Categories
Language

Wine-Dark Sea, revisited

I’m going to show a photograph I took. Hundred bucks if you can guess what I saw that blew my mind. On Black Friday weekend (pure coincidence), my parents and I took a day trip out of Barcelona to the wine region of Penedes, just to the west. The valley is stunted, the sun is […]

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Language

McWhorter’s Similes

When Mike Vuolo and Bob Garfield said they would be abandoning Lexicon Valley, my beloved linguistics podcast, for other projects, I was crestfallen. Not even withstanding the fascinating content of the show, half of the reason I listen is for that comic pairing. Who could justifiably replace them? Though the name John McWhorter didn’t mean anything […]

Categories
Language Non-fiction

Irony rescues Drama

There is a phenomenon in linguistics that I cannot remember the name of. It happens when a young, contemporary word slowly expands its usage and meaning until it replaces its predecessor. In other words, an offspring overthrows its parent. It isn’t universally true, but it is deliciously borne of the dynamics of culture, making it […]

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Language Non-fiction

Politics of the English Language

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit A must-read. There are strong lessons here for poets and speech-writers in equal measure. Unfortunately, what Charlotte, Ezequiel, and I recently concluded on the definition of poetry– that it is the economy of language– applies here to any form of writing at all. Just the way it should be.   i. Never use a […]

Categories
Language

Words for snow / words for dairy

We can learn a lot about a culture by just investigating its vocabulary. Common trivia holds that Eskimos have about two dozen words for snow. As kids, when we first hear this, we are of course blown away– until we realize that the words are in fact used to describe different kinds of snow: falling […]

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Books Language

Books and Bosons

In applause of Peter Higgs, and the legacy of over 5 decades of research– I will attempt to outline another implication for the (near-certain) discovery of the god particle. The relationship of matter to mass. How does former attain latter? In the case of particle physics, it’s by moving through the Higgs field. In the case […]

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Art Language

Figuration to Abstraction, our evolution out of language

Yarn I: It seems one of the primary artistic trends of the 20th century (with spillover, maybe the last two centuries) was the increased acceptance of sketches and raw, undeveloped ideas as legitimate “works of art” ripe for an audience. The beginning of the last millennium would not have indicated this, though– the market and […]