blog postsGeorge Bush hooked on phonics at U.N. (that's YOO-en)Sep 27, 2007 2:25 pm1689 views George W. Bush had no trouble naming names when he berated dictators in Burma, Iran and Cuba during his speech on Sept. 25 before the U.N. General Assembly, but when it came time to praise countries like Kyrgyzstan and Mauritania for making strides toward liberty, the president needed help with his pronunciation.Japan's government politely lobbies to return English wordsSep 23, 2007 11:48 pm1770 views The governments of France, Germany, Russia and Iran have all tried to eradicate the English borrowings so common in their languages, but they havent had much success banning popular English words and expressions and replacing them with awkward native alternatives. Thats because most citizens ignore their governments language prescriptions even more than they ignore its speed limits.The boy who spoke . . . Young muggle awakes from brain surgery with new accentSep 19, 2007 12:05 am2771 views The British newspaper the Telegraph reports that ten-year-old William McCartney-Moore woke up from brain surgery with a new accent. When the youngster came down with a rare form of meningitis he had a twang characteristic of the Yorkshire area in the north of England, where he’s lived all his life, but after surgery to remove fluid around his brain he spoke with the kind of posh, upper class vowels one associates with Masterpiece Theatre’s Alistair Cooke or Star Trek’s Patrick Stewart.Like young McCartney-Moore, Stewart, who plays Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on “The Next Generation,” was born in Yorkshire, though he lost his northern accent not through surgical intervention but by studying acting at the Old Vic. And Manchester native Cooke no doubt acquired his own posh vowels when he went up to Cambridge.English-only vs. Spanish in Univision's presidential debateSep 9, 2007 9:23 pm2063 views On Sept. 9, 2007, the Univision cable network and the University of Miami hosted the first Democratic presidential debate aimed specifically at Hispanic voters. The questions were asked in Spanish and translated into English for the candidates, who were then required to answer in English -- even Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd, who are fluent in Spanish. The English answers were then translated into Spanish for the audience.Siberian town bans "I don't know." Violators will be sent to . . . SiberiaSep 7, 2007 12:06 am994 views Therell be no more passing the ruble in the Siberian town of Megion. Its mayor has banned the phrase I dont know, and hes promised that civil servants who say Its impossible, Its not my job, or twenty other synonyms for no-can-do will lose their jobs.