,20:03   

Everybody, please welcome Arden Chatfield, official linguist of After the Bar Closes. Arden, the other day you said something like 'the kinds of crap people like William Safire say are infuriating'. Like most people here, I have very little knowledge of linguistics. Probably 95% of what I know in the field came from Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct. Can you give us examples of some commonly believed things in the area of linguistics which are very wrong?

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2007,20:55   

ACK! Talk about no advance warning!

Erm, well, as a starting point, in lieu of just mumbling some stuff I poked around on the internets and found this,, which is a table of contents of a book called Language Myths.

the meanings of words should not be allowed to vary or change
some languages are just not good enough
the media are ruining English
French is a logical language
English spelling is kattastroffik
women talk too much
some languages are harder than others
children can't write or speak properly any more
in the Appalachians they speak like Shakespeare
some languages have no grammar
Italian is beautiful, German is ugly
bad grammar is slovenly
black children are verbally deprived
double negatives are illogical
TV makes people sound the same
you shouldn't say 'it is me' because 'me' is an accusative
they speak really bad English down south and in New York City
some languages are spoken more quickly than others
Aborigines speak a primitive language
everyone has an accent except me
America is ruining the English language

There are many others. Chinese characters are pictographic, American Indian languages are 'primitive' and have only a couple hundred words, English is the hardest language in the world, English comes from Latin, Latin is the most logical language there is, all languages come from Sanskrit/Sanskrit is the 'oldest' language in the world, Black English is 'illogical', Eskimo has thousands of words for snow, American Sign Language has no grammar or only a few words, immigrants don't want to learn English, unwritten languages 'have no grammar'. I've heard otherwise intelligent people say and sometimes write all of these things.

This is just off the top of my head. I'm sure I (or any other) could think of dozens more if we tried. This doesn't even count the thousands of bullshit etymologies of place names or English words lying around, or gibberish about stuff like how it's 'illogical' or 'ungrammatical' to split an infinitive, to end a sentence with a preposition.

Hey! That reminds me: my favorite 'grammar joke':

Two travelers are on a plane, a cowboy and a grammarian.

Cowboy: "So where you heading to?"

Grammarian: "Where *I* come from, it's considered bad grammar to end a sentence with a preposition."

Cowboy: "So where you heading to, assho1e?"


(PS: For the record, I have to confess I haven't read Pinker.)

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2007,21:11   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 17 2007,21:55)
ACK! Talk about no advance warning!

Erm, well, as a starting point, in lieu of just mumbling some stuff I poked around on the internets and found this,, which is a table of contents of a book called Language Myths.

the meanings of words should not be allowed to vary or change
some languages are just not good enough
the media are ruining English
French is a logical language
English spelling is kattastroffik
women talk too much
some languages are harder than others
children can't write or speak properly any more
in the Appalachians they speak like Shakespeare
some languages have no grammar
Italian is beautiful, German is ugly
bad grammar is slovenly
black children are verbally deprived
double negatives are illogical
TV makes people sound the same
you shouldn't say 'it is me' because 'me' is an accusative
they speak really bad English down south and in New York City
some languages are spoken more quickly than others
Aborigines speak a primitive language
everyone has an accent except me
America is ruining the English language

There are many others. Chinese characters are pictographic, American Indian languages are 'primitive' and have only a couple hundred words, English is the hardest language in the world, English comes from Latin, Latin is the most logical language there is, all languages come from Sanskrit/Sanskrit is the 'oldest' language in the world, Black English is 'illogical', Eskimo has thousands of words for snow, American Sign Language has no grammar or only a few words, immigrants don't want to learn English, unwritten languages 'have no grammar'. I've heard otherwise intelligent people say and sometimes write all of these things.

This is just off the top of my head. I'm sure I (or any other) could think of dozens more if we tried. This doesn't even count the thousands of bullshit etymologies of place names or English words lying around, or gibberish about stuff like how it's 'illogical' or 'ungrammatical' to split an infinitive, to end a sentence with a preposition.

Hey! That reminds me: my favorite 'grammar joke':

Two travelers are on a plane, a cowboy and a grammarian.

Cowboy: "So where you heading to?"

Grammarian: "Where *I* come from, it's considered bad grammar to end a sentence with a preposition."

Cowboy: "So where you heading to, assho1e?"


(PS: For the record, I have to confess I haven't read Pinker.)

Wow. What a bunch of info. Let me note the ones you mention which I've believed.

"the meanings of words should not be allowed to vary or change"

I know this is wrong. Nevertheless, people using 'beg the question' to mean 'suggests the question' pisses me off.

'some languages are harder than others'

Well, doesn't it take longer to learn some languages, than others?

'in the Appalachians they speak like Shakespeare'

I've heard this one. Not true?

'black children are verbally deprived'

Listening to black english does piss me off.

'Aborigines speak a primitive language'

that seems dumb. Some 'primitive' languages are really complex.

'everyone has an accent except me'

I've been guilty of that one.


'Chinese characters are pictographic'

Uh,...what? that's not true?

'Eskimo has thousands of words for snow, American Sign Language has no grammar or only a few words, immigrants don't want to learn English'

Crap, crap, crap.

'like how it's 'illogical' or 'ungrammatical' to split an infinitive, to end a sentence with a preposition.'

I like to regularly split infinitives, that's what language is for.

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2007,22:48   

ARDEN, IS IT TRUE YOU AND OTHER HOMOS LISP AND HAVE A SECRET HANDSHAKE?


HAR HAR ARDEN CHATTERBOX.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2007,22:52   

Quote
I know this is wrong. Nevertheless, people using 'beg the question' to mean 'suggests the question' pisses me off.


Some 'new' things people say is language change. Some shit is just wrong. ;) Until EVERYONE says it. Then it's language change.

   
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'some languages are harder than others'


Well, doesn't it take longer to learn some languages, than others?


It's totally relative based on what your first language is. For an English speaker, Finnish is a motherfucker. For an Estonian, it's a walk in the park. For an English speaker, Dutch is a challenge but not THAT hard. Dutch would be vastly harder for a speaker of, say, Chinese.

   
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'Chinese characters are pictographic'


Uh,...what? that's not true?


No, they're logographic:

 
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The Chinese written language employs Chinese characters (??/?? pinyin: hànzì), which are logograms: each symbol represents a sememe or morpheme (a meaningful unit of language), as well as one syllable; the written language can thus be termed a morphemo-syllabic script.
They are not just pictographs (pictures of their meanings), but are highly stylized and carry much abstract meaning. Only some characters are derived from pictographs. In 100 AD, the famed scholar X? Shèn in the Hàn Dynasty classified characters into 6 categories, only 4% as pictographs, and 82% as phonetic complexes consisting of a semantic element that indicates meaning, and a phonetic element that arguably once indicated the pronunciation.
 

   
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'in the Appalachians they speak like Shakespeare'


I've heard this one. Not true?


Nope. Appalachian has rural English archaisms, and it also has weird stuff  it did on its own, which is what we'd expect. Not Shakespeare.

   
Quote

'black children are verbally deprived'    
Quote

Listening to black english does piss me off.


You're far from alone, but that still doesn't mean that black children are verbally deprived or that black English is 'illogical'.

   
Quote
   
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'Aborigines speak a primitive language'

that seems dumb. Some 'primitive' languages are really complex.


