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Profile: Sarachan
User Name: Sarachan
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Gender: None Specified
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Joined: Monday, March 16, 2009
Last Visit: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 9:25:48 AM
Number of Posts: 63
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: What words have you heard recently, that you had never heard of before?
Posted: Friday, April 3, 2009 1:42:28 PM
NYT Magazine's "On Language" column from 3.01.09 has a good one: tranche. It's French for "slice; a cutting; the division into portions." Recently, it's been used to discuss the allocation of pieces of the TARP legislation. Mitch McConnell is quoted as having said, "We are looking for assurances about how this new tranche of TARP funding will be used."
Topic: What's the most interesting thing you know?
Posted: Friday, April 3, 2009 1:36:04 PM
Boy, this is a tough question! Without giving it too much thought, I would say that the most interesting thing I know is that an eunuch admiral from China explored Africa, Inida, the Middle East, and possibly even Australia while my ancestors in Europe were still wondering what was beyond the next hill. This isn't a terribly unique fact, as it's been widely written about. (I would recommend When China Ruled the Seas by Louise Levathes.) We tend to think of a narrowing world as our (Western) creation; I love it when evidence shows that cross cultural communication is not our idea!
Topic: Our Crazy English Language
Posted: Friday, April 3, 2009 1:12:02 PM
Silvia wrote:
I'm not sure that Russian is the most conservative language, for example they would say "kompiuter" for computer, but in French that'd be "ordinateur".
On the other hand, in all natural languages the most common words are generally exceptions from grammar rules, mainly because being so used, they tend to be altered and eventually the trend beomes rule. If you want a language where everything is as it should be, go for Esperanto :p

I thought of the same example when I read the opening post. I've always thought that French was the most homogenous language, too, as they make an organized attempt to keep the language pure.
The Japanese, on the other hand, borrow without shame. It would be interesting to know whether English has fewer borrowed words; I would be willing to bet that Japanese has at least as many. (Not just from English of course, but from Portuguese, Chinese (one of their writing systems was borrowed from the Chinese, after all!), German, and French, just to name a few.) Also interesting is that one of their writing systems, though not originally created for this purpose, is now almost exclusively used to write loan words. Any newspaper page features this script in abundance.
Topic: words that sound prettier in other languages.
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2009 12:25:35 PM
Luftmarque wrote:
For me, a large part of the charm of Bossa-Nova rests in the Portuguese lyrics--Miles Davis once said of the great B-N singer Joao Gilberto "That cat would sound good singing the phone book!" and I would extend that to "most people would sound better singing in Portuguese." I'll post some examples as I remember them, but just to start with one of the most popular tunes One Note Samba, the English Samba seems pretty harsh next to the original Sambinha (sam been` ya).

I agree about Portuguese. I loved a band that sang in Portuguese and English for awhile, then went to a concert and realized that what the lyrics to their English songs were pretty trite and that the Portuguese songs, which I couldn't understand, were what I really wanted to hear!
Topic: Is the theater dead
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2009 12:20:59 PM
Hi tfrank,
You might like the Canadian TV show "Slings and Arrows." It's about a production company that faces some of the same problems you mention. The acting is also great, with some sections of the company's productions of Shakespeare. It has run in the US on the Sundance Channel.
Topic: National Poetry Month
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2009 12:15:55 PM
kaliedel wrote:
My favorite poem is a grim, short piece by Randall Jarrell, "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner." I just love the impact it has:

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

I agree; I like this as well. Much more grim than my husbands with their begonias!
Topic: Effect / Affect
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2009 12:13:11 PM
Luftmarque wrote:
City_Girl wrote:
I normally differentiate it in the following way... affect - is negative result

Affect is not necessarily negative. An additional complication is that you'll sometimes come across the noun affect used as a technical term in psychology meaning "the conscious subjective aspect of feeling or emotion" [TFD]. I have usually heard this word pronounced with the accent on the first syllable.

True, affect is not always a negative result. I was curious to know if there was an explanation or example of when it is, so I found this in Webster's Third New International Dictionary:
"affect - (2) to have a detrimental influence on - especially in the phrase affecting commerce "
Also, I found this:
"affect - to produce an effect (as of a disease) upon [ex.: a condition affecting the heart]"
I thought this last one is good to keep in mind when trying to remember which to use. Think
Topic: Voluntary organizations
Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 1:18:34 PM
Epiphileon wrote:
Joseph Glantz wrote:
Ben Franklin's Junto was an early (mabye the earliest) example of a voluntary club. There were many outgrowths of his Junto such as the first American library (albeit a subscription library) and the American Philosophical library. What is the appeal of voluntary organizations and which ones do the readers attend.

Thank you Joseph for this topic, I had not heard of this before and started a reply based on a misunderstanding, something about the wording made me suspect this so I did a web search using "Ben Franklin's Junto".

The Junto was a club established in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin for mutual improvement in Philadelphia. Also known as the Leather Apron Club, its purpose was to debate questions of morals, politics, and natural philosophy, and to exchange knowledge of business affairs.Wikipedia

Would you agree that this forum serves to a degree as such an organization? It lacks the immediacy of conversation in person, as well as the agreement of a mutual meeting time, and implied individual participation, given those exceptions, what do you think?

What would you suggest as a method to find such a group locally, that actually meets face to face?

I would suggest becoming involved in a local church. I'm going to one that is outside of my chosen religion because of their community involvement and desire to reach out to members. I figure that I don't have to believe what they say to participate in their outreach programs and get to know their members....Any opinions?
Topic: Humor and wit
Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 1:13:20 PM
Yes, humor has a place in politics, as long as it's funny. I support and supported Obama, but he's not funny. He should not try to make jokes. (Let's remember the "Special Olympics" and lackluster performance at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner.)
Now, McCain, there is a funny guy. Of course, the most recent Bush could provide some laughter from time to time as well. My sisters-in-law have as a permanent fixture on their refrigerator a button with his face on it and his quote "The most important question in education is, is our children learning?"
This is a fascinating topic, by the way, for a Japanese friend of mine. The relationship between the people and their politicians there is much more serious; perhaps because the press is much less critical. (For interesting reasons. See if you're interested.) Anyway, my friend, who arrived to the US in 2007, thought the Bush bashing was hilarious and couldn't get enough of it. He has a collection of calendars, books, and other realia that makes fun of our illustrious ex-pres.
Topic: National Poetry Month
Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 1:03:03 PM
Thanks! Maybe this is an excellent time to share a favorite poem of mine. It's by Kate Northrop, who is BRILLIANT!!

The Husband Thief

The woman who steals husbands puts them in the backyard with flowerpots on their heads. That way, the don't jump up. They just stand there looking at each other surreptitiously. Who's got the biggest begonia?

Nights, the stars fall down into the grass and then rise up as pale-green reeds. They're musical, and glitter sharply in the moonlight but the husbands aren't worried. If the stars fall over them, they fall into the flowerpots, not into their old heads.

Besides, right before the woman who steals husbands comes out with her bowl of fruit & oaties, the starts suck themselves back into the sky. They whisper "I don't believe it; it's unpardonable!" though they watch the distant spectacle, and secretly enjoy.

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