Video: ‘DST: Daylie Saying Time’

[my video]

I expose the truth about the mass delusion of DST, daylight saving time–before I’m too sleep-deprived. There may be Cajun French involved. And kitchen items. I’ve said too much already.

Link to video

Closed-captioning (CC) and transcript available.

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New words from Twitterers (including mine: ‘thelcome’)

People neologize (coin words) all the time, but you’ll never read or hear most of these mintings. (The official concrete noun of product for the verb mint is mintage(s); I prefer the sound of my novelly used mintings. And if not here, where?) Lexicographer Erin McKean, founder of online-dictionary-and-more Wordnik, recently publicized some neologisms. She asked for submissions on Twitter and put some in her article of January 22, 2012, for The Boston Globe: “New words from noncelebrity neologizers.”

I contributed thelcome, a word I coined in 1991 (and other people have independently arrived at). It came from my slip of the tongue when trying to respond to a very complimentary thank you. Here’s the definition I put on Pseudodictionary in 2003:

thelcome – A reply to a complimentary “thank you,” where both “thank you” and “you’re welcome” seem appropriate responses. [Blend of "thank you" and "you're welcome"]

e.g., She said, “Thanks so much! You’re such a wonderful person!” “Thelcome,” I replied.

After Erin McKean’s article came out, I was happy to see thelcome mentioned on Stan Carey’s language blog. He’s in Ireland, so the march toward worldwide thelcome-acceptance proceeds apace. (Next stop: the Pitcairn Islands, where, unlike the U.S., it’s summer now.)

As for the other neologisms in the article, I think Kate Greene’s technoschmerz could catch on. It’s similar to weltschmerz (borrowed from German, literally ‘world pain’), but the emotional pain comes from irksome technology rather than the dismal world. Also, Kate Chmiel’s term for factory-made apple pies, exstrudel, is delectably unappetizing (and presumably a smooth blend of extrude and strudel).

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that my favorite coinages are both from Kates. And that my name, Kevin, also starts with K. And that their words end with Schmerz and Strudel, both German masculine nouns starting with S. And that I’m a part-German male person whose (non-German) last name, Sullivan, also starts with S.

One probably has to be somewhat form-focused to be a neologizer, but I think it’s time to put language back in the toy box for today.

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‘Ticket-holding fits’? (lost in translation)

Have you ever been so excited to ride a boat that you had ticket-holding fits? Perhaps, but I don’t think that’s what the translator of a certain Chinese sign meant.

A photo on Leonie Doyle’s blog (Lightlyskipping) shows a sign for tourists in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province in Southern China. “To the boat(s) for ticket-holding fits” is the English translation.

The full Chinese is very different from the English, so I’ll save it for below. Let’s just start with the “fits” part. Usually, these bad translations come from the fact that Chinese words, like English words, can have multiple meanings and the wrong meaning can get translated. (Professor Victor Mair sometimes posts about these on Language Log, such as here, here, and here.) But in the Chinese on this sign (assuming the characters are representing Mandarin Chinese and not potentially differing meanings in the local Wu) nothing seems to also mean “fit.”

This seems instead to be a visual confusion of characters:

  • 旅游 (lü3you2, traditional: 旅遊 ), “tour” in “tour group” on the sign and
  • 放好 (fang4hao3), “fit” in the sense of “to place/store (something) well.”

Thus, “To the boat(s) for ticket-holding [tourists]” is probably what they meant.

The full Chinese is:

mai3hao3 chuan2piao4 de5 lü3ke4 (fei1lü3you2tuan2dui4) qing3 you2ci3 pai2dui4 cheng2chuan2
(traditional: 買好船票的旅客(非旅遊團隊)請由此排隊乘船。)
“Travelers who plan to buy boat tickets (non-tour group) please thus line up to ride the boat.”
(more fully: Travelers who get ready to ride the boat by buying the necessary boat tickets (non-tour group) please thus line up.)

Again, the corrected English is:

“To the boat(s) for ticket-holding [tourists]”

So, the sign tells Chinese readers without tickets to line up and implies that English readers with tickets can go right ahead. I don’t think it helps that they added the “international” symbol for line up / queue up: a woman and a man standing behind another man who has one leg raised as if he’s about to start hopping.

