(mostly) daily photoblog

Posts tagged “Linguistics

Prohibited…

 

One of the dangers of writing your own signs is that you might think that you’ve written something one way, while someone else may read it differently.  When I placed the words in Google Translate, exactly as they are phrased here – anjing di larang be rak di sini – it came back with, ‘Shelves prohibited here’, with the message, ‘Did you mean Anjing dilarang berak di sini?  This means that ‘dogs are prohibited from pooping here.’  That’s a pretty big difference.  One way, extra storage is outlawed.  The other way?  No pooping.

I’m pretty sure that the writer of this sign is trying to say that he doesn’t want dogs to poop down this alley, but maybe he has a thing against shelving.

Advertisements

Is teriyaki beef and broccoli a breakfast food?

The teriyaki beef and broccoli, pictured above, was really good for dinner last night.  It isn’t what I’m eating for breakfast.  I’ll be eating steel-cut oatmeal with a little brown sugar and milk.

It brings to mind a little question I’ve had for a long time:  why are certain foods only for breakfast?  Like toast?  Or scrambled eggs?  Hash browns?

Is this just a North American thing?  Why is that we have this thing called “breakfast for dinner”?  I love it when we have breakfast for dinner, but why do we not just call it toast-bacon-hash browns-scrambled eggs-orange juice for dinner?  Or, just dinner.

 


Word Association: this makes you think of what?

I’m quite certain this is some guy’s name, or maybe the name of a graffiti crew, but it makes me think of one thing:  Noam Chomsky.  When I saw it on the concrete highway support, I thought that some student of media and communications, or maybe a linguistics students.  Then I realized that it didn’t actually say “Chomsky” – it says CHOMtcki or something.  Too bad, seeing as how Chomsky was a student of language and communication.  When I saw this my mind went back to the first time I watched “Manufacturing Consent” and how outraged I was at how mass media twists and manipulates, often through the simplest means like inclusion vs. exclusion, the popular opinion on major issues.  It was through Chomsky I first came across the plight of the East Timorese and the lack of coverage of their problems with Indonesia.  I also thought back to my earliest years in university when I first started reading Chomsky’s work.

It is kind of weird, however, to see what came to my mind through a mistake in reading.  This got me thinking: how much of what I read is what is actually written and how much of my experience while reading is a direct result of where my mind goes while I’m reading?  How much is a result of my own experience that, while it may be somewhat non sequitur to the reading material, shapes my understanding of what I read, of how I see the world.  If a misread word can conjure up memories of my earliest years in post-secondary academia, what happens when I read things properly?  I have taught introductory psychology courses and I know, basically, how my brain works.  I also know that both “nature and nurture” play a big part in how I have become who I am today.  But what if the way I see the world is entirely different from the way you see the world, but we both believe that we see it the same way because we only have the vocabulary we share to make sense of it?  Words would, then, make our ability to express our experiences less personal and more communal, thus bringing us together when our own perception is moving us apart.

Whoa.

Maybe I need some sleep.