Posts tagged ‘language’

Week XXXI – XXXII

Canada – Ontario and Quebéc

Toronto is the biggest city in Canada with something like 5.5 million people all around the area. I stayed right in downtown, with lots of people, skyscrapers and a nice little lake nearby. Although, it is the smallest of the five big lakes, lake Ontario would cover about half of Switzerland. Except of one really bad thunderstorm during an hot evening there weren’t any annoyances. I went around markets, Chinatown, the university, docks, parks and museums. On my last day in Toronto, I went to practice a little climbing and jumping in a Parkour training court, called the Monkey Vault, I found somewhere north-west in the city.
On the next day, I was off to Montréal. Quebéc seemed to me mostly French, so it was quite different for me. Somebody told me that it’s far less French than it used to be. Mainly, because English is just the language when you want to make it in any job here, but I’m not so sure. It seems like the people were proud of their strange (as told by several French guys) quebecian French.

So that was around Toronto with the CN tower and Yonge-Dundas square. And around Montreal, Biosphere on Île Sainte Hélèn and the skyline from mount Royal.
toronto cn tower yonge-dundas square
montreal biosphere skyline from mount royal

After my stop in Montréal I took the bus back to Ontario, where I’m currently stopping in the country’s capital named (who knows?) Ottawa.

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September 4, 2009 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

Awesomeness

Sometimes I’m glad that I’m not some sort of language analyst. Or would you like to tell me why awesome can mean ‘some’thing good and awful always has to be terrible. Not to mention the e. Never mind!
Usually it’s bad to start to write just with the inner need to bring words up on a shining display. You may call it some form of desire to create. Then again, most things are started by doing a very different thing. Many Simpsons episodes rely on the concept of a few short stories connected by what often seems like pure accidental thought. Comic writers like Scott Adams create their works by ‘just starting to draw’. Our minds find familiar patterns and thoughts seem to come automatically. It may even look like the results are quite unintentional.

That’s fine and pancake, but it will only make sense and be satisfying when you and your audience find enough connections to other areas they’re familiar with. When the result offers even more relations as imagined, that process can be probably compared with the punchline of a good joke. Mind-altering thoughts are awesome! It’s like realising that wrestling is fake, sex is dirty and a punch in the face actually hurts.

October 29, 2008 at 7:04 pm Leave a comment

Talking about nothing

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” – Plato

To talk only for the sake of communication itself seems pretty unnecessary for some people. Well, it probably is. But there is more to it than most may realise. Small talk is like grooming. Primates form bonds of trust and build cooperation groups. They groom each other to get food, sex or other favours.
Maybe we don’t go that far just with small talk but it’s in a way the best option to start a conversation to get to know each other. The special thing about this form of phatic expressions is that it serves to find a way to communicate. It’s about evaluating the spoken language, style and level. Some do this even only to overcome a waiting time or an uncomfortable silence. Imagine two computers just connecting to say ‘hi, how you’re doin’?’ – sounds a bit pathetic, doesn’t it?

In general, there are the following categories of conversations based upon their involved topics: ideas, concrete objects and facts, people, the self. Their different purposes are: extend understanding and awareness, consolidate a general view, boosting of self esteem, attracting attention. Anyway, to start talking about something with somebody, you might want to consider a topic that’s neutral, without heavy personal information and hard questions. Make the talking part easy by staying simple!

June 30, 2008 at 9:56 pm Leave a comment

Lapsus Linguae

“When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.” – Samuel Goldwyn (assumed)

Language is fun. You can do almost anything with words. Even if they come out wrong they still make sense. When you know how to communicate on the exact right level, you’re able to achieve most things. As with many other areas ‘the more you know – the better you can handle situations’ counts. The better you understand, the more you can make yourself and your arguments understandable. It’s like a pool with waves representing statements. A good recipient takes a wave, balances it, and returns a compensated one back to its sender.

