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Language and Politics

Written By: Youki on March 31, 2009 1 Comment

Let’s take a common term used in politics: “tax relief.” When George W. Bush took office, George Lakoff noticed that press releases started to use the term “tax relief.” He realized that the word relief invoked a frame — that of affliction. There has to be an afflicted party that is harmed, a reliever that […]

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Written By: daveski on March 14, 2009 No Comment

Here’s a guest post from Maya Smith in the beginning stages of her voyages across the globe. She’s in India now and as I’ve been pestering her to write about it for FIT she posted this to her blog “Big Bang 2009” and let me cross-post here…amazing stories from a fluent speaker of […]

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Written By: daveski on March 11, 2009 2 Comments

Word is just in that a minor in Applied Language Studies is going to be a reality as of this fall!! This is a welcome victory in a long-fought battle, spearheaded by Professors Claire Kramsch (German, Education) and Rick Kern (French) in a time of shrinking budgets and ongoing struggles to define why in the […]

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Written By: Youki on February 26, 2009 3 Comments
The negotiation of non-negotiable identities

In a recent talk by Claire Kramsch, she said: “Transcultural competence is not the bland coexistence of multiple cultures under the happy banners of diversity. It is the much more risky circulation of values across historical and ideological timescales; the negotiation of non-negotiable identities and beliefs.”  


What does it mean to negotiate the […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on February 15, 2009 4 Comments

Bitter culture wars played out over Valentine’s Day in India, as the New York Times reported.

Sri Ram Sena, the über-religious right-wing Indian political outfit, had announced their intentions to “disrupt Valentine’s Day celebration as it is against Indian culture.” The disruption, they said, would be targeted against schools and colleges, […]

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Written By: daveski on February 13, 2009 No Comment

Following up on last week’s UCCLLT colloquium (already a week ago!), it looks like there’s an issue of Sociolinguistic Studies out now on monolingualism: http://linguistlist.org/issues/20/20-456.html

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on February 9, 2009 2 Comments

On the occasion of India’s Republic Day (January 26), two weeks ago, I engaged my mother in a conversation about her memories of growing up in pre-independence war-time Kolkata (Calcutta), in West Bengal, India. Out of the many stories, my mother’s vivid recounting of the “madman” of Bagh Bazaar stands out for me.

My […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on February 1, 2009 5 Comments
Road Signs: International Edition

This has been a rather eventful month for road signs across the globe, so here’s a short round up of some of the more interesting news that caught my attention in January..

The Birmingham City Council, UK, has decided to drop possessive apostrophes from road signs, to the dismay of many, particularly the Apostrophe […]

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Written By: daveski on February 1, 2009 1 Comment

Seeing the super-giga-sized and somewhat creepy photo of the thousands of people assembled in front of the Capitol building last week for Obama’s inauguration, with its thousands of unsuspecting faces all looking intently toward the speaker in question, made me wonder: how many other things were going on on the same day, in […]

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Written By: daveski on January 30, 2009 No Comment

I just heard a hilarious and biting clip on NPR from the Chicano/Latino performance troupe Culture Clash‘s “Culture Clash in AmeriCCa”. They’ll be performing tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday at the Brava Theater Center on 24th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District. The website explains that the group–Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and […]

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Written By: daveski on January 28, 2009 No Comment
Next weekend: “World Language Proficiency in the California Context”

Rick Kern posted previously about the upcoming UC Language Consortium Colloquium: “World Language Proficiency in the California Context”. The event will feature many major speakers about topics of pressing importance for languages and education in California, as described in this new UCB event announcement. The colloquium is […]

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Written By: Youki on January 23, 2009 1 Comment

from today’s New York Times:

Nashville voters on Thursday rejected a proposal to make English the city’s official language and largely to prevent government workers from communicating in other languages.

The proposal was introduced by Eric Crafton, a metropolitan councilman. It was opposed by a broad coalition including the mayor, civil rights groups, business leaders, ministers and the […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 21, 2009 2 Comments

As Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the forty-fourth president on January 20th, I was dozing off somewhere high over a deep turquoise Atlantic Ocean.

The nightmare began on Saturday night…dense fog enveloped New Delhi, India, as I headed out from the ‘burbs to the Indira Gandhi International Airport. On […]

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Written By: daveski on January 20, 2009 1 Comment

(Photo above linked to NYT article mentioned below)

The second most popular story in the New York Times today, the day of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, is about language and reading: “From Books, New President Found Voice“, writes Michiko Kakutani.

The article draws parallels between […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 14, 2009 4 Comments
The Deictic Dilemma

Ah, the fluidité of deictics! The we’s, the you’s, how oft we reference them, even when the you’s leak into the we’s, and the we’s fail to envelop us…How provocative the notion that we delineate spaces and build walls around people through these crisp syllables, how we identify and alienate, make our own and make […]

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Written By: daveski on January 11, 2009 No Comment
The faces of Berkeley

Today, as I step back into the non-place of the SFO departure lounge on the way to the workshop on linguistic landscape in Siena, I’m also taking a detour from the path to Livermore. By now I suppose I’ve passed the Berkeley library, the Southside lineup of more→

Written By: Youki on January 10, 2009 3 Comments

Usree Bhattacharya recently wrote about a BBC article that graphed the frequency of words in President Bush’s last eight State of the Union addresses.   One of the things I noticed was a high frequency of the words “child”/”children” in his 2004 SOTU address.  “Children” being a rather ubiquitous word, I thought […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 25, 2008 7 Comments
खादी: Weaving Indian Nationhood

A couple of evenings ago, with the temperature dipping into the low teens (in °C), and the stale winter air thickly polluted with smog, my mother and I happened upon the National Khadi Fair in a suburb of New Delhi, India. Even though we had pending errands to run, we were inexorably drawn to the […]

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Written By: jfboy.shieh on December 19, 2008 13 Comments
Cultural heritage status for complex Chinese characters

Taiwan is planning to apply to UNESCO to have complex Chinese characters (also known as traditional Chinese characters,  正體字, or 繁體字) gain cultural heritage status.

I view the simplification of Chinese characters in the 50s/60s under the communist regime of Chairman Mao as being one of the greatest cultural losses in history. As a Taiwanese American, […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 17, 2008 2 Comments
Name Calling: The Obama Edition

The staff and press corps accompanying President-Elect Obama these days have developed some entertaining code words…see if you can guess what they mean!

1. PEOTUS/POTUS/PEBO
2. FLEOTUS
3. FLEMO
4. CLEAN vs. DIRTY
5. VITALS
6. POOLSPRAY
7. PRO-BAMAS
8. LID
9. POST-LID

Yes We Did!

How many did you get right?

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