Posts Tagged ‘Linguistics’

10-Year-Old Gives Birth in Southern Spain [via the AP via NPR]

Authorities in Spain are considering whether a 10-year-old in Spain should be permitted to keep her newborn baby. An official from Andalusia said the father is also a minor and that mother and baby are in good health. “Under Spanish law, having consensual sex with someone under age 13 is classified as child abuse, an official with the Spanish Justice Ministry in Madrid said. But this particular case is complicated by the fact that the father of the baby is also a minor and it is not clear if he could be charged, the official said.”

Why do Tea Partiers uppercase so many of their nouns? [via Slate]

Slate language columnist John Lackman looks at why Tea Partiers often capitalize nouns not usually considered proper and concludes that it is an attempt to mimic the language of the Constitution, which includes capitalization such as: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.” Historically, however, such capitalization is attributed not to founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson, who rarely capitalized even proper nouns such as I, but rather to Timothy Matlack and Jacob Shallus, the secretaries who actually wrote the physical Constitutions and were wont to capitalize with abandon.

Cambridge scientists may find cure for the common cold [via The Independent]

Researchers at Cambridge’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology have for the first time shown that “the body’s immune defenses can destroy the common cold virus after it has actually invaded the inner sanctum of a human cell, a feat that was believed until now to be impossible.” Within a few years antiviral drugs that enhance the body’s natural defense system could begin clinical trials, scientists announced. “This is a way of boosting all the antibodies you’d be naturally making against the virus. The advantage is that you can use that one drug against potentially lots of viral infections,” researcher Leo James said. “We can think of administering these drugs as nasal sprays and inhalers rather than taking pills… It could lead to an effective treatment for the common cold,” he said. “The beauty of this system is that you give the virus no chance to make its own proteins to fight back. It is a way for the cell to get rid of the virus and stay alive itself.”


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Linguists uncover ‘hidden’ language in north India [via The Los Angeles Times]

Researchers announced yesterday that they had uncovered a rarity in today’s world: a previously unknown language, Koro, spoken by approximately 1,000 people in northeast India. Previously linguists had believed Koro to be a mere dialect of Aka, a regional language, especially because Koro speakers are culturally identical to Aka speakers. “There’s a sort of a cultural invisibility; they’re culturally identical in what they wear, what they eat, the houses they live in…. They just happen to have a different word for everything,” Swarthmore linguist K. David Harrison said.

Staten Island brutes busted in Stonewall gay bash [via The New York Post]

Two Staten Island men have been charged with attempted robbery and hate crimes after assaulting a gay man in the restroom of Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn, apparently unaware that the Stonewall is not only a gay bar but the “ground zero” of the gay rights movement. On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall, a frequent bust in the gay community. That night, however, patrons fought back and rioted, becoming a catalyst for the burgeoning gay rights movement. Stonewall general manager Shawn Curran said, “That’s the thing — it’s not just ‘a’ gay bar, it’s ‘the’ gay bar.” The two men allegedly cornered the patron in the restroom, asked if the Stonewall is a gay bar, and attempted to rob him. The man escaped from the restroom and his assailants fled the bar, chased by several patrons and staff. The men were later caught by police.

Frito-Lay sends noisy, ‘green’ SunChips bag to the dump [via USA Today]

Frito-Lay is giving the pink slip to the new, biodegradable SunChips bag introduced just a year and a half ago. The bags, which were billed as 100 percent biodegradable, had an unusually rigid molecular structure that made them extremely loud when handled. SunChips sales dropped 11 percent in the last year, a market research group reported. “Everybody seems to be on the bandwagon for environmentally friendly packaging,” says JoAnn Hines, a packaging consultant. “But the problem is that bags like this come out without researching all the consequences.”

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Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts [via The Smoking Gun]

Do you speak Ebonics, “a nonstandard variant of English spoken largely by African Americans”? The Department of Justice wants you! Documents obtained by The Smoking Gun indicate the Drug Enforcement Agency is seeking to hire nine Ebonics experts for its Atlanta operation, where they will presumably translate what is essentially a dialect of English for the DEA.

Welcome to D.C., Tea Partiers! [via DCist]

Fox News personalities Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin will host a rally August 28 at the Lincoln Memorial. But with thousands of Tea Party activists fearfully entering the Beltway, a Main Tea Party group posted a guide on how to survive in the dangerous city. First, watch out for the immigrants: “Most taxi drivers and many waiters/waitresses (especially in local coffee shops like the Bread and Chocolate chain) are immigrants, frequently from east Africa or Arab countries.” Apparently, being an immigrant is necessarily unsavory. Even more importantly, however, stay in away from the bad areas; the guide provides guidelines for how far to go on certain Metro lines, and even to avoid the Green and Yellow lines at all costs. DCist drew up a map showing the safe boundaries — essentially the Mall and Foggy Bottom.

Pay The Cab Fare … And Meet The Author, Too [via NPR]

Yesterday’s “Fresh Air” on NPR featured an interview with Chicago cab driver and hard-boiled crime novelist Jack Clark. He was a Chi-town journalist for years before moving on to taxi and literary pursuits. His discussion on writing is interesting enough, but his stories from his time as a taxi driver, shared with interviewer and former cabbie Dave Davies, are the greatest draw to this 15-minute interview.

Mega Mario: Eataly promises New Yorkers the most exciting, delicious, illuminating food-shopping experience since, well, ever [via New York Magazine]

Iron Chef Mario Batali discusses his new 50,000-square foot Italian-esque gourmet grocery store, Eataly (props on the name), in Manhattan with New York Magazine. It will also contain several restaurants, including a “beef bar,” Manzo, similar to a sushi bar. Most interesting is the “vegetable butcher.” “If you’re not familiar with how to trim an artichoke, we’ll trim you an artichoke. If you don’t think you have time to peel your baby carrots, you can leave them with us and go shop in the other parts of the store, and we’ll peel them. We’ll do anything but cook them.” But don’t think that gets you out of paying for that part. “On your way out, we’ll put the peels in a little separate bag—because they’re going to weigh them at the checkout counter—and then they go into a compost can up front.”

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