May 1, 2016
Answer: French and Haitian Creole. Virtually all of the country's residents speak Haitian Creole, which was named an official language in the 1980s.
April 9, 2016 |
CINCINNATI - Emmanuel Burriss pulled a chair up to Cesar Hernandez' locker on Thursday morning before the series finale at Great American Ball Park. The Phillies teammates chatted for a few minutes in Spanish, the native tongue of Hernandez and the language that Burriss works to master. Burriss, who grew up in Washington, did not start learning Spanish until he was 14. His first words came via family members from the Dominican Republic. He took some courses in high school and college, but most of his study came outside the classroom.
March 22, 2016 |
This year's fierce battle for the presidency is mostly being waged with words a middle-schooler could understand. At least one current candidate - guess which one? - lands at an even lower schooling level when it comes to sentence structure, but he still fares better than one of our former presidents, according to a new analysis of candidate speeches conducted at Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute. Maxine Eskenazi, the institute's principal scientist, and Elliot Schumacher, a graduate student, performed a "readability analysis" of multiple speeches by five candidates - Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump - as well as single speeches by four former presidents and President Obama.
March 20, 2016 |
I'm thinking of rejoining the Republican Party. It's not exactly a homecoming worthy of celebration, but more like joining a run-down country club just to throw out the golf pro. I can't stand the thought of sitting out the April 26 Pennsylvania Republican primary. There was a time when I was proud to be a card-carrying member. After following my parents into the GOP when I turned 18, I vividly recall both my enthusiasm and difficulty deciding when casting my first presidential ballot in the spring of 1980: Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush?
February 25, 2016
DEAR ABBY: A foreign friend used the N word while commenting about an employee at a hotel we were staying in. After he said it a second time, I slapped him and told him that word was never acceptable, regardless of the reason. I feel bad about hitting him, but entirely justified in motive and intent. I really can't think of another, more effective way of registering how offended I am in a situation like this. Should I apologize? Should it be a qualified apology? I tried to explain the complex racial history of the U.S. and why the word was so hurtful, but he seemed disinclined to understand.
February 2, 2016 |
Perhaps the most heartbreaking element of The Language Archive , Julia Cho's gentle drama about love and linguistics, rests in its frequent references to Esperanto. In Bristol Riverside Theatre's production, linguist George (Irungu Mutu), his unhappy wife Mary (Julianna Zinkel), and besotted assistant Emma (Tiffany Villarin) move among rafters-high bookshelves filled with file folders containing the last recorded remnants of hundreds of dead languages. And yet, George and Emma, who can't even code-break human bonding in their mother tongues, study plucky Esperanto, a vocabulary invented for the purpose of bringing people together.
December 9, 2015
IN HER RECENT column, Christine Flowers writes, "I reject the premise that language, even harsh language, can trigger havoc. Words don't kill. Sick, evil people do. " Therefore, she claims, the inflammatory language of the anti-abortion movement has nothing to do with the violent attacks against abortion providers. Ms. Flowers also indicates that she is an "unapologetic Christian. " She should remember, then, the flyers that were circulated in El Salvador in the '70s and '80s instructing soldiers to "Be a patriot!
October 31, 2015 |
Here's the thing about David Ives' All in the Timing : You won't think it's Hamlet . But you're not a chimp, either. However, to understand that joke, you'll have to see the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium's staging of Ives' six short plays, each a thinking person's comedy that abounds in the absurdity of language and that is articulated and captured by this fantastic little production. The Hamlet joke refers to Words, Words, Words, Ives' take on a theorem (strangely enough, first postulated by Aristotle)
October 28, 2015
WORDS HAVE POWER to make you believe, but also to deceive. In 1984 , his brilliant "Big Brother" novel (that in some ways has achieved reality), George Orwell invented Newspeak, a language in which words don't mean what they say. In real life, Orwell fought against opaque, meaningless words he thought discouraged clear thought. If you are pushing your point of view, you want it to sound smart and nice. You want the other guy's position to seem dumb and nasty. That's why abortion activists on both sides frame their positions as being positive: " pro -choice" or " pro -life.
October 16, 2015 |
EVGENY MEDVEDEV walks confidently into an office on the second floor of the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees, N.J., carrying a smoothie in his right hand. His left wrist sports a bright silver, yet understated, watch. He's wearing a black V-neck T-shirt and jeans. The Flyers had an optional skate on this morning. Medvedev wasn't on the ice but he did work out. His day isn't done, though. He's in this office to work, too. He walks in with a smile and says to the people in the room: "Hello.