All languages are complex, most languages of 'primitive societies' are incredibly complex.

 
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ARDEN, IS IT TRUE YOU AND OTHER HOMOS LISP AND HAVE A SECRET HANDSHAKE?


However, you know that notion that Englishmen all talk like homosexuals? That actually is true.  :angry:

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2007,23:02   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 17 2007,22:52)
However, you know that notion that Englishmen all talk like homosexuals? That actually is true.  :angry:

That is a thooper, *fabulous* lie, Arden.

Mwah.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
snoeman



Posts: 109
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2007,23:27   

Arden:
Quote
It's totally relative based on what your first language is. For an English speaker, Finnish is a motherfucker. For an Estonian, it's a walk in the park. For an English speaker, Dutch is a challenge but not THAT hard. Dutch would be vastly harder for a speaker of, say, Chinese.


How about Romance languages vs. Germanic languages for English speakers? I took French in highschool and German in college.  Personally, I found German much easier for me to learn than French, but I've wondered if my experience was not typical based on some anecdotal comments I've heard over the years.

Out of curiosity, if it's not too silly a question, do languages exhibit any kind of patterns or preferences in how new words or concepts are added over time? (e.g., tending to adopt from other languages, creating them based upon older words (or whatever the proper way of expressing that would be))

I ask because I've always liked the German version of "vacuum cleaner," i.e., "Staubsauger" or "Dust Sucker."  Equally descriptive, and more pithy, in my opinion.

  
oldmanintheskydidntdoit



Posts: 4999
Joined: July 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,03:06   


My favourite language book, "Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language"
I'm currently reading Douglas Hofstadter's latest, "I am a strange loop", amazing so far.

--------------
I also mentioned that He'd have to give me a thorough explanation as to *why* I must "eat human babies".
FTK

if there are even critical flaws in Gauger’s work, the evo mat narrative cannot stand
Gordon Mullings

  
Amadan



Posts: 1332
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,03:58   

My onw favourite is the idea that The King James Bahbble of 1611 proves that English is the Lawd's Chosen Langwudge.

http://members.citynet.net/morton/kj-outline.htm

Other delights include the dribbling lunacies perpetrated by British-Israelites ("Saxon" is derived from "Isaac's-son") and their ilk;

http://www.orange-street-church.org/text/lost-tribe-migration.htm

http://jahtruth.co.uk/ireland.htm
The second one isn't really about liguistics etc but it's so daft I had to share it with this august company.

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"People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutations" - Densye  4-4-2011
JoeG BTW dumbass- some variations help ensure reproductive fitness so they cannot be random wrt it.

   
huwp



Posts: 172
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,04:38   

Ooh, a thread I can join in more easily!

On the whole I lurk, as you chaps really know your onions, although I'm always fascinated in what is said.

My degree is in French and Italian and I have a very rusty acquaintance with Welsh, the language of my ancestors.

Language does, of course change.  In fact it changes constantly.  Sometimes we get stuck with unpleasant barbarisms which need to be resisted.  In the UK at the moment there is a horrid tendency for people to write or say "would of" which is a misinterpretation of "would've" from "would have".  It's ugly and illogical.

However, I completely agree with Arden that some things are just plain silly.  Why not split an infinitive if the balance of the sentence demands it?  Fowler was pretty clear on this.

Likewise, not ending a sentence with a preposition is just nonsense!  I read somewhere that Churchill was wrote in the margin of a particularly dense piece of legalese that "this is the sort of English up with which I will not put".

Language is a wonderful thing but we should always remember that translation is very much an art; sometimes there are no exact translations.  For example, in English we have a clear distinction between the words "glance" and "glimpse".  In Italian there is no such distinction there is only "occhiata" meaning a short sight of something.

Huwp

PS Watching afdave trying to claim that Portuguese was a mixture of French and Spanish was simply hilarious

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,09:52   

Quote
   
Quote
It's totally relative based on what your first language is. For an English speaker, Finnish is a motherfucker. For an Estonian, it's a walk in the park. For an English speaker, Dutch is a challenge but not THAT hard. Dutch would be vastly harder for a speaker of, say, Chinese.


How about Romance languages vs. Germanic languages for English speakers? I took French in highschool and German in college.  Personally, I found German much easier for me to learn than French, but I've wondered if my experience was not typical based on some anecdotal comments I've heard over the years.


I personally found German easier than French. Since German and English are both Germanic and French is not, I guess that's what one would expect, tho the massive amount of French loanwords no doubt made French easier than, say, Italian would have been. But to me, German grammar seemed a lot more 'familiar'. Then I took Hungarian for a year and *nothing* seemed familiar.

   
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Out of curiosity, if it's not too silly a question, do languages exhibit any kind of patterns or preferences in how new words or concepts are added over time? (e.g., tending to adopt from other languages, creating them based upon older words (or whatever the proper way of expressing that would be))


That's mostly a cultural thing. Some languages borrow from other languages with great abandon and unabashedly, like English, Japanese, Hindi, and, since the collapse of the USSR, Russian. Other languages are much more resistant to this and prefer to coin words for new things, again, usually for cultural reasons. Icelandic is a classic example of that, as is Arabic. German and French *tend* to borrow less, or at least there are Germans and French people who think they should borrow less, tho that's slipping. Some languages are resistant to borrowing just for linguistic reasons: Chinese doesn't borrow as much, because it can't simply take new words in -- the words have to be modified to fit the rather severe pronunciation constraints of Chinese, they have to agree on what character they'll use for the word, etc.

 
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Language does, of course change.  In fact it changes constantly.  Sometimes we get stuck with unpleasant barbarisms which need to be resisted.  In the UK at the moment there is a horrid tendency for people to write or say "would of" which is a misinterpretation of "would've" from "would have".  It's ugly and illogical.


That's not language change, that's just a boneheaded spelling mistake. It's plenty common in the US as well. You'll note that 'would of' gets 1.29 million hits on Google.  :(

 
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However, I completely agree with Arden that some things are just plain silly.  Why not split an infinitive if the balance of the sentence demands it?


The rule on split infinitives never made sense from an English perspective, it was just a pedantic carryover from Latin. That prohibition seems to be dying out, tho. I've noticed that often you really need to split infinitives in writing, or otherwise the sentence won't sound as good.

 
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My own favourite is the idea that The King James Bahbble of 1611 proves that English is the Lawd's Chosen Langwudge.


When I was spending time soaking up the Hard Tard at FSTDT last winter, I bumped into some representatives of the 'Jesus spoke Elizabethan English' crowd. It's completely mind boggling, since they really believe that Jesus spoke a language that wouldn't exist yet for centuries, and that it was somehow wicked to think that Jesus spoke Aramaic. They must get a lot of ridicule, since they get quite crabbily defensive about it. It's so completely untethered from reality, it almost makes creationism look reasonable by comparison. It seems to only be uneducated elderly white American men who ascribe to it. Irritable fundie retirees with more free time than brains, in other words.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
huwp



Posts: 172
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,10:30   

I don't at all have a problem with neologisms; in fact new words often show how vibrant and alive a language is.  And of course Arden, I quite agree, "would of" is indeed simply boneheaded mis-spelling.

I found it awfully depressing depressing recently when I read that some educational buffoons in the UK were suggesting that it should be acceptable for schoolwork to be completed in textspeak (txtspk?).  "cu l8r m8" might just be acceptable when sent as an SMS but surely not in more formal writing.

