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"E-face, face deal, whatever that is"

Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif) is described as a "farmer" on the ballots that voters in his district use. Back before the 2018 election, a group of his constituents petitioned to get this label changed, on the grounds that his family farm is a dairy they own in Iowa, in which he plays no operational role. The petition was rejected, but now Nunes is suing the petitioners, on the grounds that they conspired with "dark money" organizations to injure his campaign.

Rep. Nunes previously sued Twitter and various satirical Twitter authors including Devin Nunes' cow and Devin Nunes' Mom. The main result so far was to give @DevinCow more than 600,000 followers, and to generate a set of other Nunes-related parody authors on Twitter, such as @DevinNunesDog and @nunes_goat.

The people he's suing this time include Hope Nisley, a librarian at Fresno Pacific University, and Paul Buxman, a retired tree-fruit farmer.  We learn more about Mr. Buxman from an 8/2/2019  Fresno Bee story by Brianna Calix, "This is the farmer Devin Nunes' campaign is suing. He's praying for his congressman", including the fact that he's unlikely to see comparable gains in social-media impact:

Buxman only three months ago saw the internet. He doesn't own a computer. He doesn't have an email address.

"I've never seen a Twitter, or e-face, face deal – whatever that is," he said. "I'm not a conspirator. I've never read anything Devin has written. Only since seeing the internet, I see why people are tired of it, with the bad comments. You're better off without it."

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Xinjiang Uygur

China Daily News headline:

"Xinjiang Uygur sees big influx of visitors", by Cheng Si (8/7/19)

N.B.:  "Domestic travelers accounted for 98 percent of those visiting the region, while the top three sources of overseas visitors were Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia."

Never mind that it's hard to imagine why tourists would be rushing to the world's largest concentration camp.  The wording of the title left me reeling:  what is this "Xinjiang Uygur" that is seeing a "big influx of visitors"?  As the subject of a passive sentence about an increase of tourists, that locution strikes me as ungrammatical and unidiomatic.  (If they changed the last word and wrote "Xinjiang Uygur sees big influx of borrowings", then I could understand the first two words as referring to the standard Uyghur language of the region.)

I'm not the only person who feels that  way.

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Sino-English neologisms

As I've mentioned before, Chinese feel that they have every right to experiment with English, make up their own English words, and compose their own locutions which have never before existed in the English-speaking world.  In recent years, they have become ever more playful and emboldened to create new English terms that they gloss or define in Chinese.  Here are ten such new English terms, or perhaps in some cases I should say modified English terms, together with their Chinese explanations:

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Language revival in the news

BBC Future has a very nice article by Alex Rawlings about the work of Ghil'ad Zuckermann on language revival in Australia and the larger context of such efforts. One new thing I learned about Zuckermann from this article was that before he moved from Israel to Australia, he was a specialist on language revival in Israel. (That's what we generally think of as the revival of Hebrew, but he insists that the modern language is different enough from Biblical Hebrew, because of the influence of all the first languages of those who participated in its revival, to need a different name – he calls it Israeli.) Anyway, it's a nice article. Thanks to Victor Mair for sharing it around the Language Log water cooler.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190320-the-man-bringing-dead-languages-back-to-life

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Ubykh: requiem and revival

I begin with an e-mail from Martin Schwartz, sent to me on 3/14/16:

Last September in Istanbul a fair-haired academic there, a colleague of my wife, said she is of Çerkes background, and went on to say a relative of hers was the last Ubykh speaker.  Dumêzil had been to her family's home, grouchy that there were apparently no Ubykh speakers to be found, when the Ubykh speaker knocked on the door….

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Facial boarding

At LAX, boarding a plane for Beijing:

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How science works

[h/t Wendy Grossman]

 

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Home party

Recently, Tong Wang's husband told her that he would not be home for dinner because he was going out with friends to this place:

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Sjushamillabakka

Word of the day from Robert Macfarlane:

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Another use for Mandarin Phonetic Symbols

A couple of weeks ago, we asked:  "The end of the line for Mandarin Phonetic Symbols?" (3/12/18)

The general response to that post was no, not by a long shot.

Now, in addition to all the other things one can do with bopomofo, one can use it to confound PRC trolls, as described in this article in Chinese.

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[. ] or [. ]?

You may have thought that idea of rhinoceroses peeving about semicolons (when they're not snorting and snuffing) was silly. But the comments on Mark's post Peeving and breeding have devolved to a level of even greater silliness: the pressing question of whether to type one space after a period or two.

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There's a fine line between recursion and intertextuality

…and between intertextuality and self-indulgence.

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The meta-pragmatics of Twitter

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