Really weird sinographs, part 2

Some of the commenters to the first part of this series seem to be making the case that many of the characters chosen by Scott Wilson for his SoraNews24 article are not so weird after all.  I beg to differ.  I think that all of the characters he chose are truly strange, awesomely odd.  Even those who are skeptics admit that the loopy and curvy ones are unusual.  But I think that Wilson has done a good job of picking out weird characters from Morohashi, and as noted in the o.p., there are thousands more that might be thought of as weird.

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On the propinquity of Vietnamese and Sinitic

Several comments to this post raised the issue of the closeness of Vietnamese and Cantonese:

"Cantonese is not the mother tongue of Hong Kongers" (5/4/18)

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"Bombs of explosive facts"

From E.W. Scripture's 1925 obituary in Nature for L'abbé P.-J. Rousselot:

In 1897, G. Paris and Breal succeeded in founding a laboratory of experimental phonetics at the College de France ; it was annexed to the chair of comparative grammar (Breal) and Rousselot was made its director. In opening the laboratory, Prof. Breal did not hesitate to declare that " the moment has arrived when one could no longer think of phonetics as anything else than experimental " ; he proclaimed that from now onward" it would be necessary to collect facts instead of announcing a priori principles."

In this heroic age, the Abbe and his pupils worked with insatiable ardour at inventing apparatus, developing methods, and collecting facts. They had to face the opposition of the whole world of linguists, grammarians, and philologists, but with ready pens they fired their bombs of explosive facts at the army of opinion and guesswork.

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North Korean English

Remarkable video from the DPRK:

"Kim Jong Un meets U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo & releases 3 U.S. prisoners [English]"

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Really weird sinographs

Scott Wilson has written an entertaining, and I dare say edifying, article on "W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 strangest kanji ever 【Weird Top Five】", SoraNews24 (10/6/16) — sorry I missed it when it first came out.  Wilson refers to the "Top 5 strangest kanji", but he actually treats nearly three times that many.  The reason he emphasizes "5" is so that he can stick with his theme of W.T.F., cf.:

Scott Wilson, "W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 most difficult kanji ever【Weird Top Five】", SoraNews24 (8/4/16)

Scott Wilson, "W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 kanji with the longest readings【Weird Top Five】", SoraNews24 (4/20/17)

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Frontiers of gender iconography

Here at the Seagaia Convention Center in Miyazaki, where LREC2018 is sited, the restroom iconography looks like this:


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Mongolian priests and bugs, with a note on the Japanese word for "bonze"

An anonymous correspondent asked:

Are these actually related words, or just homonyms?

p. 127 of  Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan and the Quest for God: How the World's Greatest Conqueror Gave Us Religious Freedom:

Male shamans were treated with cautious respect, but they evoked suspicion and even disgust. As one saying put it, “the worst of men become shamans.” The word boo, Mongolian for “shaman,” is part of a cluster of words with loathsome connotations: foul, abominable, to vomit, to castrate, an opportunistic person without scruples; it is also the general term for lice, fleas, and bedbugs. 28

His footnote 28: бѳѳ (бѳѳδийн), to vomit (бѳѳлжих), to castrate (бѳѳрлѳх), an opportunistic person without scruples (бѳѳрѳний хн), and the basic term for lice, fleas, and bedbugs (бѳѳс). Хvлгийг муу жоро болох. A Modern Mongolian-English Dictionary, ed. Denis Sinor (Indiana University, Uralic and Altaic Series, vol. 150, 1997),

Someone else asked whether Japanese boosan / bōsan 坊さん ("monk") were somehow related.

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"bear arms" in the BYU Law corpora

In the comments on my recent post "The BYU Law corpora," Dennis Baron writes:

Sorry, J. Scalia, you got it wrong in Heller. I just ran "bear arms" through BYU's EMne [=Early Modern English] and Founding Era American English corpora, and of about 1500 matches (not counting the duplicates), all but a handful are clearly military.

Baron was one of the signatories to the linguists' amicus brief in Heller.

Update:

In the comments below, Ben Zimmer links to Baron's article, "Guns and Grammar: the Linguistics of the Second Amendment," which provides some details about the argument in that brief.

[Cross-posted on LAWnLinguistics.]

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Chinese nicknames for NBA players

Quite an amazing thread:

[To access the complete thread, click at the top of the tweet near the author's name.]

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Cantonese is not the mother tongue of Hong Kongers, part 2

Half a day after the first part of this series, "Cantonese is not the mother tongue of Hong Kongers" (5/4/18), was posted, someone unhelpfully and snarkily asked, "…but are we sure he used the English word 'dialect'?"

That's not the point.

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The BYU Law corpora (updated)

[Cross-posted on LAWnLinguistics.]

I’d imagine that most people who’ve been actively involved with corpus linguistics are familiar with the BYU corpora—a collection of web-accessible corpora created by Brigham Young University linguistics professor Mark Davies. These corpora (and BYU’s corpus-linguistics program more generally) have played an essential part in the development of what I’ll call the corpus-linguistic turn in legal interpretation. The BYU corpora served as my entry-point into corpus linguistics, and they have provided the corpus data that has been used in most of the law-and-corpus-linguistics work that has been done to date. And beyond that, the BYU Law School has played an enormous role, in a variety of ways, in Law and Corpus Linguistics becoming a thing.

One of the things that the law school has been doing has been happening largely behind the scenes. For the past two or three years, people there have been developing the Corpus of Founding Era American English (COFEA)—a historical corpus that is intended as resource for studying language usage in the time leading up to the drafting and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. At this year’s conference on law and corpus linguistics (the third such conference, all of them hosted by the BYU Law School), we were given a preview of COFEA. And via a tweet by the law school’s dean, Gordon Smith, I’ve now learned that a beta version of COFEA is up and available for public playing-around-with, as are beta versions of two other corpora: the Corpus of Early Modern English and the Corpus of Supreme Court of the United States.

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American accent as acoustic distortion

E.E. Fournier d'Albe, "The Talking Film", Nature 1/31/1925:

The demonstration of the De Forest phonofilm at  the Royal Society of Arts on November 26, 1924, and its recent exhibition at the Royal College of Science during the Physical and Optical Societies' Exhibition, showed that the old problem of producing a motion picture endowed with its original sound effects has been brought within hail of a perfect solution.

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Peking University president misreads an unobscure character: monumental implications

In an address celebrating the 120th anniversary of Peking University, the president of said institution, Lin Jianhua, misread hóng zhì 鸿鹄志 ("grand, lofty aspiration") as hónghào zhì 鸿皓志 (doesn't really mean anything).  The blunder swiftly spread on the internet, leading Lin to issue an apology.  See this article in Chinese.

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