The truth of falling rocks

Comments (2)


"Better Dance Than Never"

Jonathan Smith just saw this sticker in 798 Artzone in Beijing:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments


Clarification by misnegation: The view from pragmatics (updated and semi-retracted)

In a comment on Mark Liberman's post "Clarification by misnegation", Stephen Hart makes a point that the rest of us have missed (or at least haven't raised), and that deserves wider attention:

I may be missing something here.

Slightly restated, Trump said, originally:
US Intelligence says it is Russia. Putin says it isn't Russia.
I don't see any reason why it would be Russia.
(What would Russia have to gain?)

The new statement seems to be:

US Intelligence says it is Russia. Putin says it isn't Russia.
I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.
(Everybody does it.)

Update: Now that I think about this, I may have misinterpreted the point of this comment, in which case the point it makes was not something others have missed and that deserves wider attention, but rather was something of a restatement of the obvious. My initial impulse was to delete the post, but on reflection I'm leaving it up, as an object lesson in the way that this multiple-negation stuff can make your head spin.

Comments (3)


More double negative jokes

I think this one is the funniest:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (5)


Ask Language Log: "Incredible"?

Stephen Mendenhall asks:

That word is in the news again. Putin made an offer to Trump, to have US investigators visit Moscow, (and other stuff).

Trump thinks the offer is “incredible”, meaning “good”. Nobody else thinks the offer is “credible”, so it’s literally “incredible”.

Does anybody use “incredible” to mean “not credible” any more? Do even police investigators use the word for its literal meaning?

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (21)


Clarification by misnegation

There were several aspects of President Donald Trump's recent news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki that sparked strong negative reactions, for example leading former CIA director John Brennan to call Trump's performance "nothing short of treasonous". One of the controversial parts of Trump's remarks was this answer to a question about whether he would denounce the Russians' role in the 2016 election, and warn Putin never to do it again:

All I can do is ask the question
My people came to me
Dan Coats came to me and
some others, they said they think it's Russia —
uh I have uh President Putin
uh he just said it's not Russia.
I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be.
I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful
in his denial today […]

So in a 7/17/2018 meeting with congressional Republicans, the president laid out an unusual explanation for the fuss — it was that old devil misnegation, which caused him to seem to say the opposite of what he now says he meant:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (17)


How to learn Mandarin

In "Pinyin story" (7/16/18), we became acquainted with the language teaching theory called CI (Comprehensible Input) and the language learning method referred to as TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling).  If you read through the post and the comments, plus look at some of the embedded links, it becomes apparent that, using CI and TPRS, students can learn to write interesting little tales in Mandarin after only an hour or two of instruction.

Now, in conventional "Chinese" language classes, students spend most of their time memorizing how to write characters, and they also devote a lot of effort to mastering grammatical rules and syntactic paradigms.  Even after months of hard labor, students who follow the traditional way will have difficulty expressing themselves in a lively, imaginative manner.  What a breath of fresh air to learn that there are actually enthusiastic, smart teachers out there who offer a more humane and effective way to learn languages, including Mandarin!

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (1)


Fifth Third Bank

Wikipedia explains that the Fifth Third Bank's name "is derived from the names of both of the bank's two predecessor companies: Third National Bank and Fifth National Bank, which merged in 1908". But despite the fact that "[t]he bank operates 1,154 branches and 2,469 automated teller machines in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina", I've managed to travel extensively in those states without ever encountering the name, until this building presented itself to us on our way to dinner last night in Toledo OH. The name seems odd at first but I guess it's memorable as a result.

Are there any other examples of names combining two ordinal numbers as the result of a merger, like the "Second Third Presbyterian Church"?

Comments (45)


Pinyin story

Tweet by Lori Belinsky:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (24)


Will an American be indicted next, or not?

Interviewed by Jake Tapper on Friday about the indictment of 12 Russians by Robert Mueller's investigation, Michael Hayden said



I would not be surprised

if this were not the last indictment we see
that- that doesn't mention
an American

So will there be one or more future filings, and will Americans be indicted in all of them, or in some of them, or in none of them? Jake Tapper immediately tries to clarify:

so in other words there will be another indictment, and you think there'll be Americans in- involved

The headline for the interview reads: "EX-CIA Chief: I suspect Americans will be indicted next".

And CNN tweeted it as

I would not be surprised if this were the last indictment we see "that doesn't mention an American," former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden says about Robert Mueller's investigation

Another CNN story put it this way:

Hayden, who was CIA director under President George W. Bush, added that he "would not be surprised" if future indictments were of Americans […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (12)


Spiritual high tech

From Harry Asche:

I'm in Mongolia.  Just had to buy the solar powered dashboard prayer wheel.  The instructions alone are worth the $5 price tag.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (7)


"Chinese light"

In the comments to "The ethnopolitics of National Language in China" (7/2/18), "Uyghur basketball player" (6/24/18), and other posts, there has been a vigorous debate on the relationship between national language on the one hand and local and "minority" / ethnic languages on the other hand.

In the course of the debate, many interesting political, linguistic, and cultural issues have been raised, but in the last paragraph of his latest comment, Bathrobe said something that really caught my attention:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (19)


WTFF

Whence the "ff" in Roscoff, where I am now? The Breton name is "Rosko". And "ff" is not a common word ending in French.

 

 

Comments (16)