I also find it depressing when journalists fail to distinguish between "uninterested" and "disinterested" they're professional writers and should know how to use the tools of their trade.

On the other hand I find it fascinating just how beautiful language can be, not just in the images it can create.  For example, the opening passage from "Under Milk Wood" by Dylan Thomas is a glorious piece of English writing.

Hwyl fawr (as is sometimes said in Welsh!)

Huwp

PS I sometimes wonder whether "Tardspeak" is actually a dialect.

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,11:13   

Quote (huwp @ April 18 2007,10:30)
Hwyl fawr (as is sometimes said in Welsh!)

Huwp

PS I sometimes wonder whether "Tardspeak" is actually a dialect.

Oh yeah?  If you're really Welsh, how come there's only 1 "W" in your name, and no "L"s?  Huh?

In "Tardspeak" I think this means "You're Otta Here"

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,12:31   

Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ April 18 2007,03:06)

My favourite language book, "Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language"
I'm currently reading Douglas Hofstadter's latest, "I am a strange loop", amazing so far.

I love that book, omitsddi. I have come across very few who have read it, despite the popularity of GEB. And, I didn't know he had a new book out, so thanks for the tip.

--------------
The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
huwp



Posts: 172
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,14:07   

Quote (J-Dog @ April 18 2007,11:13)
Oh yeah?  If you're really Welsh, how come there's only 1 "W" in your name, and no "L"s?  Huh?

In "Tardspeak" I think this means "You're Otta Here"


Curses, I've been rumbled!

Actually, I've spent my life saying that my name is "Huw with a w".

Even so it gets spelled:
Ju
Hue
Hew
Hiw
Hugh
and on one memorable occasion...
...Wugh

Mmmm I love the smell of tard in the morning.

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,14:49   

I'm not a linguist, but I get drunk and act like one in bars... (honestly, I took some anthro. and linguistics in college, so I have some idea what I'm talking about.)

Language is just fascinating stuff, and there are a lot of misconceptions about it floating around out there. One good source for a popular-level discussion of such issues is the book Language Myths, by Laurie Bauer.

Arden does a good job here of listing some common and pernicious misconceptions. What I find interesting is not so much debunking such myths as investigating them, teasing out what they reveal about culture and language and people's relationship to them.

I live in Oakland, so I have more than passing familiarity with Black English. Some of you may remember the "ebonics" debate about 10 years ago, where the Oakland schools floated a proposal to actually teach some classes using primarily black english. A hue and cry went up, and Op-Ed pages nationwide featured a lot of hand-wringing about "the state of our language," and other such twaddle. I'm afraid I can't cite a source, but I remember reading one such magazine piece, in which a seemingly intelligent commentator made the claim that "it would be impossible to teach physics, for instance, in Black English."

I've waited lo, these many years for a soapbox upon which to decry this idea. The problem is that you can't really teach physics using standard English either, without importing into it the specialized vocabulary of physics. It is exceptionalism to imagine that that vocabulary "properly belongs" to the standard dialect of the language. And this, I feel, is at the heart of misconceptions about Black English, and other "non-standard" dialects. People don't realize that a) nobody really speaks "standard" which is a useful abstraction, nothing more, or b) what a dialect really is.

To a linguist, in a nutshell, what you, I, and everybody else speaks is an "ideolect." That's your language, and nobody else's. Whatever quirks of idiom and vocabulary and pronunciation you've picked up from your upbringing and other influences, form your ideolect. A "dialect" is a grouping of similar ideolects, and "A Language" is just a grouping of all the dialects (made up of ideolects) "of" that language. To a linguist, the "borders" can be fuzzy, and it can be difficult sometimes, in certain cases, to say that a given dialect is definitely part of one language or another. Or, as one wag once put it, "A 'language' is a dialect with a navy."

This seems all backwards to a lot of people, who seem to assume that "the language" is some fixed, immutable entity, of which a non-standard dialect can only be a distortion. But the upshot of this conception in the present context is that specialized or technical vocabularies can be "imported" into anyone's ideolect; they don't "belong" to one, supposedly "standard" dialect.

As regards your irritation with spoken Black English, steve, that brings me to another, underappreciated point about the intersection of language and culture. We forget that the only purpose of language is not just communicating the exact literal content of our utterances. Language is a cultural signifier, and, at times, speakers use their language to define an in-group and to marginalize perceived members of an out-group. Loud, obnoxious teenagers (of whatever race or linguistic identification) are often using language in this way to be intentionally abrasive and unintelligible to others.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
huwp



Posts: 172
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,16:18   

Certainly in nineteenth century London it was very common for many different sections of the community to use their own slang or dialect to keep things hidden from "outsiders"; whether it was costermongers' slang or the cant used by thieves.  You can get a flavour of it in Mayhew's wonderful book "London Labour and London Poor". I'm sure this must be a pretty universal thing.

On the whole I feel this is just part of language and the way we all use it - it's part of the richness of language itself and should be treasured.

However, I do feel that it's important that schoolchildren are taught standard English.  Without it they will risk becoming marginalised.

Mind you, in some professions it could be an advantage; it always seems to me that being able to write complete gobbledegook is a really useful skill if you're a lawyer or civil servant...

... or indeed an IDC proponent!

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,16:33   

ARDEN IS WHEN A DOG SNIFFS ANOTHERS BUTT A COMMUNICATIONS? HOW MUCH CSI IN THE INTERWEBS BEFORE IT IS ALIVE?

WHAT IS TEH SHANNON ENTROPY OF FARTY-FLASH?

WHY DO YOU WALK WITH A LIMP WRIST AND YOU'RE OTHER HAND ON YOUR HIP LIKE "I'M A LITTLE TEAPOT" WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO COMMUNICATE?

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,16:38   

Quote
However, I do feel that it's important that schoolchildren are taught standard English.  Without it they will risk becoming marginalised.

Oh, I definitely agree. But another thing about the ebonics proposal that got swept aside by the flood of ill-informed criticism at the time is that they were not going to teach Black English per se, they wanted to use the kids' dialect --the one they speak at home-- in some classes, as a pedagogical tool. Not at all the same thing.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,17:20   

Quote (snoeman @ April 17 2007,23:27)
Arden:
 
Quote
It's totally relative based on what your first language is. For an English speaker, Finnish is a motherfucker. For an Estonian, it's a walk in the park. For an English speaker, Dutch is a challenge but not THAT hard. Dutch would be vastly harder for a speaker of, say, Chinese.


How about Romance languages vs. Germanic languages for English speakers? I took French in highschool and German in college.  Personally, I found German much easier for me to learn than French, but I've wondered if my experience was not typical based on some anecdotal comments I've heard over the years.

Out of curiosity, if it's not too silly a question, do languages exhibit any kind of patterns or preferences in how new words or concepts are added over time? (e.g., tending to adopt from other languages, creating them based upon older words (or whatever the proper way of expressing that would be))

I ask because I've always liked the German version of "vacuum cleaner," i.e., "Staubsauger" or "Dust Sucker."  Equally descriptive, and more pithy, in my opinion.

I thought French was easier than German. The grammar is easier. German, though, is easier to pronounce more words. Sometimes french teachers want you to get the pronunciation perfectly.

