An uneven but interesting episode on Language from BBC4 Radio’s FutureProofing series. I’m not only including this because my intellectual crushhero Erin McKean makes an appearance. Also includes poet Elisa Gabbert and some linguists, scientists and AI-language researchers.
Links, links, links…from a certain, uncertain mind.
“Kumamon, a cartoon bear created to promote tourism in an overlooked part of Japan, has become a billion-dollar phenomenon. Now, a new academic field is trying to pinpoint what makes things cute — and why we can’t resist them”
“What we can learn about the world and ourselves from foreign words that have no equivalent in English”
The Emily Dickinson Lexicon is a dictionary of alphabetized headword entries for all of the words in Emily Dickinson’s collected poems (Johnson 1955 and Franklin 1998 editions).
If I’ve said it once about the oh-so-wrong idea of “untranslateables,” I’ve said it—not as many times as Mark Liberman has in Language Log in the ‘No Word for X’ Archive.
- My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard ← The clichéd description “searing expose” is fitting. Man’s inhumanity to man.
- Step Inside the World’s Most Dangerous Garden (If You Dare) ← “…within Alnwick’s boundaries, kept behind black iron gates, is a place where visitors are explicitly told not to stop and smell the flowers: the Poison Garden, home to 100 infamous killers.”
- I have found a new way to watch TV, and it changes everything ← Way, way more interesting than I expected. [Via Reader C.]
- I Tried a Medieval Diet, And I Didn’t Even Get That Drunk ← “I drank diluted wine at dinner, and sometimes at lunch; I ate bread at almost every meal; I sought out richly stewed meat whenever I could. The regimen was not just about what to eat, though, and I also followed its prescriptions for daily life.”
- Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age
- Analyzing the language of Heavy Metal with Natural Language Processing ← The least metal word? “Particularly.”
- New Evidence on Van Gogh’s Ear… ← Now with contemporary medical sketches…
- Candle Flames Contain Millions of Tiny Diamonds
- This Barista May Be the Best Coffee Artist in the World
- Today is the third International #Firgunday, in which participants share compliments and pride for others, mostly on social media. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to say, there’s a Firgunator that will help. According to the founders, “Firgun (pronounced FEER-GOON, פרגון), is a Hebrew word that means an act of kindness performed solely to make another person feel good.” Wikipedia says the word “describes genuine, unselfish delight or pride in the accomplishment of the other,” or “a generosity of spirit, an unselfish, empathetic joy.” I want every day to be #Firgunday.