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Results for "April, 2007"

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  • Hillary Clinton: Runs like a man, talks like a girl

    Hillary Clinton talks like a girl.  That’s the conclusion of a pair of psycholinguistic researchers who analyzed radio and television interviews with Sen. Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton recorded in 2003 and 2004, just after each had published a memoir.  They found that Bill speaks more than Hillary, but Hillary uses you know more than Bill.  She says so more often, but he uses more nonstandard forms of speech.  Bill addresses his interviewers as “you,” while Hillary calls them by their names.  Bill laughs at his own comments; Hillary laughs in response to what interviewers say.  In sum, though, she laughs more than he does, at least she did when they were on the air several years ago.

  • English makes you fat

    According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, speaking English as a second language makes you fat. 

    Bilingualism was once considered a leading cause of mental retardation.  American psychologists in the early twentieth century argued that filling up a child’s brain with a useless immigrant language like Italian or Yiddish meant less room for actual knowledge.  They also found a strong correlation between speaking two languages and criminal behavior.  Their solution was simple: switch to English, leave the language of crime and ignorance behind, become 100% American, and don’t look back.   

    Half a century later scholars finally realized that the real culprit wasn’t language, but poverty.  Today the scientific community views bilingualism more positively.  Neurologists have found evidence that speaking a second language might increase brain size and stave off dementia, and economists point to the benefits of knowing more than one language in a global economy.

  • "Young chicken without sex": China bans Chinglish for Olympics

    Wanting to show off its cosmopolitan modernity while maintaining tight control over what the Chinese are allowed to say in public, China has banned Chinglish, the oddly-phrased, unintelligible, and often unintentionally funny English translations of Chinese signs that have been proliferating in the capital in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

    For example, there’s the bus sign that announces pregnantly in English lettering under the Chinese, “Offer the Seats to the Old, Weak, Sick, Cripple, and Gravid,” or the awkward but apt warning on the gasoline tanker, “Dangerous Goo Keep Clear.”

  • For Gingrich, English is global, Spanish is ghetto.

    Newt Gingrich, long-time supporter of English as the official language of the United States, has deepened his English-only stake by coming out officially against bilingual education.  Gingrich told the National Federation of Republican Women:  

    “We should replace bilingual education with emergence – with immersion – in English so that people learn the common language of the country and so they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.”  

    Calling Spanish a ghetto language, even though he stumbled over the English words as he said them, got a round of applause for the former Speaker of the House and prospective presidential candidate from his conservative base.  But the rant that was universally understood to condemn Spanish without actually naming the language isn’t likely to get out the vote in the Latino community, which reacted to his speech with howls and jeers.  Someone must have told Gingrich that Latinos vote too, because a few days later Gingrich, confessing surprise at how his words had been misinterpreted, sought to soften his insult by “clarifying” his position on Spanish, in halting Spanish, with a video that he posted on YouTube, which is apparently where he thinks Latinos get their news.