The hardest languages for me, that I tried to learn are Polish and Chinese. Polish is hard to pronounce and the grammar structure is quite different from any Western European language. Chinese is just damned near impossible. I can't even say the words right. To me it sounds like I'm saying them perfectly, but I keep getting, "Nope, try again."

Oh, I like German words for the elements!

hydrogen = "wasserstoff" (water stuff)
oxygen = "sauerstoff" (acid stuff, sour stuff)
carbon = "kohlenstoff" (coal stuff)
nitrogen = "stickstoff" ?

And speaking of romantic languages and germanic languages, english is derived from both. When I learned about "The Second Consonant Shift" and "The Great Vowel Shift" I learned why we spell knife and knight the way we do and also why we put an e at the end of a word to make a long vowel.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,17:42   

Quote
Polish is hard to pronounce and the grammar structure is quite different from any Western European language.


Really? For several years I studied Russian, which is structurally basically the same as Polish (Slavic), and it didn't seem that alien to me, not after a couple years of German. In terms of general structure it's a lot like Latin. They're all Indo-European, after all.

I don't disagree with you about Polish pronunciation, tho. Russian pronunciation isn't that hard, but Polish is much more challenging.

C.J.O'Brien, I remember that Ebonics froofrah in Oakland very well. I lived in north Oakland for 10 years, what part of Oakland are you in?

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,17:51   

Quote
And speaking of romantic languages and germanic languages, english is derived from both.

quibble/
Not in the sense we usually mean "derived." English is descended from Anglo-Saxon, a Germanic language. Due to the unique history of the British Isles since Roman times, English has had a great many opportunities to acquire loan-words, primarily from Latin, and then from French. As Arden pointed out, for a mixture of cultural and linguistic reasons, English voraciously assimilates foreign terms.
Then, after the shifts phonon mentions, a great many Latinate terms were added to the language as neologisms. A lot of the "Latin" in English comes from deliberate coinages in the 17th and 18th centuries.
/quibble

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,17:51   

Quote (Richardthughes @ April 18 2007,16:33)
ARDEN IS WHEN A DOG SNIFFS ANOTHERS BUTT A COMMUNICATIONS? HOW MUCH CSI IN THE INTERWEBS BEFORE IT IS ALIVE?

WHAT IS TEH SHANNON ENTROPY OF FARTY-FLASH?

WHY DO YOU WALK WITH A LIMP WRIST AND YOU'RE OTHER HAND ON YOUR HIP LIKE "I'M A LITTLE TEAPOT" WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO COMMUNICATE?

Richard, you must be daft. There is no way in #### that I would discuss anything serious in this forum.  There are very few people here who are capable of discussion.

Believe me, I discussed these issues all VERY thoroughly in my blog two years ago. There's no way I'm going to repeat it.

Ya know why I don't discuss anything of depth with you guys?  As predicted, I know you'll twist anything I say to work for you.

Nope, I'll just pop in every once in a while to throw in a comment or talk dirty with J-Dog. I'm sure you people will ban me any minute now. 

You boys all have serious mental issues. Thank goodness there aren't more people like you. Lenny is a mess.

Ta ta, boys, I have to go clean my oven and make dinner.


:angry:

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,17:56   

Arden,
Actually I currently live in Emeryville. For many years I lived in the Grand Lake neighborhood, just off Lakeshore. I also spent some time in North Oakland, off 40th St.

(I didn't say Emeryville because nobody who doesn't live here would know where the heck that is, and, my house is literally 50 feet from the Oakland line.)

--------------
The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,18:01   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ April 18 2007,17:51)
 
Quote
And speaking of romantic languages and germanic languages, english is derived from both.

quibble/
Not in the sense we usually mean "derived." English is descended from Anglo-Saxon, a Germanic language. Due to the unique history of the British Isles since Roman times, English has had a great many opportunities to acquire loan-words, primarily from Latin, and then from French. As Arden pointed out, for a mixture of cultural and linguistic reasons, English voraciously assimilates foreign terms.
Then, after the shifts phonon mentions, a great many Latinate terms were added to the language as neologisms. A lot of the "Latin" in English comes from deliberate coinages in the 17th and 18th centuries.
/quibble

O'Brien is right, and it's not a quibble.

English is derived from Germanic, not Romance. English has a huge overlay of French and Latin loans, but that's not the same as being a Romance language. English grammatical structure is more or less typical Germanic, tho simplified a good deal.

(Don't forget that around the 10th century English also acquired a big layer of Old Norse borrowings.)

Japanese and Vietnamese have a vast number of Chinese loans, but that doesn't alter the fact that Japanese and Vietnamese are totally unrelated to Chinese (and to each other).

Quote
I also spent some time in North Oakland, off 40th St.


No fooling? For 10 years I lived at 40th and Telegraph.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,18:19   

I've just a moment for now: Arden, do you have a position regarding the evolutionary basis of language?  From where you (and your colleagues) sit, does language production and comprehension reflect the operation of a modularized cognitive adaptation that was shaped by human evolutionary history, or is it primarily a cultural invention supported by "domain general" human cognitive abilities? Do you have thoughts about the timing of the origins of language?  Do others here?

(And so forth: Chomsky's anti-evolutionary stance, language as reflecting a universal cognitive structure, theory of mind and language, Grice on implicate meanings, etc. etc. etc.)

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 2113
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,18:39   

Just a note re: Ebonics

There are two seperate issues, one liguistic, the other political.  The political issue in Oakland was Blacks were pissed-off that Hispanic dominant schools and school districts got lots of extra money to teach bilingual classes.  They (the Oakland folks) didn't care why, they merely wanted a piece of the action.  So, screw the Hispanic kids and pretend that you needed "bilingual" classes in "Black English/Ebonics."

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,19:26   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ April 18 2007,18:19)
I've just a moment for now: Arden, do you have a position regarding the evolutionary basis of language?  From where you (and your colleagues) sit, does language production and comprehension reflect the operation of a modularized cognitive adaptation that was shaped by human evolutionary history, or is it primarily a cultural invention supported by "domain general" human cognitive abilities? Do you have thoughts about the timing of the origins of language?  

Sorry, those questions are pretty far from my specialization within linguistics (an extremely diverse, not to say fragmented field), so I haven't spent too much time thinking about those questions. That said, I haven't found any of the competing theories about the origins of language to be terribly convincing. I just think much of the issue is still extremely hypothetical.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,19:53   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 18 2007,17:42)
Quote
Polish is hard to pronounce and the grammar structure is quite different from any Western European language.


Really? For several years I studied Russian, which is structurally basically the same as Polish (Slavic), and it didn't seem that alien to me, not after a couple years of German. In terms of general structure it's a lot like Latin. They're all Indo-European, after all.

I don't disagree with you about Polish pronunciation, tho. Russian pronunciation isn't that hard, but Polish is much more challenging.

C.J.O'Brien, I remember that Ebonics froofrah in Oakland very well. I lived in north Oakland for 10 years, what part of Oakland are you in?

Polish has many declinations in place of what I would call tenses. There is some weird ending for just about every situation to where there are 12 different versions of every word and they usually aren't consistent from word to word. And it's more than just conjugating verbs, it's like you conjugate nouns, and for almost every different situation it's being used. It's way too complicated.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2007,23:20   

PHONON - ARE YOU A PARTICLES OR A WAVE?

MAKE UP YOU'RE MIND, LIBERAL HOMO.

