- Nurse: Hi, I need an interpreter. My patient is from Africa.
- Me: Okay! What country are they from?
- Nurse: I SAID Africa.
- Me: ...I see.
When do you use “delicious,” “tasty,” or “yummy?”
SEMANTICS YALL, LET’S THINK ABOUT IT.
- Me: Hi, I need an interpreter in a Cantonese dialect, Toishenese, Thaishenese, uh.... I'm not sure what it's called.
- Operator: What? Do you mean Mandarin or just Cantonese?
- Me: .... No, it's similar to Cantonese, I think it's a dialect.
- Operator: Well, Cantonese is a dialect of China so that's impossible.
- Me: ....
- Me: .... Goodbye.
For those of you interested in language education, sciences, research, etc., you’re probably going to have to administer, or take an OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview.) I schedule new interpreters for OPIs at the translation office where I work at all the time, and they’re absolutely necessary for anything foreign language related. My professor announced that non native foreign language speakers were needed to volunteer to help train people to administer OPIs.
I ignored him.
Then he mentioned 20 bucks. 20 bucks? I’d humiliate myself for 10.
So I found myself making my way down to the Marriot located in my city.
Not intimidating at all.
I find the room where I’m supposed to be in, and check in. At the table, I humbly ask, “So… what’s the format of these interviews?”
The man responds, quite pleasantly in fact, that I have nothing to be worried about, and that I could and am encouraged to say that I live on Mars. The examiner is going to be a hundred times more nervous than me because he’s the one being tested.
Relieved, I wait for my turn happily on a bench and wait to be called.
I turned around happily and see the french speaking woman smiling at me. I walk over to her. Then, I’m not lying, this is what she literally said.
And then she smiled.
I panic, realizing that I should not be here, continue smiling, and walk into the room where 10 giggling Arab women sit around a conference table.
Ten? I thought this was a mono y mono thing.
The woman speaks again, “aslfjwohrohcfjaajh?”
Hahaha, of course lady! I’m going to pay close attention to your gestures and try to do what you want.
I sit facing away from the small clan of people across from a shaking man with crooked teeth.
He starts talking to me and things are going well. I think “Pffftttt.. That lady wasn’t speaking Arabic, I know Arabic. What this man here is speaking is real Arabic.”
I was on a roll. I had already shared my name, the name of my school, and who I live with.
Then he says something that translated to me like, “Msfkjsldhflkshclassask?”
Classes? I know all about classes.
I tell him, “5.” He wants to know about classes, I’ll tell him how many classes I’m taking.
He frowns, and looks behind me, then at his index cards, and then behind me again.
Ohhhhh, qrtkfkkj eh? Well I don’t know how to say the answer to that in Arabic, but I do know how to say the word language in Arabic, so I tell him the names of my classes (which is what I think he wanted) like this.
“Arabic, language and sons, (speech language development), language science (basic speech science)..” And just when I started sounding super smart, he changes the question.
Which he continued to do a lot because he realized he was getting nowhere with little old me. Eventually, he went on a rant for about a minute and ended it with a word I knew, “Goodbye.” I shook his hand happily and walked towards the door. As soon as I close the door, I hear the entire room CRACK UP like I was Louis Black or something. The first lady follows me and I say ask how I did (for some reason.) She says, “Weelllllllll you’re… a novice.. you know some words but, you had trouble putting together sentences.” Well, no pressure, you smeg face. Maybe if I wasn’t being watched like a hawk I would’ve been able to remember to word for “I.”
I thanked her, through my teeth, and shuffled along to collect my twenty dollars, and proceeded to the nearest H&M to spend it (and more) on “regaining my honor.”
Moral of the story is:
Language, fricking practice it.
- Professor: Hey class, here's a quiz. Are books human?
- Class: No.
- Professor: Are classes human?
- Class: No.
- Professor: Are animals human? This isn't Disney, people. If they talk to you, see a psychiatrist. All non-human things are treated as feminine singular.
