There was this group of American kids on the steps outside the Venice train station;
each had a bottle of wine she was drinking, each was sitting next to her backpack.
It was 9 in the evening
we guessed they were planning where to sleep for the night.
Christiane said “I can’t imagine doing what they’re doing— I could imagine it a few years ago, but not now.”
I said “If they could afford hotels, they couldn’t imagine doing what they’re doing.”
They were 20, 21, looked like they were having fun, smiles and shouts and post-teenage posturing. Girl 1 said she was going to be famous in 5 years, girl 2 said she wanted to be a rock star, girl 3 thought maybe she’d be peeling potatoes.
Swiggin from big-ass bottles of red italian wine, i’m sure they’re all wrong.
Good dogs just know to stick with their person everywhere, even when things aren’t going their way at the moment. Just know it: “Sticking with this lost four year-old is my best and only option right now.” Stick to them under any circumstances. Through thick and thin.
I just noticed that they’re all going to die. They’re all going to die. I need to stop saying “Oh, that’s too bad” when celebrities keel over, because they’re all going to do that at some point, until I do.
Gonna buy me a snare drum or a gong and hit it once every time I hear about a famous person dying, it’ll be more appropriate somehow. Hit it twice when Sir David Attenborough dies.
I look at a video of some pet ferret doing ferret things, with uniquely lovable ferret-y interactions with its people and I think “they could be incorporated.” The weltanshauung has enough room for a third beast and its peculiar shenanigans.
I’d like to occasionally call upon my skills as a person who’s interacted with a ferret or two over the years, maybe at a neighbor’s house. But I’ve never interacted with a ferret, so I’d have to fake it. I’d love to be given the opportunity to fake it!
“Evidence shows that the most insular scientific communities have led the march away from elaborated sentences in favor of complex, compressed nouns: Science articles in specialist publications such as the Journal of Cell Biology contain fewer relative clauses and more noun compounds than articles in publications like Science, which target a more diverse community of scientists. Both of these samples in turn have less syntactic elaboration and more compression than academic writing in the humanities, which presupposes even less specialized knowledge among its readers. And lagging behind all of these in the trend toward noun-heavy compression is the language of novels and plays. And, as Biber and Gray have shown, university students learn the art of compression gradually, with those in the sciences coming to rely less on multiple clauses and more on complex nouns than their peers in the arts and humanities.
“These findings highlight the extent to which languages are shaped by the structure of their communities—so much so that even a cosmopolitan globe-straddling language like English contains within it an esoteric register whose linguistic opacity has the effect of repelling outsiders and reinforcing the insularity of its community.”
Julie Sedivy has taught linguistics and psychology at Brown University and the University of Calgary, and is the author of Language in Mind: An Introduction to Psycholinguistics. She is currently writing a book about losing and reclaiming a native tongue.
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