Now, it’s fun when it comes to humorous statements resulting from the use of paradoxes. Some Goldwynisms (Samuel Goldwyn, producer for motion picture studios from the ’20s to the ’50s) I recommend:
I don’t want any yes-men around me. I want everyone to tell the truth – even though it costs him his job.
Tell them to stand closer apart.
You fail to overlook the crucial point.
I’ll give you a definite maybe.
Include me out.
Then there are the Yogiisms (baseball player Peter Berra around the ’50s and ’60s) featuring oxymoronic redundancies.
Ninety percent of this game is half mental.
Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.
It’s like déjà vu all over again.
It ain’t over till it’s over.
Other malapropisms known as Farberisms (after David Farber, IT scientist since the ’50s and lecturer afterwards) are illogical and non sequitur statements.
That solution fills a much needed gap.
It’s the vilest smell I ever heard.
Let them fry in their socks.
You can also have much fun with Spoonerisms (by William Spooner, priest and lecturer around the beginning of the 19th century). That works in various languages and combinations.
Let us glaze our asses to the queer old Dean. (raise our glasses .. dear old Queen)
We’ll have the hags flung out. (flags hung)
Kentucky schreit ficken. (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
Go and shake a tower. (take a shower)

June 27, 2008 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

Senses of balance

There are numerous reasons why challenging yourself is fun. For one, there is the part where you may achieve something you didn’t know you were able to. That usually comes as a pleasant surprise, which itself is good for your own self-esteem. Another thing is the knowledge new experiences come packed with. The better you know your own reactions, the better your self-assessments are going to work for new situations.
In case of my own last weekend I’d like to note some things about scuba diving. First of all, it’s awesome to move freely around in every possible direction. Anyway, there is this feeling when you turn around in foggy waters and enter this state where you are unable to make out any direction or reference point anymore. That’s my first uneasy feeling. The second one is when you dive lower, let’s say to 20 meters, and imagine the height of water by comparison to the height of some building you know in the same size above your shoulders. That’s just a freaking amount of water and thus, a lot of pressure, if you get what I mean. The last thing is the silence you may experience when you slowly breath in and nothing around you moves or makes any noise.
All of these sensations are not bad, they are just interesting to experience and may take a little bit to accept.

Links:
Underwater Communication ~ How-To Communicate Underwater
Diving Signals ~ Scuba Diving Signals, Wiki Diving Signals
Sign Language ~ NZSL

May 19, 2008 at 8:23 pm Leave a comment

You don’t make sense

Have you ever been speechless? Most people are from time to time. There is probably no need to worry about. Sometimes it’s just the numbness of the aftereffects of alcohol or sleeplessness. Or maybe it’s just some small surprise life often offers in the most unexpected situations. There is a saying ‘firstly it comes different and secondly, as you may imagine.’
What’s quite a sophistic attempt that offers a way out in such situations, is to build up association chains. Such procedures are used in some evaluation and creative idea finding techniques. These also called mind maps exist in various places. Language with all its references and reflexions works similar. I’m going to try it with the intention of conveying knowledge.

Long speculated but still an open question is whether life exists on Mars or not. Life on Mars is also a song by David Robert Jones better known as David Bowie which was released in 1973. 1973 again, is a song performed by James Hillier Blount who was actually born in 1974 and had been inspired by the club scene in Ibiza. Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea, belonging with the island of Formentera to Spain. Spain is a constitutional monarchy like the United Kingdom and has been a member of the European Union since 1986. The European Union has together with Bulgaria and Romania, which joined by January 2007, 27 member states. Originally created as an economic union the unemployment rate for its almost 500 million citizens stood at 7 percent in 2007. The United States are inhabited by about 300 million people with an unemployment rate of about 5 percent. If you’re interested in the rest of the world, look up Kwashiorkor.
Take a look at the lawman, beating up the wrong guy!

December 26, 2007 at 9:41 pm 6 comments

To coordinate chaos

3.1415926535897′. Ordo ab chao. Mea culpa sed omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina. How to understand chaos? Maybe it’s all about circles. What goes around comes back around. Try to cry into a room with many edges. Your voice will probably crush. Compare this to places you wander without the will or possibility to share attributes of these milieus. Yo vengo de todas partes, y hacia todas partes voy: arte soy entre las artes, e en los montes, monte soy. Adaptive you have to be. More than ever. Unser Zeitgeist ist unsere immer schneller werdende Veränderung. Der Wandel der Zeit.

Change is irrestistible. Disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus. Lerne Veränderung. So does that straigthen out our confusion? First, we have to find the system where we don’t see it. Afterwards, we make it fit to serve our purpose. With the knowledge of the appropriate patterns and the ability to change them or else our thinking about them, chaos will fade.
Not everything may fit into a sphere. Trotzdem hilft es oft schon einfach Definitionen mehr Freiraum zu geben. Abstrakt zu denken. Think without limits. Eventually it’s about language too. Try to understand. Let yourself be affected. Even if it’s just a mathematical constant with a decimal expansion that never ends nor repeats.
Acta est fabula plaudite!

December 13, 2007 at 7:00 am 4 comments

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