Archive for March, 2013

This is not me

Paolo Lucchesi, "AQ’s Matt Semmelhack and Mark Liberman to open Bon Marché in Market Square", Inside Scoop SF 2/22/2013:

Matt Semmelhack and Mark Liberman — the team behind the celebrated AQ in SoMa — are the first restaurant tenants of the big Market Square development (a.k.a. the Twitter building), where they plan to open a street-level, all-day brasserie and bar named Bon Marché.

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Delayed due to some reasons: annals of airport Chinglish, part 4

The latest collection of "lost in translation" signs from the Mail Online offers some doozies:

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David "Semi True" Brooks

David Brooks, "The Progressive Shift", NYT 3/18/2013:

There is a statue outside the Department of Labor of a powerful, rambunctious horse being reined in by an extremely muscular man. This used to be a metaphor for liberalism. The horse was capitalism. The man was government, which was needed sometimes to restrain capitalism’s excesses.

I recently claimed that

David Brooks has an unparalleled ability to shape an intellectually interesting idea into the rhetorical arc of an 800-word op-ed piece. The trouble is, a central part of his genius is choosing the little factoids that perfectly illustrate his points. No doubt he's happy enough to use a true fact if the right one comes to hand, but whenever I've checked, the details have turned out to be somewhere between mischaracterized and invented.

So I thought I'd put in a few minutes today as Mr. Brooks' metaphor-checker. I'll spare you the full "Ask Radio Yerevan" treatment, but here's the gist: Brooks originally wrote that the statue was outside the Department of Labor, and that the horse was capitalism and the man was government; but in fact the statue is outside the Federal Trade Commission, and according to the sculptor, the horse was trade and the man was, well, man. (Or, in these less gendered times, humanity.)

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Nobody just talks anymore

Zits for 3/19/2013:

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If you like Japanese food, you are undoubtedly familiar with "teppanyaki", so you probably wouldn't be surprised to see a sign like this in your neighborhood, as did Jim Breen near his home in Melbourne:

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English in China #2

Whenever there's a major gathering in Beijing, such as the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress National Committee that has been going on these days, some top figure (politician, educator, or scholar) will be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to lambaste English as a threat to the stability of the People's Republic.  For examples, see here on the dangers of Westernization (mainly English words) and here on language purity and the threat of creeping Romanization.

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Ask Language Log: There's cookies involved

T.L. writes:

One of my wife's pet peeves is the use of "there's" instead of "there are," as in the last line here. What's up with this? It's very common. Is it simply easier to articulate?

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Use your words

I somehow missed this Bizarro comic when it first appeared:

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Water between

This photograph was taken at the northern train station in Changchun, China:

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Killer Pope

Giacomo Sillari sent in this snapshot of a news-stand display:

The sign juxtaposes teasers for two different stories, one the election of Pope Francis, and the other a multiple murder and suicide in Umbria.

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Bahasa and the concept of "National Language"

I've long been aware that many of the languages of Southeast Asia are referred to as bahasa. Here's a list from Wikipedia:

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Providence talks

Emily Badger, "Providence Wins Mayors Challenge Prize for Early Childhood Project", The Atlantic Cities, 3/13/2013:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg likes to say that cities are the new laboratories of democracy in the United States (sorry states!), particularly in an era of political paralysis in Washington. This was the premise behind the $9 million Mayor's Challenge launched last summer by Bloomberg Philanthropies, inviting any city with a population larger than 30,000 to submit a groundbreaking idea for funding. This morning, Bloomberg announced the five winners – including a $5 million grand prize to Providence, Rhode Island – for potentially replicable innovations "bubbling up" from cities in early childhood education, recycling, data analytics, civic entrepreneurship and resident wellbeing. […]

Grand Prize ($5 million): Providence, Rhode Island: Research suggests that in just the first few years of life, low-income children hear millions fewer words than their middle- and upper-income counterparts, impacting the development of their vocabularies and setting back their long-term prospects for academic and career success. This program aims to close that "word gap."

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