Mandarin morphosyllabic annotation of a Taiwanese sign

Public notice in a ward in Tainan, Taiwan:


(Source)

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Intentionally ambiguous headline

"The Lost Harvest of Chinese Food Plants in Venezuela", By José González Vargas, Caracas Chronicles (May 11, 2019)

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Trolling

Following up on the previous post, see Emma Grey Ellis, "Nobody knows what 'troll' means anymore — least of all Mueller", Wired 4/26/2019:

GREETINGS, TROLLS OF Reddit! Tell me: What’s a troll?

“Memester that hates normies,” says suicideposter.

“Someone who only interacts for reactions,” says _logic_victim.

“Lives under a bridge, votes Republican,” says TW1971. (“no u,” replies Popcap101z, taking the bait, baiting the hook, or both. I can’t be sure.)

“I prefer not to apply labels to myself,” says MyFriend_BobSacamano. (Lulz.)

Asking a troll to define trolling is a bit like asking a terrorist to define terrorism. The question backfires; it invites prevarication and propaganda. But in the past few years, an answer has become increasingly necessary—and elusive. Without one, can we clearly distinguish teasing from hate speech?

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The Notion of "Trolling" in Ancient Sanskrit

[This is a guest post by Varun Khanna]

In the Nyāya Sūtra by Akṣapāda Gautama (composed sometime between the sixth century BCE and the second century CE), a three-fold conception of dialogue is discussed. It appears that at the time this was written, dialectic culture was strong in the Sanskritic world. Thus, the rules of dialogue and debate started being codified by several authors, such as Gautama in his Nyāya Sūtra and Caraka (third century BCE) in his seminal Ayurveda work Caraka Saṁhitā. In Gautama's work, he defines three types of dialogue.

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Losing the battle

Elizabeth Wydra, "Chief Justice John Roberts is under tremendous pressure", CNN 5/10/2019:

As the Supreme Court strives to finish its work by the end of June — deciding on issues from the future of the census to the ability of politicians to draw their own legislative districts — the justices labor in their chambers at a particularly fraught moment in our country's history. The pressure may be greatest on Chief Justice John Roberts.

Try as he might — and some might question whether he is trying hard enough lately — Roberts is in danger of losing his battle to keep most Americans from seeing the court he leads as divorced from politics.

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Icebachi

From Tomo's Twitter:

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Mandarin with a German accent

Christian Lindner opened his speech in Chinese at the 70th Federal Party Congress of the FDP:

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Ruby phonetic annotation for Cantonese

Jenny Chu sent in this photograph of an ad on a Hong Kong subway car:

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A quantum leap in the Chinese toilet revolution

A friend was visiting in Lijiang, Yunnan Province (southwestern China) earlier this week.  She stayed in Yuhu 玉湖 village where Joseph Rock (1884-1962; the famous Austrian-American explorer, geographer, linguist, and botanist) lived nearly a century ago at the foot of Yulong 玉龙 Mountain.  The area around Lijiang has become a famous tourist destination, not only for the beauty of its natural scenery, but for the richness of its local culture (more about that below).  While in Lijiang, my friend was surprised to come upon signs for unisex toilets:

Here is some signage for such toilets in China:

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Mongolian script on RMB bills

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Rhetorical trope of the week

Today's xkcd:

Mouseover title: "Listen, I'm not a fan of the Spanish Inquisition OR predatory multi-level marketing schemes…"

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Anxieties of word-order influence

Sir Michael Edwards, "La Française République", bloc-notes de l'Académie Française 5/2/2019:

La grande majorité des importateurs d’anglicismes sont des gens honnêtes ; les agents publicitaires en particulier ne cachent pas leur jeu. Air France est in the air, les voitures Citroën sont inspired by you, Opel, qui nous disait autrefois, fièrement et avec l’accent à l’appui : Wir leben Autos, nous offrent maintenant de bonnes occasions pendant les German days. […]

Il en est autrement dans le monde universitaire.On dirait qu’il a été charmé par l’ingéniosité de ce que j’ai appelé (à propos d’autres usages impropres) les anglicismes furtifs, qui s’insinuent dans la langue sans se faire remarquer. […] [D]ans Aix-Marseille Université, par exemple, tous les termes sont français ; de quoi pourrait-on se plaindre ? De l’ordre des mots, hélas, qui est anglais, comme dans Cambridge University.

The great majority of anglicism importers are honest: advertisers in particular don't hide what they're up to. Air France is "in the air", Citroën cars are "inspired by you", Opel, who once told us proudly, backed up with a German accent, "Wir leben cars", now offers us bargains during "German days". […]

It's otherwise in academia, which has perhaps been seduced by the ingenuity of what I've called "furtive anglicisms", which sneak into the language without being noticed. […] In "Aix-Marseille Université", for example,  all the terms are French; what can we complain about? The order of the words, alas, which is English, as in "Cambridge University".

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On swallowing and slurring in Pekingese

I called this old post to the attention of Yijie Zhang, a true native of Peking / Beijing / Beizhing:

"How they say 'Beijing' in Beijing" (8/18/08)

Yijie's reply:

I totally agree with you! There is indeed an enormous amount of slurring and swallowing of consonants in Pekingese, which is sometimes referred to as "tūn zìr 吞字儿" ("swallowing characters") or "tūn yīn 吞音" ("swallow sounds"). As a native Běijīng rén 北京人 ("Pekingese"), I remember a friend of mine from Jiangsu province once complained that it almost sounded like a trisyllabic word when I was saying a five-character phrase, and she always had to guess what I was saying (according to the vowel contours) because of my "tūn yīn 吞音" ("swallowing the sounds"). Other topolect speakers enumerated some of the most typical words of "tūn yīn 吞音" ("swallowing the sounds") in Pekingese:

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