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January 2009

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 […]

Written By: Youki on January 22, 2009 1 Comment

Gabriel Dance, senior multimedia producer for The New York Times, has developed The Election Day Word Train in collaboration with the Interactive News Team.  It’s updated hourly with the words that best describe people’s moods.  Check out the difference between McCain and Obama supporters.

[find it here]


So, what one word describes your current state […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 22, 2009 2 Comments

Ever wondered how people say “Get Well Soon!” in multiple languages? I have…so here’s a taste

Afrikaans Word gou gesond!
Armenian (Eastern) Լավացի’ր: (Lavacir) Առողջացի’ր: (Arogh.jacir)
Bengali শিগগিরি স্বাস্থ্য ভালো হোক। (Shiggiri shastho bhalo hok)
Bulgarian Оздравявай бързо (Ozdravjavaj bãrzo)
Catalan Que et milloris
Chamorro Puedi homlo hao ti apmam
(Cantonese) 祝您盡快恢復健康 (jūk néih cheuhnfaai fuìfuhk gihnhòng)
快啲好番呀 (faaidi hóufàan a)
(Mandarin) […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 22, 2009 1 Comment

Apparently, in Corsican they have a saying: “Mariteddu Tamant’e Un Ditu Ieddu Voli Essa Rivaritu“: literally, “a husband must be respected even if he is very short.”


On my jetlag-fuelled morning Interneting, I excavated a fascinating article on Digg called “Weird and wonderful foreign phrases…that just don’t translate” from the UK Mirror. […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 21, 2009 No Comment

The Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (the German Language Society) has recently unveiled the Wort des Jahres (Word of the Year):

Finanzkrise (Financial Crisis).

And the Unwort des Jahres (Unword of the Year) award (one that is “misleading, goes against fact,” according to my German friend) goes to:

notleidende Banken (Needy Banks)

The […]

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

Ravi, a gifted young peacock-fan seller from the slums of Mumbai, is a GENIUS. He picked up bits and pieces of 13 different languages from tourists he sells to…watch it!

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 21, 2009 No Comment
What’s in a Name?

I kept wondering why the airport shuttle taking passengers from nearby hotels to Heathrow Airport was called the “HotelHoppa.” It just sounded so “unjazzy,” so irrelevant. I “got” the hotel part, and figured Hoppa was a proper noun, maybe the last name of the founder of the company or some such thing. But it […]

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 […]

Written By: Youki on January 20, 2009 6 Comments

pictures from today’s inauguration ceremony on Sproul Plaza:

Dave’s camera broke so we both used mine.

The UC Berkeley media release page has a slideshow of the inauguration.

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 […]

Written By: Cindy Lee on January 20, 2009 4 Comments

As I’m gearing up for a new semester of class, I’d like to share a realization that has shown me, once again, just how Californian I’ve become.  Having grown up in Cleveland, I resisted mightily at any hint that California had thinned my blood, but the signs that this change has occurred keep popping up, […]

Written By: daveski on January 19, 2009 No Comment

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence is sponsoring a conference in May, the 3rd Int’l AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media. It’s in San Jose from May 17-20, and the calls are out now for papers and posters.

I wonder if anybody from Rick Kern’s Writing & Technology seminar last term, […]

Written By: daveski on January 19, 2009 1 Comment

Come sta? Thanks to youki, sandra, juski, Jinny and Jeremiah for all the helpful comments last time. I’d like to say I’ve picked up a little fluency in Italian but that wouldn’t quite be true…

I’ve wanted to follow up for the past several days but it’s been a chore getting online. 25 euro for a […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 16, 2009 3 Comments
Old Sayings Visualized

This site offers some fun visuals of literal translation of common sayings. Can you guess what they are?

#gallery-1 {
margin: auto;
#gallery-1 .gallery-item {
float: left;
margin-top: 10px;
text-align: center;
width: 33%;
#gallery-1 img {
border: 2px solid #cfcfcf;
#gallery-1 .gallery-caption {
margin-left: 0;
/* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 16, 2009 3 Comments

I am immersed inexorably in the pulsating drumbeat of receding time…the throbbing hours close in on me. It is time, my precious, it is time

These last few excruciating hours, I want to plunge into your soul….I want to taste you, touch you, breathe you in, feel your ebb and flow in all my senses…I […]

Written By: Youki on January 16, 2009 1 Comment

btw slumdog is getting some heat from within India for forefronting the only aspect of Indian life that ever “entertains” others: slum life.

there are inherent problems with representation that i’d love to watch out for…


As I read the above line […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 14, 2009 No Comment

For all those hardcore Googlers out there, your devotion is finally institutionalized.


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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 […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 13, 2009 2 Comments
Hidden Signs

From the New Delhi, India, campaign and “to-let” flyers make an appearance on street signs:

Who cares where you are?






And behold the irrelevance of traffic signs:








Written By: Youki on January 13, 2009 1 Comment

yesterday I noticed an SUV called “Outlook.”  Why would they name an SUV after the Microsoft email program, there must be tons of product and branding interference from that. 


“What kind of car do you have?”

“I drive an Outlook”


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