September 12, 2011
August 4, 2011
Did you ever wonder why we capitalize the word “I” but do not capitalize other pronouns, not even “we”?
This practice vexed the poet-preacher Henry Van Dyke nearly a century ago, and he came up with an interesting explanation.
English is the only major language to capitalize its first-person singular pronoun.
“How monumentally imposing is that upper case ‘I’!” wrote Henry Van Dyke in 1920. “If a writer is egoistic the capitals stretch across his page like a colonnade. When he writes ‘we,’ he descends to the lower case.
“But this orthographic solipsism, mark you, is shared by Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders,–all who use the English tongue. It is therefore not to be set down to insularity, but to individualism,–a stark, ineradicable, valuable quality of these various folks whose thoughts and feelings have been nourished by the same language.”
July 30, 2011
The level of complexity of infants’ cries may help to predict which babies are at risk for language delays, new research suggests.
German researchers compared the cries of three groups of 2-month-old babies: 11 with a cleft lip and palate, 10 with cleft palate only and a control group of 50 unaffected infants.
In infants, a “simple cry melody” consists of a single rising and then falling arc, according to researchers. As children age, their cries become more complex. The ability to intentionally segment melodies by brief pauses, for example, eventually leads to syllable production.
By 2 months of age, healthy infants cries display complex melodies more than 50 percent of the time.
Those whose cries show less complexity are at a higher risk for poorer language development two years later.
So, should we make babies cry, to develop more complexity?
July 10, 2011
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Bureaucrats, evidently with nothing better to do, are taking a Michigan woman to court on a misdemeanor charge … for growing vegetables in her front yard.
Bass’ garden is a little unique because it’s in her front yard.
“We thought it’d be really cool to do it so the neighbors could see. The kids love it. The kids from the neighborhood all come and help,” she said.
Bass’ cool garden has landed her in hot water with the City of Oak Park. Code enforcement gave her a warning, then a ticket and now she’s been charged with a misdemeanor.
As usual, the dispute centers on interpretation of an unclear ordinance.
“That’s not what we want to see in a front yard,” said Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski.
Why? The city is pointing to a code that says a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material. The big question is what’s “suitable?”
The bureaucrats of Oak Park define “suitable” as “common.” That sort of thinking leads to cookie-cutter blandness.
Welcome to the Nanny State Militant.
December 18, 2010
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October 27, 2010
September 16, 2010
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|Voltaire, while not PC, was witty — and well aware of the plasticity of meanings.
When a diplomat says yes, he means ‘perhaps’;
|When he says perhaps, he means ‘no’;|
|When he says no, he is not a diplomat.|
|When a lady says no, she means ‘perhaps’;|
|When she says perhaps, she means ‘yes’;|
|When she says yes, she is not a lady.|