:angry:

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2007,01:33   

Quote (Richardthughes @ April 19 2007,07:20)
PHONON - ARE YOU A PARTICLES OR A WAVE?

MAKE UP YOU'RE MIND, LIBERAL HOMO.

:angry:

HE'S A PHONON STUPID, WHICH IS A ZERO ENERGY PARTICLE THINGY, INFINITE WAVELENGTH WAVE WITH A SHAMROCK INFORMATION CONTENT OF 0 BITS PER PARSEC SQUARED.

IT'S SIMPLE, ANYONE WITH AN IQ ABOVE AN APHID'S CAN WORK THIS OUT. TOSS A COIN, HEADS THE DESIGNER IS AND TAILS HE IS TOO. SEE.

ITS ALL IN BILL'S NEW PEON REVIEWED BOOK "HOW TO HORNSWOGGLE A BOOK GRANT"

NOW DON'T MAKE ME DO YOUR WORK FOR YOU, IF YOU WANT TO STAY HERE; HOMO

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Reluctant Cannibal



Posts: 36
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2007,15:52   

Bump! I have a question that I have been carrying around for a while in case I should ever meet a working linguist:

What's your take on Merritt Ruhlen and the Proto-world hypothesis? And how far back are the limits of reconstruction? I have "On the origin of language", and I thought it was interesting, but I'm not persuaded. The consensus view on the interwebs seems to be that he's a bit of a crank, and some of the semantic grouping seem farfetched to me. But it would be so cool!

(I'm into linguistics at the popular science level. I'm learning Russian by slowly wading through novels and newspapers with a dictionary).

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2007,16:47   

Quote

What's your take on Merritt Ruhlen and the Proto-world hypothesis?


Do you want my polite answer or my tactless answer?  ;)

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
argystokes



Posts: 766
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2007,20:50   

Arden,

I'm playing a game of 20 questions, and the most recent question is "Does he have a silent h in his name?" The person in question has a "th" in their name pronounce as in "thousand." Should I answer yes or no? Wikipedia's entry on silent letters is unclear:
Quote
"exocentric" digraphs, where the sound of the digraph is different from that of either of its constituent letters. These are rarely considered "silent".


The person in question also has an "ei" in his name that sounds like a long e, as in "ceiling."
Thanks!

--------------
"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?" -Calvin

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2007,21:22   

This is the greatest discussion board of all time.

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2007,22:04   

Quote (argystokes @ April 23 2007,20:50)
Arden,

I'm playing a game of 20 questions, and the most recent question is "Does he have a silent h in his name?" The person in question has a "th" in their name pronounce as in "thousand." Should I answer yes or no? Wikipedia's entry on silent letters is unclear:    
Quote
"exocentric" digraphs, where the sound of the digraph is different from that of either of its constituent letters. These are rarely considered "silent".


The person in question also has an "ei" in his name that sounds like a long e, as in "ceiling."
Thanks!

I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you asking me whether in words like 'thousand', if the 'h' is silent? No. 'Th' is a digraph. But I can see why someone might think the 'h' was silent.

Try 'Keith'.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
argystokes



Posts: 766
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2007,23:09   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 23 2007,20:04)
Quote (argystokes @ April 23 2007,20:50)
Arden,

I'm playing a game of 20 questions, and the most recent question is "Does he have a silent h in his name?" The person in question has a "th" in their name pronounce as in "thousand." Should I answer yes or no? Wikipedia's entry on silent letters is unclear:      
Quote
"exocentric" digraphs, where the sound of the digraph is different from that of either of its constituent letters. These are rarely considered "silent".


The person in question also has an "ei" in his name that sounds like a long e, as in "ceiling."
Thanks!

I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you asking me whether in words like 'thousand', if the 'h' is silent? No. 'Th' is a digraph. But I can see why someone might think the 'h' was silent.

Try 'Keith'.

Thanks, that was my question.

--------------
"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?" -Calvin

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2007,23:49   

ALRIGHT SHUT UP AND LISTEN CAUSE I'M TALKIN'. OOOH LOOK AT ME I'M ARDEN CHATTERBOX. TALKING TWO MUCH IS FOR WOMEN. ARDEN TALKS TWO MUCH. THAT IS BECAUSE HE IS LIKE A WOMAN. I BET YOU TALK FOR HOURS ON THE PHONE ABOUT AMERICAN IDOL WITH YOUR OTHER BIRD-BRIAN FRIENDS. QUICK, ARDEN, HOME AND GARDEN TV IS ON. THEY'RE DOING A MAKE-OVER ON OXYGEN! RIGHT I'M OFF TO READ SOME HARD SCI-FI AND YOU NEED TO WATCH DIRTY DANCING FOR THE 74TH TIME.





PS.





HOMO.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Reluctant Cannibal



Posts: 36
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2007,01:57   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 23 2007,22:47)
Quote

What's your take on Merritt Ruhlen and the Proto-world hypothesis?


Do you want my polite answer or my tactless answer?  ;)

Let's have the tactless answer -- it's bound to be more entertaining. I think I know what it's going to be ...

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2007,13:47   

Quote (Richardthughes @ April 23 2007,23:49)
ALRIGHT SHUT UP AND LISTEN CAUSE I'M TALKIN'. OOOH LOOK AT ME I'M ARDEN CHATTERBOX. TALKING TWO MUCH IS FOR WOMEN. ARDEN TALKS TWO MUCH. THAT IS BECAUSE HE IS LIKE A WOMAN. I BET YOU TALK FOR HOURS ON THE PHONE ABOUT AMERICAN IDOL WITH YOUR OTHER BIRD-BRIAN FRIENDS. QUICK, ARDEN, HOME AND GARDEN TV IS ON. THEY'RE DOING A MAKE-OVER ON OXYGEN! RIGHT I'M OFF TO READ SOME HARD SCI-FI AND YOU NEED TO WATCH DIRTY DANCING FOR THE 74TH TIME.





PS.





HOMO.


OKAY HOMOES LISTEN UP:

SPEAKING OF HOMOES USING MY NORTH-OF-150 SAT SCORES AND SUPERIOR COMPUTOR SKILLS I FINALY FOUND A COPIE OF A PHOTO OF THE REAL RICHARD T HUGHES:



AND HERE'S HIS 'GIRLFRIEND':



IF WE'RE DESSENDED FROM APES, HOW COME WE STILL HAVE RICHARD? ?

ROTFL! I SLAY ME SOMETIMES!


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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2007,14:08   

Quote (Reluctant Cannibal @ April 24 2007,01:57)
 
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 23 2007,22:47)
   
Quote

What's your take on Merritt Ruhlen and the Proto-world hypothesis?


Do you want my polite answer or my tactless answer?  ;)

Let's have the tactless answer -- it's bound to be more entertaining. I think I know what it's going to be ...

short tactless answer: Ruhlen is a bonehead and a disgrace as a linguist.

short more polite answer: the bottomline problem with Ruhlen's extremely lax methodology is that it's unfalsifiable. His methodology can 'prove' relatedness between ANY two languages or language families. Therefore's it's vacuous.

This was vividly demonstrated in print in a review of Joseph Greenberg's (Ruhlen's mentor and big influence)  Language in the Americas, where reviewer Lyle Campbell demonstrated that using JG's methodology, he (LC) could just as easily 'prove' that Nahuatl and Finnish are related (something JG did NOT claim). In a textbook example of Missing The Point, JG replied "of course Nahuatl and Finnish aren't related, if they were I would have noticed it". Erm, okay...

