Nice dovetail with Patch Adams that I watched last night Caring http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/05/caring-965.html (via Instapaper)
If you’re not really interested in language or linguistics, you might not want to read any further. :)
NPR interviewed a man who has analyzed some of the linguistic phenomena he finds on Twitter. The main idea was that “accents” show through in this written communication, such that some people use the standard spelling “something,” while regionally people may also use “sumthin,” for example.
The excerpt that most stuck out to me, of which I bolded the most significant parts, is a discussion of the difference between spoken and written language. Academically, it’s almost always easier to compare two languages on paper, but if you take the distinctions far enough, you’ll see that not even two people speak exactly the same. That doesn’t stop us from understanding each other, but on larger scales this is how separate languages eventually develop, and on a medium scale, it gives rise to regional colloquialisms and slang. You might not understand some of the idioms or pronunciations used in the Deep South or in Australia, but if you speak English, you’ll by and large be able to communicate with people there.
You’ve got to generalize to make any progress when you’re initially researching and analyzing linguistic (or any) data. Thus, you ignore a lot of regional variations within language when you need to have a single entity to refer to as “English.” Otherwise, you might never get off the ground and be able to compare it to other tongues, say German or Spanish, that are obviously different languages (not inter-intelligible). Written language (“orthography”) contributes a lot of standardization to speakers’ idea of their language. You generally think of a “correct” spelling of a word, right? In use, there’s nothing inherent about the sounds in our words that correlates them to certain shapes of ink on paper, but having a standard spelling system (and grammar “rules” and so on) lends itself to clarity in communication among people from all parts of the English spectrum.
I think that it’s important to remember that written language is often meant to be a representation of spoken language—that is, it’s supposed to communicate just as my spoken words would if we were in each other’s presence. So there’s no point in calling a pronunciation or a spelling “wrong”; I say, if it’s understood, then it is serving its purpose as communication.
In the excerpt below, I think some of the statements are a little exaggerated, but I just want to look at the parts I typed in bold.
It’s a good thing for regional variations to show up on Twitter (as the interview discusses; of course, it happens in other online venues as well). For linguistic analysis of how people are using language and how it is changing in pronunciation and in other ways, these phenomena on Twitter are exciting. In one way, I think it democratizes written language, making communication less contrived—if I may—and more of a pure reflection of spoken language. (I love having standard written English, because it allows for communication across dialects and from around the world. I think both kind of written English are valuable.)
SIEGEL: As you are applying computational research to linguistics, I mean, do you find that something different has happened here, that first email, then texting, then Twitter, with all of its improvised shorthand and creative misspellings, is in fact making written language more like spoken language?
Mr. EISENSTEIN: Yeah, I think that’s a great observation, and that’s, to me, exactly what’s so exciting about studying Twitter. You know, these sorts of regional differences are things that we’ve known about for a long time in spoken language, and in fact, you know, it’s the case that spoken English between different cities in the U.S., linguists believe it’s more different now than it was 100 years ago but in written language.
Up until very recently, the only data that you would have available would be very formal written texts, things by journalists or laws, things like that. So there was really no way to identify that kind of regional variation until now.
And now, through social media, we have written communication that’s being used in a very conversational, informal way, and so we’re starting to see all the same richness and diversity that we see in spoken language, we’re starting to see that in written language, too.
Yesterday, I was sitting in this little room:
I was drinking a crisp Dasani raspberry flavored water, and then I finished it. I tried to throw the bottle into the recycling bin (that’s the one with the clear bag, on the left in the picture above).
Not exactly sure what happened, but the bottle missed and bounced back off the wall… I never heard it hit the ground, though…
This is what I saw when I walked around to the bins:
That happened! The bottle ricocheted off the wall, back toward the chair, where its narrow end slid down between two bars on the back of the chair…and there it stayed.
