Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On language — January 2011 edition

I. From the glossary to Maxwell Bodenheim's novel Naked on Roller Skates:

acecray outcray: putting the ace on the bottom of the deck, where the dealer can abstract it

bah-bah: negligible object

cake-slashing: assault and mayhem

century: hundred dollars

chippy: dissolute girl

chivvy: unpleasant odor

clip your tongue: be silent

cram the paper: cheat at cards

cut your chops: mind your own business

(As discovered by Louis Phillips at The Chiseler; Bodenheim also has a cameo in Jason Boog's Believer piece from Sept. 2010.)

Mr. Ai has come to see his escalating conflict with government officials over the Communist Party’s authoritarian rule as performance art. In November, he spread the word that he was throwing a river crab feast at the studio to protest the destruction order. The word for river crab, hexie, sounds nearly identical to the word for harmony, which the Communist Party claims to promote; the party’s critics like to say censors are “harmonizing” the Internet and other forms of media.—NYT

Children pick up about 10 new words a day until, by the time they leave high school, they know around 60,000 words. Chaser [a border collie] learned words more slowly but faced a harder task: Each sound was new and she had nothing to relate it to, whereas children learn words in a context that makes them easier to remember. For example, knives, forks and spoons are found together.

Dr. Pilley does not know how large a vocabulary Chaser could have mastered. When she reached 1,000 items, he grew tired of teaching words and moved to more interesting topics like grammar. —NYT

(Via Jane)

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Blogger Jenny Davidson said...


The Chaser article was great, wasn't it?

9:11 AM  

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