Another little problem with Ruhlen's work is that he lacks expertise in any of the language families he discusses, and seems not to consult with people who *are* experts, so he ends up with countless misinterpretations of the basic data. At that point, the garbage-in, garbage-out principle takes over.

My personal hunch is that at around 8,000-10,000 years (2,000 years before FTK thinks the world was created), it becomes impossible to demonstrate language relatedness as opposed to diffusion or simple coincidence. It's possible that someday someone will prove language relatedness at a deeper level than that, but I haven't seen it yet. Of course a fundamental problem is that it's extremely difficult to assign ages for the world's older language families with any great confidence.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2007,15:34   

Actually, that sounded pretty polite.

But maybe my standards have been eroded after too much time spent in pounding on the head of DaffyAFfyDavey...

  
Reluctant Cannibal



Posts: 36
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2007,16:16   

Thanks Arden -- I thought that was the situation, but it's nice to have some confirmation. Just googling for the info might drag up lots of misinformation that a layman can't easily assess.

The first thing that seemed a bit off when I read The Origin of Language was all the railing against his critics and detractors. Then there was the giant leap from the 8,000-10,000 year horizon to the 80,000 necessary to square the out-of-Africa hypothesis with the lumping of African languages (especially San) with non-African into Proto-world. (I'm pretty much convinced by the out-of-Africa hypothesis).

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2007,20:58   

Re "I BET YOU TALK FOR HOURS ON THE PHONE ABOUT AMERICAN IDOL WITH YOUR OTHER BIRD-BRIAN FRIENDS. "

Now that's a fowl accusation.

Henry

  
blipey



Posts: 2061
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2007,22:23   

And now for something completely different.  Well, for this thread.  I was reading a book a couple of months ago about the Gypsies that I thought was fascinating.  It seemed to not be able to pin down the origins of the Gypsy people, but talked a lot about language.

In fact, one of the people in the book was a linguist the author had met and who was accepted into the Gypsy community (as much as outsiders can be) to a fairly large degree.  Sorry, I can't recall his name right now and the book is back in KC.

I was wondering, Arden, if you had any input on the origin of the Gypsy?  Are they an Indian sub-continent people?  Have you studied any of the origin or development of the Romani language?

--------------
But I get the trick question- there isn't any such thing as one molecule of water. -JoeG

And scientists rarely test theories. -Gary Gaulin

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2007,23:05   

Quote (blipey @ April 24 2007,22:23)
And now for something completely different.  Well, for this thread.  I was reading a book a couple of months ago about the Gypsies that I thought was fascinating.  It seemed to not be able to pin down the origins of the Gypsy people, but talked a lot about language.

In fact, one of the people in the book was a linguist the author had met and who was accepted into the Gypsy community (as much as outsiders can be) to a fairly large degree.  Sorry, I can't recall his name right now and the book is back in KC.

I was wondering, Arden, if you had any input on the origin of the Gypsy?  Are they an Indian sub-continent people?  Have you studied any of the origin or development of the Romani language?

Ian Hancock?

The origins of Romany aren't controversial. It's related to languages of north India such as Hindi and Punjabi, though it's borrowed a vast amount of vocabulary in its slow wanderings from India to Europe. In fact, the Indo-Aryan affinity of Romany is how they first figured out that the Gypsies came from India.

See here.

I haven't studied Romany myself, but I have a friend who's studied it for years and years, which is how I found out most of what I know about it.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 2113
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2007,23:26   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 17 2007,20:55)
Hey! That reminds me: my favorite 'grammar joke':

Two travelers are on a plane, a cowboy and a grammarian.

Cowboy: "So where you heading to?"

Grammarian: "Where *I* come from, it's considered bad grammar to end a sentence with a preposition."

Cowboy: "So where you heading to, assho1e?"

The ALA was having a conference in Boston.  A visiting linguist was told that he should go to the harbor area to try a fish delicacy, New England scrod.

He took a cab from the hotel and asked the cabbie, "Can you take me to where I can get scrod?"

The cabbie, who happened to be an English major, replied, "I have never heard that particular conjugation used in conversation, but there are hookers all over town."

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 25 2007,00:49   

Quote
The cabbie, who happened to be an English major, replied, "I have never heard that particular conjugation used in conversation, but there are hookers all over town."


YEAH, HOMOS? WELL TAHT'S WHAT I'D EXPECT A FORRIN MAJOR TO SAY. IN TEH US MARINES, OUR MAJORS COULD EAT BROKEN GLASS AND SHIT BOTTLES AND THEY DIDN'T MESS ROUND SCRODING HOOKERS, THEY WERE REAL MEN..... EVEN WHEN THEY WORE DRESSES.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 02 2010,19:39   

If I sacrifice a goat and ressurect this thread will Arden return?

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 02 2010,20:46   

Quote (Louis @ Mar. 02 2010,17:39)
If I sacrifice a goat and ressurect this thread will Arden return?

Louis

Good move putting a spelling error in there.  He might come back just to correct you.

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And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,03:11   

Quote (keiths @ Mar. 03 2010,01:46)
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 02 2010,17:39)
If I sacrifice a goat and ressurect this thread will Arden return?

Louis

Good move putting a spelling error in there.  He might come back just to correct you.

Yeah, that was on purpose and everything. Honest.

Louis

ETA: I do have a linguistic question. Isn't Portuguese a mixture of French and Spanish?

--------------
Bye.

  
huwp



Posts: 172
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,05:05   

Arden is a proper linguist and so would undoubtedly be able to answer your question in a proper linguistic fashion.

Unlike you boffin sciency types, my degree is in French and Italian so I might be able to help.  Possibly, perhaps, maybe.

However, as the AFDave assertion about Portuguese being a mixture of French and Spanish was one of the funniest things ever seen on this board (although bearing in mind much of the "humour" involves LOLcats and "your mother" jokes, there isn't a lot of competition) I know you don't really want an answer to that.

So, I think you just want Arden back so you can get down and dirty with some proper man-lovin'.

Jus' sayin' is all.

Huwp

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,06:41   

Quote (huwp @ Mar. 03 2010,10:05)
[SNIP]

However, as the AFDave assertion about Portuguese being a mixture of French and Spanish was one of the funniest things ever seen on this board (although bearing in mind much of the "humour" involves LOLcats and "your mother" jokes, there isn't a lot of competition) I know you don't really want an answer to that.

[SNIP]

Bolding mine.

How very dare you! I resemble that remark.

Quote


So, I think you just want Arden back so you can get down and dirty with some proper man-lovin'.

Jus' sayin' is all.

Huwp


Or I was just bored and trawling through some old stuff whilst gripped by ramapnt insomnia. Nahhhh, that's utterly implausible. Go with the first one.

Rather like your mother did.

Ooooh see what I did there?

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:30   

Quote (Louis @ Mar. 03 2010,03:11)
ETA: I do have a linguistic question. Isn't Portuguese a mixture of French and Spanish?

He should be here shortly. I told him you needed help translating pickup lines from English into sheep.

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:35   

Quote (Louis @ Mar. 03 2010,01:11)
 
Quote (keiths @ Mar. 03 2010,01:46)
   
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 02 2010,17:39)
If I sacrifice a goat and ressurect this thread will Arden return?

