February 18th, 2010


What do you think of this bank's statement?

One of my semantics textbooks describes something close to this scenario:

A bank offers a new credit card with a low interest rate. Then they run into financial problems and raise the interest rate. A while later, the financial situation improves, and they return to the low interest rate they initially offered. Note that this is the first time they have actually reduced the interest rate on the card.

A bank official says: "We've lowered the interest rate again."

Do you think that this is a truthful description of the situation? If so, why so? If not, why not? Are you a native speaker of English, and where are you from?

(If you've used this text, please don't share the author's explanation! I don't want people to read it and have their opinions influenced. Also, if you can resist reading the comments before answering, that would be great. :D)

Corpus of German diachrony

Hello all,

Would someone know of a resource which has lists of German texts (or even just small text samples thereof) categorised by their dialect and also by their time period?

What would be ideal would be e.g.

First dimension:

Modern German - Early Modern German - Middle German - Old German

Second dimension:
High German
Low German
Allemanic (e.g. Swiss, Swabian, Alsatian...)

This would mean that a text could be categorised as e.g. Middle Low German, Modern Low German, Early Modern High German, Modern Alsatian, Old Alsatian, Old Saxon, Middle Saxon... I specifically don't want audio: it needs to be text. I really doubt such a thing exists, but I'd appreciate anything close! Cheers!

Schöner YGO Siegfried

Do you know of any ghoooosts...?

Oh hey. I'm not sure if this is allowed, but I gotta ask:

I'm looking for some Classic Ghost Stories.

I've got a rehearsal student (7th grade, third year English) who's been reading "The Canterville Ghost" (an Easy Readers' edition) in class.
The teacher is a bit of a meanie and has a reputation for doing very hard tests. Now she just told the kids they'll be writing one next Monday, and there'll be a similar "ghostly" story in it or maybe part of a text involving ghosts.

I've read parts of Harry Potter and Arthur Invisible (Grey Arthur? by Louise Arnold, anyway) with my kid, comparing the ghostly aspects and writing and doing some summary work. But of course, the vocabulary is quite different to the works of Oscar Wilde and I don't feel so good about using modern literature.

So if you happen to know any ghost stories or similar works that fit better in a line with the Canterville Ghost, please let me know?

On a second note: How do you feel about "Easy Readers" editions?
Is it better for students to read an abridged, watered-down story with a limitation of grammar and vocabulary, or is it rather hindering? And are the vocab-helps (pictures, annotations) really helpful?
And what ages are they best suited for?

I've skipped just through that Canterville Ghost, and damn, did they cut off all the good parts. And I think I was a bit devastated myself, when I found out that the ghost killed his wife for having no good looks and being "not good at cooking either." It wasn't explained why Virginia went with the ghost through the wall, either. There was no epiphany at the end, nor real closure. And the teacher totally forgot to mention why she was the one able to save them, because the concept of "virginity", and "pure soul" and "praying and crying to God on behalf of the sinner" was cleverly swept under the table as well.
The whole thing didn't make much sense apart from the fact that the ghost was spooking around and somehow found peace at the end. But the whole moral went out the next window.

I get that children do not care much about the story while struggling with the basics of a language, but when even they start spotting the bunch of giant, gaping plotholes, I guess that can't be good. It leaves a bitter taste of unfinished business behind.
And this is for children at age twelve. I guess it gets just more frustrating higher up? Or maybe it lessens, because with age one learns not to expect the world from such an edition. My student mostly struggles with the idea that it's supposed to be 'real classic literature' and still make no sense. It sounds lame. (I set him straight, but still, battling that kind of frustration sucks.)

Somehow I'm glad I never was put to easy editions at school. My teacher was old and cranky and of the "learn to swim or sink" sort - we got the original Shakespeare in our third year. Didn't regret it much, either; I still can recite whole passages. On the other hand, it was *difficult*.

S'all. Bring on the opinions! ^^
  • Current Music
    thundering avalanches... from the neighbour's roof
Data & Spot

can't remember a word, and japanese name stylistics

-I redesigned an accounting spreadsheet at work so that its layout corresponds to that of our cashier printouts. Today my boss commented on needing to get used to it, and how it was ironic since the old version didn't show everything in order. (We write various totals from the printouts on the spreadsheet.) I agreed, then couldn't grasp the word I wanted to use in reference to the new form. It has to do with facilitating a smoother flow, making the task quicker, clearer, and simpler. Definitely something to do with fluidity/flow, possibly a verb.

-Also: Chinese and Korean (I think) Olympic athletes are listed onscreen with the family name first, e.g. Wang B., which makes sense. What confuses me is that the Japanese athletes are listed with the family name second, e.g. M. Tabata, just like the athletes from western countries. I thought Japan's name order was the other way around. Am I wrong, or is there some reason for this?