Archive for the ‘english’ tag

#  English’s Coming Indian Decline? →

June 19th, 2014 at 14:03 // In Worth Considering 

I’d not realized it, but Samanth Subramanian points out that the latest presidential election — which brought Narendra Modi to power — there may mark the decline of English being the most important and prominent language in India:

Most recently, though, India’s major newspapers have been expanding in a different direction. In 2012, Bennett Coleman, the publisher of The Times of India, the world’s largest English daily, started a Bengali newspaper and poured fresh resources into its older Hindi and Marathi papers. Last October, the publisher of The Hindu, a 135-year-old English paper, launched a Tamil edition. Another leading English daily, The Hindustan Times, has enlarged the staff and budgets of its Hindi sibling Hindustan. And this past winter, a few months before the election, The Times of India launched NavGujarat Samay, a Gujarati paper for Modi’s home turf.

#  Ten Best Sentences →

June 13th, 2014 at 15:00 // In Worth Distraction 

Selected by The American Scholar, Roy Peter Clark explains why these sentences are so great. An interesting perspective, the list. Here’s their first, from The Great Gatsby:

Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

(via Kottke)

#  Quick Flyover Accents of the British Isles →

April 10th, 2014 at 16:13 // In Worth Distraction 

It’s a bit too breezy to really give you a sense of the accents in full, but ease and speed with which Andrew Jack switches among the accents it fun:

#  English Speech Accent Archive →

January 15th, 2014 at 17:22 // In Worth Hearing 

This is a neat little time suck. It’s not the simplest browsing experience, but people from all over the world read the same paragraph. I pulled out some examples:

(via kottke)

#  100 Beautiful Words →

June 25th, 2009 at 18:25 // In Worth Discussing 

I’m pretty sure I’ll find fault with any such list that fails to include the word “marshmallow,” but Robert Beard’s is an interesting list.

(I think I also have to object to all words — especially French imports — with silent letters.)

(via kottke)

And because I haven’t done it in over a year, any nominations?

#  Accent Quiz →

August 21st, 2008 at 22:00 // In Worth Distraction 

Though this quiz is a tad on the detail-oriented side, I did enjoy it. I’m guessing you can do better than 23, but you’ll need to be able to tell an Estonian accents from a Lithuanian. Or a Canadian from an American.

(via Passport)

#  On Semicolons →

August 12th, 2008 at 18:29 // In Worth Knowing 

I wasn’t aware of the massive unpopularity of semicolons among male literary types; apparently only the effete are supposed to use them.

Ben McIntyre, writing in the Times of London a couple of months later, added to the collection of semicolon snubbers: Kurt Vonnegut called the marks “transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing.” Hemingway and Chandler and Stephen King, said McIntyre, “wouldn’t be seen dead in a ditch with a semi-colon (though Truman Capote might). Real men, goes the unwritten rule of American punctuation, don’t use semi-colons.”

#  Arabic Wikipedia →

July 22nd, 2008 at 20:45 // In Worth Knowing 

Being a native (and, to my chagrin, monolingual) English speaker I’ve never much considered Wikipedia in other languages. The Arabic version is prehaps the most conspicuously small:

It has fewer than 65,000 articles, and ranks 29th among the various Wikipedias, just behind Slovenian, and well behind the artificial tongue, Esperanto.

Some possible reasons:

…young people find it easier to communicate in English online — whether chatting, sending instant messages or contributing to Wikipedia — both because not all keyboards are compatible with the Arabic alphabet and because they want their words to be more accessible to the wider world. (Some write in Arabic using the Roman alphabet.)

#  Agenbites →

May 29th, 2008 at 11:56 // In Worth Considering 

Joseph Bottum’s neologism for words with a ” kind of poetic, extralogical accuracy.” Some exploration:

In a logical sense, of course, some words are literally true or false when applied to themselves. Words about words, typically: Noun is a noun, though verb is not a verb. Polysyllabic is self-true, and monosyllabic is not. And this logical notion of autology can be extended. If short seems a short word, true of itself, then the shorter long must be false of itself.

But what about jab or fluffy or sneer, each of them true in a way that goes beyond logic? Verbose has always struck me as a strangely verbose word. Peppy has that perky, energetic, spry sound it needs. And was there ever a more supercilious word than supercilious? Or one more lethargic than lethargic?

(via Coudal)

#  God is Allah →

April 6th, 2008 at 10:31 // In Worth Considering 

We’ve all heard this at least once in the last decade, but Rabih Alameddine’s exploratation of Arabic words in English deserve a hearing. The bit most likely to be controversial:

We never say the French pray to Dieu, or Mexicans pray to Dios. Having Allah be different from God implies that Muslims pray to a special deity. It classifies Muslims as the Other. Separating Allah from God, we only see a vengeful, alarming deity, one responsible for those frightful fatwas and ghastly jihads — rarely the compassionate God. The opening line of every chapter in the Koran is “Bi Ism Allah, Al Rahman, Al Rahim”: In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful. In the name of Allah. One and the same. […]

In these troubled times, creating more differences, further parsing so to speak, is troubling, even dangerous. I suggest we either not use the word Allah or, better yet, use it in a non-Muslim context.

Otherwise, the terrorists win.