Tag Archives: Culture

Queens New York: The World’s Linguistic Melting Pot

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In some cases, to find the last speaker of a dying language instead of traveling to remote outposts of civilization or border towns destroyed by war and crippling poverty, you can hop on the 7 train out of Grand Central Station to a stop in the borough of Queens. Heralded as the most culturally diverse(…)


Recounting the Ever-Changing Diversity of New York City

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What do Peter Minuit, Pieter Minuit, Pierre Minuit, and Peter Minnewit all have in common? You guessed it! They’re all the same person, with spelling differences. Taking the first version, Peter Minuit, to be our variation, who here knows why he is famous? History may not have been everyone’s strongest suit (or maybe history plays(…)


The Top 9 Soon-To-Be Extinct Words of 2017

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A few weeks ago, we wrote about words that have been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary for 2017 and what made those words worthy to be included into the official lexicon of our language. While looking at the new words, we also came across words that have been deleted in 2017, and the reasons why. As intriguing(…)


But Is It Art?

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How do you describe something that is beautiful? How about well made? What if it is out of the ordinary? Is the description automatically synonymous with ‘art’? As abstract (pun completely intended) as it may be, how can and should art be defined? Art, in form, theory, and construct is always subjective.With that in mind,(…)


The “Hotel California” Phenomenon in Thailand

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Hi, my name is John McMahon. I am an American who has lived in Thailand for over a decade and I need some help. Ten years ago I lived in a big house on a small side street with a little bar at the end. The owner of this bar also fancied himself a singer.(…)


Literally, Not Figuratively: When, How, and Why Did it Happen?

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One of the great things about the English language is that’s so expansive. As a kind of linguistic black hole, sucking words in from all over, it’s a rare occasion for a person with a good vocabulary in English to have to resort to idiom or explanation in order to refer to a singular object(…)


Your Guide to Lies, Lies, and More Lies

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Liar, liar, pants on fire, and if that were true most of us would be alight from the ankles up. Everyone hates a liar. The word consistently rates in the bottom 5% of 500 descriptive words but we all are; big or small, intentional or by mishap, liars. We have great words for lying. When(…)


The Bond of Language

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There may be no more comforting experience than hearing your own language when far from home. For instance, searching for the rumored bus station in a small town in Indonesia and having a well educated local take you under their wing. Even hearing your local accent, your home town twang, in a strange city in(…)


To be a Stranger in a Strange Land

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  The notion that it’s a small world is just that, a notion. It is a large world, and one that differs greatly from place to place. Of course, though, modern technology has tightened things up. We can go to Google Earth and visit any little corner of any town in any country that strikes(…)


Hep to the Step, Hep to the Lingo: What is Jive?

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Language can define a generation; just look at the effect the internet, with sites like Tumblr, Vine, and Reddit, has had on the way we speak today. Groovy vernacular was common in the 60s, while the 80s was rad,  perhaps even tubular. What about the age of jazz during the 30s and the 40s? Whaddya(…)