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Results for "October, 2007"

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  • WTF? Swearing at work is good for business

    Bans on swearing in college sports have been making headlines in the last year or two as part of a concerted effort to enforce good sportsmanship among players and fans alike, both toward the opposing team and toward the refs, but a new study coming out of the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Business School reports that, while swearing may cost you the game, on the plus side it does build team spirit.  Their research further suggests that turning the air blue on a regular basis may actually be good for business.

    The legendary American lawyer Clarence Darrow reportedly told one interviewer, “I don’t swear just for the hell of it” (at least the Darrow character in Inherit the Wind says this).  Now two business scholars, Yehuda Baruch and Stuart Jenkins, report in a recent issue of the Leadership and Organization Development Journal (vol. 28 [2007], pp. 492-507), that regular swearing at work creates a sense of community and reinforces social relationships. 

  • Vatican 2.2? Wichita Catholic School goes English-only

    A Wichita Catholic school is now requiring its students to speak only English in school.

    In September, officials at St. Anne School sent home a letter notifying parents of the new policy, enacted to punish four students for allegedly using Spanish to bully other children and make fun of teachers and administrators.

    There are 75 Hispanic and 27 Asian children in the 243-student school, which runs from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade and has no foreign-language classes. Bullying and disrespectful behavior were already prohibited by the school handbook, but the school’s letter failed to explain why that policy was insufficient to deal with the recent incidents. Nor did it specify why the school’s 71 remaining Spanish speakers, along with its Vietnamese-speaking students, were also being punished by having their languages banned from the hallways. And it failed to indicate whether students who bully others or disrespect their teachers in English will be forced to stop speaking altogether.

  • Language is a facade. So is an official language.

    A faade is the front of a building any architect knows that. But a faade is also a face, and faces arent always what they seem. Sometimes they reveal whats behind them, sometimes they hide it. So faades are also false fronts.

  • Spell the American way on National Dictionary Day

    October 16 is the birthday of the American lexicographer Noah Webster. Its also National Dictionary Day. In his own time Webster was most famous for the blue-backed spelling books from which American children learned their ABCs, but thanks to the popularity of his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, his name also became synonymous with dictionary.

  • Domo arigato, Dr. Roboto: Researchers prove rats can't understand Japanese backwards. Can you?

    The 2007 Ig Nobel prize in linguistics has been awarded to three researchers who successfully demonstrated that rats cant distinguish between Japanese and Dutch sentences played backwards.