- Professor: When in doubt, it's probably a theme.
- Girl in Back: Or an adverb!
Its been a while since I’ve posted anything on tumblr. I’ve started to feel like everything I want to say, has already been said, or is too obvious, like its already part of some linguist zeitgeist.
Here are some topics I meant to cover at some point:
.. Does your language shape how you think? (Duh.) - A response to the NY Times article.
.. American faux polyglot(tism)? — Pretending to be multilingual, on the Internet and elsewhere.
.. Why teaching ESL is great experience, even if you don’t want to teach later.
.. Linguistics and Algebra.. Go together like a horse and carriage? ( I admit I need to work on this title)
I think I may get to these at some point, but something I’ve really been curious about is translation and localization, without being bilingual, something that’s not nearly covered enough in my university.
As much as I love language research, I don’t think it’s fair to base an entire curriculum around it especially since there are a lot more localization positions than research positions.
- Me: That show totally sucks. It so obviously targets the college..man.. group.. thing.
- Ex: College males? I thought you were supposed to be a linguist.
- Me: I changed what I was about to say half way through. Actually this sort of phenomena kinda proves that we process one word at a time. These are also proved by garden path sentences, in which you begin interpreting the sentence one, but the true meaning is resolved at the end.
- Ex: Ok, what kind of sentence is 'shut the hell up'?
- Me: I think it's just a declarative sentence..
- Ex: Well I'm declaring you to shut the hell up.
- Me: Wow.
What people say to Linguistics Majors (by iawachie) and How I respond
- I write dictionaries.
- I study the science of language. Now see, science is just a term for a method..
- No I only speak English..
- No, that’s not a word in Arabic.
- Please stop coughing all over me.
- Yes, there are only 40 Linguistic majors in my University.
- Yes, when I’m bored, I do transcribe lectures. But that’s if I’m REALLY BORED. And the professor has a HEAVY ACCENT.
- I don’t want to study Mandarin.
- Do I like grammar? Forget everything you know about grammar and let’s have a talk..
فəkɪŋg dɪفəɹاnت Aلfabeتs.
سiɹiəسly, سometɑɪمs ɑɪ جəst staɹت ɹɑɪتɪŋg بɑckwəɹdز.
Fucking different alphabets.
Seriously, sometimes I just start writing backwards.
Took an extra long lunch and did some shopping, and reading. Voila, mes nouvelles robes (Excuse my French, literally, I have no idea if Google Translate spit out something grammatically correct)! Of course this meant skipping Psycholinguistics, but don’t be mad at me followers. We were probably just going to go over noun phrases again <_<.
My Syntax professor has a habit of describing overly complicated rules as, “nasty,” “raunchy,” and a bunch of other adjectives that makes it sound like we were having an entirely different sort of class.
I actually feel like posting one of these rules and tagging it with all kinds of sexual innuendos so that Tumblr pervs can feel a little bit of their time wasted.
Seriously, who needs to say “I love you” in fifty different languages, besides married polyglots or a Bangkok escort?
Hello ladies and gentlemens,
I announce to you that I, Amber, am studying Python, and having been doing so for quite some time. However, yesterday I finally decided to tie it together with my linguistic study.
If you all are interested in the same, here are some links that I’ve been using:
Learn Python the Hard Way. - The first and most important
Ling 278 - Programming for Linguists - Some of you may be fortunate enough to have this class (cough STANFORD), some may not.
Resources for Linguists New to Programming - Benefits, more general information.
Using Python in Computational Linguistics - Application.
Hey! I’m currently studying Applied Linguistics and I need to present a topic relating economics and language. Does anything come to mind?
I did actually cover the topic in a previous post, but it is a good subject to expand on.
Maybe you could discuss language as an economic resource?
Here’s a paper by Laurence Wright that I found that expands on the subject and might be a great start for your presentation. Good luck!
Sorry I haven’t been posting in a while. I need your help however.
