Archive for Language and medicine

The causes of myopia

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Mycological meandering: vernacular variora

The surname of the mayor of Prague is Hřib (Zdeněk Hřib [b. May 21, 1981]):

"Zdeněk Hřib: the Czech mayor who defied China"

By refusing to expel a Taiwanese diplomat, the Prague mayor has joined the ranks of local politicians confronting contentious national policies

Robert Tait in Prague
The Guardian, Wed 3 Jul 2019 01.00 EDT

The surname Hřib, though unusual, struck me as familiar.  Jichang Lulu observes:

Hřib is the regular Czech reflex of the Proto-Slavic source of, e.g., the Russian and Polish words for "mushroom" (гриб, grzyb). The Czech form, however, has a more specific meaning (certain mushrooms, e.g., Boletus). On the other hand, the further origin of Slavic gribъ has long been a matter of much debate, and I'm not aware of a generally accepted Proto-Indo-European (or other) etymology.

That set me to wondering whether there are cognates in other IE branches.

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How to see a doctor in China

Photo taken in the reception area of a hospital:


(Source)

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Update on the search for immigrant-aid interpreters

Let me try to pull together the information from my previous two posts, and add information that I'm seeing on Twitter. I will update this as I get more information.

Service-providers looking for interpreters. Much of the interpreting that is needed can be done by phone, so geographic location shouldn't be an issue.

RAICES: volunteer@raicestexas.org.

American Immigration Council. The person to contact is Crystal Massey, but the website doesn't give her email address. The general "Contact Us" page is here. (Added June 24, 2018.)

Service-providers that might need interpreters. These are names of groups that someone posted on Twitter; I don't know whether they're actually looking for interpreters.

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More regarding the need for interpreters

In addition interpreters being needed to help detainees communicate with their lawyers, there is an urgent need for medical personnel who can speak Central American indigenous languages (or, failing that, presumably for interpreters to work with English- and Spanish-speaking medical personnel). This is a Facebook post that Emily Bender has sent me:


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Writing moxibustion is a bust

[This is a guest post by David Moser]

I took a group of my students, who are studying the Chinese medical system, to a yǎngshēngguǎn 养生馆 [VHM: "health center / club" — centered on TCM = Traditional Chinese Medicine], which are very common in Beijing.  I wanted them to see and experience firsthand the kinds of informal "well being" treatments that the lǎobǎixìng 老百姓 ("common people") indulge in every day, such as foot massage, cupping (báguàn 拔罐), medicinal foot baths, moxibustion, etc.

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Chinese lung cancer poeticizes in English

For several days I've been aware of a strange poem that has gone viral in China:

"Read The Smog-Inspired Poem That China Can't Stop Talking About" (NPR, 1/12/17)

The strangeness of the poem is due to its being written from the perspective of lung cancer and addressed to the patient.  You judge for yourself — here's the complete poem:

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Po Chai Pills

Stephen Hart sent in this scan of a box containing medicine that he bought in Malaysia in 1972:

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The love organ of many names

British comedian Richard Herring is the author of a 2003 book entitled Talking Cock: A Celebration of Man and his Manhood, so he naturally seized upon the republicization opportunity provided by the recent story of the world's first successful penis transplant. He made it the topic of his weekly humor column in The Metro, the trashy free newspaper that I sometimes reluctantly peruse in my constant search for linguistic developments that might be of interest to Language Log readers.

In a bravura display of diversity of lexical choice, Herring contrived to use a different euphemism for the anatomical organ every time he could find an excuse for mentioning it, which, believe me, was a lot. And he left me pondering a serious lexicographical question: just how many euphemisms are there for the appendage in question?

[Unusually, this post is restricted to adult males. Please click "Read the rest of this entry" to confirm that you are male and over 18.]

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German crime novels and high blood pressure

Don't jump to any conclusions based on the title.  This post is not about how reading German crime novels raises blood pressure.  Quite the contrary, it is about how reading German crime novels dramatically lowers blood pressure, at least for one of my friends.

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Christian Dior's "Quiproquo" cocktail dress and the florid rhubarb prescription written on it

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art has a very-well received exhibit, "China: Through the Looking Glass" (7 May–16 August, 2015), which "explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries."

One of the objects displayed is a (rather fetching) "Quiproquo" cocktail dress by Christian Dior (1951), the calligraphic pattern of which is based on 19th-century rubbing from a 10th-century stele inscription describing a sudden illness, an abdominal pain. (You can see both here; they're images 12 and 13 as you scroll down.)

Here's the dress:


Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957) for House of Dior (French, founded 1947)
"Quiproquo" cocktail dress, 1951
French
Silk, leather
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1953 (C.I.53.40.38a–d)
Photography © Platon

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Magi, myrrh, and mummies

'Tis the season!

We all know the story of the three Magi bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus.  In this post, I'll write about the two "m" words of the story, "magi" and "myrrh", touching briefly on "magi", but going into a bit more detail on "myrrh".  I'll leave it to others to talk about gold and frankincense, should they so desire, and will turn to the mummies toward the end of the post.

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Chinese characters and eyesight

There was an interesting article in the Economist a couple of day ago:  "Why So Many Chinese Children Wear Glasses" (11/9/2014)

Myopia is epidemic in China, and the percentage of those with this affliction is increasing each year.

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