It’s very common to hear talk about heaven framed in terms of who “gets in” or how to “get in.” What we find Jesus teaching, over and over and over again, is that he’s interested in our hearts being transformed, so that we can actually handle heaven. To portray heaven as bliss, peace, and endless joy is a beautiful picture, but it raises the question: How many of us could handle it [my emphasis], as we are today? How would we each do in a reality that had no capacity for cynicism or slander or worry or pride?
-Love Wins, page 50.
Father, mold us to be made of heaven material and Christlikeness.
This is what @SandersSays about celebrating with others:
This is what my dog likes to do: If I come home in a good mood or get excited about something, he gets in on the fun, no questions asked.
-Tim Sanders, Today We Are Rich.
I’m finding it alternately exciting and near-excruciating to approach graduation. There’s a world to explore and invade, but it would be so much better to remain in the context I’ve invested so much in. This is not always easy emotionally.
One month and a half.
For my roommates and me, anyway.
I picked up the pink marker that had been lying on our coffee table, property of nobody-knows-who, and hid it in my hand. I said “pound it” to anyone who was around, with the uncapped marker pointing out between two of my fingers.
For those who fell for it, there wasn’t much to see. It was a slightly dry marker, so it would take more than a slight touch to really mark someone up. Regardless, it started a battle…
Landon tackled me soon, and we struggled for the pink marker. We both received pink battle scars, but the battle subsided, and we all went to bed.
This was unwise. Why did I sleep unguarded? Why did I leave ye olde pinke marker out in the open? Alas– I woke up at daylight, so I could see but not prevent Landon, who quickly stood up and put a pink star on my face.
All in fun, of course. I think it was hilarious.
But I didn’t wash it off. Still hilarious…in a different way… My first stop out of the house was Starbucks, where I walked around
proudly unwittingly with that ol’ pink star.
I wonder if people noticed. Two possibilities: (1) Because I was sitting with my left side to the wall, most people didn’t notice the star on the left side of my face.
(2) Because I was sitting with my left side to the wall, and people had noticed my face when I came in, they thought I was a loner, hiding my rosy cheeks or whatever the pink mark was.
Who knows, really, except that the barista gave me a free upgrade from a tall to a venti(!). I thought it was due to a sense of my being a regular, since I’m frequently there to study, and a niceness on her part. Now I wonder if the smile and the upgrade was just her feeling sorry for me, the boy who can’t even wash marker ink off his face…
But I got this for free! (The small cup was a sample they came around with later.
By the way, I normally don’t get $6 drinks like the venti here. I was getting a frappuccino as a treat because I had a coupon for a free [tall] drink. Hence my surprise-delight at the venti upgrade.)
A nice picture of Crayola markers, by the way: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sergiog/1324125256/
Some kids were running around playing ball after church on Sunday. There was one of these:
(apparently called a Gym-I-Nee, I discovered, by searching “ball playground equipment three chutes” on Google…)
These kids were too short to throw a ball in unless they granny-shot it.
But not all was lost.
A clever little guy dragged a bench over from the wall. He set it near the…er, do I have to call it a Gym-I-Nee?… and explained to whomever of his peers was listening:
“So you can score easily-er.”
Easily-er; as in, easilier. As in, “more easily”; but I like his way much more (much more better).
but such fun
like SpongeBob tells Squidward: “good for your soul”
Well this is cool
I pre-ordered Mae’s new (and final) CD, (e)vening, from Amazon. I got an email saying the price had decreased since I ordered it. I will get money back. That’s awesome
I am enjoying so much @maeband’s (Twitter for the band Mae) (e)vening EP. Their last album (ever). A DVD that comes in the album is the video of their last performance, in November last year, and this recording of their concert is super high quality.
