Archive for Variation

Eat up with coronavirus cases

From Charles Belov:

A story on COVID-19 in Mississippi, "After Big Thanksgiving Dinners, Plan Small Christmas Funerals, Health Experts Warn", includes the following sentence:

“If I were in DeSoto, I wouldn’t go out,” Dr. Dobbs said during the MSDH roundtable late last week. “I would stay in my house as much as possible. Because DeSoto is eat up with coronavirus cases.”

I'd never heard "is eat up" before, so I wondered whether it might be a typo. I searched on the phrase "is eat up" and, aside from coincidental other occurrences, found "Wife's stepsister is eat up with BLM" and "I’m from South Carolina and my Facebook is eat up with this dumb crap!!!" so apparently it is a part of English.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (30)

Lake name

One of my favorite places to run to from Swarthmore is a beautiful little lake about three miles away.  I've been running down there for a couple of years now after I discovered its existence when I mentioned to some folks who live in Ridley Park, where the lake is located, that I'm always looking for nice places to run, and they suggested, with some pride, that I should come down and check out their little gem of a lake.  So I tried it out and have become stuck on it.  I have to run down there at least once every week or two, otherwise I feel that something is missing in my life.

So I've been blissfully running to that pretty little lake for a couple of years, but never thought whether it had a particular name.  Yesterday, for some unknown reason (perhaps because the weather was so glorious — 70º, clear blue skies, still some autumn foliage), the thought entered my mind that I should ask some people walking around there, sitting on benches, fishing, and standing on the cute bridge at one end where there is a creek that feeds the lake, what they call that lovely, little body of water.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (22)

Language Diversity in the Sinophone World

That's the title of a new book (Oct. 7, 2020) from Routledge edited by Henning Klöter and Mårten Söderblom Saarela, with the following subtitle:  Historical Trajectories, Language Planning, and Multilingual Practices.   I was present at the conference in Göttingen where the papers in the volume were first delivered and can attest to the high level of presentations and discussions.

This is the publisher's book description:

Language Diversity in the Sinophone World offers interdisciplinary insights into social, cultural, and linguistic aspects of multilingualism in the Sinophone world, highlighting language diversity and opening up the burgeoning field of Sinophone studies to new perspectives from sociolinguistics.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (8)

Vicious smears

Headline in Global Times today (9/10/20):

"People's Daily has right to reject US article containing vicious smears against China: FM"
 
"FM" means "Foreign Minister", Wang Yi 王毅.

Since the colorful, eye-catching term "vicious smears" has been popping up elsewhere in PRC English language media these days, colleagues have been wondering where it comes from in PRC Chinese language media.  Tracking down the Chinese original of this Global times article, it seems that "full of errors, inconsistent with the facts, and full of vicious smears against China" in this article is translated from "cuòlòu bǎichū, yǔ shìshí yánzhòng bùfú, chōngchìzhe duì Zhōngfāng de èdú gōngjí mǒhēi 错漏百出,与事实严重不符,充斥着对中方的恶毒攻击抹黑", and thus the Chinese word they use for "smears" in this article is "gōngjí 攻击 ("attack") mǒhēi 抹黑 ("discredit / [bring] shame [on] / defame / blacken OR tarnish [someone's reputation]")"; and "èdú gōngjí mǒhēi 恶毒攻击抹黑" for "vicious smears". Without the reference to the original Chinese sentence, I would probably translate "vicious smears" as "èdú de huǐbàng 恶毒的毁谤" ("vicious slander") given this specific context.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (9)

Anglophone accent imitation

(Plus one non-native accent…)

Almost a month old, but still relevant.

Comments (3)

Ulster-Scots Education Resources

From the Ulster-Scots Academy:

The introduction of Ulster-Scots as a language subject into the schools’ curriculum in Northern Ireland depends on the availability of an appropriate range of foundational textbooks and classroom resources. Because of this, the Education Programme of the Ulster-Scots Academy is closely related to our Language Development Programme and the provision of these resources to support accredited courses (to examination standards). These consist of dictionaries, spelling guides, grammar books, Ulster-Scots texts in the form of ‘readers’, and — in particular — classroom materials in the form of model ‘lessons’ with appropriate notes for teachers.

