Archive for November, 2018

Insults, insults, and more insults

What's going on?  Lately everywhere you turn, especially in China, people are getting insulted — big league:

"‘Ask the Chinese people’: China calls for understanding in Dolce & Gabbana insult row"

  • Fashion house suffers high-profile resignations after ‘country of s***t’ storm
  • D&G attempts damage control as Communist Party weighs in to row

Zhuang Pinghui, SCMP (11/22/18)

"Dolce & Gabbana cancels show in China after celebrities and models boycott over founder Stefano’s ‘racist online outburst’ and controversial ad campaign"

  • Designer Stefano Gabbana says his Instagram account was hacked and apologised following screenshots of him apparently calling China ‘a country of s***’
  • That followed an ad campaign that featured a Chinese woman struggling to eat pizza, spaghetti and an oversized cannoli with chopsticks

Zhuang Pinghui, SCMP (11/21/18)

"Controversial adverts: racism, sexism, abusive relationships and disrespect towards chickens"

  • Insensitive and offensive adverts attract huge numbers of complaints online and in the mass media
  • Advertisers say they are easy targets and people will complain about anything

Elaine Yau, SCMP (11/20/18)

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Toilet revolution!, part 2

Why China still needs one, and Chairman Xi keeps calling for a profound transformation of toilet etiquette:

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Why commas count

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Vulgar language: "arsehole" geese

Article in ABC News (Australia) today (11/20/18):

"'Arsehole' geese become internet sensations as farmer writes honest for-sale post"

All Leslie Du Preez wanted was to add a little tranquillity to her small southern Queensland farm.

"We got these beautiful geese and thought they'd be a wonderful addition to our beautiful zen-like property," she said.

It did not go to plan.

"They terrorised our poor sheep, they made little kids cry. The roosters got pecked and the peacock's tail feathers got pulled out by them. There was no peaceful free-ranging and having a good time. It was mayhem."

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Group differences

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An immodest proposal: "Boycott the Chinese Language"

So argues Anders Corr in the Journal of Political Risk, 7.11 (November, 2018):

"Boycott the Chinese Language: Standard Mandarin is the Medium of Chinese Communist Party Expansion"

What?  Are my eyes deceiving me?  Did he really say that?

Starting right from the first paragraph, we can see that the author is serious:

China is one of history’s most dangerous countries. In August, the United Nations reported that China is holding approximately one million minority Muslims in Xinjiang concentration camps. China supports anti-democratic regimes and terrorist groups worldwide. Its military is seeking to expand its territory in: Japanese and South Korean areas of the East China Sea; Philippine, Malaysian, Bruneian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese parts of the South China Sea; and Indian and Bhutanese territory in the Himalayan mountains. President Xi Jinping has since 2013 increased military spending, hyped China’s nationalism, repressed minorities and human rights activists, eliminated term limits on his increasingly personal form of rule, and extended the geographic reach and individual depth of state surveillance.

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Misnegation dis-publication

Monique Friedlander, "'It's a nightmare and not something anyone wants to happen!' Roxy Jacenko reveals the fatal error which forced her to scrap new book", Daily Mail 11/18/2018:

Roxy Jacenko's fourth literary work, Roxy's Little Black Book of Tips & Tricks is set to hit shelves in less than two weeks.

But the 38-year-old suffered a less-than-ideal set-back in recent months thanks to a rather unfortunate typo that appeared in the book's first print-run.

According to The Daily Telegraph on Sunday, a quote by KIIS FM's Jackie 'O' Henderson was misprinted to read, 'Roxy never fails to disappoint…', rather than: 'Roxy never fails to deliver.'

'Without question it's a nightmare and not something anyone wants to happen,' Roxy told the publication, claiming that six proofreaders from publisher Allen & Unwin managed to miss the error before the book went to print.

Six proofreaders? Anyhow, perhaps we should say that they didn't fail to miss it.

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So much for Big Data

This has been a busy week for me, wherefore no posts — a full day at Penn on Monday; Tuesday and Wednesday at Baidu in Sunnyvale; Thursday at Apple in Cupertino; Friday at ETS in San Francisco; lunch with Geoff Nunberg on Saturday; and then an afternoon at Scale By The Bay 2018. There were a lot of instructive and productive exchanges, but by far the most amusing moment was the point in the final Scale-By-The-Bay panel when one of the participants observed that "Big Data is so 2012"…


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"Falling rocks" versus "fallen rocks"

[This is a guest post by an anonymous correspondent.]

We traveled last week from our home in Baltimore out to see our daughter in Ohio, and while en route in Pennsylvania, my husband and I noticed something. At various points along the turnpike, we saw signs that noted "Falling Rocks" and others that noted "Fallen Rocks." It was after dark as we drove, so we couldn't see what the hillsides looked like, but we found it unusual to see both signs, which appeared to be in free variation. We didn't see any rocks in the road, and happily for us, none came rolling down as we passed.

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"Geda", part 3

Earlier this week (11/12/18), under the rubric "Of knots, pimples, and Sinitic reconstructions", we discussed the origins and meaning of the fascinating Sinitic word "geda" ("pimple; knot; lump").  That, in turn, was prompted by our initial acquaintance with "geda" in "Too hard to translate soup" a couple of months before (9/2/18).  After considering a possible source in Indo-European, Turkic, Tungusic, and Mongolic, there seemed to be a bit of momentum in favor of the last named family.

Since "geda" first appeared in a significantly large number of citations in written Sinitic during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) about a thousand years ago, it was thought advisable to look at an earlier stage of Mongolic rather than simply referring to modern Mongolian forms.  So I thought of asking Daniel Kane, a rare specialist in Khitan, which is generally considered to be a Para-Mongolic language, whether he had any thoughts on the matter.

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Hanoi menu

Tweet by Dan Okrent:

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Font adjustment: Times Beef Noodle

Tweet  by Noelle Mateer:

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"China has no intention to touch the cheese of any country"

A tweet by Kelsey Munro:

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