The earthy scent of rain is known as petrichor.
Archive for the 'linguistics' Category
Have been reading about the US investment research firm Muddy Waters in the news lately (like here), and kept wondering why anyone would ever give their company such a name. ‘Muddy Waters’ 给人一种浑水摸鱼、同流合污的感觉! (Translation: ‘Muddy Waters’ gives one the feeling of hun shui mo yu [fishing in troubled, or muddied, waters] and tong liu he wu [evil flowing with evil]!)
So I went to check out its website, and realized with the greatest amusement, that it was indeed named after the Chinese idiom 浑水摸鱼 (hun shui mo yu). To quote:
The Chinese have an old proverb, “浑水摸鱼” (muddy waters make it easy to catch fish). In other words, opacity creates opportunities to make money. This way of thinking has unfortunately become endemic in global capital markets.
While editing an article at work today, I was searching Thesaurus.com for a synonym for experience, and somehow bumped into apologue – which I had never seen before. Alas, it was not the right word I had been seeking!
On 29 January, my friend K wrote this on his Facebook wall:
Nangka is jackfruit.
Chempedak is _________ ?
Naturally, I replied, ‘jillfruit!!! :P’
One of my friends, B, who teaches at a top secondary school, posted this on Facebook on 6 January:
exasperatedly, I asked my class how come they’ve forgotten so many of the rhetorical devices we’ve taught them almost every year for three years now:
“Remember metaphors? Anaphora?”
Boy: “Huh? I only know Sephora.”
(Incidentally, while I did learn about metaphors in secondary school, I only learnt about anaphora in university……!)
McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets come in four shapes: the ball, the bone, the bell, and the boot! I had always thought that the nuggets’ shapes were completely random!
Once upon a time, I was tucking into fried chicken at Popeyes, when I heard a teenaged boy at a neighbouring table proclaim, to his friend, something to the effect of, ‘So dumb for them to call these biscuits!’ He was, of course, referring to those light fluffy things that Popeyes serves with their meals (which we Singaporeans would probably call scones).
On hearing that, I could not help but marvel at his ignorance. Did he not know different things could share the same name in different places? Or that the same thing could have different names in different places?
Much later, I came across this interesting article which discusses the meanings of biscuit and cookie in British English and American English respectively.
In my book, a biscuit is thinner and crisper, and often served unadorned, whereas a cookie is chunkier and chewier, and often contains something extra (like chocolate chips). In that respect, my definitions are closer to the British English ones!
The more things change, the more they stay the same…… this Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! (14 December 2014) comic strip says it all……
Slogan is an ancient Gaelic word. It means, or at least it meant, battle cry.
When medieval Scotsmen were charging their enemies in remote and warlike glens, they would shout the name of their clan or their chieftain again and again and again. “Campbell! Campbell! Campbell!” or “McDonald! McDonald! McDonald!”
These days, in the battles of global corporations, there’s slightly less killing, and certainly fewer kilts. But otherwise it’s pretty much the same clamoring to be heard above the competitive fray.
Imagine an army of Apple employees, brandishing iPhone 6s and bellowing “Bigger than bigger!” as they storm a counterattacking legion of Samsung smartphone reps wielding Galaxy S5s and urging one another onward with “The next big thing is here!”
A slogan, a good one at least, is at the heart of a company. It doesn’t just face outward to the consumer, but inward to the employees. One sentence becomes the company identity, the corporate motto and the battle cry. So it had better be a cracking good sentence.
Click here for ‘Rhetorical Reasons That Slogans Stick’ by Mark Forsyth, which I found a very entertaining read!