Louis

Good move putting a spelling error in there.  He might come back just to correct you.

Yeah, that was on purpose and everything. Honest.

Suuuuuuuure it was.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:36   

Quote (Louis @ Mar. 02 2010,17:39)
If I sacrifice a goat

Is that what you call it now?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:39   

yay! it worked. the package is in the mail.

Hi Arden.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:42   

Hey, this better be important, I had to take time off from Louis's wife to come here.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:46   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Mar. 03 2010,10:42)
Hey, this better be important, I had to take time off from Louis's wife to come here.

So, I can take a turn while you're busy here?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:50   

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,10:46)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Mar. 03 2010,10:42)
Hey, this better be important, I had to take time off from Louis's wife to come here.

So, I can take a turn while you're busy here?

Are you getting tired of Louis's mum already?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,13:35   

Ahhhhhh wife and mum jokes. Marvellous. I knew Arden could be enticed back with little effort and would come in with the old classics. Good work.

How's tricks Arden?

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,13:38   

Quote (Louis @ Mar. 03 2010,11:35)
How's tricks Arden?

Ah....


No. Too easy. You're purposely trying to set me up here.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,13:55   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Mar. 03 2010,18:38)
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 03 2010,11:35)
How's tricks Arden?

Ah....


No. Too easy. You're purposely trying to set me up here.

No, no. It's a genuine enquiry about how you are, phrased as ever in idomatic English.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Bjarne



Posts: 29
Joined: Dec. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,15:04   

Quote (snoeman @ April 18 2007,06:27)
Arden:
 
Quote
It's totally relative based on what your first language is. For an English speaker, Finnish is a motherfucker. For an Estonian, it's a walk in the park. For an English speaker, Dutch is a challenge but not THAT hard. Dutch would be vastly harder for a speaker of, say, Chinese.


How about Romance languages vs. Germanic languages for English speakers? I took French in highschool and German in college.  Personally, I found German much easier for me to learn than French, but I've wondered if my experience was not typical based on some anecdotal comments I've heard over the years.

Out of curiosity, if it's not too silly a question, do languages exhibit any kind of patterns or preferences in how new words or concepts are added over time? (e.g., tending to adopt from other languages, creating them based upon older words (or whatever the proper way of expressing that would be))

I ask because I've always liked the German version of "vacuum cleaner," i.e., "Staubsauger" or "Dust Sucker."  Equally descriptive, and more pithy, in my opinion.

I know this is pretty close to necromancy,  but...

I am a native speaker of German and had both English and French at school. Languages are certainly not my strong suit, but English was, with quite some work, manageable  to learn. After having learned some basic English, it was not too alien and I did recognize many parallels to German.

French on the other hand was a bitch to learn and I am barely able to understand it, let alone speak it.

   
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,15:25   

There are a few sounds in German that are difficult for a native English speaker, and German syntax sounds backwards, but much of the vocabulary and most of the sounds are familiar.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2483
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,18:22   

Quote (snoeman @ April 18 2007,06:27)

I ask because I've always liked the German version of "vacuum cleaner," i.e., "Staubsauger" or "Dust Sucker."  Equally descriptive, and more pithy, in my opinion.


Or "glove": "Handschuh".  Heh heh.

--------------
"But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

"I am in a rush to catch up with science work." -- Gary Gaulin

  
ppb



Posts: 325
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,19:34   

Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 03 2010,19:22)
Quote (snoeman @ April 18 2007,06:27)

I ask because I've always liked the German version of "vacuum cleaner," i.e., "Staubsauger" or "Dust Sucker."  Equally descriptive, and more pithy, in my opinion.


Or "glove": "Handschuh".  Heh heh.

I've always had a fondness for the word Auspuff, meaning auto exhaust.

--------------
"[A scientific theory] describes Nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiment. So I hope you can accept Nature as She is - absurd."
- Richard P. Feynman

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2010,10:29   

I like this alot:

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010....ng.html

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2010,11:45   

Quote (ppb @ Mar. 03 2010,17:34)
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 03 2010,19:22)
Quote (snoeman @ April 18 2007,06:27)

I ask because I've always liked the German version of "vacuum cleaner," i.e., "Staubsauger" or "Dust Sucker."  Equally descriptive, and more pithy, in my opinion.


Or "glove": "Handschuh".  Heh heh.

I've always had a fondness for the word Auspuff, meaning auto exhaust.

I've always enjoyed the German for horse, "Pferd."  To get the full effect, you have to understand that the G. word for "pepper" is "pfeffer."  In other words, that "pf" sound is a little on the onomatopoeiac side, mimicking the sound of the plosion of air you get when you sneeze pepper, or when a horse does that knickering, lip-fluttering thing.

For me, Pferd really expresses an essense of horsiness, if not, y'know, THE essence of horsiness.

Or maybe I'm just hoarse from too much pf-, pf-, pfeffer...

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2010,13:15   

Quote (Steviepinhead @ April 20 2010,09:45)
For me, Pferd really expresses an essense of horsiness, if not, y'know, THE essence of horsiness.

For me, it's 'carlsonjok'.

--------------
And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2010,13:33   

Quote (keiths @ April 20 2010,13:15)
Quote (Steviepinhead @ April 20 2010,09:45)
For me, Pferd really expresses an essense of horsiness, if not, y'know, THE essence of horsiness.

For me, it's 'carlsonjok'.

:angry: Oh yeah?!?!!?!?!?   :angry:



--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Badger3k



Posts: 861
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2010,23:41   

Quote (keiths @ April 20 2010,13:15)
Quote (Steviepinhead @ April 20 2010,09:45)
For me, Pferd really expresses an essense of horsiness, if not, y'know, THE essence of horsiness.

For me, it's 'carlsonjok'.

I saw the essence of horsiness in Tijuana once.  I think it's on the internet too.  Hopefully it cleans up easily...

--------------
"Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.." : Joe G

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 21 2010,01:43   

Heh!

Can I deliver a straight line, or what?

  
Robert Byers



Posts: 160
Joined: Nov. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 21 2010,21:55   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 17 2007,22:52)
Quote
I know this is wrong. Nevertheless, people using 'beg the question' to mean 'suggests the question' pisses me off.


Some 'new' things people say is language change. Some shit is just wrong. ;) Until EVERYONE says it. Then it's language change.

   
Quote
   
Quote

'some languages are harder than others'


Well, doesn't it take longer to learn some languages, than others?


It's totally relative based on what your first language is. For an English speaker, Finnish is a motherfucker. For an Estonian, it's a walk in the park. For an English speaker, Dutch is a challenge but not THAT hard. Dutch would be vastly harder for a speaker of, say, Chinese.

   
Quote
   
Quote

'Chinese characters are pictographic'


Uh,...what? that's not true?


No, they're logographic:

   
Quote
The Chinese written language employs Chinese characters (??/?? pinyin: hànzì), which are logograms: each symbol represents a sememe or morpheme (a meaningful unit of language), as well as one syllable; the written language can thus be termed a morphemo-syllabic script.
They are not just pictographs (pictures of their meanings), but are highly stylized and carry much abstract meaning. Only some characters are derived from pictographs. In 100 AD, the famed scholar X? Shèn in the Hàn Dynasty classified characters into 6 categories, only 4% as pictographs, and 82% as phonetic complexes consisting of a semantic element that indicates meaning, and a phonetic element that arguably once indicated the pronunciation.
 

