Sunday, 22 January 2017

Links to things that might be of interest.

Having been out in the rather chilly, almost snowing Saddleworth morning, I thought it might be nice to compare it with this short video of my friend Brendan cycling around the Vigo area.

If anything, it looks as though it might be colder there than here at the moment but they are having a bright cold while we are having a gloomy, grey one. There is evidence in the film that Brendan actually signals and obeys traffic signals and the like when he is out cycling, unlike an awful lot of cyclists. I was going to compliment him on riding on the road, like a grown-up cyclist, rather than the pavement. This is one of my bugbears. I know the roads are dangerous but if all the cyclists give in and ride on the pavement then there will never be a proper system of cycle paths. What's more, the pavements will become dangerous places as well. But then, at the end of the video, it became clear than Brendan only rode on the road in places where there was virtually no traffic and, indeed, virtually no pavement. Back in the city, he was back on the pavement. ¡QuĆ© desilusiĆ³n!

I tried unsuccessfully to copy a clip from La Voz de Galicia, inviting us to compare the arrival of the Obamas to take over the White House from the Bush family - Barack Obama waiting for Michelle and escorting her, indeed letting her go first, up the steps to meet Bush - and the arrival of the Trumps to take over from the Obamas - Trump gets out if the car and heads up the steps, leaving Melania to get out in turn and follow meekly, until Obama goes and greets her and brings her into the group on the steps. Correction, I had another go and, hopefully, here it is.

Occasionally Phil gets a little agitated about how people use language. So do I as a matter of fact. It must be something to do with our both being linguists. Phil, however, gets a lot crosser than I do. Trendy expressions such as "going forward", employed to mean "in the future" really bug him. His latest gripe is about the use of "So" as an introduction to an answer. I found this letter in Saturday's Guardian:
'When Seamus Heaney began his translation of Beowulf with the single word sentence "So", he described it as "an expression that obliterates all previous discourse and narrative, and at the same time functions as an exclamation calling for immediate attention". Whenever I hear a politician opening with it, I translate it roughly as "that's quite enough from you, never mind what you think, this is my much more important opinion".'

And finally, while we are on the subject of language, here is a link to an item about a postcard on which someone corrected the English. How rude!

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