Language, linguistics, lovely

A sort of extraordinary exercise in control of voice and facial expressions, in the form of a Judy Garland impression, of all things. From the ever-impressive Amy Walker: Related to something I could have sworn I’d posted previously, but apparently haven’t: 21 accents in 2 1/2 minutes. (via BoingBoing)

The things we need, they are not like things

The cover story1 of the July/August edition of The Atlantic hits an interesting note, if one that’s hit with a fair amount of frequency (if not depth). One of the points is that the way our tools2 process information affects the way we process information. Which should be obvious enough, but isn’t always. The article’s […]

Less surprised to learn I’m some sort of giant robot, more surprised I’m from the Great Lakes

I AM81%JAZZTake the Transformers Quiz I am: Kurt Vonnegut For years, this unique creator of absurd and haunting tales denied that he had anything to do with science fiction. Which science fiction writer are you? What American accent do you have? Your Result: The Inland North   You may think you speak “Standard English straight […]

Language maps

Create all sorts of fun maps thanks to the folks at the MLA: map language-speakers by county, by zip code, and all sorts of other good stuff.  Pull-down menus and such let you re-draw the map according to your curiosity.  (The above map, FYI, is of Hungarian speakers by county.  I think.  Of course, handily, […]

Pronounce it like you mean it

A handy list of how to pronounce difficult-to-pronounce author’s names. (via The Millions: “Hard to Pronounce Literary Names Redux.” 26 Aug 2006.)

This is literally world-ending

Haha!  Of course it’s not.  But it is, well, interesting: now there’s a blog dedicated to rooting out (or at least pointing out) abuses of the word “literally.”  It’s about time.

Cheekiness gets you… bananas

Not particularly current or important, but curious and fun nonetheless: In 1986, Silo (a chain of home electronics stores) ran a television commercial in 23 markets nationwide, offering stereos for “299 bananas.” They never thought anyone would take them at their word; after all, “banana” is a widely accepted, if playful, term for greenbacks. Who […]

British Council’s list of favo(u)rite words

1 Mother 2 Passion 3 Smile 4 Love 5 Eternity 6 Fantastic 7 Destiny 8 Freedom 9 Liberty 10 Tranquillity 11 Peace 12 Blossom 13 Sunshine 14 Sweetheart 15 Gorgeous 16 Cherish 17 Enthusiasm 18 Hope 19 Grace 20 Rainbow 21 Blue 22 Sunflower 23 Twinkle 24 Serendipity 25 Bliss 26 Lullaby 27 Sophisticated 28 […]

Rundown, In Brief

Prisons are America’s “primary supplier of mental-health services.”1 Make a face. Change it. Craft your new identity. Morphases.2 Dolphins and humans are fairly similar, brain-wise.3 Struwwelpeter/Shockheaded Peter, online.4 Tired of original speech? Cliche Finder to the rescue.5 “I think that it could be done.”6 Send me your brains. Sterling Courier Systems, please.7 They have a […]

Promiscuous Failure

In the American Prospect, Harold Koh writes: In no small part because of its promiscuous failure to ratify a convention with which it actually complies in most respects, the United States rarely gets enough credit for the large-scale moral and financial support that it actually gives to children’s rights around the world. [emphasis added] I […]