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  • hardie karges 3:15 pm on January 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: language,   


    Language Tip #2: Don’t feed the pidgins…

  • hardie karges 12:50 pm on September 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Aztec, Cumbia, El Salvador, language, Mexica, , Nahuatl, Nawat, Pipil, refajo, skirt,   

    El Salvador: Rescuing the past… 

    El Salvador is not necessarily the first country to come to mind when you talk about indigenous cultures in Central America, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there, either. There are. And if the indigenous language is the mark of that culture, then it’s been looking pretty grim, with only some two hundred Nawat (Nahuatl) speakers left in a culture that calls itself ‘Pipil’… (More …)

  • hardie karges 11:55 pm on February 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Koh Kong, language,   

    Welcome to Kampuchea: Koh Kong, Life on the Border… 


    Sunset at Koh Kong, Kampuchea

    …any border, is weird, by definition, sample TJ (Tijuana), TG (Tangier), TK (Tachilek) and TU (Tecun Uman) for starters, and a few thousand others, where cultures clash and vehicles collide and the simple act of of ‘crossing over’ takes on new meaning, not to mention the modern airline-hub Big Meta-Border cities, e.g. Istanbul, Moscow, Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, Cairo, Jo-burg, Lima, Delhi and others…

    And Koh Kong on the border of Thailand and Kampuchea is no different, Kampuchea (Cambodia) the bastard big brother of Thailand, long ago fallen on hard times and left to fend for itself against the predations of its offspring, only rescued by the noblesse oblige of the Foreign Legion francais…
    (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:35 am on August 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: language, ,   

    Linguistics 101 

    In Nepali language the word for ‘forest’ is ‘jungle’, got it—who knew? The word for ‘cannibis’ is ‘ganja’, got it—no surprise. And the word for ‘reservation’ is ‘reservation’, got it. What gives here? So why do I have reservations about learning it? Now that’s another issue…

  • hardie karges 3:30 pm on August 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Greek, Indo-European, language, Latin, , Nepali, Sanskrit   

    Learning Nepali: Hacking and Cracking, Chomsky Notwithstanding… 

    “…some random mutation took place, maybe after some strange cosmic ray shower, and it reorganized the brain, implanting a language organ in an otherwise primate brain” — Noam Chomsky, “world’s smartest man”

    So all of this should be unnecessary, really, then, in learning Nepali, shouldn’t it?

    ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch

    It all sounds Greek to me: ena, dyo, tria, tessera, pente. Wait, that does sound Greek! And that’s no accident, since (Indo-European) Nepal–via Sanskrit–is is probably as close to it as its direct cultural descendant English. And so it goes down the Latin connection: unum duo tres quattuor quinque, uno due tre quatro cinque, uno dos tres cuatro cinco, um dois tres cuatro cinco, unu doi trei patru cinci, une deux trois quattre cinq, or through the Germanic lineage: eins zwei drei vier funf, or through the Slavic: adin dva tri chyetirye pyat, or the Persian, independent of Greek and parallel to Sanskrit: yek do seh chahaar panj, all of which sound closer to the source than English, though it’d help if we’d pronounce as written, not morphed through centuries of spoken fashion: an tuo tree…seesh sevn eicht, etc…

    All of which makes Indo-European the most successful language lineage in the world, the Chinese family second, and arguably Chomsky is on safe ground here, with ‘core vocabulary’, such as simple numbers, but much shakier as concepts progress and expand, such that this linguistic ‘mentalese’ doesn’t help him much on Havana TV, speaking Pidgin English with one of Fidel’s flunkies, unable to converse in America’s second language and first in much of Occupied Mexico, to this day. I hope he speaks a mean Hebrew to compensate the lack, since many amateurs can do better than that. Me, I persevere, plowing fields wherever there are seeds to be planted and fruit to be harvested: neung sawng sam see ha, satu dua tiga empat lima, yi er san si wu, mot hai ba bon nam, muay pi bei buon pram, etc… This could take a while…

  • hardie karges 2:33 pm on March 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: India Pakistan, language, , Punjab   

    Poon-Job in the Punch-up of the Pun-jab 

    Would our pronunciations of foreign names be any better if we know what they mean? The ‘Punjab’ region of India and Pakistan means ‘Five Waters’, for good reason, the word ‘Punj/Panch’ related to Greek ‘penta’ = five and the word ‘ab’ close to Latin ‘aqua’ for ‘water’ (compare to Romanian ‘apa’, and note that ‘p’ and ‘qu’ sounds are frequently transferable). The ancient classic European languages were once cognate with the ancient Indian language Sanskrit, from which most other subcontinental languages–and many others–derive. So why do our best newscasters insist on referring to it as ‘Poon-Job’? Sounds like some lewd sex act in the desert, or the river… yuk…

  • hardie karges 9:03 pm on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , language   

    Digital Muslims and Ancient Chinese Foodies… 

    021Who says Islam is backward and sexist? I’d say they must be pretty advanced if they have e-moms.  But why do they stay in the mosques? Do their kids still have to clean up their rooms, or does the e-mom do that?  Can you just phone it in?  Upload it?  Do they make meatloaf–digital meatloaf, that is?  I hate meatloaf.  The best thing about Islam is the prohibition against pork.  We know what pigs eat.

