Archive for False friends

My foci cup

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Fake F*ck

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Foreigner: goy, gajo, gaijin

Annie Gottlieb asks:

Here's a question for you:

These words all have the same meaning—
goy, goyim (Yiddish)
gajo (Roma)
gaijin (Japanese)
Is there any relationship or is this a coincidence?

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Pandemic art

One image evokes the other:

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Pixie shoes

A stylish clothing company comes up with sexy new shoes worthy of an elf or a pixie, and look at their ad:

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What were they thinking?

Alex Baumans writes:

Perhaps no news to you, but I just discovered that the new Range Rover model is called the Velar. I wonder if the Uvular will be next.

To be followed by the Range Rover Pharyngeal and the Range Rover Glottal. (Or maybe a hybrid version called the Range Rover Labiovelar?)

And Jeep could fight back with the Jeep Ergative and the Jeep Grand Optative…


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Sino-Japanese faux ami

Nathan Hopson saw this sign on the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau.

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Can Japanese read Chinese, and vice versa?

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A meal of little shovels

At an excellent restaurant in Leipzig last night the server quickly identified me as an Auslander whose German might not be up to grasping every nuance of the menu, so I was given an English menu as well. (It was a bit humiliating, like having a bib tied round my neck. I have tried to explain elsewhere why my knowledge of German is so shamefully thin and undeveloped despite my having once spent 18 months living in the country.) On the English menu was a dish at which I raised a native-speaking eyebrow: Frankish little shovels, it said. And since there is no limit to my dedication as a linguistic scientist, I ordered the dish just to see what these little shovels were like.

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Back in mid-December, 2013, I started assembling materials for a post about the differences between Chinese and Japanese writing.  I think that someone (I forget who) sent me a couple of links that stimulated me to think about this topic, and then I added some things of my own.  That was about as far as I got, though, so the would-be post was filed away in my drafts folder until I stumbled upon it today.

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Blatter beast

Is it just me, or does "Sepp Blatter" sound like the name of an alien creature in a Star Wars episode or some other sci-fi story? Put together the sep of (e.g.) septic tank of corruption and the blatter of Douglas Adams's ravenous bugblatter beast of Traal and you've really got a name that phonologically conjures up a monstrous creature from beyond.

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Full fart

Advertisement at a train stop in Oslo:

Photograph courtesy of Alexy Khudyakov

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Flirtatious Evacuation

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and countless other social networking services and video / music sharing sites are blocked and banned in China (presumably because they would otherwise contaminate the minds of China's citizens and lead to social unrest, as has apparently happened in the Middle East).  But all such banned and blocked services and sites have their heavily policed and controlled Chinese knockoffs, so life goes on, after a fashion.

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