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Video: ‘The Calculendar (Rebecca Black – ‘Friday’-Inspired) Commercial’

[my video]

Have trouble figuring out the days of the week? You need The Calculendar!

This TV-commercial parody was inspired by the lyrics

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today it is Friday, Friday [. . .]

Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes afterwards

from Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” (which was written by adults not by the young singer).

Link to “The Calculendar” video

Closed-captioning (CC) and transcript available.

You don’t need to watch the original video first, “Rebecca Black – Friday – Official Music Video,” but here it is:

Link to music video

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Happy Chinese New Year ‘tu’ you!

It’s Chinese New Year’s Day. Happy Year of the Rabbit! According to Language Log and Dog sun, the clever thing for Chinese cards now is Chinese-English mixing of greetings. Thus:

“Happy New Year 兔 you!” (Happy New Year tu you!; tu4, rabbit).

2009 was the year of the ox/bull and used “Happy 牛 Year!” (niu2 [nyo], ox/bull).

2012 will be the dragon ( 龍 long2 [lung]). Perhaps they could sing “Auld 龍 Syne.” Or they could use the dragon zodiac sign ( 辰 chen2 [chuhn]): “Happy 辰ese New Year!”

2017 is rooster ( 雞 ji1, but the zodiac sign is 酉 you3 [yo]), so maybe: “酉, Happy New Year!”

See more about Chinese New Year and zodiac signs with Chinese characters on my old post:
Happy Boar Year 2007!

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2010 Australian word of the year: googleganger

Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary announced their word of the year (WOTY) for 2010 yesterday:

'goohguhlganguh [American dialects end in "-ur" for many]

noun a person with the same name as oneself, whose online references are mixed with one’s own among search results for one’s name.

[google + (doppel)ganger]

By the way, I’m not the Kevin Sullivan who wrote, directed, and produced the Canadian Anne of Green Gables television movies.

Macquarie Dictionary also has people’s choice awards in 18 categories.

See more years plus UK and American words of the year on my site:

UK and Australian English Words of the Year (since 2006)

  • Language Expert Susie Dent of Oxford University Press (OUP), United Kingdom
  • Macquarie Dictionary, Australia

American English Word of the Year (since 1990)

  • American Dialect Society (ADS)
  • Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary
  • New Oxford American Dictionary
  • Webster’s New World College Dictionary
Posted in Dialects, LANGUAGE, Site Administration, Words / Dictionaries | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Video: ‘Spot the Ambiguity’

[my video]

Steven and Brandon have a misunderstanding. Can you spot the ambiguity?

Link to video

Closed-captioning (CC) and transcript available.

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Video: ‘The Time That’s Spruced With Pine’

[my video]

After a short, original light-verse poem, hear about Christmas and Japanese New Year’s and learn some Japanese words related to New Year’s.

Link to video

Closed-captioning (CC) and transcript available.

Posted in Comedy / Humor Media, Foreign Languages, HUMOR, LANGUAGE, Language Media, My Videos, Site Administration, Words / Dictionaries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

‘Dictionary of American Regional English’ nearly complete and tweets

If you’re interested in American dialect words, look no further than the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE). The nearly completed multi-volume dictionary (with Volume I, A–C released in 1985 and Volume V, Slab–Z due in 2011 [Fall 2010 newsletter]) would cost you hundreds of U.S. dollars (electronic version coming eventually), but on the site you can get 100 sample entries, plus quizzes and more.

You can also get a word a day by following darewords on Twitter. I have.

Posted in Dialects, LANGUAGE, Language Media, Language-Sites, Linguistics, Words / Dictionaries | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Video: ‘Talking to Zoo Animals’

[my video]

Here’s my story of talking to zoo animals and imitating their calls. It’s a true story, but I took some dramatic license. I didn’t actually wear glasses as a young child. And I don’t remember the monkeys’ food being invisible.

Link to video

Closed-captioning (CC) and transcript available.

Posted in Dialects, HUMOR, LANGUAGE, My Videos, Site Administration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off