Everyday linguistic anthropology

Language links 9/18: radical translation and maps

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Every Monday, I share some of what I’ve been reading in the past week.


On radical translation and interpretation.

Do you know these differences between British and American English?

I just learned that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was originally about a black boy rather than a white one. Representation matters.

On maps and identity.

Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots? “Two reasons spring to mind. One is that the history and language of one’s own group – whether it be nation, region, minority or faith – are tied up closely with its identity. (With some students of language, it’s not their own group they deeply care about, but some fascinating minority; Basque and the Celtic languages are the favorites.) The prestige that comes with a noble past and an ancient pedigree is an irresistible lure, so no effort is spared in the search for supporting facts – or, failing those, near-facts.”

Linguists are taking on sexual harassment. If you’re a linguist and haven’t signed yet, please do!

On the lighter side: Trump drove Merriam-Webster to suicide on Samantha Bee.

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