Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hello, as the saying goes, World

First post!

Time for "hot or not"

Hot: snowclones, eggcorns (and the eggcorn database), and knowing that any sentence containing "There are X words for 'snow' in Eskimo" is fatally flawed. And a snowclone. Why? Because there's
a) no such language as Eskimo
b) not 80 words for snow in Innuit, and the person who told you there were, was wrong
c) at least a few dozen words for snow-and-snow-related-things-and-phenomena in English, and in most other languages that have any use for the word. Blizzard, slush, sleet, snow, snowman, icicle, snowcone, snowstorm, snowshovel, snowshoes, snowmobile, etc. "But those are all the same word" you complain? Two answers. 1) shut up, and 2) same deal with Innuit and other languages often miscalled "Eskimo."

Also, because the hypothesis that animates the example- that languages have many words (or concepts) for the things they spend a lot of time thinking about, and conversely can't think about things they don't have words for, is vacuous. That means dumb.

Here's a thing we don't have a single word for in English: one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eaters. I'll post a link to the various meanings that could have later. But, you were still able to picture it, right? Despite not having a word for it?

Also hot: Chess tactics lessons by an aggressive teacher, in beautiful hyperlinked format: Predator at the Chessboard.

Not hot: Pension plans hiding their losses and becoming dangerously underfunded, which causes them to be taken over by the government, inflicting huge losses on the plan participants who had depended on the plan's solvency for their retirement. Nice one, United!


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