It’s spring and I’m a Junior, and although I’m a Linguistics major, I know I will find an internship for the summer lol. (I actually plan to write a post on here about how you don’t have to work in academia to be a linguist.)
However, I want to start a WordPress to develop my writing, gather samples, and all sorts of professional.. stuff.
You guys are probably scrambling for ideas of your own to write about, but I was wondering if anyone had any questions about any focus of linguistics at all that I could answer? You could drop them in my ask, or whatever.
Is there one? Or more?
I can be more of a douche and say that Iran doesn’t have any alveolar approximates, and so they actual ACTUAL correct pronunciation of Iran is /ɪˈran/?
But I won’t.
I found this question on Reddit, and decided to bring it to Tumblr for dissection. I found a couple of issues with it, but what do you think?
What is wrong with this question/statement?
Natalie Portman wrote a letter to the Harvard Crimson ten years ago addressing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. She ended her letter with,
“ I pray for the safety of all those in the region and hope that we may someday use our unique human assets of language and empathy rather than military technology or propaganda to resolve this conflict.”
I thought it was a nice statement, about how language can be more powerful than weaponry.
It’s okay linguists, I’ve been there. The constantly explaining the difference between you and a polyglot. You probably only left the country once. To go to Canada. Don’t get mad at the unsuspecting person though, we probably should be fluent in more languages. Why?
So we can come to our own conclusions about the nature of language.
Many of us probably study one language that guides us through our studies. Then we’re exposed to pieces of other languages through associates and theses. How can we be sure though, that what is applied to one language can be applied to all languages? Sure we can build off of our peers, but how can we be certain unless we build alongside of our peers, criticizing and reviewing. We all have different perspectives to offer to the table, given the amount of languages we may speak.
Linguistics is a special sort of science. We can start from scratch as many times as we want, because we all speak a language. It’s even better if we speak more than one.
What do we really know about language except what we were taught? Our course work should be teaching us more about how to come to and present our theories, and what to look for (preposition here, BITE ME.)
Learning more than one or two languages along side linguistics is preferable, for even if you do continue research on that one special language, you can use the other languages that you know for comparison.
Partied like a rockstar this weekend. First I found this French textbook on the side of the street, and I started skimming through it. Then I laughed at the person who scratched out all of the letters you don’t pronounce.
And then I beat my boyfriend’s ass in Words with Friends. Because I’m a boss. And English isn’t his first language. <3
AND NEW EPISODE OF PAN AM TODAY!! GAH FINALLY.
For a while, Philadelphia wasn’t special to me. A ghetto, mascarading as a city of national importance, only appearing to symbolize brotherly love. However, working at this new place, has helped me realize my own secret pride in the city.
American English (originally Philadelphia) word for “hero, large sandwich made from a long, split roll;” originally hoggie (c.1936), traditionally said to be named for Big Band songwriter Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael (1899-1981), but the use of the word pre-dates his celebrity and the original spelling seems to suggest another source (perhaps hog). Modern spelling is c.1945, and may have been altered by influence of Carmichael’s nickname.
Philadelphian word for a sub sandwhich. Word likely has its origins from “Hog Island”, which was an island intersecting the Delaware and Schuylkyl Rivers. The Irish and Italian people who lived there during the early 20th century where known as “Hog Islanders.” In addition, they referred to one another many times as “Hogans” during their lunchbreaks. Eventually, the unique sandwhiches the men ate (they where large loaves of Philadelphian bread filled with meats—a precurser to the moder sub/hoagie) simply became known as “hoggies.” Sometime by the end of WWII, the word transformed into its modern pronunciation and spelling: “hoagie.”
Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com/ ; RealDuffy
Definitely a reputable source.
Forget peanut chews and tasty kakes, any visitor to Philadelphia, Killadelphia, Philly, should have a hoagie. A real hoagie, with the meat on top of the vegetables and tough seeded rolls and some secret oil that every place takes pride in. The same secret oil that always takes the place of mayonaise with a little oregano. The roasted red peppers combined with the tough rolls create the perfect chewing consistency.
