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"broken english"

- when my mother struggles to spell a word in english
I want to break the entire language
into little pieces
so the edges of these letters
will stop cutting her

— aysha via Diaspora Defiance (via chaoticclassicism)

(via romancingthelanguages)


Endangered languages stand a greater chance of survival when they are used online.

"Having a Web presence for those languages is super important for their survival. Social media are just another connection point for people who want to stay connected to their language," says Daigneault, Latin America projects coordinator and development officer at the institute.


- For Rare Languages, Social Media Provide New Hope

baby's first words

baby: d-d-da..

father: daddy?

baby: dada /ˈdɑːdɑː/ or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century. Many claim Dada began in Zurich, Switzerland in 1916, spreading to Berlin shortly thereafter but the height of New York Dada was the year before, in 1915.[1] To quote Dona Budd's The Language of Art Knowledge,

Dada was born out of negative reaction to the horrors of World War I. This international movement was begun by a group of artists and poets associated with the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. Dada rejected reason and logic, prizing nonsense, irrationality and intuition. The origin of the name Dada is unclear; some believe that it is a nonsensical word. Others maintain that it originates from the Romanian artists Tristan Tzara's and Marcel Janco's frequent use of the words "da, da," meaning "yes, yes" in the Romanian language. Another theory says that the name "Dada" came during a meeting of the group when a paper knife stuck into a French-German dictionary happened to point to 'dada', a French word for 'hobbyhorse'.[2]

The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature, poetry, art manifestoes, art theory, theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. In addition to being anti-war, Dada was also anti-bourgeois and had political affinities with the radical left.


"As a university tutor in my hometown, a city which is roughly 40% black and 37% white, I still had students asking me, “Do they just never learn how to talk right?” I pull up a chair when this happens, “Listen up, gang.” So what do I tell them? Well, the goal is to convey that, scientifically speaking, non-standard varieties of English such as the English spoken by Rachel Jeantel and the ‘proper English’ they’ve been taught are equally communicative. I go over the differences and point out that both have a rule system that must be followed to speak convincingly.

But then, I don’t see why there should need to be that justification. So I end up trying to teach respect. If they have a student that speaks a non-standard variety of English, they need to understand that that student is therefore competent in understanding at least two versions of English: the version they speak at home and other safe environments, and the one forced upon them when listening to you.

Respect that.

The alarmingly pervasive idea that standard English equates to ‘good grammar’ and non-standard English equates to ‘bad grammar’ is false and exclusionary. When it’s used in conjunction with intelligence and credibility of a young black woman, it’s reminiscent of the faulty scientific racism of “The Bell Curve.” But language shaming is currently acceptable behavior in the status quo. It is one of the last bastions of unabashed racism and classism.”



Did a key witness in Trayvon Martin’s case talk funny, or could we all use some education?

(via marfmellow)

(via vforvilichka)





(via snaag)

"This kind of number-language has become an infinitely malleable shorthand among Chinese web users: 1 means “want,” 2 means “love,” 4 means “dead” or “world” or “is,” 5 means “I,” 7 means “wife” or “eat,” 8 means “get rich” or “not,” and 9 means “long time” or “alcohol.” The numbers 5201314, for example, mean 我爱你一生一世, or “I will love you forever”; 0748 means “go die”; and 687 means “I’m sorry.” (See here for more examples.) Chinese has plenty of other number-based slang, such as erbaiwu, or “250,” which means “idiot,” or “38,” pronounced sanba, which means “bitch.” And of course there’s the association of certain numbers with good or bad luck, and the subsequent demand for addresses and phone numbers with lots of 8s (“get rich”) and minimal 4s (“die”). Back in 2003, a Chinese airline paid $280,000 for the phone number 88888888."


The Secret Messages Inside Chinese URLs – New Republic

There are a few alternate pronunciations that I didn’t know about—they’re used in the military, railways, and aviation to make sure that numbers (e.g. qī vs. yī) don’t get misheard. 零 is also “dòng”, 一 is also “yāo”, 四 is also “dāo”, 七 is also “guǎi”, 九 is also “gōu”. People on the mainland “usually use ‘yao’ when reading numerical serial numbers, digit by digit” [via].

(via writingcapital)

What this excerpt doesn’t really explain (but the full article does) is that it’s not that numbers “mean” something, it’s that they sound like another word because Mandarin is a homophone explosion. So where we can do for example h8, or 4get; 5 in Mandarin is pronounced , which is a lot like “I” (我), wǒ. Here is another shorter article on number phrases.

(via tongueturner)

(via lalunetteprismatique)



the best is when you’re reminded that “nothing” is elizabethan slang for female genitals, so shakespeare literally titled his play

much ado about pussy

Ah, Shakespeare. Such fine and serious art. So serious.

but wait it gets better 

not only that but it was also a goddamn pun

below is an extract from the wikipedia article on it:

Another motif is the play on the words nothing and noting, which in Shakespeare’s day were homophones. Taken literally, the title implies that a great fuss (“much ado”) is made of something which is insignificant (“nothing”), such as the unfounded claims of Hero’s infidelity and the unfounded claims that Benedick and Beatrice are in love with one another. The title could also be understood as Much Ado About Noting. Much of the action is in interest in and critique of others, written messages, spying, and eavesdropping. This is mentioned several times, particularly concerning “seeming”, “fashion”, and outward impressions. Nothing is a double entendre, “an O-thing” (or “n othing” or “no thing”) was Elizabethan slang for “vagina”, evidently derived from the pun of a woman having “nothing” between her legs.

(via kidswithhats)


one of my favorite things is how people talk to themselves in tumblr tags, taking this space designed for metadata classification and using it as a form of parenthetical speech. those grey little tags feel so cozy, a whispered dimension to the flat communication of the net

(via vforvilichka)



One thing I really like is when dialects are distinguished/named for specific words that differ between them

Like medieval France was divided into the langues d’oïl in the north and the langues d’oc in the south where oïl and oc were their respective words for “yes”

Similarly modern Croatia is broadly split into Štokavian, Čakavian and Kajkavian dialects, where što, ča, and kaj are their respective words for “what”

It’s just such a cool concept
Imagine if instead of saying AmE and BrE we called them Chipsian and Crispsian or something

Further examples?

  • the “kentum/satem”-distinction for Indo-European, based on the numeral ‘hundred’
  • some Australian languages and their dialects carry their shibboleths in their names, often words for ‘(hu)man’, ‘no’, ‘today’, ‘this’ plus a word for ‘having’ plus a word for ‘language’; famous example: Guugu Yimidhirr; other langauges with Gugu/Kuku/Guugu etc. are likely candidates (since I don’t know enough about Torres Strait Islander langauges, I won’t make assumptions on those)

(via parksanddeserts)