On the increasing usage of improper English, Joan Acocella of The New Yorker notes:
English is a melding of the languages of the many different peoples who have lived in Britain; it has also changed through commerce and conquest. English has always been a ragbag, and that encouraged further permissiveness. In the past half century or so, however, this situation has produced a serious quarrel, political as well as linguistic, with two combatant parties: the prescriptivists, who were bent on instructing us in how to write and speak; and the descriptivists, who felt that all we could legitimately do in discussing language was to say what the current practice was.
But the most curious flaw in the descriptivists’ reasoning is their failure to notice that it is now they who are doing the prescribing. By the eighties, the goal of objectivity had been replaced, at least in the universities, by the postmodern view that there is no such thing as objectivity: every statement is subjective, partial, full of biases and secret messages. And so the descriptivists, with what they regarded as their trump card—that they were being accurate—came to look naïve, and the prescriptivists, with their admission that they held a specific point of view, became the realists, the wised-up.
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.” Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.
You think you can just retweet something and get away with it? Well, actually you probably can. BUT not in China.
CHINESE WOMAN SENTENCED TO A YEAR IN LABOUR CAMP OVER TWEET
Cheng disappeared ten days later, on what was to be her wedding day, her whereabouts unknown until it emerged this week that she had been detained and sentenced by local police.
“Sentencing someone to a year in a labour camp, without trial, for simply repeating another person’s clearly satirical observation on Twitter demonstrates the level of China’s repression of online expression” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Director for the Asia-Pacific.
The offending tweet was originally posted by Cheng’s fiancé Hua Chunhui, mocking China’s young nationalist demonstrators who had smashed Japanese products in protest over a maritime incident between China and Japan involving the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.
Hua’s original tweet said “Anti-Japanese demonstrations, smashing Japanese products, that was all done years ago by Guo Quan [an activist and expert on the Nanjing Massacre]. It’s no new trick. If you really wanted to kick it up a notch, you’d immediately fly to Shanghai to smash the Japanese Expo pavilion.” [Source: amnesty.org
The poor lady has been sentence to “re-education through labor.” An additional note is Twitter is blocked in China and the only way a Chinese can tweet is to go through a VPN.
An unrelated note: Chinese is a really compact written language. In 140 characters you write a sentence in English, but in Chinese you can write a short paragraph on your day.
Well nobody really explained to me why my name is chosen for me. At the later age, I have made the assumption that it probably is a good name and I just have to trust whoever gave me the name, that would be my grandfather. My Chinese name would mean something like ‘good’ and ‘great’, maybe my grandfather can’t decide between the two.
I got particularly interested how my Chinese name would be read in Japanese as a Kanji.
嘉 means “applaud”, “esteem” or “praise”. When used in context, it typically means good and is pronounced as ‘ka’.
偉 means “admirable”, “conceited” or “excellent”. When used in context, it typically means greatness and is pronounced as ‘i’ or ‘erai’.