(Okay, not always the meat on top.)
This isn’t a love letter to the sandwich (if it can even be called a sandwich, for it is definitely something much greater,) but a realizing of myself through the sandwich. Realizing that I’m do have a culture, that’s not just generally “American.” (What does generally American even mean?) Does it sound like I’m taking the food too seriously?
Seriously though. This is about the word hoagie. It’s so comforting, so familiar. Hoagie. Don’t ever buy a sub in this city. That means it’s commercialized, it was made by the man, trying to ruin a good thing. Hoagie. HOAGIE. I just want to go sit in some tiny run down place, and have a good chat with the owner. Because anyone who makes hoagies wants to talk to you. And anyone who makes subs doesn’t.
Hoagie! I just want to go sit in a park and stare at some South Philly Italians and feel bad that there’s no Jersey Shore for them to go to. But at least they have hoagies. Everyone loves a good hoagie too, maybe someone might actually think Philadelphia was a friendly place to be if they ate at a hoagie shop.
It’s not just a word, and it’s not interchangeable with sub. Let’s make that clear. A sub is something different. When I hear sub, I hear “I’m covered in mayonnaise and it’ll probably take away from the raw flavors of the meat.” I didn’t even know I felt so strongly about the word until much later, because I don’t really hate subs that much. They’re just not hoagies.
You just isn’t doing it for me, and I just hate using y’all because it feels like my mouth is swinging about (no offense to those who use it.) Y’all and yous also feels too colloquial for me.
I normally say you guys, but it’s long, and it feels informal. When I want to be formal, I say you all, but it’s not natural either. None of it is natural!
Does anyone else wish that English had a (different) second personal plural?
- Girl: Wat u doin?
- Brother: I'm in the delivery room wit meh newborn bro.
- Girl: (o_o)
- Girl: Uhm I dnt exactly lik crip midgits.
- As a linguist, it is my duty to study and observe language. BUT FUCK NO. WIT MEH? CRIP MIDGIT? I'm going to strap him to a chair and make him read Jane Austen until I can understand his texts.
- Maybe I'm just bitter because I don't understand the new generation .Maybe I should try to make the connections between these new words and rules of English to social change.
- Or MAYBE I should stop reading his text messages. Whatever.
It’s safe to assume that we all have a profound love for language, be it polyglotism or language acquisition. We all have spent countless hours reading about either one language or many languages.
Why is it that we ban pieces of language or other languages entirely?
Cursing, new vocabulary, borrowed vocabulary, and other “taboos” instilled by our elementary school teachers. If we love language, studying language structure and growth, or other languages, why do we abandon such vital elements? Are some of us ignorant of the importance of these pieces?
I’m tired of seeing adults with careers and graduate degrees claim that one word or language is better than another.
Maybe I’m expecting too much from Tumblr.
However, I have trouble abandoning the website, because there is such a vibrant community of people who love language, who want to learn more about language, who are exploring their linguistic careers.
Although language is such a common thing, not many seek to learn more about it, and it’s important to try to improve our community. By about it, I mean about language, not learning to speak a new language or fondling with Rosetta Stone (which is perfectly fine, it’s just not what I’m talking about.)
Can we raise our standards?Can we learn to accept criticism? Can we be more neutral about language, or show more proof about our opinions?
And for God’s fucking sake, yes, YES, GHOTI CAN BE FISH.
- Old Guy: You're a linguistics major?
- Me: That's right.
- Old Guy: Okay smart-ass, if I say "no -pause- that's right," and "no that's right," do they mean the same thing?
- Me: .... Is this for real?
but they have a phrase for orgasm which I do like
Le Petite Mort
-The Little Death
- Me: You're so salty!
- Foreign BF: What?
- Me: You know... you've just been played!!
- Bf: Huh?
- Me (thinking): What the hell does "salty" mean?
- Me (aloud): Baby, you're the butt of the joke.
- Bf: Oh okay.