You can type Mx instead or Mr and Ms to denote someone whose gender is unknown or nonbinary, "Latinx" is a gender-neutral and nonbinary-friendly version of Latina and Latino -- it's part of a wider trend to backforming gender neutrality into a language that assumes gender is a binary instead of a continuum. Read the rest
Dango is a personal assistant that feeds its users' messages into a deep-learning neural net to discover new expressive possibilities for emojis, GIFs and stickers, and then suggests never-seen combinations of graphic elements to your text messages that add striking nuances to them. Read the rest
Dan Nosowitz of Atlas Obscura has posted a pair of funny pieces on how to “speak Canadian.” I was reminded of this clip from comedy legend John Candy.
Canada RULES! I love swearing in Québécois. Also, I deeply respect Boing Boing's revered tech guru and sysadmin Ken Snider, who is Canadian.
Atlas Obscura's short guide to cursing like a French Canadian is fantastic. Basically you mutter a bunch of religious terms under your breath, like tabernak and callise!
Nosowitz also tackled one of the great mysteries of North American language, the Canadian “about”. I'm still not sure I can get my head around it.
Via Atlas Obscura:
Read the rest
The Canadian diphthong in “about” starts with something closer to “eh,” and migrates to a blank space on the American linguistic map somewhere between “uh,” “oh,” and “ooh.” That transition is actually easier on the mouth than the American version; our vowels go from low to high, and theirs from mid to high.
To say that Canadians are saying “aboot” is linguistically inaccurate; “ooh” is a monophthong and the proper Canadian dialect uses a diphthong. “A-boat” would actually be a bit closer, but still relies on a monophthong. Why can’t Americans get their heads around the Canadian “about”?
“What's going on is a compound of pronunciation and perception,” says Dailey-O’Cain. “The Canadians do pronounce it differently. Americans hear this and they know it's different—they're hearing a difference but they don't know exactly what that difference is.” Americans do not have the Canadian diphthong present in the word “about,” which makes it hard to understand.
In a recent high-stakes basketball match between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warrior player Draymond Green kicked Thunder player Steven Adams directly in the penis and testicles. Read the rest
The Isis River, which flows through the English university city of Oxford, has inspired many place names that include "Isis," including "Isis Close." Read the rest
I never had an ear for foreign language, and after three years studying Spanish in junior high school, all I could say was “Esta lloviendo, aqui!” which means it’s raining or something like that. Pretty embarrassing.
The first time you travel to a foreign country where your native language is not spoken widely, it’s a surreal experience. Everyone sounds like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon.
The day of enlightenment may be upon us.
For $129 The Pilot by Waverly Labs, which hits the stores in September, will provide real-time translation of French, Spanish, Italian, and English when you insert the devices into your ears.
They look a little bulky now, but of course further miniaturization is just around the corner.
Remember when "Turd blossom" was the affectionate nickname the President of the United States used to refer to his chief advisor? Read the rest
The term "tendril perversion" was coined in 1998 by mathematicians Goriely and Tabor to describe the long-observed phenomenon of coiled cables, vines and other helixes that have one kinked loop that goes the other way. Read the rest
After the public overwhelmingly voted to name a new British Natural Environment Research Council vessel "Boaty McBoatface," the UK government pulled a switcheroo, declaring the will of the people to be secondary to the judgment of humourless bureaucrats, and summarily named the ship the R.R.S. David Attenborough. Read the rest
QF481, from Melbourne to Perth, was delayed last week because a passenger spotted a wifi network called "Detonation Device." Read the rest
My favorite airport in America is changing its name to "Hollywood Burbank Airport," removing the name of racist, reactionary old-timey boob Bob Hope, whose name has been judged not to resonate with the modern traveller. Read the rest
• “This wasn’t on my calendar” = I deleted this from my calendar
• “To your earlier point…” = I’m kissing your ass
• “That said…” = We’re still not changing anything
• “Let’s circle back later” = I need this to be over
Keep etymology wyrd! Er, weird. (The Endless Knot)