    Chinese people love pork, but then Chinese people will eat anything with four legs, as long as it isn’t a table, the original pan-gastronomes, likely the first to cook food, likely the first to use pans. It tastes better that way. Chinese food is nothing if not hot wok.  You can quote me on that.  I hear Muslims have moo-lahs, too, which sounds like a dairy product, but don’t quote me on that…

    • Esther Fabbricante 11:20 pm on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      What will you think of next? I am just now home from singing carols at Brandon Court Nursing Home.


  • hardie karges 7:53 pm on November 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: language,   

    Ensalada lengua, tom yam bahasa… 


    Grand bizarre in Istanbul…

    If there’s anything more annoying than gringos speaking incorrect Spanish, it’s—wait for it—Spanish-speakers speaking incorrect Spanish, for the presumed benefit of non-Spanish speakers, creating a mindless muck of incomprehensibility that is more annoying than anything else, as if I would never know what country was being talked about unless the Spanish-speaker said ‘Your-a-guey’ instead of ‘Oo-roo-guai’, which is the correct way, for Uruguay, or ‘Pair-a-guey’ instead of ‘Pah-rah-guai’, as actually happened once, from a Spanish-as-a-second-language speaker before she knew that I could speak Spanish, too.

    Actually I’m not sure if she ever acknowledged that I could speak Spanish as good or better than she, even though she had actually lived there a long time, and I never really did. That’s all too often the problem, of course, dueling with dual languages for supremacy and the upper hand at whatever dignity might be at stake. And it’s justified, too, in that anybody should have the right and encouragement to speak the language of whatever country he happens to be in.

    Thailand is the worst, though, only grudgingly relenting to speak the native tongue with a farang unless he can physically pass as a brown-eyed black-haired Asian or similar half-breed luuk kreung, insisting almost to the death that any English they speak will be better than any Thai you can speak. The books tell them that. The problem with such a mish-mash of languages is that when you can’t understand something, then you don’t even know what language it is you can’t understand! One must persevere…

    • Esther Fabbricante 12:00 am on November 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting. I don’t pretend to speak Spanish at all, even though it was a minor in college.


    • hardie karges 12:03 am on November 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That’s the other side of the conundrum, of course, that studying and speaking are entirely different, takes a combination of the two…

  • hardie karges 10:10 pm on May 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: language, pronunciation, , World Cup   

    Qatar, Cutter, Gutter, Cuddlier: Let's call the World Cup off… 

    Is this our fate as a descendant of the British Empire, the right to butcher languages like beef body parts all reduced to hamburger, just add ketchup for instant satisfaction? Now I hate to be a linguo-fascist, some kind of pronuncio-pundit, or even worse: some kind of grammar-slamming silver-haired grandpa, BUT… since when is there a country in the Persian Gulf called “Cutter?” I mean, is it that difficult to pronounce correctly? Or are we trying to smear all Arabs with the same ‘jihadi-with-a-dagger’ (cutting) brush?

    I hope not, but is ‘Cutter’ the best we can do, reduce the name of your country to some Looney Tunes Yosemite Sam version of Nat Geo? Okay, I realize it’s NOT pronounced like ‘guitar-with-a-K’, so maybe ‘Cutter’ is not so bad, IF (drum roll here, please)…IF you actually pronounce the ‘T’ as “T”, so not like ‘cudder’, so typically American, but ‘CUT-TER’ with a ‘T’ not a ‘d’; got it? And separate the two syllables a little bit, okay? And get that tongue out of the back of your throat, and….

  • hardie karges 6:27 pm on April 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , language, , technology   

    Attn: Literati, Illuminati, & Technorati (code 8DKQNHFPA5W9): High Tech as Vowel Shift? 


    Hardie Karges

    I wander through the local Java Joint—in Ubud, Bali—trying to balance a steaming hot cappuccino with the lowered expectations I’ve come to accept as normal for my life.  Ubud has gone bonkers since “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, that successful prequel to the other book from that guy in Bangkok: “Drink Play F*ck.”   I wish my life would go bonkers.  I could use the income.  I could use the feeling of success.  It could be worse of course.  I pass a forlorn guy with a battered laptop and a look that can only discourage.  He sits with his local girlfriend, he punching keys on a Blackberry™ while she surfs with an Android™.  I can’t help but eavesdrop.

    “How you can use that old thing?” she asks.  “You know… very embarrassing.”  She flashes her Samsung Galaxy™ for comparison, accompanied by a mile-wide grin.

    He ignores her, nodding like he’s heard all this before.  He notices me, though.

    “Hey, brother, could you give me a ‘like’?” he solicits with the look of a dog that’s been kicked.

    “Sorry, man, I don’t smoke… unless you’ve got a kretek…”

    “No, man; I need a ‘like,’ not a light; you know: FaceBook.  I need it for my blog.”  He points to his Acer™.

    I chuckle.  “FaceBook? Are you joking? That’s for old folks.  Haven’t you heard of ShoutOutLoud, CrowdFunned, KickAss or Mayo Mustered Catch-up?  They’ve all got the latest 3-D plug-ins and voice-activated blog posts.  Where have you been?” (More …)

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