Mae has been a presence in my life for years. I am flooded with emotion thinking back over their story, which they have shared with all us listeners. I wouldn’t recommend any music moreso than I would Mae
These are examples of scenarios given in my microeconomics book exercises. They’re kind of strange
The graph below shows the demand curve for kumquats in Chicago
The graph below shows the demand curve for trekking poles in San Francisco
A congressman from New York, facing pressure from constituents alarmed at increases in the price of orange juice…
The freedom to mess up a few times is the only way a creator will figure out how to do something great. Creative environments are not governed by egomaniacs or control freaks, they are governed by leaders who love the work more than themselves.
If you find yourself in an environment where you fear expressing your opinion, then as a creator you should consider leaving. I’m not saying you should leave, but you should certainly consider finding a place where your gifts can be used in an ego-free environment where creativity and expression of thought can flourish. There really is a community where you can be yourself, you just have to do the work to find it.” —Do You Work in an Environment that Fosters Creativity? (via Instapaper)
My roommate Landon called our other roommate Will outside to help him “look for a gift card he lost.” It was really a set-up, and between five of us guys we ambushed him in the dark, duct taped his arms, knees, and ankles together. Fighting five people was too much, and besides, he was enjoying it. After all, we were simply congratulating him for his engagement. ;)
We threw him into the car and drove to the beach, where we dropped him off. We drove away but circled back on foot. By that time, though, as he told us later, he had pulled some of the duct tape off and sawed the rest off on a rock wall. Since he was not at the beach when we got back to it, we headed back toward our house.
Halfway there, we looked out the car windows, and there was Will, staggering in tattered clothes, muttering to a soccer ball he had drawn a face on… or so we jokingly imagined. In reality, when we called out to him on the side of the road, he dove into a snow bank but then finally climbed into the car. We all laughed our heads off and had a grand time goofing around.
In the final moments, though, Will got back at the rest of us when he and Jesse (one of the ambushers, who already had his engagement “congratulations”) promised our own…celebration…when our engagements come around; and here’s the thing: Jesse’s prank was a pie in the face. Will’s was being bound and left facedown on the beach. This is escalating exponentially, so I had better get married soon lest I get the fifth or sixth prank and it involves some kind of international stranding or internationally broadcast embarrassment…
I went with my house
mates to a screening of Invisible Children’s new film Tony, and a discussion with four members of IC, including one Ugandan, afterward. I didn’t expect to cry because I didn’t expect the personal level of the story. I’m moved even by normal intercultural interaction; seeing Ugandan (love ‘em!) children (love ‘em!) in perpetual danger and fear quickly sobers you and softens your heart. And it’s not just Ugandans, because the fighting and fear is spreading to other parts of eastern Africa.
The aspect of Invisible Children’s focus that seemed most unique and was most exciting to me was building radio towers.
I get so excited by the opportunities that technology brings. For people that have radio communication, suddenly there is a way to be aware of approaching dangers, of the movements and patterns of the people who are taking violence from place to place. I spent part of last summer in a remote part of Papua New Guinea (that’s redundant–most of Papua New Guinea is remote), and our only communication with people elsewhere in PNG was through one radio.
Note that tall bamboo in the middle there. At the very tip-top tall top of that was the place radio waves went from and to. They got to the radio set via a wire that went from the pole to the house.
It makes all the difference: you go from having no long-distance communication, to being able to talk with people who are in a village that it would take you up to a week to walk to.
Monday night was one to go down in the books. Two upcoming posts will explain.
at the coffee shop I studied at yesterday. A woman a table over got up to put on her coat. When she lifted it up to her shoulders, the tails draped over my coffee mug, and as she pulled her coat forward my mug came with it. I scrambled to grab my mug, and then I pulled the coat up and over. The woman didn’t even seem to notice, while another neighbor and I laughed about how close it was and how sometimes we don’t realize close calls that are right behind us or are our own fault. :)
The scene of the incident:
During my Christmas vacation I went to the movie theater way more often than I’d ever done before. Tron, Narnia, Black Swan, Fighter, King’s Speech. Since the end of break/start of this semester, I’ve been to none. Back on pace. I guess I had a lot more downtime then