March 26th, 2008


"We are all the earth" into as many languages as possible?

Hi all! I'm designing a poster for Earth Day, and my idea is to have the phrase "We are all the earth" (originally "La Tierra somos todos" in spanish, because I'm in Costa Rica) in as many different languages as possible, and below a photo of multi-ethnic hands together one on top of the other).

Anyway, if anyone can help me out with whatever language(s) they know I'd be extremely grateful.

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Spanish in the US

Statistics indicate that, nationwide, about 15% of the population of the United States (which doesn't include Puerto Rico itself because Puerto Rico is a "territory" and not a state, and don't even get me started about the unacknowledged imperialistic proclivities of my country) has Spanish as its primary language.

Now, some areas of the US have relatively few native speakers of Spanish in them. There are certain areas - and I'm sure some of them would surprise me - where there are concentrations, strong communities of Spanish speakers.

My assumption is that, those communities/concentrations are largely uniform in what kind of Spanish is spoken - that there are more likely to be, for examples groups of Puerto Ricans, in which a Mexican would stand out almost as much as a Spaniard, than there are to be communities which contain many different national variations. In other words, I'm assuming that there are cultural connections grouping people together in those communities, as well as language, and that language 'stands in' for culture in a lot of ways.

If anyone has personal knowledge to offer which would support or contradict this assumption, I'd be grateful for it.

My next assumption is that, across the US, the two regional variants with the largest number of speakers are Puerto Rican Spanish and Mexican Spanish. Does anyone know if that's incorrect, or if it's correct but not the best way of thinking about the issue?

My third assumption is that it's much easier to ascribe specific regional/national variants of Spanish if one breaks the US into bite-sized pieces. The easy guess is that most of the native speakers living in Southern California and, say, New Mexico, are speaking Mexican Spanish. I can't go much further than that, though. Does anyone have actual knowledge, from education or experience, about local concentrations of specific kinds of Spanish? For instance, I have the vague impression that there is or used to be a higher concentration of Puerto Rican Spanish-speakers living in the New York City area. Stereotype with no basis in reality? True 40 years ago but not any more? Still true, but more complicated than that?

Most of all, what I really want to know is, how do I find out this kind of thing? I mean, aside from asking on linguaphiles. *

The most pragmatic question for me is, what kind of Spanish is spoken most in eastern Massachusetts/Boston, but my curiosity is a lot more far-ranging than that.

Thanks in advance for any and all information, or advice on how to answer my own questions. I have a feeling I'm missing some pretty obvious things. (The most obvious is - talk to the people in question. But I'm still learning how to say, "How's the weather," and am not up to browsing in Spanish-primary corner stores to get a sense of what kind of Spanish I'm hearing around me. In a few years, maybe, but not yet.)

* ETA: The first person to comment has answered this question with "read a book." Actual references to any sources - print, internet, or other - you have found to be up-to-date, unbiased and informative would be entirely welcome.

EATA: In response to the wishes expressed in the first comment, I have edited this post significantly to try to make it more concise and focused. I apologize to anyone who started responding to a version of this post which no longer exists.
aladdin sane, aladnsane, bowie

(no subject)

Hey all,

Anyone know where I can find resources/info for learning Kirundi (or at least Kinyarwanda)? I've been looking around, and resources are pretty limited; a wiki on it in Spanish, an entry in the Italian wikipedia, and a few phrase lists...

Any help is appreciated.

(no subject)

this is a bit vague, but bear with me. the other day on the bus i heard a snippet of a conversation that was something along these lines:
"you should call her."
"yeah, i should do."

the speaker in question had what sounded to my north american ears like a "British" accent- i couldn't tell you much more than that other than i don't believe it was rhotic. is this a common construction anywhere ("should do" without any object)? any insight would be appreciated! i tried googling but this is pretty vague to start with and putting "should do" in quotes doesn't help.

Episteme vs Discourse

So, I'm writing a paper where I'm trying to account for the differences in the histories of the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs between Spanish and Nahua/Aztec/Mexica writers. One aspect of my argument is how the writers were influenced by their cultural upbringing and perspective. Does this refer to their discourse, or their episteme? I know they're related concepts, but I'm having trouble differentiating them. Can anyone give a concise explanation? I looked on Wikipedia, but it wasn't really helpful since it doesn't compare the two terms.

Thanks for your help!


What are some language-related careers?  I always get asked what I plan to be when I'm out of college when I explain to people that I want to be a foreign language major.  (I've been planning on getting a double major in Modern Foreign Languages and International Relations, for the record.)  All that I can think of is translator/interpreter, teacher, or diplomat.  What else can be done?  Just out of curiosity.  Are there any really "cool" jobs out there that are kind of unusual?
[Shadow Hearts] Yuri's drawing
  • banned

Proper Chinese way to pronounce Lei-Fang?

This is most likely a silly question, but I really want to know the correct Chinese pronunciation of Lei-Fang. Yes, the character from the video game series "Dead or Alive". Most people pronounce it Lee-Feing, but I've also heard the correct way is Lay-Fahn. So would anyone mind settling it once and for all?
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    curious curious

'In' vs. 'Within'

Hello all! I am currently tutoring a few ESL (and higher) students. A question one of them brought to me (as I know they encounter strange things and don't always know what's up and it starts off our mini-lesson with things they know are applicable!) a question I'm stumped with.
So, I turn to you, trusted wise ones! ^^
How can I best explain the difference between 'in' and 'within'??
I quickly came up with a few contrasting examples, such as "I'll see you in an hour," vs. "I'll see you within an hour," meaning that 1)it'll be just exactly an hour until I see you and 2) that I'll see you no later than one hour and most likely before one hour passes.
But there are also instances that don't involve time - "Confidence comes from within." This contrasts with another preposition all together (more like location... but I can also say "what's in here?" which is also spatial... so??????????????????????????????)

Any help!?
Thanks in advance!! ^_^
Miles Prower

Europaio (sp?) - Proto-Indoeuropean

In my university libraries EU section, (lol) I was reading some random social scientist and his economist friends talk about the unification of Europe into a structure similar to that of the US, and tied in with it was talk of this language I think was called Europaio or something. (Sorry). Now I'm not trying to discuss the ramifications of such a unification - frankly, the article spoke of such an event happening anything from 100 to a 150 years from now. However, it mentioned that there was already talk over introducing this language, that was a reconstructed version of proto-indoeuropean - because the linguistic wealth of Europe was beginning to be quite cumbersome, and apparently was dampening internation relations between EU member states. 

What the hell? Surely the linguistic wealth of Europe should be celebrated, not quashed. Aren't the only other places on Earth with a greater language density the Indian subcontinent and Papua New Guinea? I realise I've not written this article very well, I apologise. I'll try and find a link to that article too.

spiral by wizzicons

You want I should

Lately I've been reading

You want I should ...

a few times. As in

You want I should call your mother?

Had I read it only once, I would have dismissed it as wrong, but as I came across it a few times recently I'm beginning to wonder. Is there a place (or even time) where (or when) this is (or was) used?