Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Essentialist Explanations + Other Wordplay

1. Essentialist Explanations (of languages)
[A] list of 735 'essentialist explanations' of the form 'Language X is
essentially language Y under conditions Z'
* "English is essentially Low German plus even lower French minus any sense
   of culture"
* "English is essentially a stripped-down Germanic lang with Baroque-style
   Norman French ornamentation glued on at odd angles"
* "French is essentially Latin on a catwalk"
* "German is essentially a language developed by a group of Teutons who
   gathered in the forest one day to come up with a language that their
   enemies would have no chance of grasping"
* "Dutch is essentially English spoken with a French accent by a German"
* "Welsh is essentially some reasonable language that had its stock of vowels
   pillaged by Polynesians, yes, but which one? Irish? They really don't
   sound that much alike"
* "Welsh is essentially what appears on the screen after you have
   inadvertently been resting your elbow on the keyboard"
* "Gaelic sounds like Dutch on Acid"
* "Australian English is essentially Cockney without the refinement"
* "Today's British English is what today's American English would have
   become if Americans hadn't had any fun either"
* "Governmentese is essentially a branch of spoken and written English
   designed to say nothing with as many words as possible hoping that the
   nothing is lost in the translation"

2. "Tingo, nakkele and other wonders"
"English is a rich and innovative language. But you can't help feeling we're
 missing out... Malay, for instance, has gigi rongak - the space between the
 teeth. The Japanese have bakku-shan - a girl who appears pretty from behind
 but not from the front. Then there's a nakkele - a man who licks whatever
 the food has been served on (from Tulu, India)"
   "The Meaning of Tingo"
A blog by the author of the book mentioned in the above article

3. American and British English differences
"Although spoken American and British English are generally mutually intelli-
 gible, there are enough differences to occasionally cause awkward misunder-
 standings or even a complete failure to communicate"
a. List of British English words not used in American English
b. List of American English words not used in British English
c. List of words having different meanings in British and American English

4. "Show me the way to Scratchy Bottom"
"Rude Britain is a compilation of the country's 100 rudest place names"
   "Local names make rude Britain"
Lists all 100 of Britain's most double entendre-riddled towns, villages and