July 9th, 2008

balcony

A popular podcast makes reference to this article...

What do you all think of this article? Whether you're a linguist by profession, by background, a student or not involved in linguistics at all, I'm interested in your opinion. =)

www.physorg.com/news134065200.html

No, this is not homework. I'm just interested in gaining more accurate perspectives from people with experience in this field as opposed to those who, despite having scientific background, have almost no knowledge of linguistics and whose judgement on this article is not valid.

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Lions

Trying to track down a certain EFL games book

I have some photocopied sheets of English games in my useful sheets folder, and I've been trying them out, and my class absolutely love them. I want to buy the book, but I have absolutely no idea what book they're from, because the photocopy of the front page has torn off, and the name isn't printed along the edges of any pages. It was published after the 80s, judging by some of the content, and isn't that new. There are so many similar books on Amazon, none with preview pages, that could be the book, so I'm seeing if my description rings any bells with any of you.

There are around 50 games in the book, with cards and game pieces to photocopy at the back. I played one today with my class, which involved half the class being dodgy estate agents, who are trying to flog slightly odd houses to the other half of the class, who are playing characters such as a lion tamer or a deposed king, who have rather specialised needs in a new home. There's other games such as a story-telling domino one, with a choice of sci-fi or fairy tale illustrations; a game where the students are robot salespeople; a game called "yuppies" where everyone tries to outboast each other and lots of detective and guessing games.

Ring any bells with people?
oryx_and_crake

Avoiding direct questions - in different languages

I read this in a friend's blog:
"It might be a cultural thing, but we Filipinos generally do not think in specific terms. When asked, “where are you going?” we answer, “dyan lang (just over there).” Or try asking “ilan?” and we get the answer “marami (many).” “Gaano karami (how many – said in an emphatic tone)” and the reply that can be expected is “maraming-marami.” “Kailan umalis?” is answered with “kanina pa (a while ago).” If you’re Pinoy, you can cite more examples of such vague answers." (from here: http://adphoto.com.ph/business/?p=5)

It struck me as a funny coincidence because we have the same thing in Russian, however it only refers to "where are you going?" question. I remember being half-jokingly but sharply enough reprimanded by an older colleague whenever I asked her where she was going (куда она идет); she invariably retorted "Не кудыкайте!" which I cannot translate adequately but it means something like "don't you "where" at me!" The proper form of this question, according to her, was "Are you going far?"

So, my questions are: do other languages have anything similar? And do you really think that it is related to "not thinking in specific terms", or is it rather a superstition of sorts, a fear to name the exact purpose or price and, by doing this, put a hex on the success of the entire endeavour? (I like the latter explanation better.)