A sample lesson on "THE and THEY" is provided.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (6)

Pecan, pecan, let's call the whole thing off…

If you ask Google (in various ways) how to pronounce pecan, you'll get suggested additional questions like these:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (64)

Another kind of political lip-syncing

I've previously featured comedy turns from Kylie Scott ("Drunk in the club after Covid") and Sarah Cooper ("How to medical"), lip-syncing recorded passages from Donald Trump's press events. Here's another approach, from @JaneyGodley, substituting her own voice for that of the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon:


Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (7)

"The information we're getting is that … Yeah. No."

Comments (9)

Ocracoke

Frances Stead Sellers, "Amid flooding and rising sea levels, residents of one barrier island wonder if it’s time to retreat", WaPo 11/9/2019:

On any normal late-fall day, the ferries that ply the 30 miles between Swan Quarter and this barrier island might carry vacationing retirees, sports fishermen and residents enjoying mainland getaways after the busy summer tourist season.

But two months ago, Hurricane Dorian washed away all signs of normalcy here. After buzz-cutting the Bahamas, the giant storm rolled overhead, raising a seven-foot wall of water in its wake that sloshed back through the harbor, invading century-old homes that have never before taken in water and sending islanders such as post office head Celeste Brooks and her two grandchildren scrambling into their attics.

Ocracoke has been closed to visitors ever since. Island-bound ferries carry yawning container trucks to haul back the sodden detritus of destroyed homes. And O’cockers — proud descendants of the pilots and pirates who navigated these treacherous shores — are faced with a reckoning: whether this sliver of sand, crouched three feet above sea level between the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound, can survive the threats of extreme weather and rising sea levels. And if it can’t, why rebuild?

Most linguists know Ocracoke from the history of research on the variety of English spoken there — documented in Robert Howren, "The Speech of Ocracoke, North Carolina", American Speech 1962, and especially the 2000 book by Walt Wolfram and Natalie Schilling-Estes, Hoi toide on the outer banks: The story of the Ocracoke brogue. Works like that one make me hope for the day that books, or anyhow e-books, will have embedded audio and video.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (7)

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (34)

How to write "write" in Chinese and Japanese

The word for "write" in Modern Standard Mandarin (MSM) is xiě.   The traditional form of the Sinograph used to write this word is 寫, var. 冩 (can you see the difference?).  In Japanese that would be pronounced "sha" or "utsusu", but it is considered an uncommon character (hyōgaiji), and means not "write", but "transcribe; duplicate; reproduce; imitate; trace; describe​; to film; to picture; to photograph".

There are a number of words for "write" in modern Japanese (e.g., arawasu 著す, shirusu 記す), but the most common is kaku 書く.  Yes, that kanji means "book" in MSM, but it meant "write" in early Sinitic, whereas 寫 means "write" in MSM but meant "to place; to displace; to relocate; to carry; to relay; to express; to pour out [one's heart, troubles, etc.]; to copy; to transcribe; to follow; to describe; to depict; to draft; to create quotations; to draw; to sketch; to make a portrait; to sign; to formalize" in Literary Sinitic (LS) and Classical Sinitic (CS)   This is a good example of how Japanese often tends to retain older meanings of characters in the modern language, whereas in MSM characters have a propensity to take on new and quite different, unexpected meanings (e.g., zǒu 走 ["walk" in MSM] meant "run" in LS and CS).

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (49)

Variant pronunciations of "posthumous"

Nick Kaldis asks about the pronunciation of "posthumous":

On NPR this morning, and once a few weeks ago, both announcers pronounced it "pōst-hyooməs"; I can't recall ever hearing this pronunciation before.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (33)