   
Quote
   
Quote

'in the Appalachians they speak like Shakespeare'


I've heard this one. Not true?


Nope. Appalachian has rural English archaisms, and it also has weird stuff  it did on its own, which is what we'd expect. Not Shakespeare.

   
Quote

'black children are verbally deprived'    
Quote

Listening to black english does piss me off.


You're far from alone, but that still doesn't mean that black children are verbally deprived or that black English is 'illogical'.

   
Quote
   
Quote

'Aborigines speak a primitive language'

that seems dumb. Some 'primitive' languages are really complex.


All languages are complex, most languages of 'primitive societies' are incredibly complex.

 
Quote
ARDEN, IS IT TRUE YOU AND OTHER HOMOS LISP AND HAVE A SECRET HANDSHAKE?


However, you know that notion that Englishmen all talk like homosexuals? That actually is true.  :angry:

I'm glad to hear you say all languages are complex. i am a biblical creationist and indeed it could only be that all languages are equally complex in structure as they all come from a common language at babel.
i believe the bible says the original language was broken into 70 languages. of coarse the Indo-European group shows the commonality of at least a portion of mankind.
Yes even the most primitive tribe will have a language that is as complex as any so as to bring to words all the intelligence of man as a being in the image of God.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 21 2010,23:41   

Quote (Robert Byers @ April 21 2010,19:55)
I'm glad to hear you say all languages are complex. i am a biblical creationist and indeed it could only be that all languages are equally complex in structure as they all come from a common language at babel.
i believe the bible says the original language was broken into 70 language

I'm too tired to be tactful, so let me just say this: that's utter nonsense. You're deluded. The Tower of Babel story is a myth. Never happened. At the same level of plausibility as a flat earth.

The reason all languages are complex is because all human language communities have had tens or hundreds of thousands of years for their languages to accumulate complexity.

And no, the earth isn't 6,000 or 10,000 years old, either, so don't even try insulting our intelligence with that claim, okay?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Rob R.



Posts: 12
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,00:03   

Arden Chatfield:

Quote
I'm too tired to be tactful, so let me just say this: that's utter nonsense. You're deluded.  [...]


On that note:  what's your take on the 'Yom Debate' (e.g., http://www.answersincreation.org/word_study_yom.htm )

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2483
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,00:28   

Oh, crap, he's infested this thread too.

Go away Bobby. Give us at least one venue where you don't spout your ignorant vomit.

OK? Pretty please?

--------------
"But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

"I am in a rush to catch up with science work." -- Gary Gaulin

  
Badger3k



Posts: 861
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,03:25   

Quote (fnxtr @ April 22 2010,00:28)
Oh, crap, he's infested this thread too.

Go away Bobby. Give us at least one venue where you don't spout your ignorant vomit.

OK? Pretty please?

Awww - I want to hear how marsupialism affected language.

--------------
"Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.." : Joe G

  
George



Posts: 314
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,07:52   

I've a kind of linguistics question:

Should people who use "data" as a singular be boiled in oil, have their fingernails forcibly extracted, or have their tongues nailed to the roofs of their mouths?

  
Jim_Wynne



Posts: 1191
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,08:35   

Sure, along with the people who say "stadiums," "aquariums" and "forums."*







*This is sarcasm.

--------------
Evolution is not about laws but about randomness on happanchance.--Robert Byers, at PT

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,08:42   

Quote (Rob R. @ April 22 2010,00:03)
Arden Chatfield:

 
Quote
I'm too tired to be tactful, so let me just say this: that's utter nonsense. You're deluded.  [...]


On that note:  what's your take on the 'Yom Debate' (e.g., http://www.answersincreation.org/word_study_yom.htm )

http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2006/08/the_dayage_theory.php

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Paul Flocken



Posts: 290
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,10:16   

Arden,
Harkening back to your distate for William Safire, have you encountered and is Bill Bryson's book worth the paper it is printed on?

The Mother Tongue, English and How It Got That Way

--------------
"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.  Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."-John F. Kennedy

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,12:20   

Quote (Rob R. @ April 21 2010,22:03)
Arden Chatfield:

 
Quote
I'm too tired to be tactful, so let me just say this: that's utter nonsense. You're deluded.  [...]


On that note:  what's your take on the 'Yom Debate' (e.g., http://www.answersincreation.org/word_study_yom.htm )

You can probably guess.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,12:21   

Quote (George @ April 22 2010,05:52)
I've a kind of linguistics question:

Should people who use "data" as a singular be boiled in oil, have their fingernails forcibly extracted, or have their tongues nailed to the roofs of their mouths?

Since I regularly use 'data' as a singular, I might not be judged impartial in this.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,12:22   

Quote (Paul Flocken @ April 22 2010,08:16)
Arden,
Harkening back to your distate for William Safire, have you encountered and is Bill Bryson's book worth the paper it is printed on?

The Mother Tongue, English and How It Got That Way

I haven't read it, tho Bryson usually isn't an idiot at all.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,12:44   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 22 2010,10:21)
 
Quote (George @ April 22 2010,05:52)
I've a kind of linguistics question:

Should people who use "data" as a singular be boiled in oil, have their fingernails forcibly extracted, or have their tongues nailed to the roofs of their mouths?

Since I regularly use 'data' as a singular, I might not be judged impartial in this.

Me too.  I think the boiling oil should be reserved for people who say 'infer' when they mean 'imply'.

--------------
And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,13:28   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 22 2010,12:21)
Quote (George @ April 22 2010,05:52)
I've a kind of linguistics question:

Should people who use "data" as a singular be boiled in oil, have their fingernails forcibly extracted, or have their tongues nailed to the roofs of their mouths?

Since I regularly use 'data' as a singular, I might not be judged impartial in this.

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin....y169432

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
dnmlthr



Posts: 565
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,14:08   

I used "a winner is you" in a business meeting once. It went down surprisingly well.

That was all.

--------------
Guess what? I don't give a flying f*ck how "science works" - Ftk

  
Texas Teach



Posts: 1431
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2010,20:27   

Quote (keiths @ April 22 2010,12:44)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 22 2010,10:21)
 
Quote (George @ April 22 2010,05:52)
I've a kind of linguistics question:

Should people who use "data" as a singular be boiled in oil, have their fingernails forcibly extracted, or have their tongues nailed to the roofs of their mouths?

Since I regularly use 'data' as a singular, I might not be judged impartial in this.

Me too.  I think the boiling oil should be reserved for people who say 'infer' when they mean 'imply'.

Only if there's room behind the ones who misuse literally.

--------------
"Creationists think everything Genesis says is true. I don't even think Phil Collins is a good drummer." --J. Carr

"I suspect that the English grammar books where you live are outdated" --G. Gaulin

  
huwp



Posts: 172
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2010,06:46   

FWIW  I thought Bill Bryson's book was interesting and well written and, I suspect, well researched too.  He loves the English language and that's a terribly good starting point.

The "imply" and "infer" confusion is very irritating as is "disinterested" for "uninterested".  They mean different things and if we lose that difference then it diminishes the language.

I do love the way English can be very precise; I once tried to explain to a class of Italian students the difference between "glance" and "glimpse" both of which, I was told, were covered by the word "occhiata" meaning "a short sight of something".

Much as I love English, and French for that matter, I think my heart belongs to Italian.  And Welsh, of course.

Huwp

  
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